Coronavirus live updates: Germanys Merkel says most people will get virus, Italy hikes outbreak spending

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

  • Global cases: More than 119,476, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Global deaths: At least 4,291, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US cases: At least 1,039, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US deaths: At least 29, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Panic buying has been rife amid the global spread of the new coronavirus, with consumers around the world stockpiling goods like hand sanitizer, canned foods, and toilet paper.

The trend has seen stores ration products, with U.K. retailers limiting sales of hand hygiene products while Australian shoppers have seen restrictions on the amount of toilet paper they can buy.

According to Paul Marsden, a consumer psychologist at the University of the Arts London, the short answer can be found in the psychology of “retail therapy” — where we buy to manage our emotional state. “It’s about ‘taking back control’ in a world where you feel out of control,” he said. “More generally, panic buying can be understood as playing to our three fundamental psychology needs.” —Chloe Taylor

Urban Outfitters said Wednesday that it has seen store traffic fall off in areas hit by the new coronavirus, including Milan and Seattle, and “a few additional locations.” “We have not seen a significant impact to stores in other locations or to our digital channel,” the company said in a statement. Because the situation is still so fluid in the U.S. and Europe, Urban said it is not yet forecasting how COVID-19 hit its first-quarter earnings. The company joins a list of retailers including Under Armour and Macy’s that are planning for a sales hit and supply chain disruption. —Thomas

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked Treasurer Tom DiNapoli to reexamine the state’s revenue forecasts given the stock market rout as well as the outbreak’s impact on local restaurants, hotels and other sectors of the economy. “As you know the world has changed in just the past few days and weeks. The world financial market volatility will no doubt impact our economic growth forecast for the next state fiscal year and revenue from the financial sector,” Cuomo said in a letter sent Tuesday to DiNapoli. Cuomo said the state’s recently completed revenue forecasts could be wrong, given the rapid spread of the virus and disruption to local businesses. —Kopecki

Up to 70% of the population is likely to be infected with the coronavirus that is currently spreading around the world, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, adding that since there was currently no cure the focus had to be on slowing its spread.

“When the virus is out there, the population has no immunity and no therapy exists, then 60% to 70% of the population will be infected,” she told a news conference in Berlin. “The process has to be focused on not overburdening the health system by slowing the virus’s spread… It’s about winning time.”

Those remarks come as local authorities in Germany reported the third death in the country of a COVID-19 patient. Germany has at least 1,613 cases of the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University. —Reuters


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