Coronavirus live updates: US retail closures could surge, Roche has over 400 tests on the way

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 169,387, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • Global deaths: At least 6,513, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • US cases: At least 3,774, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • US deaths: At least 69, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Corey Hebert, assistant professor at both Louisiana State and Tulane Universities, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that the U.S. should commit to social distancing in an effort to “flatten the curve.” “If we do what we’re supposed to do we really should look a little more like China,” he said in reference to China’s aggressive mitigation efforts that include wide-scale quarantines and travel restrictions. “What we’re trying to do is instead of having 15,000 people sick at one time, which would overburden the medical system, we’d rather have 10 people sick, or 10,000 people sick rather, over a longer amount of time, so 15 days.” —Will Feuer

In an effort to boost screening capacity to help contain the growing epidemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued emergency authorization last week for a COVID-19 test made by Swiss diagnostics maker Roche. The company says automated tests can provide results in 3.5 hours as opposed to a few days. The company will begin its rollout with over 400 tests this week, Roche CEO Dr. Severin Schwan told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” 

“We are of course ramping up supply as much as we can,” he said, adding that the tests go first where they’re most needed. “For that purpose, we are closely working together with the authorities, the CDC, in particular, to allocate tests to those labs and to those regions where we can make the biggest impact during this crisis.” —Will Feuer

The year 2019 brought with it record store closures in the retail industry in the U.S., and 2020 looks like it is about to be a lot worse. Retail store closures this year are now on pace to be “double what we saw last year,” which was a record year, said Deborah Weinswig, CEO and founder of retail advisory and research firm Coresight Research. “I think that is already in motion. … If [COVID-19] stays longer, it will be greater.” —Lauren Thomas

Iran’s death toll has reached 853, with 129 new deaths in the past 24 hours, a health ministry official tweeted on Monday, adding that 14,991 people have been infected across Iran. “In the past 24 hours we had 1,053 confirmed new cases of coronavirus and 129 new deaths,” Alireza Vahabzadeh tweeted. To contain the outbreak in Iran, one of the deadliest outside of China, officials have called on people to stay at home. —Reuters

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/16/coronavirus-live-updates-us-retail-closures-could-explode-irans-deaths-surge.html

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