Coronavirus: Qatar Airways CEO warns of more bailouts, collapses in airline industry

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Negotiations on Capitol Hill over a stimulus deal remain deadlocked despite optimism earlier in the day. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there won't be aid for airlines without a broader package, quashing hopes of a stand-alone bill that could garner bipartisan support. However, Pelosi and the White House have apparently renewed talks on a broader package. American Airlines CEO, meanwhile, is warning of additional service cuts if aid does not come through soon. The airlines started furloughing more than 30,000 workers last week.

Here are some of the biggest developments Thursday:

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 36.5 million 
  • Global deaths: At least 1.06 million
  • U.S. cases: More than 7.6 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 212,700

UK economic growth unexpectedly slows to 2.1% in August

A waitress wearing a protective face covering brings drinks to customers in the late summer sunshine at outside tables in Soho, central London on September 20, 2020.

The U.K. economy expanded at a monthly rate of 2.1% in August, according to the Office for National Statistics, as the country's economic recovery from the pandemic continued, albeit at a slower pace than expected.

The latest data showed the country's gross domestic product (GDP), which measures the extent of economic activity, was still 9.2% lower than in February, before the full economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak was felt.

Economists polled by Reuters had anticipated the U.K. to record a monthly expansion of 4.6% in August. — Sam Meredith

Negative views about China soared to record highs globally, Pew survey finds

Negative views of China reached their "highest points" in most countries polled by Pew Research Center in a recent survey.

That sentiment surged the most in Australia, where 81% of respondents said they viewed China unfavorably — a rise of 24 percentage points from last year. In the survey, a majority — a median of 61% across the 14 countries — say that China has done a bad job in handling the coronavirus pandemic.

Confidence in Chinese President Xi Jinping was also shaken as a result, although more still have faith in Xi than U.S. President Donald Trump, the poll found. Trump has also been heavily criticized for his handling of the Covid-19 crisis in the U.S. — Weizhen Tan

Qatar Airways CEO: The 'worst is not behind' for airlines

Months into the coronavirus pandemic, the outlook for the airline industry continues to be frail.

"The worst is not behind any airline, not only Qatar Airways," the Gulf carrier's CEO Akbar Al Baker told CNBC's Dan Murphy. 

"There will soon be other bailouts in Europe, there will be other collapses around the world. Because of the second wave, I think it is ... even more severe than in the first wave," he said.

More than 40 airlines have already collapsed so far this year as air travel took an unprecedented hit, with the pandemic bringing the industry to a near standstill. — Natasha Turak, Eustance Huang

Pelosi and Mnuchin talk stimulus amid mixed messages

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke for 40 minutes by phone this afternoon about "whether there is any prospect of an imminent agreement on a comprehensive bill," according to Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill.

Hammill said Mnuchin "made clear" Trump was interested in a comprehensive relief package. The White House has sent mixed messages on where it stands. Earlier in the week, Trump called off negotiations until after the election, but subsequently backtracked and pushed for smaller stand-alone bills addressing specific issues. 

Talks on a broader package now appear to be back on. —Spencer Kimball

FDA approves GenMark test that screens for flu and coronavirus

California-based lab test manufacturer GenMark Diagnostics announced Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorization for its rapid molecular test that can distinguish between more than 20 different viruses and bacteria, including the coronavirus.

Flu and Covid-19 patients typically develop similar symptoms early on in the virus, which could make it difficult this flu season for doctors and nurses to diagnose patients and pursue the best treatment. Tests like GenMark's that are able to simultaneously screen for the flu, the coronavirus and other pathogens could be crucial to helping hospitals effectively treat Covid-19 and influenza patients this winter, public health specialists say.

Shares of Genmark shot up about 15% in after hours trading before paring gains and was trading up more than 3% after the close. —Will Feuer

Feds thwart plot to kidnap Michigan governor

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during the opening night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention on Aug. 17th, 2020.

Federal law enforcement has charged six men for an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and take her to Wisconsin where they planned to try her for "treason." 

Whitmer, a Democrat, has been the target of anti-government groups for implementing emergency social distancing measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.  

The men also allegedly discussed attacking the Michigan state Capitol and using Molotov cocktails to destroy police cars, according to court documents.  

Several of the defendants were arrested as they allegedly met to pool money to buy explosives. One of the men said he bought an 800,000 volt taser to use in the plot. 

Seven other men have been arrested on state charges related to the federal investigation into the kidnapping plot. —Spencer Kimball

American Airlines CEO says more services cuts likely without stimulus

American Airlines CEO: There is enormous bipartisan support for extension of payroll support program
American Airlines CEO: There is enormous bipartisan support for extension of payroll support program

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told CNBC the company is likely to cut service to more U.S. cities without additional coronavirus relief from Congress. 

"We can't continue to wait. If forced to, of course, we will indeed discontinue service to a lot of markets and we will be much slower to rebound and help the country rebound from this pandemic," Parker said on "Squawk Alley." 

Parker said American has already slashed service in about 13 markets through November, but the coronavirus-related decline in travel demand makes it difficult to keep flying there. "There will absolutely be discontinuation of service to small communities, and there will be much less service to larger communities" without more coronavirus relief, he stressed. - Kevin Stankiewicz 

Dr. Fauci ‘not comfortable’ with level of U.S. cases

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said he's "not comfortable" with the level of new U.S. Covid-19 cases as the nation enters its cooler seasons.

The U.S. is reporting around 40,000 new Covid-19 cases per day but needs to get the number down to at least 10,000, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell. 

Covid-19 cases are growing by 5% or more, based on a weekly average to smooth out daily reporting, in 31 states as well as the District of Columbia as of Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Health officials have repeatedly warned that they are preparing to battle two bad viruses circulating later this year as the Covid-19 outbreak runs into flu season.  —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Consumers' 'savings buffer' built up during pandemic could aid the economy without stimulus

(L-r) Maria Gutierrez shops with daughter Lizette Gutierrez and Citaly Aguilar at Shoe Palace in the Westfield Valley Fair Mall hours after it reopened following the COVID-19 global pandemic in Santa Clara, California, on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020.
Gabrielle Lurie | San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Americans have saved an additional $1.1 trillion as of August, compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to estimates from Morgan Stanley. The firm believes this "savings buffer" may temporarily prop up consumer spending, even as stimulus talks have stalled in Washington. 

The boost in savings can, in part, be attributed to relief from the CARES Act passed in March, which included $1,200 checks to qualifying individuals, and an additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits, through late July of this year. Lockdown measures in the initial months of the pandemic also prevented people from spending, which may have spurred saving. 

However, payments from the government still make up an elevated portion of total disposable income in U.S. households, which may spell trouble for consumer spending levels as aid runs out. Government transfer payments, including unemployment benefits, comprise more than 24% of total disposable income in the U.S. That level is down from its peak of 35% after the passage of the CARES Act, but it is still higher than levels reached during the Global Financial Crisis. —Samantha DeLouya

Azar says U.S. could have enough vaccine doses for every American by March

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the U.S. government could have enough Covid-19 vaccine doses for every American as early as March.

Azar also said the Trump administration's coronavirus vaccine program Operation Warp Speed expects to have up to 100 million doses by the end of the year as the U.S. continues to manufacture vaccines in more than 23 manufacturing facilities. The U.S. is obtaining the needles, syringes, bottles and other supplies needed for immunizations, as well, he said. 

Azar's estimate for when a vaccine will become widely available is more optimistic than President Donald Trump, who has said the U.S. could authorize a vaccine as early as October with enough vaccine doses for every American by April.

Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration laid out updated safety standards for Covid-19 vaccine makers. The standards, posted in a document on the FDA's website, would almost certainly prevent the introduction of a vaccine before the presidential election on Nov. 3 —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Daily new U.S. cases remain stubbornly high

Trump says he thinks he's not ‘contagious at all’ days after leaving hospital

President Donald Trump releases another video on Twitter on Oct. 8th, 2020.
The White House

President Donald Trump claimed that he's not contagious "at all" just days after he was discharged from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he was briefly treated for Covid-19.

"First of all, I think I'm better. I'd love to do a rally tonight. I wanted to do one last night, but I think I'm better to a point that I feel better than I did, I jokingly said, 20 years ago. I feel perfect. There's nothing wrong," he told Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo on a call Thursday morning. "I don't think I'm contagious at all."

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people in health-care settings should quarantine for at least 10 days, 24 hours after their last fever and after other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, have improved.

"Just less than a week ago, the president was in a hospital being treated for severe illness," Dr. Leana Wen, former Baltimore health commissioner, said. "It's very likely that he's still shedding virus right now." —Will Feuer

Trump says stimulus negotiators in 'productive talks' two days after he ended them

President Donald Trump said Thursday that stimulus negotiators are "starting to have some very productive talks," days after his stunning decision to halt deliberations with top Democrats.

"I shut down talks two days ago because they weren't working out. Now they are starting to work out. We're starting to have some very productive talks," he said during an interview on the Fox Business channel.

The president's remarks came two days after he surprised Wall Street and Washington by tweeting that he had directed White House negotiators to abandon talks with Democratic leaders. Many of the nation's top economic officials warn that political bickering and failure to pass additional protections for employers and workers could dampen the economic recovery. —Thomas Franck

McDonald's U.S. same-store sales turned positive in latest quarter

McDonald's U.S. customers are returning to the fast-food chain, lifting the country's same-store sales growth to nearly 5% in its latest quarter. September had the company's highest monthly U.S. same-store sales growth in years, helped by the popularity of its promotion with rapper Travis Scott. 

In the U.S., its same-store sales growth was boosted by more orders being made as part of a group, which drives up the value of each check. It's also attracting more dinner customers, but overall traffic remains negative.

The company will report its full third-quarter results on Nov. 9. —Amelia Lucas

Domino's sales soar nearly 18%, but pandemic costs drag down earnings

An employee places a pizza box onto a shelf at a Domino's Pizza Inc. restaurant in Chantilly, Virginia.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Domino's Pizza is among the rare restaurant companies that has seen demand for its food surge during the pandemic. In its most recent quarter, revenue surged nearly 18% to $968 million, driven by higher demand in the United States. 

But the pizza chain fell short of analysts' estimates for its quarterly earnings. The company reported earnings per share of $2.49, missing expectations by 30 cents. Domino's said that higher costs associated with the pandemic, like higher wages for frontline workers, and increased compensation resulting from its eye-popping sales, weighed on its net income. —Amelia Lucas

U.S. stocks open higher amid coronavirus stimulus hopes

U.S. stocks rose at the open as expectations of a successful coronavirus stimulus bill continue to drive up market sentiment, reports CNBC's Fred Imbert and Pippa Stevens. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 122 points higher, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 gained 0.5% and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.7%. —Melodie Warner 

Sam's Club selling smaller hams, side dishes as Americans downsize holiday plans

Smaller hams. Fewer rolls. And side dishes of green beans and mac and cheese designed for a family of four.

Walmart subsidiary Sam's Club — known for big and bulky items — is selling smaller packs of food to fit Americans' plans for downsized holiday celebrations during the coronavirus pandemic. It's not the only retailer that plans to scale down the size of its food. Kroger, the country's largest supermarket operator, said it bought turkeys of all sizes to fit any guest list.

Grocers and makers of consumer packaged goods are rethinking giant packs of stuffing and cranberry sauce as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge Americans to make smart choices this holiday season. They have suggested recipe swaps and Zoom gatherings this year over high-risk activities like traveling to an indoor gathering of extended family and friends. —Melissa Repko

Wisconsin leads in reports of new U.S. cases

Coronavirus could spread ‘uncontrollably,' Germany warns

Germany has issued a stark warning over the spread of the coronavirus, saying a surge in cases could be imminent.

"The current situation worries me a lot. We don't know how things will develop over the next few weeks," Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases, said Thursday morning.

"It's possible that we will see more than 10,000 new cases a day. It's possible that the virus spreads uncontrollably," he said, in comments translated by Reuters.

Germany has been praised for its initial response to the coronavirus outbreak, having implemented a robust testing regime earlier on, as well as tracking and tracing cases effectively. Its modern health care infrastructure helped to keep deaths relatively low. —Holly Ellyatt

OPEC expects oil demand to plateau in late 2030s

OPEC has trimmed its long-term forecast for oil demand growth, reflecting the lasting impact of an unprecedented energy demand shock precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The producer group, in its annual World Oil Outlook, predicted oil demand growth would plateau in the late 2030s, before then potentially starting to decline. The forecast period assessed energy demand expectations through to 2045.

"Global oil demand will grow at relatively healthy rates during the first part of the forecast period before demand begins to plateau over a relatively long period during the second half," OPEC said. —Sam Meredith 

U.S. jobless claims higher than expected as hiring slows

First-time claims for unemployment benefits totaled 840,000 last week — higher than the 825,000 new claims economists were expecting — indicating the job-growth spike over the summer has cooled, reports CNBC's Jeff Cox. 

The total still represented a modest decline from the upwardly revised 849,000 claims from a week ago. —Melodie Warner 

Trump refuses to participate in second debate if it's held virtually

Minutes after the announcement that the second presidential debate would be held virtually, President Trump said he wouldn't participate.

"That's not acceptable to us," Trump said in a phone interview on Fox Business Network — his first since announcing he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

"I'm not going to waste my time on a virtual debate," Trump said.

Trump said he had learned of the debate commission's change when it was publicly revealed: "We learned it the same way you learned it." 

The president claimed he won the first debate against former Vice President Biden. Scientific polls, however, showed far more voters saying Biden outperformed the incumbent. 

The second debate is currently set to be held virtually on Oct. 15. —Kevin Breuninger 

Regeneron requests emergency use approval for Covid-19 treatment

A technician prepares a flow cell slide for loading onto a genetic sequencing machine at a Regeneron Pharmaceuticals laboratory at the biotechnology company's headquarters in Tarrytown, New York
Mike Segar | Reuters

Regeneron's stock price rose over 4% in premarket trading after the company submitted an "emergency use authorization" request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its Covid-19 antibody treatment.

President Donald Trump took Regeneron's REGN-COV2 monoclonal antibody coronavirus therapy last week after being diagnosed with Covid-19. He described it as a "cure" even though there's no such scientific proof. 

The biotech company published a statement Wednesday noting that "if an EUA is granted the government has committed to making these doses available to the American people at no cost and would be responsible for their distribution."

REGN-COV2 is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies and was "designed specifically to block infectivity" of the virus that causes Covid-19. —Holly Ellyatt

Second presidential debate between Trump and Biden will be virtual

The second presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Biden will be held virtually, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Thursday.

Citing a need to "protect the health and safety of all involved," the commission said in a statement, "The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which the candidates would participate from separate remote locations."

The decision came less than a week after Trump revealed that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus. Trump, 74, was hospitalized over the weekend and was discharged Monday, where he continues to be treated at the White House.

The debate commission had already implemented additional social distancing precautions for the vice presidential debate Wednesday night, the most visible change being two plexiglass barriers that were installed between Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence.

Spokesmen for the Trump and Biden campaigns did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the CPD's announcement. —Kevin Breuninger 

Trump hails experimental treatment for his virus recovery, without providing evidence

U.S. President Donald Trump makes an announcement about his treatment for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Washington, U.S., in this still image taken from video, October 7, 2020.
The White House | via Reuters

President Donald Trump said an experimental drug treatment is aiding his recovery from Covid-19, suggesting that his contracting the virus could be a "blessing in disguise," the Associated Press reports.

"I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president, because I feel great," Trump said in a video. "I feel, like, perfect."

Trump received an unproven antiviral cocktail made by Regeneron through a "compassionate use" exemption. Regeneron filed an emergency use authorization request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the antibody treatment.

Yet there is no way for the president or his doctors to know whether the drug had any effect, according to AP. —Terri Cullen

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