Fears of virus plunge into swing states, Americans return to Wendy’s

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Wall Street is examining another batch of quarterly earnings reports on Wednesday, with General Motors, CVS Health and Wendy’s all offering updates before the market opens. Disney announced an approximate second quarter for parks and cruises when it reported results after the bell on Tuesday, recording a 58% drop in operating profit for this division. Health experts are evaluating research on a potentially more contagious strain of the virus, while state and local governments continue to facilitate closures.

This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus epidemic. All times below are Eastern Time. This blog will be updated throughout the day as news becomes available.

  • Global cases: more than 3.6 million
  • Deaths worldwide: at least 257,818
  • Cases in the United States: more than 1.2 million
  • Deaths in the United States: at least 71,078

The above data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

9:46 a.m .: Customers rushed to CVS for prescriptions and essentials, driving up pharmacy chain sales

As the pandemic escalated, CVS customers ordered 90-day prescriptions, refilled medications early, and stocked up on essentials in front of stores.

This change in purchasing habits resulted in a 9% increase in same store sales in the pharmacy chain in the first quarter of the year.

Customer usage of digital services has also increased, CVS chief executive Larry Merlo said in a call for results. Virtual visits to CVS’s emergency care service, Minute Clinic, increased 600% from the same quarter a year ago, he said. Home delivery of prescriptions increased by more than 1,000%. And the company has seen the number of customers quadruple the addition of storefront items, such as toilet paper, to its prescription deliveries.

Merlo said the company is still trying to figure out how the pandemic could change customers’ long-term habits. But, he said, “we expect elements of today’s new standard to be part of tomorrow’s daily routines.” —Melissa Repko

9:04 a.m .: Concerns about the decline in coronaviruses in the swing states of 2020, according to a CNBC / Change Research poll

Detroit residents will be tested free of charge for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Sheffield Center in Detroit, Michigan on April 28, 2020.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

According to a new CNBC / Change Research poll, about 68% of likely voters in six key states transitioning to 2020 said they had “somewhat” or “very” serious concerns about Covid-19. The share increased from 76% in mid-April.

The fears of the Republicans have subsided, while the concerns of the Democrats have remained the same. Only 39% of likely GOP voters responded that they had “somewhat” or “very” serious concerns, down from 55% in the last survey of gambling states on April 17 and 18.

About 7 in 10 Republicans have said the effects of the pandemic are improving rather than getting worse. Only 12% of Democratic respondents said the same thing.

Larger proportions of Democrats than Republicans said they took various precautions during the epidemic, ranging from social distancing to shelter at home and wearing a face mask in public.

The survey polled 3,544 likely voters in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin from May 1 to 3, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.7 percentage points . —Jacob Pramuk

8:41 a.m .: Wendy’s American customers return

Wendy’s customers start coming back for Frosties and burgers. While the company’s weekly same-store sales in the United States remain negative, last week’s same-store sales decreased only 2.1%.

Despite the increase in the number of consumers eating breakfast at home, Wendy’s sales in the United States are boosted by the breakfast menu, which was launched nationwide in March.

Wendy’s activities in the United States reached their lowest point in early April, as same-store sales fell 25.8%.

Learn more about Wendy’s first quarter results from CNBC’s Amelia Lucas. —Amelia Lucas

7:46 a.m .: US Foods CEO says industry will recover

7:03 am: Federal and state governments of Germany agree on easing restrictions

MUNICH, GERMANY – Germany has launched a national policy that people should wear protective masks in shops and public transport after relaxing the lockdown measures.

Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images

The German government and its 16 states have agreed to reopen much of the economy, according to a document read by Reuters.

Stores may reopen and some sports may resume under certain conditions, schools will reopen gradually and states will decide for themselves whether to reopen restaurants, hotels and gyms, according to the document dated Tuesday. Reuters reported that the document was prepared by Federal Chancellor Helge Braun and heads of regional chancelleries for a conference call that Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to hold Wednesday with state ministers.

States will decide to reopen universities, bars, trade fairs, cosmetic studies, brothels, theaters, cinemas and nightclubs based on levels of infection, Reuters reported. —Will Feuer

Read CNBC coverage by CNBC Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: The number of deaths per day in Spain is increasing again; EU experiencing sharp economic decline

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