Mnuchin warns of high unemployment, celebrities ‘tour’ social media

Mnuchin warns of high unemployment, celebrities ‘tour’ social media


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 201,000
  • Global deaths: At least 8,007
  • US cases: At least 6,496
  • US deaths: At least 114

All data above is provided by Johns Hopkins University.

8:00 am: Mayo Clinic CEO assures ‘there’s a significant supply of ventilators’ 

Mayo Clinic CEO Gianrico Farrugia said Wednesday the U.S. could have enough ventilators to treat critical COVID-19 patients if Americans take social distancing serious enough. “There’s a significant supply of ventilators. They may not always be in the right place,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” While it’s impossible to predict how many the U.S. will need, Farrugia said the “less cases we have in the United States, the less ventilators we’re going to need, and if we can space that over time then I do think we’ll have enough ventilators.” —Kevin Stankiewicz

7:42 am: Worldwide cases top 200,000

COVID-19 cases surpassed 200,000 worldwide as the new coronavirus continues to spread outside of China, the original epicenter of the outbreak.

The total number of cases now stands at 201,436 as of 7:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, according to data compiled by John Hopkins. —Will Feuer

7:24 am: Absolut Vodka-owner Pernod Ricard to help make hand sanitizer

French premium alcohol company Pernod Ricard, whose products include Absolut Vodka, is offering its services to fulfill worldwide demand for hand sanitizer. In the U.S., the company will convert manufacturing and plant facilities in Kentucky, West Virginia and Texas to make the gel. It is taking similar measures in Spain, Ireland and Sweden, and will roll out similar initiatives in the United Kingdom. In France, the premium liquor-maker is donating 70,000 liters of alcohol to Labratoire Cooper, a major supplier of hand sanitizer. —Lauren Hirsch

7:19 am: Stock futures drop amid unprecedented volatility

Stock futures pointed to big losses in pre-market trading as the markets remained highly volatile with the government response to the coronavirus fallout still unfolding. A violent reversal in Treasury yields in response to a potential $1 trillion stimulus package helped to unnerve investors.

Around 6:42 a.m. ET, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average indicated a more than 1,000-point loss at the open. —Fred Imbert, Yun Li

7:14 am: Mnuchin warns of 20% US unemployment

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, delivers remarks on the coronavirus relief package after the Senate Republican Policy luncheon in Russell Building on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned Republican senators that the country’s unemployment rate could hit 20% if they failed to act on a proposed coronavirus rescue package and there was lasting economic damage, a person familiar with the closed-door meeting said.

Mnuchin met with senators to persuade them to pass a $1 trillion stimulus package that would send cash to Americans within two weeks, and backstop airlines and other companies. A Treasury official said Mnuchin was not providing a forecast but trying to illustrate the potential risks of inaction. —Reuters

6:54 am: Ikea to temporarily close stores in Europe and North America

Swedish home retailer Ikea is to temporarily close stores in the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, the U.S. and Canada. Stores in Denmark are already temporarily closed, Reuters reported. U.K. and Ireland stores remain open, for now. — Holly Ellyatt

6:48 am: Iran’s death toll from coronavirus jumps to 1,135

Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus climbed to 1,135 with 147 new deaths in the past 24 hours, a health ministry official told state TV, Reuters reported. The total number of infected people across the country has reached 17,361.

“Unfortunately there were 1,192 cases of infected people in the past 24 hours … please follow the guidelines and stay at home,” Iran’s Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said. —Holly Ellyatt

6:09 am: Toyota to stop output at more plants in Europe

A 2020 Toyota Highlander goes down the line at the automaker’s plant in southern Indiana.


Toyota said it planned to stop output at more vehicles plants in Europe. In a statement, the Japanese automaker said it had stopped operations at plants in the U.K. and Poland from Wednesday, and those at its Czech site would be halted Thursday. Operations at its French site are already suspended. Operations at its Turkey site would be suspended from Saturday but U.S. plants have not been affected so far, the company said. —Holly Ellyatt

6:02 am: Celebrities are ‘touring’ social media amid cancellations

5:30 am: EU will close external borders for 30 days


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