Coronavirus updates: Worst state outbreaks slowing; top Trump advisor tests positive
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Senate Republicans rolled out their coronavirus relief plan Monday, which includes another round of direct payments to individuals and makes changes to unemployment benefits as the $600-per-week benefit included in the first stimulus bill expires this week. New coronavirus cases are beginning to decline in some of the hardest-hit states, as Americans follow public health warnings and precautions more closely. Major League Baseball postponed two games of its freshly started season on Monday after a Covid-19 outbreak among the Miami Marlins, and Warner Bros. landed on a staggered release schedule for its highly anticipated Christopher Nolan thriller "Tenet."
Here are some of today's biggest developments:
- Trump's national security advisor Robert O'Brien tests positive
- Coronavirus outbreaks show signs of slowing in Arizona, Texas and Florida
- Google extends work from home order through summer 2021
- Moderna vaccine study begins testing 30,000 volunteers
The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:
- Global cases: More than 16.3 million
- Global deaths: At least 650,918
- U.S. cases: More than 4.2 million
- U.S. deaths: At least 147,303
China ticket sales pick up as theaters reopen
Since some cinemas in China began reopening early last week, box office ticket sales have picked up rapidly.
For the past eight days, ticket sales surged to a total of 128.2 million yuan ($18.3 million), according to data from ticketing website Maoyan.
Cinemas across the country had been closed since January due to the coronavirus outbreak. But last week the China Film Administration said theaters in low-risk areas could reopen at 30% capacity, keeping vacant seats between cinema-goers, according to Reuters.
GOP unveils coronavirus relief bill
Republicans unveiled their next coronavirus relief plan as Congress tries to combat ongoing economic and health-care crises created by the pandemic.
The proposal, unveiled by GOP committee chairs in a series of bills, would send another $1,200 direct payment to most Americans.
It would replace the $600 per week enhanced federal unemployment insurance, which states stopped paying out this week, with a 70% wage replacement policy up to a maximum of $500 a week. Through September, it would supplement state jobless benefits a $200 per week sum — a drastic cut from what recipients got in April through July.
The package would allow certain businesses to file for a second Paycheck Protection Program loan, set aside $105 billion for schools, put $16 billion toward Covid-19 testing and shield businesses from lawsuits except for cases of "gross negligence" or "willful misconduct."
Trump administration officials are holding a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders about the plan on Monday evening. — Jacob Pramuk
University of Notre Dame withdraws as site for first presidential debate
The location of the first 2020 presidential debate has changed amid coronavirus concerns. University of Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins announced that the university has withdrawn from hosting the debate as previously scheduled.
"I am grateful to the many members of the University community who have devoted countless hours planning this event, and to the Commission on Presidential Debates leadership for their professionalism and understanding. But in the end, the constraints the coronavirus pandemic put on the event — as understandable and necessary as they are — have led us to withdraw," Jenkins said.
The debate, scheduled for Sept. 29, will now take place at the Health Education Campus in Cleveland, Ohio and will be co-hosted by Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates. –Suzanne Blake
Pfizer and BioNTech began late-stage vaccine trial
U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and German biotech BioNTech said they began their late-stage human trial for a potential coronavirus vaccine as pharmaceutical companies race to win regulatory approval.
The trial will include up to 30,000 participants between the ages of 18 and 85 across 120 sites globally, including 39 U.S. states, the companies announced. If successful, they expect to submit it for final regulatory review as early as October. They plan to supply up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and approximately 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.
The announcement from the two companies came the same day biotech firm Moderna, who is also developing a leading vaccine candidate, said it began its late-stage coronavirus vaccine trial. That trial will also include 30,000 participants. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
President Trump announces $265 million award to Fujifilm for coronavirus vaccine manufacturing
President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. government has awarded Fujifilm a $265 million contract to expand the country's coronavirus vaccine manufacturing capacity at the Texas Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing.
The Texas site will support Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration's effort to accelerate the development, manufacturing and distribution of vaccines and treatments to fight the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. The task order from HHS reserves manufacturing capacity in the facility through the end of 2021, the company said in a release.
"Today, I'm proud to announce that HHS has just signed a $265 million contract with the Fujifilm Texas A&M Innovation Center, which is quite the place, to dramatically expand their vaccine manufacturing capacity," Trump said. —Will Feuer
NJ gym owners arrested after defying governor's order
The owners of a New Jersey gym were arrested in the early morning after repeatedly defying Gov. Phil Murphy's order for many nonessential businesses to remain closed across the state.
The owners of Bellmawr New Jersey's Atilis Gym, Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti were arrested at around 5:30 a.m. ET Monday after they refused to leave the gym, their attorney, James Mermigis, said in an interview with CNBC, adding that police boarded up their business.
Throughout the public health crisis, Smith and Trumbetti have garnered national attention with their defiance of the restrictions, appearing on talk shows, including "Fox and Friends" and "Tucker Carlson Tonight."
"They have such a big following now, nationally, so a lot of people come from within the state from within the country just to hang out and say that they were there," Mermigis said. "A lot of people have followed these guys since they were on Tucker Carlson back in mid-May."
The two were arrested after refusing to comply with multiple criminal citations and court orders, spokesperson for New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a statement. —Will Feuer
Gov. Gavin Newsom announces $52 million plan to help hard-hit areas of California
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a $52 million plan through a federal CDC grant to support eight Central Valley counties to help the region in the fight against Covid-19.
The funds will be used to improve isolation and quarantine protocols, testing availability and provide medical support, Newsom said. He highlighted high levels of transmission in the area, where the positivity rate of the coronavirus is between 10% and 17%, and the importance of slowing the spread of the virus.
"We are in the midst of the first wave of this pandemic," Newsom said. "We have got to do what we did in the beginning – in the onset – of this pandemic, and that is mitigate the spread." California HHS Secretary Mark Ghaly said that in some Central Valley communities, there were a high number of patients in intensive care units fighting the virus. Ghaly reported between 250 and 450 positive cases per 100,000 people in the eight counties in the Central Valley. –Alex Harring
Coronavirus outbreaks show signs of slowing in Arizona, Texas and Florida
Coronavirus outbreaks in Arizona, Florida and Texas appear to be slowing down as more people practice social distancing and states mandate face masks.
On Sunday, Arizona reported a 13% drop in the seven-day average of new Covid-cases, logging 2,627 new infections, down from 3,022 the previous day, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The state has also begun to see its Covid-19 hospitalization number decline, according to data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project. As of Sunday, coronavirus hospitalizations were down about 14% from the previous week to a seven-day average of 2,919.
Cases in Texas have fallen almost 19% over the past seven days, hitting approximately 8,404 new daily cases based on a seven-day moving average on Sunday, according to the CNBC analysis. However, the state hit a record high in average hospitalizations of 10,840 Covid-19 patients. The same day, the state broke a grim record of average daily new deaths of 152.
Florida is just beginning to see its curve flatten, posting a seven-day rolling average of 10,544 new daily cases on Sunday, which is a 8% decrease compared with a week ago. However, the state continues to see rising hospitalizations and fatalities.
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said Monday that officials are starting to see a leveling off of cases in hard-hit states due to people "stepping up to the plate."
"It's due to the fact that people are actually wearing masks. They're wearing their masks. They're social distancing. They're engaging in good personal hygiene," Azar said on "Fox and Friends." —Jasmine Kim
‘Tenet’ to premier internationally Aug. 26, in some U.S. theaters over Labor Day Weekend
The Warner Bros. spy-thriller "Tenet" is set to premier internationally on Aug. 26 after several delays due to the coronavirus crisis. The film will open in select cities in the U.S. over Labor Day weekend, CNBC's Sarah Whitten reports.
Usually, big blockbusters release globally in the same weekend to avoid spoilers and pirated copies, but a staggered release will allow Warner Bros. and international theaters to collect some ticket sales while most U.S. movie theaters remain closed.
"We're very used to focusing on releases in North America because the domestic market sets the pace for so many major films, but there is no question that the current reality of the global market dictates a necessity for international theater owners to get their hands on new content," Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com, said. –Suzanne Blake
State-by-state look at the eviction crisis
Some 40 million Americans could lose their homes amid the public health crisis. Some states will fare worse than others.
For example, around 60% of renters in West Virginia are at risk of eviction, compared to 22% in Vermont.
And people of color are especially vulnerable. While almost half of White tenants say they're highly confident they can continue to pay their rent, only 26% of African-American tenants could say the same. —Annie Nova
DraftKings stock falls after MLB postpones 2 games due to outbreak
Shares of DraftKings, a sports betting provider, dropped about 8% shortly after the MLB postponed the Miami Marlins game against the Baltimore Orioles and the Philadelphia Phillies' matchup with the New York Yankees.
DraftKings expected pent-up sports betting demand as teams returned to play. In May, CEO Jason Robins said the company had seen interest as people started to watch e-sports while leagues, including the MLB and NBA, were on pause due to the coronavirus outbreak.
"People are hungry for sports to come back," Robins said in May. But, now that sports are beginning to return in a limited capacity, there's concern that they'll be placed on pause again.
Still, DraftKings has fared well during the pandemic. Shares of the company are up 221.31% since the company went public in April. —Jessica Bursztynsky
Fauci 'not particularly concerned' about safety of Moderna vaccine, which is using new technology
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said he is "not particularly concerned" about the safety risk of a potential coronavirus vaccine by Moderna, despite the fact that it uses new technology to fight the virus.
The vaccine, which entered a large phase three human trial Monday, uses Messenger ribonucleuc acid, or mRNA molecules to provoke an immune response to fight the virus. Scientists hope mRNA, which relays genetic instructions from DNA, can be used to train the immune system to recognize and destroy Covid-19. While early studies show promise, mRNA technology has never been used to make a successful vaccine before.
"It's a novel technology. We are certainly aware of the fact that that there's not as much experience with this type of platform as there are with other standards," Fauci, told reporters on a conference call. "I'm not particularly concerned. But I don't want a lack of severe concern to get in the way that we are keeping an open mind to look for any possible deleterious effects as we get into and through the phase three trial." —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
Online health provider Ro raises funding round, valuing it at $1.5 billion
Online health start-up Ro closed a new financing round of $200 million, bringing its value to $1.5 billion as of this week. Ro's total funding is up to $376 million, making it one of the most well-funded startups in the health tech industry, CNBC's Christina Farr reports.
When the start-up began, Ro was selling hair loss supplements and erectile dysfunction medication. Now it has expanded to a range of health apps allowing customers to receive help for common medical issues without ever having to see a doctor in person.
Ro offers services geared toward men and women, respectively. Roman focuses on men, while Rory delivers birth control and other services more focused on women. Its medication delivery service, Ro Pharmacy, delivers more than 500 generic medications. The company says it has over 5 million patient-physician interactions. –Suzanne Blake
Miami Marlins have outbreak, Major League Baseball postpones games
Major League Baseball suffered an outbreak of the coronavirus among the staff and players on one of its teams.
The Athletic reported that 14 members of the Miami Marlins team and staff have tested positive for the virus over the past few days. As a result, the team's Monday game against Baltimore has been postponed.
Monday's game between the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, who just wrapped up a series against the Marlins, has also been postponed, according to The Athletic. —Jesse Pound
CLARIFICATION: This blog entry has been updated to clarify that MLB postponed the two Monday games.
Production delays weigh on Hasbro's strong board game sales
Hasbro's fiscal second-quarter earnings were hampered by store closures, product shortages and lower retail inventory as a result of on-going complications caused by the global coronavirus pandemic. Despite strong demand for toys in the quarter, Hasbro's revenue fell 29%.
The company's gaming segment remained a bright spot during the quarter, with revenue in the category rising 11%. Hasbro called out Jenga, Connect 4, Mouse Trap and Twister as top sellers.
Disruption in Hasbro's supply chain resulted in stock levels being low and limited its number of shipments during the quarter. These shipments and sales improved as stores began to reopen late in the quarter. The company said this trend continued into July.
Company executives warned, however, that air freight costs had risen during the pandemic. If Hasbro needs to rely more heavily on this method of shipping to meet demand, it could impact the bottom line in the third and fourth quarter.
Additionally, Hasbro relies heavily on entertainment-linked toys from partner studios as well as its own in-house creation team. The postponement of Hollywood films and the halt in live-action production has hit the company in recent months. —Sarah Whitten
Trump's national security advisor Robert O'Brien tests positive
President Trump's national security advisor Robert O'Brien has tested positive for the coronavirus.
O'Brien has "mild symptoms and has been self-isolating and working from a secure location off site," the White House said in a statement. "There is no risk of exposure to the president or the vice president. The work of the National Security Council continues uninterrupted."
O'Brien, 54, is among the highest-ranking members in Trump's orbit reported to have come down with the coronavirus.
O'Brien earlier this month had traveled to Europe to meet with officials from the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy. He was photographed on that trip in close proximity with his European counterparts, none of whom appeared to be wearing masks during meetings, photos from the NSC's official Twitter account show. —Kevin Breuninger
Hot spots continue to crop up across Texas
Google extends work from home order through summer 2021
Google is extending its work-from-home order through June 2021, the company confirmed. It's the first Big Tech company to push its timeline so far into the next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"To give employees the ability to plan ahead, we are extending our global voluntary work from home option through June 30, 2021, for roles that don't need to be in the office," CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email to employees.
The extension will affect likely all of Google's 200,000 workers, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news.
Most tech companies have announced that the bulk of employees can work from home until the end of 2020, or haven't finalized a timeline. Amazon and Apple have asked that workers return in January, while Twitter has allowed employees to work from home "forever" if they wish. —Jessica Bursztynsky
Moderna vaccine study begins testing 30,000 volunteers
A study of the potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health has started with 30,000 volunteers, the Associated Press first reported.
The study volunteers will not know if they're receiving the real shot or a placebo. Scientists will track which group experiences more infections to monitor the potential vaccine effect on stopping infections.
Moderna also tapped business software group SAP to help distribute the potential vaccine, which is one of a handful of vaccines entering the final stages of development, SAP CEO Christian Klein confirmed to Reuters. —Alex Harring
Papa John's plans to hire 20,000 more workers
Papa John's is planning to hire another 10,000 workers as it tries to meet surging demand for its pizzas.
Consumers who are sheltering in place are ordering more Papa John's food. During the three months ended June 28, the pizza chain's North American same-store sales soared 28%, according to its preliminary estimates.
The company recently added 20,000 employees. At the end of 2019, it had 16,500 employees, according to its annual report. —Amelia Lucas
U.S. stocks open flat as investors await coronavirus stimulus negotiations
U.S. stocks opened mostly flat as investors braced for a big week of corporate earnings and lawmakers continued coronavirus stimulus negotiations, reports CNBC's Fred Imbert and Eustance Huang.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 20 points, less than 0.1%. The S&P 500 traded a hair above the flatline while the Nasdaq Composite outperformed and rose 0.6%. —Melodie Warner
Sales of RVs rise as travelers seek alternatives to flying
The coronavirus pandemic has given sales of recreational vehicles — or RVs — a boost that investors expect could last for more than a year. The industry had seen a long boom from 2010-17, during the recovery from the financial crisis of 2008. But sales in this cyclical industry began to drop in 2018 and 2019.
Now RV's look like an appealing option for consumers to get out of the house as the pandemic keeps them away from airports, hotels and resorts, and even ordinary weekend activities such as beach trips and sporting events.
Companies such as Thor Industries and Winnebago are reporting spikes in interest and fast-moving inventory, and campgrounds are getting crowded. —Robert Ferris
European travel stocks decline amid fears of second wave
European travel and leisure stocks sank as fears over a rise in coronavirus cases took center stage. The index dropped 3% in early European trading hours with Tui, easyJet and International Airlines Group — the owner of Iberia and British Airways — all down by around 10%.
Investors are worried about a recent jump in infections in certain European regions and the subsequent implications for travel. In addition, the U.K. government surprised many tourists over the weekend with the decision to remove Spain from the list of countries exempted from quarantine upon arrival in England. —Silvia Amaro
WHO deems Covid-19 'the most severe' global health emergency ever declared
The coronavirus pandemic is "easily the most severe" global health emergency that has ever been declared, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
The virus has infected more than 16.2 million people and killed at least 648,900 since it emerged in Wuhan, China about seven months ago. Tedros warned that widespread adherence to fundamental public health measures such as social distancing and mask wearing are the best ways to combat the virus.
"Where these measures are followed, cases go down. Where they are not, cases go up," he said, specifically praising Canada, China, Germany and South Korea for bringing their outbreaks under control. He also praised Cambodia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Thailand, Vietnam and islands in the Pacific and the Caribbean for avoiding large outbreaks altogether. —Will Feuer
Moderna stock pops on additional government award
Shares of Moderna rose more than 10% in premarket trading on Monday after the company announced it had received an additional $472 million from the U.S. government to support the development of its coronavirus vaccine.
The latest funding will support the company's late-stage clinical trial, which is due to begin Monday. Moderna had previously received $483 million from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to accelerate development of its vaccine. That brings the total amount of U.S. funding for the vaccine to about $955 million.
"Encouraged by the Phase 1 data, we believe that our mRNA vaccine may aid in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic and preventing future outbreaks," Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Bancel said in a statement. —Will Feuer