New cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. have remained stubbornly high in recent days, with the country averaging more than 51,100 new cases per day over the past seven days. Universities and schools have already begun reopening, many against a backdrop of significant community spread. Countries that had early success in containing the virus, such as New Zealand, are now struggling to eradicate it and are facing new and mystifying clusters of infection.
In Singapore, the country's Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced another 8 billion Singapore dollars ($5.8 billion) worth of stimulus to counter the pandemic's economic hit. Among the measures announced is an extension of a wage subsidy program by up to seven months.
Here are some of the biggest developments:
The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:
- Global cases: More than 21.9 million
- Global deaths: At least 774,661
- Countries with the most cases: United States (more than 5.4 million); Brazil (more than 3.3 million); India (more than 2.7 million); Russia (at least 930,276) and South Africa (at least 589,886)
WHO says pandemic increasingly being driven by 'unaware' younger people
The World Health Organization has warned people in their 20s, 30s and 40s who may be unaware they are infected with Covid-19 are "increasingly driving" the spread of the disease.
"The epidemic is changing," WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Takeshi Kasai said during a virtual press conference on Tuesday. "People in their 20s, 30s and 40s are increasingly driving its spread."
"Many are unaware they're infected—with very mild symptoms or none at all. This can result in them unknowingly passing on the virus to others," Kasai said.
"This increases the risk of spillovers to the most vulnerable: the elderly, the sick, people in long-term care, people who live in densely-populated urban areas and under-served rural areas." — Sam Meredith
Thailand's economy could be among Asia's worst performing despite its success at containing the virus
The current collapse in global travel as a result of the coronavirus pandemic has made Thailand's economic recovery more challenging — even though the country's has been successful in containing the virus, economists said.
Some analysts said the Thai economy could be among the worst performing in Asia this year as its crucial tourism industry is not likely to recover much in the coming months. The country relies heavily on foreign tourists for growth, but the government has reportedly shelved plans to form "travel bubbles" with selected countries.
In addition, anti-government protests that have intensified in recent weeks could further push back "border reopening to tourists and revival of related businesses," said Nalin Chutchotitham, a Citi economist.
Thailand on Monday said its economy shrank by 12.2% on-year in the second quarter — the worst economic contraction since the Asian financial crisis in 1998. The country has reported more than 3,300 confirmed coronavirus infections and 58 deaths, according to official statistics. — Yen Nee Lee
Lockdown contributed to plunge in India's gold market and recovery is uncertain
A nationwide lockdown, higher gold prices and uncertainty over future income contributed to a plunge in demand in India's gold market.
Indian jewelry demand fell 74% on-year in the three months that ended in June as spending on gold jewelry shrank, according to the World Gold Council. But gold prices have risen almost 50% since early 2019 while people's incomes have not.
The country is a massive market for the precious metal and demand typically increases in the second half of the year during important festivals and the wedding season.
"It is difficult to say how things will evolve this year as there are multiple factors that will shape recovery — the trend of the pandemic, disruptions out of localised lockdowns and price outlook," Somasundaram PR, managing director for India operations at the World Gold Council, told CNBC by email. — Saheli Roy Choudhury
Singapore plans another $5.8 billion to mitigate the pandemic's economic damage
Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced another 8 billion Singapore dollars ($5.8 billion) worth of stimulus to counter the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the measures announced is an extension of a wage subsidy program by up to seven months. The amount of support that companies can receive depends on the "projected recovery" of the sectors they're in, said Heng, who's also finance minister and coordinating minister for economic policies.
Other support includes additional relief for the aviation sector and "tourism credits" for Singaporeans to boost domestic tourism, the minister said.
Singapore reported one of the worst second-quarter economic contractions in Asia. The open and trade-dependent economy shrank by 13.2% year over year in the April-to-June period — its worst on record, according to official statistics. — Yen Nee Lee
Boeing offering more voluntary buyouts
Boeing is offering voluntary buyouts to its employees for a second time, according to a statement from the company. The offers will be extended to employees in the commercial airplanes division, services division and corporate offices.
This is a re-opening of the previous buyout offer the company extended earlier this year to bring down overall employment. The company is not giving a number as to how many more buyout offers it plans to extend. Travel demand has cratered because of the coronavirus pandemic as measures such as stay-at-home orders and international travel bans try to stop the spread of Covid-19
"While we have seen signs of recovery from the pandemic, our industry and our customers continue to face significant challenges," the company said in a statement. "We have taken proactive steps to adjust to the market realities and position our company for the recovery. As we continue to assess our workforce and in response to employee feedback, we will be offering a second voluntary layoff (VLO) opportunity for employees to depart the company voluntarily with a pay and benefits package." —Phil LeBeau
Texas passes 10,000 coronavirus deaths
Texas became the fourth state to reach 10,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths, according to the Associated Press, joining New York, New Jersey and California in reaching the benchmark.
The news service said that about four in every five of the state's total deaths from Covid-19 were reported after June 1.
After Texas saw a spike in cases and deaths after Memorial Day, Gov. Greg Abbott rolled back the state's previously aggressive reopening plan and the state is now seeing positive recent signs with falling hospitalizations and a declining rate of positive cases, according to the AP.
The encouraging trends may be short-lived, however, with schools reopening for 5 million students across the state and new cases being reported stemming from parties and packed clubs, the AP reported.—Chris Eudaily
UNC-Chapel Hill pivots to remote learning
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced Monday that it is canceling in-person undergraduate courses and shifting to remote learning after coronavirus cases began to rise on campus.
"In just the past week (Aug. 10-16), we have seen COVID-19 positivity rate rise from 2.8% to 13.6% at Campus Health," the university said in a statement. "As of this morning, we have tested 954 students and have 177 in isolation and 349 in quarantine, both on and off campus."
The announcement comes just one week after classes began at the 30,000-student public university. UNC-Chapel Hill was one of the largest universities in the country to move forward with a plant to host in-person undergraduate courses amid the pandemic. —Will Feuer
New York gyms to reopen as soon as Aug. 24, Cuomo says
Gyms across New York will be allowed to reopen as soon as next week after being shuttered for more than five months, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.
Gyms will be allowed to reopen at 33% capacity, Cuomo said, and masks will be required at all times. Local officials also must inspect all gyms that want to reopen to ensure that they're in compliance with the state guidelines, which Cuomo said health officials and engineers created.
"The gyms can open as soon as August 24," he said at a news briefing. "The guidance goes out today on gyms. Basically, the outline is 33% capacity. There are health requirements that are in the guidelines that have to be maintained to their ventilation requirements. This is a whole new topic where we can do a whole lot of good work."
Shares of Planet Fitness rose more than 2% in intraday trading on the news. —Will Feuer
New York health authorities concerned about upcoming flu season
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said state health authorities are concerned about the upcoming flu season as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout many parts of the United States.
"You're in the flu season. Everybody is sneezing, everybody is coughing and everybody has a runny nose. Who has the flu and who is possibly Covid positive? It becomes a much more difficult calculus," Cuomo said during a news briefing.
New York state, once the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, now has one of the lowest infection rates in the country. On Sunday, New York's infection rate reached 0.7%, the lowest rate since the outbreak began, Cuomo said.
He said many of the testing facilities that are being used during the pandemic are the same ones used during the flu season. "They are going to turn around and say to me, 'I can't do 100 Covid tests anymore. I can only do 60 Covid tests because I have to do 40 flu tests,'" he said. –Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
Gottlieb says Yale's saliva test for coronavirus can be rolled out widely
Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC he believes the saliva-based coronavirus test developed by Yale University in conjunction with the NBA is a significant development in the United States' response to the pandemic.
"It's something that we can roll out on a very wide fashion," the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner said on "Squawk Box."
Yale describes the test, which received emergency approval from the FDA on Saturday, as being cheaper and less invasive than the standard nasal swab coronavirus test. It was tested on NBA players and staff during the league's restart in Florida; the NBA also contributed funding.
"It's also been cross-validated on just about every popular platform for doing testing," Gottlieb said. "So it's easy to use. It's unlikely to be in limited supply because of shortages in the testing supply chain." —Kevin Stankiewicz
Disinfection is seeing an ever-increasing demand during the pandemic
Retail outlets, schools and warehouses are looking to new ways of disinfection during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the CEO of a company that uses UV light to "degrade" the virus.
Eric Rondolat, chief executive of lighting company Signify, said the company is developing products such as disinfection "tunnels" and "chambers," that use UV-C light to deactivate the virus and could be used for grocery carts or airport luggage trollies for example.
"We need companies like ours to really step up ... At the beginning of 2021 we will have eight times the capacity that we had at the beginning of 2020," Rondolat told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe."