U.S. coronavirus cases surpass 4 million; GOP convention cancelled in Florida

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The U.S. jobs market recovery appears to have stalled as coronavirus cases surge in several states across the country, with known infections surpassing 4 million nationwide since the pandemic began. Businesses continue to take public safety measures into their own hands, and on Wall Street, corporate earnings reports reveal the business effects of virus shutdowns: Chipotle Mexican Grill suffered from dining room closures; Twitter reported ad revenue that was down 23%; and airlines including United, Southwest and American have issued stark warnings for the months ahead.  

Here are some of the biggest developments Thursday: 

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 15.3 million
  • Global deaths: At least 625,8525
  • U.S. cases: More than 4 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 143,820

Studios further delay blockbuster titles

Sony Pictures said it is pushing back the release of the third Tom Holland "Spider-Man" film once more. The web-slinging superhero will return to theaters on Dec. 17, 2021. The film's production was affected by pandemic-related shutdowns, which pushed the initial release date of July 16, 2021 to Nov. 5. It wasn't clear if the latest push was due to production delays. 

Similarly, Paramount Pictures announced it had pushed back two of its biggest upcoming films to next year: "A Quiet Place Part II" and "Top Gun: Maverick." 

Warner Bros. and Disney also announced changes to their upcoming film slates. The rising number of infection cases in the U.S. is keeping movie theaters closed in many states. — Sarah Whitten

Senate GOP delays relief plan until next week

Mnuchin: GOP jobless benefits plan will be based on '70% wage replacement'
Mnuchin: GOP jobless benefits plan will be based on '70% wage replacement'

Senate Republicans have postponed the release of their coronavirus relief package until next week, guaranteeing Congress will miss a deadline to renew extra support for unemployed Americans.

 "The [Trump] administration has requested additional time to review the fine details, but we will be laying down the proposal early next week," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. "We have an agreement in principle on the shape of the package."

The Senate GOP had planned to reveal the legislation today. That would have allowed negotiations to begin with Democrats on a bill to pass both chambers of the divided Congress. 

At the end of this week, states will stop paying the additional $600 per week of unemployment insurance that Congress passed in March. —Spencer Kimball, Jacob Pramuk

Trump cancels Republican convention in Florida

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference about his administration's response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic at the White House on July 23, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images

President Donald Trump said the Republican Party will cancel its national convention in Jacksonville, Florida set for next month as coronavirus infections continue to surge in the state. 

"People elected me to help and to protect, so I told my team, it's time to cancel the Jacksonville, Florida component of the GOP convention," Trump said during a White House briefing on the coronavirus. 

Trump said delegates will still meet for the nomination in North Carolina, and he'll likely hold virtual rallies online that week. 

It's the second time the president has adjusted plans for the Republican National Convention. He pushed to move most of the convention out of North Carolina over a dispute with the state's Democratic government about precautions that would limit crowd sizes to maintain social distancing. —Spencer Kimball, Yelen Dzhanova 

Disney delays ‘Mulan’ indefinitely, Star Wars and Avatar movies pushed back a year

Liu Yifei stars a Fa Mulan in Disney's live-action adaptation of "Mulan."

Theater closures and production shutdowns have forced Disney to make some major changes to its five-year slate of movie releases.

"Mulan" has been displaced from its Aug. 21 release and is marked as "unset" while Disney waits for coronavirus cases in the U.S. to dissipate and for movie theaters to be able to safely reopen to the public.

Production shutdowns have also led the company to postpone the releases of three untitled Star Wars movies and four Avatar sequels by one year. 

Slate changes announced Thursday:

  • "Mulan" is unset
  • "The Personal History of David Copperfield" moving to Aug. 28
  • "Death on the Nile" is now debuting on Oct. 23
  • "The Empty Man" will arrive on Dec. 4
  • "The French Dispatch" is unset
  • "Antlers" is now dated Feb. 19, 2021
  • "The Last Duel" will arrive Oct. 15, 2021
  • An untitled Disney Live Action film will take the place of "Avatar 2" on Dec. 16, 2021.
  • "Avatar 2" pushed to Dec. 16, 2022
  • Untitled Star Wars moved to Dec. 22, 2023
  • "Avatar 3" now dated Dec. 20, 2024
  • Untitled Star Wars redated to Dec. 19, 2025
  • "Avatar 4" will arrive Dec. 18, 2026
  • Untitled Star Wars moved to Dec. 17, 2027
  • "Avatar 5" now slated for Dec. 22, 2028

California reports record single-day death toll

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California
Rich Pedroncelli | AP

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a Twitter post that the coronavirus killed an additional 157 people on Wednesday, a grim single-day record that brings the state's total to more than 8,000 deaths, according to California's coronavirus dashboard

On Wednesday, after Newsom announced a record number of additional coronavirus cases, he noted that the reported death toll in the state has fluctuated daily. California has surpassed New York in its total number of cases, making it the state with the most reported cases in the U.S., although it has far fewer total deaths. — Noah Higgins-Dunn 

U.S. infections surpass 4 million

The U.S. has now reported more than 4 million known cases of coronavirus and at least 143,846 people have died from Covid-19 as infections continue to surge in the South and West, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

California has reported the most cases in the U.S. at more than 421,000, followed by New York at more than 409,000, Florida at more than 389,000, and Texas at more than 363,000. These U.S. states have reported more cases than several major nations with larger populations such as Italy, France, Spain and the United Kingdom among others.  

 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of human-to-human transmission in the U.S. back in January.  —Spencer Kimball

Infectious disease experts warn against reopening schools

Social distancing dividers for students are seen in a classroom, July 14, 2020.
Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

Members of the Infectious Disease Society of America, a leading group of infectious disease experts, warned against reopening schools in Florida, Texas and other states where coronavirus cases are surging, saying older children are just as likely to spread Covid-19 as adults. 

"The simple answer is no," Dr. Tina Tan, a professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University, said when asked whether she would suggest reopening schools in states like Florida, Texas, California and Arizona in the near future. "When you have such surges of disease in the community, you're basically asking for trouble if you open schools because you're bringing in individuals from all across the community that potentially may be exposed to it," Tan said on a conference call. 

Dr. Wendy Armstrong, a professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and a board member of the group, said a recently published study in South Korea indicated that although kids under the age of 9 didn't transmit the virus as often to their families, teenagers were at least as likely to transmit the disease as adults. "In order for schools to open safely, communities' spread must be controlled and must not be explosive," she added. — Noah Higgins-Dunn

HHS expects U.S. death rate to fall, contradicting CDC

Medical staff work outside the Covid-19 intensive care unit at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston on June 30.
Go Nakamura | Getty Images

The rate of deaths from the coronavirus in the U.S. should begin to fall in the "next couple of weeks," according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The seven-day rolling average of coronavirus infections is beginning to fall, and U.S. health officials predict hospitalizations will go down next week and mortality rates will follow in about two weeks, Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary for health at HHS, said during a press briefing with reporters.

Giroir's prediction differs from forecasts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National and state-level forecasts suggest that the number of new deaths in the U.S. over the next four weeks will likely exceed the number reported over the previous four weeks, according to the CDC. The data also shows rising death tolls in 25 states and one territory over the same period of time. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says coronavirus infections among young people are on the rise

Cuomo: Coronavirus infections among young people are on the rise
Cuomo: Coronavirus infections among young people are on the rise

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that there's been a rise in coronavirus infections among young people compared with other age groups. 

Infection rates in every age group in New York has either remained flat or declined, except for people between 21 and 30 years old, according to Cuomo. 

"It has ticked up 4 points, that is a significant increase in a short period of time," he said during a news briefing. He added that the increase has been driven by in part by groups of young people socializing while not wearing face masks or social distancing. 

New York is starting an advertising campaign targeted toward young people in the state to communicate and educate people about the virus.

"To young people, this is not the time to fight for your right to party. I respect your right to party, I fully respect it. I would enshrine it in the state law if you want to know. You have the right to party, but let's be smart about it," Cuomo said. —Noah Higgins-Dunn, Jasmine Kim

WHO slams Mike Pompeo's ‘unacceptable’ remarks

WHO slams 'unacceptable' remarks by U.S. Sec. of State Pompeo on China influence
WHO slams 'unacceptable' remarks by U.S. Sec. of State Pompeo on China influence

Top officials of the World Health Organization slammed allegations made by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that China had co-opted the WHO as "unacceptable."

On Tuesday, Pompeo said in London that the entire world "needs to work together to ensure that every country, including China, behaves in the international system in ways that are appropriate, consistent with the international order." 

He added: "You can't go make claims for maritime regions that you have no lawful claim to. You can't threaten countries and bully them in the Himalayas. You can't engage in cover-ups and co-opt international institutions like the World Health Organization."

Tedros defended the organization and downplayed Pompeo's remarks as untrue and distracting.

"The comments are untrue and unacceptable and without any foundation for that matter," Tedros said at a news briefing from the United Nations agency's Gevena headquarters on Thursday. "WHO will not be distracted by these comments and we don't want the international community also to be distracted." —Will Feuer

Unemployment claims data suggests July jobs report could be negative

People line up outside Kentucky Career Center prior to its opening to find assistance with their unemployment claims in Frankfort, Kentucky, U.S. June 18, 2020.
Bryan Woolston | Reuters

Economists said the persistently high level of unemployment claims are a warning that the government's July employment report could show little progress or even a decline in payrolls.

After 22 million job losses in March and April, the economy added 7.5 million payrolls in May and June. So far, July is looking flat to negative, several economists said.

Thursday's weekly jobless claims filings were higher for the first time after 15 weeks of declines. The claims totaled 1.416 million in the week ended July 18. All told, 31.8 million people were collecting benefits from all state and federal programs, according to the latest data, available as of the July 4 week.

The rise in claims and the high number of individuals continuing to collect benefits, comes as the number of coronavirus cases grows at a rapid rate across the South and West. States have rolled back openings and curtailed some activities to stop the spread. Florida is one of the states seeing the most new virus cases, and it topped the list of states with the most new filings last week, with 65,890 new claims for benefits. --Patti Domm

Coronavirus threatens auto industry recovery

High absenteeism rates of U.S. auto workers due to the coronavirus pandemic is threatening the industry's recovery following a roughly two-month shutdown this spring.

The Detroit automakers are hiring temp workers and restructuring shifts at their plants, while Tesla attempts to reassure employees that coming to work at its assembly plant in California is safe.

General Motors told CNBC it has avoided cutting a shift at its Wentzville truck plant in Missouri, where the state hit a record 1,092 new cases Tuesday, by reworking staffing schedules. 

Fiat Chrysler and Ford Motor said they are hiring temporary workers above their normal levels for this time of year due to Covid-19, including workers self-quarantining due to infection or those who may have been exposed to the virus. —Michael Wayland 

Quest says small labs ripe for acquisition

The coronavirus pandemic could "help drive industry consolidation" as larger laboratory companies buy up smaller, struggling labs, Quest Diagnostics CEO Steve Rusckowski said

Many labs and much of the health care industry, in general, is struggling as the coronavirus largely displaces other money-making procedures, treatments and diagnostic tests that normally drive the industry. The disruption is setting up an environment that's ripe for deals, Rusckowski said.

"At the same time, we all know that smaller regional laboratories have had their own challenges, which also produced more opportunities for talking acquisitions," he said on a conference call discussing the company's second-quarter earnings. "If anything, the pandemic could be an essential catalyst to help drive industry consolidation." —Will Feuer

WHO warns there’s no going back to ‘old normal’

WHO warns there's no going back to 'old normal' as coronavirus accelerates
WHO warns there's no going back to 'old normal' as coronavirus accelerates

The World Health Organization warned there is no going back to the "old normal" as the coronavirus pandemic accelerates in the United States and poorer, developing countries.

Half of all Covid-19 cases reported so far are from the United States, Brazil and India, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference from the agency's Geneva headquarters. "It's completely understandable that people want to get on with their lives, but we will not be going back to the old normal."

Read the report from CNBC's Berkeley Lovelace Jr. and Will Feuer for more news from the WHO's press conference. —Melodie Warner 

Coronavirus cases could reach 150,000 a day this fall, Morgan Stanley analyst says

The U.S. could reach 150,000 daily new coronavirus cases this fall due to more people in enclosed spaces, according to Morgan Stanley's biotechnology analyst Matthew Harrison. "Our base case assumes a near-term plateau followed by increased spread in the fall," Harrison said in a note Thursday. "[About] 150,000 daily new cases are possible without better control of the virus."

Harrison previously projected a "second wave" in the autumn with daily new cases totaling between 40,000 and 50,000 nationwide. However, the recent emergence of hot spots — Arizona, Texas, Florida and California — has reflected a high rate of infection, which led the analyst to adjust to a more pessimistic view on the pandemic. Harrison has a wide following on Wall Street for his success in predicting the course of the pandemic and government responses.

The virus has infected an average of 66,805 people per day in the U.S. over the past seven days, up more than 7% compared with a week ago, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. —Yun Li

American and Southwest airlines say all passengers must wear masks

A passenger wearing a protective mask walks through the American Airlines area at O'Hare International Airport (ORD) in Chicago, Illinois.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg via Getty Images

American Airlines and Southwest Airlines announced that anyone over the age of two must wear a mask while flying. Passengers who refuse to wear masks based on medical conditions will no longer be able to fly.

The two airlines said masks can only be removed to eat or drink, CNBC's Monica Buchanan Pitrelli reports. The new policy applies from the time customers enter the airport until they exit another airport.

American's new policy begins on July 29.

Earlier this week, Delta Air Lines