Coronavirus: California ramps up hospital capacity as cases surge

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The U.S. reported another record single-day spike in new cases as outbreaks continue to rage in hot spots across the country, particularly in the South and West. Even as daily new cases continue to accelerate and the country surpasses 3 million total cases, President Donald Trump is pushing for schools across the country to reopen in the fall. 

  • Global cases: More than 12 million
  • Global deaths: At least 548,822
  • Top five countries: United States (over 3 million), Brazil (over 1.7 million), India (over 742,000), Russia (over 699,000), Peru (over 312,000)

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Here are today's top headlines:

Africa CDC says countries across the region must prioritize testing

Health care workers holding signs, protest over the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus outbreak, outside a hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.
Mike Hutchings | Reuters

A prominent disease control body in Africa has urged countries across the continent to ramp up testing for the coronavirus, Reuters reported, shortly after the number of regional cases surpassed 500,000.

"The pandemic is gaining momentum," John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a virtual news briefing. 

He urged countries to encourage citizens to wear face masks and carry out testing and tracing measures. 

To date, more than 522,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Africa, with 12,206 related deaths, according to data compiled by Africa CDC. —Sam Meredith.

Tokyo reports record daily high of coronavirus cases

A general view of the Kabukicho entertainment area on June 05, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.
Takashi Aoyama | via Getty Images

Japan's capital city reported a record daily rise of coronavirus cases on Thursday, Reuters reported, registering 224 new Covid-19 infections approximately one month after Japan lifted a state of emergency. 

Roughly 80% of the new coronavirus cases reported in Tokyo in the last 24 hours were among people aged 30-years-old or younger, according to Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

Authorities have since said there is no need to reintroduce a state of emergency. — Sam Meredith

Pharma balancing accessibility and patents in coronavirus vaccine race

Pricing future coronavirus vaccine like a 'public good' may hurt IP rights: IHS Markit
Pricing future coronavirus vaccine like a 'public good' may hurt IP rights: IHS Markit

The pharmaceutical industry is being careful to avoid setting any "dangerous" precedent in the Covid-19 vaccine development race that could potentially weaken their future intellectual property rights, Milena Izmirlieva, director of life sciences research at IHS Markit, told CNBC. 

Izmirlieva explained there have been calls for future Covid-19 vaccines to be treated as a public good, which is "sending warning bells" for the pharma industry. 

Intellectual property rights and patents, which give exclusivity and price control, are fundamental to the pharmaceutical industry as they enable companies to undertake costly research with the promise of future profits. —Saheli Roy Choudhury

Scientists warn of potential wave of brain damage linked to Covid-19

Scientists have warned about a potential wave of brain damage related to the coronavirus, Reuters reported Wednesday.

According to new evidence, Covid-19 can lead to potentially severe neurological complications. That includes inflammation, psychosis and delirium, the news wire reported.

Researchers at University College London described 43 cases where patients with Covid-19 suffered either temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage or other serious brain effects, Reuters said. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

Ivy League cancels fall sports due to Covid-19

The Ivy League has officially canceled its fall athletic programs, including its football schedule, due to Covid-19, the league announced.

In a statement, the Ivy League Council of Presidents called the decision "extremely difficult" but added "we simply do not believe we can create and maintain an environment for intercollegiate athletic competition that meets our requirements for safety and acceptable levels of risk, consistent with the policies that each of our schools is adopting as part of its reopening plans this fall."

The Ivy League will reevaluate when sports programs can resume by January 2021, and that could include a decision on starting a new football schedule in the spring.

The Ivy League became the first college conference to cancel its men's and women's basketball tournament on March 10 due to the pandemic. —Jabari Young

Illinois governor critical of federal response, says states were forced to compete for supplies

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during the daily press briefing regarding the coronavirus pandemic Sunday, May 3, 2020, at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago.
Erin Hooley | Chicago Tribune | Getty Images

Without a strong national coronavirus plan, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said states have been forced to engage in a "sick Hunger Games"-like competition over personal protective equipment and other supplies, CNBC's Alex Harring reports.

The federal government's response caused states to try to find their own supplies and compete against each other, he said while testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee.

"In the midst of a global pandemic, states were forced to play some sort of sick Hunger Games game show to save the lives of our people," Pritzker said. "Let me be clear: This is not a reality TV show. These are real things that are happening in the United States of America in 2020."

The state ended up paying $5 for masks that normally cost 85 cents, Pritzker, a Democrat, said.

Other governors have raised similar concerns, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said the 85 cent masks cost $7 in New York. –Suzanne Blake

San Francisco releases guidelines for reopening schools

The San Francisco Department of Public Health released preliminary guidelines for reopening local schools.

The guidance provides health and safety practices that schools should practice in order to resume in-person or on-site instruction. It lists precautions that both staff and students should consider and a series of specific situations where there is a high risk of viral exposure and transmission. That list includes transportation via school buses, mealtime at cafeterias, group singing/choir rehearsals, band practices and field trips. 

The guidelines also suggest how to properly socially distance in classrooms, keep face coverings on and increase outdoor air circulation. 

While the recommendations are based on the best science available at this time, they are subject to change as new knowledge on the virus and transmission emerges. —Jasmine Kim

Japanese theme parks ban screaming on roller coasters

Japan's theme park associations issued a ban on screaming during roller coaster rides as part of new Covid-19 guidelines, the Wall Street Journal reports. As the parks began reopening in May, the guidelines also included a recommendation for visitors to wear masks.

One video shows two executives at the Fuji-Q Highland amusement park riding the park's Fujiyama roller coaster silently with a message at the end: "Please scream inside your heart," the Journal reported.

The theme park associations said they are following guidance from health officials, who say that screaming, coughing and singing can spread respiratory droplets, according to the Wall Street Journal. –Suzanne Blake

Bed Bath & Beyond will close 200 stores over 2 years

Bed Bath & Beyond and Buy Buy Baby signage is displayed outside of store in Los Angeles.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Bed Bath & Beyond said Wednesday it will close 200 of its namesake stores over two years, as it works toward getting back to profitability against a backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. Bed Bath — which also owns the chains buybuy Baby, Christmas Tree Shops and Harmon Face Values — said these actions should generate annual cost savings of between $250 million and $350 million, excluding related one-time costs. "We saw there were a number of stores dragging us down," Chief Executive Mark Tritton told CNBC in a phone interview. "We will continue to look at the rest of our concept doors, now that we have established the data criteria." 

The company made the announcement as it reported fiscal first-quarter earnings, where its sales tumbled nearly 50%, even as online sales surged more than 100% during April and May with consumers stocking up on cleaning supplies and home decor. Bed Bath shares fell nearly 10% in after-hours trading on the news. 

According to Tritton, as Bed Bath's stores are reopening during the pandemic, many are performing ahead of the retailer's internal expectations. Consumers have moved from stocking up on cleaning supplies, water filters and coffee, to bigger-ticket items like home decor, bedding and accessories for the backyard, he said. Bed Bath is not offering a 2020 outlook at this time. −Lauren Thomas

Flight attendants bear brunt of potential United Airlines job cuts

A row of United Airlines passenger planes parked at gates at Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado.
Robert Alexander | Getty Images

Flight attendants are set to bear the brunt of what's expected to be deep staff cuts at United Airlines as the carrier expects no quick recovery in air travel because of the pandemic. The Chicago-based carrier warned close to 40% of its staff, or 36,000 employees, that they could potentially be furloughed on Oct. 1, when the terms of federal aid run out.

Those federally-mandated warnings are going out to more than 15,000 flight attendants, or around 60% of the cabin crew members, United's biggest work group.

Furloughs start with the most junior employees. But because United says it will need to reduce jobs in such high numbers, flight attendants safe from furloughs would had to have started at the carrier around mid-November 1996 or earlier, according to a staff memo.

Warnings of possible furloughs also are going out to more than 11,000 airport operations staff, 5,400 mechanics and technicians, 2,250 pilots and more than 800 in catering division. —Leslie Josephs

California ramps up hospital capacity as coronavirus cases surge

Medical staff attend to a patient suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), at Scripps Mercy Hospital in Chula Vista, California, U.S., May 12, 2020.
Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced during his news briefing that the state now has healthcare capacity to treat 50,000 Covid-19 patients as it continues to see a surge in daily number of cases and hospitalizations. 

When comparing California's hospital data from March to that of July, the governor said the state is more ready and prepared to manage a surge in patients. It has built alternate care sites, such as Sleep Train Arena, established new hospital capacity such as Seton and deployed federal medical stations, according to Newsom.

He also said California's personal protective equipment (PPE) inventory has grown tremendously since March. The state has 232 million procedure masks and 46 million N95 masks in stock. 

"We're still in the process of procuring more masks but we've never been better positioned," Newsom said. 

California reported 11,694 new cases on July 7, a record-high surge in the number of new cases per day. However, the governor noted that Wednesday's case number is not an accurate depiction of a statewide daily increase as it includes a backlog of cases reported from laboratories in Los Angeles county. 

Newsom also announced that the number of hospitalizations due to Covid-19 is increasing. Over the last two weeks, California has seen a 44% increase in hospitalizations and 34% increase in intensive care unit (ICU) admissions. 

As California prepares for a spike in coronavirus patients, it added three new counties to the monitoring list for a total of 26. Approximately a week ago, there were 19 counties on the list, according to Newsom. —Jasmine Kim

Covid-19 hit July 4 travel harder in some states, study says

More Americans traveled for Independence Day than predicted, but rising or falling Covid-19 infection rates impacted how many trips each state saw July 3 to 5. Arrivalist, a New York travel research firm, had estimated nearly 37 million of us would hit the road last weekend. That would have been an 11% drop compared to July 4, 2019. In fact, trips were down just 9% compared to last year.

Whether or not Covid-19 cases are falling or rising in a given state contributed to how many trips residents were willing to take, Arrivalist found. States where new Covid-19 cases are on the rise saw travel rates 10% below the national average, whereas those where diagnoses have leveled off nearly doubled the amount of travel they saw over Memorial Day weekend. — Kenneth Kiesnoski

Covid-19 cases increase for younger Californians

As coronavirus cases surge in California, younger people appear to be getting infected more in recent weeks than during the initial outbreak, according to new data from the California Department of Public Health.

In California, confirmed cases more than doubled in the last month, according to data from John Hopkins University with about two-thirds of California's new infections among people ages 18 to 49, CNBC's John Schoen reports. In March, only about half of California's infections were in this younger age group. –Suzanne Blake

Universal pushes back horror film slate as coronavirus cases grow

Universal Pictures has postponed the releases of "Candyman," "The Forever Purge," "Halloween Kills," and "Halloween Ends." The move comes as the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has skyrocketed in recent weeks. 

"Candyman" will now arrive in theaters on Oct. 16; "The Forever Purge" will be pushed to July 9, 2021; "Halloween Kills" is now slated for Oct. 15, 2021; and "Halloween Ends" will reach theaters on Oct. 14, 2022.

The move is not unprecedented. Disney and Warner Bros. have continued to pun the releases of "Mulan" and "Tenet" into August, as concerns about whether movie theaters will be able to open rises, and Sony Pictures has postponed the majority of its film releases until 2021.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of Universal Pictures and CNBC.

Analysis shows most closed Apple stores are in the U.S. 

Pedestrians walk past an american multinational technology company Apple retail store.
Alex Tai | SOPA Images | LightRocket via Getty Images

Out of 100 Apple retail stores closed around the world at the end of last week, 92 were located in the United States, suggesting that Apple sees a riskier retail environment in its home country versus the rest of the world.

Last week was the first time that more Apple stores closed than re-opened, according to analysis from Morgan Stanley. Previously, Apple had been reopening many locations with social distancing, mandatory masking and curb-side pickup or service appointment options. Apple stores are often in major malls or shopping centers, making it closely watched sign of how smoothly and where retail operations can restart amid the pandemic. — Kif Leswing