President Donald Trump is expected Thursday to name a former pharmaceutical executive to lead “Operation Warp Speed,” Trump’s push to accelerate the development of a Covid-19 vaccine. Trump has said he believes a vaccine will be ready for distribution before the end of the year, a timeline that some scientists have challenged as unrealistic.
Also on Thursday, ousted federal vaccine scientist Dr. Rick Bright is due to testify before the House health subcommittee, where he plans to warn Congress that without a more coordinated response, “2020 will be the darkest winter in modern history.” Bright filed a whistleblower complaint after he was removed last month as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The agency is a key player in federal coordination of vaccine development.
Jobless claims continue to increase, with another 2.9 million Americans filing for unemployment. The brings the total since the crisis started to 36.5 million. Unemployment stood at 14.7% in April.
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 4.3 million
- Global deaths: At least 297,491
- US cases: More than 1.3 million
- US deaths: At least 84,136
The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
8:49 am: CVS will start offering Covid-19 testing at some of its pharmacy drive-thrus
A CVS offers drive-thru coronavirus self testing.
CVS Health will start offering Covid-19 testing this Friday at some of its pharmacy drive-thru windows.
The company said it will open more than 50 additional test sites at the pharmacies, according to a news release. The testing sites are in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. CVS said it plans to open hundreds of similar test sites over the next two weeks.
To get a test, people must make an appointment at CVS’ website and meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria. Those who qualify will stay in their cars and receive a self-swab test. Test results will be available in about three days, after being sent to a third-party lab.
CVS is one of five retailers that have opened multiple drive-thru testing sites across the country. In late April, the company said it would have up to 1,000 test sites by the end of May, but that was “subject to the availability of supplies and lab capacity.” The company has already opened drive-thru sites in large parking lots, such as on Georgia Tech’s campus in Atlanta. —Melissa Repko
8:33 am: Another 2.9 million Americans filed for unemployment
The number of Americans filing for unemployment insurance rose by 2.981 million, bringing the total over the course of the coronavirus pandemic to 36.5 million.
The jobless numbers have declined since the peak on March 28, but tens of millions of Americans who lost jobs still have not returned to work even as state governments reopen the economy in certain parts of the U.S. Continuing jobless claims increased by 456,000 to 22.83 million.
The unemployment rate stood at 14.7% in April, according to the Labor Department. That’s the highest unemployment rate in the U.S. since the Second World War. —Spencer Kimball, Jeff Cox
7:50 am: Amazon is building face shields for frontline workers
7:10 am: Trump says he will mobilize military to deliver vaccine when there is one
A Paratrooper assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, prepares for a Airborne Operation at Fort Bragg, N.C., on May 7.
Spc. Hubert Delany III | US Army
The U.S. military will distribute doses of the Covid-19 vaccine when there is one, President Donald Trump said, according to Reuters.
“You know it’s a massive job to give this vaccine,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Network. “Our military is now being mobilized so at the end of the year, we’re going to be able to give it to a lot of people very, very rapidly.”
He added that he expects to have a vaccine by the end of the year, Reuters reported. However, scientists have not expressed the same confidence. Members of the White House task force have repeatedly said a vaccine will take 12 to 18 months to develop, but even that would be a record timeframe for the development of a safe and effective vaccine. —Will Feuer
7:05 am: WHO warns it could take up to 5 years before outbreak is under control
The World Health Organization’s chief scientist has warned the staying power of the coronavirus pandemic means it may not be under control until 2025.
The bleak forecast comes at a time when the global coronavirus death toll nears the grim milestone of 300,000.
Dr. Soumya Swaminathan on Wednesday told the Financial Times’ Global Boardroom webinar: “I would say in a 4 to 5-year timeframe, we could be looking at controlling this.” —Sam Meredith
7:00 am: Unemployed Americans can now get Headspace for free
Mindfulness app Headspace is offering free, one-year premium subscriptions to all unemployed workers in the United States in an effort to support those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Those eligible can register for a subscription here starting Thursday.
“As a company dedicated to improving the health and happiness of the world, we take our responsibility to help support people’s mental health very seriously. It’s our promise today and for whatever tomorrow brings,” Headspace CEO Rich Pierson said. —Jessica Bursztynsky
6:49 am: France to invest $1.4 billion in tourism sector
A woman wearing a protective mask rides her bicycle next to the Eiffel Tower on April 23, 2020 in Paris, France.
Chesnot | Getty Images
France plans to invest $1.4 billion in the country’s struggling tourism sector to help businesses tied to the sector weather the coronavirus shutdown, Reuters reported. Almost 90 million people visited France in 2018, according to government data, which makes it the most visited country in the world that year.
“What is good for the tourism industry, is often good for the whole of France,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said.
Tourism accounts for roughly 7% of France’s GDP, according to Reuters. —Will Feuer
Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Russia’s cases pass 250,000; EU says vaccine could take a year