Coronavirus updates: Texas first state to top 1 million cases; U.S. sets new record of average daily cases

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Stocks are fighting for a third-day rally. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 1,000 points in the last two days after Pfizer and BioNTech announced encouraging Covid vaccine effectiveness data. The rotation out of stay-at-home stocks suggests investors are hanging lofty hopes on the vaccine, even as the U.S. enters a dangerous few months of rising cases and colder temperatures.

Here are the biggest developments Wednesday:

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 51.92 million 
  • Global deaths: At least 1.28 million
  • U.S. cases: More than 10.36 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 240,782

Ohio governor says 'rampant' Covid spread may prompt closure of bars, restaurants

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
John Minchillo | AP

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio warned that "rampant spread" of the coronavirus across the state could prompt him to reimpose tougher health restrictions on businesses.

"If the current trend continues, and cases keep increasing, we will be forced ... to close restaurants, bars and fitness centers. We will look at this one week from tomorrow," DeWine said in a statewide address.

DeWine acknowledged the economic impact such measures would have, but he said, "these are places, candidly, where it's difficult or impossible to maintain mask-wearing, which we know now is the chief way of slowing this virus."

The governor also said new restrictions will be placed in the coming days on banquets, wedding receptions and events after funerals. "We have seen great tragedy, great tragedy, associated with some these events," he said. The order will ban dancing and games, as well as require congregate areas in event spaces to be closed.

Ohio's seven-day average of new coronavirus cases is 5,049, representing an increase of 51% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. The state's seven-day average of currently hospitalized Covid-19 patients is at 2,283, per a CNBC analysis of data from the Covid Tracking Project. That is up 35% compared with one week earlier.

"This surge is much more intense, widespread and dangerous" than what Ohio experienced earlier in the pandemic, DeWine said. He also revised the state's mask mandate, requiring businesses to post signs at public entrances and also establishing a new investigative unit to increase compliance inspections.

Kevin Stankiewicz

Covid testing helped stop asymptomatic spread, study says

Widespread Covid-19 testing is credited in a new federally backed study with catching and helping to stop asymptomatic spread among nearly 2,000 Marine recruits, providing more evidence that frequent testing can help contain the virus.

Dr. Stuart Sealfon, the senior author of the paper and a neurologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai in New York City, said the study shows that public health measures need to be supplemented by widespread testing to control the coronavirus.

"You need to put all of these infection control measures in place as best as you can, and you need to supplement them or integrate them with as much testing and as frequent testing as you can manage," he said in a phone interview. He added that "you can't rely on testing alone," either.

—Will Feuer

German health minister: It's 'too early to say' whether our partial lockdown will be extended

German health minister on new lockdown measures: The second wave will be stronger
German health minister on new lockdown measures: The second wave will be stronger

German health minister Jens Spahn told CNBC it's "too early to say" whether the country will extend its partial lockdown beyond the month of November.

"We still have an increase, yes, but a very much lower one than we have seen in the past days, last week, for example," Spahn said in an interview that aired on "Closing Bell." Germany has a seven-day average of new coronavirus cases of nearly 19,800, according to CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. That is up almost 22% from a week ago.

"We need patience, actually, because the numbers of today actually are the infections that have taken place one week or more days ago," said Spahn. "It will be the end of this week that we might see the results of the new lockdown light we have now."

The country's latest restrictions went into effect Nov. 2 and are in place for the rest of the month, shuttering bars, restaurants and theaters while keeping schools open. While Spahn acknowledged the difficulties caused by the public-health restrictions, he stressed that aggressive action is needed to control the virus before it spreads further, which would ultimately lead to more economic pain.

"If you wait too long until you lockdown, then you really have very high numbers and the lockdown even needs to be harder," he said.

Kevin Stankiewicz

Two more attendees of Trump's election night party test positive for the virus

Two more attendees of President Donald Trump's election night party at the White House have tested positive for the coronavirus, CNBC's Dan Mangan reports. It brings the tally of Covid infections linked to the event to at least five.

Brian Jack, the White House political affairs director, and Healy Baumgardner, a former White House aide who now works in private equity, were both revealed to have tested positive, according to NBC News reporting.

—Sara Salinas

CDC now says masks protect the wearer from exposure, too

Wearing a mask can prevent the spread of respiratory droplets, and also protects the wearer to some degree, according to a scientific brief from the Centers for Disease Control published Tuesday.

White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci called the benefits of wearing a mask "a two-way street," during an interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Tuesday.

The CDC's update cites research that shows that wearing a multi-layer cloth mask can prevent 50-70% of a person's respiratory droplets from spreading to other people. Additional data suggests that cloth masks can filter nearly 50% of respiratory droplets and particles coming in, contributing more protection for the wearer.

Universal mask policies, social distancing, hand hygiene and social distancing could prevent future lockdowns, according to the CDC.

—Cory Stieg

NY Gov. Cuomo sets new rules as outbreak worsens

People enjoy outdoor dining amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., September 14, 2020.
Jeenah Moon | Reuters

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo set new statewide restrictions on its businesses and residents as cases continue to rise and the state tries to avoid surging outbreaks.

Bars and restaurants with a liquor license will have to shut down dining at 10 p.m., though they can continue operating for curbside pickup after that time, starting Friday evening. Gyms will also be forced to close at 10 p.m. Private gatherings will be capped at 10 people just ahead of the holiday season, Cuomo said.

The state is reporting a weekly average of roughly 2,641 cases a day, a more than 22% increase compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. New York's latest order comes only days after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced similar restrictions on Monday.

"They say in a race, 'Run through the tape.' Just finish the race," Cuomo said on a call with reporters. "We've had a terrible eight months. We're in this last small lap. Let's just do what we have to do to get through it and then we'll rebuild together."

Noah Higgins-Dunn, Sara Salinas

UK reports highest daily deaths since May, bringing death toll to over 50,000

The United Kingdom reported 595 new deaths from Covid-19, the highest daily death toll since May, bringing the total number of people who died in the country to 50,365, the Associated Press reported, citing government data.

The UK's numbers only count people who died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus and do not include people who died of Covid-19-related symptoms after those 28 days.

The country has the most virus-related deaths in Europe and is now the fifth country in the world to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

Chris Eudaily

When Pfizer shares soared on vaccine news, CEO sold stock

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla sold almost $5.6 million worth of stock on Monday, the same day the drugmaker announced positive early data on its experimental coronavirus vaccine that sent shares soaring.

Bourla sold 132,508 shares at an average price of $41.94 per share, or nearly $5.6 million, according to securities filing. The sale was part of a pre-scheduled 10b5-1 trading plan, which was adopted on Aug. 19, the filing shows, as the company was enrolling participants in its late-stage trial.

The sale accounted for 61.8% of the shares owned both directly and indirectly by Bourla. He still owns 81,812 both directly or indirectly, the filings show. Pfizer confirmed the sale in a statement and added that Bourla has a larger holding in the company through the company's "qualified and nonqualified savings plans," which likely means stock options.

Baird biotech analyst Brian Skorney defended the sale, saying that it's a "highlight of how capitalism can work at its best."

—Will Feuer

OPEC expects Covid to stall oil demand recovery next year

An Austrian army member stands next to the logo of the Organization of the Petroleoum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in front of OPEC's headquarters in Vienna, Austria April 9, 2020.
Leonhard Foeger | Reuters

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has once again cut its forecast for global oil demand growth next year, citing rising coronavirus cases and a weaker-than-anticipated economic outlook.

The group of oil-producing countries said it now expects oil demand growth to rise by 6.2 million barrels per day on an annual basis in 2021. That reflects a downward revision of 0.3 million from last month's assessment.

OPEC has gradually lowered its 2021 oil demand outlook from an initial expectation of 7 million barrels per day in July.

OPEC and non-OPEC allies will meet on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 to discuss the next phase of oil production policy.

—Sam Meredith

U.S. sets new record of average daily cases

The United States set a new high for seven-day average daily Covid infections of 121,153 on Tuesday, a 33% rise from a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

The data provided by JHU is collected from dozens of state and local agencies that have varying reporting methodologies and levels of accuracy. Comparisons of the seven-day average help to smooth out inconsistencies in state reporting procedures. 

—Melodie Warner 

Dow opens more than 150 points higher as vaccine rally continues

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened higher for the third-straight day as news of an apparently effective Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine sparked hopes for the return of normal economic activity, reports CNBC's Fred Imbert and Maggie Fitzgerald.

The Dow traded more than 150 points higher at the open, or up 0.5%. The S&P 500 gained 0.5% and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.9%.

—Melodie Warner 

Lagarde warns against vaccine optimism

European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde gestures as she addresses a news conference on the outcome of the meeting of the Governing Council, in Frankfurt, Germany, March 12, 2020.
Kai Pfaffenbach | Reuters

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde has warned against an immediate economic impact from a Covid-19 vaccine.

"While the latest news on a vaccine looks encouraging, we could still face recurring cycles of accelerating viral spread and tightening restrictions until widespread immunity is achieved," she said at the ECB Forum on Central Banking.

"So the recovery may not be linear, but rather unsteady, stop-start and contingent on the pace of vaccine rollout," Lagarde added.

—Silvia Amaro 

U.S. prepares for the worst of the pandemic

A medical staff member treats a patient suffering from coronavirus in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) on November 10, 2020 in Houston, Texas.
Go Nakamura | Getty Images

The next few months of the coronavirus pandemic will be like nothing the nation has seen yet. Even as drug manufacturers make progress on a vaccine and treatments, epidemiologists, scientists and public health officials are warning that the United States has yet to see the most difficult days of the outbreak. Those are projected to come over the next three to four months.

The U.S. is now reporting an average of more than 120,000 new Covid-19 cases a day — a staggering number that sets a deadly tone heading into the holiday season, medical experts say. The sheer volume of new cases cannot be explained by increased testing alone, because daily new cases are outpacing the rise in testing, health officials acknowledge.

Cases are also rising at a faster pace than usual with a roughly 33% jump in the seven-day average over the past week, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The number of people currently hospitalized across the U.S. also stands at a record 61,964, according to the Covid Tracking Project, which is run by journalists at The Atlantic.

"Unfortunately, the worst days are ahead of us," Dr. Ali Mokdad, a professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, said. "We are starting from a worse position, because we didn't do a good job in the summer to bring it down and then we see right now a rapid rise in cases, so the surge of fall and winter has started. That's why the worst days are ahead of us."

—Will Feuer

Texas becomes first state to surpass 1 million cases

Vehicles line up at the University of Texas- El Paso (UTEP) coronavirus disease (COVID-19) drive-thru testing site in El Paso, Texas, U.S. November 9, 2020.
Jorge Salgado | Reuters

Texas has become the first state in the U.S. to surpass 1 million reported Covid-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Texas, which is the second-most populated state in the nation, has now reported a total of 1,010,364 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Hopkins. California has the second-highest number of confirmed cases with 991,162, followed by Florida with 852,174.

New York remains the state with the most reported coronavirus fatalities, however, with a death toll of at least 33,707 people, according to Hopkins. Texas comes in second with at least 19,337 deaths.

—Noah Higgins-Dunn

Russia says its coronavirus vaccine is 92% effective

Russia said its coronavirus vaccine is 92% effective at preventing Covid-19, based on interim trial results.

RDIF said the early results from its late-stage phase three clinical trial of the vaccine, called "Sputnik V," showed that its efficacy was "based on the 20 confirmed Covid-19 cases split between vaccinated individuals and those who received the placebo."

The announcement by Russia's sovereign wealth fund RDIF came two days after U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said their vaccine was more than 90% effective in phase three trials.

Observation of study participants will continue for six months before a full report of the phase three clinical trials is presented, RDIF said, but it noted that the interim research data will be published by the Gamaleya Center team, the developers of the vaccine, "in one of the leading international peer-reviewed medical journals" without indicating when this might be.

Holly Ellyatt

EU agrees to buy 300 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

Trial kits for Pfizer coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination study are seen at the Research Centers of America, in Hollywood, Florida, U.S., September 24, 2020.
Marco Bello | Reuters

The European Union has agreed to buy up to 300 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine currently under production by Pfizer and BioNTech, Reuters reports.

The vaccine sent world markets surging on Monday after data showed it was more than 90% effective in preventing the virus.

Under the deal, which follows similar agreements between the bloc and other drug makers, EU countries can buy 200 million doses of the drug, with the option to purchase an additional 100 million.

—Sara Salinas

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