Coronavirus: Volunteer in AstraZeneca vaccine trial dies; New York targets 'microclusters'

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A loose deadline for a coronavirus stimulus deal came and went Tuesday, with no agreement between Democrats and White House negotiators. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi downplayed the 48-hour shot clock and said the sides had narrowed their differences. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows indicated talks could resume Wednesday, with hope for a relief deal by the weekend.

Here are some of Wednesday's biggest developments:

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 40.8 million 
  • Global deaths: At least 1.12 million
  • U.S. cases: More than 8.27 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 221,122

Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble will be a 'demonstration model,' Scoot CEO says

Hong Kong and Singapore's plan to allow leisure travel to resume may give other markets confidence in reopening their borders, said Campbell Wilson, CEO of low-cost carrier Scoot.

He noted that Singapore has been "quite proactive" in unilaterally opening its borders to countries such as New Zealand, Australia and Vietnam.

"All it would take is for one of those countries to reciprocate," Wilson said. "The Hong Kong regime will be the one that is a demonstration model, that gives all parties more confidence to step forward."

"I think this is the first opening of what will subsequently be many, in hopefully the not-too-distant future," he added. — Abigail Ng

IMF downgrades its 2020 economic forecast for Asia, but says China will grow

The International Monetary Fund said Asia's economy will shrink by 2.2% this year — worse than its previous forecast for a 1.6% contraction.

That downgrade was due to a worse-than-expected outlook in several key emerging markets in the region, such as India, the Philippines and Malaysia, said the IMF.

A continued rise in Covid-19 cases and extended lockdowns contributed to a "particularly sharp" drop in economy activity in India and the Philippines in the second quarter, it added.

China is one of the few Asian economies that will grow in 2020, according to the fund's forecast. The IMF said China's growth is expected to reach 1.9% this year, better than the 1% it forecast in June. — Yen Nee Lee

Economic recovery could slow after 'steroid of fiscal stimulus' fades, JPMorgan Asset Management says

It may seem that the economy has sharply recovered from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but it's actually a "steroid kind of recovery," JPMorgan Asset Management's David Kelly told CNBC.

"It looks like an economic recovery, but it's really sort of a steroid kind of recovery. As the steroid of fiscal stimulus is removed, the economy is going to grow more slowly … it's going to grow much more slowly in the fourth quarter than it did in the third," Kelly told CNBC on Thursday.

While half of jobs lost in the U.S. have been recovered, he said it's "still going to be a crawl" until industries shut down by the pandemic can be reopened again. — Weizhen Tan

California theme parks could seek legal action to speed up reopening

An entrance area to Disneyland stands empty on September 30, 2020 in Anaheim, California.
Mario Tama | Getty Images

California theme parks could explore legal action as a last ditch effort to pressure the state into allowing amusement parks to reopen.

"All options are open at this point," Erin Guerrero, executive director of the Californian Attractions and Parks Association, said during a news conference Wednesday.

Theme parks in the state have been unable to reopen since mid-March. These closures have crippled their businesses and even forced massive layoffs.

On Tuesday, California health officials said that theme parks could only reopen if there were less than one case per 100,000 residents in their counties. Currently Orange County, where Disneyland's two California parks are located, is seeing 4.6 cases per 100,000 people and Los Angeles County, where Universal Studios Hollywood is located, is seeing 10.1 cases per 100,000 people. —Sarah Whitten

Pelosi, Mnuchin continue stimulus talks but still have differences to resolve

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin emerged from another day of coronavirus stimulus talks citing progress but with no deal in hand as the clock ticks down to the 2020 election.

The pair plans to speak again Thursday. After their latest phone conversation, the California Democrat and Treasury secretary are "better prepared to reach compromise on several priorities," according to Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill.

It appears increasingly doubtful the sides can strike a relief agreement before the election that both the Democratic-led House and Republican-held Senate would support. The Senate also tried to approve a $500 billion aid plan, significantly smaller than even the $1.9 trillion the White House has offered Democrats, and Democrats blocked it as they called the measure inadequate.

Pelosi said she is "optimistic that there will be a bill" but suggested it may not come until after Election Day on Nov. 3.

— Jacob Pramuk

CDC sees ‘distressing trend’ in U.S. outbreak

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official said the U.S. coronavirus outbreak is rapidly expanding with Covid-19 cases now growing "really in all parts of the country."

"Unfortunately, we are seeing a distressing trend here in the United States," Jay Butler, the CDC's deputy director for infectious diseases, told reporters on a call.

He said the surge is likely due to the arrival of cooler temperatures, adding, "[s]maller, more intimate gatherings of family, friends and neighbors may be driving transmission as well, especially as they move indoors."

"I recognize that we are all getting tired of the impact Covid-19 has had on our lives," he said. "We're tired of wearing masks but it continues to be as important as it has ever been and I would say even more important than ever as we move into the fall season." –Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

New York will face increased infection rate as it fights 'microclusters,' Cuomo says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that infection rates in New York will likely increase as a number of "fall stressors," like reopened businesses and schools, help spread the virus.

The state's health officials have been responding to coronavirus "cluster zones" that have reported higher positivity rates, or the total percent of tests returning positive, compared with other parts of New York. Each cluster triggers more restrictions on businesses and social activities depending on the seriousness of the virus' spread, Cuomo said.

Contributing to the likely rise in Covid-19 cases during the colder months are a number of stressors, he said. Colleges and universities have reopened their campuses, the state's schools have welcomed students back to the classroom and general feelings of so-called "Covid fatigue" have led to lower rates of compliance for recommended public health measures.

"I think the scale is going to go up throughout the fall," Cuomo said. "I think you're going to see more microclusters in New York. You're going to see a higher rate in New York. You're going to see a higher rate nationwide, and you're going to see a higher rate globally." —Noah Higgins-Dunn

11 Regal theaters set to reopen in New York

Two weeks ago, Cineworld shuttered more than 500 Regal Cinemas in the U.S., now it's reopening 11 locations in New York state.

The decision comes days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said movie theaters outside of New York City would be permitted to reopen at a limited capacity. Regal cinemas in other U.S. states will remained closed, however, due to the lack of new movie releases.

Earlier this month, Mooky Greidinger, the CEO of Cineworld, told CNBC that closing locations in the U.S. and the U.K. was a way to stem the "bleeding." He said his business lost less money by not operating. —Sarah Whitten

New Jersey Gov. Murphy in quarantine after contact with positive staff member

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has canceled all in-person events and will voluntarily quarantine at home through the weekend after coming into contact with a staff member who tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement from his office.

Murphy was tested for the coronavirus on Monday as part of his regular testing schedule, which returned negative, Mahen Gunaratna, the governor's communications director, said in a statement. He again tested negative on Wednesday afternoon, along with the first lady.

The member of Murphy's senior staff who tested positive is at home and contact tracing efforts are underway.

"From the beginning, the Governor's Office has taken every precaution to limit the spread of COVID-19. Today's exceedingly cautious steps are part of that ongoing commitment," Gunaratna said in a statement. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

GOP’s $500 billion coronavirus aid bill fails in the Senate

A $500 billion coronavirus stimulus bill failed in the Senate, blocked by Democrats, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continue negotiations.

The thinner bill, similar to one Democrats opposed last month, failed in a 51-44 vote along party lines, falling short of the 60 votes needed.

The Senate stalemate again extends relief negotiations as millions of Americans rely on pared down benefits and virus tallies spike around the country. —Sara Salinas

Holiday shoppers plan to spend less on themselves, retail trade group says

Holiday shoppers often buy some items for themselves as they look for gifts and find good deals.

This year, however, the National Retail Federation said consumers expect to pull back on those non-gift purchases. That's led to a nearly $50 drop in predicted holiday spending, according to its survey of 7,660 consumers conducted in early October.

The trade group said consumers plan to spend $997.79 on gifts, holiday items like food and decorations and additional "non-gift" purchases for themselves and their families this year. There was a slight increase in a holiday category: the amount of money consumers plan to spend on decor.

Shoppers said they plan to celebrate differently because of the coronavirus pandemic, too. One in five people surveyed said they typically travel for the holidays, but will stay at home instead this year. A little over half of the shoppers surveyed said they'll put some of the money they'd otherwise spend on travel expenses like plane tickets and gas toward holiday items instead. —Melissa Repko

Brazilian volunteer in Oxford AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine trial dies

A volunteer in a clinical trial for a Covid-19 vaccine made by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford has died, Reuters reports, citing Brazilian health authority Anvisa.

Oxford said there are no concerns regarding the safety of the trial and the health authority said the trial would continue.

The volunteer was Brazilian, the Federal University of Sao Paulo said, according to Reuters. The university is helping to coordinate phase 3 clinical trials in Brazil. —Chris Eudaily

UK reports record number of new daily cases

The United Kingdom reported 26,688 new coronavirus cases, setting a new record high, according to Reuters.

The UK also reported 191 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, the news service said, citing government data.

The country's previous record high for cases was on Oct. 4, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. —Chris Eudaily

Boston Public Schools move all students to remote learning

Cheryl O'Connor goes over a list of rules for how her 4th grade class should interact over zoom during the first day of school at Russell Elementary in Boston's Dorchester on Sept. 21, 2020.
Jessica Rinaldi | Boston Globe | Getty Images

Due to rising coronavirus infection rates, Boston Public Schools announced it will move all students to remote-only learning effective Thursday.

The city reported a positivity rate — the percentage of tests that come back positive — of 5.7%, an increase from 4.5% a week ago, according to a statement from the school district. Students will be allowed to return to the classroom once that rate remains below 5% for two weeks, the district said.

All Boston Public School district students started the school year learning remotely in late September while high-priority students were allowed to return to the classroom on Oct. 1, according to the release.

"I know our students and teachers have been making great progress since in-person learning started on October 1 and that schools and families were looking forward to a return to school buildings. But we must do our part to slow the spread and keep our students, families, and staff safe," said Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius in a statement. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

New U.S. cases continue to climb heading into flu season

More than 7 in 10 Gen-Z adults report symptoms of depression during pandemic

Gen-Z is experiencing the highest levels of stress compared to other generations, along with increased symptoms of depression during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the American Psychological Association's 2020 Stress in America survey.

More than 7 in 10 Gen-Z adults, defined in the survey as those ages 18 to 23, reported symptoms of depression in the previous two weeks. For example, feeling so tired they sat around and did nothing, having trouble thinking and concentrating, and feeling very restless, lonely, miserable or unhappy.

When asked to rank their stress level from a scale of 1 to 10 (1 means "little to no stress" and 10 means "a great deal of stress"), Gen-Z adults said they experienced a stress level of 6.1.

Millennials (ages 24-41) ranked their stress level 5.6 out of 10, and Gen X (ages 42-55) said their stress was a 5.2 out of 10. 

The survey, which was conducted with the Harris Poll, took place from Aug. 4 to Aug. 26, and consisted of more than 3,000 adults ages 18 and older, and a sample of 1,026 teens ages 13 to 17. —Cory Stieg

Antsy travelers plan road trips they're not sure they can take

Cap: Minnesota’s popular North Shore Scenic Byway, an “All-American Road” located along Lake Superior.
Credit: Explore Minnesota

Cooped up for months due to Covid, many Americans are planning road trips for fall and winter — even though nearly 7 out of 10 of them aren't sure they'll be able to actually travel. That's according to a new survey from AAA, which also found 80% of planned vacations will be road trips.

"Road trips have been most popular as consumers can curate their own experience and take the necessary precautions, prepare for the journey, limit contact and experience the great outdoors," said Paula Twidale, AAA senior vice president of travel. Use of the organization's online TripTik road trip planning tool has doubled from spring and early summer, it reported.

Among those who plan to travel, 1 in 5 told AAA they'll wait till the last minute, within about a week of departure. Why are the other 80% going ahead and booking, despite misgivings? Twidale pointed to sheer pent-up demand, as well as the use of travel insurance and flexible offers from travel suppliers such as hotels, cruise lines and tour operators. —Kenneth Kiesnoski

Formula One's Lance Stroll returns to racing after positive test

Formula One driver Lance Stroll announced he plans to race at the Portuguese Grand Prix this week after self-isolating for 10 days following a positive test for the coronavirus.

Stroll, in a tweet, said his symptoms were mild and results from another test on Monday were negative.

"I feel in great shape and I can't wait to be back with the team and to race in Portugal," Stroll said on Twitter. —Melodie Warner 

U.S. stocks open little changed as stimulus talks continue

U.S. stocks opened along the flatline as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continued their negotiations on a new fiscal stimulus package, reports CNBC's Fred Imbert and Pippa Stevens.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 33 points, or 0.1%. The S&P 500 hovered just below breakeven and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.2%. —Melodie Warner 

Fed’s Brainard calls for more stimulus amid ‘highly uneven’ recovery

Lael Brainard
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said Congress needs to support more stimulus to address a recovery that so far has left out large parts of the U.S. economy, reports CNBC's Jeff Cox.

"The recovery remains highly uncertain and highly uneven — with certain sectors and groups experiencing substantial hardship. These disparities risk holding back the recovery," Brainard said in remarks to the Society of Professional Economists. —Melodie Warner 

Study identifies 5 factors that could make you more at risk of suffering from 'long Covid'

A new study has identified the main factors that make it more likely that coronavirus patients will suffer long term effects from the virus.

"Long Covid" is the term given to people who recover from coronavirus but continue to suffer from a wide range of symptoms, such as shortness of breath, migraines and chronic fatigue.

new analysis by researchers at King's College London, using data from the COVID Symptom Study app, shows that 1 in 20 people with Covid-19 are likely to suffer symptoms for at least eight weeks.  

The team found that older or overweight people, women, those with asthma and those with a greater number of different symptoms in the first week of their illness were more likely to develop "long Covid." — Holly Ellyatt

Banks didn't hike ATM fees in 2020 for the first time in 15 years

Westend61 | Westend61 | Getty Images

For the first time in 15 years, many banks aren't boosting the fees they charge to access your cash, CNBC's Alicia Adamczyk reports.

Out-of-network ATM fees have hit record highs every year since 2004, according to a study by personal finance site Bankrate. This year, however, the average fee fell slightly from last year, slipping to $4.64 from $4.72 — the lowest level since 2016.

Why? With many Americans facing a cash crunch as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, banks have been offering customers temporary fee waivers, Bankrate found. —Terri Cullen

Lilly hires an outside advisor for its Covid drug plant problems

The Eli Lilly logo is shown on one of the company's offices in San Diego, California, September 17, 2020.
Mike Blake | Reuters

Eli Lilly said late on Tuesday it had hired an independent consultant to review a Branchburg, New Jersey, plant producing its experimental Covid-19 drug after receiving notices from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Reuters reported.

The company said it had not received a warning letter from the FDA following inspections at the plant which were first reported by Reuters last week. Lilly also reiterated that it had received an Official Action Indicated notice from the FDA in relation to issues at the plant. —Terri Cullen

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