Major US airlines will require passengers wear masks

Passengers are seen wearing protective masks and gloves at Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida, United States on March 29, 2020.

Eva Marie Uzcategui | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Major U.S. airlines on Thursday said they will require travelers to wear face masks on board their planes as carriers take steps to try to protect the health of passengers and crew.

Delta’s policy requires travelers to wear a mask or other face covering in the check-in area, premium lounges, boarding gate areas and on board for the whole flight, except during meals. The airline is also urging travelers to wear them in security lines and in restrooms. The policy takes effect Monday.

United will also start requiring masks for passengers Monday. American’s policy goes into effect May 11. Frontier Airlines issued a similar requirement that goes into effect May 8. JetBlue Airways earlier this week became the first major U.S. airline to mandate masks for travelers.

“We want our passengers to feel comfortable when flying with us by protecting themselves and their fellow travelers as we all navigate the Covid-19 pandemic,” Barry Biffle, Frontier’s CEO said in a release. “This new measure is aligned with CDC recommendations and those of many municipalities within the U.S. that include wearing a face covering when out in public.”

Airlines are also requiring that flight attendants wear masks and have said they will make masks available for travelers. American said it also plans to distribute sanitizing wipes for travelers starting next month.

Airlines are grappling with health precautions on board in the coronavirus era and labor unions have urged more stringent requirements from federal regulators. The U.S. government has recommended that air travelers wear face masks but hasn’t required them. In addition to implementing the new face covering requirements for passengers and crew members, airlines are stepping up cleaning and disinfecting of cabins.

Dow futures drop more than 200 points after earnings drive Apple and Amazon lower

A woman with a facial mask passes the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on February 3, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City.

Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images

Stock futures fell sharply on Thursday night as traders pored through the latest batch of big tech earnings after Wall Street wrapped up its best month in decades.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures traded 298 points lower, or more than 1%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also dropped more than 1%.

Apple reported quarterly earnings that topped analyst expectations, but its revenue growth remained flat on a year-over-year basis. Also, the company did not offer guidance for the quarter ending in June amid uncertainty over the coronavirus outbreak. The tech giant’s stock traded more than 1% lower in after-hours trading.

Amazon, another tech giant, saw its shares tumble 5% in after-hours trading after announcing plans to spend all its second-quarter profits on its coronavirus response. The e-commerce behemoth also posted a first-quarter profit that missed analyst expectations.

Both Apple and Amazon are among the companies that led the S&P 500’s comeback from the late-March lows and were two of the best performers in April. Amazon rallied nearly 27% in April while Apple jumped 15.3%.

“Dependency on a handful of stocks has masked broadly based weakness in the past, and if they falter, could obscure broadly based improvements going forward,” said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird, in a note.

Wall Street was coming off its biggest monthly surge in over 30 years, with the S&P 500 gaining 12.7% while the Dow advanced 11.1%. It was the third-biggest monthly gain for the S&P 500 since World War II. The Nasdaq Composite closed 15.5% higher for April, logging in its biggest one-month gain since June 2000.

Those gains were driven in part by hopes of a potential treatment for the coronavirus. Earlier in the week, Gilead Sciences said a study of its remdesivir drug conducted by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases met its primary endpoint.

The number of new infection around the world has also fallen in recent weeks, leading some countries and U.S. states to slowly reopen their economies.

But Phillip Colmar and Santiago Espinosa, strategists at MRB Partners, urged investors to remain cautious.

“The sharp relief rally in equities has now moved ahead of underlying fundamentals, leaving room for near-term disappointments,” they said in a note to clients. “Many authorities are looking to reopen their economies but doing so safely and to near previous output levels will require a series of medical breakthroughs and widespread distribution of the treatment.”

More than 3.2 million virus cases have been confirmed globally, according to Johns Hopkins University, with over 1 million infections in the U.S. alone.

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Apple (AAPL) earnings Q2 2020

Apple shares were down more than 1% during extended trading on Thursday after the company reported a slight increase in second-quarter revenue to $58.3 billion, during a period in which supply and demand for Apple’s products was negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here’s how Apple did:

  • EPS: $2.55 per share, adjusted
  • Revenue: $58.3 billion
  • iPhone revenue: $28.96 billion
  • Services revenue: $13.34 billion
  • Mac revenue: $5.35 billion
  • iPad revenue: $4.36 billion
  • Wearables, Home, and Accessories revenue: $10.01 billion
  • Gross margin: 38.4%

“Amid the most challenging global environment in which we’ve ever operated our business we’re proud to say that Apple grew during the quarter,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during a call with analysts. 

Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv had expected $2.26 in adjusted earnings per share on $54.54 billion in revenue for the fiscal second quarter, with a 38.4% gross margin. With respect to fiscal third-quarter guidance, analysts polled by Refinitiv were looking for $51.54 billion in revenue and a gross margin of 38.5%. However, the impact of Covid-19 on economic activity has made it more difficult for analysts to accurately predict companies’ results.

Apple will also continue to buy back its stock amid the pandemic, the company said. It has authorized an increase of $50 billion in the company’s share repurchase program, in addition to a dividend of $0.82 per share. In Apple’s fiscal 2019, it spent $67.1 billion repurchasing shares and $14.1 billion on dividends.

However, Apple did not issue guidance for the quarter ending in June, as it usually does. The company withdrew guidance for its second-quarter in February as the Covid-19 coronavirus spread in China.

“There was a significant, very steep fall-off in February. That began to recover some in March, and we’ve seen further recovery in April. So, it leaves us room for optimism,” Cook said in an interview with CNBC’s Josh Lipton. 

“We have great confidence in the long-term of our business. In the short-term, it’s hard to see out the windshield to know what the next 60 days look like, and so we’re not giving guidance because of that lack of visibility and uncertainty,” Cook said in the interview. “It was a very unique quarter. I’ve never had anything quite like this. I hope to never have it again, but I’m incredibly proud of the company and what was achieved during that period of time.”

iPhone revenue was down to $28.96 billion, a 7% year-over-year decrease. The shortfall was partially made up by a 16% rise in services revenue, which include iCloud, Apple Music, and other subscriptions, to $13.34 billion. Total revenue growth for the quarter decreased to 0.5% from 9% a quarter ago.

CFO Luca Maestri said that iPhone performance will be worse, on a year-to-year basis, in the June quarter than it was in the March quarter. 

“On iPhone and Wearables, we expect a year-over-year revenue performance to worsen in the June quarter, relative to the March quarter. On iPad and Mac, we expect the year-over-year revenue performance to improve in the June quarter,” Maestri said. 

Cook said that the company’s TV subscription service, Apple TV+, was doing well as more people watched content while under lockdown, and that people were turning to iPad and Mac, the company’s larger computers, in increasing numbers. 

“It’s clearly helping the iPad and the Mac and, for that reason … we envision both of those to have improving year-over-year performances in this current quarter,” Cook told CNBC. “If you look at TV+ as an example, we’ve seen a significant uptick in the number of people that are viewing content as well as the engagement with content.”

Apple’s cash hoard now stands at $192.8 billion, down from $207.1 billion at the end of the previous quarter.

Apple’s stores around the world, except in China and one location in Korea, are shuttered until further notice. But the company said that sales in its online store combined with its retail stores reached a record in March, and Tim Cook told CNBC “the growth was off the charts” online. Cook also said that the company plans to reopen its retail stores with a “much reduced number of people in the store.”

Cook also noted that Apple was able to launch new products, including new iPad Pro and MacBook Air models, during a quarter in which many of Apple’s employees at its California headquarters started to work from home amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

This story is developing. Refresh for the latest updates. CNBC’s Josh Lipton contributed to this story. 

Mike Pence wears mask at General Motors plant

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and CEO of General Motors Mary Barra visit the General Motors Components Holding Plant that is manufacturing ventilators for use during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Kokomo, Indiana, U.S. April 30, 2020.

Chris Bergin | Reuters

Pence, who once served as governor of Indiana, is leading the White House’s coronavirus task force.

His tour of the recently reopened plant came two weeks after it began producing ventilators with Ventech Life Systems to deal with a shortage of the medical breathing assistance devices in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Brian Rothenberg, a spokesman for the United Auto Workers union, said that General Motors requires workers at the plant to wear surgical masks there except when they are eating lunch.

A spokeswoman for Pence did not immediately reply to CNBC when asked why he wore a mask on Thursday and if he would continue doing so during public events in the future.

Pence has previously said that he does not need to wear a mask to prevent spreading an infection — despite federal health guidance to the contrary  — because he is tested regularly for coronavirus and has been shown to be negative for it.

Health experts have disputed that idea, saying the tests are not always accurate and that there is a risk that Pence could contract the coronavirus between tests and pass it on unwittingly to others.

The Mayo Clinic has said it told Pence’s staff before he visited there Tuesday that masks were required for all visitors, staff and patients at its Rochester, Minnesota, facility because of the coronavirus outbreak.

But Pence’s wife, Karen, on Thursday said during a Fox News interview that he only learned of the mask policy after he left the clinic Tuesday.

“As our medical experts have told us wearing a mask prevents you from spreading the disease and knowing that he doesn’t have COVID-19, he didn’t wear one,” Karen Pence said on “Fox & Friends.”

But the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in guidance issued in early April, says, “You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.”

Vice President Mike Pence visits with lab physicians and techs while touring Mayo Clinic facilities supporting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) research and treatment in Rochester, Minnesota, U.S., April 28, 2020.

Nicholas Pfosi | Reuters

“Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities,” the CDC says in its guidelines.

Others have criticized Pence for possibly putting other people at risk and at the least not acting like a good role model, during his visit to the Mayo Clinic.

Jamie Gulley, president of the SEIU Healthcare Minnesota union, which represents thousands of Mayo Clinic workers, in a statement said, “When Vice President Mike Pence ignores the safety policy and refuses to wear a face mask, he insults the hard work and sacrifice of all healthcare workers.”

“Worse, he puts them, their patients, and their families at risk,” Gulley said.

Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist and global health policy expert who is an NBC News and MSNBC contributor, told NBC News that even if you do not have symptoms of Covid-19 but are infected “and you’re just having a conversation … you can easily transmit the disease.”

“The vast majority of individuals that we think are likely transmitters of the disease have no symptoms,” Gupta said. “You basically have a bunch of people feeling great who think they don’t need to follow the rules.”

President Donald Trump early this month said that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was urging all Americans to wear masks in public settings, to help reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

But Trump said he personally would not follow that guidance.

“I just don’t want to wear one myself, it’s a recommendation,” Trump said then. 

“Somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful Resolute Desk, the great Resolute Desk, I think wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, dictators, kings, queens, I don’t know, I don’t see it for myself.”

As of Thursday, there were more than 1 million reported cases of the coronavirus in the United States, and an official death tally from Covid-19 of about 61,000 people.

Mike Bloomberg is developing mobile apps to help New York state trace coronavirus cases

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is developing three smartphone apps to help New York state trace every person who comes into contact with someone infected with Covid-19 cases to help control the spread of the virus. 

Contact tracing requires scores of people to interview coronavirus patients and track down all of their contacts over the past 14 days so those people can be notified, tested and quarantined. 

The team, led by Bloomberg, is partnering with the health-care nonprofit Vital Strategies to develop the three new smartphone apps. The first app will help contact tracers find information and data quickly, the second will allow the public send data directly to local health departments and the third will provide guidance to people in quarantine and allow them to report any symptoms, Bloomberg said. 

“When social distancing is relaxed, contact tracing is our best hope for isolating the virus when it appears and keeping it isolated,” Bloomberg said from the governor’s press conference in Albany. 

He added that Vital Strategies is working with the state to develop a “comprehensive playbook” that outlines for contact tracers how to do the job effectively.

The team has hired a staffing company to build a “small army of New Yorkers” to conduct the contact tracing and has teamed up with the City University of New York and the State University of New York to identify applicants, Bloomberg said. 

Johns Hopkins University has developed a remote training class for tracers, Bloomberg said, adding that it will cover the basics of epidemics, contact tracing and privacy. He said applicants must pass a test at the end of the class to be hired. 

Cuomo said on Tuesday that the state would need to hire thousands of contact tracers to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19 and allow officials to ease strict social distancing guidelines. He said the state would need at least 30 contact tracers per 100,000 people. 

The state also needs to broaden access to testing, which will be prioritized for people who are symptomatic, people who came into contact with a symptomatic person and frequent tests of front-line, essential workers, he said. Officials are working toward constructing enough testing sites across the state. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is currently working to hire 1,000 contact tracers with health-care backgrounds. 

“Contact tracing, the test and trace approach, is going to change everything,” de Blasio said at the governor’s press conference in Albany on Thursday. “I think we are going to be able to show this country a model that’s going to be extraordinarily effective in beating back this disease.”

Macy’s to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic as a smaller company

The entrance to a Macy’s department store.

Jeffrey Greenberg | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

Amid all the uncertainty that the coronavirus pandemic has caused, Macy’s Chief Executive Jeff Gennette is sure of one thing: The retailer’s sales will be more “modest” as it emerges from this crisis.

“We are going to emerge out of this as a smaller company,” Gennette said during a virtual fireside chat with Gordon Haskett analyst Chuck Grom. “We don’t really know what the ramp back looks like.”

Macy’s is also already planning to see lower volume this holiday season, in part because millions of Americans are now unemployed and without paychecks. Gennette also expects its hundreds of department stores and specialty shops, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury, to  reopen in phases.

Macy’s shares were recently down about 7%, following the conversation with Gordon Haskett’s Grom. The stock has fallen more than 66% this year. Macy’s has a market value of about $1.8 billion.

Each of America’s department store chains — including Macy’s — has been grappling with plunging sales, as nonessential retailers’ bricks-and-mortar stores were forced shut last month to try to help curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus. E-commerce revenue has not been enough to make up for losses elsewhere.

“This is a liquidity crisis of enormous consequences,” Mark Cohen, former Sears Canada CEO, recently told CNBC.

Macy’s management team on Thursday walked analysts through the retailer’s plans to reopen its stores, which have been shut due to the pandemic since March 18. It will open 68 locations Monday, in states including South Carolina and Georgia, where local lockdown restrictions have been loosened. It plans to have all of its locations reopened over the next six to eight weeks, provided Covid-19 infection rates continue to taper off.

Still, shoppers likely will not be back in droves. Gennette said Macy’s is forecasting a “gradual sales recovery” at its stores.

Ahead of the virus slamming the U.S. economy and drastically changing the retail landscape, Macy’s in February announced it planned to shut 125 locations over the next three years.

When asked about any changes to that plan, Gennette said Thursday the company is still “debating” whether or not it will accelerate its rate of store closures. Right now, “that [125] still makes sense for us,” the CEO said.

Meantime, Chief Financial Officer Paula Price told analysts Thursday that Macy’s is well into the financing process to raise debt, to come up with additional liquidity. CNBC had previously reported that Macy’s was weighing raising as much as $5 billion in debt to weather the coronavirus crisis.

“We have been engaged in this process for a while,” Price said. “We have identified lead banks. … [We’re] confident we will have a deal closed and funded well in advance of when we need additional liquidity.”

Macy’s strongest assets, to use as collateral to raise the debt, include its inventory and unencumbered real estate, according to Price.

Macy’s still has close to the full $1.5 billion on hand that it pulled down last month from its credit revolver, she said. The department store chain has been able to delay monthly rent payments with some of its landlords, Price added. This is just one of the measures the company has taken to preserve cash.

The biggest U.S. mall owner, Simon Property Group, is preparing to open 49 of its malls and outlet centers, starting as soon as this Friday. Macy’s has a number of stores within those malls.

Price, notably, is set to depart Macy’s effective May 31, the company previously announced. It has yet to name her replacement.

—CNBC’s Lauren Hirsch contributed to this report.

Trump rants about ‘dirty cops’ in Flynn case during NJ governor meeting

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about the Trump administration’s coronavirus response during a meeting with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 30, 2020.

Carlos Barria | Reuters

President Donald Trump said Thursday that Michael Flynn, his former national security advisor and a convicted felon, had been “tormented” by “dirty cops” at the FBI.

Trump’s remarks, made during a meeting about the coronavirus at the White House, came after he sent more than a dozen tweets and retweets supporting Flynn and decrying the FBI’s handling of his criminal case.

“They were trying to force him to lie,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, appearing to reference new documents that were revealed in Flynn’s case Wednesday night.

“General Flynn is a fine man,” Trump said. “You don’t get to where he is by being bad … he’s in the process of being exonerated.”

Before his meeting on the Covid-19 crisis with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Trump engaged in a Twitter blitz about Flynn, the FBI and its former director James Comey.

“What happened to General Michael Flynn, a war hero, should never be allowed to happen to a citizen of the United States again!” Trump tweeted.

“DIRTY COP JAMES COMEY GOT CAUGHT!” Trump said in another post.

Trump fired Comey in May 2017 and later told NBC’s Lester Holt that the Russia probe was on his mind when he decided to terminate Comey. As a result, then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump’s rant about Flynn’s treatment, which he has complained about for years, came as his administration continues to grapple with the economic strife and rising death toll caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 1 million people in the United States have tested positive for Covid-19, and nearly 61,000 have been killed by the disease, data from Johns Hopkins University show. Jobless claims in the U.S. for the last six weeks topped 30 million, according to the latest Labor Department figures.

But Trump’s focus Thursday morning appeared to be centered more on the FBI and Flynn, whom the president has recently suggested could be granted a full pardon.

In the Oval Office on Thursday, Trump did not directly say if he would pardon Flynn.

Michael Flynn, former U.S. national security adviser, exits federal court in Washington, D.C., on Monday, June 24, 2019.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador before Trump’s inauguration. Flynn replaced his legal team last year and is now trying to withdraw his guilty plea, arguing he is the victim of misconduct by prosecutors.

Late Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan unsealed new documents that were handed over to Flynn’s lawyers. The documents include copies of emails from veteran FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, whom Trump has singled out repeatedly in his attacks against the agency.

Also included in the unsealed documents was a handwritten note of unclear origin, part of which reads: “What’s our goal? Truth/Admission or get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?”

Trump tweeted and retweeted a series of posts about Flynn’s case, starting Wednesday night and continuing well into Thursday. The tweet storm mirrored coverage on Fox News and Fox Business Network, both of which are regularly cited and praised by Trump.

The slew of tweets claimed Flynn was “framed” and that his criminal case should be dropped.

NBA team execs call to end the season

The torrent of major corporate earnings results continued Thursday, with McDonald’s, CNBC parent Comcast, Twitter, and Kraft Heinz among the many companies reporting before the opening bell on Wall Street. Sales and profits have taken a beating for most corporations in the first quarter of 2020 as the initial effects of the pandemic began to drastically change American consumer habits. Read on for more on how companies are dealing with the fallout from the Covid-19 outbreak.

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 3.2 million
  • Global deaths: At least 227,971
  • US cases: More than 1 million
  • US deaths: At least 60,999

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

11:32 am: It’s ‘unconscionable’ that a New York City funeral home left corpses in vans, Mayor Bill de Blasio says

It is “unconscionable” and “absolutely unacceptable” that a Brooklyn funeral home left corpses in storage vans as the city’s mortuary system is overwhelmed with coronavirus patients, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

“Why on earth did they not either alert the state who regulates them or go to the NYPD precinct and ask for help?” de Blasio said at a news briefing. “Do something rather than leave the bodies there. It’s unconscionable to me.” 

The mayor was responding to reports that the Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Services in Brooklyn left corpses to decay in unrefrigerated U-Haul and other rental trucks on a crowded city street on Wednesday. When CNBC reached the funeral home for comment, a man who did not identify himself hung up before any questions could be asked. 

“I have no idea in the world how any funeral home could let this happen,” de Blasio said. “Absolutely unacceptable. Let’s be clear about this.”

New York City’s mortuaries, cemeteries, crematories and morgues have been overwhelmed by the casualties of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed almost five times as many New Yorkers in two months as the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.  —William Feuer, Jasmine Kim

11:15 am: NBA team execs, agents call on the league to cancel the rest of the season

A view of the empty AmericanAirlines Arena before the start of an NBA basketball regular season game between the Miami Heat and the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 in Miami.

David Santiago | Miami Herald | Getty Images

Even though the current NBA season is still technically suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, its return this year seems less and less likely with each passing day. Team executives are starting to feel the pressure, frustrated with the lack of information from the league and pushing for an outright cancellation of the season so everyone can focus on safely resuming play next season.

NBA team executives and players’ agents spoke to CNBC in recent weeks about the challenges in resuming play. They said team owners are concerned with liability issues and are conflicted about whether or not to give up on the current season. The individuals spoke on condition of anonymity as they aren’t authorized to discuss league matters publicly.

Billions of dollars are on the line if the NBA can’t rescue its season. NBA teams split the roughly $2 billion per year in national TV money the NBA receives from ESPN and Turner Sports. But clubs also gain revenue from local media deals with Regional Sports Networks. —Jabari Young

11:05 am: McDonald’s says this quarter’s same-store sales will be worse

McDonald’s is expecting steeper same-store sales declines in the second quarter as international restaurant closures due to the coronavirus pandemic continue to weigh down sales. McDonald’s global same-store sales shrank 3.4% in the first three months of the year after plunging 22% in March.

“Looking at comparable sales, we expect the second quarter as a whole to be significantly worse than what we experienced for the full month of March,” CEO Chris Kempczinski told analysts on the conference call.

More than half of restaurants in McDonald’s international operated markets segment, which includes France and Australia, are closed. Four countries in the segment — the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, and France — have closed down restaurants entirely to slow the spread of the virus. In April, the segment’s same-store sales are down about 70%. —Amelia Lucas

10:57 am: US wind industry installed over 1,800 megawatts in Q1, but the outbreak remains a risk

The first quarter of 2020 saw the U.S. wind industry install more than 1,800 megawatts (MW) of new capacity, a report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has revealed. According to the AWEA’s report, 11 new projects with a total capacity of 1,821 MW commenced operations in the first three months of the year.

The AWEA noted that this represented more than double the installations compared with the first quarter in 2019, AWEA said in a statement issued Wednesday.

While there are clear positives in the report – which also said construction activity hit a new record in the first three months of the year – the coronavirus is casting a shadow over the sector. Citing its own analysis from March, the trade association said an estimated 25 gigawatts of planned projects – which represent $35 billion in investments – were at risk. —Anmar Frangoul

10:32 am: Tyson temporarily closes Nebraska beef plant for cleaning

Tyson Foods said it was temporarily suspending operations at a large Nebraska beef processing that serves as the largest employer for neighboring Sioux City, Iowa, after a surge of coronavirus cases in the area. Tyson said it would close the Dakota City plant Friday through Monday to perform a deep cleaning of the facility.

State health officials in recent days have reported hundreds of new coronavirus cases in both Nebraska’s Dakota County, where the plant is located, and Woodbury County, Iowa, where Sioux City is located. Tyson previously disclosed that some workers at the plant had tested positive for the virus, but it has not said how many. The Arkansas-based company said it was screening Dakota City employees for the virus this week with the help of the Nebraska National Guard.

The Dakota City facility is one of the largest beef processing plants in the country, employing about 4,300 people. The move follows recent closures of other meat processing facilities across the country due the coronavirus, which spreads rapidly among workers who often stand shoulder to shoulder on production lines. —Associated Press

10:30 am: Denmark says virus spread has not accelerated since reopening began

Nyhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark

Kun Tawan | Twenty20

The spread of Covid-19 in Denmark has not accelerated since the country began a gradual loosening of restrictions in mid-April, the State Serum Institute, which is responsible for preparedness against infectious diseases, said.

The so-called R rate, which shows the average number of infections one person with the virus causes, has increased slightly in the past two weeks but remains below 1.0, the institute said.

“However, there are no signs that the COVID-19 epidemic is accelerating,” it said. —Reuters

10:20 am: ‘The lasagna guys’ collected $1.26 million to feed NYC’s hospital workers

Restaurateur Luca Di Pietro and his team have become known as the “lasagna guys” among New York City’s frontline workers. That’s because Di Pietro and his team have helped deliver more than 64,000 meals to health-care workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The lasagna is always a big hit,” Di Pietro, 50, who is the owner of owner Tarallucci e Vino restaurant group in Manhattan and now the founder of Feed the Frontlines NYC, told CNBC Make It. “It puts a smile on my face. It’s hard times…at least they get to eat something good. To think the food has been brought by and prepared by New Yorkers is a morale boost for frontline workers.”

Di Pietro started Feed the Frontlines NYC, a for-profit initiative, to raise funds for his restaurant, Tarallucci e Vino, and other local restaurants. It also provides hospital hospital workers in the country’s hardest hit city with free and delicious food. So far the initiative has raised over $1.26 million in donation to pay for meals, and its success has even inspired others to create their own Feed the Frontlines initiatives in other cities.

Beyond feeding local hospital workers fighting the pandemic, Feed the Frontlines has helped keep participating restaurants alive and their workers employed. —Taylor Locke

10:01 am: Mike Pence touring Mayo Clinic without a mask ‘sets an example of recklessness,’ says Jim Cramer 

Vice President Mike Pence visits with lab physicians and techs while touring Mayo Clinic facilities supporting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) research and treatment in Rochester, Minnesota, U.S., April 28, 2020.

Nicholas Pfosi | Reuters

CNBC’s Jim Cramer blasted Vice President Mike Pence for not wearing a coronavirus mask while touring the Mayo Clinic earlier this week.

“Until we get this under control, we can’t have the vice president of the United States go to the Mayo Clinic without a mask because that sets an example of recklessness,” Cramer said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

Cramer’s commentary on Pence came as the “Mad Money” host praised Costco for its new policy, starting Monday, that requires all shoppers to wear a face covering in its stores. Costco already requires its employees to wear masks.

“I think this will be the standard of care two weeks from now,” Cramer said, predicting people won’t be going anywhere without a mask. —Matthew J. Belvedere

9:33 am: Dow drops more than 200 points to end April after more dismal economic data 

Stocks fell on the last day of April, as investors digested another round of dismal economic data along with the latest batch of major tech earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded down 252 points, or 1%. The S&P 500 slid 0.7%. The Nasdaq Composite chopped around the flatline in early trading. 

The Labor Department said another 3.84 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the six-week total to more than 30 million. U.S. consumer spending also dropped 7.5% in March on a year-over-year basis. —Fred Imbert, Thomas Franck

9:26 am: Elon Musk’s F-bomb rant against lockdowns reflects ‘growing sentiment,’ says Dr. Scott Gottlieb 

The feeling behind Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s expletive-filled tirade against state government stay-at-home orders is shared by a growing number of Americans, Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC.

“I think that reflects a growing sentiment in this country where that’s going to tug against what the governors have to do,” Gottlieb said on “Squawk Box.” “They have tough decisions to face this month.” 

Late Wednesday, Musk lashed out, even dropping the F-bomb, on the electric vehicle maker’s earnings call, saying that lockdowns meant to help slow the spread of the coronavirus are “fascist.” He also said the orders amounted to “forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional rights.”

A number of states across the country, such as Georgia, Colorado and Tennessee, have recently eased up on some of the coronavirus-related business restrictions. Other states, such as Ohio, have announced details of a phased reopening to begin in May. —Kevin Stankiewicz

Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer and biotech company Illumina. 

9:01 am: How states are reopening businesses and lifting coronavirus restrictions 

Across the country, states have shut down businesses and ordered people to work from home if they can and stay indoors as much as possible to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, with cases beginning to level off, states are looking to jump-start economies hit hard by the virus. Millions of Americans who have been put out of work by lockdown efforts are also eager to get back in the workforce. 

Governors have taken different tactics in developing plans to loosen stay-at-home orders, each taking different paths in removing social-distancing restrictions. States in the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast have formed coalitions to usher in a regional recovery. Other states have faced criticism for already allowing nonessential businesses to resume in-person operations. Some governors have yet to release any sort of reopening plan.

Here is a rundown of how every state in the U.S. has responded to Covid-19 in terms of lifting restrictions on citizens and businesses. This list will be updated each day with new developments. —Hannah Miller 

8:53 am: New cases reported daily by region

8:50 am: How Mercedes-Benz reopened an Alabama auto plant 

Mercedes-Benz reopened its U.S. plant this week in Alabama, becoming one of the first manufacturers to resume operations since the coronavirus pandemic halted auto production across the country last month.

Daimler, which owns Mercedes-Benz, said it took “robust and best practice safety measures” to ensure that the reopening of the plant was safe for its 4,200 workers who produce the Mercedes-Benz GLE, GL and GLE Coupe SUVs.

New protocols to reduce the spread of the virus include the mandatory wearing of face masks, temperature checks at entry and separation of employees in break rooms, cafes and common areas.

Only one of the plant’s three shifts of workers was initially called back Monday as the plant ramps up production and the safety measures are implemented. —Michael Wayland 

8:42 am: US weekly jobless claims hit 3.84 million, topping 30 million over the last 6 weeks 

First-time filings for unemployment insurance hit 3.84 million last week as the wave of economic pain continues, though the worst appears to be in the past. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting 3.5 million.

Jobless claims for the week ended April 25 came in at the lowest level since March 21 but bring the rolling six-week total to 30.3 million as part of the worst employment crisis in U.S. history. Claims hit a record 6.87 million for the week of March 28 and have declined each week since then. 

The surge in unemployment has come amid efforts to contain the coronavirus spread. While some states and municipalities have begun to bring their respective economies back online, much of the key U.S. infrastructure remains locked down. —Jeff Cox

8:31 am: The latest on US hot spots

8:30 am: Energy demand is set to see record drop this year

The International Energy Agency said it expects global energy demand to plunge this year in what the Paris-based agency called the biggest drop since World War II. 

With roughly 4.2 billion people around the world subject to some form of lockdown in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the IEA is forecasting a 6% decline in energy demand for the year. In absolute terms this is the largest on record. Percentage wise, it’s the steepest decline in 70 years.

The demand hit from the pandemic is expected to be seven times greater than the decline in the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2008.

“In absolute terms, the decline is unprecedented — the equivalent of losing the entire energy demand of India, the world’s third largest energy consumer,” the agency’s Global Energy Report said. —Pippa Stevens

8:22 am: Macy’s plans to have all stores reopened in 6 weeks

8:18 am: Gov. Newsom expected to close all California beaches

Thousands of beach-goers enjoy a warm, sunny day at the beach amid state-mandated stay-at-home and social distancing mandate to stave off the coronavirus pandemic in Huntington Beach, CA, on April 25, 2020.

Allen J. Schaben | Los Angeles | Getty Images

The California Police Chiefs Association told members in an email Wednesday that Gov. Gavin Newsom will announce Thursday that all beaches would be closed as of Friday to prevent the kind of crowding seen over the weekend, when warm weather prompted thousands to flock to the Orange County coastline.

State parks are also expected to be closed.

The email, which appeared to include a memo, was confirmed to NBC News by two law enforcement sources. —NBC News

8:09 am: Quarterly results reveal pressure

A handful of quarterly reports from major U.S. companies revealed pressured resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s who offered updates Thursday morning.  

—Sara Salinas

Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC.

7:08 am: Prada has gradually resumed production, will use antibody tests

Victor Sokolowicz | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Italy’s Prada said it had gradually resujmed production in several sites across Italy after almost two months of lockdown imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The fashion company said it had reopened its industrial sites in Tuscany on April 20 and those in the central regions of Umbria, Marche and the northern region of Veneto — one of the hardest-hit areas — after that.

It said some workshops in its Milan headquarters were also back at work. The group said it implemented a full range of security measures for its staff, including a double-screening method for staff and the use of antibody tests. —Reuters

7:01 am: UK researchers should know by July if vaccine is effective

Live samples in test tubes are held in a container Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, on April 22, 2020.

Andrew Milligan | WPA Pool | Getty Images

The U.K. will know by July whether its Covid-19 vaccine is effective, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca said.

The company said it has partnered with Oxford University to help develop and distribute the vaccine being researched by the Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group. Under the agreement, AstraZeneca would be responsible for the worldwide manufacturing and supply of Oxford’s vaccine, which entered phase one clinical trials last week.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot told BBC Radio 4′s “Today” show that the company would know within months whether the coronavirus vaccine was effective.

“By June, July we will already have a very good idea of the direction of travel in terms of its potential efficacy,” he said. —Chloe Taylor

5:44 am: Japan is preparing to extend emergency for about a month

Japan is preparing to extend its state of emergency for about a month, government sources told Reuters. It was originally set to end next Wednesday.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament he will consult infectious disease experts on whether to extend the emergency, which he declared on April 7 for seven prefectures including Tokyo. The meeting will take place on Friday, the economy minister said. —Holly Ellyatt

5:32 am: Spain’s daily death toll falls to lowest in nearly six weeks

A nurse and a firefighter talking are seen in the Villalba General Hospital on April 05, 2020 in Madrid, Spain.

David Benito

The number of new coronavirus-related deaths in Spain fell to 268, its health ministry said, marking the lowest tally in nearly six weeks, Reuters reported.

The total number of deaths rose to 24,543 on Thursday, up from 24,275 on the previous day, the ministry said. The total number of cases in Spain now stands at 213,435, up 1,309 from the previous day. —Holly Ellyatt

5:15 am: Sweden had no lockdown but the economic damage could be just as bad

People walk at Strandvagen in Stockholm on March 28, 2020, during the the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. – Sweden, which has stayed open for business with a softer approach to curbing the COVID-19 spread than most of Europe, on March 27, 2020 limited gatherings to 50 people, down from 500.


Sweden has attracted global attention for not imposing a full lockdown, as seen in most of Europe, to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Nonetheless, data released from the country’s central bank and a leading Swedish think tank show that the economy will be just as badly hit as its European neighbors.

Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, gave two possible scenarios for the economic outlook in 2020 that “depend on how long the spread of infection continues and on how long the restrictions implemented to slow it down are in place.” Both possible scenarios are bleak.

In the first scenario, gross domestic product contracts by 6.9% in 2020 before rebounding to grow by 4.6% in 2021. In the more negative prediction, GDP could contract by 9.7% and a recovery could be slower with the economy growing 1.7% in 2021.

In both predictions, unemployment will rise and could reach 10.1% in 2020 in the worst-case scenario, up from 7.2% currently. —Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Euro zone economy sinks; Spain’s daily deaths at lowest tally in nearly 6 weeks.

Trump ally Roger Stone appeals criminal conviction amid pardon talk

Former advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump, Roger Stone, arrives at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse, on February 20, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Mark Wilson | Getty Images

Roger Stone, the longtime Republican operative and friend of President Donald Trump, on Thursday appealed his criminal conviction and his 40-month prison sentence.

The appeal, which was expected, came as speculation grew that Trump would issue a pardon to Stone, who remains free on bail.

Stone was convicted in federal court in Washington, D.C., last fall of crimes related to lying to Congress and witness tampering. Stone lied to a House committee about his discussions with members of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump has been critical of the prosecution of Stone, and shortly before the appeal became public Thursday morning posted a Twitter message casting doubt on the fairness of his trial.

“Does anybody really believe that Roger Stone, a man whose house was raided early in the morning by 29 gun toting FBI Agents (with Fake News @CNN closely in toe), was treated fairly,” Trump wrote. “How about the jury forewoman with her unannounced hatred & bias. Same scammers as General Flynn!”

Judge Amy Berman Jackson two weeks ago rejected Stone’s bid for a new trial. His lawyers had argued that the verdict against him was tainted by juror misconduct.

Jackson rejected the claim jury forewoman Tomeka Hart  lied during jury selection and had exhibited such a bias against Trump on social media that she should have been barred from sitting on the panel during Stone’s trial.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

Dow futures off 300, jobless claims top 30 million, best month since ’74?

This is a live blog. Please check back for updates. 

9:08 am: Consumer spending drops in March

U.S. consumer spending dropped 7.5% in March, compared with a year earlier, as Americans stayed home in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The slowdown in spending also came as personal incomes dropped 2% in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. – Stevens, Schoen

8:45 am: Jobless claims top 30 million over the past 6 weeks

The Labor Department reported another 3.84 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total number to more than 30 million in a six-week period. The jump in unemployment claims wiped out the job gains made since the financial crisis as businesses are forced to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. “Bottom line … it’s like banging your head against the wall and then having a headache,” said Peter Boockvar of Bleakley Advisory Group in a note. “We don’t need to analyze why you have a headache, only how long it lasts. The claims number will continue to come down as more people start to go back to work in coming weeks and months.” —ImbertCox

8:38 am: Tesla shares jump following earnings

Tesla shares gained 8% during Thursday’s premarket trading after the electric vehicle maker posted a profit for the third straight quarter. In the first quarter the company earned $1.24 per share, ex-items, on $5.99 billion in revenue. Wall Street was expecting an adjusted loss of 36 cents per share and revenue of $5.9 billion for Q1, according to a survey of analysts by Refinitiv. However, estimates varied widely and comparing Tesla’s actual results with estimates isn’t straightforward, given the difficulty of predicting the impact of the coronavirus. —Stevens, Kolodny

7:41 am: Facebook shares jump on ad revenue ‘stability’

Shares of the social media giant jumped more than 8% in the premarket after the company reported “stability” in its ad revenue after a decline in March. Facebook said its March ad revenues dropped sharply amid the coronavirus pandemic, but noted it stabilized in the first few weeks of April. The company’s overall revenues for the first quarter beat expectations. “The COVID impact, while negative, is less severe for FB (25 points of decel) than peers such as Google search, Snap or Twitter, showing strength of FB’s news feed auction,” writes BofA Securities analyst Justin Post. —Imbert

7:40 am: Oil prices jump on optimism surrounding economies reopening

Oil prices jumped on Thursday, extending Wednesday’s surge, on optimism that economies might soon begin to reopen. West Texas Intermediate crude futures climbed $2.36, or 15.7%, to $17.43 per barrel. The U.S. benchmark surged 22% on Wednesday. Brent was up 11.4%, or $2.57 at $25.11 a barrel in light trading, with the June contract expiring on Thursday, having posted a 10% gain on Wednesday. Oil also rose after data showed a smaller-than-expected build in U.S. stockpiles, as well as an announcement from Norway’s oil minister that the country would curb production for the first time in 18 years in an effort to help shore up prices. –Stevens

7:32 am: Weekly jobless claims expected to hit 3.5 million

The unprecedented swelling of the unemployment ranks continued last week, with first-time jobless claims expected to hit 3.5 million when the Labor Department releases its latest count Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET. If that’s accurate, it would take the running six-week total close to 30 million as the economic freeze brought about by the coronavirus continues. The only bright side is that the level of filing appears to have peaked from the nearly 6.9 million who filed the week of March 28. –Cox

7:30 am: Stock futures flat, on pace for best month in decades

U.S. equity futures were mainly flat on Thursday as market participants digested strong technology earnings and awaited jobless claims. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures implied an opening gain of around 70 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 futures also pointed to gains at the open. 

Stock surged on Wednesday, with the Dow rising more than 500 points. The rally was helped by hopes of a coronavirus treatment from Gilead and commentary by the Federal Reserve that the central bank will take any measures necessary to support the economy. Equities were also helped by strength in technology stocks, like Alphabet, which jumped more than 5%. The S&P technology sector closed in positive territory for the year.  

Thursday is the last trading day if April. The S&P 500 is on track for its biggest one-month gain since 1974. The Dow is on pace for its best month since 1987. — Fitzgerald 

With reporting from Jeff Cox and Lora Kolodny.

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