Global cases top 3 million, farmers dump fruit and flowers


This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks.

  • Global cases: More than 3.2 million
  • Global deaths: More than 233,000

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of 8:04 a.m. Beijing time. 

All times below are in Beijing time.

8:26 am: Smartphone shipments suffer largest on-year decline, IDC says

Global smartphone shipments fell 11.7% on-year in the first three months of 2020, preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) revealed. Phone-makers shipped 275.8 million smartphones for the quarter.

IDC said that while the first quarter usually experiences a “sequential (quarter-over-quarter) decline in shipments,” this is the largest year-over-year decline ever. 

China experienced the largest regional decline for the quarter as shipments dropped 20.3% compared to a year ago. Most of China was shut in February for an extended period as part of the country’s efforts to contain the outbreak. “The global dependency on China for its smartphone supply chain also caused major issues as the quarter progressed,” IDC said. 

Research firm Counterpoint said its analysis showed the global smartphone market declined 13% on-year in the quarter.  Saheli Roy Choudhury

7:42 am: Tons of fruit and flowers are at risk of spoiling as virus disrupts supply chains

Farmers globally are grappling with excess supplies of their products as their harvests cannot get to their intended customers due to disruptions from lockdowns and movement restrictions. 

Some have turned to creative ways to get rid of excess supplies. Belgians have been asked to eat more fries, as more than 750,000 tons of potatoes are at risk of being thrown away; Indian farmers are feeding their cows strawberries, which are normally meant for tourists and ice-cream producers; while companies in the Netherlands are buying up flowers to give away to employees. 

“The lockdowns that we are all experiencing across the globe are causing a disruption of labor, so we are not getting people into the fields to produce on farms,” said Michael Strano, a lead principal investigator for disruptive and sustainable technology in agriculture at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology.

“It’s a disruption of worldwide transport and supply chains that is causing this unusual phenomenon of shortages in some areas and excess in others,” he added.   Huileng Tan

7:30 am: Global cases exceed 3.2 million, death toll over 233,000

Over 3.2 million people have been infected worldwide by the coronavirus and more than 233,000 people have died from the respiratory disease Covid-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

A man wearing a mask tries to catch a taxi at Times Square amid the Covid-19 pandemic on April 30, 2020 in New York City.

Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images

The United States reported the most number of cases, with over 1 million infections and more than 62,000 people deaths, Hopkins data showed. Earlier this week, the death toll surpassed American fatalities from the Vietnam War

Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, France and Germany remain some of the worst-affected countries after the U.S.

The virus outbreak was reported in China’s Hubei province late last year before it spread rapidly to the rest of the world in just four months.  Saheli Roy Choudhury

All times below are in Eastern time.

6:39 pm: Ex-TARP watchdog says Washington is to blame for large companies receiving small business loans

Large companies that received money from the small business loan program are not to blame, according to former TARP watchdog Neil Barofsky.

“You have to go back to the design of the program itself,” Barofsky told CNBC. 

“I mean, Congress went out of its way to carve out businesses that have more than 500 employees but are restaurants, chain restaurants,” he said on “Closing Bell.” “They wanted the money to go to chain restaurants.” 

Barofsky, an attorney, previously served as the inspector general for the controversial Troubled Asset Relief Program, which Congress passed to stabilize the financial system amid the 2008 crisis. 

Publicly traded companies such as Shake ShackPotbelly and Ruth’s Hospitality Group all received loans through the Paycheck Protection Program but have since announced they were returning the money

“They participated because they qualified and then there’s this tremendous political backlash,” Barofsky said, specifically referencing Shake Shack as an example. —Kevin Stankiewicz

6:23 pm: Trump suspects coronavirus outbreak came from China lab, doesn’t cite evidence

President Donald Trump said — without offering any evidence — that he has reason to believe that the coronavirus outbreak originated from a laboratory in China.

“I can’t tell you that. I’m not allowed to tell you that,” Trump said when asked what evidence he has seen to make him believe the virus emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.

Trump initially was asked by a reporter at a White House event on Thursday about the origins of the virus, and answered, “You have heard all different things. Three or four different concepts as to how it came out.”

“We should have the answer to that in the not-so-distant future and that will determine a lot how I feel about China,” the president said.

But he later was asked by a reporter if he had “seen anything that gives you a high degree of confidence, at this point, that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the source of this virus?”

Trump replied, “Yes, I have,” and then repeated that assertion. —Dan Mangan

Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: Trump fuels theory that virus came from China lab, Big Tech earnings take a hit



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