AstraZeneca approached Gilead about merger

White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has said the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. appears to be going in “the right direction” despite a few “blips.” New York saw its lowest daily death toll in eight weeks on Thursday and the number of daily deaths related to Covid-19 have been on a slow, steady decline from a high of nearly 800 people every day. 

All 50 states eased some quarantine restrictions ahead of the Memorial Day holiday on May 25, and crowds of people, some without masks, have been seen at protests in recent weeks. U.S. cases are just now starting to rise as research shows that it can take anywhere from five to 12 days for people to show symptoms from the coronavirus.

Fauci said he has “no doubt” that Americans who aren’t wearing face masks, especially in large crowds, are increasing the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

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 6.92 million 
  • Global deaths: At least 400,243 
  • U.S. cases: More than 1.92 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 109,802 

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Sustainable investing is set to surge in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic

11:40 a.m. ET — The coronavirus pandemic may well prove to be a major turning point for environmental, social and governance investing as the outbreak alters society’s values.

The ESG investing approach, which evaluates a company’s environmental, social and governance ratings alongside traditional financial metrics, was already coming off a banner year, reports CNBC’s Pippa Stevens. 

So far this year, U.S.-listed sustainable funds are seeing record inflows, despite the market turmoil. And analysts and investors say that the pandemic will further prioritize investing with a conscience. 

Conscience aside, these funds are also attracting record levels of cash because they’re proving that they can offer comparable, if not market-beating, returns. 

The Nuveen ESG Large-Cap Growth ETF (NULG) has returned 10% this year, for example, while the iShares ESG MSCI USA ETF (ESGU) — the largest of its kind with more than $7.1 billion in assets under management — has returned 0.6% year to date. The S&P 500, by comparison, is down roughly 1% for the year. —Melodie Warner

Reopened casinos implement safety measures to keep guests safe

Transparent barriers have been set up at gaming tables at Century Casino Cape Girardeau in Missouri.

Courtesy of Century Casino Cape Girardeau

10:36 a.m. ET — Casinos reopening across the country have had to balance their guests’ desire for entertainment with safety precautions designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Nevada and Missouri allowed casinos to reopen this past week. Both massive Las Vegas resorts and smaller, local casinos have implemented measures like adding barriers between slot machines, restricting the number of people at card tables and limiting access to bars.

With guests clamoring to visit casinos, the measures have been deemed necessary for allowing customers to have fun in a safe, healthy environment. —Hannah Miller

Despite coronavirus, most travelers not buying trip insurance

9:58 a.m. ET — More than half of Americans planning travel won’t be buying trip insurance, according to a survey by ValuePenguin. That’s despite the havoc Covid-19 lockdowns worldwide wreaked on spring and summer getaways this year.

Most of those planning and booking travel will visit family and friends, and trips may, therefore, be shorter, cheaper and less pressing to protect. But even 23% of planners buying coverage is good news for travel insurers. —Kenneth Kiesnoski

AstraZeneca approached Gilead about a potential merger

A Gilead Sciences office is shown in Foster City, California, U.S. May 1, 2018.

Stephen Lam | Reuters

9:48 a.m. ET — UK drugmaker AstraZeneca has approached Gilead about a potential merger, a healthcare deal that would be the largest on record, sources told Bloomberg.

AstraZeneca reportedly asked Gilead last month about a merger but did not provide specifics on the transaction, according to anonymous sources.

The companies are not in formal discussions and Gilead is apparently not interested in selling or merging with another large pharmaceutical firm. An AstraZeneca spokesperson told Bloomberg that the company does not comment on “rumors or speculation.”

AstraZeneca is valued and $140 billion and Gilead, which is working on an antiviral drug called remdesivir to treat coronavirus patients, is worth $96 billion. —Emma Newburger

New York City Mayor de Blasio lifts curfew 

9:32 a.m. ET — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city is no longer under curfew after peaceful protests on Saturday.

The city was initially put under curfew last Monday from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. and has since been under an 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. curfew amid ongoing demonstrations over the death of George Floyd while being subdued by police officers in Minnesota last month.

“Yesterday and last night we saw the very best of our city,” the mayor wrote in a tweet. “Tomorrow we take the first big step to restart.”


De Blasio had initially said the curfew would remain in place throughout the weekend.

The city enters phase 1 of reopening on Monday after the coronavirus outbreak shut down the city in March. Some retail, construction and manufacturing businesses are authorized to reopen with under 50% occupancy and social distancing measures. Businesses like salons, gyms and restaurants will not reopen until phase 2. —Emma Newburger

More hospitals could go bankrupt until they get patients back in the door

An employee and a patient at an intensive care unit at the Republican Clinical Hospital treating patients with confirmed or suspected coronavirus infection.

Yegor Aleyev | TASS | Getty Images

9:18 a.m. ET — Hospitals across the United States are desperately trying to ramp up volume after seeing far fewer patients than usual for months.

Many hospitals canceled or delayed elective procedures in March and April to make space for Covid-19 patients. Because of that, hospitals were losing millions of dollars per day by just staying open. In April, the American Hospital Association estimated that hospitals were bleeding more than $50 billion per month.

The situation is improving as patients are starting to reschedule their procedures and overall volumes are increasing as the country reopens.

Some health systems can afford the hit, particularly if there aren’t major flareups of Covid-19 in the fall and winter that will force them to suspend normal operations again. But others won’t make it and industry experts expect to see more bankruptcies and consolidation in the months to come. —Christina Farr

Malaysia to allow interstate travel starting June 10 

9:01 a.m. ET — Malaysia said it would reopen nearly all economic activity and allow interstate travel starting June 10, Reuters reported.

The government will ease restrictions on social, education and religious activities in phases with health guidelines in place, and businesses will be allowed to return to normal operating hours. Entertainment centers, sports that involve close contact and events involving a large gathering of people will also not be allowed.

Malaysia had gradually reopened businesses over the past month with social distancing protocols, after shuttering all non-essential businesses and schools, banning public gatherings and restricting travel on March 18. —Melodie Warner

Read CNBC’s previous coronavirus live coverage here: Amazon workers sue the company; tennis star Djokovic chafes at US Open restrictions.

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