A coronavirus relief agreement in Congress remained in doubt, just as extended unemployment benefits are ending and new economic data showed a U.S. economy buckling under the pandemic's weight. The Commerce Department said gross domestic product from April to June plunged 32.9% on an annualized basis, the biggest quarterly plunge in activity ever. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield warned Congress of "significant public health consequences" if schools don't reopen in the fall.
Here are some of today's biggest developments:
- Congress deadlocked on relief
- Fauci warns virus won't just disappear
- CDC says school closings have health consequences
- Sanofi, GSK nab $2.1 billion in vaccine deal
- Three bellwethers post weak quarters as virus saps demand
- Merck aims to start 'large pivotal' studies on treatment in September
- Pandemic helped to boost Apple's iPad and Mac sales
The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:
- Global cases: More than 17.5 million
- Global deaths: At least 679,439
- U.S. cases: More than 4.5 million
- U.S. deaths: At least 153,314
California surpasses 500,000 coronavirus cases
California's confirmed coronavirus cases have crossed the 500,000 mark, according to an NBC News count, with 9,182 related deaths.
As of Friday, the state of approximately 40 million people had reported 504,593 cases of the Covid-19 infection.
The U.S. has recorded by far the highest number of coronavirus cases worldwide, with more than 4.5 million cases to date. — Sam Meredith
California reports first death of a child from coronavirus
California health officials reported the state's first death of a child from coronavirus on Friday, the Associated Press reported.
The death happened in Central Valley. The child was a teenager and had other health conditions, according to the AP.
The CDC reported 228 children have died of the virus in the U.S, which comprises less than 0.2% of coronavirus deaths in the country.
In California, the AP said only around 9% of confirmed virus cases are children, and most never suffer serious conditions or require hospitalization. Of California's more than 9,000 deaths from coronavirus, three-quarters were age 65 or older. –Suzanne Blake
Koch network reactivates ground game despite the coronavirus
The political arm of the Koch network is going back into the field, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Americans for Prosperity Action, a super PAC linked to the larger network, is reactivating its in-person door knocking with just under 100 days until the general election after shifting to a virtual campaign earlier in the year.
AFP Action is backing a wide array of contenders, including five Republican Sens. David Perdue, R-Ga., Steve Daines, R-Mont., Cory Gardner, R-Colo, Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and John Cornyn, R-Texas.
Their five states combined have had over 768,000 reported cases of the Covid-19, with most coming from the state of Texas. There are over 4 million confirmed cases nationwide and at least 152,000 deaths.
AFP Action plans to unleash a seven figure digital ad buy in August that will include supportive spots for all five Senate candidates, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. Another Koch linked outside group, Concerned Veterans for America Action, will launch separate digital ads next week backing Daines and Tillis. —Brian Schwartz
Top HHS official denies report that national testing plan was scrapped to hurt blue states
A report claiming the Trump administration scrapped plans for a national coronavirus testing strategy to make Democratic governors in some of the hardest hit states look bad is "preposterous," Adm. Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, said in an interview on Fox News.
A team led by the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner created a national testing plan early in the nation's response to the pandemic that called the federal government to coordinate the distribution of test kits to heavily impacted areas, among other recommendations, according to an article in Vanity Fair, which said it had obtained a copy of the plan. However, Kushner's plan was reportedly scrapped by the Trump administration because the coronavirus was hitting Democrat-led states the hardest, and a national strategy "would not make sense politically," Vanity Fair reported, citing a public-health expert who spoke with a member on Kushner's team familiar with the matter.
"I have never heard something so preposterous as 'we're not going to do a national plan because it's affecting Democratic states," Giroir told Fox News. "I would like to put that to rest because it's really ridiculous and it foments mistrust in the public health system." — Noah Higgins-Dunn
Frontier could furlough more than a third of its pilots and flight attendants
Discount carrier Frontier Airlines says it could furlough up to 559 pilots and 925 flight attendants, 35% of each work group, as early as Oct. 1, the latest airline to warn staff about potential cuts.
Furloughs are prohibited until Oct. 1 under the terms of $25 billion in federal payroll support set aside for U.S. passenger airlines. But carriers have begun warning employees that their jobs are at risk, a federal requirement.
"Our current forecast for October calls for us to operate significantly fewer flights than we had planned and we anticipate similar capacity reductions until demand recovers; that recovery is not likely until the widespread availability of a vaccine or therapeutics in 2021," Frontier's CEO Barry Biffle said in a staff memo. "Flying at those levels leaves us with too many team members on our payroll and we need to make some difficult, but necessary, decisions to significantly reduce our payroll expense."
The airline says it's in talks with labor unions about voluntary programs to try to prevent involuntary job cuts.
More than 200 lawmakers and airline labor unions are urging Congress to extend $32 billion in aid for the sector that would protect sector jobs through the end of next March.
"While we cannot predict the outcome of those negotiations, we are hopeful that our representatives in Washington will understand the potential impact of not supporting an extension to this program," said Frontier's Biffle.
At risk of eviction? Here's what you need to do
Millions of renters are at risk of eviction now that the proceedings have resumed in more than 30 states and the federal eviction moratorium in the CARES Act has expired.
Some courts will allow you to postpone your hearing until you can go into the courthouse. In states where the statewide moratorium on evictions has lapsed, some towns, cities and counties have established their own protections for renters.
At Justshelter.org, you can search for community resources for people at risk of eviction. And you can find low-cost or free legal help with an eviction in your state at Lawhelp.org.
You'll definitely want to try to get a lawyer. One study in New Orleans found that more than 65% of tenants with no legal representation were evicted, compared with fewer than 15% of those who did have a lawyer. —Annie Nova
Congress deadlocked on relief as unemployment boost expires
Top Democrats and Republicans appeared as far apart as ever from reaching a deal on the next coronavirus relief package, with enhanced federal unemployment benefits set to expire in hours.
Democrats in the House, who passed on their own proposal in May, oppose the GOP plan because it slashes enhanced unemployment; gives liability protections to businesses, doctors and schools; and lacks direct aid for state and local governments as well as mortgage, rent and food assistance. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said liability protections are not negotiable.
The $600 enhanced weekly unemployment benefit expires later today, though states actually stopped paying it out last week. —Spencer Kimball
WHO reports record single-day increase in cases
Almost 300,000 new coronavirus cases were reported to the World Health Organization over the last 24 hours, marking the largest single-day increase ever, the agency said.
More than half of the 292,527 new cases reported on Thursday came from the Americas with 171,946 cases , according to data from the WHO. Southeast Asia reported the second most number of cases with 60,113 reported infections, followed by Europe with 25 241, according to the WHO.
Last week, WHO officials warned there is no going back to the "old normal" as the coronavirus pandemic accelerates in the United States and poorer, developing countries. Even though cases are high in the U.S. and other parts of the world, there's still a chance to bring the virus under control, they said. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
House accuses Trump administration of 'waste, fraud or abuse' in ventilator contract
In a report released on Friday, the U.S. House Oversight Committee accused the Trump administration of "incompetent negotiating" for ventilators at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. The report found that failed negotiations on behalf of Trump administration officials led by U.S. trade advisor Peter Navarro "squandered" more than $500 million in taxpayer funds for the essential equipment.
The committee based its findings on documents and information collected from Philips Respironics, a leading manufacturer of ventilators that reportedly negotiated contracts with the Trump administration. Lawmakers said the administration mismanaged an existing contract with Philips Respironics, agreeing to pay $15,000 apiece for Trilogy EV300 ventilators this year after Philips repeatedly failed to deliver 10,000 Trilogy Evo Universal ventilators ordered in 2014 for $3,280 apiece, the report says.
"The Trump Administration's efforts constitute over half-a-billion dollars of waste, fraud, or abuse. Philips should return the excess so that it may aid the nation's response to the coronavirus pandemic," the report says. — Noah Higgins-Dunn
United brings back some international flights
United Airlines is dipping a toe into international flying again, adding more than 25 routes abroad in September. The carrier, however, remains cautious as the pandemic and travel restrictions keep a lid on demand growth.
International flying has been curtailed even more than domestic routes because of the virus due to strict measures barring many travelers.
With the additions, the Chicago-based airline's September capacity will be 37% of year-ago levels and up 4 percentage points from its August 2020 schedule. United has been among the most cautious of the U.S. airlines when adding back capacity into the market.
Some of the planned additions include flights from Chicago to Tel Aviv, Chicago to Hong Kong and Houston to Amsterdam. It is also going after sun seekers with service to Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and to San Jose and Liberia, Costa Rica.
Domestically, United will add 40 flights a day, and is planning to increase flying to Hawaii as well as adding service to Santa Barbara, California and Colorado Springs.
Dr. Fauci says virus won’t likely ever disappear
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said the coronavirus is so contagious it won't likely ever completely go away.
"I do not believe it would disappear because it's such a highly transmissible virus," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a House Select Subcommittee hearing on containing the coronavirus outbreak. While the virus will not disappear, Fauci has previously said it's possible world leaders and public health officials could work to bring the pandemic down to "low levels."
Fauci's comments are at odds with President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly claimed that the virus would "disappear." The president's remarks come amid warnings from health experts, including at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that Covid-19 cases and deaths could rise this fall. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
Diversity is a key priority in late-stage vaccine trials
Forty of 45 participants in the Moderna phase one vaccine trial were White. Now the late-stage trials underway are geared toward those most at risk of severe disease: the elderly, front-line workers, and Black, Latino and Native American communities.
"The number one reason Black people and brown people don't participate in clinical trials is because nobody asks them," said Linda Goler Blount, CEO of the Black Women's Health Imperative.
"Historically, people of color have been left out of clinical trials," she said. "And we've seen plenty of examples of where drugs have been developed or therapeutics developed and it turns out they don't work as well in communities of color."— Meg Tirrell, Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
CDC chief warns of ‘significant public health consequences’ if schools don’t reopen
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, warned Congress of "significant public health consequences" if schools don't reopen in the fall.
Millions of children get nutritional and mental health services at schools, CDC Director Redfield told a House Select Subcommittee hearing on containing the coronavirus outbreak. He said school reopenings need to be done "smartly."
"It's important to realize that it's in the public health's best interest for K-12 students to get back into face-to-face learning," Redfield testified. "There's really very significant public health consequences of the school closure."
The matter of whether and how to reopen schools in the U.S. this fall has become a hotbed issue in recent weeks. Researchers say the role kids play in spreading the disease is still unclear. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
Goggles or eye shields provide additional Covid-19 protection, Dr. Fauci says
Wearing goggles or eye shields, as well as a face mask or cloth face covering, can provide additional protection from Covid-19, White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said during an Instagram Live interview Wednesday.
Covid-19 can enter the body through any mucosal surface, which includes the nose, mouth and eyes, Fauci told ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton. Eye transmission is less common than through the nose and mouth, but it is possible, Dr. Thomas Steinemann, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology told CNBC Make It.
If you own goggles or an eye shield, you should wear them, Fauci said. (Standard eyeglasses or sunglasses don't provide adequate protection due to the openings on the top, bottom and sides, Steinemann says.)
Though eye protection is currently not mandated for the general public, "if you really want to be complete, you should probably use it," Fauci said. Studies on health-care workers show that eye protection is associated with reduced infection. —Cory Stieg
Pandemic helped to boost Apple’s iPad and Mac sales
Morgan Stanley said it is bullish on the "increased importance of consumer computing devices to support work, play and learn from home benefiting iPad/Mac sales." It also raised its price target on the stock to $430 per share from $419 a share.
Analysts at Piper Sandler also noted that Apple is withstanding the coronavirus pandemic, saying in a company note Thursday that its Mac and iPad units are "actually benefiting nicely" due to remote work and learning trends.
Retailers have been hard hit by the pandemic that's shut down stores across the globe and impacted suppliers. But Apple pointed toward both work-from-home trends and strong online sales as delivering a boost to overall operations.
The company's iPad sales grew 31%, and its "other products" category, which includes AirPods and the Apple Watch, grew 17% from the third quarter of 2019. Mac revenue also rose almost 18% from this time last year. —Jessica Bursztynsky
Pinterest shares pop as it gains users looking for stay-at-home content
Shares were up about 24% mid-morning Friday.
Pinterest said its global monthly active users surged 39% year-over-year to 416 million. The company saw total revenue of $272 million, an increase of 4% year-over-year, though it said advertiser demand continued to be affected by the pandemic.
"People needed Pinterest in Q2," the company said in the letter. "They needed a service that helped them adjust to radically changed circumstances — one that inspired them to cook at home, build vegetable gardens, plan activities for their kids and set up remote offices and home gyms, to name just a few typical Covid-19-related use cases we saw during the quarter." —Megan Graham
Merck aims to start 'large pivotal' studies on treatment in September
Merck has scheduled "very large pivotal" studies for its oral coronavirus treatment in collaboration with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics as early as September, Dr. Roger Perlmutter, president of Merck Research Laboratories, said on the company's second-quarter earnings call. The experimental oral therapeutic, known as MK-4482, that would fight against Covid-19 is currently in phase two trials.
He said the goal of future studies will be to prove the drug can reduce the duration of Covid-19 symptoms and, more importantly, keep people from developing serious illness that could send them to the hospital or intensive-care unit. The drug, if approved, would join Gilead's remdesivir in helping critically ill coronavirus patients.
"The good news about MK-4482 is that because it's an oral drug given in capsules, it can be easily administered from the time that people have symptoms," Perlmutter said. —Noah Higgins-Dunn
Tips for parents to fund remote special-needs learning
For some students with disabilities and special needs in U.S. public and private schools, the shift to remote learning has created additional financial pressures for their families, reports CNBC's Sharon Epperson.
"Parents have to decide, 'Okay, how am I going to address this gap?' And quite often they have to pay out of pocket for those services," said Jessica Tuman, vice president of Voya Cares Center of Excellence at Voya Financial, which focuses on planning for individuals with special needs and their families.
Tuman and other financial and legal experts suggest that families of children with disabilities explore workplace benefits, special savings accounts and other resources.
Employee benefits can help families to pay for therapies and other costs. A family can save up $7,100 pretax in a health savings account, or HSA, and up to $2,750 in a flexible spending account, or FSA.
An ABLE account is another savings option. You can put away up to $15,000 a year and the first $100,000 saved will not jeopardize key government benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. Tuman said some health insurance plans may also cover special therapies, like applied behavioral analysis for children with autism, for example. —Melodie Warner
U.S. stocks open higher after strong Big Tech earnings
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose just 20 points, and the S&P 500 gained 0.4%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.4% as Big Tech shares soared. —Melodie Warner
IFC Films' shift to drive-ins makes it a box-office champ
Before the coronavirus pandemic, IFC Films had never played its titles at a drive-in movie theater, but the unconventional shift has kept the company in business and not far behind its box-office sales from last year.
In fact, its ticket sales are only down 2.6% to $3.39 million, compared with last year, according to Comscore.
In March, when movie theaters were closing and big Hollywood studios began pushing back their theatrical releases, IFC began cold-calling snack bars at drive-ins. The effort paid off as the company is one of only a few that have regularly reported box-office tallies during the pandemic.
IFC's horror film "The Wretched," which was released in May, has garnered more than $1.7 million in ticket sales, fueled by a strong showing at drive-ins.
The company's most recent release, "The Rental," Dave Franco's directorial debut, scored $404,000 in its opening weekend after showing in 250 theaters. Ninety of those were drive-in locations and accounted for 86% of the total. —Sarah Whitten
Pharma giant Merck says the worst of the coronavirus impact is behind it
Pharmaceutical giant Merck, which is racing to develop two vaccines as well as a treatment to fight Covid-19, beat Wall Street expectations in the second quarter and raised its overall earnings guidance for the year. The company told investors the "majority of the negative impact" hit its earnings during the quarter. It expects a gradual recovery through the third quarter "with a return to normal operating levels in the fourth quarter."
Merck acquired Austrian vaccine maker Themis Bioscience, which is developing a Covid-19 vaccine with Institut Pasteur and the University of Pittsburgh. The company said Friday clinical trials for the candidate are scheduled to begin in the third quarter. It is also collaborating with scientific research nonprofit IAVI on a separate Covid-19 vaccine. Merck said Friday clinical trials for this vaccine candidate will begin later this year.
"Both vaccine candidates will soon enter the clinic and we have begun investing to facilitate our ability to manufacture hundreds of millions of doses," CEO Ken Frazier said during a conference call discussing the company's second-quarter earnings. —Noah Higgins-Dunn
U.S. consumer spending is up, despite personal income falling 1.1%
U.S. consumer spending, which represents more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, rose 5.6% in June.
The rise followed a record increase of 8.5% in May, which came as more businesses began to reopen from shutdowns due to the coronavirus. While spending has increased over the two months, personal income fell 1.1% in June after dropping 4.2% in May.
Though the uptick in consumer spending could set the U.S. to see economic rebounds in the third quarter, the recovery could be curtailed by new shutdowns as coronavirus cases continued to rise in some areas. —Alex Harring
Under Armour second-quarter revenue fell 41% as most stores shutdown
Under Armour said its fiscal second-quarter revenue fell 41%, but overall results were better than the retailer was expecting, thanks to an e-commerce boost. The sneaker maker estimated roughly 80% of stores where its merchandise can be purchased, including its own shops, were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic through mid-May.
Selling directly to customers made its sales more profitable and there was less of a drag from items being sold at off-price channels. As a result, its gross margins strengthened 280 basis points to 49.3%. And with stores reopening, the company said it was "encouraged" by the momentum it was seeing in June and July.
"However, we remain appropriately cautious with respect to the balance of 2020 due to continued uncertainty related to consumer shopping dynamics, the potential for a highly promotional environment and proactive decisions to reduce inventory purchases to be more aligned with anticipated demand related to ongoing COVID-19 impacts," Chief Executive Patrik Frisk said in a statement.
Under Armour shares recently were up about 6% in premarket trading. —Lauren Thomas
Three industry bellwethers post disappointing quarters as virus saps demand
Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Caterpillar — three industry bellwethers — all reported down quarters Friday morning as the pandemic sapped demand for oil and manufacturing equipment. Here's how each firm fared:
- Exxon lost money for the second straight quarter, posting an adjusted loss per share of 70 cents. That's in comparison with earnings per share of 73 cents during the company's second quarter last year. Exxon cited "global oversupply" of oil resulting from a near-halt to global travel.
- Chevron similarly posted a net loss for the most recent quarter, weighed down in part by a $1.8 billion writedown associated with a downward revision in the company's commodity price outlook. The company warned lower demand could continue to hinder results into the current quarter.
- Caterpillar saw sales fall 31% year over year during its second quarter. The industrial machinery giant cited cost reduction and prioritized spending as helping to offset a $1.4 billion decline in dealer inventories. —Sara Salinas, Pippa Stevens, Thomas Franck
Sanofi, GSK nab $2.1 billion in vaccine deal
The U.S. government will pay drugmakers Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline up to $2.1 billion to develop and deliver 100 million doses of their potential coronavirus vaccine.
More than half of the $1.5 billion will be used to support further development of the vaccine, including clinical trials. The rest will be for manufacturing and delivery of the 100 million doses, the companies said. The U.S. will have the option to order an additional 500 million doses, they said.
Sanofi is leading the clinical development of the potential vaccine and expects an early-stage human trial to begin in September, followed by a late-stage trial by the end of the year. If the vaccine proves to be safe and effective, the companies expect to request regulatory approval in the first half of 2021. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
U.S. cases jump by 67,000
New coronavirus cases in the U.S. jumped by more than 67,000, a day after topping 70,000 for the first time in almost a week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. reported 67,619 new cases of the virus on Thursday, according to Hopkins data. The seven-day average of new cases is now down more than 1% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of the data from Hopkins.
On Thursday, The Department of Health and Human Services said that it is seeing "signs of progress" in Southern states fighting the coronavirus pandemic, though the number of deaths remains high. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
UK PM delays easing of lockdown measures in England
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has postponed the further easing of Covid-19 restrictions in England for at least two weeks.
A relaxation of restrictions had initially been scheduled to take place over the weekend.
Among the changes, Johnson said wedding receptions of up to 30 people will no longer be allowed to happen from August 1, and face coverings will soon be mandatory in more settings.
To date, the U.K. has recorded almost 304,000 cases of the coronavirus, with 46,084 related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The U.K. is second only to Russia for the highest number of Covid-19 infections in Europe. — Sam Meredith