Customers find lenders’ ‘relief’ misleading


This is CNBC’s 24-hour blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. All times below are in Eastern time. This live blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks. 

All times below are in Eastern time.

  • Global cases: At least 614,884
  • Global deaths: At least 28,687
  • U.S. cases: At least 104,837
  • U.S. deaths: At least 1,711

All data above is provided by Johns Hopkins University.

10:03 am: Outbreak hits already struggling US farmers: ‘We’ve stopped saying it can’t get worse’

The coronavirus pandemic has sent U.S. farmers into a panic after it further drove down crop and livestock prices and raised concerns about labor shortages on farms.

Farm trade groups are lobbying the Trump administration to give financial aid for farmers enduring price drops, as well as timely visas for seasonal workers from Mexico who will pick crops on U.S. farms this year.

“We were hoping for something good this year, but this virus has stopped all our markets,” said Iowa farmer Robb Ewoldt. —Emma Newburger

9:57 am: Testing is finally on the rise

9:54 am: Quarantines lead to a massive drop in air pollution

As coronavirus quickly spreads around the world, it’s forcing people to stay put, and wreaking havoc on the economy. Millions are either out of a job or working from home. Factories are shuttering, and with mandates to stay inside becoming the new norm, people aren’t driving or flying.

All this has led to an enormous decline in air pollution, which kills a total of 4.2 million people every year, and over 1 million in China alone. The last two months have seen a huge uptick in air quality, especially in hard-hit areas like Wuhan and Northern Italy, as well as a number of metropolitan areas throughout the U.S.

While experts caution against viewing these numbers as a cost-benefit calculation around pandemics, some climate scientists hope that they will help shed a light on the massive environmental impact of our everyday habits and economic activities, potentially leading to some positive change after the crisis subsides. —Katie Brigham

9:49 am: Banks say they’re providing financial relief, but customers find the offers misleading

A sign hangs above the entrance to a Bank of America branch in Chicago, Illinois.

Scott Olson

Bank of America is one of many financial institutions that have reached out to customers to help provide relief in the event of hardship caused by the coronavirus outbreak. But social media has been flooded recently with complaints from customers who say that when they reached out to their banks for help, they found the “relief” was not what they expected. 

For its part, Bank of America told CNBC Make It that each client situation is unique, and it’s handling requests on a case-by-case basis. —Megan Leonhardt

9:30 am: Philippines reports 14 new coronavirus deaths, 272 infections

The Philippine health ministry reported 14 new coronavirus deaths and 272 additional cases, marking the country’s single largest daily increase in fatalities and infections.

The latest information brought total infections in the Philippines to 1,075 and deaths to 68, the health ministry said, adding that four patients have recovered, bringing the total to 35. —Reuters

9:27 am: Japan Prime Minister Abe says his country is at a critical stage

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the country is at a critical stage in dealing with coronavirus infections but not at a point to declare a state of emergency. He said Japan has managed to keep clusters under control by carefully following infection routes. But the initial strategy is now having difficulty, with a rise of infections that are no longer traceable — an early sign of infection explosion.

Abe said once there is infection overshoot, “our strategy of slowing down the peak of the infections will instantly fall apart.” He added, “under the current situation, we are just barely holding up. But I understand we are standing on the edge.”

Abe convened a taskforce Thursday, the day after Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike made a stay-at-home request to its 14 million residents after seeing a spike in the number of new cases of the COVID-19 to 41. —Associated Press

9:16 am: How the United States fell dangerously behind in testing

Medical personnel from Riverside (CA) University Health Systems hospitals administer a Coronavirus Test to an individual during drive-through testing in the parking lot of Diamond Stadium.

Photo by Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images

The deadly coronavirus pandemic has stopped the world in its tracks, and exposed a weak spot in U.S. preparedness for a public health emergency.

Experts say aggressive diagnostic testing is essential in order to learn where and how an epidemic spreads. But in the critical first weeks of the outbreak in the U.S., one problem after another prevented doctors, clinics and labs around the country from testing enough people.

Patients in America were being sent home as hospitals limited their use of tests to conserve supply, while other countries like South Korea found a way to test hundreds of thousands of people quickly.

Now, the U.S. is months behind in understanding the true scope of the virus. Testing capacity is finally ramping up, but is it too late? —Arielle Berger, Jordan Smith

9:14 am: Getting married in the age of coronavirus

Thousands of Americans have had to cancel their weddings as states made the decision to limit group gatherings and the world has shifted to social distancing as a way of life. Couples around the country are considering options around canceling or postponing weddings because of quarantines.

The postponements and cancellations have rocked the wedding industry, causing layoffs and a backlogged 2021 season. Some couples still want to plan celebrations on their wedding date and have turned to Zoom to celebrate with friends. —Alex Sherman

9:09 am: India plans to turn some idled trains into isolation wards

India said it was planning to turn some railway coaches into isolation wards for patients with coronavirus, as authorities scramble to prepare the country’s health infrastructure for an expected surge in cases.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the country’s 1.3 billion people this week to stay indoors for three weeks in the world’s biggest lockdown, seeking to curb the spread of the illness.

India’s network of trains, the country’s lifeblood, has been idled. One train coach has been turned into a prototype quarantine facility, state-owned Indian Railways said in a statement on Saturday. Once they get clearance, the plan is for each of India’s railway zones to convert 10 coaches into such wards every week, the company added. Indian Railways has 16 zones, according to its website. —Reuters

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Global cases surge past 600,000, Spain infections exceed 72,000, Iran reports 2,500 deaths


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