Coronavirus live updates: Abbott Labs' $5 rapid test gets approval; 5 states paying $300 unemployment boost

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. 

The governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and California said they will not follow controversial new coronavirus testing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even as the agency defended its new stance. The guidance says people without symptoms who have been exposed to someone who tested positive for Covid-19 might not need to be screened for the virus, a reversal from the agency's previous guidance. The Food and Drug Administration has authorized a new Covid-19 test from Abbott Labs that the company says costs just about $5 and produces results in 15 minutes, and the Trump administration has already signed on to purchase 150 million of the tests. 

Here are some of today's biggest developments: 

WHO says school settings are not a 'main contributor' to the spread of Covid-19The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 24.27 million
  • Global deaths: At least 827,801
  • U.S. cases: More than 5.85 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 180,380

European Union is working on signing more vaccine contracts, Merkel says

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a sitting of the Bundestag, ahead of a EU summit.
TOBIAS SCHWARZ

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the European Union is working on signing more coronavirus vaccine contracts.

Her comments, made at a press conference and reported by Reuters, come after the European Commission said Thursday that it had negotiated its first contract with British pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca.

A spokesman for the commission said a down payment of 336 million euro ($400 million) had been made to secure a minimum of 300 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. 

"The contract will allow the purchase of a vaccine against COVID-19 for all the Member States of the EU as well as the donation to lower and middle income countries or the re-direction to other European countries," a statement from the Commission said. 

— Katrina Bishop

Japanese Prime Minister Abe says country aims to secure vaccine for all citizens by mid-2021

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday that the country is aiming to secure enough vaccines for all of its citizens by mid-2021, Reuters reported.

Abe also announced other measures to fight the virus, including increasing testing capability to 200,000 tests a day and allowing foreigners with residence status to enter beginning in September, Reuters reported.

—Huileng Tan

Gap reports $130 million in face mask sales during second quarter

Gap's total sales may have been down year over year, but the company found another income source during the second quarter by making face masks as the pandemic took hold.

The company reported $130 million in face mask sales during the quarter, CNBC's Lauren Thomas reports.

Gap sells to individuals and in bulk to businesses and lists the city of New York, the state of California and Kaiser Permanente as some of its clients. —Chris Eudaily

Coronavirus aid talks are at a 'tragic impasse' after Pelosi-Meadows call

Democrats and the Trump administration made their first significant contact on coronavirus relief Thursday for the first time in weeks. 

Like previous attempts to craft an aid package, the 25-minute phone call between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows appeared to yield little progress. 

"The Administration's continued failure to acknowledge the funding levels that experts, scientists and the American people know is needed leaves our nation at a tragic impasse," Pelosi said in a statement after the call. She said the White House again did not meet Democrats' demand to roughly double the cost of its pandemic aid proposal to $2.2 trillion. 

Talks between the sides collapsed earlier this month. They have tried to craft a plan to combat health and economic crises after lifelines including the $600 per week enhanced unemployment benefit and a federal eviction moratorium expired. 

All of Congress will not return to Washington until next month. Lawmakers will not only consider coronavirus relief but will also have to pass funding legislation before the end of September to avoid a government shutdown.

— Jacob Pramuk

Kamala Harris says Trump 'has failed miserably' on coronavirus

Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, said President Donald Trump made "a deadly decision" in failing to prepare for the coronavirus pandemic early this year.

"All we needed was a competent president. One who was willing to listen, willing to lead, take responsibility, have a plan, do their job," Harris said in a speech delivered hours before Trump was set to address the Republican National Convention.

But "Donald Trump has failed at the most basic and important job of a president of the United States," the California senator said. "It's his obligation to protect us. Yet, he has failed miserably."

"President Trump, he got it wrong from the beginning and then he got it wrong again and again," Harris said. "The consequences have been catastrophic."

— Dan Mangan

United Airlines warns of job cuts without more federal aid

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United: Need to involuntarily furlough 2,850 pilots if no aid extension

United Airlines warned in a memo to employees it will have to cut 2,850 pilot jobs by Nov. 30 if Congress doesn't pass more federal aid to help carriers through the virus-driven travel slump.

"It's important to note that our numbers are based on the current travel demand for the remainder of the year and our anticipated flying schedule, which continues to be fluid with the resurgence of COVID-19 in regions across the U.S.," United said in the memo. —Sara Salinas

CDC defends controversial new guidance for coronavirus testing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defended its controversial new guidance on coronavirus testing following outcry from various medical groups and allegations of political intervention.

Earlier this week, the CDC quietly revised its guidance on coronavirus testing, dropping its previous recommendation to test everyone who comes into close contact with a person infected with Covid-19 — even those who don't have symptoms.

The CDC, which referred calls to the Department of Health and Human Services all day Wednesday, defended the change in a statement from CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield released around 10 p.m. Wednesday night.

"Everyone who needs a COVID-19 test, can get a test. Everyone who wants a test does not necessarily need a test; the key is to engage the needed public health community in the decision with the appropriate follow-up action," Redfield said, adding italics in the written statement for emphasis. 

He added that "testing may be considered for all close contacts of confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients," but stopped short of recommending it for those without symptoms. He said anyone who has been in contact with a confirmed or probable Covid-19 patient should consult a health-care provider to determine if a test is needed. —Will Feuer

Trump to announce purchase of 150 million Abbott tests

President Donald Trump plans to announce the purchase of 150 million rapid Covid-19 tests as part of a $750 million agreement with Abbott Laboratories, a White House official said. 

Trump plans to use his speech at the Republican National Convention to announce the deal, the official said.

The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization late Wednesday to Abbott for its new coronavirus antigen test, which it said costs about $5 and delivers results in minutes on a testing card without lab equipment, similar to a pregnancy test. —Will Feuer

Major New York developer says company is collecting 50% of rents on NYC malls

Pedestrians wearing protective masks pass in front of a Neiman Marcus Group Inc. store in Hudson Yards in New York, U.S.
Nina Westervelt | Bloomberg | Getty Images

One of New York's biggest commercial real estate developers is being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in more ways than one. 

"Retail is obviously struggling," Related Companies Chief Executive Jeff Blau told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

The owner of the Hudson Yards mall, as well as The Shops at Columbus Circle in the Time Warner Center building in New York City, said Related is collecting just over 50% of retail rents for its malls in Manhattan

"We expect that will pick up post [re]opening," he said. 

Blau added he is hopeful Related will be given the green light to reopen Hudson Yards and The Shops at Columbus Circle as early as next week. His company is also a major office landlord. Blau earlier this week penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal calling for New York City offices to reopen, regarding the growing debate around allowing employees to work from home permanently. 

"This is about bringing New York back to life," he told CNBC Thursday. "The city doesn't recover by itself." —Lauren Thomas 

Arizona, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas start paying out $300 weekly unemployment boost

At least five states — Arizona, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas — have started paying an extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits to eligible workers. 

The subsidy is a federal supplement to existing jobless benefits, following the expiration of a prior $600-a-week enhancement at the end of July. More than 27 million Americans were collecting unemployment benefits as of early August.

The $300 weekly subsidy is part of a Lost Wages Assistance program created by President Trump almost three weeks ago via executive order. The program will direct up to $44 billion in federal disaster-relief funds to unemployed workers. 

The program has been slow to ramp up, however. Many states don't expect to pay the aid until well into September, due largely to administrative challenges. It's only guaranteed to last for three weeks. And 15 states plus the District of Columbia have yet to receive federal approval for the assistance. South Dakota's governor said the state won't apply. —Greg Iacurci

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut governors reject CDC testing guidelines

In a joint statement, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said that updated guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over who should be tested for Covid-19 were an " abrupt and ill-informed shift" that adopted President Donald Trump's "misinformation."

The CDC quietly revised its testing guidance for asymptomatic individuals Monday, saying people who don't have symptoms "do not necessarily need a test."

"New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will continue to follow the advice of health experts to contain and prevent the spread of COVID-19, and therefore will not be changing our guidance that prioritizes testing for this population," the governors said in the statement. "This 180-degree reversal of COVID-19 testing guidelines is reckless, and not based on science and has the potential to do long-term damage to the institution's reputation."  

California Gov. Gavin Newsom previously said that his state would also continue testing asymptomatic people, defying the CDC guidance. —Noah Higgins-Dunn, Will Feuer 

Abbott Labs gets approval for an inexpensive, rapid antigen test

Abbott Laboratories' BinaxNow kit
Abbott Labs

As consumers look for Covid-19 testing solutions in the U.S. there could be a gamechanger. Abbott Laboratories said on Wednesday it won U.S. marketing authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for a Covid-19 portable antigen test that can deliver results within 15 minutes and will sell for $5.

While over 70 million tests have been administered since March in the U.S. the market evolution has not yet kept up with pent up demand. "We're still seeing people waiting excessively long times for results due to overburdened labs and general confusion over what tests are available, where they're located, and when someone should get one. Results that take over a week to receive simply can't help us contain the spread of the virus," Abbott Laboratories President and CEO Robert B. Ford said.

The antigen test, called BinaxNOW, is portable and comes with a complimentary app. The test is the size of a credit card, with no equipment required and results delivered in 15 minutes using proven lateral flow technology. It lets trained health-care providers test a lot of people for active infections, a lot faster, on a single-use test. —Lori Ioannou

Routine disinfecting leaves no trace of virus on surfaces in hospital clinic, study finds

In a new study, researchers at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey found no traces of the coronavirus after testing multiple surfaces in a New Jersey oncology unit, suggesting that strict cleaning and disinfecting protocols helped limit the virus' spread at the height of the state's outbreak. 

The researchers collected 128 samples from surfaces deemed highest at risk for the virus — including door handles, sinks, chairs and so forth — in a radiation oncology department within the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, according to the study published in JAMA Oncology. The samples were collected over multiple days, before scheduled cleaning of the facility, during the height of New Jersey's outbreak.

"We've all had to change our lifestyle and change what we do on a day-to-day basis, but the things that you absolutely need to do... they don't need to be put off unnecessarily because you're afraid of the environment," said Dr. Bruce Haffty, a senior author of the study. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

France to make face coverings mandatory everywhere in Paris

Picture of the Eiffel Tower taken on June 15, 2020 in Paris, as cultural sights begin to open to the public across France.
BERTRAND GUAY

France is ordering the mandatory wearing of face masks in Paris to contain the coronavirus outbreak, said Prime Minister Jean Castex said, Reuters reported.

"The virus is spreading all over the country," Castex told a news conference. "The spread of the epidemic could become exponential if we do not react quickly."

France mandated face coverings in closed public spaces on July 21, and earlier this month it became compulsory outdoors in parts of the capital, according to the wire service

Reuters is reporting that the Paris face mask mandate will begin Friday morning at 8 a.m. local time, according to French BFM TV, which quoted Paris Deputy Mayor Anne Souyris. —Terri Cullen

Amid pandemic, retailers still waiting to see strong back-to-school demand

Instead of rushing to the store for backpacks and fresh outfits, parents and kids have delayed back-to-school shopping amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Retailers from Walmart to Kohl's say the season is off to a slow start — especially as many families plan for virtual learning. Yet they said they anticipate school-related spending may strengthen and stretch out over a number of months as districts make decisions and students start more in-person learning in the fall or early 2021.

"We've made the decision to be flexible," Target CEO Brian Cornell said last week on an earnings conference call. "We'll extend the season and extend our assortment because we know at some point in time, those students will need backpacks and uniforms. They're going to need school supplies."

The Children's Place Chief Operating Officer Michael Scarpa said expect to see school uniforms and similar merchandise on its shelves for awhile. He said the company will feature back-to-school merchandise "for an extended period of time." He added, "we have no plans at this time to be in a position to mark that inventory down." —Melissa Repko

Flu and Covid is not going to be a pretty picture, Rite Aid CEO says

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Rite Aid CEO on preparing for flu season amid the pandemic, Covid testing

Rite Aid CEO Heyward Donigan told CNBC it's more important than ever for Americans to get flu shots this year to help stay healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Certainly, flu and Covid is not going to be a pretty picture" this fall, Donigan said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "It's going to be confusing to know whether you have the flu or Covid."

The flu shot is not 100% effective, Donigan noted. The shot can reduce the likelihood of going to the doctor by 40% to 60%, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes. —Kevin Stankiewicz 

WHO says school settings are not a 'main contributor' to the spread of Covid-19

Students have their temperatures checked before the first day for in-person teaching at St. John's Lutheran School in Orange, Calif.
Paul Bersebach | MediaNews Group | Getty Images

The World Health Organization does not believe classrooms are a "main contributor" to the scale of the coronavirus pandemic but cautioned an increasing body of evidence does suggest children play a role in the spread of Covid-19.

Hans Kluge, regional director for Europe at the WHO, said in an online press briefing that, so far, school settings had not been a "main contributor" to the pandemic.

"There's also more and more publications that add to the body of evidence that children do play a role in the transmission but that this is, so far, more linked with social gatherings," he continued. "So, this is one of the unknowns but definitely top priorities for the policymakers at the World Health Organization." — Sam Meredith

Second-quarter GDP plunged as economy went into lockdown

The U.S. economy plunged in the second quarter — the biggest quarterly contraction in activity on record — though the decline wasn't as bad as first estimated.

Gross domestic product in the second quarter plummeted 31.7% on an annualized basis, the Commerce Department's second reading on GDP showed. That was revised down from the 32.9% initial estimate of the damage the pandemic-fueled lockdowns had on the economy in the quarter.

Economists surveyed by Refinitiv had expected a more minor decline of 32.5%. —Terri Cullen

Tiffany profit tops estimates as sales pick up in the wake of pandemic blow

Getty Images

Tiffany reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit and pointed to stronger online sales and the economic rebound in China as the chief reasons behind its uptick in sales, Reuters reported.

"Increased sales in mainland China and global e-commerce accelerated during the second quarter and propelled our return to quarterly profitability," Chief Executive Alessandro Bogliolo said in a statement.

Retail sales in China began to improve in April and picked up momentum in May, when sales surged about 90%, according to the wire service report. —Terri Cullen

Senators press major labs over testing delays

Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Tina Smith of Minnesota sent letters to five of the nation's biggest lab companies, requesting information on coronavirus testing capacity and delays.

Labs across the country have struggled to keep pace with the rapid rise of cases earlier this summer, leading to long lines at testing centers and turnaround times of more than a week for some patients. Such delays, epidemiologists say, render tests essentially useless because it takes so long to get results that people who test positive will already have missed the window where self-isolation might have contained the spread.

"Policymakers and the public need to better understand the reasons for delayed testing results and declining test numbers, and the resources needed to guarantee the timely delivery of results so the nation can continue its work to combat the pandemic and, where the virus is well-controlled, safely reopen," the senators wrote in the letters, which were viewed by CNBC.

The senators sent letters to Quest DiagnosticsLabCorp, the Mayo Clinic, BioReference Labs and ARUP Labs. —Will Feuer

In the U.K., some workers will be paid to self-isolate in areas with high case rates

U.K. workers with low incomes who have to self-isolate and are living in areas with high numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases will be paid £130 ($172), the British government announced.

Workers who test positive for the virus and are already receiving certain benefit payments will get the equivalent of £13 a day for a 10-day isolation period. Meanwhile, members of the same household and other people who have come into contact with the worker, will be paid up to £182 to self-isolate. —Vicky McKeever

Initial jobless claims total 1 million for another week

Initial jobless claims came in at 1 million last week, keeping filings stubbornly high as the coronavirus weighs on Main Street. That figure is right in line with what economists polled by Dow Jones were expecting for the period, and slightly down from 1.104 million claims in the previous period. 

The jobs market showed early signs of a recovery earlier this month when weekly claims fell below 1 million for the first time since March, when filings peaked at a staggering 6 million-plus in one week. The glimmer of recovery appears difficult to sustain, as businesses adjust to new operating norms and ongoing uncertainty around pandemic closures. —Sara Salinas

The latest in U.S. spread

WHO says Europe faces ‘tricky moment’ as summer turns to fall

The World Health Organization's regional director for Europe warned on Thursday that the continent is facing a "tricky moment" in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

"It is a tricky moment now, when we transition from the summer to the autumn with three phenomena coming together," Hans Kluge said during an online press briefing.

He listed the reopening of schools in conjunction with the approaching influenza season, and the excess mortality rate in elderly people seen during the winter as causes for concern.

"So, vigilance is really the key word," he said.

To date, more than 4 million people have contracted the coronavirus in Europe, with 217,601 related deaths, according to data compiled by the United Nations health agency. —Sam Meredith 

French PM says country needs to intervene to contain outbreak

A waiter wears a protective face mask as he stands in front of the terrace of Cafe de Flore, as bars and restaurants reopen after two months of nationwide restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak, and are allowed to install terraces on the sidewalk, as well as on the parking lots on the streets in Paris, France.
Edward Berthelot

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the government must intervene in order to contain the country's expanding outbreak of the coronavirus, especially as the virus spreads rapidly among young people, Reuters reported.

The country's health minister, Olivier Veran, will also begin to hold weekly news briefings to update the public on the state of the outbreak, Castex said, according to Reuters. 

The coronavirus has infected more than 291,300 people in France so far and killed at least 30,500 people, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. After bringing its initial outbreak in March and April largely under control, the country is now grappling with an acceleration of spread.  —Will Feuer

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