The U.S. has now recorded more than 11 million Covid-19 cases, tallying 1 million new cases of the virus in under a week. The country is recording close to 150,000 new cases each day, on average, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data — a metric that continues to set fresh records. As outbreaks worsen, some state and local officials are reimposing lockdown measures and major drugmakers are releasing promising vaccine trial data. Moderna on Monday said its vaccine candidate is more than 94% effective.
Here are some of the biggest developments Monday:
The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:
- Global cases: More than 54.48 million
- Global deaths: At least 1.31 million
- U.S. cases: More than 11.03 million
- U.S. deaths: At least 246,224
Biden says 'he wouldn’t hesitate' to get vaccinated against Covid
President-elect Joe Biden said that "he wouldn't hesitate" to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, though he blamed President Donald Trump for causing hesitancy about the drug's safety.
"It's important that people who are in the greatest need get it," Biden said during a press briefing. "I wouldn't hesitate to get the vaccine, but I also want to set an example."
Moderna reported preliminary phase three trial data that showed its coronavirus vaccine is more than 94% effective in preventing Covid-19. Those results follow similar findings from Pfizer, which announced last week that early data shows its vaccine is more than 90% effective.
"I think we're on a clear path now. We're on a clear path with the international community and international leaders, and the scientific community have focused on these two vaccines," Biden said. "They appear to be ready for prime time, ready to be used. And if that continues along those roads, I would take the vaccine."
White House spokesman Brian Morgenstern, in response to Biden's comment, said in an email to CNBC that Democrats have "been playing politics" by "sowing doubts about the vaccines."
Masks, social distancing still needed after getting a Covid-19 vaccine, Dr. Fauci says
Dr. Anthony Fauci warns that life isn't going to go back to normal even when a Covid-19 vaccine becomes available to the public. Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday, Fauci said he is going to recommend that people still wear masks and practice social distancing even after getting the vaccine.
The comments come as Moderna announced that preliminary data showed the Covid-19 vaccine it developed in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is more than 94% effective. The news follows a similar announcement from Pfizer and BioNTech, which showed their Covid-19 vaccine was above 90% effective.
Fauci said while you can "feel much more confident" with a 90% effective vaccine, you still don't know how effective it is for you. Even at those success rates, about 5% to 10% of people immunized may still get the virus. Fauci, 79, said he plans to continue to all current public health measures even after he gets vaccinated.
Biden says ‘more people may die’ from Covid if Trump continues to delay transition
President-elect Joe Biden said that "more people may die" from the coronavirus if the Trump administration doesn't begin coordinating with his team on plans to vaccinate more than 300 million Americans against the virus.
"If we have to wait until January 20 to start that planning, it puts us behind, over a month and a half," Biden said during a press briefing. "And so, it's important that it be done, that there be coordination now."
Trump has refused to concede the election, though he acknowledged in a Tweet posted Sunday that Biden had won before walking back that comment. Biden's chief of staff Ron Klain told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the president-elect's top health officials can't coordinate with federal government employees until the General Services Administration approves the transition process.
"More people may die if we don't coordinate," Biden told reporters.
Correction: This post has been updated to reflect that Ron Klain made the comments on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Gov. Newsom says California is 'pulling an emergency brake' on reopening process
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said his state is "pulling an emergency brake" on the reopening process, placing almost all of California in the most restrictive tier due to spiraling Covid cases.
Nearly every California county, or 94% of California's population, has been moved backward due to a significant change in transmission statewide, Newsom said. A total of 41 counties have now moved backward to "purple," the most restrictive tier, including Santa Barbara, Santa Clara and Alameda counties. San Francisco County is among nine more counties placed in the second-most restrictive tier due to a spike in cases. Because of the new restrictive tier, San Francisco will be closing non-essential offices and restricting capacity at gyms to 10%.
Newsom also announced stronger mask mandates, saying masks must be worn in most cases outside of the house whenever in public, with few exceptions.
"Do not gather indoors," said California's top health official Dr. Mark Ghaly. "Cases today will end up in our hospital beds in 2 to 3 weeks."
California reported 9,890 Covid cases on Sunday.
Newsom said the status of counties which now fall in more restrictive tiers will be assessed on a daily basis instead of weekly. He added he was assessing the "notion of a curfew" for California.
WHO chief says countries that let Covid run unchecked ‘are playing with fire’
Covid-19 outbreaks in countries across Europe and the Americas are "extremely" worrying and beginning to stress health-care systems "to the breaking point," World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press briefing.
And while the WHO "continues to receive encouraging news about Covid-19 vaccines," Tedros warned that "this is not the time for complacency."
Many countries in Europe, including the United Kingdom, France and Germany, have taken strict actions to curb the virus' spread, shuttering nonessential businesses and advising residents to stay home as much as possible. Some states are beginning to impose more stringent actions, though so far the measures have varied in severity.
"This is a dangerous virus which can attack every system in the body. Those countries that are letting the virus run unchecked are playing with fire," Tedros said at the agency's Geneva headquarters. — Noah Higgins-Dunn
Holiday shoppers seek out sentimental, personalized gifts amid pandemic
Shoppers are putting more time and effort into the search for meaningful holiday gifts as they plan to celebrate apart from friends and family because of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Pinterest, holiday-related searches on the social media site typically start to spike in the month of June. This year, however, they picked up in April — just weeks after the coronavirus began to spread in the U.S. and about eight months before Christmas.
On Etsy, there's been a 156% increase in searches for custom or personalized gifts in the past three months compared to the same time a year ago. Care packages and greeting cards have been especially popular, said Dayna Isom Johnson, trend expert for Etsy and judge on the crafting competition show NBC's "Making It."
"A lot of times, the holidays can just be about excess," she said. "This year is more about consideration, thoughtfulness and really asking yourself why you're making this purchase and who are you supporting."
She said she's embraced that mindset, too. She ordered a handmade recipe box for her brother to help him organize sticky notes with recipes from their mom. She bought a Christmas ornament in the likeness of Dr. Anthony Fauci for her mom, who has become a fan of the nation's leading infectious disease expert. —Melissa Repko
Apparel retailer Francesca's may file for bankruptcy
The apparel and accessories retailer said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it will permanently close about 140 stores by the end of January. It said it's exploring a number of options to stabilize the company's finances, from deferring leases to raising capital.
It is among the retailers that have been pushed to the brink by the global health crisis. A growing number of retailers have filed for bankruptcy protection, including J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and Brooks Brothers.
NCAA looking to hold the entire men's basketball tournament in Indianapolis
The NCAA is in talks to hold the entire March Madness men's basketball tournament in Indianapolis, a drastic change in the initial plan to host early-round games at multiple locations around the country, the Associated Press reports.
Indianapolis was already set to host the Final Four in April, and having all the games in one geographic area would improve safety and lessen Covid-19 risks for everyone involved.
The NCAA is targeting Nov. 25 to start the college basketball season. The previous season was cut short last spring as major college basketball tournaments were canceled with the pandemic taking root in the U.S.
New York City tested a record 75,000 people on Friday, mayor says
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said during his daily press briefing that roughly 75,000 people were tested for the coronavirus on Friday, a record-high number for the city.
New York City has reported a weekly average of 1,057 new cases a day, de Blasio said, which is far higher than the desired threshold of 550. He said the figure is "very worrisome on its face" but said the jump in positive cases could be partially explained by more testing.
De Blasio said the city would close its schools for in-person learning if its rolling positivity rate, or the percentage of tests that return positive, hits 3%. The mayor said the city is now reporting a 2.77% positivity rate.
HHS Secretary says FDA will move ‘as quickly as possible’ to clear vaccines
Azar, who heads the federal agency that oversees the FDA, said it has dedicated teams working with both companies to "remove any unnecessary bureaucratic barriers" and are completing their authorization applications "as we speak."
Azar said the interim results from Moderna, which announced that its vaccine candidate is more than 94% effective in preventing Covid-19, paired with similar results from Pfizer last week make for a "historic day in public health."
"We hope those applications from both Pfizer and Moderna will get in as quickly as possible," Azar told CNBC's "Squawk Box."
Gottlieb: Pfizer, Moderna vaccines may help 'effectively' end the pandemic in 2021
The coronavirus pandemic could "effectively" be ended next year, due in part to the effectiveness of experimental vaccines under development by Pfizer and Moderna, Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC. Early data from both companies indicate the vaccines are more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19.
"If these full data sets hold, when the full data comes out, we may have two highly effective vaccines against Covid," Gottlieb, a board member of Pfizer, said on "Squawk Box."
And as the vaccines become more widely available, the combination of more people becoming inoculated along with the fact millions of people have already been infected with the virus should help to sharply reduce transmission, Gottlieb said. "We could effectively end this pandemic in 2021 with our technology," the former Food and Drug Administration chief said.
Stocks rally on vaccine news
Stocks rallied on Monday on positive vaccine news out of Moderna. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 350 points, or roughly 1%, at the open, with the S&P 500 up 0.75%.
Investors are counting on an effective virus vaccine to fuel a return to normal and economic restart.
New Jersey set to tighten restrictions on private gatherings
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is set to tighten restrictions on private gatherings, as the state battles rising Covid cases.
Indoor gatherings as of Monday will be capped at 10 people, down from 25, and outdoor gatherings will be capped at 150, down from 500.
"This is a lot of fatigue. It's a lot of private setting transmission," Murphy said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "Particularly with the holidays coming up, we've got to plead with people to not let their hair down, to be vigilant."
Murphy participated in an emergency meeting of several northeast governors over the weekend. The new restrictions more closely align with the limits in neighboring New York and Connecticut.
Costco updates mask policy, nixes medical exemptions
Costco will require all customers to wear a face mask or face shield at its stores, including those with medical conditions.
The membership warehouse store is updating its policy as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations rise and the holidays approach. Starting today, all customers age 2 and older must wear a face covering.
"This updated policy may seem inconvenient to some, however we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience," Costco CEO Craig Jelinek said in a message on the company's website. "Our goal is to continue to provide a safe shopping environment for our members and guests, and to provide a safe work environment for our employees."
UK PM Boris Johnson is self-isolating after Covid exposure
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is self-isolating after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.
Johnson, who was severely-ill with Covid-19 back in April, announced on Sunday that he was self-isolating at his official residency. The U.K. asks people who have been in contact with a positive case of coronavirus to self-isolate for 14 days.
Moderna says its vaccine is more than 94% effective
Moderna said preliminary data from a phase three trial shows its coronavirus vaccine is more than 94% effective in preventing against Covid-19 — a result CEO Stephane Bancel called a "game-changer," CNBC's Berkeley Lovelace reports.
Moderna developed its vaccine candidate in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and enrolled 30,000 participants in its late-stage trial.
Last week, Pfizer announced its vaccine candidate is more than 90% effective.
American cuts most London flights as cases spike
The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline plans to suspend 16 weekly departures to London next month from Chicago O'Hare, New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Charlotte, North Carolina. The carrier didn't cut any other trans-Atlantic Europe service. It will continue to operate cargo-only service to London from Chicago and New York, a business that has been a bright spot as international passenger travel remains a small fraction of last year's levels.
American, British Airways and other major carriers have been urging officials to replace travel restrictions with Covid-19 testing. United on Monday is starting a free coronavirus testing trial for some Newark-London bound flights.
Johnson & Johnson starts two-dose trial of its vaccine candidate
The drugmaker plans to enroll up to 30,000 participants for the study and run it in parallel with a one-dose trial with as many as 60,000 volunteers that began in September, according to the wire service.