Coronavirus updates: New Hampshire ups indoor restaurant capacity to 100%; U.S. death toll tops 175,000

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The U.S. reported more than 44,000 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, marking an 11% drop in the seven-day average of daily new cases compared with last week. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said Thursday that cases will continue to fall as communities continue to practice public health guidelines to bring the virus under control. Across the country, though, universities and colleges are struggling to keep the coronavirus off campuses and are largely attributing outbreaks to students who aren't complying with public health requirements.

Here are some of the top developments Friday:

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 22.80 million
  • Global deaths: At least 796,000
  • U.S. cases: More than 5.61 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 175,200

South Korea expands social distancing measures as cases rise

South Korea is expanding social distancing measures by banning large gatherings, shutting down nightlife and barring fans from professional sports events, the Associated Press reported.

The country had seen a resurgence of cases in the region around capital city Seoul, but there has been an uptick in cases in other parts of the country. The AP reported that the stricter measures already in place in Seoul will be expanded nationwide Sunday.

South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported another 332 cases, of which 17 were imported and 315 cases were local transmissions. The country has reported a total of 17,002 confirmed cases and 309 deaths so far in the pandemic. — Christine Wang

Largest U.S. hospital owner accused in lawsuit of endangering staff

Health workers and their union sued the nation's largest hospital chain, accusing an HCA Healthcare medical center of recklessly endangering staff and patients by violating federal coronavirus guidance on protective equipment.

The suit filed Thursday alleges that management at HCA's Riverside Community Hospital in Southern California failed to provide workers with adequate protective equipment, such as masks and gowns, and pressured staff to ignore safety precautions to meet quotas. It says the hospital also failed to alert staff to possible Covid-19 exposures and pressured staff who had symptoms to return to work.

The case, filed in the Riverside County Superior Court, is the first against a national health-care company, according to the Service Employees International Union, which initiated the suit on behalf of its 97,000 members.

Dave Regan, president of the union's California-based western chapter, said they decided to take action against HCA because they have been "particularly lax, and particularly sloppy and irresponsible" throughout the crisis. —Will Feuer

CDC points to Rhode Island as a ‘path’ to reopen schools

Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield pointed Friday to a new study on reopened daycares in Rhode Island as evidence that there is a way to safely reopen childcare centers and schools despite the pandemic.

The study that Redfield cited looked at confirmed and probable Covid-19 infections linked to childcare centers in Rhode Island between June 1, when they were allowed to reopen with restrictions amid declining spread, and June 31. By July 31, 666 childcare facilities were allowed to reopen across the state with capacity for 18,945 children, the study said. However, the study did not say how many children and staff were actually in the facilities during the time frame. 

Cases were found in 29 facilities, 20 of which had just one case with no onward spread, according to investigations by the Rhode Island Department of Health.

"So I think this is an inspiring article to tell individuals that there is a path where one can use or partner with their public health authorities and safely get these childcare programs reopened," he said on a conference call with reporters to discuss the study. "And as an extension, is we're trying to get these schools reopened." —Will Feuer

Churchill Downs will no longer allow fans at the Kentucky Derby

Country House #20, ridden by jockey Flavien Prat, crosses the finish line to win the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 04, 2019
Rob Carr | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

Churchill Downs announced that the 146th Kentucky Derby will be run on Sept. 5 without spectators.

The announcement is a reversal from its earlier decision to cap attendance at 14% of Churchill Downs' total capacity. Normally 150,000 fans pack the grandstands of Churchill Downs to watch "the fastest two minutes in sports."

Racetrack officials said they reevaluated their earlier decision to allow fans in light of the significant increase in coronavirus cases in Louisville and across the region.

"The Kentucky Derby is a time-honored American tradition which has always been about bringing people together. However, the health and safety of our team, fans and participants is our highest concern," Churchill Downs said in a news release Friday. "With the current significant increases in COVID-19 cases in Louisville as well as across the region, we needed to again revisit our planning. We have made the difficult decision to hold this year's Kentucky Derby on September 5 without fans." —Riya Bhattacharjee

New Hampshire restaurants can reopen at 100% capacity, governor says

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu tweeted that all counties in the state are now allowed to reopen their restaurants at 100% capacity as long as tables remain six feet apart and all other health guidelines are in place.

According to New Hampshire's guidelines, restaurants must limit table capacity, encourage face covering usage and prohibit congregations at bars, among other requirements. The order takes effect immediately, Sununu said in a tweet. — Noah Higgins-Dunn

CDC says U.S. could control virus in 12 weeks if Americans wear masks

Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the U.S. could get the coronavirus pandemic under control if most Americans wear masks, embrace social distancing and practice good hand hygiene for up to three months.

"It's in our hands, within our grasp," he told reporters on a conference call. "But it is going to require all of us to embrace these mitigation steps. And we're going to need to do that four, six, eight, 10, 12 weeks and then we will see this outbreak under control."

At least 90% of Americans need to wear masks, social distance and wash hands regularly, he said. "I think we're seeing progress over the last four weeks, I hope that progress will continue, but I think none of us should turn away from the recognition that it's key each of us recognize we want to make sure Covid stops with us." –Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

As blazes spread, Covid-19 in California prisons hits crucial inmate firefighting force

Inmate firefighters prepare to put out flame on the road leading to the Reagan Presidential Library during the Easy Fire in Simi Valley, California on October 30, 2019.
Mark Ralston | AFP | Getty Images

As deadly fires spread through California, first responders lack a crucial part of their emergency response team: prison inmate firefighters. 

The coronavirus has swept through correctional facilities and infected many vulnerable California inmates, leaving fewer available to help contain more than two dozen major fires and over 300 smaller ones ripping through Northern California.  

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has half as many inmate fire crews than it originally had to work during the most dangerous part of wildfire season. More than 12,000 inmates and guards have contracted the virus this year in the state's prisons.

Inmates are often on the front line doing dangerous work and making low pay, between $2 and $5 per day and $1 extra per hour when fighting a fire.

The shortage has led to Gov. Gavin Newsom calling on the state's National Guard for help as well as additional seasonal firefighters to backfill the work done by inmates. —Emma Newburger

Where states stand on extra unemployment benefits

States are mobilizing to offer unemployed workers an extra $300 a week in benefits, following the expiration of a $600 weekly subsidy last month. 

Fewer than half of states had applied for the "lost wages" grants, which are being funded by federal disaster-relief money, as of noon ET on Friday.

Here's a map of where states stand in the process:

Thirteen of the applicants have received federal approval to offer the unemployment boost. They are: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Utah.

Just one (Arizona) has started disbursing the money to workers. Kentucky and Montana are the only two kicking in an extra $100 a week, for a total of $400. —Greg Iacurci

WHO warns a vaccine alone won’t end pandemic

A vaccine will be a "vital tool" in the global fight against the coronavirus, but it won't end the pandemic alone and there's no guarantee scientists will find one, according to the World Health Organization.

World leaders and the public must learn to manage the virus and make permanent adjustments to their daily lives to bring the virus down to low levels, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference. "At the same time, we will not, we cannot go back to the way things were."

Even though human trials for potential vaccines are progressing, scientists say key questions remain. Covid-19 was discovered in December. While numerous research papers and studies have been produced on the virus, scientists still don't fully understand how it affects the body or how well someone is protected from reinfection after recovering. –Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Major movie theaters reopen this week: Will audiences show up?

AMCRegalCinemarkMarcus and other major theater chains are reopening their doors after five long months of being shuttered due to the coronavirus outbreak. But even stringent safety protocols and new films may not be enough to lure consumers back to cinemas.

A survey from Morning Consult, a global data intelligence company, suggests that roughly 17% of consumers feel comfortable going back to the movies. That's down from around 20% of respondents in mid-July.

That said, a poll by Atom Tickets, an online movie ticket seller, found that figure could be closer to 40%, with upwards of 70% ready to go back to theaters within a month. —Sarah Whitten

Stocks open flat as Wall Street tries to end a record week on a high note

U.S. stocks opened flat as concerns over the economy and a new coronavirus stimulus bill dampened market sentiment, reports CNBC's Fred Imbert. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded just 38 points higher, or 0.1%. The S&P 500 hovered around breakeven along with the Nasdaq Composite. —Melodie Warner 

U.S. hot spots spread to Midwest


Former FDA chief warns of 'third act' of virus

Former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb on why J&J's next Covid-19 clinical trial is twice as large as others

The U.S. has not yet had a "true second wave" of the coronavirus and the country could see a resurgence of the virus in the fall and winter, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC. 

"I think most peoples' perception is we had one epidemic in New York, in the New York region, we came down the epidemic curve, we had another epidemic in the Sun Belt, so that really looks like and feels like a second wave," Gottlieb said on "Squawk Box." "I do think that we're going to have a third act of this virus in the fall and the winter and it's likely to be more pervasive spread in a broader part of the country."

He added that the virus is likely to hit rural parts of the country, some of which have been "largely unaffected to date." Cases are already beginning to build in the West and Midwest, Gottlieb said, adding that "every community is vulnerable." —Will Feuer

Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer, genetic-testing start-up Tempus and biotech company Illumina. He also serves as co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' and Royal Caribbean's "Healthy Sail Panel." 

Hong Kong to conduct mass testing

Hong Kong will conduct mass testing for the coronavirus among its residents beginning Sept. 1 as the city grapples with rising cases, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said, according to Reuters.

A 60-person team from China's mainland will assist Hong Kong officials with the effort, marking the first time Chinese health officials have assisted the special administrative region's response to the outbreak. The city has now reported more than 4,600 cases of the virus, up from over 1,200 on July 1, according to local authorities.

Some public health specialists in the U.S. have called for a similar ramp-up of mass testing, even if it means relying on less accurate but more accessible surveillance tests instead of the molecular diagnostic tests. However, the Department of Health and Human Services has repeatedly defended the current U.S. testing strategy as adequate. —Will Feuer

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