Coronavirus live updates: Sanofi says it can mass produce vaccine, if it works; cases in Russia jump

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 2,169,000
  • Global deaths: At least 146,071
  • US cases: More than 671,400
  • US deaths: At least 33,286

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

8:56 am:  Influential Covid-19 model uses flawed methods and shouldn’t guide U.S. policies, critics say 

A widely followed model for projecting Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. is producing results that have been bouncing up and down like an unpredictable fever, and now epidemiologists are criticizing it as flawed and misleading for both the public and policy makers. In particular, they warn against relying on it as the basis for government decision-making, including on “re-opening America.”

“It’s not a model that most of us in the infectious disease epidemiology field think is well suited” to projecting Covid-19 deaths, epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health told reporters this week, referring to projections by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

The IHME projections were used by the Trump administration in developing national guidelines to mitigate the outbreak. Now, they are reportedly influencing White House thinking on how and when to “re-open” the country, as President Trump announced a blueprint for on Thursday. —STAT 

8:49 am: If Sanofi’s coronavirus vaccine works, CEO says it can produce up to 600 million doses next year 

Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson, November 19, 2019.

Gonzalo Fuentes | Reuters

French drugmaker Sanofi expects to produce up to 600 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine next year if its clinical trials with GSK go as planned, CEO Paul Hudson said Friday.

“We believe we’re one of the few companies who will be able to make a vaccine at a huge scale,” he said during an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

Sanofi and GSK announced Tuesday that they entered an agreement to jointly create a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of next year. The companies plan to start clinical trials in the second half of 2020 and, if successful, make it available to the public by the second half of 2021.

Sanofi and GSK are one of several companies working on a potential vaccine to prevent Covid-19. There are currently no therapies to treat Covid-19 and drugmakers are racing to produce a vaccine, which is expected to take 12 to 18 months. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr. 

8:30 am: CVS, Rite Aid expand drive-thru testing

CVS Health is launching Covid-19 drive-thru testing in New Haven, Connecticut, in the parking lot of the former Gateway Community College campus at Long Wharf. The new site will offer Abbott Labs’ rapid coronavirus tests, to patients who preregister and meet criteria set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This is CVS’s fourth drive-thru testing site, after opening operations in Georgia, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The company has conducted 25,000 tests since March. 

Rite Aid is launching two new Covid-19 drive-thru testing sites in store parking lots, one in Waldwick, New Jersey and the other in Valley Cottage, New York. The company expects to conduct 200 self-swabbing tests per day between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., for preregistered patients who meet CDC criteria for testing.  —Bertha Coombs

7:25 am: Procter & Gamble US sales jumped as consumers rushed to stock up amid the outbreak

Procter & Gamble reported that its fiscal third-quarter U.S. sales surged 10% as consumers stocked up on staples like toilet paper ahead of the coronavirus outbreak.

P&G reported fiscal third-quarter net income of $2.92 billion, or $1.12 per share, up from $2.75 million, or $1.04 per share, a year earlier. Excluding items, the owner of such products of Charmin, Bounty and Pampers earned $1.17 per share.

Net sales rose 5% to $17.21 billion.

Wall Street anticipated earnings per share of $1.13 on revenue of $17.46 billion, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv. —Amelia Lucas

7:13 am: Switzerland’s death toll reaches 1,059, confirmed infections surpass 27,000

Switzerland’s public health agency recorded 42 more fatalities as a result of the coronavirus in the previous 24 hours, Reuters reported, taking the country’s death to 1,059. 

The number of people who have tested positive nationwide increased to 27,078, up from 26,732. —Sam Meredith

7:05 am: Google told to respect Europe’s privacy rules as it works on contact tracing app

European officials are pressuring Google to closely follow the EU’s data privacy rules with the coronavirus tracing apps that it’s developing with Apple. 

The tech giants announced their partnership last week to develop tools that will help track the spread of the coronavirus via Bluetooth technology. The idea is to mitigate the number of new infections when lockdown measures are lifted over the coming months. However, the announcement has raised concerns that such technology could breach an individual’s privacy. 

“Contact tracing apps can be useful to limit the spread of the coronavirus. But their development and interoperability need to fully respect our values and privacy,” Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, said after a video meeting with Google and YouTube CEOs on Wednesday. —Silvia Amaro

7:01 am: UK expands testing criteria

A drive through farm shop has been opened at Tulley’s Farm where contactless payment is taken on the end of a pole to observe social distancing on April 03, 2020 in Turners Hill, England.

Mike Hewitt

Britain has expanded the number of people who are eligible to be tested for Covid-19 to include the police, fire service and judiciary, Health Minister Matt Hancock said.

The government has been criticized for all but abandoning testing in mid-March, but Hancock said it was part of the government’s strategy to have mass testing, something that gets closer as Britain builds screening capacity.

“The challenge is that as the epidemic increased exponentially at that point in the middle of March. It meant that the incidence of the outbreak was broad and it meant that we weren’t able to test everybody with symptoms,” Hancock told a parliamentary committee. “I can today expand eligibility for testing to the police, the fire service, prison staff, critical local authority staff, the judiciary, and DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) staff who need it.” —Reuters

6 am: Spain’s total number of infections crosses 188,000

Spain’s health ministry said the total number of cases in the country had jumped to 188,068, up from 182,816 on Thursday.

Spain is second only to the U.S. worldwide in the number of Covid-19 infections.

Earlier Friday, Spain’s social security minister said the government would try to support roughly 1 million of the poorest households with a monthly basic wage. Speaking to COPE radio station, the minister said the policy was designed to help people weather the crisis. —Sam Meredith

4:55 am: Indonesia reports over 400 new cases, death toll climbs to 520

People wearing face masks attend Friday prayers at a mosque in Surabaya, Indonesia on March 20, 2020.

Juni Kriswanto | AFP | Getty Images

Indonesia’s health ministry confirmed 407 new coronavirus cases, taking the country’s total number of infections to 5,923. 

The Southeast Asian nation has recorded 520 deaths as a result of Covid-19. —Sam Meredith

4:25 am: Russia reports record daily jump in cases

A police officer with flu masks on the faces seen at a chekpoint on the road from Riga at the entrance to Moscow, Russia, April,15,2020.

Mikhail Svetlov

Russia reported 4,069 new cases in the last 24 hours — a record rise in new infections, Reuters said, citing the Interfax news agency. 

That brings total cases in Russia to 32,007, according to the report. —Yen Nee Lee

4:20 am: China updates national tally for cases and deaths after Wuhan revision

China’s National Health Commission said it has updated the death toll and total confirmed cases in the mainland after Wuhan city revised its tally upward. 

China’s national death toll now stands at 4,632, up from the 3,342 that the NHC provided on Friday morning. Meanwhile, total confirmed cases have been revised from 82,367 to 82,692, the NHC said. —Yen Nee Lee

Leave a Reply