Wednesday, April 15, 2020

7:53 pm ET: Trump to Announce New Guidelines Thursday

President Donald Trump says he’s prepared to announce new guidelines allowing some states to quickly ease up on social distancing. At the same time, though, business leaders are telling Trump they need more coronavirus testing and personal protective equipment before people can safely go back to work. The industry executives are cautioning Trump that the return to normalcy will be anything but swift. New guidelines, expected to be announced Thursday, are aimed at clearing the way for an easing of restrictions in areas with low transmission of the coronavirus while keeping them in place in harder-hit places. The ultimate decisions will remain with governors. Read more...
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House, Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

4:51 pm ET: Before Devastating Coronavirus, Media Outlets Were in Precarious Position

From Buzzfeed to dozens of local newspapers, media organizations are taking drastic measures to cover the loss of advertising revenue that has come with an economy shut down by the coronavirus pandemic. 
John Stanton, co-founder of the Save Journalism Project, told Cheddar that the widespread cost-cutting and layoffs will have a long-term impact on the health of journalism. 
"If you look around the country, there have been thousands and thousands of layoffs, furloughs, of people having their pay cut," he said. "It's just devastating, particularly at the local level.  Read more...
— Alex Vuocolo

3:48 pm ET: France Sees Positive Signs

For the first time since the virus outbreak began in the country, France reported a decrease in numbers of COVID-19 patients at hospitals.
National health agency chief Jerome Salomon says there were about 500 fewer people infected with the virus at hospitals than the day before.
Numbers of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units dropped for the seventh straight day, he added.
The overall death toll from the disease in France has risen to 17,167, including 10,643 at hospitals and 6,524 in nursing homes.
Salomon urged the French to keep enforcing strict confinement rules with the lockdown of the country extended to May 11. “We must remain vigilant,” he said.
— Associated Press
People stop in front of Notre Dame Cathedral as the bells ring to mark one year of blaze Wednesday, April 15, 2020 in Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

3:17 pm ET: Sen. Chris Murphy Calls Trump's Response 'Abysmal,' Endorses Biden

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Wednesday told Cheddar that he is officially endorsing former vice president Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee for the presidency.
The endorsement came amid a wide-ranging critique of Trump's coronavirus response, which he said has cost tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.
"The administration's response has been an abysmal failure, and I wish that wasn't the case," Murphy said. "I don't root for the president to ever fail, because it's my constituents who suffer." Read more...
— Alex Vuocolo

2:57 pm ET: NBCUniveral’s Peacock Enters Very Different Streaming Wars

NBCUniveral’s anticipated streaming service, Peacock, launched on Wednesday for free to select Comcast customers with Xfinity 1 and Flex service. The current offering has a limited selection of content, including libraries of previous NBCUniversal shows and movies as well as some new children’s programming.
The full service, which will be accessible to everyone through ad-supported and subscription-based levels, is still slated to launch on July 15. Originally about 15,000 hours of content will be available for $5 a month with ads or $10 for no ads. There will also be a free version for everyone with about half the amount of content as well.
When Peacock held its initial investor meeting on January 16, it was a different time. The biggest question was whether or not customers would have the bandwidth to watch — and potentially pay for — an additional streaming service when there were so many in the market and more to come in 2020. With its dual revenue stream model of having ads and subscriptions, plus a plentiful library of shows and movies to put on its service, Peacock seemed to be on solid ground. Read more...
— Michelle Castillo

2:34 pm ET: 'Shark' Barbara Corcoran on How to Spend Stimulus Checks

Shark Tank co-host and real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran has some tips on how to spend coronavirus stimulus checks wisely, now that they have begun landing in many bank accounts. 
"You have to bear in mind who is receiving the checks," she told Cheddar. "These are people who are earning under $100,000 as a family. These are predominately people who are living hand-to-mouth, paycheck-to-paycheck, single moms who have three kids to feed."  Read more...
— Alex Vuocolo

2:30 pm ET: NY Gov. Cuomo Signs Order Requiring Masks in Public

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday signed an executive order that requires New Yorkers to wear face masks in public spaces where “you cannot maintain social distancing." This could include subway cars, grocery stores, sidewalks and parks, or other potentially crowded areas.
The governor said violations could result in fines but only if there is "“flagrant noncompliance.”
Cuomo said that despite "flattening the curve," New York continues to see high daily death tolls. In the last 24 hours, 752 New Yorkers died from the virus. That brings the state’s total death toll to 11,586.
— Alex Vuocolo

1:42 pm ET: Around the World in 90 Seconds

The Chinese government is defending its early coronavirus response and Egyptian clowns are helping kids feel less afraid. Here are headlines from around the world.
— Megan Pratz

12:49 pm ET: If Tax Day Isn't Today, When Is It? What You Should Know

This year, like so much else, that is not the case.
The IRS announced on March 21 that the federal income tax filing deadline has been pushed to July 15, 2020, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
"In short, it means that you've got three months to get the workload together to file your taxes," Mattie Duppler, senior fellow at the National Taxpayers Union, told Cheddar. "Of course, with the coronavirus going on, people have a lot of other things on their mind. So that's certainly a nice reprieve for those who have not yet been able to file." Read more...
— Alex Vuocolo

12:25 pm ET: China Didn't Warn Public of Likely Pandemic for Six Key Days

In the six days after top Chinese officials secretly determined they likely were facing a pandemic from a new coronavirus, the city of Wuhan at the epicenter of the disease hosted a mass banquet for tens of thousands of people; millions began traveling through for Lunar New Year celebrations.
President Xi Jinping warned the public on the seventh day, Jan. 20. But by that time, more than 3,000 people had been infected during almost a week of public silence, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press and expert estimates based on retrospective infection data.  Read more...
— The Associated Press

11:21 am ET: Factory Shutdowns Near WWII Demobilization Levels

American industry collapsed in March as the pandemic wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy. Manufacturing and overall industrial production posted the biggest declines since the United States demobilized after World War II.
The Federal Reserve reported Wednesday that manufacturing output dropped 6.3 percent last month, led by plunging production at auto factories that have entirely shut down. Overall, industrial production, which includes factories, utilities, and mines, plummeted 5.4 percent. The declines were the biggest since 1946 and far worse than what economists had expected.
Production of autos and auto parts went into freefall, dropping 28 percent.
The lockdowns and travel restrictions imposed to combat COVID-19 have brought economic activity to a near-standstill. Output dropped 3.9 percent at utilities and 2 percent at mines as oil and gas drilling plunged, the Fed said.
Factories were running at 70.2 percent of capacity last month, down from 75.1 percent in February and lowest since 2010 when the U.S. economy was still recovering from the 2007-2009 Great Recession.
"The outlook is bleak for the industrial sectors,'' James Watson and Gregory Daco at Oxford Economics wrote in a research note. "With the global coronavirus recession leading to a sudden stop in activity at home and around the world, factory output is likely to fall even further in April. Major supply chain disruptions, reduced energy activity and tighter financial conditions will continue to represent major headwinds in the coming months.'' They say industrial production could drop 15 percent overall.
In another sign that industry is in a full-scale retreat, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's index for manufacturing in New York state plummeted an unprecedented 57 points this month to -78.2, the lowest level in records dating back to 2001.
— Paul Wiseman, Associated Press
In this April 13, 2020 file photo, a worker wears a mask as he cleans up an area outside an entrance at Boeing Co.'s airplane assembly facility in Everett, Washington, north of Seattle. American industry collapsed in March as the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy. Manufacturing and overall industrial production posted the biggest drops since the United States demobilized after World War II. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

9:48 am ET: Stocks Plunge as Profits, Sales, Manufacturing Dip 

Stocks plunged on Wednesday as a slew of economic indicators showing the full early impact of coronavirus hampered investor confidence.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 530 points after the bell. The S&P 500 fell 2.3 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite slid 1.9 percent.
Major banks, including Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, released their first quarter earnings reports showing a significant drop in profits. 
There was also 8.7% drop in retail sales in March, according to a Commerce Department report released this morning. 
In addition, manufacturing in New York hit its lowest levels since the Great Recession.
— Alex Vuocolo

9:06am ET: Elizabeth Warren Endorses Joe Biden for President

In a surprise move Wednesday morning, Senator Elizabeth Warren endorsed former VP Joe Biden for president.
In a tweet she wrote, "In this moment of crisis, it’s more important than ever that the next president restores Americans’ faith in good, effective government."
Warren herself was a strong contender for the Democratic nomination before state primaries began, but struggled to gain traction when voters started making their picks.
With Warren's endorsement, Biden has shored up support from some of the most influential faces of the party. Former President Barack Obama and Biden's closest contender Sen. Bernie Sanders also endorsed the former VP this week. 
— Dina Ross

8:06 am ET: W.H.O. Funding Cut, Obama Unleashed & News Rules

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LATEST DEVELOPMENTS: New York City substantially increased its virus death toll to include nearly 4,000 more victims who are presumed to have had COVID-19 but were never tested. The city’s death count is now over 10,000. In Europe, a gradual easing of lockdown measures continues in some countries; Danish children head back to school today for the first time in five weeks. In others, like France, stay-home orders have been extended. And in the southern hemisphere, there are worrisome signs. Ecuador appears to be a new epicenter of cases in Latin America, with reports of mass graves being built almost overnight to house an overflow of bodies. NY TIMES
WHITE HOUSE RESPONSE: President Trump announced he will stop funding to the World Health Organization, blaming the WHO for a slow response to the original outbreak in China. The move will cut at least 10 percent of the WHO’s operating budget in the middle of the biggest global health crisis in a century. WASH POST
OBAMA ENDORSES BIDEN: Joe Biden has secured the most sought-after endorsement in the Democratic party — that of former President Barack Obama. A day after Bernie Sanders put his stamp of approval on the Biden candidacy, Obama put out a lengthy video message in which he gives a full-throated and personal endorsement of his friend and former VP. Democrats have been itching for the 44th president to get off the sidelines, as they see him as their most important surrogate in the general election. WATCH THE VIDEO
RACE FOR A VACCINE: Johnson & Johnson says it will begin “imminent” production of its COVID-19 vaccine on an “at-risk” basis, which will allow the pharma giant to manufacture the product at the same time it conducts clinical trials. J&J’s CFO says that will let them “flip the switch” and be ready to produce it at scale if and when it is approved. The company is eyeing early 2021 for that approval. YAHOO FINANCE
AIRLINE BAILOUT: The Treasury Dept. has reportedly reached a deal in principle with the airlines over a $25 billion bailout to help keep the industry alive as air travel remains more or less shut down. Ten of the 12 major U.S. airlines will take part in the program. The government wants 70 percent of the funds for each carrier to be grants and 30 percent to be low-interest loans they pay back. NY TIMES.
STREAMING WARS: It is either the best or worst time ever to launch a new streaming service, and NBC will soon find out. NBCUniversal will begin to roll out its newest product, Peacock, today to some Comcast subscribers before it goes wide this summer. Peacock will be home to 15,000 hours of content, NBC says, and will be free, supported by advertising. Peacock follows the launch of Quibi earlier this month. THE VERGE
IN MEMORIAM: HANK STEINBRENNER: Henry “Hank” Steinbrenner, the co-owner of the New York Yankees, has died at 63. His family says it came after a lengthy illness. Hank was the eldest son of George Steinbrenner, the famous Yankee owner satirized on Seinfeld and known as “The Boss.” Hank was known as a somewhat reluctant owner, and ceded much of the control of the Yankees franchise to his younger brother, Hal. OBIT
RITA WILSON OPENS UP: The actress Rita Wilson opened up to CBS This Morning about her recovery from the coronavirus, including her experience with the controversial drug known as chloroquine. Wilson said neither she nor her husband, Tom Hanks, know how they contracted the virus, but that it left her with a bad fever, aches and a loss of smell. She said she was given chloroquine but doesn’t know if it helped break her fever, only that it gave her “extreme side effects.” CBS NEWS
SPOTTED…Hollywood’s newest couple, Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas, walking their dogs in Brentwood: SEE PIC
LEFTOVERS: NEWS RULES: There’s still no signs of “coronavirus fatigue” in the media: all five of the top television programs in the U.S. last week were broadcasts of ABC’s World News Tonight w/ David Muir. Still, the news industry finds itself in a paradox: more Americans than ever are reading and watching, but the advertising market has all but collapsed. Layoffs, furloughs and salary reductions have hit wide swaths of the news industry, even as the network evening newscasts see a surge in ratings after being left for dead in the digital age. WSJ