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Coronavirus live updates: Main Street Lending program to offer loans to mid-size companies, Boston Fed President says

Ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, all states in the U.S. began to lift some restrictions implemented to halt the spread of the coronavirus. Government officials are still urging people to practice social distancing and to wear masks in public. 

Changing opinions from scientists and health officials have contributed to some people refusing to wear masks because public health authorities initially advised against wearing masks, saying there was little evidence that it would help prevent people from getting sick.

China’s top diplomat criticized U.S. efforts to hold China accountable for its alleged role in the spread of the coronavirus, calling any aims to force Beijing to pay compensation for the coronavirus a “daydream.”

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 5.34 million
  • Global deaths: At least 342,694
  • U.S. cases: More than 1.62 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 97,149

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Main Street Lending program to offer loans to mid-size companies, Boston Fed President Rosengren says

Eric Rosengren, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, attends the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, March 26, 2019.

Paul Young | Bloomberg | Getty Images

11:56 a.m. ET — Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren said the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending program will begin providing loans to mid-size companies hurt by the coronavirus over the next two weeks.

“Money will go out over the next two weeks. This is a program that is just starting up,” Rosengren said in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

The $600 billion program gives four-year loans to companies that are too big to meet the criteria of the Paycheck Protection Program, but too small to access the credit markets.

Businesses that are eligible must have 15,000 employees or less. —Emma Newburger

Mental health apps draw wave of new users as experts call for more oversight

11:30 a.m. ET — With in-person therapy paused amid ongoing shelter-in-place restrictions, Americans continue to turn to their smartphones for help.

Therapy app makers — including Talkspace and BetterHelp — have been rushing to meet a flood of new customers, but health experts remain divided on how to introduce more transparency and oversight into the ecosystem.

“Data is really the currency in the app market,” Quinn Grundy, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Nursing, said in an interview. “What this pandemic is doing is laying bare pre-existing issues.”

CNBC spoke to six mental health experts, who all echoed these concerns around privacy and efficacy, especially amid the coronavirus-induced surge in demand.

According to app market intelligence firm Sensor Tower, first-time downloads of the top 20 mental wellness apps in the U.S. hit 4 million in April. That’s a 29 percent bump from the 3.1 million in January. By contrast, first-time downloads of the top 20 such apps fell 30 percent during the same period last year. —J.R. Reed

Spain’s overnight coronavirus death toll increases by 70

RT: Mortuary workers wearing protective gear are seen at the San Juan de la Cruz funeral home, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Segovia, Spain, April 23, 2020.

Susana Vera | REUTERS

11:07 a.m. ET — Spain’s overnight coronavirus death toll rose by 70 to a total of 28,752, Reuters reported, citing the health ministry. 

The number of diagnosed cases rose to 235,772 from 235,290. —Melodie Warner

Pandemic will drive major changes to the nursing home industry

10:30 a.m. ET — Nursing homes and assisted living facilities throughout the country stopped allowing family members to visit elderly or ailing loved ones as the novel coronavirus spread across the nation. 

Many families with loved ones in those facilities are desperate to be able to visit them again. But that so-called return to normalcy will take time.

Virtual visits over Zoom and WebEx will likely be the norm for the foreseeable future and family members also should be prepared to undergo tests in order to visit.

Read the full report on how nursing homes will return to a new normal from CNBC’s Lorie Konish. —Melodie Warner

Wearing a mask is not about politics, says Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine

Republican Gubernatorial-elect Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine gives his victory speech after winning the Ohio gubernatorial race at the Ohio Republican Party’s election night party at the Sheraton Capitol Square on November 6, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio.

Justin Merriman | Getty Images

10:10 a.m. ET — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine told NBC’s Chuck Todd that the ongoing debate on wearing masks should not be about choosing a political party but about protecting each other.

“This is not about whether you’re liberal or conservative, left or right, republican or democrat. You wear the mask not to protect yourself so much as to protect others,” De Wine said.

In response to North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s emotional message on Friday to be more empathetic instead of shaming those who wear masks, DeWine agreed and said Burgum is “spot on.”

“This is one time when we truly are all in this together. What we do directly impacts others,” he added.

Ohio reopened its retail businesses and personal-care services earlier this month. The governor said the state’s reopening plan has been “going well.”

While Ohio is not ready to allow mass gatherings of people yet, DeWine said restaurants and businesses are adapting well to public health measures. —Jasmine Kim 

U.S. unemployment rate could still be in double digits in November, says White House adviser 

Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, speaks during a White House press briefing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018.

Yuri Gripas | Bloomberg | Getty Images

9:36 a.m. ET — The U.S. unemployment rate could still be in double digits in November as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to White House senior advisor Kevin Hassett.

The unemployment rate rose to 14.7% in April, with more than 38 million people filing unemployment claims since Mid-March when the outbreak forced national shutdowns.

Hassett told CNN’s Dana Bash that there would be other promising signs of economic improvement, as unemployment numbers may move slower than other indicators. But he said the unemployment rate is likely headed north of 20% in the month of May.

“The unemployment rate will be higher in June than in May, but then after that it should start to trend down,” Hassett said. —Emma Newburger

Air travel is going to look different this summer because of the coronavirus

9:03 a.m. ET — Memorial Day weekend is the traditional kickoff to the peak travel season and while demand is showing some signs of life, it is still down about 90% from a year ago. The virus and concerns about it spreading have prompted new procedures at airlines and federal agencies.

The Department of Homeland Security, which includes TSA and customs, is exploring temperature checks at airports. The Transportation Security Administration is also changing some polices to limit physical contact, such as asking travelers to scan their own boarding passes and that they remove food and other items from their bags so officers don’t have to touch bins.

Starting this month, U.S. airlines require that travelers wear masks on board. They are tweaking boarding to fill seats from back to front to limit contact with other travelers. Some airlines are limiting the number of travelers on board, or letting travelers know when their flights are full. Experts warn its nearly impossible to socially distance on an aircraft, however. —Leslie Josephs

AngloGold Ashanti closes mine in South Africa after 53 employees tested positive

Source: CNBC

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