Coronavirus: NYC setting quarantine checkpoints, J&J producing 100 million vaccine doses for U.S.

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The White House and Democrats wrapped another day of negotiating Wednesday and the two sides still have a number of issues to come to terms on. It appeared that the Trump administration was bending on the extension of unemployment benefits as the jobs market recovery sputtered — data released Wednesday revealed the U.S. added just 167,000 private payrolls in July. Economists had expected job growth to come in closer to 1 million. 

Here are the big developments Wednesday: 

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 18.8 million 
  • Global deaths: At least 707,666
  • Top five countries: United States (over 4.8 million), Brazil (over 2.8 million), India (over 1.9 million), Russia (over 864,000), South Africa (over 529,000)

Australia's second-largest city enters lockdown for six weeks

Australia's second-largest city, Melbourne, entered a total lockdown that is set to last for six weeks, Reuters reported. 

Most shops and businesses in the city of 5 million people will remain closed, which raised fears of food shortages, according to the news wire.

Restriction guidelines on the health ministry's website say people would not be allowed to leave their homes unless for essential business including shopping for food and grocery, seeking medical treatment or for compassionate reasons. 

Victoria state has seen a spike in reported cases lately. There were 471 new cases of infection and eight deaths recorded in the past 24 hours in the state with Australia's total now exceeding 20,000, Reuters reported. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

Top Singapore banks put aside more funds as pandemic hurts business outlook

Two Singapore banks have set aside additional funds in anticipation of loan losses that could come as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The country's largest bank, DBS Group Holdings, said in its latest earnings report that total allowances rose to 849 million Singapore dollars ($620 million) in the second quarter. That's an increase from 251 million Singapore dollars ($183.2 million) a year ago.

Its smaller rival United Overseas Bank, which also reported earnings, said it set aside an additional 379 million Singapore dollars ($276.8 million) in the quarter ended June 30. 

Many banks globally have made similar moves to guard against risks due to declining economic activity worldwide. The hit to the economy was a result of lockdown measures that authorities around the world implemented to slow the spread of the virus. — Yen Nee Lee

Trump says there's no question the coronavirus 'will go away'

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, August 5, 2020.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters

President Donald Trump reiterated that the coronavirus will "go away" during a press briefing and continued to push for schools to reopen since the virus "doesn't have much of an impact" on children. The president also applauded the country's coronavirus vaccine and therapeutic development, saying it has had "tremendous success" and is "ready to deliver them literally as soon" as they're approved. 

"It's going away. It'll go away. Things go away. No question in my mind that it will go away," Trump said. 

Trump's remarks are at odds with other public health officials, including White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci who has said the coronavirus is so contagious it won't likely ever completely go away. World Health Organization officials also warned Monday there may never be a magical cure for the coronavirus even as scientists and drugmakers across the globe race to find a safe and effective vaccine. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

Only 36% of parents want full in-person classes, survey shows

In the debate over opening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic, a Gallup survey of parents whose children are in kindergarten through grade 12 showed 36% of parents want full in-person school this fall, CNBC's Abigail Hess reports.

The results mark a 20% drop from a Gallup survey in late May and early June, which showed 56% of parents wanted full-time, in-person school in the fall.

The recent results released by Gallup show the views of parents surveyed from July 13-27.

The July survey showed 28% of parents wanted full-time remote schooling in the fall, a sharp increase from only 7% who favored remote learning in the previous survey. The remaining 36% of parents in the July survey preferred a hybrid system of some in-person and some online learning.

Geography and political affiliation also played a role in parents' opinions, with those in the South and Midwest more likely to favor in-person school than their West and North East counterparts. The survey showed 85% of Democrats said they worry about their child becoming infected with coronavirus, while only 29% of Republicans had the same concern. –Suzanne Blake

Another $25 billion airline bailout gains backing from 16 Republican senators

Airlines' chances of getting another $25 billion to support their payroll through the coronavirus pandemic rose Wednesday with the backing of 16 Republican senators. The extension already has support from the majority of the House. The additional support comes as the White House and Democrats are negotiating another big coronavirus aid package to help counter economic turmoil from the pandemic.

Labor unions had been pushing since June for an extension of the aid, which currently prohibits job cuts through Sept. 30, to last until the end of March 2021. Airlines received $25 billion in payroll support, mostly in grants, in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that Congress passed in March.

Airlines are among the hardest-hit sectors from the coronavirus as potential customers stay home or face hurdles in getting to their destination like quarantine orders or travel bans. As the Sept. 30 deadline approached, airlines urged workers to take buyouts, early retirements and other packages, to help them cut labor costs.

The lawmakers, in their letter to Senate leaders, also called on Congress to "consider provisions to support and provide flexibility for businesses across the aviation industry similarly impacted, such as airport concessionaires and aviation manufacturing."

Airline stocks gained on the news. American rose 9.5%, Southwest and United rose more than 4% apiece and Delta ended 3% higher. Aircraft manufacturer Boeing added more than 5% and key supplier Spirit Aerosystems rose nearly 9%. —Leslie Josephs

Infectious disease experts urge White House to require face masks

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence adjusts his protective face mask as White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Debbie Birx listens during a White House coronavirus disease (COVID-19) task force briefing at the Education Department in Washington, U.S., July 8, 2020.
Carlos Barria | Reuters

Leading experts from the Infectious Disease Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association said they sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence urging the White House to issue a federal directive calling for mask requirements in all states, according to a statement. 

IDSA President Dr. Thomas File, Jr. and HIVMA Chair Dr. Judith Feinberg said the mandate would help curtail the spread of Covid-19 in the U.S., protect the economy and safely reopen schools. The noted that the number of people in the U.S. infected with the coronavirus is now nearing 5 million and nearly 160,000 people have died from the virus in the U.S., according to the statement. 

"Specifically, we urge you to publicly issue a strong federal directive calling for mask requirements in all states, to launch a public education campaign about the importance of wearing masks or face coverings, and to require all individuals in the White House complex to wear a mask at all times when they are in the company of others, both for their own protection and to serve as role models for our country," the letter says. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

Rhode Island governor tightens restrictions on bars, travelers

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said she will place tighter restrictions on the state's reopening plan and ramp up enforcement in an effort to prevent further spread of the coronavirus. She said while the numbers are still relatively low compared to other states, Rhode Island is at "a turning point."

Travelers from 32 states and Puerto Rico to Rhode Island will have to quarantine for two weeks or present a "valid negative test" within three days, she said. Travelers from those hotspots who check into a hotel or bed and breakfast will be ordered to sign a "certificate of compliance" verifying that they either had a negative test result or will quarantine, she said.

Rhode Island bars will also be forced to close after 11 p.m. starting Friday, she said. Over the past weekend, state inspectors found 20% of bars still not separating the bartender from the customer, she said, which is "totally unacceptable." 

"These are the next step. If we don't start to follow these new rules, then probably next week I'll be back with much more restrictive rules," Raimondo said. — Noah Higgins-Dunn

Restaurant chains invest in drive-thrus amid pandemic

A host of restaurant chains, including Starbucks, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Shake Shack, are planning to focus on drive-thru construction in the coming months, thanks to lessons learned during the coronavirus pandemic.

Drive-thrus proved to be a lifeline for fast-food chains such as McDonald's and Wendy's, which reported more moderate same-store sales declines as lockdowns went into effect and sales that bounced back more quickly. The broader industry watched their success, and the result could spark the next drive-thru boom.

Shake Shack, for example, is planning to create its own twist on the drive-thru next year, with lanes for ordering on-site and for digital order pickup. Wawa, the convenience store chain known for its hoagies, said last week it would open its first freestanding drive-thru only location in December. —Amelia Lucas

Fauci agrees the U.S. has the worst coronvirus outbreak in the world

Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci wears a face mask while he waits to testify before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the Trump Administration's Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Kevin Dietsch | Pool via Reuters

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, agreed during an interview with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta that the United States has the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world, adding that the number of coronavirus infections and deaths "really is quite concerning."

"Yeah, it is quantitatively if you look at it, it is. I mean the numbers don't lie," Fauci said when asked during an interview with Gupta whether the U.S. had the world's worst outbreak.

The U.S., which accounts for less than 5% of the world population, leads all other countries in global coronavirus infections and deaths. The nation represents more than 22% of global coronavirus deaths and more than 25% of infections as of Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University data. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

Teladoc and Livongo merge into $37 billion remote-health company

Teladoc, a provider of virtual health services, announced it's acquiring remote health management company Livongo in the third-biggest deal this year for a U.S. company.

The cash and stock purchase values Livongo at $18.5 billion and creates a company worth about $37 billion. Coming into 2020, the two companies were worth a combined $8.5 billion.

Digital health has been one of the biggest growth stories of the Covid-19 era, as patients look for new ways to conducts visits with medical experts and services to maintain patient health assume greater importance. Teladoc said last week that virtual visits in the second quarter increased more than 200%.

Teladoc CEO Jason Gorevic will run the company and the board will consist of eight directors from Teladoc and five from Livongo. —Ari Levy

First coronavirus exposure app using Apple-Google technology is released

Virginia's Covidwise app requires a 6-digit PIN number to confirm a positive test result.

The state of Virginia released its coronavirus exposure notification app, Covidwise. It's the first app in the U.S. using the Apple-Google technology built into iPhones and Android phones.

The app uses Bluetooth signals on a smartphone to determine who is at high risk for being exposed to the Covid-19 coronavirus, and sends them notifications anonymously. For now, the app requires a 6-digit pin from Virginia Department of Health to confirm a positive test, effectively limiting the app to Virginia residents. —Kif Leswing

White House appears to bend on unemployment insurance in coronavirus aid talks

The Trump administration and Democrats are showing their first signs of cracking on the 10th day of coronavirus relief talks. 

The White House has moved closer to Democrats' position on extending enhanced federal unemployment insurance, NBC News and Politico reported. The administration has offered to continue the extra jobless benefit at a level of $400 per week into December, the outlets said. 

Democratic leaders have called to extend the insurance at $600 a week, on top of what recipients normally get from states. That policy, passed in May to deal with a wave of unemployment during the pandemic, expired at the end of July. 

The sides do not have an agreement on unemployment yet. They also need to reach a consensus on a range of other issues, including aid for state and local governments, school funding and assistance to cover food, rent and mortgage payments. 

Democrats and Trump administration officials plan to meet again Wednesday afternoon. —Jacob Pramuk

Biden will not travel to DNC in Milwaukee amid coronavirus concerns

Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden will not travel to Milwaukee later this month along with other speakers for the Democratic National Convention, organizers announced Wednesday, CNBC's Christina Wilkie reports. The decision comes "in order to prevent risking the health of our host community as well as the convention's production teams, security officials, community partners, media and others," organizers said.

Instead, Biden will deliver his acceptance speech on Aug. 20 from his home state of Delaware. The DNC is slated to air on television and online Aug. 17-20 from 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET.

President Donald Trump is also working to find a new plan for the Republican National Convention, which was originally scheduled to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina. Trump decided against that location when North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper did not guarantee attendees could ignore face mask and social distancing rules.

Next, Trump moved his sights on Jacksonville, Florida, but soaring coronavirus cases in the area ultimately prevented the convention from taking place there.

Some speculate that Trump will deliver his acceptance speech from the South Lawn of the White House. However, this location would go against traditional government ethics, which generally disapprove of using federal property cared for with tax dollars to hold a solely political event. –Suzanne Blake

With pandemic, CVS CEO says 'seasonal flu vaccine is never going to be more important'

CVS Health Chief Executive Larry Merlo said the pharmacy chain wants to help millions of Americans get vaccinated this flu season.

With the pandemic, "the seasonal flu vaccine is never going to be more important," Merlo said. He spoke about the company's plans on a second-quarter earnings call.

Public health officials and flu shot manufacturers are gearing up for the season. Vaccine makers plan to provide a record number of doses. Widespread vaccinations could help reduce confusion between Covid-19 and the flu, which can have similar symptoms, and help keep people healthy as medical professionals cope with the spread of the coronavirus. 

Merlo said customers currently schedule online appointments for Covid-19 tests at the company's more than 1,800 sites. He said the same digital system could be used to stagger customers and reduce wait times for flu shots. —Melissa Repko

NYC sets up quarantine checkpoints as it toughens state travel restrictions

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city is setting up quarantine checkpoints at "key entry points" along main bridges and tunnels to the city to screen travelers coming from more than 30 states with bad coronavirus outbreaks. The checkpoints, in an effort to ramp up enforcement of the state's travel advisory, will begin Wednesday.

"Travelers coming in from those states will be given information about the quarantine, they will be reminded that it is required, not optional," de Blasio said at a press briefing. "They'll be reminded that failure to quarantine is a violation of state law and it comes with serious penalties." 

Dr. Ted Long, head of New York City's Test and Trace Corps, said that a fifth of all new coronavirus cases in New York City are from travelers. Travelers will be subject to calls, texts and visits while in quarantine, he said. Long said the city will help those quarantining with free food deliveries, help with medications, telehealth services or "even a hotel stay." — Noah Higgins-Dunn

Chicago Public Schools will begin classes remotely, Mayor Lightfoot announces

Chicago Teachers Union members and supporters join a car caravan outside Chicago Public Schools (CPS) headquarters while a Chicago Board of Education meeting takes place inside in Chicago, IL.
Max Herman | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Chicago Public Schools, the third-largest school district in the nation, will begin the school year virtually, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced.

While Chicago is doing better in terms of coronavirus cases than other places, Lightfoot pointed to the fact that cases are still on the rise. Starting remotely makes sense for a district of CPS' size and diversity, she said.

"Since the beginning of this pandemic, we made a firm commitment to every single resident that any action that we take in response to this disease would be rooted in the public health data and the science," Lightfoot said. "And today's announcement is a continuation of that commitment."

The move comes after the city floated preliminary plans for a hybrid learning model for fall. Lightfoot said the district will learn from the move to remote learning in spring and will stay committed to seeking continued feedback. 

Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner, said this decision is for the first quarter of classes, but she is hopeful CPS can move to a hybrid learning plan for the second quarter. —Alex Harring 

Johnson & Johnson reaches deal with U.S. for 100 million doses of vaccine

Johnson & Johnson announced that it will develop and deliver 100 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine for the U.S. in a deal totaling more than $1 billion, according to a statement. J&J's vaccine candidate, Ad26.COV2.S, is expected to begin late-stage human trials ahead of schedule in September, company executives have previously predicted. 

"We are scaling up production in the U.S. and worldwide to deliver a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for emergency use," said Dr. Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson, in a statement. 

The U.S. government had previously awarded J&J $456 million to develop its vaccine in collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA. The company said its goal is to supply more than one billion doses globally in 2021. — Noah Higgins-Dunn

Moderna sees fivefold revenue increase, announces its vaccine will cost around $32 for some patients

The entrance to Moderna's headquarters in Cambridge, MA.
Brian Snyder | Reuters

Moderna reported a fivefold increase in second-quarter revenue Wednesday amid the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company's push for a coronavirus vaccine.

The company also announced Wednesday that the vaccine will cost $32 to $37 per dose for some customers under special "pandemic pricing."

For the quarter, Moderna's revenue increased to $66.4 million, more than five times the $13.1 million during the same period last year. Moderna also narrowed its second-quarter loss to $116.7 million, or 31 cents a share, from $134.9 million, or 41 cents a share during the same quarter last year.

Moderna's experimental vaccine contains genetic material called messenger RNA, or mRNA, which scientists want to provoke the immune system to fight the virus. The National Institutes of Health is helping to develop the vaccine, and Moderna has already received hundreds of millions of dollars in funding and deposits for it. — Alex Harring

Private payrolls come in well below estimates

The move to get displaced workers back to their jobs slowed sharply in July, with private payrolls increasing by just 167,000, ADP reported.

That total was well below the 1 million expected from economists surveyed by Dow Jones and represented a tumble from the 4.314 million created in June, according to the report, which is prepared in conjunction with Moody's Analytics. —Jeff Cox

CVS fills fewer prescriptions, reports drop in elective procedures as Americans stayed home

CVS Health said its pharmacies filled fewer prescriptions and customers delayed elective procedures as Americans stayed home during shelter-in-place orders.

CVS beat analysts' expectations for the fiscal second quarter, which ended June 30. It also raised its outlook for the year. It said its diverse business, which includes a large drugstore chain and health benefits, makes it better positioned to weather the pandemic and adapt to customers' changing medical habits.

"The environment surrounding COVID-19 is accelerating our transformation, giving us new opportunities to demonstrate the power of our integrated offerings and the ability to deliver care to consumers in the community, in the home and in the palm of their hand which has never been more important," CVS Chief Executive Larry Merlo said in a news release.

The company said it's opened more than 1,800 coronavirus test sites at drive-thru locations to date, which it runs in coordination with federal, state and local officials. It has also hired more than 40,000 additional employees to keep up with demand and help with services, such as home prescription delivery. —Melissa Repko

WHO says North Korea's test results for first suspected case are 'inconclusive'

The World Health Organization said North Korea's test results for what would be the country's first reported case of Covid-19 are "inconclusive," according to a Reuters report. The organization said North Korean authorities have quarantined over 3,635 primary and secondary contacts. 

North Korea said it locked down the border city of Kaesong, declaring a state of emergency, on July 26 after a person who defected to South Korea three years ago returned across the border with what state media said were symptoms of the coronavirus, according to the report. 

"The person was tested for COVID-19, but test results were inconclusive," Dr. Edwin Salvador, WHO representative for North Korea, said in comments emailed to Reuters. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

Global death toll surpasses 700,000

Paramedical staff in personal protective equipment (PPE) kits and family members unload body of a person who died of Covid-19, at Jadid Qabristan Ahle - Islam graveyard, near ITO in New Delhi, India.
Mayank Makhija | NurPhoto | Getty Images

The global death toll from the coronavirus has surpassed 700,000, with the U.S., Brazil and Mexico leading the world in total deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. recorded 1,399 deaths on Tuesday, bringing its total to at least 156,839 people, according to Johns Hopkins. 

New York remains the worst-hit state in the U.S. when it comes to coronavirus deaths, reporting more than 32,700. New Jersey is the only other state that has recorded more than 10,000 Covid-19 deaths. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that nearly half the deaths in the U.S. have been linked to nursing homes. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

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