China mourns those killed by pandemic, Tesla dismissing contractors

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The Chinese national flag flies at half-mast at the Tienanmen Square to mourn victims of COVID-19 on April 4, 2020 in Beijing, China. China will hold a national mourning on Saturday for martyrs who died in the fight against the novel coronavirus and compatriots died of COVID-19, according to the State Council.

Fred Lee | Getty Images

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 1,097,000. 
  • Global deaths: At least 59,000. 
  • Top 5 countries: United States (276,995), Italy (119,827), Spain (119,199), Germany (91,159), and China (82,511). 

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of 9:14 a.m. Beijing time. 

All times below are in Beijing time.

10:52 am: Tesla dismissing contractors from California and Nevada, sources say

Tesla is letting go of contractors from its U.S. car and battery plants, according to three workers and correspondence shared with CNBC.

The company is cutting contractors from its workforce, both in its vehicle factory in Fremont, California, and at the Gigafactory outside of Reno, Nevada, where Tesla makes the signature battery packs that power its electric vehicles and energy storage products. The cuts affect hundreds, according to estimates from the people familiar with the move, who asked for anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to press about internal matters. 

Temps — many of whom worked at Tesla for years, some hoping to jump into full-time roles — were notified by their staffing agencies about the cuts late this week. A memo from Balance Staffing to dismissed workers said: “It is with my deepest regret that I must inform you that the Tesla factory shutdown has been extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result, Tesla has requested to end all contract assignments effective immediately.”
Lora Kolodny

9:33 am: China set to hold a national day of mourning

China will be mourning the thousands of people killed by COVID-19 on Saturday, the state council announced earlier. The national day of mourning will see people across the country observe 3 minutes of silence at 10 a.m. Beijing time. Flags will be at half-mast and entertainment activities will be suspended. —Joanna Tan

9:21 am: China reports 4 more deaths and 19 new cases

China reported an additional 19 new cases, of which 18 were from people arriving from overseas. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in the mainland to 81,639, according to the China National Health Commission.

Additionally, there were 64 new cases of asymptomatic infections, or people who showed no symptoms but tested positive for COVID-19.

There were four additional deaths from the coronavirus and all of them came from the central province of Hubei, the epicenter of the mainland’s outbreak. That’s brings the death toll in China to 3,326 as of Friday, the NHC said. —Joanna Tan

All times below are in Eastern time.

8 pm: White House advisor says another coronavirus epidemic like NYC could change US mortality rate

Another big coronavirus outbreak like the one New York City is bracing for could “dramatically change” the death rate of COVID-19 in the U.S., White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Friday.

White House officials earlier this week projected between 100,000 and 240,000 people will die from the coronavirus in the U.S. Birx said the mortality models are updated every night to take into account new data, which generally include how the disease is progressing in other countries, social distancing restrictions imposed by states and the rise in new infections.

The estimates currently project between 40,000 and 178,000 deaths, according to the data cited by Birx, who added that the average number of deaths is expected to be around 93,000. —William Feur

6:53 pm: Trump to ban export of coronavirus protection gear, says he’s ‘not happy with 3M’

President Donald Trump said Friday that he will invoke the Defense Production Act to ban “unscrupulous actors and profiteers” from exporting critical medical gear used to protect wearers from the coronavirus.

The president unveiled the new order amid a dispute with U.S. manufacturing giant 3M, which had warned the Trump administration that halting its exports of respirator masks could make them even less available in the United States.

“We’re not happy with 3M. We’re not at all happy with 3M. And the people who dealt with it directly are not happy with 3M,” Trump said at a White House press briefing. — Kevin Breuninger, Christina Wilkie

11:16 am: Dr. Anthony Fauci warns we shouldn’t assume hydroxychloroquine is a ‘knockout drug’

Americans shouldn’t assume hydroxychloroquine is a “knockout drug” in preventing or treating COVID-19, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci warned.

“We still need to do the definitive studies to determine whether any intervention, not just this one, is truly safe and effective,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Fox News. “But when you don’t have that information, it’s understandable why people might want to take something anyway even with the slightest hint of being effective.”

New York state last week began the first large-scale clinical trial looking at hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for the coronavirus after the Food and Drug Administration fast-tracked the approval process. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: US deaths top 7,000, Fauci warns about ‘knockout drug’

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