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: At least 1,134,418.
- Global deaths: At least 60,115
- US cases: At least 278,458
- US deaths: At least 7,159
The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
9:03 am: US cases continue to rise faster than other countries
8:58 am: These ‘disease hunters’ developed a novel technique for tracking pandemics after 9/11, but lost funding right before COVID-19
When Dr. Farzad Mostashari was the assistant commissioner for the New York City Department of Health in the early 2000s, he did something unprecedented.
To keep tabs on the spread of disease in the region, Mostashari asked New York hospitals for access to a feed of their data, including the symptoms reported by some of the sickest patients. His team put together a website that collected anonymized information from emergency rooms across the state, and made it open for anyone to query.
Nearly two decades later, on March 11, 2020, his work suddenly gained new relevance. The World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a global pandemic, and predicted that the SARS-CoV-2 virus could kill more than a million people worldwide.
In early March, Mostashari started looking for incidents of patients complaining of flu-like symptoms that were outside the normal range for early spring. On March 4, he saw a spike in the data from New York that concerned him. For the next three days, he checked and rechecked the website to make sure it wasn’t a blip. By the fourth day, he knew something was wrong.
“Holy s—,” he recalled thinking. “Flu was going down, but patients were starting to come into the emergency department with a ferocity I hadn’t seen in 15 or 20 years.” —Christina Farr
6:16 am: Spain’s daily coronavirus death toll falls for second day in row
Spain’s death toll from the coronavirus rose to 11,744 Saturday from 10,935 the previous day, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.
It is the second day in a row that the number of new deaths has fallen. A total of 809 people died from the disease over the past 24 hours, down from 932 the previous day, the figures showed.
Spain now has 124,736 confirmed cases, up from 117,710 on Friday (that’s a n increase of 7,026). — Holly Ellyatt
6:10 am: Iran’s coronavirus death toll rises to 3,452, health ministry says
Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak climbed to 3,452 on Saturday, with 158 more deaths recorded over the past 24 hours, Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpur said, Reuters reported.
The total number of cases diagnosed with the disease reached 55,743, of whom 4,103 are in critical condition, he said on state TV. Iran is the country worst affected by the pandemic in the Middle East. — Reuters
5:12 am: France overtakes China as number of confirmed cases rises above 83,000
France now has more cases of the coronavirus than China, as the number of confirmed cases reached 83,029, according to data from Johns Hopkins University on Saturday.
China, where the outbreak was first identified in December, has 82,526 confirmed cases, although the actual figure could be far higher. — Holly Ellyatt
3:57 am: UK unlikely to relax lockdown measures till end May, top epidemiologist says
The United Kingdom won’t be able to lift its stringent social-distancing rules until the end of May, according to a British epidemiologist, Neil Ferguson, who is also a leading government advisor, Reuters reported Saturday.
“We want to move to a situation where at least by the end of May that we’re able to substitute some less intensive measures, more based on technology and testing, for the complete lockdown we have now,” Ferguson reportedly told BBC Radio. Ferguson is a professor at the faculty of medicine in the School of Public Health at Imperial College London.
“There is a great deal of work underway to look at how we can substitute some of the very intense social distancing currently in place with a regime more based on intensive testing, very rapid access to testing, contact tracing of contracts,” he said, according to Reuters. “But in order to substitute that regime for what we’re doing now, we need to get case numbers down.”
The United Kingdom currently has 38,690 reported cases of COVID-19, and the death toll has surpassed 3,600, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. The government has put the country under virtual lockdown since March 23. All nonessential public buildings and places are closed, and all social events including weddings and baptisms have been stopped.—Joanna Tan
2:32 am: Xi leads national day of mourning as China honors those killed during pandemic
Chinese President Xi Jinping led his country and its leaders in mourning on Saturday, as the nation observed three minutes of silence in honor of those killed during the pandemic, according to state news agency Xinhua.
Xi stood with leaders of the country, including Premier Li Keqiang and members of the Communist Party of China, at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing at 10 a.m. local time, Xinhua reported.
State-owned Global Times, a tabloid run by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, posted footage of Xi and the leaders standing together with their heads bowed in silence. Each wore a white flower pinned to their chest pockets and were facing the Chinese flag that flew at half-mast. Across the nation, people could be seen standing in public squares, while air defense sirens blared and horns on cars, trains and ships were sounded.
Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: France has more cases than China now, but Spain’s daily death toll has fallen.