Coronavirus live updates: Biden says he would make vaccine free for everyone, U.S. deaths near 95,000

The U.S. coronavirus death toll is approaching 100,000 about five months after the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in the country. More than 1.57 million people across the country have been infected, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

On Thursday, President Donald Trump told reporters that “we are not closing our country” if the spread of the virus flares up again. States continue to chart a path forward, reopening nonessential businesses and easing restrictions on movement. Even the hardest-hit states in the country, New York and New Jersey, are reopening beaches for Memorial Day weekend.

This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks. 

  • Global cases: More than 5.12 million
  • Global deaths: At least 333,489
  • U.S. cases: More than 1.57 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 94,729

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Some retailers, restaurants see spending bounce from stimulus checks

Customers rush to purchase toilet paper at a Target store during the panic shopping. People stock up on food and personal hygiene products in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Paul Hennessy | Echoes Wire | Barcroft Media via Getty Images

11:28 am — Companies from Walmart to Wendy‘s say they got a bounce in April as Americans received stimulus checks from the federal government, but some cautioned the higher levels of spending may not last.

In earnings calls this week, the CEOs of Walmart, Target and Best Buy spoke about an uptick on spending as customers had extra money in their pockets. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said more people bought discretionary items, such as sporting goods, toys and TVs. Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said it saw a bump in gaming, computing and small appliances. 

Even as companies described the stimulus’ effect, they were hesitant to forecast future sales and spending patterns. And some research indicates that many Americans have put the money in savings or already used it. —Melissa Repko, Lauren Feiner

Midwest virus spread grows

Vaccine could be ready by December, Fauci says

10:08 a.m. ET — The White House’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, stands by the timeline that a vaccine could be ready as early as December. Fauci first said in January that a vaccine could be ready in 12 to 18 months and he doubled down on Friday, telling NPR the “schedule is still intact.”

Fauci cautioned, however, that it’s difficult to estimate timelines for vaccines and it’s “never a promise.” The U.S. government has partnered with biotech company Moderna to fast-track the development of its vaccine. Fauci said regulators are not compromising on safety or “scientific integrity” to accelerate the development of the vaccine candidate. “The risk is to the investment,” he said, not to the patient. —Will Feuer

Restaurants set up tables in streets and parking lots to ease the pain of coronavirus restrictions

Forbici Modern Italian’s temporary outdoor dining tent in Tampa, Florida.

Forbici Modern Italian

9:52 a.m. ET — From Tampa to Cincinnati to Boston, cities across the U.S. are making it easier for restaurants to set up outdoor dining to soften the economic blow from the coronavirus.

Jeff Gigante, co-owner of Forbici Modern Italian in Tampa, said the Florida city’s program has been “a life saver for us.” Capacity restrictions, while meant to make social distancing easier, are challenging in the already-low-margin restaurant business. Expanding tables to streets, sidewalks and parking lots is one way to add capacity while still complying with public-health rules.

“If we’re going to continue our great renaissance as a city, we’re going to have to open up more streets and public space to restaurants or … they’re not going to survive,” said Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley. —Kevin Stankiewicz 

U.S. automakers grapple with newly diagnosed coronavirus cases among returning workers

Ford started resuming vehicle production in the U.S. on May 18, 2020 with new coronavirus safety protocols such as health assessments, personal protective equipment and facility modifications to increase social distancing.


9:46 a.m. ET — As auto manufacturers reopen, they are dealing with production interruptions when employees become sick with the coronavirus. At least three employees at Ford Motor plants in Illinois and Michigan tested positive for Covid-19 this week, prompting temporary factory shutdowns for deep cleaning, CNBC’s Michael Wayland reports.

Even as factories implement safety measures like requiring employees to wear face masks and undergo temperature checks, they can’t dictate what employees do outside of work and are not yet reliant on mass testing to screen workers. —Hannah Miller 

Stocks are flat as Wall Street grapples with rising U.S.-China tensions, virus vaccine hopes

9:36 a.m. ET — Stocks opened along the flatline as tensions between China and the U.S. offset increasing optimism for a potential coronavirus vaccine. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 18 points, or less than 0.1%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite also traded marginally lower.

Read updates on stock market activity from CNBC’s Fred Imbert. —Melodie Warner

Biden says he would make Covid-19 vaccine free for everyone in U.S.

9:00 a.m. ET — Apparent 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden said on CNBC that if he were president, a coronavirus vaccine would be free for everyone in the United States.

“I tell you what, if one is found, I would make sure that every single person in America is able to get a vaccine, period, without any cost,” Biden told “Squawk Box.”

“And I would do the same thing with testing right now.” The former vice president couched the health-care stance in economic terms, contrasting himself with President Donald Trump, who is pushing states to quickly reopen their economies.

“All this talk about reopening — people aren’t going to open until they have the confidence to know that if they gather together, they’re not going to get sick,” Biden said.

Trump said last week that he was “looking at” the possibility of making an eventual coronavirus vaccine available free of charge. —Kevin Breuninger

New cases soar in Africa 

Moderna shares rise following Fauci’s comments on Covid-19 vaccine data 

Oxford recruiting for expanded human trials of vaccine candidate

Nicolas Asfouri | AFP | Getty Images

7:06 a.m. ET — AstraZeneca and Oxford University have announced plans to move their vaccine candidate to human trials and have already started to recruit up to 10,260 adults and children for the next phase of trials, the university said.

On Thursday, AstraZeneca announced it received about $1.2 billion in funding from the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to accelerate development of the potential vaccine. Human trials began last month with over 1,000 volunteers in the south of England. No trial data has been released.

The university said it’s now recruiting for a phase two trial, which will include older adults and children, to assess if the immune response varies in different age demographics. The phase three trial will assess how well the vaccine actually defends against infection from the coronavirus.

“The speed at which this new vaccine has advanced into late-stage clinical trials is testament to Oxford’s ground-breaking scientific research,” AstraZeneca executive Mene Pangalos said. —Will Feuer

India reports biggest one-day increase in cases 

Migrant labourers stand in a queue for medical checkup after reaching quarantine center at their hometown Allahabad during Government imposed nationwide lockdown as a prventive measure against the COVID-19 corona virus in Allahabad, India on April 27, 2020.

Ritesh Shukla | NurPhoto via Getty Images

7:00 a.m. ET — India’s health ministry reported the country recorded its highest single-day spike of new infections since the pandemic began.

The country of approximately 1.3 billion people reported a total of over 118,000 cases on Friday, a roughly 5% increase from Thursday’s figures.

To date, India has recorded 3,583 fatalities due to the virus, according to the health ministry. —Sam Meredith

Read CNBC’s previous coronavirus live coverage here: Russia reports record daily jump in deaths; Soros warns EU may not survive

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