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Fed cuts interest rates, New York state confirms second case

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Via CNBC

A woman wears a face mask as she waits on the subway after the first confirmed case of coronavirus was announced in New York State in New York, March 2, 2020.

Andrew Kelly | Reuters

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All times below are in Eastern time.

  • Global cases: At least 91,300, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Global deaths: At least 3,110, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US cases: At least 91, according to the CDC. 
  • US deaths: At least 6, according to the CDC and state health officials.

11:48 am: WHO says too early to decide whether to postpone Tokyo Olympics

World Health Organization officials said it’s too early to decide whether the Tokyo Olympics should be postponed, saying they’ve recently spoken with Thomas Back, president of the International Olympic Committee, and have agreed to monitor the rapidly developing outbreak. “If there’s a need for any actions, we can discuss with the Japanese government. But I think deciding now could be too early so it would be good to monitor the situation,” Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a press conference.

11:44 am: WHO officials make urgent plea for medical gear: ‘Supplies are rapidly depleting’

World Health Organization officials called on medical supply manufacturers to “urgently increase production” to meet the global demand that is needed to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak rapidly spreading across the world. WHO estimates that each month 89 million medical masks will be required for the COVID-19 response, 76 million examination gloves and 1.6 million goggles,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, said at a press conference at the organization’s Geneva headquarters.

11:39 am: Powell says the Fed saw economic risk and chose to act

Following an emergency interest rate cut, central bank chair Jerome Powell said the Federal Reserve saw a “risk to the outlook for the economy and chose to act.” The Fed slashed rates by 50 basis points on Tuesday. Powell said “over the course of the last couple of weeks we’ve seen a broader spread of the virus,” which the Fed worried would have a material impact on the economy. “The magnitude and persistence of the overall effect on the U.S. economy remain highly uncertain and the situation remains a fluid one,” Powell added.

11:34 am: Amazon, Walmart and others battle price gouging on coronavirus-related products

Shoppers are racing to online retailers to order face masks, hand sanitizer, hazmat suits and other items to protect against the coronavirus. The surge in demand has created an opening for third-party sellers on various e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay to offer products that are otherwise sold out at traditional retailers. But in doing so, some merchants have flooded online marketplaces with overpriced goods and items that make dubious medical marketing claims. Amazon, eBay, Walmart and Etsy have all struggled to curb price gouging and products that make unverified claims about the coronavirus.

11:27 am: NBA memo on coronavirus warns players to offer fist bumps to fans, no talk of canceling games

The National Basketball Association sent a memo to teams on March 1 regarding the coronavirus outbreak, encouraging players to avoid “high-fiving and offer fist bumps” to fans when interacting. It also advised not taking items from fans such as pens, marker, and other items from fans. The memo had some other good tips that anyone would be wise to heed, including washing hands for at least 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer as another option. Meanwhile, four league officials told CNBC the NBA has not offered any plans for league games or event cancellations as of yet.

11:10 am: Target sees ‘aggressive shopping’ in response to rising coronavirus cases

Target has seen “aggressive shopping” as people across the U.S. respond to rising cases of the coronavirus, CEO Brian Cornell said in a Tuesday earnings call. The Minneapolis-based retailer said it’s increasing inventory to keep up with heightened demand for household essentials and food and beverage. He said the “surge in store traffic” has underscored the importance of brick-and-mortar locations, even as more of its customers shop online.

11 am: Shoppers are loading up supplies online

Late Monday, Instacart said its growth rate over the past 72 hours surged 10 times its normal pace. In California, Washington, Oregon and New York, the growth is even faster, 20 times the normal volume. Searches for hand sanitizer are up 23% week over week, Instacart said. Vitamins are the second most searched item and those searches have risen 12% week over week. Rounding out the top five most searched items are powdered milk, face masks and canned goods. —Reagan

10:33 am: Top CDC official tells Congress coronavirus almost qualifies as a global pandemic

The World Health Organization will likely deem the COVID-19 coronavirus a global pandemic once sustained person-to-person spread takes hold outside China, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official said. The current outbreak already meets two of the three main criteria under the technical designation of a pandemic, Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, said in prepared remarks to be presented before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. “It is a new virus, and it is capable of person-to-person spread,” she said. “If sustained person-to-person spread in the community takes hold outside China, this will increase the likelihood that the WHO will deem it a global pandemic.” —Lovelace

South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear walk on a street in front of the city hall after the rapid rise in confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease of (COVID-19) in Daegu, southeast of the capital Seoul, South Korea, March 2, 2020.

Kim Kyung-Hoon | Reuters

10:10 am: Stocks surge after the Fed cuts rates by half a point

The Federal Reserve cut interest rates by half a percentage point, immediately reversing a more than 300-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Dow swung to a 371-point gain in intraday trading. Markets had priced in a 0.5% rate cut for the central bank’s meeting next month. The move comes after the G-7 said in a statement earlier on Tuesday they will use policy tools to curb an economic slowdown. However, the statement contained no specific actions. —Kopecki, Imbert

10:01 am: Apple iPhone chip supplier lowers guidance

Qorvo, a radio frequency chip supplier for Apple’s iPhones, lowered its fourth-quarter revenue expectations to $770 million. The company predicted revenue of $800 million to $840 million on Jan. 29. “The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted the smartphone supply chain and customer demand more than anticipated,” Qorvo said. “The full impact of COVID-19 remains difficult to forecast given the uncertainty of the magnitude, duration and geographic reach of the outbreak,” according to a press release. — Bursztynsky

9:52 am: WHO officials hold press conference

World Health Organization officials are holding a press conference at 10:30 a.m. ET to update the public on the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more that 91,300 people and killed at least 3,110 across the world. WHO official announced Monday that number of new coronavrius cases outside China was almost 9 times higher than that inside the country over the last 24 hours. They  of the coronavirus Friday to “very high” at the global level, its highest warning. In January, it declared the virus a global health emergency, while urging the public against over-reacting to the virus. Watch the live press conference here—Higgins-Dunn

READ ALSO  If Germany Rejects 'Corona-Bonds', They Must Quit The Eurozone

9:24 am: New York state confirms second case

A man north of New York City is hospitalized with the COVID-19 virus, the second confirmed case in the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.  Cuomo told Long Island radio station 103.9 that the unidentified man from Westchester County commuted to work in Manhattan and lives in a home with school-age children.
Cuomo said the man apparently had an underlying respiratory illness and no known travel history to China or other countries on the virus watch list.  The governor said more cases are expected as the outbreak spreads and testing ramps up. “You cannot contain the spread. You can slow it, you can limit it, but you cannot contain the spread,” Cuomo told reporters at a press conference. “It is inevitable that it will continue to spread.”  –Associated Press

9 am: New York City -area high schools close after suspected local case

At least two New York area high schools closed after a suspected case of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the local community. SAR Academy and SAR High School said in a statement that it was a precautionary measure, following guidelines from the New York City Department of Health. The school is located in the Bronx neighborhood of Riverdale, according to its website. It’s a modern orthodox Jewish High School, according to its Facebook page. Another Jewish school outside New York City, Westchester Day School, also announced it would be closed Tuesday due to the potential case at SAR. Westchester Torah Academy was also reportedly closing.  —Lovelace, Higgins-Dunn

8:48 am: Vietnam hand wash dance challenge goes viral

A public service announcement on proper hand hygiene in Vietnam has become an internet sensation after a video was posted on TikTok of two dancers enacting the lyrics of the song. “The song’s incredible,” comedian John Oliver said on Monday night’s episode of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” adding that “Sesame Street” character Ernie’s “Rubber Duckie” song on bath hygiene pales by comparison. The lyrics to the song for the Vietnam coronavirus dance challenge are: “Wash our hands, rub, rub, rub, rub evenly. Do not touch eyes, nose, mouth. And limit visits to crowded places. Push back the virus Corona, Corona,” according to the show’s translation of the song. —Kopecki

8:05 am: Japan indicates Olympics could be delayed

Japan’s Olympics minister says the country’s contract to hold the Tokyo Games only specifies the event has to be held during 2020. Seiko Hashimoto’s response to a question in the upper house of parliament implies the Olympics could be held later in the year and would not have to start on July 24 as planned. —Associated Press

7:52 am: Visa warns of revenue hit due to outbreak

Visa warned that its second-quarter revenue growth would be slower than its previous forecast, becoming the latest payments services provider to be affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The company said it expects current-quarter revenue growth to be 2.5 to 3.5 percentage points lower than its previous forecast of low double-digit growth when compared with the first quarter. —Reuters

7:37 am: G-7 countries promise to use policy tools but offer no specific actions to combat coronavirus

Officials of most of the world’s largest economies pledged on Tuesday a united front in the battle against the novel coronavirus scare but offered no specific actions. “Given the potential impacts of COVID-19 on global growth, we reaffirm our commitment to use all appropriate policy tools to achieve strong, sustainable growth and safeguard against downside risks,” the G-7 statement said. —Cox

7:23 am: Trump asks Fed for ‘big cut’ after Australia slashes rates on virus impact

7:17 am: Head of Iran’s emergency medical services reportedly infected

The head of Iran’s emergency medical services, Pirhossein Kolivand, has been infected with coronavirus, the ILNA news agency reported. Kolivand’s “health is good and there is no need for concern,” the office said in a statement, according to ILNA. Seventy-seven people in Iran have died from coronavirus and 2,336 have been infected, Iran’s Health Ministry announced Tuesday. —Reuters

7:08 am: FDA and CDC boost supply of masks for health-care professionals

The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention broadened the types of masks health-care workers can use to include “industrial” masks amid reports of a nationwide shortage and price gouging. The FDA granted the CDC’s request for an emergency use authorization to allow health providers use masks that previously were only approved for industrial settings. The move broadens the category of masks that doctors and nurses are approved to use in a health-care setting. “The FDA and CDC’s action to allow a wider range of respirators to be used in health-care settings will help those on the front lines of this outbreak and their patients, which will keep all Americans safe,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said. “We will continue pursuing every possible avenue to secure the protective gear needed for responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.” —Feuer

5:46 am: UK government publishes ‘battle plan’ to tackle spread of coronavirus

Britain’s government unveiled its plans to tackle the spread of the virus, warning that up to a fifth of the workforce could be off sick during a peak period. “Given that the data are still emerging, we are uncertain of the impact of an outbreak on business. In a stretching scenario, it is possible that up to one fifth of employees may be absent from work during peak weeks. This may vary for individual businesses,” the government said. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that in the worst possible scenario, the army is ready to step in. Johnson warned on Monday that there could be a “very significant expansion” of the outbreak among the population. Currently, there are 39 cases of the virus in the U.K. —Ellyatt

4:38 am: Bank of England governor says its role is to help UK through ‘an economic shock’

4:01 am: Germany’s number of coronavirus cases rises

The number of confirmed cases rose in Germany to 188, up from 157 on Monday afternoon, according to the country’s RKI health institute. Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn warned last week of a potential epidemic in the country. —Ellyatt

4 am: Beijing, Shanghai step up restrictions on travelers from overseas

Two of China’s largest cities and the province of Guangdong that borders Hong Kong and Macau announced that visitors from countries severely hit by the new coronavirus must quarantine themselves for 14 days upon arrival. These countries include South Korea, Italy and Japan. The requirement applies to Chinese and non-Chinese residents. Previously, travelers who had not been in mainland China prior to arrival in Beijing did not have to self-quarantine. —Cheng

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the U.S. broadcast rights holder to all Summer and Winter Games through the year 2032.

Read CNBC’s coverage from the Asia-Pacific overnight: UK warns fifth of workforce could be off sick; army prepared

— CNBC’s Courtney ReaganJessica BursztynskyJeff CoxHolly EllyattWeizhen Tan and Yen Nee Lee contributed to this report. 


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