Coronavirus update: 350,536 cases, 15,328 deaths, NYC’s outbreak comes into focus

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The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 soared 30% over the weekend as testing capacity has been expanded and outbreaks have worsened in Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.S.

In the U.S., there are 35,224 cases and 471 deaths, as of Monday morning, according to the latest aggregated data from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering’s Centers for Systems Science and Engineering. On Friday afternoon, there were 16,018 cases and 210 deaths.

New York City is now largely considered the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., with 9,045 cases and at least 63 deaths, as of Sunday. The city conducted 13,000 inspections of nonessential businesses including bars, restaurants and gyms in New York City over the weekend. Eleven violations were issued. “That’s how seriously New Yorkers are taking this,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted on Sunday.

In various parts of the city, stores that have remained open including some C-Town Supermarkets, Rite Aid Corp. RAD, -1.76%  pharmacies, and Micro Center electronics retailers have limited the number of people who can enter the store. At a farmers market in New York City’s Inwood neighborhood, shoppers weren’t allowed to handpick produce and waited in spaced-out lines that stretched down the block. At the New York-Presbyterian academic medical center, a new policy isn’t allowing birthing partners and support individuals to enter the hospital for obstetric patients.

There are a total of 20,875 cases and 157 deaths in New York state. Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted this weekend that the state is considering turning the Javits Center, one of Manhattan’s largest conference centers, as well as Stony Brook University, SUNY Old Westbury, and the Westchester County Center into hospital sites. Cuomo said Monday that the state is now testing 16,000 people a day for the novel coronavirus.

Worldwide, there are now 350,536 cases of COVID-19 and at least 15,328 people have died. About 100,000 people have recovered.

In Italy, which has become the epicenter of the pandemic in recent weeks, there are now 59,138 cases and 5,476 deaths. Other outbreaks of concern include France, with 16,720 cases and 676 deaths; Germany, with 26,220 cases and 111 deaths; Iran, with 23,049 cases and 1,812 deaths; and Spain, with 33,089 cases and 2,206 deaths. In South Korea, which has been cited as a model for containment, there are 8,961 cases and 111 deaths.

Here’s how companies are being impacted by COVID-19:

• Zillow Group Inc. ZG, +2.08%  will suspend home buying in all 24 markets where it currently operates its Zillow Offers service, in response to local public health orders resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. As of March 19, Zillow said its home inventory balance has declined to 1,860 homes from 2,707 home at the end of 2019.

• Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. BBBY, -5.90%  has closed all of its namesake stores until April 3. The BuyBuyBaby and Harmon Face Values stores will remain open. In total, 175 of the company’s 1,500 stores will be in operation for the period.

• CVS Health Corp. CVS, -4.55%  has 50,000 immediate job openings across full-time, part-time and temporary roles, and many of the positions will be filled by furloughed workers at clients including Marriott International Inc. MAR, -1.87%  and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. HLT, +1.61%. CVS is adding two employee benefits: child and elder or adult care services, and 24 hours of paid sick leave for part-time employees. CVS is also giving bonuses in the range of $150 to $500 to pharmacists, store associates and other employees

• Dollar General Corp. DG, -0.26%  plans to hire 50,000 employees by the end of April, as it nearly doubles its hiring rate to support heightened demand for household essentials amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the new hires are expected to be temporary. The discount retailer said it currently operates 16,300 stores in 45 states.

• VF Corp. VFC, -6.37%, which operates the Vans and The North Face brands, has withdrawn its full-year fiscal 2020 guidance due to uncertainty from the coronavirus outbreak. The company will provide more information when it reports its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings, scheduled for May 20. The company has also drawn down $1 billion from its credit facility. Including the draw down, VF Corp. says it has $1.5 billion cash on hand and about $1 billion left on the credit facility.

• Washington Prime Group Inc. WPG, -12.50%, a mall real-estate investment trust, is temporarily closing all malls that are enclosed with an indoor common area to address the spread of the coronavirus. It expects the closures to last through March 29, or at a date in compliance with applicable federal, local or state mandates.

• Signet Jewelers Ltd. SIG, -21.71%  is temporarily closing all its stores in North America as it works to combat the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The closures will shutter all the physical stores of Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared, James Allen, Peoples and Piercing Pagoda banners and the company’s support centers, Signet said in a statement. To bolster liquidity, the company is drawing down $900 million of its asset-based revolving credit facility. At the time of the drawdown, it had $1.2 billion in cash and $292 million available on the revolver.

• 3M Co. MMM, -7.39% has doubled global production of N95 respirators to a rate of nearly 100 million a month, or more than 1.1 billion a year, to arm health care workers dealing with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, CEO Mike Roman said Sunday. In the U.S., the company is producing 35 million respirators a month, with more than 90% being designated for health care workers, and the rest to other critical sectors, such as energy, food and pharmaceutical companies.

Additional reporting by Ciara Linnane, Tomi Kilgore and Tonya Garcia

Read more of MarketWatch’s COVID-19 coverage here:

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These small-business owners made their dreams come true—and then the coronavirus hit

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