Coronavirus updates: California becomes second U.S. state to surpass 1 million Covid cases

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Daily new cases of the coronavirus continue to rise in the U.S., setting fresh records. More than 143,000 new infections were recorded on Wednesday, according to newly revised data from Johns Hopkins University. That's the highest single-day tally yet and pushes the national seven-day average to 127,474 — 35% higher than where the country was a week ago.

Here are some of the biggest developments Thursday:

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Hospital CEOs on record Covid hospitalizations: 'Concerned about where things are headed'

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 52.6 million
  • Global deaths: At least 1.29 million
  • U.S. cases: More than 10.54 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 242,066

There's a 'really clear' need for a vaccine in western countries, says expert

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Challenging to convince Americans to take Covid vaccine International Vaccine Institute

Countries in the West have a "really clear" need for a Covid-19 vaccine, Jerome Kim, director general of the International Vaccine Institute said as cases in that part of the world are climbing rapidly.

"In countries that have been successful in controlling the coronavirus, primarily countries in Asia, the drive, the need for immediate vaccine is less apparent," he told CNBC.

"But in countries in the West, in Europe, North America and elsewhere, the need for a vaccine is really clear," he said, adding that an effective vaccine along with continued social distancing, masks and hygiene will be "very effective" in containing spread of the coronavirus.

A number of European countries have tightened social-distancing measures to battle a resurgence of Covid-19 cases. Meanwhile, California became the second state after Texas to top a million infections in the U.S., data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed.

— Yen Nee Lee

With coronavirus cases rising, Fauci says Americans with an 'independent spirt' need to follow the guidelines

Anthony Fauci, MD, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, looks on before testifying at a U.S. Senate Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing to examine COVID-19, focusing on an update on the federal response at the U.S. Capitol Washington, D.C., U.S., September 23, 2020.
Graeme Jennings | Reuters

Whitehouse coronavirus advisor Anthony Fauci, speaking on Thursday at Washington National Cathedral shared some thoughts about what Americans need to do to get the coronavirus under control.

With cases rising across the country, Fauci said it's time for people to band together to follow the guidelines including social distancing, hand hygeine and wearing a mask.

"I was talking with my U.K. colleagues who are saying the U.K. is similar to where we are now, because each of our countries have that independent spirit," he said on stage. "I can understand that, but now is the time to do what you're told."

If Americans can do that, he said, it's possible to avoid locking down the country.

"It sounds simple in the context of this ominous outbreak but in fact we can turn it around," he added.

More than 10 million people in the U.S. have contracted the virus, and 242,000 have died.

- Christina Farr

California becomes second U.S. state to surpass 1 million Covid cases

A pedestrian walks under the marquee at Balboa Theater that notes the theater is closed until further notice in San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

California became the second state in the U.S. to top a million Covid cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The state reached the grim milestone a week after Texas reported a million cases.

Los Angeles County currently has 328,058 cases - the highest number of cases in California - followed by 73,541 cases in Riverside County, 71,847 in San Bernardino County, 63,460 in Orange County and 61,746 in San Diego County, per Johns Hopkins. California Gov.

Gavin Newsom issued the country's first statewide stay-at-home order on March 19, which helped slowed the spread at first. However, cases have surged since then and on Tuesday, California imposed tougher restrictions on more counties, removing Sacramento, San Diego and Stanislaus counties from the state's "widespread" reopening tier.

Meanwhile, San Francisco Mayor London Breed said the city would adjust its reopening due to "a significant and rapid increase in COVID-19 case rates in San Francisco, coupled with the current increase in cases and hospitalizations in California and across the United States."

-Riya Bhattacharjee

Ivy League drops winter sports due to Covid concerns

Ivy League schools will not hold winter sports competitions for the 2020-21 season, according to a release.

The decision by the Ivy League Council of Presidents affects all winter sports, including men's and women's basketball, ice hockey and swimming and diving. The association of schools had already called off fall games.

Training and practices are allowed, according to the release, and student-athletes will not lose a season of Ivy League or NCAA eligibility due to the cancellation of competitions.

The Ivy League also said it will not hold fall sports during the spring, while spring sports are postponed until at least February 2021.

Chris Eudaily

Disney losses were less drastic than expected in the fourth quarter

Disney cast members pose in front of Cinderella Castle.
(Photo by David Roark/Walt Disney World Resort via Getty Images)

Disney reported strong streaming service subscriber growth and less drastic losses than expected for the fourth quarter of 2020.

Shares rose as much as 6% after hours Thursday on the company's earnings report, though they pared gains slightly when executives announced on the earnings call that it would suspend its dividend in January. Disney said it would continue with dividends in the long-term.

Disney's parks division, however, has continued to suffer under restrictions meant to contain the spread of Covid-19. CEO Bob Chapek told analysts on the call that Disney is "extremely disappointed" in California's restrictions that have forced it to keep Disneyland Resorts closed.

"Our health and safety protocols are all science-based and have the support of labor unions representing 99% of our hourly cast members," Chapek said. "Frankly, as we and other civic leaders have stated before, we believe state leadership should look objectively at what we've achieved successfully at our Parks around the world, all based on science, as opposed to setting an arbitrary standard that is precluding our cast members from getting back to work."

—Lauren Feiner

Grocery shoppers splurge on premium foods, drinks as Covid-19 cases rise

Forget the bags of dried beans and canned vegetables. Grocery shoppers are upgrading to premium items, such as high-end coffees, specialty chocolates and gourmet pasta sauces, as the pandemic stretches on and Covid-19 cases rise again, according to new research.

Sales of premium and superpremium packaged goods grew by 1.7% at retailers year over year for the 26 weeks ending Oct. 4, according to data from market research firm IRI. The percentage may sound like a small one, but it is a notable shift in the multibillion-dollar consumer packaged goods industry, where rivals compete at just tenths of a percentage from one another.

That trend has continued in recent weeks and cuts across households of all income levels, said Krishnakumar Davey, president of strategic analytics at IRI.

He said people have looked to little luxuries, like a glass of wine or a plate of gourmet cheese, to spice up their routine and make meals more of an occasion. Plus, he said, people want an escape from the stress.

"Everybody wants an indulgence," he said. "I know on some hard days, I'll go indulge myself with a nice cup of ice cream."

—Melissa Repko

So long to seat-blocking on airplanes in the Covid era

JetBlue Airways will make all seats available on its flights starting Jan. 8, ending the practice of blocking seats on aircraft during the pandemic to calm travelers worried about a lack of physical distancing on board. The New York-based carrier is joining Southwest Airlines, which plans to end capacity caps on flights starting in December, after reporting lost revenue from the practice.

Executives at those airlines as well as at American and United have pointed to on-board filtration systems as protection against the Covid-19's spread on board.

Delta Air Lines plans to block middle seats on board through Jan. 6 but an executive this week said the carrier would weigh continuing the measure closer to that date.

"It is easy to get used to having ample space," Delta's chief customer experience officer Bill Lentsch said this week. "But clearly, that's not something we can sustain indefinitely."

--Leslie Josephs

Supreme Court asked to block New York's restrictions on churches

Church goers pray keeping social distancing at the St. Sanislaus Kostka Catholic Church in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York on June 11, 2020.
Robert Nickelsberg | Getty Images

The Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn asked the Supreme Court to block Gov. Andrew Cuomo's October restrictions on houses of worship, which limit attendance to 25 in "orange" zones and 10 in "red" zones.

The religious group operates in Brooklyn and Queens and told the justices that if they do not step in, thousands of parishioners "will continue to be deprived of their core Free Exercise rights on a daily basis."

The top court has rejected two previous similar challenges brought by churches in California and Nevada in 5-4 rulings in which the court's four liberals were joined by Chief Justice John Roberts. But it has not considered such a case since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in September and was replaced by Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Barrett's ascension to the bench is expected to make the panel more friendly to religion.

Two lower courts, including the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, have rejected the diocese. The governor's office did not respond to a request for comment.

Tucker Higgins

Kentucky Supreme Court upholds governor's mask mandate, business restrictions

The Kentucky Supreme Court upheld Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear's emergency coronavirus executive orders, which imposed a statewide mask mandate and placed health precautions on businesses.

In May, Beshear allowed restaurants to reopen for indoor dining services at 33% capacity. The governor also issued an executive order requiring most people to wear a face covering in public.

Kentucky's Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who challenged the governor's orders before the state's highest court, said that Beshear's restrictions went above his constitutional powers to adopt measures that apply to every person in the state, NBC-affiliate Lex 18 reported in September. However, the state's highest court said in its opinion that Beshear acted within his constitutional power as governor.

"The Supreme Court has said that the actions we're taking are constitutional, so now's the time," Beshear said during a press briefing after the decision. "We know what the law is, it's clear, so let's all be supportive of the things that protect one another."

—Noah Higgins-Dunn

Chicago issues stay-at-home advisory

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a stay-at-home advisory and encouraged residents to cancel traditional Thanksgiving gatherings just ahead of the holiday.

The advisory takes effect on Monday, Nov. 16 and will last for 30 days, according to a release from the city. Residents should leave home only for work, school or essential needs like medical care or groceries, Lightfoot announced.

Illinois has seen a drastic rise in Covid infections, with roughly 11,400 new cases recorded on average each day over the last week. Those levels are 60% higher than the state's new-infection tally a week ago, ranking Illinois among the fastest-growing outbreaks in the country, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data.

—Sara Salinas

Trump advisor Corey Lewandowski tests positive for coronavirus

Trump campaign adviser Corey Lewandowski, with former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (L), speaks outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center on November 5, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Kena Betancur | AFP | Getty Images

Corey Lewandowski, a top Trump campaign advisor who has helped lead efforts to undermine President-elect Joe Biden's victory, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Lewandowski, 47, confirmed in a text to CNBC on Thursday that he tested positive for Covid-19 a day earlier.

Asked if he was experiencing symptoms of the virus, Lewandowski told CNBC: "I feel great."

Lewandowski, who was Trump's campaign manager in 2016, is only the latest person in Trump's orbit to have contracted the virus.

Just this week, multiple people who are connected to Trump's campaign or had attended an in-person, indoor election night party at the White House have tested positive for Covid-19.

Kevin Breuninger

Pelosi and McConnell are split on coronavirus aid as infections hit new records

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Pelosi and Schumer say coronavirus spike raises urgency for a new relief bill

Emerging from the 2020 election into a United States devastated by rising coronavirus cases, congressional leaders appear as divided as ever on what a relief package will require.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said her party's likely loss of six seats or more on Election Day does not change her view that the country needs at least $2.2 trillion in federal aid. She cited the new U.S. infection record of more than 140,000 hit on Wednesday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, though, said he still supports a roughly $500 billion bill. The Kentucky Republican rejected a "dramatically larger" plan that Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., support.

Republicans have cited a gradually improving economy in calling for more narrow legislation. But the surge in Covid-19 cases raises the prospect of fresh economic damage at a time when more than 20 million Americans are still receiving some form of unemployment assistance.

President Donald Trump also may not have an appetite to pass relief legislation before President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20. Democrats will hold the House in the next Congress, according to NBC News, while control of the Senate will come down to two likely runoffs in Georgia in January.

—Jacob Pramuk

Airline employment dropping to lowest levels since the mid-80s

The U.S. airline industry will have shed some 90,000 jobs by the end of the year, bringing the sector's employment levels down to the lowest since the mid-1980s, according to trade group Airlines for America. Employment peaked in June 2001.

The coronavirus pandemic is the industry's biggest-ever crisis and despite recent upticks, demand is hovering at around a third of last year's levels.

Airlines expect to carry more travelers around Thanksgiving but remote work or school, quarantine and testing requirements are reshaping travelers' habits. They're staying longer or even buying one-way tickets, meaning the spikes in demand — and fares — won't likely materialize. U.S. airline capacity around Thanksgiving will be down 39% from a year earlier, compared with a 47% decline in the first 17 days of November.

—Leslie Josephs

Crucial Moderna vaccine data is coming soon

Moderna is expected to release key data in the coming days from a trial that will show whether its vaccine is effective against the coronavirus.

Investors anticipate the vaccine will be highly effective, especially after Pfizer, another frontrunner in the Covid-19 vaccine, announced that its vaccine was 90% effective, said Brad Loncar, a biotech investor. Moderna's product, like Pfizer, is using messenger RNA, or mRNA, technology.

While Moderna may announce the vaccine's overall effectiveness, the public will likely still have to wait for other key details, like how effective the vaccine is in the elderly or people with preexisting conditions, said Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Safety data will also be crucial, he said. The Food and Drug Administration is requiring that drugmakers provide at least two months of safety data after vaccinating volunteers before asking for emergency use authorization.

–Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Cases, hospitalizations continue to rise across the country

Newly diagnosed coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in nearly every state across the country as the U.S. reports fresh record one-day spikes in cases.

Across the country, the U.S. reported 143,231 new cases on Wednesday, setting a new record one-day spike, according to CNBC's analysis of Hopkins data. That brings the seven-day average to more than 127,474, up over 35% compared with a week ago. Over the past five days, the U.S. has reported a fresh record in daily new cases on three days, Hopkins data shows.

It's not just cases that are rising. The seven-day average of hospitalized Covid-19 patients is up by at least 5% in 46 states, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project, which is run by journalists at The Atlantic. Across the country, there are more than 65,300 people currently hospitalized with Covid-19, more than any other point in the pandemic.

"We're piercing the previous records and ICU admissions are going up quickly as well, with 12,000 people in the ICUs," former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Thursday on "Squawk Box." "Hospitalizations right now are rising by about 1,600 people a day, but that's going to continue to increase, as well."

—Will Feuer

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.

Clarification: Johns Hopkins revised its case total from Wednesday to 143,231.

New England states, New Jersey ban interstate hockey tournaments

The governors of New Jersey, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts issued a joint statement suspending interstate youth hockey competitions for public and private schools through at least the end of the year.

The order, which cites recent outbreaks associated with youth hockey events as the reasoning, begins on Saturday.

The ban "will not impact interstate collegiate, professional, or U.S. national team hockey activities, which will remain subject to existing health and safety protocols and/or restrictions," according to a statement from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy's office.

—Noah Higgins-Dunn

Gottlieb calls on Americans to 'find excuses' to say home and stop Covid spread

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Scott Gottlieb on rising Covid cases: People have to limit their mobility

Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC that Americans have to curtail travel and other activities in their personal lives to help control the spread of the coronavirus as cases and hospitalizations continue to rise.

"We have to get through the next two or three months, and so this is going to be, really, a temporary pain," he said on "Squawk Box." "We can target the mitigation now, but we are going to have to take prudent steps."

Among the most important actions to take is reducing mobility, said the former U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner. He said that means "trying to find excuses not to go out" instead of "excuses to go out."

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. Gottlieb also serves as co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings′ and Royal Caribbean's "Healthy Sail Panel." 

Kevin Stankiewicz

New Orleans music venue Tipitina's to livestream benefit concert

The iconic music venue Tipitina's will stream a free benefit concert on Nov. 14 as it looks for ways to generate income during its closure due to coronavirus restrictions.

Tipitina's has been a staple of New Orleans music and culture since 1977 and derived its name from Professor Longhair's recording "Tipitina."

The "Save Tips!" event will feature performances and exclusive backstage content from more than 35 artists, including Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Willie Nelson, Widespread Panic and Wilco.

There will also be a special celebration of New Orleans music that features tributes to Dr. John, Allen Toussaint and Art Neville.

—Melodie Warner 

Deutsche Bank proposes a 5% tax for people still working from home

A research team at Deutsche Bank has proposed that people still working from home after the pandemic pay a 5% tax, with the funds being used to subsidize the income lost by lower-paid earners due to the coronavirus crisis.

Luke Templeman, a strategist at the investment bank, said a tax on remote workers had been needed for years but "Covid has just made it obvious." He said that workers "lucky enough to be in a position to 'disconnect' themselves from the face-to-face economy owe it" to those unable to do so.

He calculated that a 5% tax rate for days worked from home on the average remote worker salary could raise $48 billion a year in the U.S., £6.9 billion in the U.K. and 15.9 billion euro in Germany.

—Vicky McKeever

Dow and S&P 500 open lower as vaccine market rally pauses

The Dow and S&P 500 opened lower as the rising number of coronavirus cases put a pause on the recent vaccine market rally, reports CNBC's Fred Imbert and Jesse Pound.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 153 points, or 0.5%, and the S&P 500 dipped 0.3%. The Nasdaq Composite eked out a 0.1% gain.

—Melodie Warner 

Walmart adds pet insurance, services like dog walking during pandemic pet boom

Getty Images

Walmart is adding pet insurance and dog walking to its pet offerings.

The big-box retailer said it has struck deals with insurer Petplan and pet services app Rover to provide the services. It's expanding its pet category as the coronavirus pandemic inspires more Americans to adopt a dog, cat or other animals.

That pet boom has made the pet industry a more attractive and competitive space for retailers from specialty superstores like PetSmart to e-commerce players like Chewy. It's also made pet supplies into a popular gift-giving category this holiday season.

The U.S. pet care industry is projected to increase from a $53 billion market to about $64 billion over the next four years, according to Jefferies research.

"We're focused on bringing our customers and the beloved pets in their lives trusted, convenient and affordable programs at one destination," Melody Richard, vice president of Walmart Pets said. "And we'll continue to focus on that."

—Melissa Repko

U.S. jobless claims show signs of labor market improvement

First-time claims for unemployment insurance declined for the fourth consecutive week, a sign that the U.S. labor market is gradually improving, reports CNBC's Jeff Cox.

The Labor Department reported that jobless claims hit 709,000 for the week ended Nov. 7, down from 757,000 the week before.

Continuing claims also fell to 6.79 million, a 436,000 decrease from a week ago. Continuing claims run a week behind the headline number.

—Melodie Warner 

Southwest says the booking rebound is losing steam

A single Southwest Airlines jet is shown parked at a gate at McCarran International Airport as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States on March 19, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller | Getty Images

Southwest Airlines warns that a rebound in revenue is losing momentum for November and December, a potentially worrying sign as airlines seek to cash in on the holiday season in an otherwise dismal 2020.

"While the Company expected the election to impact trends, it is unclear whether the softness in booking trends is also a direct result of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases," Southwest says in a filing. "As such, the Company remains cautious in this uncertain revenue environment." 

Southwest says it expects fourth-quarter capacity to be down 40% from a year ago and expects revenue to be down 60% to 65% in November and December from 2019. It's planning January capacity that would be down 35% to 40% from last year.

Last-minute leisure demand, however, has helped it trim its cash burn to about $10 million a day in October, down from a previous estimate of $12 million a day. It expects daily cash burn of $10 million to $11 million in the fourth quarter.

—Leslie Josephs

Virus cases are growing in nearly every state

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U.S. daily Covid cases set new single-day record at more than 144,000

Virus cases are growing in nearly every U.S. state, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data. Infections are up 5% or more on a weekly basis in at least 47 states and D.C., according to the data.

Only Louisiana, Montana and Georgia remain out of the category as of Thursday, and they may not hold out for long.

  • Louisiana paused virus reporting on Wednesday for Veterans Day, but the state had been recording nearly 800 new cases a day on average — 25% higher on a weekly basis before the temporary pause.
  • Georgia's numbers are still adjusting from a massive data dump of roughly 31,000 cases, backdated to Nov. 3. That's skewing the week-on-week trend analysis.
  • Montana appears to be the only state truly below that 5% threshold, with an average of 873 new cases each day, 2.1% higher on a weekly basis.

—Sara Salinas

Covid is complicating the holiday season — here's how to manage it

Choreograph | iStock | Getty Images

Covid-19 is making the holidays complicated this year for families across the country. Some are dabbling with a virtual-only event, while others are making plans for a more intimate gathering.

The CDC recommends requiring guests who aren't in your immediate household to wear masks, unless they are eating or drinking, and to maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance. That can be a challenge in practice. So we asked infectious disease expert Steven Pergam from Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center to weigh in on how Americans should manage holidays like Thanksgiving this year.

He recommends holding events outdoors, whenever possible, and minimizing group sizes. He also suggests eating separately if indoors, so there's no need to remove a mask. For those who are concerned about whether their relatives will get on board with strategies for mitigating risks, he suggests having these conversations now.

"If you're feeling uncomfortable about a big event with 50 people, consider framing what the holidays are about," he told us. "And that's to enjoy being together, but not necessarily in the same place."

—Christina Farr

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