Coronavirus updates: NY sets emergency hospital measures; U.S. air travel reaches 1.2 million

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Moderna is set to file Monday for emergency use authorization of its Covid-19 vaccine, which new data shows to be more than 94% effective. The filing follows Pfizer's emergency use request on Nov. 20 and means Moderna's drug could be shipped out to Americans in a matter of weeks. Moderna's vaccine doesn't require storage temperatures as cold as Pfizer's, easing supply-chain complications.

Here are some of the biggest developments Monday:

Moderna CEO: Most exciting vaccine data is protection from severe Covid-19
Moderna CEO: Most exciting vaccine data is protection from severe Covid-19

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 62.84 million 
  • Global deaths: At least 1.46 million
  • U.S. cases: More than 13.38 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 266,887

Steelers-Ravens game pushed back further after new Covid-19 testing results

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens Week 12 contest has been delayed until Wednesday due to Covid-19.

The National Football League gathered new Covid-19 testing results on Monday, prompting a third postponement of the game. According to ESPN, one member of the Baltimore Ravens tested positive for the virus, which comes following a large outbreak on the team.

Since last week, the Ravens revealed over 20 members of the club tested positive. It's the most a team has tested positive since the Tennessee Titans outbreak that caused a Week 4 postponement against the Steelers.

The Ravens and Steelers were scheduled to play on Thanksgiving Day, but the game was moved to Sunday. After the NFL identified additional positives from the Ravens, the league moved the game to Tuesday before today's postponement.

—Jabari Young

Montana hospital expects a Thanksgiving-related Covid surge, CEO says

U.S. hospitals brace for surge in coronavirus cases after busy Thanksgiving travel weekend
U.S. hospitals brace for surge in coronavirus cases after busy Thanksgiving travel weekend

Billings Clinic, a not-for-profit health system in Montana, is already "at or beyond" hospital capacity, yet it is still making plans for a surge in Covid-19 patients related to Thanksgiving gatherings, according to CEO Dr. Scott Ellner.

"We're making every possible infrastructure change, including more airflow rooms," Ellner said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." "We've added over 90 rooms that have negative airflow. We've expanded offices to create ICU capacity, and we've created double occupancy so that we can allow patients to be together in one room to meet the needs."

Montana has seen an "exponential" increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, Ellner said. The worsening outbreak has impacted the health system's staff in a personal way, he added.

"The most sobering thing that we saw, actually this past weekend, was unfortunately that we lost one of our physicians to Covid, so this is really hitting our workforce, our Billings Clinic family pretty hard," he said.

Kevin Stankiewicz

Watchdog finds issues with weekly jobless count and pay for the unemployed

The Department of Labor's weekly tally of those filing unemployment claims is consistently inaccurate due to issues that have arisen during the coronavirus pandemic, a government watchdog report said.

Along with problems in the jobless count, the Government Accountability Office found that workers being compensated under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance programs are being paid less than they should.

The GAO said a backlog in claims is causing the counting errors and should be noted when the DOL issues the report each Thursday.

Finally, the report cautioned about the impact that the expiration of the pandemic programs could have: "The expiration of supplemental payments for UI claimants may mean that some households' income no longer exceeds poverty guidelines."

–Jeff Cox

Correction: The Government Accountability Office issued its report Monday. An earlier version misstated the agency's name.

New York implements emergency hospital measures, Gov. Cuomo says

A patient is transported outside of Tisch Hospital in New York on November 13, 2020.
Kena Betancur | AFP | Getty Images

New York is initiating emergency measures to help hospitals cope with what Gov. Andrew Cuomo called "a new phase in the war against Covid."

Cuomo said Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations have risen to the point that they threaten to overwhelm the hospital systems. He added over the next few weeks, the outbreak could grow even more severe due to Thanksgiving travel and gatherings.

"We are now worried about overwhelming the hospital system," he said at a news briefing. "If those numbers continue to increase, which we expect they will, you will see serious stress on the hospital system."

The new measures include a number of initiatives, including the identification of retired doctors and nurses, the preparation of field hospitals, and coordination across hospitals to begin "load sharing" within systems, Cuomo said.

—Will Feuer

Congress returns to a coronavirus stimulus stalemate amid infection surge

Congress comes back from Thanksgiving in the same place it has been for months: far from a coronavirus stimulus agreement with no clear resolution in sight.

Republicans and Democrats have not discussed a relief deal since the 2020 election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called for roughly $500 billion legislation, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has insisted on a bill that costs at least $2.2 trillion.

Calls for new aid have increased as Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations surge around the country. Expanded unemployment insurance, a federal student loan moratorium and some protections from eviction will expire at the end of the year.

Lawmakers face a chaotic December. They also need to approve a funding bill to avoid a government shutdown by Dec. 11.

— Jacob Pramuk

San Francisco 49ers to play two home games in Arizona following Covid-19 sports ban

The San Francisco 49ers have agreed to play two upcoming home games in Arizona as local California Covid-19 restrictions bar contact sports.

Santa Clara County announced new virus restrictions on Saturday that ban games for the next three weeks. The 49ers will play Week 13 and 14 games against the Buffalo Bills and Washington Football team at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, the home stadium of the Cardinals.

In a statement, the 49ers said the National Football League office has been "supportive and accommodating as we work through the many logistical issues involved in relocating NFL games. Information regarding the 49ers future practice arrangements will be shared at the appropriate time."

The 49ers have three remaining home games, the last of which is scheduled for Jan. 3 against the Seattle Seahawks.

Covid-19 cases continue to climb across the NFL with multiple games rescheduled and more intensive protocols taking effect. The stricter guidelines ban in-person, indoor meetings and limit contact between players and team staff at practice sites.  

–Jabari Young

Gottlieb says up to 30% of Americans may get Covid by year-end

Vaccine's ability to slow spread needs to be demonstrated: Dr. Scott Gottlieb
Vaccine's ability to slow spread needs to be demonstrated: Dr. Scott Gottlieb

Up to one-third of the American population could be infected by the coronavirus by the end of this year, former FDA chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC.

"We're going to probably have by the end of this year, 30% of the U.S. population infected," Gottlieb said on "Squawk Box," while noting that level of prior infections could have implications for slowing the epidemic early next year as vaccines for Covid-19 potentially come onto the market.

"You combine a lot of infection around the country with vaccinating 20% of the population [and] you're getting to levels where this virus is not going to circulate as readily, once you get to those levels of prior immunity," Gottlieb said.

Kevin Stankiewicz

FAA says 'first mass air shipment' of Pfizer's Covid vaccine has shipped

The Federal Aviation Administration said it supported the "first mass air shipment" of coronavirus vaccines last week. A United Airlines jetliner carrying Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Chicago on Friday, according to people familiar with the matter.

The step is a first toward the widespread distribution of a vaccine as manufacturers await government approvals.

The Food and Drug Administration hasn't yet approved a Covid-19 vaccine. Pfizer, which developed its vaccine with BioNTech, and Moderna both said recent trials show their vaccines are both more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 infection.

American Airlines' cargo department said it started trialing flights last week with its pharmaceutical partners between Miami and South America to "stress test" its vaccine shipping protocols.

Leslie Josephs

Air travel hits pandemic record over Thanksgiving but still down from last year

Not all travelers heeded government health official recommendations to avoid air travel over Thanksgiving.

The Transportation Security Administration screened close to 1.2 million people on Sunday, the most since mid-March but still down by nearly 60% from last year's levels.

Airlines such as American and United had to offer some employees extra pay to handle the increase in demand and Delta Air Lines canceled hundreds of flights because of a shortage of pilots over the holiday break.

Leslie Josephs

21 states hit record highs in hospitalizations on Sunday

The number of new Covid infections is surging across the U.S., and 21 states on Sunday logged record highs in average current hospitalizations.

Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia all reported record high hospitalizations yesterday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said on Sunday that current restrictions and travel advisories will be necessary for the Christmas holiday season to stem the tide.

"What we expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December, is that we might see a surge superimposed on the surge we are already in," Fauci said in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press." "I don't want to frighten people, except to say it is not too late to do something about this."

Terri Cullen

Goldman Sachs predicts how quickly vaccines will be rolled out worldwide

A trader works at the Goldman Sachs stall on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Investment bank Goldman Sachs has forecast that more than 70% of people in developed markets will be vaccinated against the coronavirus by fall 2021.

Economists Daan Struyven and Sid Bhushan laid out a vaccine timeline using a combination of supply estimates (using data from leading vaccine developers) and demand, using consumer survey data.

Half the population of the U.S. and Canada was expected to be vaccinated in April. Meanwhile, the economists expected the U.K. to vaccinate half of its population in March. They forecasted that the European Union, Japan and Australia would reach this level of immunization in May.

Vicky McKeever

Cyber Monday will test everything retailers learned during the pandemic

A FedEx worker unloads packages from his delivery truck in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images News

Cyber Monday 2020 is likely to be the largest day for digital sales ever recorded in the United States, with spending expected to reach between $10.8 billion and $12.7 billion, according to Adobe Analytics. That would represent an increase of 15% to 35% from a year earlier.

Businesses have had months to prepare for this Super Bowl of the e-commerce world. Ever since the pandemic rapidly shifted spending online, companies have been investing in their supply chains to make sure they had stockrooms chock full of the right inventory, and to ensure delivery providers could speedily get packages to doorsteps.

But this holiday season, with online spending already breaking records new challenges arise. Among them: The Covid-19 pandemic has made it much more difficult for companies to gauge what consumers will be buying, social distancing must be enforced in e-commerce warehouses and delivery providers like UPS and FedEx are in incredibly high demand and shipping costs are rising.

"A number of operational factors have to align for retailers to get products to the consumer on time this holiday," said Michael Brown, a partner in Kearney's consumer products and retail practice. "Only time will tell which consumers reacted and shopped early, and which ones are still going to be waiting for their packages on New Year's Day."

—Lauren Thomas

The hurdles of distributing Covid vaccine to over 330 million people in the U.S.

How to distribute a Covid-19 vaccine to every person in the U.S.
How to get a Covid-19 vaccine to everyone in the U.S.

Watch this video to find out how the U.S. government plans to distribute a coronavirus vaccine to every person living in the U.S. – and how much it will cost.

—Melodie Warner 

Vietnam reports first locally transmitted case in nearly 3 months

Passengers with protective face masks walk with their luggage in the empty arrival hall of Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Vietnam has reported the first locally transmitted coronavirus case in nearly 3 months, Reuters reports, after a 32-year-old man was infected. He is the relative of a flight attendant who returned to the country from Japan, the report says.

Vietnam has seen practically no virus outbreaks since the onset of the pandemic, making it something of a success story in the global fight against Covid-19. The Southeast Asian nation has a population of roughly 95 million but has only reported 1,346 cases and 35 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

—Sara Salinas

Moderna to request emergency clearance for its vaccine

Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine is 94.1% effective in final results
Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine is 94.1% effective in final results

Moderna said it will request emergency clearance from the FDA for its coronavirus vaccine after new data confirms the vaccine is highly effective in preventing Covid-19 and was safe.

Moderna is now the second drugmaker to seek emergency use after Pfizer applied for the authorization earlier this month. The announcement means some Americans could get Moderna's vaccine as early as next month.

The FDA's review of Moderna's vaccine is expected to take a few weeks. The agency will likely schedule an advisory committee meeting to review the vaccine on Dec. 17, Moderna said. It has already initiated rolling submissions with several regulatory agencies around the world, including the European Medicines Agency.

–Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

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