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Coronavirus live updates: Protests break out in Spain against lockdowns; US cases top 1.6 million

Momentum is building at the White House for another round of stimulus checks, with President Donald Trump saying this week, “I think we’re going to be helping people out” and “getting some money for them.” A number of issues need to be negotiated in Congress about what form the next relief package takes, but the Republican-held Senate has started to open the door to a more narrow aid proposal.

Coronavirus cases in Brazil continue to climb rapidly and on Saturday the country had the second-highest number of reported cases in the world until Russia surpassed it with its latest numbers. South America is now an epicenter for the pandemic, the World Health Organization said Friday, and Brazil is the hardest hit with more than 330,000 cases and at least 21,000 deaths.

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 5.23 million
  • Global deaths: At least 338,612
  • U.S. cases: More than 1.60 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 96,007

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Memorial Day will lift alcohol sales, but industry is still reeling from restaurant closures

9:52 am ET — Memorial Day weekend usually drives consumers to liquor stores.

But with government officials urging Americans to continue social distancing and stay close to home, consumers are unlikely to spend as much on alcohol as last year.

“I’m sure that there’s going to be some drop in sales,” Euromonitor International research analyst Aga Jarzabek said in an interview. “It’s going to be much lower than last year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s still a pretty huge spike for Memorial Day.”

The alcohol industry is already reeling from the closures of bars and restaurants, although many consumers shifted to buying their beer, wine and spirits in stores or online. —Amelia Lucas

Here’s why guidance from scientists has changed throughout the pandemic

People wearing face masks as a preventive measure walk along the Venice Beach in Los Angeles, California.

Ronen Tivony / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

9:28 am ET — Scientists have changed their minds as new evidence has come to light amid the coronavirus pandemic. But many fear that it’s making them seem unreliable, making it less likely that the public will follow their recommendations.

However, science communicators say that it’s “part of the process” for thinking and best practices to evolve over time, particularly in a situation when the virus is so new.

Vinay Prasad, a hematologist-oncologist and associate professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco, said that the best scientists are “continually re-evaluating themselves to see what we got right and what we got wrong.”

As he put it: “It’s a high mark to be able to say, ‘I’m going to change my mind’.” —Christina Farr

U.K.’s Boris Johnson defends key advisor who drove 250 miles during lockdown

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in central London on May 6, 2020 to attend Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) in the Houses of Parliament.

Daniel Leal-Olivas | Getty Images

9:08 am ET — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended the actions of Dominic Cummings, a key aide, who drove 250 miles during lockdown with his wife who had symptoms of Covid-19.

It transpired Saturday that Cummings — the advisor behind the successful Brexit campaign — drove from London to Durham, in northern England, at the end of March so his son could be cared for by family if he and his wife got ill. The trip took place after Johnson announced the start of strict coronavirus lockdown measures from March 23.

Opposition parties have called for Johnson to sack Cummings.

On Saturday, a spokesman for Johnson said Cumming’s wife has symptoms of the coronavirus at the time of the journey, and there was a “high likelihood” Cummings would also get ill.

As such, the spokesman said that Cummings did not break lockdown guidelines.

“His actions were in line with coronavirus guidelines,” Johnson’s spokesman said Saturday. “Mr Cummings believes he behaved reasonably and legally.” —Katrina Bishop

Protests break out in Spain over lockdowns, government’s handling of the pandemic

Demonstrators take part in a “caravan for Spain and its freedom” protest by far-right party Vox in Barcelona on May 23, 2020. The left-wing government’s management of the crisis has drawn a barrage of criticism from right-wing parties who have denounced its “brutal confinement”. (Photo by Pau Barrena / AFP) (Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images)

Pau Barrena | AFP | Getty Images

8:44 am ET — A procession of thousands of vehicles drove through Madrid Saturday, honking, waving Spanish flags and protesting against the country’s coronavirus lockdown, Reuters reported.

The far-right Vox party called for the protest, according to Reuters, where demonstrators called for Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias to resign over the handling of the pandemic and the damage to the economy.

“It is time to end the #stateofabuse that Pedro Sanchez and Pablo Iglesias are using to gag Spaniards,” Vox said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Spain instituted some of the toughest lockdown measures in Europe, and though the country has eased some restrictions, Madrid and Barcelona have continued restrictions due to bigger outbreaks, according to Reuters.

A speech by Vox leader Santiago Abascal was broadcast on EsRadio so people could listen in their cars, Reuters reported. He said the government was “directly responsible for the worst management of this crisis on the entire planet.” —Chris Eudaily

Read CNBC’s previous coronavirus live coverage here: Russia’s total cases surpass 335,000, Patrick Ewing hospitalized

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