Two brothers take care of the hospitals and the fire brigade

Dusseldorf A few employees of the fire department in Mülheim an der Ruhr gathered in front of the syringe house. The sun is shining, Chef Sven Werner and his department head for emergency services and disinfection, Andreas Johann, are wearing short-sleeved uniforms. A forklift and a red truck are already waiting in the yard. The onward transport should go as quickly as possible.

The men are waiting for a product that is currently in demand like hardly any other product in the world: respiratory masks. It is corona time and they are their currency: the masks are an important tool in the fight against the virus. And they are not easy to get. There are still supply shortages five months after the outbreak of the corona virus.

In Germany, too, face protection is increasingly becoming a mandatory item of clothing. All federal states introduce mandatory wearing. And the federal government has “strongly” recommended wearing masks when shopping or on buses and trains.

But the fire department in Mülheim has no masks. Marvin and Aaron Steinberg are supposed to solve the problem. The brothers, 32 and 35 years old, have just climbed out of their pickup truck, wearing a T-shirt and jeans. With your Sixt– Rental cars transport the sought-after face protection.

“20,000 go straight to one of our hospitals,” says fire chief Werner, while he examines documents and the forklift lifts the first boxes. “The remaining 30,000 remain here.” These are not masks that you can sew yourself. Most are those with filter protection.

Marvin and Aaron Steinberg (1st and 2nd from left)

Appointment at the Mülheim fire department.

(Photo: Steinberg)

The federal government has so far failed to meet the huge demand for masks. According to Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier (CDU), Germany needs a total of several billion pieces within a few months. The large German manufacturers such as the Lübeck-based company Dräger have been producing at their limit for a long time despite the expansion of production. And the global market, in which companies like the US group 3M dominate, is eaten empty by all affected nations like grasshoppers.

This is why makeshift production facilities are being set up all over the world, including in Germany. Whether on an entrepreneurial basis, such as recently at Trigema, the laundry manufacturer of the eccentric owner Wolfgang Grupp. Or at Daimler, where breathing masks are now produced for your own needs. Or citizens sew them at home.

All of these are commendable initiatives. But: The resulting products often offer only limited protection, for example when shopping in a supermarket. They are usually not suitable for medical personnel.

And so there is a gap that people like the Steinberg brothers encounter. Small business owners who are quick to grab, who have contacts with professional providers abroad – and who do it instead of looking at the federal government – and who naturally hope to make a profit.

“What we do is of course just a drop in the ocean,” says Marvin Steinberg. He wears glasses and his shirt says “Corona Crisis”. “But it is a drop that leads to happy faces in many places.”

Also in Mülheim. “We are very happy to have enough stock now,” says fire chief Werner. The mask market has been going crazy since Corona. And no one can say how the situation will develop. “If the infection situation remains as it is, we are well prepared,” says Werner. “But who knows that?”

15 cents profit per mask

Aaron, the trained nursing nurse, and Marvin, who runs a marketing GmbH, have been in business for four weeks. You have set up offices in Mainz and Koblenz. According to their own statements, they pick up between 50,000 and 200,000 masks three to four times a week at Frankfurt or Cologne airports.

The Steinbergs are founding a company. Her name: “Pflegeliebe GmbH”. The Steinbergs customer base is growing steadily. Clinics, pharmacies, old people’s homes, hairdressers and taxi services now order from them. Sometimes small amounts are also donated.

The demand is great. Hospitals sometimes run out of masks, and resident doctors are also concerned about whether they can still treat their patients. It is particularly important that the Steinbergs also offer FFP2 and FFP3 products.

They belong to the type of mask that protects the wearer. FFP2 and FFP3 masks are therefore the appropriate equipment for doctors or nurses who handle potentially infected people. These masks cannot be made at home. Nor do companies like Trigema manufacture them. Special companies are needed for this.

Mask transport in the rented minibus

The entrepreneurs with helpers.

(Photo: Steinberg)

And that’s where the problem begins. There are also producers in Germany. In addition to corporations such as Dräger, medium-sized companies are now trying to gain a foothold in this field. The “Fight Covid-19” consortium, for example, which includes smaller companies such as the bikini company Maryan Beachwear or the mechanical engineering company Reifenhäuser, is currently building a network. Your production goal: half a million FFP2 masks per week.

However, the major mass producers among the specialist companies are primarily located in China. And the market remains chaotic. Even if production has started again in China, the purchase price continues to skyrocket. Before Corona, an FFP2 mask cost about 50 cents. Today, prices in the double-digit euro range are sometimes called up for this.

Of course, this also attracts fraudsters who try to sell unusable goods at a high price or only deliver material against prepayment – which then never reaches the customer. “A lot of providers are dubious,” says Marvin Steinberg. “Many of our customers have already fallen for fraudsters.”

The topic should be rather uncomfortable for the entrepreneur. Because Steinberg, who was also active in the field of gold-backed cryptocurrencies for a while, had once separated from an ex-partner in the dispute. Now there are anonymous articles online that accuse him of fraud. Even a criminal complaint is circulating.

So far, however, there is no convincing evidence. A civil law complaint by his ex-partner definitely failed before the Mainz Higher Regional Court. Steinberg has already had several entries in the network deleted by court. “It was a bad time for me,” he says. He was happy to be able to leave that behind.

Marvin Steinberg

The small entrepreneur has valuable contacts in China.

(Photo: Steinberg)

And he does not hide the fact that he also wants to earn money by supplying masks. However, at reasonable prices. One-way surgical masks cost him an average of 99 cents per piece, depending on the quantity, FFP2 masks between four and 5.50 euros. “The same masks are then partially resold by the pharmacies at a price of 14.99 euros,” says Steinberg.

For comparison: Trigema charges 120 euros for ten of its “reusable makeshift mouth and nose masks”. Steinberg even discloses its margin. On average, he and his brother earned 15 cents per surgical mask, and 40 cents for FFP2 masks.

Complicated procedure

And why don’t they sell to the federal government? Health Minister Jens Spahn recently made three billion euros available for the procurement of protective clothing and introduced a so-called open house procedure.

This means that the state buys centrally and at fixed prices if a manufacturer can supply at least 25,000 masks or gowns and guarantee a minimum standard. Masks, gloves and gowns are to be distributed across the federal states and the medical associations.

But there is much criticism of this method. Spahn had reacted too late, the control did not work, the procedure was too complicated. A German businessman from Taiwan recently reported to the Handelsblatt, who wanted to broker the sale of several million FFP2 masks. And not to the USA, but to his home country. But he just couldn’t figure out who to contact.

Did the Steinbergs hear about the federal government’s trial, did he try it once? “No, we’ve just been doing it that way,” says Marvin Steinberg. But that with the federal government is not a bad idea. But he did not know whom to speak to. Does the Handelsblatt have any contact? An inquiry to the Ministry of Health remains unanswered.

Procurement seems so easy. He has contacts in China, says Marvin Steinberg. He has had a business relationship there for a long time with a mask manufacturer who produces himself and can also get goods from other manufacturers if necessary. He doesn’t want to give the name. After all, it was his competitive advantage. The manufacturer vouches for the quality of the masks, says Steinberg.

Because quality is probably the most important criterion in this business. An FFP2 mask that doesn’t protect against corona viruses is not worth a penny.

Many false copies on the way

But how is the goods checked? A few days before the appointment in Mülheim, the Steinbergs are sitting in a van on their way to Frankfurt Airport. Another car is driving. The Handelsblatt is activated via WhatsApp video.

While Marvin Steinberg explains the process, his vehicles drive to a ramp outside the airport, where around 20 boxes are already waiting for loading. Also on board is Mr. Wu, a young Chinese man who supports the brothers in the process. He has a small export-import business himself, says Marvin Steinberg.

Together with Aaron Steinberg, Wu opens one of the boxes to check the contents. 200,000 surgical masks have arrived today.

Of course, you can only see what the goods look like, says Steinberg. The contents are on the boxes, and on the packaging of the masks there is usually also the CE seal of approval. The boxes would also have to go through customs. Ultimately, it is only the end user who will determine whether the masks are really good. “We only have positive feedback from them,” he reports.

The main problem is getting good quality at reasonable prices. Andreas Johann (Mülheim fire department)

Steinberg offers customers to come to his office in Mainz before buying to inspect the goods with an expert. Only then does payment have to be made – for example by bank transfer.

At any rate, the fire brigade in Mülheim is completely satisfied. “The main problem is getting good quality at reasonable prices,” says department head Johann. He doesn’t just say that.

He previously tested the breathing masks in three ways. He cut them apart and checked their strength. 5 layers, that’s good. He lit a mask with the lighter to see if the material just contracts and doesn’t burn. And finally he poured water into a mask. Since nothing flows out, it is tight. “Passed the quality test,” says Johann.

Then he and his boss Werner can thank you for a gift from Steinberg, staged effectively for the press appointment: 2500 surgical masks are available for free.

Yes, Marvin Steinberg also knows how to advertise for yourself, how to stage yourself. But who could blame him in these strange, difficult times – when breathing masks could become the product of the year, if not the decade?

More: Protective masks instead of bikinis – medium-sized companies convert their production

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America’s All-Mine Doctrine is a sign of uncertainty

Donald Trump

The US President is fighting for his political survival through the corona crisis.

(Photo: AFP)

Anyone who would have predicted six months ago that respiratory masks would one day become the most sought-after product on the world market would have been laughed at. At best. But the corona crisis has changed the world. The pandemic is turning everything upside down, even Donald Trump’s America First policy.

So far, the US president has sought to close the United States’ huge trade deficit, limit imports, and promote exports. But now the strategy of export has become a strategy of maximizing imports.

Because Trump has denied the dangers of the new corona virus until it was too late, the US government is desperately trying to bring protective masks into the country. Every means seems to be right for that.

The USA is said to have intercepted 200,000 respirator masks from the US manufacturer 3M at Bangkok Airport in Thailand, which, according to the German description, were intended for the Berlin police. Berlin Mayor Michael Müller accuses Trump of “inhumane” and “unacceptable” behavior.

The White House rejects the allegations, but similar allegations come from France and Canada. In fact, the United States has activated a Korean War law that authorizes the government to interfere with US companies’ supply relationships. “As long as we don’t have too much,” the United States will not stop hoarding protective equipment, US media cite an American top official.

Trump is fighting for his position

With its panic purchases, the United States is not only beleaguering its closest allies. They also document the tragic loss of their moral authority. The All-Mine Doctrine is not an expression of power, but a sign of uncertainty.

Trump, the raven sock at the top of the state, is not concerned with such relationships. He is fighting for his political survival. America has become the epicenter of the pandemic because it failed to prepare the country for the wave of infections, instead mocking the warnings of experts as “fancies”. The virus and the thousands of deaths it claims in the United States will be linked to its name forever.

However, the outraged reactions of German politicians to the behavior of the US government are difficult to bear. Trump uses funds that Germany has also used. One of the first measures taken by the federal government in the corona crisis was to impose an export ban on medical protective equipment. Urgent requests from Italians to deliver relief supplies have been ignored by the federal government for far too long. The damage is great.

Mask nationalism offers no way out of the crisis, on the contrary, it makes it worse. A virus that knows no borders is either contained by global cooperation. Or not.

More: The aid program for American medium-sized companies only starts off bumpy.

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US deaths top 7,000, Fauci warns about ‘knockout drug’

This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. All times below are in Eastern time. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks.

  • Global cases: More than 1,088,878
  • Global deaths: At least 58,773
  • US cases: At least 270,473
  • US deaths: At least 7,077

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

6:21 pm: Coronavirus could cause $1 billion loss for NBA, NHL and MLB broadcasters, ad firm says

The coronavirus pandemic could cause roughly $1 billion in lost advertising for broadcasters of the top three U.S. pro sports leagues, according to ad firm MediaRadar.

The advertising information company released its findings showing how the virus would affect ad spend for the sports industry. The analysis found that combined, the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball would generate roughly $1 billion for broadcasters.

And that number could significantly increase if the National Football League experiences any delays due to coronavirus. The NFL’s season isn’t scheduled to start until September. —Jabari Young

6:16 pm: Updated map of US cases, which now total 270,473

6:09 pm: Next coronavirus relief bill should make health care a priority, McConnell says

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that health care must be at the “top of the list” in the next coronavirus rescue package.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the Republican leader said Congress should focus on correcting any shortcomings in the just-passed $2.2 trillion aid bill and rely on health care experts for solutions to “wipe out” the virus.

“There will be a next measure,” McConnell said about what would be the fourth coronavirus aid bill from Congress.

The Kentucky Republican said the next package “should be more a targeted response to what we got wrong and what we didn’t do enough for — and at the top of the list there would have to be the health care part of it.” —Associated Press

6:02 pm: Treasury makes coronavirus loan terms less favorable for small businesses

The Treasury Department changed the terms on some loans it’s offering to small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, making them less favorable for borrowers, experts say.

The loans at issue are being made through the Paycheck Protection Program, which offers up to $10 million in forgivable loans to businesses with 500 or fewer employees.

The program, which officially opened for many borrowers on Friday morning, will dole out up to $349 billion to ailing small businesses to help cover costs like payroll, rent and utilities. The loans are made through lenders approved by the Small Business Administration and other institutions. —Greg Iacurci

5:45 pm: CDC recommends cloth face covering to protect against coronavirus, Trump says

President Donald Trump said the Centers for Disease Control recommends using a cloth face covering to protect against coronavirus, but said he does not plan to do so himself.

Trump stressed that the recommendations were “voluntary.”

The CDC’s website explained that the guidance was updated following new studies that some infected people can transmit the coronavirus even without displaying symptoms of the disease.

“In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain,” such as in grocery stores or pharmacies, “especially in areas of significant community-based transmission,” the CDC says. —Christina Wilkie

5:25 pm: Ace Hardware ramps up hiring as pandemic, spring season leads to more demand

Ace Hardware plans to hire more than 30,000 employees as they see more demand for home repair items and cleaning products during the coronavirus pandemic. The Illinois-based hardware cooperative is hiring full-time, part-time and seasonal employees at its more than 4,300 stores across the U.S. Home improvement retailers, including Ace Hardware, usually do seasonal hiring in the spring.

It’s the busiest season for the stores as people take advantage of warmer weather to garden or do home projects. This year, customers are turning to the stores during the pandemic, too, to get cleaning supplies or items for home maintenance and repairs as they stay indoors. Lowe’s, which also said it’s seen more business, and Home Depot are also looking to fill thousands of jobs. —Melissa Repko

5 pm: Auto retailers furlough workers

AutoNation, the nation’s largest U.S. auto dealership chain, is placing 7,000 employees on unpaid leave, slashing executive pay and postponing more than $50 million of capital spending as its year-over-year sales declined by about 50% last month, according to a Friday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company, as automakers did earlier in the week, cited “shelter-in-place” or “stay-at-home” orders from federal, state, and local governments as reasons for the decline in sales.

J.D. Power earlier in the week forecast retail sales this month to decline by about 80% compared with April 2019 due to stay-at-home orders and COVID-19′s overall impact on the economy and consumer confidence. Retail sales do not include sales to fleet customers such as the government or businesses.

AutoNation’s actions follow similar cuts from other publicly traded auto retailers such as Penske Automotive Group and Group 1 Automotive. —Michael Wayland

4:45 pm: California secures 7,000 hotel rooms for the homeless

California Governor Gavin Newsom

Agustin Paullier | AFP | Getty Images

California has secured 7,000 rooms and hopes to reserve as many as 15,000 to house homeless people as the state fights the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

A total of 869 people have moved in so far, Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “Homelessness is a crisis that predates the current crisis. We’re doing everything we can to meet it head-on,” he said. The project, called “Room Key,” will be partially funded by FEMA, which will reimburse cities and counties for 75% of the costs, according to Newsom.

Newsom’s announcement comes a day after San Francisco reported its first COVID-19 case in a homeless shelter. —Kif Leswing

4:30 pm: Mexico stops brewing Corona beer, deemed non-essential in epidemic

Mexico’s Grupo Modelo said on Thursday it will temporarily stop brewing Corona beer and other brands exported to 180 countries after its business activities were declared non-essential under a government order aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

The Mexican government this week declared a health emergency and ordered the suspension of non-essential activities after the number of coronavirus cases in the country surpassed 1,000. On Thursday, it reported 1,510 cases and 50 deaths. —Reuters

4:20 pm: Economic damage rises as coronavirus hit worsens – here’s what to watch

The latest jobs report on Friday shone a light on the economic damage of the coronavirus crisis.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls dropped by 701,000 jobs in March, according to the Labor Department. This comes after data released Thursday that showed a record-breaking 6.6 million new jobless claims last week.

Five experts weigh in on the economic fallout. —Ivana Freitas

4:03 pm: Dow drops more than 300 points to close out another wild week on Wall Street

Stocks fell on Friday to end another volatile week of trading, pressured by a spike in coronavirus-related deaths in New York while investors digested a dismal U.S. jobs report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 357 points, or 1.7% in wild trading. The S&P 500 dropped 1.5%. The Nasdaq Composite also pulled back 1.5%. —Fred Imbert, Silvia Amaro, Thomas Franck

3:31 pm: Supreme Court postpones more oral arguments

The U.S. Supreme Court said it will postpone oral arguments scheduled for the last two weeks of April, and left open the possibility that some previously scheduled cases will not be heard at all before the end of the current term.

The court announced last month that cases set for late March and early April would be delayed as a health precaution, noting that the last time such a precaution had been taken was for the 1918 Spanish flu. Among the delayed cases were high-profile disputes of President Donald Trump’s financial records.

“The Court will consider rescheduling some cases from the March and April sessions before the end of the Term, if circumstances permit in light of public health and safety guidance at that time,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “The Court will consider a range of scheduling options and other alternatives if arguments cannot be held in the Courtroom before the end of the Term.”

The court will continue to decide cases for which it has already heard arguments, with opinions posted on its website. The Supreme Court term typically ends in June. —Tucker Higgins

3:24 pm: Field hospitals go up around the world

An emergency field hospital is being constructed in Central Park in New York City, United States on March 30, 2020.

Lokman Vural | Elibol | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Healthcare systems in countries around the world have been overwhelmed fighting the pandemic, forcing governments to build temporary field hospitals to help deal with the growing numbers of their infected population.

In Wuhan, China where the coronavirus first originated, two massive emergency hospitals were built in just 10 days. In New York, the epicenter of cases in the U.S., field hospitals have now been set up in the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and Central Park, and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center has been converted into a 350-bed hospital.

Here are photos of field hospitals around the world. —Adam Jeffery

3:12 pm: Pentagon adjusts screening process for care on hospital ship in New York

The Pentagon announced it will modify the screening process for people to receive care on the hospital ship USNS Comfort in order to reduce the backlog of patients at New York hospitals.

The screening effort will now occur pier-side and will no longer require a patient to test negative for the coronavirus.

“Each patient will still be screened by temperature and a short questionnaire,” the Pentagon said. “This assistance will further unburden the local hospital and ambulance systems in these areas, allowing them to focus on the more serious COVID-19 cases.”

On Thursday, the captains of the U.S. Navy’s two hospital ships said that the vessels have treated fewer than 20 patients since deploying to New York and Los Angeles. —Amanda Macias

2:49 pm: Disney sets new dates for ‘Mulan,’ ‘Black Widow,’ ‘Jungle Cruise’ and more

Disney is making drastic changes to its 2020 movie slate in the wake of the outbreak.

The company revealed a number of films would be shifted to later dates on the calendar this year and into 2021 and 2022. Other films would be pushed to Disney+ or were not given a new release date as of yet.

Here’s Disney’s new slate. —Sarah Whitten

2:42 pm: Anyone near Trump or Pence will be given rapid coronavirus test-White House

With the coronavirus contagion spreading, the White House said anyone expected to be near President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence will be given a rapid COVID-19 test.

“As the physician to the president and White House Operations continue to protect the health and safety of the president and vice president, starting today anyone who is expected to be in close proximity to either of them will be administered a COVID-19 test to evaluate for pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic carriers status to limit inadvertent transmission,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere. —Reuters

2:35 pm: Etsy calls on sellers to make masks and face covers

E-commerce website Etsy is calling on its existing sellers to make masks and face covers amid growing demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re experiencing unprecedented demand,” Etsy said in an app notification sent to sellers. “You can make a difference.”

The company offered guidelines on how to list face covers and masks on the online marketplace, including warnings against making health or medical claims about the items and against reselling commercially made products. The company also offered suggestions for how to match descriptions of the products with what shoppers are searching for. —Sarah Whitten

2:22 pm: Bank of America says 58,000 small businesses have asked for $6 billion in loans since 9 a.m.

2:16 pm: Loan program delayed for independent contractors and self-employed workers

2:01 pm: Trump compelled companies to make critical supplies, but most of them were already doing it

President Donald Trump, after much reluctance, has used the powers of the Defense Production Act to compel companies to manufacture items in short supply that would aid in the U.S. response to the deadly coronavirus.

The bulk of the companies assisting with emergency supply production were compelled to do so on Thursday, more than two weeks after Trump signed the executive order triggering the Korean War-era law. In a statement, the president said his order would “more fully ensure that domestic manufacturers can produce ventilators needed to save American lives.”

“My order to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Homeland Security will help domestic manufacturers like General Electric, Hill-Rom, Medtronic, ResMed, Royal Philips, and Vyaire Medical secure the supplies they need to build ventilators needed to defeat the virus,” the statement continued.

Many of them had already ramped up production. —Yelena Dzhanova

1:55 pm: Airlines ordered to give refunds — not just vouchers — when flights are axed amid coronavirus

A worker walks through a baggage claim area at a nearly-empty O’Hare International Airport on April 2, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.

Scott Olson | Getty Images

The Department of Transportation said that airlines must give customers refunds when flights are canceled or significantly delayed amid coronavirus.

The agency said it has received an increasing number of complaints from airline customers who said they were denied refunds for canceled or significantly delayed flights and instead given vouchers to use for travel at a later date.

“In recognition of the fact that the COVID-19 public health emergency has had major impacts on the airline industry, the Aviation Enforcement Office will exercise its prosecutorial discretion and provide carriers an opportunity to become compliant before taking further action,” the agency said. —Leslie Josephs

1:44 pm: Dow drops 500 points as sell-off accelerates to end a wild week

1:11 pm: Coronavirus pandemic economic fallout ‘way worse than the global financial crisis,’ IMF chief says

The coronavirus pandemic has created an economic crisis “like no other,” the top International Monetary Fund official said.

“Never in the history of the IMF have we witnessed the world economy come to a standstill,” said IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva.

“This is in my lifetime humanity’s darkest hour, a big threat to the whole world, and it requires for us to stand united, be united,” Georgieva said during a World Health Organization press conference.

“It is way worse than the global financial crisis” of 2008-09, she said. “This is a crisis like no other.” —Dan Mangan

12:55 pm: WHO says countries that rush to containment risk ‘more severe and prolonged’ damage to economy

Countries that rush to lift quarantine restrictions risk an “even more severe and prolonged” economic downturn and a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned.

“We are all aware of the profound social and economic consequences of the pandemic,” Tedros said during a briefing at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. “Ultimately the best way for countries to end restrictions and ease their economic effects is to attack the virus.” —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

12:46 pm: Forced off the campaign trail by coronavirus, House candidates reach more voters than ever

The coronavirus pandemic has changed almost everything about American life. Businesses are closed, people are home, and, for millions, the economic devastation has been life-altering.

For those running for the House of Representatives, the crisis poses unique problems. Campaigning is a handshake, kiss-the-baby business, and so is its lifeblood — fundraising. You can’t get out the vote if you can’t get out.

But interviews with candidates, strategists and fundraisers in recent days suggest that contenders in both parties are adjusting to the downturn with early signs of success. There are worries that the money will dry up, but it hasn’t yet. Voters, cooped up at home and worried about the future, are tuning in.

“What we are learning is that people are looking forward to distraction right now,” said Mike Garcia, a California Republican who is running in a special election for the House seat vacated by former Rep. Katie Hill. “People are paying attention.” —Tucker Higgins

12:27 pm: Detroit automakers creating new ‘arsenal of health’

Ford Motor employee Pat Tucker is among the autoworkers assisting the Detroit automakers in creating a new “arsenal of health” to assist health-care workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 55-year-old grandmother has been working 12-hour shifts every day for nearly two weeks to build much-needed medical face shields at a Ford subsidiary facility in Plymouth, Michigan.

“I want to help end this. I want to be here to watch my grandchildren grow up and graduate and get married, and I want them to be able to grow up,” she told CNBC Thursday night. “I enjoy helping people.”

She’s not alone. As they did nearly 80 years ago to assist the “Arsenal of Democracy” during World War II, employees at each of the Detroit automakers are assisting where they can.

Ford’s COVID-19 efforts are code-named “Project Apollo.” General Motors is executing “Project V” and “Project M.” Fiat Chrysler didn’t code-name its efforts but is assisting in feeding American children and making supplies during the outbreak as well. —Michael Wayland

12:18 pm: U.S. banks have processed more than $875 million in small business relief loans

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said community banks have processed more than $875 million in small business loans aimed at shoring up the economy amid the global coronavirus pandemic, and he sounded a positive note about a new program that lenders have greeted with skepticism.

“#PPPloan now over $875,000,000 processed almost all from community banks!” Mnuchin wrote on Twitter. “Big banks taking applications and will submitting them shortly.” —Reuters

12:05 pm: Free meals available to New Yorkers

The New York City Department of Education is making three free daily meals available to any New Yorker. People can pick up the meals at any of the city’s 400 Meal Hubs on weekdays, according to the DOE.

Children and families can access the hubs from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., while adults can go from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Registration or identification is not required to obtain the meals, and halal and vegetarian options are available.

New Yorkers can use the DOE’s Meal Hub online lookup tool to find a pickup location.—Hannah Miller

11:55 am: ‘It’s only right’ — Cramer, a restaurant owner, says the government closed us, so it should help

Leaning on his experience as a restaurant owner, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said the U.S. government has an obligation to aid small businesses that are shut down during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I had a business that was closed. It was doing great, and then one day I learned I was closed,” Cramer said on “Squawk on the Street.” “You better help.”

Cramer owns Bar San Miguel and co-owns The Longshoreman, both in Brooklyn, New York.

The “Mad Money” host’s comments Friday came on the launch day of a $350 billion government program to help small business owners who are trying to navigate the economic shock from the coronavirus. —Kevin Stankiewicz

11:47 am: Scammers swooping in amid coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus scams are on the rise.

Government agencies, like the IRS, the Federal Trade Commission and the Social Security Administration, are warning consumers to be vigilant as fraudsters try to take advantage of them during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Whenever crises erupt, the scammers and fraudsters have a heyday,” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League, a consumer advocacy group. “We see so much fraud related to COVID-19 because people need answers, aren’t thinking straight and are somewhat confused.”

There’s been an uptick in financial fraud connected to the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package signed into law last week. —Greg Iacurci

11:39 am: Markets expect depression-level job losses, but the duration of the shutdowns is a much bigger worry

Stocks and bonds had a relatively muted response to the March employment report, which was far worse than forecast but barely reflected the unprecedented collapse of the labor market and the loss of millions of jobs from the coronavirus shutdowns.

Nonfarm payrolls fell by 701,000 in March, seven times what was forecast, but just a fraction of the actual jobs lost, which already have shown up in 10 million unemployment claims in the second half of March.

What the March employment report does show is the loss of 459,000 jobs in the leisure industry, showing how quickly the restaurant and hotel industry pared back staff, even ahead of major state shutdown orders.

“We all know things are terrible. We all know millions of people are losing their jobs,” said Peter Boockvar, chief investment strategist at Bleakley Advisory Group. “We had this sharp decline in anticipation of this news. The next batch of news we don’t know is what is the duration of this and what is going to happen in May. We hope at the end of April that we are looking at a slow reopening.” —Patti Domm

11:31 am: It’s ‘absurd’ – 3M CEO defends coronavirus response after Trump invokes DPA

The CEO of 3M said his company is maximizing its efforts to get respirator masks to U.S. health workers fighting the coronavirus, pushing back on what he called President Donald Trump’s “absurd” suggestion that the manufacturer was not doing all it could.

“Nothing is further from the truth,” CEO Mike Roman said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” when told of Trump’s tweet slamming 3M “after seeing what they were doing with their Masks.”

Trump on Thursday issued an order under the Defense Production Act directing acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to “use any and all authority available under the Act to acquire, from any appropriate subsidiary or affiliate of 3M Company, the number of N-95 respirators that the Administrator determines to be appropriate.”

Later Thursday, Trump tweeted, “We hit 3M hard today.” —Kevin Breuninger

11:25 am: New York Gov. Cuomo says state saw its biggest single-day increase in coronavirus deaths on Thursday

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that 562 New Yorkers died from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours, the highest single increase in deaths since the outbreak began a few weeks ago. A total of 2,935 New Yorkers have died from the coronavirus.

“The curve continues to go up,” Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany, referring to the number of new COVID-19 cases across the state. There are 102,863 confirmed cases across the state, a 10% jump overnight, according to charts presented at the press conference. New York City alone accounts for 57,159 total cases, up 5,350 over the last 24 hours. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

Correction: This entry has been updated to reflect that 562 New Yorkers died from coronavirus over the last 24 hours.

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

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, participates in the daily coronavirus task force briefing in the Brady Briefing room at the White House on March 31, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Win McNamee | Getty Images

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.

11:12 am: This chart shows which industries saw big job losses in March 2020

Among the hardest-hit areas of the economy in March was accommodation and food services sector, which had more than half of the month’s net losses. Businesses that prepare meals, snacks and beverages for customers for either on-premise (sit-down restaurants and bars) or off-premise (delivery and take-out) consumption saw payrolls slide by 417,000.

The broader leisure and hospitality sector, which includes that 417,000 decline in the food services industry, saw payrolls decline by 459,000 as hotels and other lodging businesses also cut jobs. This employment decline nearly offset gains accrued over the previous two years.

The government described the degree of losses in that industry (as well as in health care and social assistance) as “notable” and said the nosedive reflects the nationwide effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. —Thomas Franck

11:02 am: 3M warns Trump that halting exports would reduce number of masks available to US

3M warned that the Trump administration’s request for the company to stop exporting respirator masks could make the protective gear less available in the U.S.

The American manufacturing giant shared that caution a day after President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to force 3M to produce respirator masks.

The company said it was already working with the administration on getting more masks to the U.S. —Kevin Breuninger

10:57 am: Dismissed US carrier captain to be reassigned during probe, acting Navy secretary says

Captain Brett Crozier, commanding officer of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, addresses the crew during an all-hands call on the ship’s flight deck in the eastern Pacific Ocean December 19, 2019.

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nicholas Huynh | US Navy

The fired commander of a U.S. aircraft carrier that suffered a coronavirus outbreak will not be thrown out of the Navy but rather reassigned, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told Reuters, adding that an investigation would determine if he should face disciplinary action.

Modly said the probe would look into the communications and the chain of command after Capt. Brett Crozier was relieved of his command for sharing a scathing letter regarding the outbreak of the virus on the USS Theodore Roosevelt too widely, effectively allowing it to be leaked to the media.

“He’ll get reassigned, he’s not thrown out of the Navy,” Modly said. —Reuters

10:51 am: US, Spain, and Italy continue to outpace the world in the number of cases

10:46 am: Brazil’s leader under intensifying pressure over coronavirus denial

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has sparked public outcry over his laissez-faire handling of the coronavirus crisis, with a movement to impeach the right-wing nationalist leader gaining popular support. The president of Latin America’s largest economy has repeatedly played down the threat of the pandemic, dismissing it as a “little flu” and condemning state governors for imposing lockdowns that are causing job losses.

He has also contradicted his own health minister’s advice over self-isolation and social distancing, encouraging people to end their time in quarantine and return to work.

All but three of Brazil’s 27 states have refused to relax lockdown measures, and citizens in many urban centers can be heard banging pots and pans from their homes each evening as an act of protest to the president’s demands. —Sam Meredith

10:21 am: Another figure in the jobs report paints an even gloomier picture of the damage

The government’s survey of establishments painted a grim picture of the U.S. employment situation through early March, but its poll of households was far worse.

The household survey, which asks individual residents how many people are working there, showed a stunning drop of 2,987,000 workers for the month.

That compares with the 701,000 nonfarm payrolls decline reported in the establishment survey and gives another perspective to just how bad the situation has gotten since the economy has all but shut down to protect against the coronavirus spread. —Jeff Cox

10:09 am: Florida finally takes cruise passengers, some on stretchers

A patient is taken off the the Zaandam cruise ship after it arrived at Port Everglades on April 02, 2020 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Passengers from an ill-fated cruise were carefully freed from their cabins and allowed to touch dry land for the first time in weeks, following the removal of 14 critically ill people who were wheeled off to Florida hospitals bracing for an onslaught of coronavirus patients.

The exodus from the Zaandaam and its sister ship the Rotterdam was expected to continue throughout the day. Floridians were getting off first, followed by other passengers.

At least four buses brought the first small groups to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, where they prepared to board two planes waiting on the tarmac. The passengers wore masks, while paramedics and airline workers were fully suited up and masked in protective gear.

They’ll be followed by what Carnival said was its last ship carrying passengers to a U.S. port since the pandemic was declared. The Coral Princess is expected to arrive at the Port Everglades terminal on Saturday with more than 1,000 passengers who have been isolating in their cabins, including 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on board. —Associated Press

10:03 am: US services sector growth slows while employment drops, ISM reports

U.S. services sector activity slowed to a more than 3½-year low in March, with industries reporting a moderation in new orders and a drop in employment amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Institute for Supply Management said its nonmanufacturing activity index fell to a reading of 52.5 last month, the lowest since August 2016, from 57.3 in February.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the services sector, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index dropping to a reading of 44.0 in March. —Reuters

9:55 am: FedEx slashes CEO’s salary, draws $1.5 billion from its credit line

FedEx said it would slash its chief executive officer’s pay and draw down $1.5 billion from a credit facility as delivery services take a hit from coronavirus-led lockdowns across the globe.

The company, which also suspended its financial outlook, said its board had approved a 91% reduction in CEO Frederick Smith’s base salary for six-month period from April 1 to Sept. 30. —Reuters

9:51 am: Pelosi wants more small business loans, direct payments, and unemployment benefits

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks to the press after the House passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill, on March 27, 2020, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.

Alex Edelman | AFP | Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for another bill to expand the provisions in the $2 trillion package Congress passed last week to limit the economic devastation from the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s not enough,” Pelosi told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” about the last relief measure, after the government employment report showed the U.S. economy lost 701,000 jobs in early March as businesses started to close.

The California Democrat said she wants more direct payments to individuals, beyond the chunks of up to $1,200 lawmakers previously approved. She pushed for more small business loan funding beyond the $350 billion in the last law, and to extend beefed-up unemployment insurance for two more months. —Jacob Pramuk

9:44 am: The White House tried to force 3M to send face masks to US instead of Asia, report says

The White House reportedly tried to force 3M to export 10 million N95 respirator masks from its Singapore facilities to the U.S. rather than sending them to its markets in Asia, the Financial Times first reported, citing a person familiar with the conversations.

The Minnesota-based company was reluctant to accept the White House request on legal and humanitarian grounds since health-care workers across the region would be left without protection, the person said.

Peter Navarro, the White House advisor on trade and manufacturing, said that the administration “had some issues” making sure all the production 3M does around the world is going to the right places. The White House invoked the Defense Production Act on the company in an effort to boost its production of face masks.

In a statement, 3M said the administration also requested the company cease exporting respirators to Canadian and Latin American markets, however, it said there are significant humanitarian implications of doing so. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

9:15 am: New Google site shows where people are taking social distancing seriously — and where they’re not

Google has launched a new website that uses anonymous location data collected from users of Google products and services to show the level of social distancing taking place in various locations.

The COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports web site will show population data trends of six categories: Retail and recreation, grocery and pharmacy, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential. The data will track changes over the course of several weeks, and as recent as 48-to-72 hours prior, and will initially cover 131 countries as well as individual counties within certain states.

Google says the data will be collected in aggregate, rather than at an individual level, and it won’t show absolute numbers of people showing up at parks or grocery stores. The idea instead is to outline percentages, which highlight potential surges in attendance. —Jennifer Elias

9:00 am: ‘The Hot Zone’ author warns the next pandemic could ‘balloon faster’ than the coronavirus

The world will experience another pandemic, and it could be even more severe than the new coronavirus, author Richard Preston told CNBC on Friday.

“We hear some people saying, ‘Well this is a once-in-a-100-year event.’ It is absolutely not,” Preston said on “Squawk Box.” “I think a worse-case scenario could be worse than coronavirus.”

Preston is the author of the 1994 book, “The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus.” It was the basis of 2019 TV mini-series from the National Geographic Channel. —Kevin Stankiewicz

8:56 am: Small businesses have ‘a million questions’ about paycheck relief loan as applications come due

Millions of small business owners on Friday will start applying for government-backed loans that will let them pay people not to work with the hope that once the economy reopens companies can pick up where they left off. But confusion about the Small Business Administration loans is widespread at banks and among potential borrowers.

The banks responsible for accepting the applications and distributing the money aren’t all up to speed and, inundated with inquiries, are relaying differing messages to their clients. CNBC reported on Thursday that JPMorgan Chase, the biggest U.S. bank, told customers by email that it would likely not be ready to start taking applications on Friday.

The loan in question is the paycheck protection program (PPP), and it accounts for $349 billion of the $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package, or CARES Act, passed by Congress and signed into law last week. Businesses with fewer than 500 employees are eligible, and that includes independent contractors. Employers can apply to receive up to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll expense, including health-care benefits, for annual salaries up to $100,000. Loans max out at $10 million. —Ari Levy

8:40 am: The White House tried to force 3M to send face masks from Singapore to US, report says

The White House tried to force 3M to export 10 million N95 respirator masks from its Singapore facilities to the U.S., rather than sending them to its markets in Asia, the Financial Times first reported, citing a person familiar with the conversations. The Minnesota-based company was reluctant to accept the White House request on legal and humanitarian grounds since healthcare workers across the region would be left without protection, the person told the FT.

The White House invoked the Defense Production Act in an effort to boost 3M’s production of face masks. In a statement, 3M said the administration also requested the company cease exporting respirators to Canadian and Latin American markets. However, it said there are significant humanitarian implications of doing so.

“Ceasing all export of respirators produced in the United States would likely cause other countries to retaliate and do the same, as some have already done,” the company said in a statement. “If that were to occur, the net number of respirators being made available to the United States would actually decrease.” —Noah Higgins-Dunn

8:33 am: US payrolls drop 701,000 in March, the first jobs decline since 2010

Nonfarm payrolls dropped by 701,000 in March, according to Labor Department numbers that begin to show the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus crisis.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.4% as employers just began to cut payrolls ahead of social distancing practices that shut down large swaths of the U.S. economy in order to stop the virus’s spread.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for a payroll decline of 10,000 and for the unemployment rate to rise to 3.7%. —Jeff Cox

8:20 am: Cannes Lions advertising festival, previously postponed, is now canceled

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the ad industry’s major awards festival and conference held in France each summer, has been canceled due to the coronavirus.

The festival, originally scheduled for June 22 through June  26, was postponed in March to Oct. 26 through Oct 30, but organizers announced the decision to cancel it for good this year.

“As the impact from COVID-19 continues to be felt across the world on consumers and our customers across the marketing, creative and media industries, it has become clear to us our customers’ priorities have shifted to the need to protect people, to serve consumers with essential items and to focus on preserving companies, society and economies,” organizers said in a statement Friday.

The next festival will take place June 21 through June 25 in 2021. —Megan Graham

8:09 am: Italian luxury shoemaker Sergio Rossi dies

Italian luxury shoemaker Sergio Rossi has died aged 85 after being hospitalized with the coronavirus, the mayor of the designer’s home town said.

Italy has recorded more deaths from coronavirus than any other country in the world, with 13,915 fatalities as of Thursday. The elderly have been particularly hard hit. Rossi died on Thursday in the small town of Cesena in central Italy.

“He was among the founders of the high-end women’s footwear district in the area of Forlì and Cesena in the mid-20th century,” said Luciana Garbuglia, mayor of San Mauro Pascoli, where Rossi was born in 1935 and where he founded his brand.

French luxury fashion group Kering took over the brand in 1999. It then passed into the hands of the Italian private equity fund Investindustrial in 2015, when Rossi had already retired. —Reuters

7:56 am: Spain cases surpass Italy’s, now second in the world

A general view of the temporary hospital for COVID-19 patients located at the Ifema convention and exhibition centre in Madrid, Spain taken on April 03, 2020.

Pierre-Philippe Marcou | AFP via Getty Images

As of 6 a.m. ET, Spain had reported 117,710 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University, surpassing the total count of cases in Italy, the original epicenter of Europe’s outbreak. According to Hopkins, Italy had reported 115,242 cases as of 6 a.m. That makes Spain second in the world for COVID-19 cases, behind only the U.S. Spain typically reports daily new cases several hours ahead of Italy, and the numbers will likely change throughout the day. —Will Feuer

7:30 am: UK health minister suggests nationwide peak could be Easter Sunday

U.K. Health Minister itMatt Hancock reportedly said the deadliest peak of Britain’s coronavirus outbreak could be on Easter Sunday.

In an interview with Sky News, Hancock said he “would defer to the scientists on exact predictions,” but the peak of the U.K. outbreak falling on April 12 was “one perfectly possible outcome.”

To date, the U.K. has reported more than 34,000 cases of the COVID-19 infection, with 2,926 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. —Sam Meredith

7:19 am: BMW CEO says the company is working to safeguard liquidity

An employee inspects the body frame of a BMW X4 sports utility vehicle on the assembly plant in Greer, South Carolina.

Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

BMW Chief Executive Oliver Zipse said the carmaker is focusing on preserving the health of its balance sheet and workforce.

“No company can possibly get through something like this unscathed. Guaranteeing our liquidity needs to happen very quickly. The Management Board are currently meeting twice as often as normal, so we can make the necessary decisions,” Zipse said in a statement.

“We are preparing to ramp up production as soon as the time is right in full compliance with all the safety aspects, and with international coordination. It’s essential that we synchronize with the supplier network on this,” he added. —Reuters

7:10 am: March job losses could be the worst in a decade

March’s employment report could show the most monthly job losses in a decade, but it’s only a fraction of the real hit to the workforce that came when many states issued stay-at-home orders late in the month.

Economists expect a consensus decline of 100,000 nonfarm payrolls when data is released at 8:30 am ET, according to Refinitiv. But the survey for the report was done before many states began telling residents to stay home. For the final two weeks of the month, 10 million people sought unemployment benefits as businesses and schools closed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. —Patti Domm

7:06 am: European business activity craters as Brussels races to find a ‘credible’ funding plan

The coronavirus pandemic is hitting European economies sharply, with the latest economic data showing massive falls in services activity across the region.

In Italy, the services industry dropped in March at the fastest rate since the IHS Markit survey began in 1998. In Germany, the services sector laid off staff at the steepest rate in about 23 years. In Spain, services activity contracted for the first time in six-and-a-half years.

The data released Friday showed the final Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index — which includes services and manufacturing — for the whole euro zone crashed to a record low of 29.7 in March, from 51.6 in February. This was the biggest monthly fall since the survey began. —Silvia Amaro

6:00 am: Spain’s daily death toll falls for the first time since March 26

Coffins containing the bodies of people who have died of coronavirus (COVID-19) are lined up in the long-term parking of the Collserola morgue before they either buried or incinerated, on April 02, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain.

David Ramos | Getty Images

The amount of people that have died from the coronavirus in Spain has seen its first daily fall since March 26. A total of 932 people died in the last 24 hours, down from 950 people the previous day, according to Reuters who cited the country’s health ministry. Spain’s death toll now stands at 10,935. —Matt Clinch

5:33 am: China’s central bank announces new stimulus measures

The People’s Bank of China said it was reducing the amount of cash that small and mid-sized banks need to hold in reserve. It will reportedly free up around 400 billion yuan ($56.38 billion) in liquidity and aid the country’s economy which has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic. —Matt Clinch

4:50 am: Singapore shuts schools, closes most workplaces

People seated in a food center in Marina Bay Sands shopping mall according to safe distancing markers on March 30, 2020 in Singapore.

Ore Huiying | Getty Images

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced stricter social distancing measures in the city-state, joining a chorus of countries globally that have done so to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The measures include closing most workplaces, except those offering “essential services” such as food establishments, hospitals, and transport, Lee said. All schools will also be closed temporarily, he said. The prime minister also said his government is rethinking its advice that only those who are ill need to wear masks. —Yen Nee Lee

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Spain’s services industry records ‘unprecedented’ decline, survey shows

CORRECTION: This blog has been updated to correct the spelling of Cannes Lions in the headline.

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Shares and companies that benefit from the crisis

Many jumps in profits are likely to remain unique. But changing consumption and work habits, including considerations to move production back to your own country, will have long-term effects. Also because globalization is being questioned. According to the French Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, the virus should be a reason to rethink globalized supply flows. “It is necessary to bring back certain economic and technological business areas.”

Protection and disinfection: companies ramp up production

The biggest boom and inventiveness of companies is in respiratory protection. The mattress manufacturer Breckle from Weida, Thuringia, is converting part of its production entirely to respiratory masks. For a large order of 400,000 pieces, the medium-sized company has purchased an ultrasonic machine specifically so that the masks are not sewn, but welded. In doing so, they are responding to the increasing demand for respiratory masks worldwide, although doctors doubt their effectiveness.

The Taiwanese electronics and conglomerate Foxconn, which for Apple normally produces respirators for its workforce. After the majority of the 800,000 employees are equipped, Foxconn is now exporting its strategy.

The electronics manufacturer Sharp, which was taken over by Foxconn four years ago, produces 150,000 face masks a day in its Japanese display factory. According to Handelsblatt information, 600,000 units are to be delivered daily in the next few weeks.

Foxconn is not afraid of overproduction. Sales appear to be secured in the longer term. This is not only due to the current high demand, but also because the 127 million Japanese take preventive protection against the flu virus seriously by covering their mouths and noses.

In the US, conglomerate 3M is benefiting from the high demand for respirators. Instead of just five days a week, production now works seven days in a row on the production of N95 masks at the factory in Aberdeen in South Dakota. 3M also manufactures disposable overalls and hoods for isolation stations in hospitals. Has increased sales in the United States Clorox, the American counterpart to Sagrotan.

On February 4, when the management had presented the quarterly figures, CEO Benno Dorer said that he had not registered any increased demand so far, but was preparing for a rush – and therefore ramped up the production of disinfectant sprays.

Sagrotan manufacturer increased production weeks ago

The foresight should soon pay off. Since the virus reached the United States, disinfectants have sold out in many places. The share price rose to a record high and has risen by 15 percent since the outbreak of the crisis. Investors speculate that Clorox will raise its quarterly forecast.

German chemical companies that produce disinfectants under their own brands or ingredients for other manufacturers are also doing good business. Lanxess is the world market leader in disinfection in animal husbandry, but also produces funds for hospitals in the same plants.

Evonik manufactures disinfectants for sterilization in medical applications. “Our products are currently being torn out of our hands,” Evonik CEO Christian Kullmann reported last week at the annual press conference.

At medical technology manufacturer Drägerwerk, Corona has led to a surge in demand for respiratory masks and ventilators. The two locations in South Africa and Sweden are running at full load.

Reach from China Dräger currently many orders for ventilation accessories such as breathing tubes and filters. “Our factories are running at full speed,” says the Sagrotan manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser.

According to a group spokeswoman, the demand for disinfectants has “risen sharply”. That is why Reckitt increased global production capacities weeks ago. Nevertheless, there may be delays and bottlenecks in the coming weeks.

Retail: Canned food manufacturers and online delivery services benefit from the corona virus

The trend towards fresh regional foods set brands like Campbell Soup or Heinz ketchup too. That has changed suddenly since the outbreak of Corona. For fear of an emergency, more and more people are buying canned goods and powder soups. “Demand is increasing, no question about it,” said Mark Clouse, Campbell Soup CEO.

Last Wednesday, the stock of the soup maker, which also makes numerous other durable products such as spaghetti or snacks, jumped by ten percent. It’s the best performance in two decades. Overall, paper has risen by eight and a half percent since the last week in February, when the stock market crashed as a result of the corona crisis.

For comparison: The American stock market index S&P 500 lost just as much in value in the same period. What investors particularly like: Camp sources only ten percent of its ingredients outside the United States.

According to an analysis by the market research institute Nielsen, sales of milk powder in the United States more than tripled in the last week of February. Sales of dried beans rose by 37 percent, those of canned meat by 32 percent. The increase in sales was only exceeded by respiratory masks and disinfectants. Internet commerce is also a major beneficiary of the crisis.

The trend of having everyday consumer goods delivered to your door has been around for a long time – especially in Asia. Therefore the German service expanded Delivery Hero through the purchase of the South Korean market leader Baemin to the Far East. Corona is now reinforcing this trend.

Restaurants have to close, online services are booming

Since the government in Seoul asked the population to work more at home and go out less, sales have increased: at Baemin they increased by nine percent in the first half of February compared to the previous month, at nationwide number two, Yogiyo, by eleven Percent. Remarkable, since orders usually collapse after the New Year, which was the end of January this year.

“We believe that the epidemic will have a long-term impact on the behavior of Chinese consumers and will accelerate the trend towards online shopping channels,” said an analysis by the rating agency Fitch.

In the Chinese New Year week alone, JD.com sold 15,000 tons of fresh produce, 215 percent more than in the previous year. Above all, the demand for vegetables and meat increased by around 400 percent each.

While many shops and restaurants remain closed or have reduced opening hours, the food delivery company Meituan, whose platform has registered almost six million retailers and employs around 700,000 couriers, has quadrupled its food orders.

Due to the delivery boom, JD.com hired 20,000 new employees in the department store, as couriers and drivers, in February. Meicai, which exports fresh produce from the farm directly to the restaurant, also announced that it plans to contract another 6,000 truck drivers and 4,000 department store employees. At the moment, the staff was already working “to the end”.

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