FDA clamps down on antibody tests


Pharmaceutical companies continue to make headlines as governments and investors hang their hopes on a steady recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O’Day said Sunday the company would be donating its entire supply of remdesivir to treat coronavirus patients. Roche Chairman Christoph Franz said the drugmaker will invest more than $437 million in a German testing site. Another week of quarterly reports lies ahead, and more retail locations are reopening as U.S. states loosen lockdown restrictions.

This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. All times below are in Eastern time. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks. 

  • Global cases: More than 3.5 million
  • Global deaths: At least 247,752
  • US cases: More than 1.1 million
  • US deaths: At least 67,686

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

1:54 pm: Tyson warns of more meat supply disruptions

A Tyson Foods pork processing plant, temporarily closed due to an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is seen in Waterloo, Iowa, U.S., April 29, 2020.

Brenna Norman | Reuters

Tyson Foods warned of more disruptions to its meat supply chain, despite an executive order from President Donald Trump to keep plants open.

Tyson executives said that U.S. hog processing capacity has been nearly cut in half as the coronavirus closes slaughterhouses.

Trump deemed meat processing plants as critical infrastructure and ordered them to keep operations running under the Defense Production Act in an effort to protect the country’s food supply and workers.

Tyson has already faced hurdles with reduced demand from restaurants and with hundreds of workers testing positive for the coronavirus. Those challenges will continue into the coming months, Tyson said.  —Amelia Lucas, Sara Salinas

1:39 pm: Online grocery shopping surge is whetting venture capital investors’ appetite

Long wait times. Out-of-stock items. Incomplete orders.

The sudden popularity of online grocery shopping is not only frustrating customers and challenging grocers. It’s also inspiring more grocery-related venture capital deals, FreshDirect co-founder and former CEO Jason Ackerman said.
“I’m seeing more deals in online grocery… than I’ve ever seen before,” he said.

Ackerman said he’s spoken to many grocery chains that can’t keep up with the demand for online grocery pickup and delivery. “Over time, that will wear on customers,” he said.

He said the struggles have highlighted the need for more investments in infrastructure that speeds up order fulfillment, lowers costs for grocers and improves the experience for customers. —Melissa Repko

1:28 pm: New York on ‘other side of the mountain’ as deaths and hospitalizations fall, governor says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the daily number of hospitalizations and new deaths related to Covid-19 are declining, suggesting the state is on “the other side of the mountain.” However, he added that officials are not seeing as steep of a decline as they hoped.

New York’s so-called pause order ends on May 15, but local governments will need to show they meet the criteria before social distancing restrictions can be lifted, such as ensuring adequate health-care capacity, diagnostic testing capacity, a lower rate of new infections and the ability to conduct contact tracing.

The state reported 9,647 total hospitalizations on Sunday, down from 9,786, Cuomo said. An additional 226 people died from Covid-19 on Sunday, he said, which makes four consecutive days that daily figure has been below 300. The last time the number of deaths was below 300 was on March 31.

“You see that mountain that we went up, now we’re on the other side of the mountain. You start to see the shape of the mountain, unfortunately, the decline from the mountain is not as steep as the incline,” Cuomo said while referencing a chart of total hospitalizations in the state related to Covid-19. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

12:52 pm: New Jersey closes all schools for the rest of the academic year

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced that the state’s schools will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year to prevent further spread of the coronavirus. 

“As I have noted before, we are working with the principle that public health creates economic health, or in this case, public health creates educational health,” Murphy said during his daily press briefing, The governor and the Department of Education have not made a decision on summer programs.

The announcement comes after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last week that schools and colleges in his state will be closed for the rest of the academic year. 

New Jersey reported 1,621 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 128,269. The state also reported 45 new deaths for a total of 7,910. —Jasmine Kim

12:36 pm: FDA clamps down on coronavirus antibody tests

The Food and Drug Administration said it is tightening rules for antibody tests after it became aware of “a concerning number” of tests performing poorly or being marketed inappropriately.

Manufacturers will need to submit emergency use authorization forms and data proving the tests work within 10 days or face possible removal. So far, 12 antibody tests have been authorized by the FDA for emergency use, and more than 250 tests are currently the subject of a pre-EUA or EUA review, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn told reporters Monday.

Antibody tests can indicate whether a person has had Covid-19 in the past and was either asymptomatic or recovered. U.S. officials and businesses have been pouring money into antibody testing, hoping it will give people the confidence to return to work and reopen parts of the economy. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr., Will Feuer

12:11 pm: Amazon engineer quits over concerns about the company’s firing of workers who called for coronavirus protections 

Tim Bray, a senior software engineer and vice president at Amazon Web Services, resigned from the company, citing Amazon’s move to fire outspoken critics of its labor practices. 

In a blog post, Bray said his last day at the company was May 1. He said he strongly disagreed with Amazon’s decision to fire several workers who criticized the company’s climate stance and, most recently, its treatment of warehouse workers amid the coronavirus. 

“I quit in dismay at Amazon firing whistleblowers who were making noise about employees frightened of Covid-19,” Bray wrote, adding that “remaining an Amazon VP would have meant, in effect, signing off on actions I despised. So I resigned.” 

Amazon warehouse workers and corporate employees have participated in a string of protests over the past few months to call for the company to better protect workers. The workers want Amazon to shut down facilities where there are positive cases and provide paid sick leave, among other things. 

Amazon has previously said it has gone to “great lengths” to keep facilities clean and make sure employees are following the necessary precautions. In the company’s latest earnings report, Amazon said it would invest its expected $4 billion second-quarter profit in coronavirus-related efforts, such as purchasing additional safety gear for workers and building out its coronavirus testing capabilities. —Annie Palmer

12:00 pm: Automakers reopen plants

Automakers with plants in southern states are reopening and slowly beginning to produce vehicles.

Daimler started to produce Mercedes-Benz models last week in Alabama and on Monday BMW confirmed the reopening of its plant in South Carolina.

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, which operate separately in the U.S. but have the same South Korean parent company, also confirmed they reopened plants Monday in Alabama and Georgia, respectively.

The facilities, according to the automakers, have implemented new and increased safety and sanitization protocols in an attempt to lower the spread of Covid-19. They also are not operating at normal levels.

Other automakers such as Toyota Motor are expected to begin reopening their plants in the coming weeks. General MotorsFord Motor and Fiat Chrysler are among the automakers to not yet announce a restart date following delays to previous restart dates. —Michael Wayland

11:45 am: New York City to give away 7.5 million face coverings

Medical workers wearing masks walk past a ‘Thank You’ sign outside of Mount Sinai Hospital amid the coronavirus pandemic on May 3, 2020 in New York City.

Alexi Rosenfeld | Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city will give away 7.5 million face coverings, free of charge, to residents at local parks, grocery stores and other city locations.

New Yorkers have “overwhelmingly” complied with the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order requiring all residents to wear a face covering when in public, but the city is going to step in to further provide face coverings to people who may not have the means to obtain one, de Blasio said.

The free face coverings the city plans to distribute effective immediately will not be non-medical and won’t be the same masks used by health-care workers, however, they will still be reusable and effective as long as they remain dry, he said. —Noah Higgins-Dunn, Jasmine Kim

11:31 am: Carnival Cruise Line to sail again August 1

An image of Carnival Splendor cruise ship at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay on March 22, 2020 in Sydney, Australia.

Izhar Kahn | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Carnival Cruise Line said it will resume North American service on August 1, becoming the first major cruise line to restart operations as the pandemic continues to spread.

Attention will be focused on bookings for the early cruises as analysts and industry insiders contemplate how resilient the demand for cruising is after multiple ships became the sites of Covid-19 outbreaks that infected thousands and killed dozens.

Jackie Ceren, a travel agent based out of Florida, said she has clients who have been waiting to book for weeks. However, she has doubts about whether the U.S. has contained the virus and whether the company will be able to sail come August.

“It’s going to all depend on what’s happening with this virus. I do have people waiting. People do really want to get back on ships,” she said. “But if people book and they end up having to cancel these cruises, no one’s going to be happy. [Carnival is] making it worse, I think.” —Will Feuer

11:16 am: Salesforce announces tools aimed at reopening businesses safely

Salesforce announced a handful of new tools aimed at helping businesses and community leaders reopen safely amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The tools, available on Work.com, will include items such as contact tracing, a resource center and a system to manage employee shifts to adhere to social distancing.

“We are capturing the best advice, the best words from doctors and tremendous business organizations who are telling businesses of safe ways to reopen,” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “When we go back to work there’s things we’re going to have to do differently.” —Jessica Bursztynsky

11:03 am: Gottlieb says he does not trust results from a single antibody test

Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that he does not trust the results from a single Covid-19 antibody test. Concerned about rates of false positives, the former FDA chief said he recommends people take multiple tests to ensure accuracy.

“Quite frankly, if it was me, I would repeat it three times,” said Gottlieb, a CNBC contributor who sits on the boards of Pfizer and biotech company Illumina. “I know they’re expensive but I wouldn’t put confidence in any one test.” —Kevin Stankiewicz

10:54 am: Lowe’s workers get another bonus as pandemic continues

Home improvement retailer Lowe’s is handing out a second round of bonuses to employees helping customers stock up on supplies for home repairs and do-it-yourself projects during the pandemic.

The company said it’ll spend $80 million on special payments to its hourly employees. All full-time hourly employees will get a $300 payment and part-time and seasonal employees will get $150. It gave similar special payments to employees in late March.

Starting Monday, Lowe’s said it will require all employees to wear a mask or face covering while working at stores and visiting customers’ homes. It is providing masks and gloves to employees.

Lowe’s is one of the retailers that’s kept stores open during the pandemic as an essential retailer. In an interview with CNBC in late March, CEO Marvin Ellison said customers have turned to the company as they replace appliances, do DIY projects, or buy other items that help them during extended stays at home, such as larger freezers or new water heaters. —Melissa Repko

10:35 am: Small businesses reel as pandemic slams the brakes on the economy

Nearly three-fourths of small business owners say the Covid-19 outbreak will likely have permanent effects on the way they run their businesses, according to the CNBC|SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey.

“Most small businesses were in rapid growth mode in January. … 2019 was roaring for lots of small businesses,” said Marilyn Landis, who runs small business consulting firm Basic Business Concepts.

The pandemic — and the shelter-in-place orders that followed — quickly put the brakes on that business boom. CNBC’s Eric Rosenbaum reports the survey found that 62% of small business owners said demand for their products and services has fallen in the past two months, with 42% saying demand decreased “a lot.” —Terri Cullen

10:18 am: Kroger expands testing for grocery workers

Grocery workers across the country may soon have an easier time getting coronavirus testing.

Kroger said it’s expanding employees’ access to Covid-19 testing by providing employees with free self-administered kits or an appointment at one of its drive-thrus, if they have symptoms or medical need. Kroger is the parent company of many grocery chains, including Fred Meyer and Fry’s, and has more than 460,000 employees.

As grocery workers continue to stock shelves, check out customers, or fulfill online orders during the pandemic, some have gotten sick and died.  Grocers have announced a growing number of safety measures to try to prevent the spread of the virus in stores, such as providing masks for workers, installing Plexiglass dividers, and encouraging social distancing with signs. A major grocery union also encouraged shoppers to wear masks and limit trips to the store. —Melissa Repko

10:10 am: Number of new cases in Europe, Asia is on the decline, while US remains steady

10:03 am: GE Aviation plans to cut its global workforce by 25% as coronavirus hurts air travel

General Electric‘s aviation unit plans to slash its workforce by 25% this year as the coronavirus pandemic threatens demand for new aircraft. The 13,000 job cuts will be permanent and include involuntary measures and voluntary ones like early retirements.

General Electric is doubly exposed to the aviation slump through both the GE Aviation manufacturing arm and its leasing unit, one of the largest aircraft lessors in the world.

“To protect our business, we have responded with difficult cost-cutting actions over the last two months. Unfortunately, more is required as we scale the business to the realities of our commercial market,” David Joyce, CEO of that GE unit, told employees in a memo. —Melodie Warner 

9:40 am: Dow falls more than 300 points to start the week

9:28 am: Majority of small businesses missed out on CARES Act loans, survey finds

A sign reading “Buy Local” with closed restaurants and shops on Main Street on April 10, 2020 in Livingston, Montana.

William Campbell | Corbis via Getty Images

More than 30 million small businesses — the lifeblood of the U.S. economy — are on the ropes amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the government loan programs designed to help them aren’t doing the job, a CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey found.

The $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), part of the CARES Act, was meant to provide a lifeline for businesses suffering through the economic shutdown, but only 13% of respondents who applied for PPP were able to obtain loans, the survey found. Among all respondents, just 7% have already received financing and 18% are still waiting for a response from a lender.

CNBC’s Lori Ioannou delves into the reasons behind the struggles small businesses are having in trying to obtain financial support. —Terri Cullen

9:24 am: Experts weigh in on how schools can be open in September

Most states have already closed public schools through the remainder of the academic year. Of those that haven’t, no state has set a date to reopen them.

Reopening schools is arguably the most essential complication to overcome for an economic recovery as many parents simply can’t go back to work if their children are still home. Unless plans are thoughtful and nearly foolproof, parents won’t be comfortable putting their children at risk.

The United Federation of Teachers union, which represents more than 140,000 teachers and other school employees in New York City, has started an online petition addressed to the federal government demanding certain requirements are met before schools can reopen. They include widespread testing, temperature checks upon entering schools, rigorous cleaning protocols, and a procedure for tracing people who have been in close physical contact with anyone who has tested positive for the virus. —Melodie Warner 

9:09 am: HSBC expects a ‘jagged U-shaped recovery’ 

The global economy is most likely set for a U-shaped recovery with a “jagged bottom” after the coronavirus crisis, according to HSBC.

Speaking to CNBC Monday, Head of Global Foreign Exchange Strategy David Bloom outlined the bank’s game plan in the event of L-, U- and V-shaped recoveries, emphasizing that analysts should be making plans for all eventualities.

In a U-shaped scenario, the economy fails to respond immediately to exits from lockdowns around the world, but the expectation for a delayed rebound remains in place with multiple “false dawns,” Bloom suggested, causing a “jagged bottom” to the U curve. —Melodie Warner 

9:00 am: J.Crew files for bankruptcy protection

Clothing apparel company J.Crew filed for bankruptcy protection, making it the first major retail bankruptcy of the coronavirus pandemic. The New York-based retailer had already been struggling under a heavy debt load and sales challenges.

The company said it reached a deal with stakeholders to convert  $1.65 billion of its debt to equity. It also secured $400 million in financing from existing lenders Anchorage Capital Group, GSO Capital Partners, and Davidson Kempner Capital Management to help fund operations through bankruptcy. —Melodie Warner 

8:46 am: The latest US coronavirus hot spots

8:16 am: Tyson Foods Q2 net income drops 15%

Tyson Foods reported a fiscal second-quarter decline in net income of 15% year over year, sending the company’s shares down 5% in premarket trading. 

Tyson temporarily closed plants amid the Covid-19 outbreak after hundreds of workers tested positive for the virus. The company expects higher production costs and lower productivity as it attempts to ramp back up. Read more about Tyson’s fiscal second quarter and coronavirus response from CNBC’s Amelia Lucas. —Sara Salinas

7:08 am: Roche CEO says it is ‘very likely’ patients develop immunity

People who have recovered from Covid-19 are “very likely” to be immune to the virus, according to Roche CEO Severin Schwan. 

“We know from other coronaviruses that it’s very likely as soon as you have gone through an infection you will also acquire immunity,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe,” adding that more research is needed. “We need studies to really see whether those people who have been infected once are subject to reinfection. But there’s a high likelihood that this will be the case.” —Chloe Taylor

6:56 am: Roche to invest 400 million euros in German testing site

Volunteers dressed in protective suits, masks, gloves and goggles carrying blood and throat mucous samples to test for COVID-19 on March 27, 2020 in Berlin, Germany.

Sean Gallup | Getty Images

Swiss drugmaker Roche will invest more than 400 million euros ($437 million) in a German testing site, according to Reuters. Roche Chairman Christoph Franz said the investment will include making antibody tests in order to detect people who have already been infected with the virus and recovered. 

Franz said the drugmaker will invest in its biochemical production facility in Penzberg, as well as in additional diagnostics research and development, Reuters reported. —Sara Salinas

5:45 am: Germany’s coronavirus reproduction rate stands at 0.74

The reproduction rate of the coronavirus in Germany is currently estimated at 0.74 on average, Health Minister Jens Spahn said, Reuters reported.

The reproduction rate refers to how many people could be expected to be infected by someone with the virus, on average. Health authorities want to keep that number below 1 so the spread of the virus gradually slows. —Holly Ellyatt

5:15 am: Spain’s daily death toll rises by 164

Health workers wear protective masks as they observe a minute’s silence at the entrance of the Hospital Doctor Peset in remembrance of nursing staff who have died due to Covid-19 on April 06, 2020 in Valencia, Spain.

Rober Solsona | Europa Press News | Getty Images

The number of deaths from the coronavirus in Spain reached 25,428, up from 25,264 the previous day, its health ministry said. That marks a daily increase of 164 deaths.

Spain has recorded 218,011 cases of the virus, the secondhighest total from any country, after the U.S. —Holly Ellyatt

4:50 am: Japan extends state of emergency to May 31

Few passengers are seen on a Tsukuba Express train amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 27, 2020 in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Etsuo Hara | Getty Images

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to extend Japan’s state of emergency to May 31.

Abe said he will consider lifting the emergency without waiting for its May 31 expiration if experts decide is possible based on regional infection trends, according to Reuters. —Holly Ellyatt

4:33 am: Euro zone manufacturing economy contracts at a record pace in April

Activity in the euro zone’s manufacturing sector contracted at a record rate in April with Covid-19 related measures impacting heavily on demand and production, a survey showed.

IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing fell to 33.4 in April from 44.5 in March, the final PMI data showed Monday. It’s slightly lower than preliminary data estimating a decline to 33.6. The 50-point mark separates monthly expansion from contraction.

“Below the earlier flash reading, the latest PMI was the lowest ever recorded by the series (which began in June 1997), surpassing readings seen during the depths of the global financial crisis and indicative of a considerable deterioration in operating conditions,” IHS Markit said.

“Output, new orders, export sales, and purchasing activity all fell at record rates, whilst supply-side constraints intensified to an unprecedented extent. Confidence about the future sank to a fresh series low.” —Holly Ellyatt

4:00 am: Russia sees another daily rise in cases of over 10,000

A woman wearing a protective mask holds flowers near a makeshift memorial for medics, who reportedly died in Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Region in the times of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in central Saint Petersburg, Russia April 28, 2020.

Anton Vaganov | Reuters

The number of new cases in Russia has risen by 10,581 over the past 24 hours, its crisis response center said. That compares to a daily increase of 10,633 that was recorded on Sunday.

Russia’s total number of cases has reached 145,268 and it has recorded 1,356 deaths. Russia has now become the seventh-worst-hit country in terms of infections, Johns Hopkins University data shows. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin was diagnosed with the coronavirus just last week. —Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Russia sees over 10,000 new cases; Euro zone manufacturing slumps in April



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