Coronavirus live updates: Australia to deploy troops in Victoria to enforce isolation orders

This is CNBC's live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks. 

Coronavirus relief talks are re-starting Monday as Democrats meet with the Trump administration to hash out a deal. On Sunday, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx warned that the U.S. is in a "new phase" of its battle against the coronavirus, which is "extraordinarily widespread" in both urban and rural communities. On Monday, President Donald Trump targeted Birx in a tweet, saying she "hit us" following reported criticism from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Here are some of the biggest developments today:

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 18.1 million 
  • Global deaths: At least 691,738
  • Top five countries: United States (over 4.7 million), Brazil (more than 2.7 million), India (over 1.8 million), Russia (at least 854,641), South Africa (at least 516,862)

Victoria state in Australia will deploy military, tough fines to enforce isolation orders

Australia's Victoria state said it will deploy around 500 military personnel this week to help ensure that people who have contracted the coronavirus comply with their isolation orders, reported Reuters. Those caught breaching the rules can be fined nearly 5,000 Australian dollars ($3,564), the report said. 

Reuters said the tougher measures were announced after officials found that nearly one-third of the people infected with Covid-19 were not at home isolating.

Victoria, Australia's second-most populous state and home to Melbourne, has been the epicenter of a recent flare up of coronavirus cases in the country. That led authorities to tighten restrictions on people's movements and close a large part of the local economy.

The state on Tuesday reported 439 new infections, according to Reuters. Australia has reported more than 18,700 cases and 232 deaths so far, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows. — Yen Nee Lee

Trump says U.S. may have vaccine ahead of schedule

President Donald Trump said the U.S. may have a coronavirus vaccine available to the public ahead of the administration's goal of the end of the year or early 2021.

"We're balancing speed and safety and we're on pace to have a vaccine available this year, maybe far in advance of the end of the year," Trump said during a White House press briefing. "And we're mass-producing the most promising candidates in advance so that we're ready upon approval. We have our military lined up. It's logistics, it's all about logistics."

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 it becomes available, experts say.

Additionally, scientists say that questions remain about how the human body responds once it's been infected with the virus. The answers, they say, may have important implications for vaccine development, including how quickly it can be deployed to the public. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Trump says nationwide permanent lockdown is 'not a viable path forward'

President Donald Trump insisted during a press briefing that shutting down the United States in an attempt to curb the coronavirus would cause more harm than good. He said the U.S. only initially shut down to prevent the overflow of hospitals and to allow U.S. health officials and scientists to learn more about the new virus, including developing effective treatments to fight it. He said the U.S. is doing "really well" on developing coronavirus drugs and vaccines.  

"It's important for all Americans to recognize that a permanent lockdown is not a viable path forward producing the result that you want or certainly not a viable path forward and would ultimately inflict more harm than it would prevent," Trump said during a White House briefing on the virus. 

State lawmakers, rather than the federal government, have imposed harsh restrictions on residents and businesses throughout the nation's coronavirus response. Trump urged Americans to stay "vigilant" against the coronavirus as U.S. officials begin to see new "flare-ups," including in states like Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Missouri. — Noah Higgins-Dunn

Trump giving telehealth a greater role under Medicare for people in rural areas

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday that calls for Congress to make telehealth doctor visits an integral part of Medicare, the Associated Press reports.

The AP said this order will apply to the portion of the program's recipients that live in rural areas. Trump administration officials said this step could be the first in more laws creating telehealth options within Medicare for all recipients.

Officials told the AP that the executive order will also see hospitals in rural areas potentially receiving a more steady stream of Medicare payments for reaching higher performance on some measures of quality.

In the last week of April amid the pandemic, 1.7 million Medicare recipients relied on telehealth while only some thousands used telehealth before the coronavirus crisis, according to the news service. –Suzanne Blake

California governor reports 'early good signs' as cases trend downward

From right: Prubechu co-owner Shawn Camacho checks the temperature of customer Mateo Montez before letting him into the outdoor seating area in San Francisco, Calif. Prubechu has strict policies in place when it comes to health and safety, amid the coronavirus pandemic. Customers must fill out a health declaration, contact tracing form and have their temperature checked, among other rules, before entering the outdoor seating area.
San Francisco Chronicle | Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a press briefing that the state is seeing "early good signs" as the state's positivity rate, or the percentage of tests that come back positive, and hospitalizations begin to trend downward. California reported 5,739 additional new cases on Sunday, helping push the state's seven-day average of daily Covid-19 cases down 21.2% from the previous period, Newsom said, citing state data. 

The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 has declined 10% over the last 14 days, he said. The state's positivity rate has also ticked down from 7.5% to 7% in two weeks, he said. The positivity rate indicates how broadly the virus is spreading throughout the community, and sees little impact from increased testing capacity, experts say. 

"It's not where it needs to be, it's still too high, but again it's good to see this number trending down not trending up," Newsom said at a press briefing. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

With two more filings, retail bankruptcies approach highest number in a decade

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

Retail bankruptcies are racking up as the pandemic continues, and they're approaching the highest number in a decade

Two companies joined the list this weekend: Le Tote, owner of Lord & Taylor, and Tailored Brands, parent company of Men's Wearhouse.

The additions bring the total retail bankruptcy filings so far this year to 43, according to tracking by S&P Global Intelligence.

There have already been more retail bankruptcies in 2020 than in the past eight years, according to S&P Global — and there are still five months left in the year. There were 48 filings by retailers in 2010, according to S&P Global, following tremendous tumult and financial strain across the industry during the Great Recession. In 2008, 441 retailers filed for bankruptcy, according to S&P Global. —Melissa Repko

Republicans may be wrong about $600 unemployment boost, studies suggest

Republicans want to eliminate or reduce a $600 supplement to weekly unemployment checks, calling it a disincentive to work since it pays some recipients more money than their prior jobs. However, those theoretical fears haven't played out in reality, according to recent studies.

Specifically, the extra $600 a week hasn't dissuaded people from taking jobs or stifled hiring by employers, the research suggests.

In fact, Americans receiving the aid are helping to prop up the U.S. economy and supporting millions of jobs, according to a number of economists. Ending the aid would cripple the economy as a result, they argue. —Greg Iacurci

Fauci says there 'certainly is a degree' the virus is spreading through air particles

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that he thinks there "certainly is a degree" the coronavirus can spread through particles in the air, although the role it plays in the virus' spread is still being studied. During an interview with The Journal of the American Medical Association, Fauci said it has become "much clearer" that someone is likely at greater risk if they're in an indoor space where there's less air circulation and "any degree of aerosolization."

"I think that there certainly is a degree of aerosolization," Fauci, a White House coronavirus advisor, told JAMA. "But I'm going to take a step back and make sure that we learn the facts before we start talking about it." 

Health experts have said that the coronavirus is generally transmitted person-to-person through large respiratory droplets, often when someone sneezes or coughs. In July, the WHO published new guidance that acknowledged it can't rule out the possibility the virus can be transmitted through air particles in closed spaces indoors, including in gyms and restaurants. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

Wall Street questions Detroit automakers’ resiliency during pandemic

Detroit automakers largely beat second-quarter earnings expectations, demonstrating resilience in the middle of a pandemic. Still, shares of industry leaders fell last week, suggesting investors aren't yet sold on the strength of GM, Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler amid the coronavirus crisis, CNBC's Michael Wayland reports.

GM shares fell 3.2% last week, even as GM reconfirmed plans to invest $20 billion in autonomous and electric vehicles. Shares of Ford dropped 4.6%, while Fiat Chrysler's shares lost 5.3%.

Analysts say the sell-offs were driven in part by skepticism of a quick recovery for vehicle sales and the Detroit carmakers' inability to adapt to new electric and autonomous vehicle technology. –Suzanne Blake

White House makes random coronavirus testing mandatory for staff

From left: Counselor to President Hope Hicks, Assistant to the President and White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Dan Scavino, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and White House Staff Secretary Derek Lyons walk across the South Lawn upon return to the White House in Washington, DC.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

Random coronavirus tests at the White House will now be mandatory for staff in the Executive Office of the President, a White House official told CNBC.

The heightened level of enforcement with the random testing policy comes "as part of our ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of the entire White House Complex," the official said.

The random testing policy had already been in place on a voluntary basis for "several months," the official said.

Multiple people who work in the White House have tested positive for the virus – including at least one who was in close proximity to President Donald Trump. —Kevin Breuninger

Dr. Fauci sees ‘insidious’ rise in rate of positive cases in some states


Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said U.S. health officials are beginning to see early signs of a new coronavirus surge in some states.

The rate of positive coronavirus tests in some states outside of the southern region of the nation is beginning to increase, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Journal of the American Medical Association. It's the same "insidious" rise that the Sun Belt region saw roughly a month ago before cases began to surge, he said.

Fauci didn't name the states, but last week he warned about a potential surge of Covid-19 cases brewing in states like Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana, which have reported an uptick in the so-called positivity rate, or the percentage of tests that are positive. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Coronavirus talks continue as unemployment benefits divide GOP and Democrats

Democratic leaders and Trump administration officials met Monday afternoon as they try to bridge a gulf in their goals for the next coronavirus relief package. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows huddled in Pelosi's office as they try to craft a plan to combat health care and economic crises created by the pandemic. Asked by CNN on Monday how far apart the sides are, Pelosi said, "Let's see when we meet today."

The biggest sticking point appears to be extension of the $600 per week enhanced federal unemployment insurance. The extra jobless benefit expired at the end of July even as tens of millions of Americans still benefit from it. 

Democrats want to continue the policy at least into next year. Republicans aim to cut the assistance to $200 per week through September. Then, their plan would set the benefit at 70% wage replacement. 

Unless the sides can reach a deal Monday, it appears unlikely Congress will approve more relief legislation before next week at the earliest. —Jacob Pramuk

New Jersey cuts limit on indoor gatherings from 100 people to 25, Gov. Phil Murphy announces

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced a reduced limit on indoor gatherings to 25 people Monday. For spaces where the maximum occupancy is less than 25, the policy will limit it to 25% of the capacity.

"Today, we are tightening the restriction on indoor gatherings, which until further notice are now limited to 25% of a room's capacity, but with a maximum of 25 persons," Murphy said in announcing the change.

The reduction comes after Murphy expanded the limit to 100 — but still at 25% of capacity — in June. In addition to public spaces and businesses, the reduced limit also applies to house parties, Murphy noted.

Weddings, funerals and memorial services are exempt from the change and may continue to have an indoor limit of 100, as long as they stay below the 25% threshold, Murphy said. Religious or political activities protected under the First Amendment are also exempt from the change. —Alex Harring

Trump attacks Dr. Birx after her comments that the U.S. is reaching a 'new phase' in the coronavirus fight

US President Donald Trump listens to Response coordinator for White House Coronavirus Task Force Deborah Birx (R) as she speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

President Trump attacked Dr. Deborah Birx, complaining in a tweet that the White House coronavirus coordinator "hit us" following reported criticism of her from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.


Pelosi had slammed her as "the worst" in a closed meeting with White House officials, Politico reported Friday. On Sunday, Pelosi told ABC News' "This Week" that she does not have confidence in Birx.

Birx responded Sunday on CNN that she has "tremendous respect for the speaker, and I have tremendous respect for her long dedication to the American people."

She also warned that the U.S. had entered a "new phase" in its battle against the virus. 

"What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread ... it's more widespread and it's both rural and urban," Birx said. —Kevin Breuninger

Airline executives seek more federal aid as furloughs loom

The CEOs from American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have recently talked with lawmakers and officials in Washington about extending $32 billion in federal aid aimed at preserving jobs through the end of next March.

Airlines and contractors that accepted portions of the aid are prohibited from cutting jobs until Oct. 1. Some carriers, including American, United, Alaska and Delta have warned some employees that their jobs could be at risk when the terms of the aid expire because a rebound in demand has stalled.

Labor unions in June began pushing for an extension to the funding and have ramped up their campaign as lawmakers debate another aid package to help the country weather the pandemic. —Leslie Josephs

Coronavirus has brought longstanding inequalities to surface, Snap CEO says

Co-Founder and CEO of Snap Inc. Evan Spiegel.
Matt Winkelmeyer | Getty Images

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel discussed how the coronavirus pandemic has brought inequity in American society to light on the "How Leaders Lead with David Novak" podcast, CNBC's Taylor Locke reports.

"The most important thing that Covid has done, in my opinion, is it has laid bare the tremendous inequity in American society and the failures of many of our systems," Spiegel told CNBC contributor Novak, "including our health system to take care of our citizens."

Spiegel noted how the virus has disproportionately impacted people of color, as Black and Hispanic residents of the U.S. have been three times as likely to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 and nearly twice as likely to die from Covid-19 as white people. He said he is hopeful issues of racism and oppression coming to the surface can lead to change.

"When you see the backdrop of racism that persists in our country today exacerbated by this situation, I think generally, it's a really important step for our country to take to at least see that this problem exists," Spiegel said. "Unless we're willing to acknowledge this problem, unless we're willing to acknowledge this history, unless we're willing to acknowledge the inequities in our system today, it's going to be very difficult to fix them."

Spiegel, along with Snap co-founder Bobby Murphy, has pledged to donate 13 million shares of Snap stock to The Snap Foundation. Spiegel and his wife, with the foundation, have already donated millions to Covid-19 relief in Los Angeles. —Alex Harring

Outbreaks in Florida, Texas, California and Arizona begin to decline

Coronavirus outbreaks that have torn through Sun Belt states like California, Florida, Texas and Arizona for weeks have started to decline, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. As of Sunday, cases in Texas have fallen more than 8% over the previous week, hitting roughly 7,723 daily new cases based on a seven-day moving average, according to Johns Hopkins data. 

Meanwhile, Florida reported a more than 14% drop in its seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases Sunday, and Arizona reported a more than 10% drop, according to Johns Hopkins data. California's cases are also slowly starting to trend down, with the state reporting a more than 8% drop in its seven-day average. 

Although cases appear to be descending, Covid-19 deaths have been on the rise since early July. The U.S. reported an additional 1,047 deaths based on a seven-day average on Sunday, a near 15% increase compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data. California hit a record-high seven-day average on Sunday, growing nearly 30% compared with a week ago. — Noah Higgins-Dunn

Former basketball great and movie theater investor Magic Johnson has grim outlook for theater business

Earvin "Magic" Johnson, known for his skills on the basketball court but also for his business acumen, is a former movie theater investor. Johnson said he is concerned for movie theaters coming back in the time of coronavirus, CNBC's Jade Scipioni reports.

"I think it's going to be tough for movie theaters to survive this whole Covid-19 [pandemic]. And also six feet apart," Johnson said. "I don't know how they're going to come back."

Johnson previously spearheaded the Johnson Development Corporation and made a deal with Sony Retail Entertainment to build movie theaters in underserved communities all over the country.

As major movie theater chains AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas reopen amid the pandemic, the companies have announced new health guidelines including daily health screenings of employees, mandatory face mask rules and reduced capacity in the theaters. Johnson said these movie theaters will still have to adapt to less profits.

″[Movie theaters] may come back but they won't definitely make the money that they were making before Covid-19," Johnson said. —Suzanne Blake

Facebook will prepare users for mail-in voting for the 2020 election

Facebook will educate its users about mail-in voting for the 2020 election amid the pandemic. The social media giant said it is an effort to get ahead of potential misinformation surrounding the process.

Facebook has planned a curriculum around "getting people ready for the fact that there's a high likelihood that it takes days or weeks to count this — and there's nothing wrong or illegitimate about that," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a New York Times interview

The platform could also implement new rules around premature claims of victory or other results, Zuckerberg added.

Dozens of states have expanded vote-by-mail access, giving people a safe way to cast a ballot in November. However, disinformation could surge on social media platforms with new election changes. Some Republican politicians have objected to expanding access to mail-in ballots. President Donald Trump has claimed, for example, that results will be "inaccurate" and "fraudulent," without providing any evidence. —Jessica Bursztynsky

Severe Covid-19 can lead to kidney injury or failure, medical studies reveal

Patient receives dialysis at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Mount Sinai

As the mysteries of Covid-19 unfold, doctors and medical experts are studying an alarming trend: kidney damage in patients with serious illness.

Since February, the American Society of Nephrology Covid-19 Response Team has been studying the phenomenon at hospitals across the country and it is raising concerns of what is needed for treatment.

"What we have observed is that approximately 10% to 50% of patients with severe Covid-19 that go into intensive care have kidney failure that requires some form of dialysis," said Dr. Alan Kliger, co-chair of the team. As he explains, many have had no underlying health conditions, or problems with their kidneys before contracting the virus.

At Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, 46% of patients that were admitted to the hospital with Covid-19 had some form of acute kidney injury. Of those 17% required urgent dialysis. —Lori Ioannou

Dow rises more than 100 points at opening

U.S. stocks opened higher on the first trading day of August, as Wall Street tried to build on its four-month winning streak, reported CNBC's Fred Imbert and Thomas Franck. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 113 points higher, or 0.5%. The S&P 500 gained 0.6% and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.8%. —Melodie Warner 

WHO says there may never be 'silver bullet'

Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a news conference on the situation of the coronavirus (COVID-2019), in Geneva, Switzerland.
Denis Balibouse | Reuters

The World Health Organization warned there may never be a "silver bullet" to defeat coronavirus even as drugmakers across the globe race to find a safe and effective vaccine.

Scientists have made progress in identifying treatments that can help people with the most severe forms of Covid-19, and a number of vaccines are in late-stage trials, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference. "However, there is no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be."

For now, world leaders can stop new outbreaks by practicing the "basics" of public health and disease control, Tedros said. "Testing, isolating and treating patients and tracing and quarantining their contacts. Do it all. Inform, empower and listen to communities. Do it all." —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Clorox reports increased sales amid heightened interest in cleaning products

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Clorox's fiscal fourth-quarter results beat analysts' expectations as the Covid-19 pandemic heightened interest in cleaning products.

Sales in Clorox's health and wellness division, which includes cleaning products, rose 33% during the quarter ended June 30. 

Clorox earned $2.41 per share, noticeably above Wall Street's expectation of $1.99 per share. Sales rose to $1.98 billion  above the expected $1.87 billion  compared with $1.63 billion a year ago.

The growth in sales has largely been attributed to a renewed focus on sanitation and cleanliness amid the pandemic and virus-related shutdowns. —Alex Harring

Eli Lilly starts late-stage study of antibody drug in nursing homes

Drugmaker Eli Lilly announced it's beginning late-stage trials for its experimental coronavirus drug, LY-CoV555, which was developed in partnership with Canadian biotech company AbCellera, according to a Reuters report. The Phase 3 trials will study whether the drug can prevent the virus' spread in residents and staff in U.S. nursing homes and is expected to enroll up to 2,400 participants who live or work at a facility that have had a recently diagnosed case of Covid-19. 

Lilly is already testing the drug in hospitals to study whether it can work as a treatment in patients who have the disease. This trial will test whether it works prophylactically, according to the report. —Noah Higgins-Dunn 

Russia plans mass vaccination

Russian Minister of Health Mikhail Murashko speaks during a demonstration prior to the opening of a new section for treatment of patients, affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at N.I. Pirogov National Medical and Surgical Centre in Moscow, Russia.
Maxim Shemetov | Reuters

Russia will begin a mass vaccination campaign against the coronavirus in October, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said.

Clinical trials of a vaccine candidate from the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute were recently completed, Russian state media quoted Murashko as saying on Saturday. Moscow claims the test results showed an immune response in all subjects, with no side effects or complications.

The laboratory behind the vaccine is now seeking regulatory approval for the drug, Murashko said. Doctors and teachers will be the first to be vaccinated, he added, while mass vaccinations are planned for October. The acceleration of Russia's vaccine development could make it the first country to inoculate people against the virus.

There has been international skepticism surrounding Russia's vaccine efforts. White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has cast doubt on vaccine testing in both Russia and China. "I do not believe that there will be vaccines, so far ahead of us, that we will have to depend on other countries to get us vaccines," he told U.S. lawmakers on Friday. —Ryan Browne

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