Coronavirus updates: Europe’s ICU beds near capacity in some areas, new cases are up in 39 U.S. states

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Daily new U.S. cases of the coronavirus, as a seven-day average, have been growing since Oct. 5 and topped 53,405 as of Thursday, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data. Average daily new infections are 14% higher than a week ago, CNBC's analysis shows. The European Central Bank is prepared to impose further economic stimulus amid an upsurge of cases in Europe. Yet, negotiations of a U.S. stimulus deal have been deadlocked for weeks.

Here are some of the biggest developments on Friday:

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 39 million
  • Global deaths: At least 1.1 million
  • U.S. cases: More than 8 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 218,097

Trump administration strikes vaccine deal with CVS, Walgreens

A volunteer is injected with a vaccine as he participates in a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination study at the Research Centers of America, in Hollywood, Florida, September 24, 2020.
Marco Bello | Reuters

CVS Health and Walgreens will administer coronavirus vaccines to the elderly and staff in long-term care facilities free of charge, the Trump administration announced in a new deal.

Starting next week, long-term care facilities will be able to select which pharmacy they prefer to have on-site, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The vaccine will be available in all long-term care settings, including skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, residential care homes and adult family homes.

The announcement comes the same day states must submit their draft plans to the federal government on how they will distribute a coronavirus vaccine if and when one is approved for public use. There are currently four potential vaccines backed by the U.S. currently in late-stage testing.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said the deal will ensure that nursing home residents, which have been hit hard by the virus, "are at the front of the line for the Covid vaccine and will bring their grueling trial to a close as swiftly as possible." —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Europe's ICU beds are nearing capacity in some areas, WHO says

Europe's coronavirus outbreak is "concerning" as cases surge and intensive care units in some regions near capacity, the World Health Organization said.

The international agency is hearing from a number of cities across Europe that say their ICU beds will be completely full in the coming weeks, Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead, said at a press conference. "That is concerning as we approach the flu season," she added.

When adjusting for population, the number of new coronavirus infections in Europe has now overtaken the United States. Europe is reporting 187 new Covid-19 cases per million people, based on a seven-day average, compared with 162 new Covid-19 cases per million people in the U.S.

Kerkhove urged people to wash their hands regularly, wear masks, maintain their distance from others and avoid going to crowded places.

"All contribute to bringing this under control," she said. "It's a number of things. It's not just the wearing of masks. Masks must be used as part of a comprehensive package."–Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Moving to a new city might be worth it, even with a pay cut

Getty Images

Companies such as Facebook and Microsoft have said they'd cut salaries for employees that move to lower-cost cities during the pandemic, taking advantage of new full-time remote positions.

But even with lower pay, it might still make sense to move to a less expensive city, according to financial experts. You could save money if your cost of living falls more than your salary or you move to a state with lower income taxes.

In addition, if moving greatly improves your quality of life, it could be worth it even if a salary cut means it's not a huge money-saver.

To make the right decision for you, financial advisors say to compare your current budget to what you might save in a new location to see if a move is financially feasible. Then, weigh your quality of life and long-term goals to assess if it's time to move. –Carmen Reinicke

Gottlieb dismisses criticism of CDC study, says masks slow coronavirus spread

Trump should promote responsible mask use, says former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb
Trump should promote responsible mask use, says former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb

Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC masks are definitely effective in slowing the spread of the coronavirus, pushing back against an inaccurate interpretation of a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Masks are not a panacea, but they're going to afford you a level of protection," Gottlieb said on "Squawk Box." "In an environment where the alternative is having a raging epidemic that's going to force some kind of economic dislocation, I'd rather try to get everyone in masks and I'd rather try to get them in high-quality masks because we know it's going to slow down the transmission. It's going to have an impact."

The CDC study, published in September, has found that 85% of participants who tested positive for Covid-19 indicated they always or often wore masks. It has been recently cited by President Donald Trump, seemingly to raise questions about the effectiveness of masks. However, the CDC has called that interpretation incorrect.

Gottlieb, the former FDA chief in the Trump administration, agreed that the study does not show masks are ineffective. He also noted there has been an increase in coronavirus infections linked back to social gatherings where people may let their guard down and take off their masks.

"People could be going out and wearing a mask when they go shopping, and then having 20 people over their house or 15 people and that's where the infection happenings," he said. - Kevin Stankiewicz

Disclosure: Dr. 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."

States face deadline from CDC to submit plans to distribute vaccine

State health officials across the U.S. are facing a Friday deadline to submit plans to the federal government on how they will inoculate hundreds of millions of Americans against Covid-19 once a vaccine is approved. Now, they'll have about two weeks to set up distribution centers across the country to meet the Nov. 1 deadline set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It's proven to be a monumental undertaking made even more difficult by the fact that there is no federally approved Covid-19 vaccine. Additionally, most of the potential vaccines require two doses, and some of them need to be transported and stored at varying and specific temperatures.

Some experts familiar with the matter add that there hasn't been enough funding for critical resources, such as staffing, updated data reporting systems and personal protective equipment for people administering the vaccines.

"Everybody needs to realize it's not going to be seamless," said Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. "This is an ambitious undertaking, but we will get there and I think the fact that we have an opportunity to get a little bit in front of something and plan for it is going to make a difference." —Noah Higgins-Dunn

In open letter, Pfizer CEO vows 'high' safety standards for vaccine

Albert Bourla, Pfizer
Gian Ehrenzeller | Keystone | AP

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the pharmaceutical company's safety standards for its potential coronavirus vaccine are "set high" as it approaches a regulatory filing with the Food and Drug Administration.

Shares of Pfizer were up nearly 2% in mid-morning trading after Bourla said in an open letter that the company would not apply for emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine until late November as it continues to gather crucial safety data.

"Safety is, and will remain, our number one priority, and we will continue monitoring and reporting safety data for all trial participants for two years," he wrote.

The letter comes amid concerns about the safety of potential Covid-19 vaccines or treatments. Coronavirus clinical trials from drug giants Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly hit a snag this week after independent safety monitors halted them over bad reactions from participants. –Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

New cases are up in 39 states

Average daily new cases of the coronavirus were up by at least 5% on a weekly basis in 39 states on Thursday, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Cases are rising most rapidly in Michigan, Nebraska and South Dakota, according to CNBC's analysis. Adjusted for population, the Dakotas, Montana, Wisconsin and Utah reported more new cases on Thursday than any other state, according to the analysis.

Daily new cases reported across the country are rapidly approaching fresh record levels. The U.S. reported more than 63,600 new cases on Thursday, pushing the seven-day average of daily new cases over 53,400, up more than 13% compared with a week ago.

"I'm pretty glum at the moment because it does look as though in the majority of states there's an increasing number of cases," Dr. Bill Schaffner, an epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University, said. "There's a growing sense of coronavirus fatigue out there. People really want to get back to the old normal." —Will Feuer

WHO finds Remdesivir has ‘little or no effect’ in reducing deaths

Interim results of a study coordinated by the World Health Organization indicated that Gilead Sciences' remdesivir, along with three other potential coronavirus treatment drugs, had "little or no effect" on death rates among hospitalized patients.

The WHO's randomized Solidarity Therapeutics Trial was conducted on 11,266 patients, with 2,750 given remdesivir, across 30 countries. It comes a week after Gilead published its own study on remdesivir.

The authors of the WHO study said: "No study drug definitely reduced mortality (in unventilated patients or any other subgroup of entry characteristics), initiation of ventilation or hospitalisation duration." —Vicky McKeever

Latest hot spots of new U.S. cases


Indianapolis Colts close practice facility after positive tests reported

The Indianapolis Colts closed its practice facility after the National Football League team learned several people within its organization tested positive for Covid-19.

The Colts will work remotely and the team is currently in the process of confirming those tests, according to a statement on its website. —Melodie Warner 

Pfizer targets late-November filing for vaccine's emergency use approval

In this May 4, 2020 photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, receives an injection.
University of Maryland School of Medicine | AP

Pfizer is targeting late-November to apply for emergency use approval of its Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S., Reuters reports.

Pfizer is developing its vaccine candidate with Germany's BioNTech and estimated a key safety milestone would be achieved in the third week of November.

That would be the first emergency use approval request for a Covid-19 vaccine, though several coronavirus treatments have already gone through the process. President Donald Trump has repeatedly touted a November timeline for a vaccine while providing few specifics. —Sara Salinas

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