Coronavirus updates: Nearly 20% of New York City residents were infected with Covid, study finds

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The U.S. seven-day average of daily new coronavirus cases continues to set fresh records as Americans head to the voting polls on Election Day. The average stood at 83,805 daily new infections as of Sunday, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data, nearly 20% higher than a week ago. Health experts have said the country is on bad footing headed into the winter months and that the results of Tuesday's election could impact virus trends.

Here are some of Tuesday's headlines:

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 46.9 million
  • Global deaths: At least 1.2 million
  • U.S. cases: More than 9.29 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 231,566

Lung damage found in Covid dead may shed light on 'long Covid'

Persistent and extensive lung damage was found in most cases of people who died from Covis-19, according to a new study, Reuters reports. The findings may give doctors a better understanding of what the syndrome known as "long Covid," in which patients suffer ongoing symptoms for months.

"The findings indicate that Covid-19 is not simply a disease caused by the death of virus-infected cells, but is likely the consequence of these abnormal cells persisting for long periods inside the lungs," Mauro Giacca, a professor at King's College London who co-led the work, told Reuters.

The research team examined samples of tissue from the lungs, heart, liver and kidneys of 41 patients who died of Covid-19 at Italy's University Hospital of Trieste between February and April 2020, according to the wire service. —Terri Cullen

Texas attorney general files injunction to halt lockdown measures in El Paso

Texas attorney General Ken Paxton filed a motion for temporary injunction to prevent El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego from imposing a two-week shutdown of all non-essential businesses intended to curb the rise of Covid-19 cases.

Paxton called the measures "unlawful" and claimed they violate Gov. Greg Abbott's executive orders on Covid-19. Abbott's executive order allows businesses to operate at 75% capacity and does not require residents to "stay at home," according to a court filing.

"Judge Samaniego has no authority to flout Gov. Abbott's executive orders by shutting down businesses in El Paso County," Paxton said in a statement. "I am optimistic that the district court will recognize the unlawfulness of this action and quickly stop these orders from further oppressing the El Paso community."

Samaniego announced on Thursday that nonessential businesses in El Paso County would close for two weeks, saying that local hospitals were at capacity and medical professionals are overwhelmed. Essential businesses, including grocery stores, schools, child care centers, pharmacies and health care facilities, were allowed to remain open.

—Noah Higgins-Dunn

Election results could determine how fast stimulus comes together

Campaign signs in support of Joe Biden, 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, and U.S. President Donald Trump in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020.
Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Five months into stimulus talks, and lawmakers have yet to strike a deal. Just how much longer negotiations take could hinge on the results of Tuesday's election, experts say.

"The biggest stimulus should be expected in a Democratic sweep," said Ed Mills, Washington policy analyst at Raymond James. "The quickest stimulus is in a Trump re-election. The lowest stimulus is in a Biden win with a Republican senate."

The different outcomes will help determine how quickly Americans receive more money from the government.

Americans who are hoping for more enhanced federal unemployment benefits could hope to see that help renewed as soon as December. But another set of one-time $1,200 payments may or may not happen depending on the political appetite to send that money.

— Lorie Konish

Nearly 20% of New York City residents were infected with Covid, study finds

The coronavirus has infected roughly 1.7 million New York City residents — about 20% of the its population — and its fatality rate is 10 times deadlier than the flu, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.

The findings are based on more than 10,600 plasma samples collected from Mount Sinai Health System patients — both in urgent care and conducting routine health visits — between the beginning of February until July, the study says. Researchers measured the presence of antibodies to past coronavirus infections in weekly intervals. 

The testing found positive cases in people dating back to as early as February, suggesting that New Yorkers were infected with Covid-19 weeks before its first reported case, researchers said.

"We show that the infection rate was relatively high during the first wave in New York but is far from seroprevalence that might indicate community immunity (herd immunity). Knowing the detailed dynamics of the seroprevalence shown in this study is important for modeling seroprevalence elsewhere in the country," Florian Krammer, a Mount Sinai professor in vaccinology at the Icahn School of Medicine and corresponding author on the paper, said in a statement.

— Noah Higgins-Dunn

Unmasked Melania Trump votes in person in Palm Beach, Fla.

U.S. first lady Melania Trump arrives to cast her vote during the 2020 presidential election at Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., November 3, 2020.
Marco Bello | Reuters

First lady Melania Trump cast her ballot on Tuesday in Palm Beach, Fla., where photos and video showed that she was the only person in her polling station who was not wearing a mask.

The first lady entered the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center at around 10 a.m., and waved and smiled to reporters.

Trump contracted Covid-19 last month along with President Donald Trump and their son Barron, and since then she has remained largely out of the public eye in the White House.

On Tuesday, the first lady said she was feeling "great."

Trump's appearance in a public space without a mask is all but certain to draw criticism from public health experts, especially as the nation experiences a record surge in coronavirus cases.

The president has repeatedly dismissed the importance of wearing masks, despite an overwhelming consensus among scientists that they prevent the spread of coronavirus.

— Christina Wilkie

CDC says infected people can vote in person

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidance over the weekend to clarify that all voters, including those infected with the coronavirus, have the right to vote.

"Voters have the right to vote, regardless of whether they are sick or in quarantine," the guidance says. "Voters who are sick or in quarantine should take steps to protect poll workers and other voters... You should also let poll workers know that you are sick or in quarantine when you arrive at the polling location."

The CDC says that infected people should wear a mask, stay at least six feet away from others, and wash one's hands or use hand sanitizer before and after voting.

—Will Feuer

Cases hit record in 21 states — including 3 battleground states — ahead of election

Twenty-one states — including the key battleground states of Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania — on Monday hit records in the number of average daily new coronavirus cases reported, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

  • Michigan is averaging more than 3,500 new cases a day, up almost 60% from last week.
  • Ohio is averaging 3,100 new cases a day, a 31% increase from a week ago.
  • Pennsylvania is averaging nearly 2,300 new cases a day, 24% higher than the prior week.

The pandemic, which has killed at least 231,566 people in the U.S., has been a defining issue in the 2020 election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump has long downplayed the virus, and in a spate of lengthy campaign speeches on Monday spent relatively little time discussing the pandemic, even as experts in his own administration warn that the U.S. could be on the cusp of the most dangerous period yet.

On Monday, Trump repeated his claim that the recent increase in cases is due to an increase in testing. Experts, including Trump administration officials, dispute that assertion.

Some states, such as Ohio, have also hit new peaks in hospitalizations. 

—Kevin Breuninger

Dow opens up more than 300 points on Election Day

U.S. stocks opened higher as investors hoped a delayed or contested result from the U.S. presidential election would be avoided, reports CNBC's Fred Imbert and Maggie Fitzgerald.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 331 points higher, or 1.2%. The S&P 500 gained 1% and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.8%.

—Melodie Warner 

U.S. to see 1,000 Covid deaths per day for 'sustained period,' Gottlieb says

Former FDA chief Gottlieb: The U.S. is entering a 'sustained period' of 1,000 Covid deaths per day
Gottlieb: The U.S. is entering a 'sustained period' of 1,000 Covid deaths per day

The coronavirus outbreak in the United States will likely get so bad that the country will see more than 1,000 Covid-19 deaths per day for a "sustained period of time," former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said.

That's far lower than the daily death toll this spring, when an average of more than 2,000 people died each day from the disease, mostly in New York state, according to Johns Hopkins University data. During the summer surge that followed Memorial Day, the country reported about 1,000 deaths per day in August, Hopkins data shows.

Gottlieb said the next couple of months could prove to be "the densest phase of the pandemic."

"We're probably going to see significant spread across the entire United States in a confluent epidemic that we're much better prepared to deal with, so I don't think that we're going to see the excess death that we saw with the first wave of this pandemic when it struck New York," he said on "Squawk Box."

"But the sheer fact that we're going to be infecting so many people right now is probably going to mean that the death tolls get well above 1,000 for a sustained period of time."

Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer, genetic testing start-up Tempus and biotech company Illumina. Pfizer has a manufacturing agreement with Gilead for remdesivir. Gottlieb also serves as co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings′ and Royal Caribbean's "Healthy Sail Panel."

—Will Feuer

T-cell immunity against Covid-19 seen after six months, study finds

A new study claims cellular, or "T-cell," immunity against Covid-19 is likely to be present within most adults six months after primary infection.

T-cells are a part of our immune system which attacks cells that have been infected with a virus or other kind of pathogen. They also help other antibody-producing cells in the immune system.

Research by the U.K. Coronavirus Immunology Consortium (UK-CIC), Public Health England and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust has found "robust T-cell responses" to the coronavirus virus six months after infection.

The study looked at 100 individuals who had tested positive for the coronavirus in March and April of 2020 but had not been hospitalized. All 100 people had experienced either mild or moderate symptoms or were asymptomatic, the study noted.

Holly Ellyatt

Health insurer Humana raises its profit forecast as people put off medical procedures

Humana boosted the low end of its full-year earnings guidance after topping analysts' expectations on its third-quarter profit, Reuters reports. The health insurer was helped by more Americans putting off optional medical services due to the pandemic.

Though some people caught up on elective procedures in the third quarter, demand for health-care services is still below pre-pandemic levels, which helped Humana to offset costs related to testing and treatment of Covid-19, according to the wire service.

Humana's consolidated benefit ratio — the percentage of premiums spent on claims — narrowed to 82.6% in the quarter from 85% a year earlier, Reuters said.

Terri Cullen

Dr. Birx, in leaked memo, contradicts Trump and warns of 'deadly phase' ahead

U.S. President Donald Trump listens to Ambassador Debbie Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, during a meeting with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 28, 2020.
Carlos Barria | Reuters

Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, contradicted President Donald Trump's claims around the coronavirus and warned of a "deadly phase" ahead in an internal memo leaked to The Washington Post.

"We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic … leading to increasing mortality," Birx said in the internal report, dated Monday. "This is not about lockdowns — It hasn't been about lockdowns since March or April. It's about an aggressive balanced approach that is not being implemented."

Birx held a highly visible role early on in the U.S. outbreak, taking part in daily briefings from the White House. She dropped out of public view somewhat in recent months, even as Trump spread false information about testing, symptoms and national virus trends.

—Sara Salinas

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