Coronavirus live updates: WHO declares global pandemic, lawmakers push Big Pharma on supply chains

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 121,564, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Global deaths: At least 4,373, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US cases: At least 1,050, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US deaths: At least 35, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Stocks plummeted Wednesday in another volatile session as Wall Street grappled with the rapid spread of the coronavirus as well as uncertainty around a fiscal response to curb slower economic growth from the outbreak.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 1,200 points lower, or more than 4.5%. The S&P 500 slid 4.1% while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.8%. —Imbert

Lawmakers concerned about possible drug shortages amid the coronavirus outbreak are pressing pharmaceutical companies to bring manufacturing to the U.S.

Senators Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J., are among lawmakers pushing for longer-term solutions. The senators on Wednesday introduced a bill that would funnel $100 million to develop U.S. manufacturing of drugs. 

About 72% of manufacturers of pharmaceutical ingredients supplying the U.S. are overseas, including 13% in China, according to FDA testimony last year. That could make U.S drug companies vulnerable to shortages if COVID-19 forces factories to shutter and shipments to the United States to stall, experts have warned. —Hirsch

Boeing told employees that it was immediately suspending hiring and implementing other measures to preserve cash as the rapid spread of coronavirus roils the air travel industry.

Boeing is already reeling from the damage of two fatal crashes of its 737 Max and the worldwide grounding of the planes, which hits the one-year mark on Friday.

“On top of the work of safely returning the 737 MAX to service and the financial impact of the pause in MAX production, we’re now facing a global economic disruption generated by the COVID-19 coronavirus,” Boeing’s CEO Dave Calhoun and CFO Greg Smith wrote in a note to employees on Wednesday.

The company will also limit travel and discretionary spending as well as employee overtime tied to the 737 Max’s return-to-service “other key efforts in support of our customers,” said the company. —Josephs

Starbucks said it is offering “catastrophe pay” to U.S. baristas who have been exposed to the coronavirus.

The global coffee chain, which implemented similar measures in China, will pay employees for up to 14 days if they have been diagnosed with, exposed to or in close contact with someone with the coronavirus. Workers who may be considered higher risk because of underlying health conditions are also eligible for catastrophe pay with a doctor’s note.

The Seattle-based company is the latest corporation to adjust its policies as the number of U.S. cases of the virus climbs. Darden Restaurants extended paid sick time to all hourly employees on Monday, and Walmart has instituted an emergency sick leave policy. —Lucas


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