Coronavirus live updates: WHO calls on world to pull out all stops, Gundlach says Fed panicked

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 96,800, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Global deaths: At least 3,305, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US cases: At least 162, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US deaths: At least 11, according to the CDC and state health officials.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 20 new cases of COVID-19 over 24 hours, bringing the United States total to at least 149.

At least 49 of those cases are people who were evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, or the Diamond Princess cruise ship, the CDC said, adding that the data was current as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.  At least 30 are travel-related infections, while 17 were caused by person-to-person spread. U.S. health officials are also investigating 53 other cases with no clear source of the infection, the CDC said.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 162 cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. 

The CDC said it’s tested 1,526 people for the flu-like virus as of Wednesday. That does include testing being done at state and local public health laboratories, which began this week, the agency said. — Lovelace

“Bond King” Jeffrey Gundlach said he believes the Federal Reserve panicked in cutting interest rates earlier this week and that short-term U.S. rates are headed for zero.

“If we look at history, once the Fed does a panic, inter-meeting rate cut, particular when it’s 50 basis points … they typically cut pretty quickly again,” Gundlach said. “So I’m in the camp that the Fed is going to cut rates again, perhaps even in two weeks.

“We will see short rates headed toward zero.” — Franck

Princess Cruises will test fewer than 100 people aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, which California health officials said is the site of another COVID-19 outbreak.

The ship, which was on a two-week voyage to Hawaii, was ordered to return early to San Francisco, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said, adding that passengers and crew have developed symptoms. 

Shares of parent company Carnival Corp. slumped by more than 12% in intraday trading.

The ship was due to arrive in San Francisco Wednesday, Newsom said, but is currently off the coast of California, according to Seascanner, which tracks the location of ships. It has a capacity of 2,600 guests and 1,150 crew members. — Feuer

Between Congress’s fiscal stimulus and the Federal Reserve’s easing, Wall Street sentiment is clear: Government spending is way more important in trying to combat the virus and, in turn, calm investors.

The emergency 50 basis point Fed cut, while perhaps a reassuring signal the central bank is willing to act with speed to support the economy, isn’t able to correct big supply shocks caused by the virus, said Nathan Sheets, chief economist at PGIM Fixed Income.

“The Fed’s stimulus doesn’t fix broken supply chains or persuade people who are worried about being exposed to the virus to leave their homes and spend,” Sheets wrote in an email to CNBC. “But it should provide a safety net of sorts by helping ensure that financial conditions remain supportive, lifting sentiment more generally, and helping to ensure that there is ample liquidity in the system.”

“Bottom line is that the Fed’s action is helpful, but it’s not a panacea,” he added. — Franck


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