Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The White House canceled an announcement planned for Wednesday on a proposed venture between General Motors and Ventec Life Systems to build necessary ventilators amid the coronavirus outbreak, the New York Times first reported and Axios confirmed.

What we know: The announcement was called off to buy more time for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assess whether the estimated cost of more than $1 billion was too expensive, and how many ventilators would be produced. Per the Times, the deal could still happen, but government officials are currently looking at other proposals.

  • Last week, GM and Ventec announced plans to collaborate in an attempt to expand Ventec's manufacturing capacity, including the possibility of building additional units at a GM component plant in Kokomo, Indiana.
  • "Both GM and Ventec continue to work hard looking at how to make more ventilators, and we are continuing to assess how we can use Kokomo," said GM spokesman Dan Flores.

The big picture: Manufacturers around the globe are shifting gears to produce supplies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Materials including ventilators, surgical masks and latex gloves are in high demand from medical providers as patients swarm health care facilities.

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U.S., Canada and U.K. accuse Russia of trying to steal coronavirus vaccine research

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Alexei Druzhinin\TASS via Getty Images

Hackers associated with Russian intelligence services are trying to steal information from researchers involved in coronavirus vaccine development, according to a joint advisory by U.K., U.S. and Canadian authorities published Thursday.

The big picture: This isn't the first time a foreign adversary has been accused of attempting to steal COVID-19-related research. U.S. officials in May announced an uptick in Chinese-government affiliated hackers targeting medical research and other facilities in the U.S. for data on a potential cure or effective treatments to combat the virus.

M&A activity falls despite early coronavirus fears

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In April, several prominent Democrats proposed a moratorium on large mergers and acquisitions. Their argument was that the pandemic would embolden the strong to pounce on the weak, thus reducing competition.

Fast forward: The moratorium never materialized. Nor did the M&A feeding frenzy.

More than 32 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits

Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

More than 32 million Americans are receiving some form of unemployment benefits, according to data released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

Why it matters: Tens of millions of jobless Americans will soon have a smaller cash cushion — as coronavirus cases surge and certain parts of the country re-enter pandemic lockdowns — barring an extension of the more generous unemployment benefits that are set to expire at the end of the month.