Coronavirus updates: NY keeps infection rate below 1%; Labor Day weekend sets stage for pandemic's fall phase

The coverage on this coronavirus live blog has ended. 

With Labor Day weekend approaching, top U.S. health officials are pleading with the American public to maintain public safety precautions, such as mask-wearing and social distancing. The U.S. is headed into the fall with a troubling level of spread if the country can't bring the daily numbers down through September, White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci warned earlier this week.

Here are some of the day's important headlines:

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 26.3 million
  • Global deaths: At least 869,300
  • U.S. cases: More than 6.15 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 186,800

Survey data from 30 million Facebook users will help researchers predict the next Covid-19 surge

Facebook and Carnegie Mellon researchers have teamed up to collect data about the pandemic. So far, 30 million Facebook users around the world have responded to their survey, CNBC's Christina Farr reports.

In addition to demographic questions, the survey asks users whether they've tested positive for the virus, if they're experiencing symptoms and if they wear masks and practice social distancing. Facebook said it doesn't have direct access to the data to ensure privacy.

A coalition of universities and nonprofits have launched a challenge for data scientists or researchers to help identify the next coronavirus surge using the survey dataset. Their goal is to help public health officials most efficiently utilize resources. 

Researchers say using consumer technology tools like Facebook and Google to collect information about Covid-19 symptoms can help fill in gaps in current methodologies such as insufficient testing. —Hannah Miao

New York reports four weeks of infection rate below 1%

New York has sustained a coronavirus infection rate of below 1% for four straight weeks, well below the recommended 5% rate from the World Health Organization, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office. Only 0.92% of total tests conducted in the state on Thursday returned positive, though Cuomo warned in the announcement that people "cannot become complacent." 

The governor gave New York City malls and casinos across the state the green light to reopen next week at reduced capacity but has yet to allow indoor dining in the populous city. 

"We must continue to protect our progress. We must all continue to wear masks, social distance, wash our hands and above all, stay New York tough," Cuomo said. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

Hilton Times Square permanently closes as hospitality industry continues to struggle

A guest stands outside of a Hilton Hotel in New York.
Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images

New York City's Hilton Times Square hotel has permanently closed as the hospitality industry continues to struggle amidst the pandemic. CNBC's Seema Mody reports that 34% of hotels in the city are currently delinquent and more are at risk of closing.

Many of these struggling hotels are in and around Times Square and Midtown, the city's tourism and business centers. As Broadway continues to stay dark, nearby hotels aren't getting any of that visitor traffic.

Prior to the pandemic, experts worried that New York City had too many hotel rooms. It's unclear how many hotels in the city will survive. —Hannah Miao

Forecaster predicts over 410,000 U.S. deaths by Jan. 1

As the U.S. heads into fall and winter, the country will top more than 410,000 Covid-19 deaths by the end of the year, according to a new forecast from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

The model by IHME, whose models have previously been cited by the White House and state officials, forecasts that the death toll will more than double by Jan. 1 and could reach as high as 620,000 if states aggressively ease coronavirus restrictions and people disregard public health guidance.

In June, IHME predicted that the death toll in the U.S. would reach 200,000 by October, which appears to be on track. —Will Feuer

Coronavirus vaccine won't likely be widely available in the U.S. until mid-2021

The majority of Americans likely won't get a vaccination against the coronavirus until the middle of 2021, according to U.S. officials and public health experts.

Even if health officials find a safe and effective vaccine by November, the vaccine will be in short supply and will be distributed to those most vulnerable, such as health-care workers and the elderly, officials say. Additionally, the vaccine will likely require two doses at varying intervals and states still face logistical challenges such as setting up distribution sites and acquiring enough needles, syringes and bottles needed for immunizations.

Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who is leading the Trump administration's Operation War Speed initiative, told NPR vaccine distribution in November is "extremely unlikely." He added the  U.S. will "be able to immunize the U.S. population by the middle of 2021." –Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Covid-related mortgage bailouts drop slightly while 3.8 million borrowers continue delaying payments

While the number of borrowers in pandemic-related mortgage bailout programs has declined, most still receiving aid have extended their terms, suggesting their financial situations have not yet improved. 

The number of mortgages in active forbearance plans dropped by 147,000, or 4%, over the past week, CNBC's Diana Olick reported.

Fannie/Freddie or FHA/VA government loans allow borrowers to defer monthly payments for three months initially. Borrowers can extend to six months, then to a year of forbearance. The delayed payments are not forgiven, however, and eventually need to be paid back.

As of this month, 3.8 million borrowers are still delaying monthly mortgage payments. Seventy-five percent of these borrowers extended their terms from the preliminary three-month programs. In an encouraging sign, borrowers seeking new forbearance plans have dropped by 13%. 

Experts say September will be an important month to see how coronavirus-related mortgage bailouts shape up after unemployment benefits ended July 31. —Hannah Miao

Moderna slows vaccine trial enrollment to ensure minorities are represented, CEO says

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Moderna slows enrollment of Covid-19 vaccine trial to ensure diversity

Moderna is slightly slowing enrollment in its large clinical Covid-19 vaccine trial to make sure it has sufficient representation of minorities most at risk for the disease, CEO Stephane Bancel told CNBC's Meg Tirrell and Leanne Miller.

The trial aims to enroll 30,000 Americans to prove the vaccine's safety and efficacy. The drugmaker has as of Aug. 28 enrolled 17,458, 24% of whom are from minority communities. —Terri Cullen

Pence says relief aid talks continue in 'good faith' after deal to avoid shutdown

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Pence: Congress will avoid shutdown with continuing resolution without adding coronavirus relief

Vice President Mike Pence said a deal between the Trump administration and Democrats to fund the government past this month allows the sides to keep their attention on another coronavirus stimulus package. 

"Now, we can focus just on another relief bill, and we're continuing to do that in good faith," he told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." 

Officials in Washington reached a deal this week to pass a measure to temporarily avoid a government shutdown. The agreement dodges a situation where partisans try to push their pandemic aid goals into must-pass legislation to keep essential federal functions running. 

Pence signaled the White House and Democrats still have a lot of ground to make up before they strike a stimulus deal, particularly over how much relief to send to state and local governments. —Jacob Pramuk

Pandemic-battered businesses may not be able to count on insurance to survive a natural disaster

Companies that were already suffering from a drop in revenue due to the pandemic face even more devastation in the wake of natural disasters, Reuters reported.

Businesses that are damaged or evacuated due to severe storms or wildfires will likely see lower insurance payouts on their business-interruption claims because they were generating far less revenue, according to analysts, lawyers and industry sources interviewed by the wire service.

The lower insurance payouts could leave some businesses unable to survive, John Ellison, an attorney at Reed Smith who has represented policyholders in cases stemming from hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Sandy, told Reuters.

"There is a reasonable chance that any business in that situation is not going to make it," he said. —Terri Cullen

Russia's early coronavirus vaccine trials show no serious side effects, Lancet Journal says

A medical worker holds a syringe with a flu vaccine in a mobile flu vaccination center in central Moscow. centers.
Vyacheslav Prokofyev | TASS | Getty Images

Results from early trials of Russia's potential coronavirus vaccine show no major negative side effects and produce an antibody response, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet.

Doctors involved in the trials conducted two open phase 1/2 studies at two hospitals in Russia.

"The two 42-day trials – including 38 healthy adults each – did not find any serious adverse effects among participants, and confirmed that the vaccine candidates elicit an antibody response," the study's authors wrote. They added: "Large, long-term trials including a placebo comparison, and further monitoring are needed to establish the long-term safety and effectiveness of the vaccine."

Russia's vaccine became the first in the world to be registered after it was approved by the country's health regulators last month, raising questions about safety. —Natasha Turak

S&P 500 opens flat as Wall Street tries to recover from tech sell-off

The S&P 500 opened flat as the U.S. unemployment rate declined more than expected to 8.4% last month and Wall Street tried to recover some of its steep losses from the previous session.

The broader market index started the session up 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite slid 0.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 136 points, or 0.5%. —Melodie Warner 

Labor Day weekend will set the course for the fall phase of pandemic

Amy Beth Bennett| Sun Sentinel | Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The United States is entering a new phase of the coronavirus pandemic as the country approaches the fall, lower temperatures, flu season and the plateau of new Covid-19 cases at a dangerously high level.

Labor Day this weekend promises to be one of the first challenges of the fall for Americans. Epidemiologists are concerned it might set the stage for another surge in cases — similar to the jump in U.S. cases following Memorial Day and the July 4 holidays. The nation is heading into the holiday weekend with roughly 40,000 new Covid-19 cases a day, twice the number of daily cases from last spring, and with more businesses, events and activities reopened than before.

"We don't want to see a repeat of the surges that we have seen following other holiday weekends," White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN on Thursday. "We don't want to see a surge under any circumstances, but particularly as we go on the other side of Labor Day and enter into the fall." —Will Feuer

The latest hot spots of new U.S. cases

U.S. added 1.37 million jobs in August as businesses came back online

The U.S. added 1.37 million jobs in August as businesses around the country came back online after widespread virus-related closures. That's compared with an expected 1.32 million adds, according to economists polled by Dow Jones. Employment fell to 8.4%, marking a notable improvement from the 10.2% unemployment reported by the Labor Department for the month of July. 

Millions of Americans were laid off or furloughed as virus precautions forced businesses to shutter. Many of those businesses are resuming operations with reduced staffing or shorter hours, creating new demands on the labor market. 

With August's job gains, more than half of those displaced during the pandemic are now back at work, though economists worry that the delay in more congressional aid could mean the boost in activity is short-lived, CNBC's Jeff Cox reports. —Sara Salinas

FDA grants Roche emergency approval for Covid-19 vs. flu test

Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche received emergency approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a test that quickly determines whether a patient has been infected by SARS-CoV-2 or a form of influenza, Reuters reports.

As Covid-19 and the flu share similar symptoms, Roche says their test will help healthcare workers accurately diagnose and treat their patients during the forthcoming flu season. —Hannah Miao

WHO says it doesn't expect 'widespread vaccinations' until mid-2021

Widespread vaccinations against the coronavirus are not expected until mid-2021, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization said, Reuters reported.

"We are not expecting to see widespread vaccination until the middle of next year," spokeswoman Margaret Harris told reporters at a briefing in the United Nations agency's Geneva headquarters, according to Reuters.

"This phase 3 must take longer because we need to see how truly protective the vaccine is and we also need to see how safe it is," she added, referring to late-stage clinical trials of vaccine candidates, Reuters reported.

The comments come as top U.S. health officials, including Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said a vaccine could be authorized on an emergency basis before completion of a phase three trial. —Will Feuer

Trump's vaccine chief says unlikely one is ready by November

Former GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical executive Moncef Slaoui, who will serve as chief adviser on the effort to find a vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, speaks as President Donald Trump listens during a coronavirus disease response event in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the chief advisor for Operation Warp Speed, the White House's vaccine program, said in an interview with NPR that a vaccine is unlikely to be ready and introduced into the population before November.

Slaoui's comments come after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention directed state health officials to be prepared to distribute a vaccine by Nov. 1. The move raised concerns that the date was tied to the approaching Nov. 3 presidential election. Slaoui said the date is for planning purposes and that "it's the right thing to do to be prepared in case."

"There is a very, very low chance that the trials that are running as we speak could read before the end of October," he said, adding that a vaccine distribution before November is a "possibility but very unlikely."

His remarks come after Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Thursday that their vaccine, which is one of the furthest along in clinical trials, could yield results as early as October. —Will Feuer

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