Coronavirus updates: Texas governor says Covid-19 not conquered yet; U.S. cases jump by more than 68,000

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U.S. daily new cases of the coronavirus appear to be tapering off, on a 7-day rolling average basis, as states pull back reopening plans, more companies mandate public safety measures and widespread testing delays hinder data collection. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans will delay the release of their coronavirus relief plan until next week, all but ensuring that Congress will miss a deadline to extend a key unemployment insurance boost. Here's what we know so far to be included in the GOP plan for more virus relief. 

Here are some of the biggest developments Thursday: 

Here's how one at-home saliva test for Covid-19 works
Here's how one at-home saliva test for Covid-19 works

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 15.62 million
  • Global deaths: At least 635,086
  • U.S. cases: More than 4.07 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 144,780

Dr. Deborah Birx says California, other states ‘are essentially three New Yorks'

Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, speaks after a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services on June 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Joshua Roberts | Getty Images

White House coronavirus task force coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, said during a TODAY Show interview that a spike in coronavirus cases in California and other hard-hit states resembles "three New Yorks," once the epicenter of the outbreak. 

"We're already starting to see some plateauing in these critically four states that have really suffered under the last four weeks, so Texas, California, Arizona and Florida, those major metros and throughout their counties," Birx said. "And I just want to make it clear to the American public: What we have right now are essentially three New Yorks with these three major states," referring to Florida, Texas and California.

California reported more than 12,800 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the highest reported daily tally the state has recorded so far, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

California has now surpassed New York in total confirmed Covid-19 cases — more than 409,500 cases as of Wednesday — making it the state with the most cases in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University data. However, New York has reported more than four times the number of deaths, according to Johns Hopkins. —Riya Bhattacharjee

MLB's 2020 Opening Day averages 4 million viewers

Major League Baseball's Opening Day game between the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals drew a record 4 million average viewers, making it the most-watched regular-season MLB contest on any network since 2011. Sports fans have been eager for live content in the months since coronavirus concerns essentially halted competitive play. 

According to ESPN, who aired the opener, the Yankees' 4-1 win drew a 7.8 rating, the highest-rated MLB regular-season game in the network in the New York market since 2015.

ESPN's second game between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers generated an average of 2.7 million viewers, making it "ESPN's most-watched MLB regular season late night ET game ever." MLB resumes its Opening Day contests Friday with 15 game scheduled. —Jabari Young

New Orleans bars prohibited from selling takeout alcohol

All New Orleans restaurants and bars will be prohibited from selling alcohol to go beginning 6 a.m. Saturday in an effort to stop community spread of the coronavirus, the city's mayor announced on Twitter. New Orleans has been known for its on-the-go cocktails long before coronavirus restrictions popularized the option in other major cities. 

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell also said gatherings will be limited to 25 people inside and 50 outside.

Since moving into phase 2 of reopening, Cantrell said New Orleans has seen "unfavorable trends" concerning the coronavirus. The city currently has 9,752 reported cases and 548 reported deaths.

"We see clear indication that we have returned to widespread community transmission," Cantrell said. "We have a very narrow window to act and turn this around in order to get our kids back to school safely." –Suzanne Blake

Small business owners hope Senate GOP provides tax relief for PPP-covered expenses

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the Senate floor on Thursday, July 23, 2020.
Al Drago | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Republicans are expected to authorize another round of emergency loans for small business owners. Small business owners question whether it's sufficient.

GOP lawmakers expect to release their relief bill next week. Aside from stimulus checks and an extension of federal unemployment payments, the measure will include further aid for cash-strapped business owners who already borrowed from the federal Paycheck Protection Program earlier this year.

But acountants say that entrepreneurs will need more than a fresh infusion of cash to stay afloat. These business owners must be able to deduct business expenses covered by the PPP loan, or else face higher tax bills later, tax professionals say.

"Without deductibility, there's more taxable income generated by the business and it results in higher taxes," said Jeffrey Levine, CPA and director of advanced planning at Buckingham Wealth Partners in Long Island, N.Y. —Darla Mercado

Dr. Anthony Fauci says he and his family have been receiving ‘serious threats’

White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said that he and his family have been assigned security detail after receiving "serious threats" from people who are angry over his advice on the pandemic.

"There are people who get really angry at thinking I'm interfering with their life because I'm pushing a public health agenda," he said during a podcast interview with CNN commentator David Axelrod. "The kind of, not only hate mail, but actual serious threats against me are not good."

Fauci is one of the most trusted infectious disease experts in the nation. Known for his candid advice, he has often opposed President Donald Trump in recommending public health measures. 

He said during the interview that the attacks are a reflection of the "divisiveness of our society at [the] political level." He asserted that the coronavirus pandemic is a public health issue that should not be politicized. —Jasmine Kim

DOD scouts contractors for mobile coronavirus hospitals in Florida as outbreaks continue

The Department of Defense is scouting Florida for potential contractors to set up emergency mobile coronavirus hospitals across the state, CNBC's Will Feuer reports.

According to a contract notice posted by the Army Corps of Engineers, the state does not know how many facilities are needed or in what locations, but officials want to know how quickly they can build additional hospital capacity.

"Since Covid has come about, we've been working with emergency management departments across the country just to make sure they have the resources they need to respond," said John Campbell, an Army Corps of Engineers spokesman in Jacksonville, Florida.

Florida's coronavirus cases continue to surge, with 9,422 people hospitalized across the state on Thursday. Covid-19-related deaths are also increasing, and the state reported 173 new deaths on Thursday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Florida has reported more than 120 new deaths per day over the last week, up around 26% from a week before. –Suzanne Blake

McDonald's to require customers to wear masks

McDonald's to require customers to wear facial coverings
McDonald's to require customers to wear facial coverings

McDonald's is joining the growing list of retailers and restaurants that are requiring customers to wear masks.

The fast-food chain's new requirement will go into effect Aug. 1, although nearly 82% of its locations are already located in states and localities that require employees and customers to wear face coverings.

McDonald's also said that it will extend its pause on reopening U.S. dining rooms for another 30 days. The company first halted reopenings on July 1 for three weeks. --Amelia Lucas

New York's ban from Trusted Traveler Program aggravated coronavirus spread at airports, governor suggests

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a press briefing that the state's ban from the Trusted Travel Program, which allows for quicker entry at airports for U.S. citizens returning to the country, caused increased airport congestion and could have aggravated the spread of the coroanvirus earlier this year.

He called on U.S. Attorney General William Barr to launch an investigation and said the state will also seek possible civil damages from the Department of Homeland Security. The state is trying to quantify the monetary damages, he said. 

"It hurt New Yorkers who would be traveling. It caused the Port Authority more money to run the airports and to administer the airports. It is at the exact same time that we know Covid is coming in on European flights and now you pack people in waiting rooms and on lines who didn't need to be on the line because you were playing politics," Cuomo said. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

Dr. Fauci says vaccine likely won’t be ‘widely’ available until months into next year

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
(Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said a coronavirus vaccine likely won't be "widely available" to the American public until "several months" into 2021.

Public health officials and scientists expect to know whether at least one of the numerous potential Covid-19 vaccines in development is safe and effective by the end of December or early next year, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said during a live Q&A with the Washington Post. 

"It is likely that at the beginning of next year we would have tens of millions of doses available," he said. "I think as we get into 2021, several months in, that you would have vaccines that would be widely available."

Though scientists expect to have an effective vaccine widely available by next year, there is never a guarantee. While drugmakers are racing to make millions of doses of vaccines, there's a chance the vaccine will require two doses rather than one, potentially further limiting the number of people who can get vaccinated once a vaccine becomes available, experts say. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

WNBA commissioner says shortened coronavirus season is critical

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert told CNBC that this year's coronavirus-induced shortened season is crucial for the WNBA as well as female athletes across the globe.

Engelbert said she hopes the WNBA can gain from this opportunity for more TV coverage, CNBC's Anjali Sundaram reports.

"This could move the numerator for women's sports," Engelbert said on "Squawk Box." "It's existential for us to have a season, economically."

WNBA games start Saturday. Players and staff are quarantining at the IMG Academy sports complex in Bradenton,