Coronavirus updates: U.S. reports 121,888 new cases; New York ramps up airport enforcement

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New recorded cases of the coronavirus jumped significantly in the U.S. on Thursday to 121,888, according to Johns Hopkins data. That's nearly 20,000 cases higher than the previous single-day record set on Wednesday. Reporting backlogs and errors have temporarily warped data before, so it's possible that's a factor here, too. But the trend is clear: infections are growing rapidly around the country.

Here are some of the biggest developments Friday:

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 49.11 million
  • Global deaths: At least 1.23 million
  • U.S. cases: More than 9.66 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 235,416

NBA's Covid-19 shortened season could be model for its future, experts say

The National Basketball Association secured its return with a 72-game season for its 2020-21 campaign and experts say fewer games could benefit the league long-term.

The NBA, which normally has an 82-game schedule, will start the year on Dec. 22 as it wants to preserve its Christmas Day games and looks to add $500 million in extra revenue that can help with Covid-19 losses.

But sports experts say the NBA should consider keeping a 72-game regular-season for the foreseeable future as it could help the league with quality of play. The thinking is fewer games will allow players extra recovery time which could improve gameplay. Fewer games would also decrease travel for players.  

"It's going to be better across the board of quality basketball and healthier athletes," said Tony Ponturo, who served as vice-president of Anheuser-Busch global media sports and entertainment marketing. "You take the [revenue] hit and figure out how to make it up in other ways."

The club owners would need to figure new ways to offset 10 fewer gameday revenue streams but new sponsorships and less operational costs could aid the NBA. The NBA claims gate receipts make up nearly 40% of its income.

—Jabari Young

Delaware's mask mandate, stay-at-home order suppressed Covid spread, study finds

A new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that Delaware's stay-at-home order and face mask mandate — coupled with other health measures —substantially reduced coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths after the state's first case was identified.

Delaware reported its first case of Covid-19 on March 11 and subsequently issued a stay-at-home order on March 24 that closed all non-essential businesses and schools until June 1. Between that time, Gov. John Carney issued a statewide mask mandate on April 28 and began contact tracing efforts in mid-May, according to the study.

Researchers found those efforts contributed to an 82% reduction in Covid-19 infections and an 88% reduction in hospitalizations, using laboratory data from the Delaware Electronic Reporting and Surveillance System and case investigation data from the Delaware Division of Public Health. They also led to a 100% reduction in deaths in Delaware from late April to June, the study found.

Researchers also identified "several barriers" to Delaware's contract tracing efforts. Among the more than 9,700 laboratory-confirmed cases reported during March 11 and June 25, nearly two-thirds of the patients were interviewed and 83% either refused to name contacts or could not recall contacts, they found. — Noah Higgins-Dunn

FDA authorizes first test that for neutralizing antibodies

The Food and Drug Administration announced on Friday that it has authorized the first serology test that detects neutralizing antibodies caused by a previous coronavirus infection.

Neutralizing antibodies prevent viruses from infecting cells, though questions remain about how long antibodies against Covid-19 last for and how much protection they provide.

"The ability to detect neutralizing antibodies can help us gain additional insight into what the existence of antibodies may mean for patients as we continue the fight against COVID-19," said Dr. Tim Stenzel, director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health in the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

Patients and health providers should not interpret the positive results of the test to mean that patients are protected against Covid-19, the agency said. They should still follow public health precautions, the FDA said. —Will Feuer

A tax surprise could be around the corner for remote workers

Westend61 | Westend61 | Getty Images

If you've spent these last eight months working in a different state – either because you're hunkering down with relatives or you've escaped to your cabin in the woods – you just might have tax reporting and payment obligations in your temporary location.

More than 7 out of 10 of the remote workers polled by the American Institute of CPAs were unaware that telecommuting from a different state could affect the amount of state taxes owed.

The organization surveyed 2,053 American adults in October.

Tax professionals recommend that remote workers track the locations in which they've worked this year, as well as the number of days worked there.

These employees should also review and update their withholding at their employer to ensure they're paying the proper state income taxes based on their new location.

—Darla Mercado

New York to ramp up enforcement at airports over holidays, governor says

New York will ramp up enforcement at its airports during the holiday season to ensure arriving travelers follow quarantine and testing requirements, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

The Democrat governor said he will send in more National Guard members to help enforce the state's travel advisory, adding that he spoke with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio about increasing the New York City Police Department's presence as well.

According to a newly announced travel order, people travelling to the state are required to get tested for Covid-19 within three days before traveling, quarantine for three days after arrival in New York and get a Covid-19 test on day four. If someone tests negative for a second time upon arrival, they are exempt from a two-week quarantine, according to the order.

"You should not land if you do not have proof of a negative test upon landing," Cuomo said on a conference call with reporters. "I want people to know we're serious."

—Noah Higgins-Dunn

Correction: Gov. Andrew Cuomo's travel advisory requires out-of-state travelers to get tested for Covid-19 within three days before traveling to New York, and again four days after arriving. An earlier version misstated the testing requirements.

Coronavirus stimulus divide lingers as final 2020 election votes are tallied

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Reuters

The 2020 election appears to have done little to change Mitch McConnell or Nancy Pelosi's mind about what a coronavirus stimulus package requires.

Both the Senate majority leader and House speaker called for another aid bill on Friday. But they appear as divided as ever on how much money Congress would need to put into the legislation.

McConnell cited the October jobs report as justification for a more narrow relief bill. Pelosi once again said she would not accept a limited aid package.

While the sides have both called to pass more stimulus before the end of the year, it remains to be seen whether they can resolve differences over issues including unemployment benefits and state and local government aid. Republicans last proposed a $500 billion bill, while Democrats put forward $2.2 trillion legislation.

Pelosi's Democrats will keep House control in January, according to NBC News. Republicans, meanwhile, hope to hold on to their Senate majority with four races still uncalled.

—Jacob Pramuk

Gottlieb: 'It's not too late' for Trump administration to step up Covid response

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Former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb warns the coronavirus epidemic could peak around the innaugration

Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC the White House needs to do more in its coronavirus response, even if President Donald Trump loses to Democrat Joe Biden in the presidential election. Gottlieb, who previously led the FDA in the Trump administration, specifically pointed to Vice President Mike Pence, since he helms the Coronavirus Task Force.

"I think if the administration does lose the election, I think the vice president can get more engaged in trying to lead a national strategy around coronavirus mitigation now that the election is over. ... It's not too late," Gottlieb said on "Squawk Box," as the nation experiences back-to-back days of more than 100,000 new coronavirus infections.

"Their legacies are going to turn on what they do right now," Gottlieb added. "Again, if the backdrop of the change over in power is a national crisis of really significant proportion because this is going to get worse before it gets better — and it could get significantly worse — I don't think that anyone wants to be handing over power against that backdrop."

Kevin Stankiewicz

Italy sets new daily record for cases, death toll climbs to 40,638

Italy reported 37,809 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, a new record high, jumping more than 3,000 over the day before, according to Reuters, citing data from the country's health ministry.

The country's death toll from the disease climbed 446 over that same 24-hour period, bringing the total number of people who have died from the virus to 40,638, the news service said.

The region of Lombardy, which includes Italian financial capital Milan, continued to be the nation's hardest-hit area, Reuters reported.

— Chris Eudaily

U.S. stocks open flat as presidential vote count nears final stages

U.S. stocks were little changed at the open as traders pored over better-than-expected U.S. unemployment data and looked for clarity around the presidential and congressional election results, reports CNBC's Fred Imbert and Jesse Pound.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 16 points lower, or 0.1%. The S&P 500 slipped 0.1% and the Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.2%.

—Melodie Warner 

WHO to review biosecurity measures after Covid outbreak in Danish mink farms

A mink is photographed in a farm in Hjoerring, in North Jutland, Denmark, on October 8, 2020.
MADS CLAUS RASMUSSEN | AFP | Getty Images

The World Health Organization has said it will review biosecurity measures in mink farms across the globe, shortly after Denmark found a mutated form of the coronavirus among its mink population.

The detection of mutated coronavirus strain in the animals has raised questions about the effectiveness of a future Covid-19 vaccine.

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization's chief scientist, said during a news briefing that it would be unwise to jump to any conclusions at this stage.

"I think that we need to wait and see what the implications are, but I don't think we should come to any conclusions about whether this particular mutation is going to impact vaccine efficacy or not," Swaminathan said.

"We don't have any evidence at the moment that it would. But we will update you as we get more information."

— Sam Meredith

U.S. employment growth better than expected in October

U.S. employment grew more than expected in October even as the nation faces surging coronavirus cases that could have an impact on the nascent economic recovery, reports CNBC's Jeff Cox.

The Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls increased by 638,000 and the rate of unemployment was 6.9%. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones were looking for a payroll gain of 530,000 and an unemployment rate of 7.7% a bit lower than the September level of 7.9%.

—Melodie Warner 

Why Germany's virus strategy doesn't appear to be working the second time around

Germany was praised for its initial response to the coronavirus pandemic, but the country re-implemented strict public health measures on Monday, raising questions around the effectiveness of its strategy.

The country's "light lockdown" came as cases of the coronavirus have continued to rise, with latest from the Robert Koch Institute showing nearly 127 infections per 100,000 people over a seven-day period. The German government is aiming to push this down to about 50 cases per 100,000 people.

Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Germany "must get the situation under control to a point where the local public health offices can trace contacts again — otherwise the exponential growth will simply spiral further upwards."

Dr. Hajo Zeeb, head of department for Germany's Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology, highlighted how people returning from vacation over the summer had resulted in a "major workload" for local public health offices, as they then also had to test these returning citizens.

—Vicky McKeever

New Orleans plans for a 'different,' Covid-safe Mardi Gras in 2021

Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans.
Getty Images

New Orleans is planning a "different" kind of Mardi Gras celebration for 2021 in an effort to keep float riders and parade-goers safe from coronavirus spread.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell set a Dec. 5 deadline for krewes, the organizations that put on individual parades during the citywide celebration, to submit proposals for how the events can go on safely, according to local news station WWLTV.

In addition to mask-wearing, social distancing and temperature checks, a subcommittee reviewing the event is recommending limiting alcohol consumption, according to the report. It also suggests asking krewes to hold back "high-value" throws, the prized items that float riders hand out to lucky parade attendees, such as hand-decorated Muses shoes, the sight of which often spurs jostling crowds to form.

—Sara Salinas

Arthritis drug made by Novartis fails to help Covid-19 patients

A technician at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
David L. Ryan | The Boston Globe | Getty Images

An arthritis drug made by Swiss drugmaker Novartis failed to help coronavirus patients survive without invasive ventilation compared with standard therapy, Reuters reports.

The results dashed hopes that canakinumab, which is approved as Ilaris for juvenile arthritis and other conditions, could be used to aid seriously ill Covid-19 patients, according to the wire service.

The drug also did not meet its key secondary endpoint of reducing Covid-19 mortality in a late-phase clinical trial, according to Reuters.

"There's still an urgent need for effective ways to combat Covid-19 and we will continue to apply our best scientific minds in support of the global pandemic response," John Tsai, the company's chief drug developer, said.

Terri Cullen

Twitter bars Steve Bannon’s podcast after he made beheading comment about Fauci

Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon exits the Manhattan Federal Court, following his arraignment hearing for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, in New York, August 20, 2020.
Andrew Kelly | Reuters

Twitter banned Steve Bannon's "War Room: Pandemic" podcast after the former advisor to President Donald Trump and one-time campaign boss implied infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Chris Wray should be beheaded.

"I'd actually like to go back to the old times of Tudor England, I'd put the heads on pikes, right, I'd put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats. You either get with the program or you're gone – time to stop playing games," Bannon said on the podcast. YouTube pulled the episode from its platform.

Bannon's spokeswoman told CNBC that he was not calling for violence and that he was speaking "metaphorically."

"Mr. Bannon has supported comments from the White House calling for the immediate firing of Dr. Fauct," she said.

Bannon also appeared to concur when his co-host on the podcast mentioned how traitors used to be hanged. "That's how you won the revolution. No one wants to talk about it," Bannon said. "The [American] revolution wasn't some sort of garden party, right? It was a civil war. It was a civil war."

—Mike Calia

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