The U.S. reported over 47,400 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the average number of new cases reported over the past seven days down to 47,487, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That's a drop in average new cases of over 11% compared with a week ago, marking a sustained decline in new cases across the country.
Here are some of today's major developments:
The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:
- Global cases: More than 22.49 million
- Global deaths: At least 789,400
- U.S. cases: More than 5.54 million
- U.S. deaths: At least 173,600
Fitch says pandemic has reduced opportunities for digital banks in Asia
The pandemic has made it more difficult for aspiring digital banks in Asia to enter the market, said Tamma Febrian, associate director for financial institutions at Fitch Ratings.
He told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia" that the pandemic is disproportionately hitting borrowers with a "weaker" profile, which is also the customer segment targeted by many of those aiming to operate digital banks. In addition, many incumbent banks have accelerated their digital adoption — potentially closing off gaps that new entrants can exploit, he added.
But not all is lost. Febrian said the ongoing crisis caused by the pandemic is an opportunity for digital banks to evaluate their business models, and ensure that the risks they take are well within their risk appetite. — Yen Nee Lee
Indonesian rupiah weakens as government ropes in central bank to finance budget deficit
The Indonesian rupiah has lost around 6% against the U.S. dollar this year — the weakest performance in Asia as investors grew concerned over the government's plan to have its expanding budget deficit partly financed by the central bank.
The larger deficit is a result of increased government spending to fight the coronavirus. Last month, the government and central bank announced a "debt burden sharing" agreement to fund that budget shortfall.
Under the plan, the central bank — Bank Indonesia — will buy 397.6 trillion Indonesian rupiah ($26.97 billion) government-issued debt via private placement while forgoing interest on those bonds. It will also be a standby buyer for a further 177 trillion rupiah ($11.9 billion) of government bonds that will be sold in auctions.
While the government has said that the plan is a one-off arrangement for this year, some analysts pointed out that there are signs it could continue beyond 2020. — Yen Nee Lee
Republican Sen. Cassidy tests positive for Covid-19
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., tested positive for Covid-19.
He becomes the second senator to announce a positive test result after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. Cassidy, a physician, said in a statement that he would quarantine for two weeks.
"I am strictly following the direction of our medical experts and strongly encourage others to do the same," he said.
Two U.S. senators and at least nine representatives have tested positive for Covid-19. Cassidy spoke to CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday morning and pushed for more coronavirus relief, including aid for state and local governments. —Jacob Pramuk
CDC chief says deaths could start to slow next week
Deaths caused by Covid-19 will begin to decline over the next week, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield said Thursday.
Daily new cases of the coronavirus have been on a sustained decline since the end of July, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Deaths, which lag behind new cases as people fall ill, become hospitalized and die, have remained stubbornly high, at roughly 1,000 new Covid-19 deaths per day, on average, according to a CNBC analysis of Hopkins data.
"You and I are going to see the cases continue to drop. And then hopefully this week and next week, you're going to start seeing the death rate really start to drop again." Redfield said in an interview with Dr. Howard Bauchner of the Journal of the American Medical Association. "I think we're going to start to see a decline in mortality across the country now next week as we continue to get control of these cases." —Will Feuer
Florida becomes fifth state to reach more than 10,000 deaths
The coronavirus has killed more than 10,000 people in Florida, making it the fifth state in the U.S. to reach the grim milestone, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Florida is now reporting at least 10,049 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.
Florida now joins New York, New Jersey, California and Texas, which have reported some of the worst Covid-19 outbreaks in the U.S. so far. Texas, which is reporting at least 10,977 deaths, first surpassed the 10,000 mark late last week, according to Johns Hopkins data.
New York remains the U.S. state with the highest death toll after the coronavirus ravaged through the area at the beginning of this year, reporting more than 32,800 deaths. The U.S. makes up nearly 22% of the globe's total reported Covid-19 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins. — Noah Higgins-Dunn
Five months after shutdown, major movie theaters are set to reopen this weekend
For the first time in five months, major movie theater chains will finally reopen their auditoriums this weekend.
AMC will be the first to open its doors, using Thursday as a chance to celebrate its 100th anniversary with 15 cent tickets, the same price as when the theater chain opened in 1920.
Last weekend there were around 1,100 theaters open in the U.S., 300 of which were drive-in locations. Expectations are that at least 1,500 theaters will be open this Friday, a scant amount compared to the 5,200 that were open during this time last year. —Sarah Whitten
Eviction protections are set to expire, and 'landlords are just waiting'
Even as the coronavirus pandemic rages on, eviction protections are drying up.
The federal eviction moratorium in the CARES Act expired at the end of July. Many states that paused their own proceedings have now allowed them to resume. Since July 15, eviction moratoriums have lapsed in Michigan, Maryland, Maine and Indiana.
"It's going to be chaos," said Eric Dunn, director of litigation at the National Housing Law Project. "Landlords are just waiting."
Without more relief, up to 40 million Americans may lose their homes in this downturn, four times the amount seen during the Great Recession. —Annie Nova
Johnson & Johnson plans a 60,000-subject vaccine trial
Johnson & Johnson plans to begin what would be the largest, late-stage trial testing a potential coronavirus vaccine in September, a company spokesman confirmed to CNBC.
The phase three trial would enroll up to 60,000 healthy people ages 18 and older across nearly 180 locations, including the U.S. Participants will be randomly selected to receive a dose of the potential vaccine or a placebo, according to details of the trial, which will determine whether the vaccine is safe and effective.
J&J's trial would be the largest test of a coronavirus vaccine yet. Drug companies Moderna and Pfizer, which both began late-stage trials for their potential coronavirus vaccines last month, said they would enroll around 30,000 participants. –Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
Delta will continue to limit passengers on each flight until early January
Airlines have sparred over physical distancing on airplanes, with Delta, JetBlue and Southwest among the airlines limiting capacity while American and United do not have limits. Demand is down sharply because of the virus and travel restrictions that aim to stop it from spreading, so blocking some seats this year isn't as difficult as last year when demand was about 70% higher.
While Delta will continue blocking some seats on board, it will allow planes to fill up more, to 75% starting Oct. 1, up from 60% currently. —Leslie Josephs
Dr. Anthony Fauci recovering from vocal cord surgery
White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci is at home recovering after a surgery to remove a polyp, a lesion that can cause hoarseness, on his vocal cord, according to a person close to the infectious disease experts. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is expected to be back online by Friday and in the office by Monday, according to an agency spokeswoman.
CNN contributor Dr. Sanjay Gupta tweeted that Fauci told him he was doing well. Doctors have suggested Fauci "curtail his talking for a while to allow his vocal cords to recover," according to Gupta's tweet. —Noah Higgins-Dunn
Raging fires, a heat wave and coronavirus: California battles several crises
California is battling a slew of crises: rapidly spreading wildfires, rolling power blackouts, a stifling heatwave and a pandemic that is made more dangerous as smoke affects air quality.
California has been hit by nearly 11,000 lightning strikes that have caused more than 367 known fires across the state in recent days, 26 of which are major. The state's wildfire season is becoming much more destructive as climate change drives higher and drier temperatures.
The combination of bad air quality from the smoke and the spread of coronavirus is dangerous: Polluted air makes people more vulnerable to developing respiratory infections and weakens their immune system. Coronavirus patients in areas with high levels of air pollution are more likely to die from the virus. —Emma Newburger
Small business closures from pandemic are a problem for U.S. capitalism, El-Erian says
"If you want capitalism to be sustained, you need buy-in from a lot of people. You cannot get buy-in if it's all about large corporations," El-Erian, chief economic advisor at Allianz, said on "Squawk Box."
El-Erian said small businesses do more than just employ large numbers of Americans. "They also are the main way to have inclusive capitalism, an inclusive market-based system," he said, while calling on D.C. policymakers to sharpen existing programs to better support small businesses.
"I'm really worried. This dispersion may be good for the stock market, may be good for national champions, but will have huge economic and social implications down the road," he said. —Kevin Stankiewicz
Massachusetts mandates flu vaccine for students
Massachusetts will require all students 6 months or older who are attending state child care, pre-school, kindergarten, grade school, colleges or universities to get the flu vaccine this year, the state department of health said in a statement.
The state expects students to receive the vaccination by Dec. 31, 2020, the state said, unless the student provides a medical or religious exemption. Home-schooled students and students at affected colleges and universities that are completely off campus for the semester are also exempt, the state said. Massachusetts said the immunization is required for students to enter school in January.
"Every year, thousands of people of all ages are affected by influenza, leading to many hospitalizations and deaths," Dr. Larry Madoff, medical director for the Department of Public Health's Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences, said in a statement. "It is more important now than ever to get a flu vaccine because flu symptoms are very similar to those of Covid-19 and preventing the flu will save lives and preserve health-care resources." —Will Feuer
CureVac in talks with EU to supply a potential Covid-19 vaccine
The contract could be the company's first bilateral supply deal, aimed at securing the vaccine for all 27 EU member states should the shot prove safe and effective. —Melodie Warner
Estee Lauder forecasts profit below expectations, plans to cut up to 2,000 jobs
The company said travel restrictions and store closures meant to contain the spread of coronavirus hurt demand for its premium makeup brands, according to the wire service Estee Lauder and other cosmetic brands have been struggling to adapt to consumers' new work-from-home lifestyle, as they order more skincare products than makeup, Reuters said. The pandemic has also made the M.A.C. brand owner rethink its business as consumers increasingly shop online.
Estee Lauder also said it would cut about 1,500 to 2,000 jobs, or about 3% of its workforce globally, and expects to close about 10% to 15% of its freestanding stores, Reuters reported. —Terri Cullen
Taco Bell unveils new restaurant design as pandemic alters ordering habits
Taco Bell is the latest restaurant chain to unveil a new design for its locations as the coronavirus pandemic changes how consumers order and pick up their food.
The Yum Brands chain's newest design includes two drive-thru lanes, one of which will be for picking up orders made through its mobile app, following a trend set by Chipotle with its "Chipotlanes." The new "Go Mobile" design also features parking spots designated for contactless curbside pickup and indoor shelves for claiming digital orders.
But it's not just Taco Bell's exterior and dining rooms that will see some changes. Its kitchens will be revamped with technology that tells workers the fastest way to make the order and communicates to the customer the easiest way to pick up the food. —Amelia Lucas
Dow falls more than 100 points as weekly jobless claims jump
U.S. stocks opened lower following the release of disappointing unemployment data and a dour economic outlook from the Federal Reserve, reports CNBC's Fred Imbert and Thomas Franck.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 152 points, or 0.5%. The S&P 500 slid 0.6% and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.4%. —Melodie Warner
Some colleges passing pandemic-related expenses on to students
From Covid-19 tests to new public safety measures, the costs for on-campus learning are adding up. Some colleges are trying to pass along a portion of those expenses to students by way of new fees.
At Merrimack College, for example, students must pay a $950 "Covid-19 mitigation fee" for the upcoming academic year.
Other schools are less transparent about the extra charges, but they may still be there, wrapped into pre-existing fees for room and board or student health.
With many colleges in extreme financial straits, they simply cannot shoulder the costs alone, said Christopher Rim, president and CEO of Command Education. "If they don't tack on these fees, they are going to be in trouble," he said. "But also, it's not fair. Students don't really get a choice to opt out." —Jessica Dickler
American Airlines dropping service to 15 small cities
The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline will suspend service from Oct. 7 through at least Nov. 3 to the following airports: Del Rio, Texas; Dubuque, Iowa; Florence, South Carolina; Greenville, North Carolina; Huntington, West Virginia; Joplin, Missouri; Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Michigan; Lake Charles, Louisiana; New Haven, Connecticut; New Windsor, New York; Roswell, New Mexico; Sioux City, Iowa; Springfield, Illinois; Stillwater, Oklahoma; and Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Other airlines could follow suit after the terms of $25 billion in federal payroll support expire on Oct. 1. Labor unions and airline executives have urged Congress to provide another $25 billion in payroll aid but lawmakers haven't yet reached a deal on the national coronavirus package that would include more relief for the battered airline industry.
"The airline will continue to re-assess plans for these and other markets as an extension of the Payroll Support Program remains under deliberation," American said. —Leslie Josephs
Airbnb announces ‘global party ban’
Airbnb has introduced a new "global party ban" that applies to all listings on its home-sharing platform.
The company said the party ban was necessary because some users on its platform have taken "bar and club behavior" to homes on Airbnb.
"We think such conduct is incredibly irresponsible — we do not want that type of business, and anyone engaged in or allowing that behavior does not belong on our platform," Airbnb wrote in a blog post. —Sam Shead
U.S. weekly jobless claims total 1.106 million, more than expected
U.S. weekly jobless claims totaled 1.106 million for the week ending Aug. 15, compared with the 923,000 expected by economists polled by Dow Jones.
The greater-than-expected number raises concerns about the state of the economy as lawmakers struggle to move forward on a new coronavirus stimulus package, reports CNBC's Fred Imbert. —Melodie Warner
WHO warns of resurgence in Europe
The World Health Organization warned that the relaxation of public health measures and people "dropping their guard" could be behind the resurgence in the number of new cases of the coronavirus across Europe.
Germany reported 1,707 new cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, reflecting its highest daily count since April. Spain also reported its highest daily count since April, recording 3,715 new cases over the past 24 hours, with an additional 127 deaths.
Hans Kluge, regional director for Europe at the WHO, said on Thursday that the "epicenter" of the pandemic was now in the Americas, but the European region was "on a trajectory of its own, showing a different trend compared to the rest of the world."
"The risk of resurgence has never been far away. In the last two months, new cases have been steadily increasing every week in the region. There were 40,000 more cases in the first week of August, compared to the first week of June when cases were at their lowest," Kluge said during an online press briefing. —Sam Meredith and Will Feuer
Detroit teachers vote to authorize potential 'safety strike'
Teachers in Detroit voted Wednesday evening to authorize a potential strike over safety concerns about the school district's plans to reopen schools, the Detroit Federation of Teachers said.
The union said that more than 90% of its members voted in favor of the decision, which gives union officials the power to initiate a strike should negotiations come to that. Were the union to strike, its 4,000 members would not stop working, the union said, they would instead refuse to teach in-person classes while offering virtual options.
The vote comes just one day after Mike Mulgrew, head of the United Federation of Teachers, threatened that teachers in New York City might strike or take legal action if the union feels schools are opened without sufficient safety measures.
"It is our judgment at this point that if you open schools September 10, it will be one of the biggest debacles in history," Mulgrew tweeted. —Will Feuer