U.S. lawmakers are back on Capitol Hill this week and will be seeking to pass another virus relief bill, just as extended benefits are set to expire. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Tuesday it's likely the next coronavirus relief bill won't pass until early August. President Donald Trump resume his daily Covid-19 briefings Tuesday, urging Americans to wear masks and warning that the coronavirus pandemic will get worse.
Here are some of today's biggest developments:
The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:
Former Indian central bank governor Raghuram Rajan told CNBC that the economic hit from the pandemic is "going to be with us for a long time."
He explained that a large number of small businesses that closed earlier this year are unlikely to reopen when the situation improves.
"As this goes on, more and more businesses find that a long period without revenue, but high cost, implies that they simply don't have a chance, and they're closing down," he said.
Though stock markets this week cheered positive news around potential vaccine developments, Rajan said that it would take time – well into next year – before people feel safe going into crowded places. That is, if things go according to plan. – Saheli Roy Choudhury
A vaccine candidate being developed by Arcturus Therapeutics in collaboration with Singapore's Duke-NUS Medical School has been approved to advance to clinical trials.
The San Diego, California-based biopharmaceutical company and Duke-NUS said they will begin human dosing tests as soon as possible. In a joint statement, the company and medical school said the volunteer study would include up to 108 adults and would examine several dose levels. — Nessa Anwar
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike refrained from guaranteeing that the postponed summer Olympics would take place a year from now, acknowledging hurdles related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"In order to realize such hopeful games, we will continue to do our best to fight against the infectious disease," Koike told CNBC on Tuesday.
When asked if a slimmed down version of the games would go ahead without spectators altogether, Koike declined comment, insisting that "first of all, we have to win the victory against the coronavirus."
The decision in March to postpone the Olympics dealt a blow to Tokyo's economy at a time when the pandemic has pushed Japan into a recession. —Nancy Hungerford
Marriott International is pressing ahead and opening 80% of hotels planned for debut in Asia Pacific this year, even as the coronavirus pandemic has hit global travel demand.
"Hotels are built for 50 years and so it's really a long-term strategy. And once a hotel's under construction you lose money by stopping it or not opening it," Craig Smith, group president for Asia Pacific at Marriott International, told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia."
He added that remaining projects were delayed "really because construction workers haven't been able to get into the properties to finish them." The company on Wednesday opened its 800th hotel in the region — JW Marriott Nara in Japan.
As domestic travel recovers in parts of Asia Pacific — the region first hit by the virus — hotel occupancy rates are also inching up again, said Smith. He added that the company's properties in China are recording around 55% occupancy this month, while hotels in South Korea and Japan are about 30%.
"I think there's a lot of long-term confidence in the growth of our industry in Asia Pacific and most people realize this terrible thing will end and we will be back to a stage where people are traveling once again," he said. — Yen Nee Lee
Six ministers have resigned from the Thai government, including Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana and Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak who have been the main architects for the country's economic policies.
The resignations followed earlier reports of internal infighting within Palang Pracharath, the largest party in the coalition that controls the government. They also come as several analysts expect Thailand's tourism-dependent economy to register the worst contraction in Asia this year as the coronavirus pandemic brought global travel to a halt.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said he will announce a cabinet reshuffle by August, and some analysts warned that delays in forming a new economic team could hurt investor confidence. — Yen Nee Lee
The coronavirus pandemic will probably "get worse before it gets better" in the United States, President Donald Trump said.
The virus has infected more than 3.8 million Americans and killed at least 141,118 as of Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University's compiled data.
"That's something I don't like saying about things, but that's the way it is, it's what we have," Trump said while at a White House briefing. "You look over the world, it's all over the world."
Trump also asked Americans to wear masks to fight the spread of Covid-19.
"We're asking everybody that, when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask," Trump said at the White House news briefing. "Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact, they have an effect, and we need everything we can get." –Suzanne Blake
Texas and Florida hit a grim record Monday for daily coronavirus deaths based on a seven-day moving average. Both Texas and Florida posted a record in average daily new deaths six times in the previous seven days.
Texas had a seven-day average of 118.57 new deaths on Monday, which is nearly 39% higher compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The state's average hospitalization number surged by more than 6% since last week after reporting a new high of 10,564 Covid-19 hospitalizations on Monday, according to CNBC's analysis of data from the Covid Tracking Project.
Florida broke its record of average daily new deaths for two consecutive days. Its seven-day average of daily new deaths was 113.57 on Monday — an approximately 59% jump since last week, according to CNBC's analysis of Johns Hopkins data.
On Saturday, Florida reported 12,523 new Covid-19 cases, marking the fifth consecutive day the hot-spot state reported more than new 10,000 infections, according to the state's health department. —Jasmine Kim
The University of California, Berkeley will begin its fall semester with remote courses, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
In a statement, the university said it may transition to "hybrid" instruction with some remote and some in-person learning if public health conditions allow, according to the Chronicle.
"Although we have repeatedly noted that all fall plans are subject to public health conditions, we understand that this news will be disappointing," university officials said, according to the Chronicle. "Many faculty and students continue to look forward to resumption of some element of in-person instruction. We will continue to work hard on our plans, and to learn from the setbacks as well as the advances." –Suzanne Blake
Snap, which reported second-quarter earnings Tuesday, said the pandemic's impact on certain fall events in the third quarter could impact advertising demand.
The company said while reporting second quarter earnings Tuesday that so far in Q3, revenue is up 32% from the previous year, but expects that growth to moderate through the rest of the quarter.
"While we are cautiously optimistic that these trends could sustain over time, we are also conscious that operating conditions may remain volatile, and that economic conditions could further deteriorate," chief financial officer Derek Andersen said in the company's earnings call prepared remarks. "For example, advertising demand in Q3 has historically been bolstered by factors that appear unlikely to materialize in the same way they have in prior years, including the back to school season, film release schedules, and the operations of various sports leagues." –Megan Graham
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said he was not invited to Tuesday's White House briefing on the coronavirus pandemic.
"I was not invited up to this point and I'm assuming I'm not going to be there," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN.
Fauci said if he were to attend the meeting, he would tell state leaders to implement mandates for masks and encourage the closing of bars.
Fauci, who has worked under six U.S. presidents, has faced criticism in recent weeks from President Donald Trump and other administration officials surrounding his response to the pandemic. Even with the recent criticism, Fauci told The Atlantic magazine in a recent interview that he has not thought about resigning. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
United Airlines reported a second-quarter net loss of more than $1.6 billion, driven by a near-shutdown in air travel spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.
Revenue for the period fell 87%, on a year-over-year basis, to $1.48 billion, bad news for the start of the peak summer travel season. The airline is now focused on further slashing its cash burn to $25 million a day in the third quarter from an average $40 million per day, according to the airline's quarterly report.
The Chicago-based airline has added capacity back into the market cautiously and said it expects to operate 35% of what it flew in the third quarter of last year.
"United believes it did the best job of matching actual capacity to demand among its largest network peers," the airline said in a release. "The company also expects to finish the quarter with the lowest average daily cash burn among large network carriers." —Sara Salinas, Leslie Josephs
Employment recovery has slowed or even reversed in some states where coronavirus cases are surging and business restrictions are returning, CNBC's Jesse Pound reports.
Some states had fewer employees reporting to work last week than in early June, according to data from scheduling firm Homebase. Homebase tracks daily updates on hourly workers that are regularly watched by economists and Wall Street traders.
Six states, including Florida, Arizona and Texas, saw the number of employees going to work fall by at least 5% over the period between June 14 and July 19.
"While most forecasters likely anticipate the pace of labor improvement to slow somewhat from the heady progress in May and June, a more-severe slowing or even a reversal of recent labor gains could materially impact second half growth estimates," Deutsche Bank said. —Suzanne Blake
Pro sports leagues like the NFL and NBA are using unique technology in order to monitor and prevent the spread of coronavirus.
German company Kinexon is working with the sports leagues to provide them with a tool that measures social distancing and also captures valuable information for contact tracing. The device, which is about the size of an Apple Earbuds case, alerts users by a visual red light when they are within 6 feet of another person. After a specified period of time, the device alerts users through an audible alarm.
When it comes to contact tracing, Kinexon's SafeZone tags gather data about who players have been in close contact with. In the event of a positive test, an administrator can see all the other tags that have been in close proximity. Those users are then alerted, tested and monitored. All of the data is anonymized and the leagues do not have access to GPS data.
Kinexon said demand for their product has grown tremendously in recent months as teams and companies are looking for safe ways to return back to work amid a pandemic. —Jessica Golden
A second batch of stimulus checks could be coming to Americans if Congress gives the OK, and it could have important ramifications for those who were not eligible for the $1,200 checks the first time around.
When Congress approved the $2 trillion CARES Act in March, it authorized the one-time payments to millions of Americans. But some – such as dependents aged 17 and up and Americans who are married to non-citizens – were excluded.
Now, lawmakers could extend the eligibility to include more people.
The opportunity to patch up those gaps comes as some Americans still have not received the first checks. Some members of the House of Representatives questioned Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on the delivery issues in a hearing last week.
"I am sympathetic, because these are real people who want their checks," Mnuchin said, while indicating the government will continue to work to fix those issues.
To date, about 160 million checks totaling approximately $270 billion have been sent out. —Lorie Konish
CNBC's Jim Cramer said the stock market would go higher if more Americans wore masks to combat the spread of coronavirus.
On "Squawk on the Street" Tuesday, he said stocks in the technology sector are strong, but industries connected to reopening plans are lagging, CNBC's Kevin Stankiewicz reports. Cramer said if everyone wore masks and helped bring virus transmission down, "a lot of other stocks could take off."
The "Mad Money" host has long supported wearing masks and praised the decisions by corporations like Costco, Walmart, Kroger, Best Buy and Starbucks to implement mandatory mask rules.
"People don't want to die for shopping. As much as we love shopping, it's not worth dying for," Cramer said. –Suzanne Blake
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have added ten states to its domestic travel advisory, requiring people from 31 states to self-quarantine for 14 days if they visit the area.
The newly added states are: Alaska, Indiana, Delaware, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Virginia and Washington.
All passengers on incoming flights to New York are required to fill out a traveler form, Cuomo has previously said, which will include an agreement to comply with the travel advisory. He said said last week that those who fail to complete the form will be subject to a $2,000 fine, could be brought to a hearing and ordered to complete mandatory quarantine.
"New York's success in fighting the COVID-19 virus is under two threats: lack of compliance and the virus coming to New York from other states with increasing infection rates," Cuomo said last week. —Will Feuer
Enhanced unemployment benefits may end sooner than people think.
The federal CARES Act provides an extra $600 a week to recipients of jobless aid through July 31.
But states' administrative rules dictate that the subsidy will end after this weekend, unless Congress is able to extend the timeline by the time aid expires.
It doesn't appear Congress will meet that deadline. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Tuesday it's likely the next coronavirus relief bill won't pass until early August.
A lapse in aid could cause financial hardship for millions, economists warned. Pay would fall significantly to an average $383 a week, according to Labor Department data.
Democrats want to extend the $600-a-week payments, while Republicans want to end them or replace them with something else. — Greg Iacurci
Several airline CEOs are urging the Trump administration and the European Commission to back Covid-19 tests for passengers to help lift bans on many potential travelers between the U.S. and Europe.
Government travel restrictions bar most would-be travelers from entering either region, depriving airlines of revenue for what were some of their most important routes. The CEOs called for a pilot testing program to "build confidence and safely restore passenger travel between the U.S. and Europe."
"In addition to all the significant and unprecedented actions that governments and airlines are taking to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, a coordinated COVID-19 testing program could be key to providing confidence to permit services to resume without quarantine requirements or other entry restrictions," said the letter to Vice President Mike Pence and European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson from the CEOs of American, United, Germany's Lufthansa and British Airways' parent International Airlines Group.
"Nobody will benefit from a prolonged closure of this most indispensable corridor for global aviation," the CEOs wrote. —Leslie Josephs
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state liquor authority has suspended 27 licenses for violating social distancing rules amid the pandemic. Cuomo said the state has filed 410 charges against New York eating and drinking establishments.
Bars "exploited the existing regulations," he said, by taking outdoor dining as an opportunity to facilitate outdoor drinking, which is not what was approved by the state. Cuomo said it is difficult to enforce the different guidelines for bars and restaurants because unlike other states, New York does not have a separate license for bars and restaurants.
"We never authorized bar operations," he said. "By the words themselves, outdoor dining is not a bar operation. The word is dining. You don't dine when you go to a restaurant to drink. That is drinking, and it would've been outside drinking that we authorized."
Cuomo previously warned that bars' noncompliance could result in scaling back reopening measures in the state, though New York City was cleared to enter and altered version on phase four of reopening on Monday. He said the responsibility to enforce social distancing measures lies with local governments and police departments. –Alex Harring
Germany, like many countries, had some people who fought lockdowns and argued that Covid-19 was a hoax. But it also had a handful of prominent scientists communicating regularly and openly with the public. That helped to drown out rumors and misinformation, reports CNBC's Christina Farr.
Germany also built out extra intensive care facilities. Some experts believe that — as well as its focus on testing — helped reduce the mortality of the disease in the country.
Many Germans agreed that Merkel, a scientist by training, had the right brand of leadership during the pandemic. She provided data-driven updates to the public and deferred wherever possible to those with more expertise than herself. —Melodie Warner
The executives said the Food and Drug Administration has not eased the requirements for proving their coronavirus vaccines safely work, CNBC's Berkeley Lovelace and Will Feuer report. The vaccines they are working on should be produced by the end of the year or early 2021, the pharma executives said.
As of now, there are no FDA-approved drugs or vaccines to combat the coronavirus, but more than 100 potential vaccines are being developed globally, according to the World Health Organization. There are 23 vaccines already in human trials.
It typically takes around a decade to develop a safe and effective vaccine. The fastest-ever vaccine developed, mumps, took more than four years and was licensed in 1967. Stil, a poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research reports that only about half of Americans said they plan to get a coronavirus vaccine. –Suzanne Blake
Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey doesn't think that the company's business will return to normal levels until there's a vaccine or another kind of comprehensive solution.
"Business is still struggling to recover to pre-Covid levels even in those places where there's no real transmission of the virus and the large majority of locations are allowed to open," he said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."
Still, Quincey said that the second quarter will likely be the most challenging for the company this year. Unit case volume, which helps measure growth without the impact of price and currency changes, showed signs of sequential improvement as global lockdowns ease. —Amelia Lucas
The Department of Justice accused two Chinese nationals of stealing trade secrets and hacking into computer systems of firms working on the Covid-19 vaccine, reports CNBC's Amanda Macias.
The 11-count indictment alleges Li Xiaoyu, 34, and Dong Jiazhi, 33, were working on behalf of the Chinese government and conducted a global hacking campaign for more than a decade.
The Department of Justice said in a statement that high tech manufacturing processes, gaming software, solar energy engineering, pharmaceuticals and defense industries were among those targeted in the hack. —Melodie Warner
Alaska Airlines' more than 3,000 pilots will escape involuntary furloughs thanks to volunteers who agreed to take leave or retire early, their union says.
Airlines are urging employees from pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and thousands of others to take early retirement, buyouts and other programs to help slash costs as the coronavirus pandemic devastates travel demand.
Airlines are treading carefully with potential cuts to pilots' ranks. Pilots are expensive and difficult to replace, and reducing headcount could spark costly training if pilots need to learn new aircraft. It could also leave airlines with too small of a specialized staff if there's a rebound in travel demand.
JetBlue Airways and its pilots union reached an agreement for concessions that would also avoid furloughs through May 2021. Delta Air Lines said close to 2,235 of its more than 14,000 pilots signed up for early retirement and is asking the remaining pilots to cut their minimum hours by 15% to prevent involuntary furloughs for a year. Delta warned last month that the jobs of close to 2,600 pilots could be at risk when federal aid terms that prohibit job cuts expire on Oct. 1.
Close to a quarter of Southwest Airlines more than 9,700 pilots have taken either partially paid time off or early retirement, their union said late Friday, a response that the union's president said eases concerns about involuntary cuts. —Leslie Josephs
Lobbying spend for most Big Tech firms fell during the second quarter, which covered the height of the pandemic in some areas of the U.S.
Here's the breakdown of Big Tech lobbying spend in the second quarter, which lasted from April 1 to June 30:
Combined lobbying spending for the five tech giants fell 4% to $15.3 million.
Amazon and Microsoft were the only companies of the five to have increased their spending. Microsoft is the only one that's not thought to be actively under antitrust scrutiny.
Amazon's spending marked a quarterly record, breaking its previous record of $4.3 million spent in the first quarter of 2020.
Other tech companies, like Chinese firm ByteDance, also ramped up spending in the quarter. ByteDance's popular social networking app TikTok faces a possible ban by the U.S. government over national security concerns. ByteDance bumped its lobbying spend more than 66% from the previous quarter as U.S. lawmakers move to ban it from government-issued devices.
Lyft also saw a big increase in spending during the second quarter, as it dealt with changing transportation patterns during the pandemic. The company had its largest spending quarter ever at $530,000, compared to its previous high of $240,000 in the first quarter of 2019. Uber spent slightly more in the second quarter at $570,000, though the spending represented a 9.5% decline from its previous quarter. Both lobbied on labor issues and issues related to the pandemic. —Lauren Feiner
The parent company of Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank announced a round of layoffs and hundreds of looming store closures.
Tailored Brands said it is eliminating roughly 20% of its corporate workforce by the end of its fiscal second quarter. It also said it has selected up to 500 stores that it could close "over time." It also announced that CFO Jack Calandra will depart the company on July 31. In the near term, it said Calandra's responsibilities will be divided between its CEO and Holly Etlin, a managing director at AlixPartners, who has been appointed to a new chief restructuring role for Tailored Brands.
Earlier this month, Tailored Brands skipped a $6.1 million payment to bondholders, triggering a 30-day grace period. The retailer, like many of its peers, has suffered a blow from the Covid-19 crisis, which has holed consumers up at home and temporarily shut many of its stores.
With the layoffs, Tailored Brands said it expects to record a pretax charge of roughly $6 million in the second quarter for severance payments and other termination costs. —Lauren Thomas
Before the pandemic wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy, rent growth for single-family homes was at its highest point in four years. Months after coronavirus hit U.S. shores, rent growth fell to a decade low.
Single-family rents grew only 1.7% annually nationally for May, according to CoreLogic. This marks the slowest growth rate in around a decade and a little more than half of the growth rental homes saw last year, CNBC's Diana Olick reports.
Rent growth suffered the most at the higher end of the rental market as demand for more expensive rentals has dropped more than lower-priced rentals. Cities also saw varied rent growth depending on the impact of coronavirus there. Phoenix saw 6% rent growth while Honolulu, which relies on the tourism industry, saw rents decline by 0.4%. —Suzanne Blake
"Shark Tank" investor Kevin O'Leary told CNBC that Congress should end coronavirus relief programs for business, even though it could spell problems for his businesses.
Appearing on "Squawk Box," O'Leary said he had been supportive of government initiatives such as the Paycheck Protection Program, however he said his thoughts have evolved on the long-term effects of the pandemic for the American economy.
"I've got 20% of my portfolio that is really hurting, and I actually don't want the government to prop up zombie companies anymore. Stop doing that," O'Leary said. "If a company has to die because the world has changed permanently, let it die and let something else replace it." —Kevin Stankiewicz
Congress looks increasingly unlikely to pass a new coronavirus relief bill by the end of July, when a $600 per week enhanced federal unemployment benefit keeping millions of Americans afloat during the pandemic will expire.
Lawmakers came back to Washington this week to start formal talks on another aid plan as the outbreak spreads around the U.S. White House officials plan to meet with Senate Republicans and congressional Democratic leaders today as lawmakers try to resolve differences over issues including jobless benefits, direct payments to individuals, liability protections for businesses, rent and mortgage assistance, and funding to reopen schools in the fall.
The top Republican and Democrat in the House sounded doubtful Tuesday about whether Congress could meet the end of the month deadline. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told CNBC: "I envision that this bill doesn't get done by the end of July."
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told House Democrats that she hopes lawmakers "can resolve our differences and have a bill by the end of next week." That timeline would mean Congress would have written, but not necessarily passed, legislation by July 31. — Jacob Pramuk
For the first time in six months, movie theaters in China reopened to the public Monday, fueling hopes that the second-largest film market in the world may finally be able to recoup some of its losses after being shuttered since January.
In the first day, total ticket sales were just shy of $500,000, according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter. "A First Farewell," a local drama, garnered $186,000, Disney's "Coco" hauled in around $175,000 and the thriller "A Sheep Without a Shepherd" took in $171,000.
Later this week, Chinese theaters will open "Bloodshot" and "Dolittle." This will be the first time either film will have been shown in the country. Next week, "1917" and "Sonic the Hedgehog" will arrive. All four Hollywood films were originally slated to be released in February, but were postponed because of the pandemic.
Cinemas in the region have a strict 30% cap on attendance and are not selling any concessions. Last year, China's box office totaled $9.2 billion. Ahead of Monday's reopening, ticket sales in 2020 were around $315 million. —Sarah Whitten
The toy industry saw yet another month of double-digit sales gains, as parents continued to buy toys to occupy their home-bound kids.
As temperatures across the country soared in June, parents bought more outdoor items, playground equipment and water toys like inflatable pools and slides, sending sales up 19%, according to data from the NPD Group.
In previous months, puzzles, games, arts and craft kits and building sets bolstered sales. In March, sales were up 16%; in April sales jumped 22%; and in May there was a 37% bump in toy sales.
"We would never see this kind of unprecedented growth, I've never seen it in my life," Juli Lennett, an NPD Group toys industry analyst, said of the boost coronavirus has given toy sales. "Normally, we are up or down 3% or 4%, so this is certainly very unusual."
For the first six months of the year, sales were up a whopping 16% compared with last year, she said. —Sarah Whitten
LinkedIn, Microsoft's personal networking site, will cut 960 jobs – or 6% of its global workforce – due to the pandemic's impact on the desire for recruiting and hiring products, Reuters reported. The jobs cut are in the sales and hiring divisions.
Chief Executive Ryan Roslansky said in a plan posted online that LinkedIn provide would at least 10 weeks of severance pay and health insurance for a year for U.S. employees. The company will also hire for newly created positions from the laid-off pool.
Roslansky said these layoffs were the only ones planned by the company. –Alex Harring
The e-commerce powerhouse didn't announce a new date for its biggest shopping event of the year, but said it would share "more details soon." The two-day event is typically held in mid-July.
"Over the last five years, Prime Day has become a special celebration and time for Prime members to shop incredible deals for themselves and for friends and family — and it's something we look forward to every year," an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. "This year we'll be holding Prime Day later than usual, while ensuring the safety of our employees and supporting our customers and selling partners."
It was widely expected that Amazon would postpone this year's Prime Day. Earlier this month, the company told third-party sellers to use the week of Oct. 5 as a "placeholder date" for the event. —Annie Palmer
Net sales fell 28% to $7.2 billion as lockdowns hit the beverage giant's away-from-home sales, which typically make up about half of its revenue. Global unit case volume shrank by 16%, and Coke's namesake brand saw demand fall by 7%.
But the company sees demand improving as global lockdowns ease. CEO James Quincey said the company believes the second quarter will likely be the most challenging of the year. Shares of Coke rose more than 2% in premarket trading. —Amelia Lucas
Hong Kong reported 61 new cases of the coronavirus as the city continues to grapple with a cluster of infections that has prompted the city to roll out strict new social distancing requirements in recent weeks, Reuters reported.
The city was hailed early in the global outbreak for its aggressive and rapid response to the virus, which the city largely contained to a handful of clusters. But now a new cluster of infections has led to hundreds of new cases in recent weeks as the virus begins to circulate throughout communities in Hong Kong.
The coronavirus has now infected more than 2,020 people in the city and killed at least 14 people, according to local authorities. —Will Feuer
Quest Diagnostics, one of the largest laboratory companies in the country, told the Financial Times that it won't be able to meet the demand for Covid-19 testing in the fall with currently available technology.
Demand for testing is likely to surge after the summer months, when temperatures start to drop, as millions of Americans who come down with the cold or the flu seek to rule out Covid-19, James Davis, executive vice president of general diagnostics at Quest, said in the interview. He added that the company won't be able to rapidly increase capacity for its PCR , or polymerase chain reaction, tests and that "other solutions need to be found," such as new kinds of tests.
"There is no way that PCR capacity is going to double in the next three months," Davis told the Financial Times, adding that the supply chain has remained strained since the start of the pandemic. "We would double our capacity tomorrow... but it's not the labs that are the bottleneck. [It] is our ability to get physical machines and, more importantly, our ability to feed those machines with chemical reagents."
Davis' comments come as the company, and other laboratory companies, are struggling to meet the demands of the recent surge in U.S. cases. Earlier this month, both Quest and LabCorp said they now have to prioritize tests of certain patients as the volume of specimens collected is leading to a lag of up to a week or longer in some instances. Public health specialists warn that long delays in testing turnaround hampers the U.S. response because infected people likely won't know they're infected until after the timeframe in which they could pass on the virus has already lapsed. —Will Feuer
Read CNBC's previous coronavirus live coverage here: WHO calls Oxford vaccine data 'good news;' Florida, Texas lead U.S. in daily new cases