Global deaths surpass 700,000; Vietnam reports further rise of infections

Vietnam sees total infections climb to 713

A woman leaves a cosmetics store in Hanoi, Vietnam on July 6, 2020.

Nhac Nguyen | AFP | Getty Images

Vietnam’s health ministry reported a further 41 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, according to Reuters, taking the country’s total number of infections up to 713.

Almost all of the new cases were linked to the central tourism hot spot of Danang, where on July 25 the Southeast Asian country detected its first locally transmitted infections in more than three months. 

To date, eight people in Vietnam have died as a result of the coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. — Sam Meredith

Global virus deaths surpass 700,000

More than 700,000 people have now died as a result of the coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

To date, over 18.5 million Covid-19 infections have been reported worldwide, with 701,085 related fatalities.

The U.S., which has recorded the world’s worst virus outbreak, has reported more than 156,000 deaths, with Brazil accounting for over 95,000 and Mexico third-highest with 48,000. — Sam Meredith

‘Costly’ school closures may not have a big impact on transmissions, professor says

Students wearing face masks wait in line to have body temperatures checked at entrance of a school on June 15, 2020 in Hong Kong, China.

Hong Fan | China News Service | Getty Images

Some countries may choose to reopen schools because closures are “disruptive” and don’t help “that much” in terms of slowing the spread of the coronavirus, said Benjamin Cowling, a professor from The University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health.

Cowling acknowledged there are arguments for and against reopening educational institutions. “The pros are that children get their education, the parents don’t need to stay home and look after them. It helps society, helps the economy,” he told CNBC on Wednesday. But that poses a risk to the teachers, especially the older adults with underlying conditions.

“We have to come up with a list of measures that are sustainable for the next six months, including some social distancing measures,” he said. “I’m not sure that school closures has that much effect on Covid transmission. At the same time, it’s a very disruptive measure.”

“Maybe some places in the world will choose to reopen schools for those reasons — because it doesn’t help that much and is very a costly intervention for society,” Cowling said. — Abigail Ng

Australia’s Victoria state reports daily high of 725 cases and record deaths

A graphic is seen showing the areas of Melbourne that will be required to go into lock down as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speak to the media on July 07, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia.

Darrian Traynor | Getty Images

The state of Victoria in Australia recorded a record high of 725 new cases on Wednesday as it prepared to shut much of its economy to contain a second wave of infection.

Victoria state, the second-most populous in Australia, also reported a record daily death toll of 15, local media reported.

The state government in Victoria has imposed a night curfew and tightened movement restrictions in greater Melbourne on Sunday. It also ordered most businesses to close from Wednesday night.

Victoria accounts for nearly two-thirds of Australia’s 19,500 cases, according to Reuters. —Huileng Tan

Louisiana governor delays further reopening

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced he would extend the state’s phase two reopening, including a statewide mask mandate, for at least another 21 days, according to a press release from his office.

Bars in the state can only operate for curbside takeout or delivery services and crowds can’t grow to more than 50 people, according to the order. The state first moved into phase two reopening in the beginning of June. 

According to a White House report Monday, Louisiana is in the red zone for cases, indicating more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week, Edwards said in a statement.

“We may be seeing fewer new cases but there still is a lot of Covid statewide. We now have ticked above 50,000 active confirmed cases, which means there is more Covid in our state than ever before. We need deeper, sustained gains,” Edwards said in a statement. — Noah Higgins-Dunn

Novavax’s vaccine generates immune response in early trial

Novavax announced its potential vaccine to prevent Covid-19 generated a promising immune response in an early-stage clinical trial.

The phase one trial included 131 healthy participants between ages 18 and 59 at two sites in Australia. The vaccine produced neutralizing antibodies, which researchers believe is necessary to build immunity to the virus, and killer T-cells, the company said.

Novavax said the vaccine was well tolerated with no serious adverse events reported. Most patients reported tenderness and pain at the injection site after the first dose, with some patients also reporting headaches, fatigue or muscle aches. Only one participant in the trial experienced a mild fever after a second dose, the company said. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

American Airlines offers new options to reduce pilot furloughs

American Airlines is offering its pilots leaves of absence of up to three years as well as alternating schedules and other options, the latest attempt to reduce the chances of involuntary cuts to its pilot ranks.

American last month warned 25,000 employees that their jobs are at risk when federal aid terms expire on Oct. 1. That number included about 2,500 pilots at the carrier, around 17% of its total. American and its competitors including United, Delta and Southwest have offered voluntary options to try to limit or eliminate the need for forced job cuts.

In addition to leaves of absence, American also offered pilots schedules that would alternate between paid and unpaid months, when they wouldn’t fly. It is also offering early retirements to pilots with 10 or more years of seniority. —Leslie Josephs

California cases undercounted due to reporting glitch

Residents of Imperial County, California, line up in front of a bookkeeping shop in Calexico to fill out unemployment claim forms.

Mario Tama | Getty Images News | Getty Images

California is underreporting its single-day increases in positive coronavirus cases due to issues with its electronic laboratory reporting system, the California Department of Public Health said in an issued warning. California reported a drop in additional cases on Sunday to 5,739 and an even steeper drop to 4,526 on Monday, the lowest level the state has reported since the end of May, according to the department’s data dashboard. 

While the warning doesn’t disclose how many days have been affected by the under reporting or by how many cases, it draws into question the accuracy of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement Monday indicating the state was seeing “early good signs” due to a drop in its positivity rate, or the percentage of tests that come back positive. 

Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services, said during a press briefing that the agency is “working hard and immediately to reach out to the labs that we work with to get accurate information.” He said the reporting delay would “absolutely” impact the state’s seven-day positivity rate and the state will continue to update the rate on a daily basis. —Noah Higgins-Dunn 

Raphael Nadal pulls out of U.S. Open over coronavirus concers

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World number two Raphael Nadal is pulling out of the U.S. Open after citing concerns over coronavirus.

The U.S. Open defending champion told fans on Twitter: “After many thoughts I have decided not to play this year’s US Open. The situation is very complicated worldwide, the COVID-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it.”

He added: “All my respects to the USTA, the US Open organisers and the ATP for trying to put the event together for the players and the fans around the world through TV.”

Nadal said, “This is a decision I never wanted to take but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel.” The U.S. Open is scheduled to take place later this month. —Riya Bhattacharjee

Flu shot makers plan to provide record number of doses

Flu-shot manufacturers said they plan to ship a record number of almost 200 million vaccine doses to the U.S. as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, CNBC’s Meg Tirrell and Harriet Taylor report. This would be up almost 15% from last season.

“Though we don’t yet have a vaccine for Covid, we do have a tool to prevent influenza,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

Fewer than half of American adults and around 60% of children receive the flu shot each year, according to CDC data. Public health experts hope to increase the amount this year to lessen how many people will rely on hospital beds and ventilators.

While public health experts said it’s possible we will have a less severe flu season because of coronavirus precautions like masks and social distancing, experts also said it could potentially be detrimental if patients have both the flu and coronavirus at the same time. –Suzanne Blake

New York City’s top health official resigns

Dr. Oxiris Barbot, New York City’s top health official who led the city’s response to its coronavirus outbreak, has resigned from her post as commissioner of the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Her resignation comes after months of discord with the mayor’s office and the city’s police department. She will be replaced by Dr. Dave Chokshi as commissioner, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at a press briefing. 

Tensions between Barbot and de Blasio were reported in May when the mayor gave the city’s contact tracing program, a key tool used to track down and isolate positive cases and contain the virus’ spread, to the city’s public hospital system rather than the health department.  

“As I shared with the Mayor, your world-class skills are what make this agency so respected around the globe. Your experience and guidance have been the beacon leading this city through this historic pandemic and that to successfully brace against the inevitable second wave, your talents must be better leveraged alongside that of our sister agencies,” Barbot wrote in a statement to the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene employees. — Noah Higgins-Dunn

NBCUniversal begins layoffs as Covid-19 hits parks business

Comcast-owned NBCUniversal began a round of long-expected layoffs. The cuts come as the company has grappled with the impact of coronavirus closures and is in the midst of shifting its media strategy to be more focused on streaming.  

The subsidiary has 35,000 full-time employees, and reductions are expected to affect less than 10% of that staff.

Cuts at the parks are tied to the coronavirus pandemic, while layoffs at the other entertainment divisions, which include broadcast networks and cable channels, are related to the reorganization of its business. —Sarah Whitten

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.

Uber office employees can work from home through June

Uber will let office employees work remotely through June, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told employees. The move isn’t mandated, so workers are allowed to return to offices if they open before then.

Uber joins Google in extending its remote-work timeline through next June.

Most tech companies have either announced the bulk of employees can work from home until the end of 2020, or haven’t finalized a date. But Uber’s and Google’s delays could be the start of more companies shifting their return date even later as Covid-19 cases continue to spread across the U.S. —Jessica Bursztynsky

Congress is still stuck at a coronavirus relief impasse

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks to reporters during a news conference on Democrats’ demand for an extension of eviction protections in the next coronavirus disease (Covid-19) aid bill on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 22, 2020.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Days after extra unemployment benefits and a federal eviction moratorium expired, Congress is struggling to find common ground on a fifth coronavirus relief bill. 

Democratic leaders and Trump administration officials are set to meet Tuesday to hash out differences in goals for an aid package. The negotiators have talked during much of the last eight days, but have made little tangible progress. 

The sides have moved toward agreement on issues including direct payments to Americans and loans to small businesses. They remain far apart on how to structure extension of the lapsed $600-per-week unemployment insurance boost, along with aid to state and local governments, and assistance for food, rent and mortgages.

It looks unlikely Congress will strike a deal this week. Still, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said, “We’re finally moving in the right direction.” —Jacob Pramuk

NBCUniversal begins layoffs as Covid-19 hits parks business

Comcast-owned NBCUniversal began a round of long-expected layoffs. The cuts come as the company has grappled with the impact of coronavirus closures and is in the midst of shifting its media strategy to be more focused on streaming.  

The subsidiary has 35,000 full-time employees, and reductions are expected to affect less than 10% of that staff.

Cuts at the parks are tied to the coronavirus pandemic, while layoffs at the other entertainment divisions, which include broadcast networks and cable channels, are related to the reorganization of its business. —Sarah Whitten

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.

U.S. begins trials of Eli Lilly’s antibody drug

The National Institutes of Health is starting two trials for an experimental antibody drug to see if it can work as a safe and effective treatment in Covid-19 patients.

The trials, called ACTIV-2 and ACTIV-3, will look at Eli Lilly’s experimental treatment known as LY-CoV555, which is being developed in partnership with Canadian biotech AbCellera. The first trial will test the treatment on people with mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms who have not been hospitalized, while the second trial will look at patients who have been hospitalized.

The announcement comes a day after Eli Lilly said it began phase three trial testing to see whether the treatment can prevent the spread of coronavirus in residents and staff at nursing homes. Eli Lilly’s drug is part of a class of treatments known as monoclonal antibodies, which are made to act as immune cells. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Google Assistant gets new features for families schooling at home

Google debuted new features for the Google Assistant that should help families who are learning from home due to the continued spread of the coronavirus.

One new option is called Family Bell, and it can be used to remind you when your at-home school day starts, when a virtual class begins or when it’s time for homework. All you have to do is say, “Hey Google, create a family bell,” from your iPhone, Android phone, Google Nest Hub or a Google Nest smart speaker.

Google is also expanding its broadcast option, now letting you call specific rooms — sort of like an in-home intercom — instead of all Google smart devices at once. And, if you own a Google Home Hub, you can say “Hey Google, start the school day” and it will start playing school background noises, like the sounds of students shuffling through lockers. —Todd Haselton will cut up to 25% of its global workforce will layoff up to 25% of its global workforce as the pandemic continues to hinder travel demand. Booking Holdings,’s parent company, will finalize its plans and tell affected employees starting in September, according to a filing.

Booking Holdings is also the parent company of other online travel companies like Kayak and Priceline, but the layoffs will only affect itself employs over 17,000 employees, a company spokeswoman told CNBC.

“The Covid-19 crisis has devastated the travel industry, and we continue to feel the impact as travel volumes remain significantly reduced,” the spokeswoman said. “While we have done much to save as many jobs as possible, we believe we must restructure our organization to match our expectation of the future of travel.”

Shares of Booking Holdings were down less than a percent in early trading. The company’s shares are down 19.65% percent year to date. —Jessica Bursztynsky

U.S. stocks open flat as coronavirus relief talks continue

U.S. stocks opened slightly lower as lawmakers struggle to make inroads on a new coronavirus stimulus package, reports CNBC’s Fred Imbert.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22 points, or 0.1%. The S&P 500 dipped 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite was down less than 0.1%. —Melodie Warner 

Radio City Rockettes’ Christmas show canceled due to coronavirus concerns

The Radio City Rockettes perform onstage during the Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Steven Ferdman | Getty Images

Madison Square Garden Entertainment announced the annual Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes has been canceled for 2020 because of the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are disappointed for everyone involved with the show, as well as for the many fans who make the Christmas Spectacular a cherished part of their holiday tradition,” the entertainment company said in a statement.

The 90-minute holiday show was scheduled to run November 6 through January 3. First performed in 1933, the Christmas Spectacular includes more than 140 performers.

Ticket purchased will be automatically refunded at the point of purchases, according to MSG. Tickets for the winter 2021 show are now on sale. —Alex Harring

FDA approves Abiomed heart pump to treat Covid patients

The FDA has approved the use of medical device maker Abiomed’s Impella heart pump in combination with an ECMO oxygen machine for treating Covid patients suffering heart and lung failure.

One in 10 Covid patients suffers severe inflammation of the heart, in addition to a build-up of fluid in the lungs.

Doctors say a critically ill 42-year-old Philadelphia Covid patient treated with the machines, normally used for high-risk cardiac patients, fully recovered from the virus on the treatment with no damage to his heart. —Bertha Coombs

Home Depot wants to speed up deliveries as customers gravitate towards curbside pickup

As customers opt for curbside pickup and shop for supplies for DIY projects during the pandemic, Home Depot said it’s focused on speeding up deliveries and rapidly restocking shelves. 

The home improvement retailer will open three new distribution centers in the Atlanta area over the next 18 months. They’re part of a $1.2 billion investment by the company in its supply chain. The 5-year effort aims to open about 150 new facilities and offer same-day and next-day delivery to 90% of the U.S. population.

During the pandemic, Home Depot rolled out curbside pickup to most stores. Online sales grew by about 80% year over year in the first quarter, which ended May 3. About $4.2 billion — or roughly 15% — of its net sales came from online. More than 60% of the time, customers picked up those online orders at a store. —Melissa Repko

Younger generations feel financial impacts of the pandemic more than parents, grandparents

Johnce | E+ | Getty Images

A new report shows that younger generations of Americans feel more financial instability due to the coronavirus pandemic than their parents or grandparents. 

About a third of millennials and members of Gen Z say Covid-19 has had an extreme or very negative impact on their financial security, according to a new report from Age Wave and Edward Jones. Comparatively, 16% of baby boomers and 6% of the silent generation felt the same. 

Younger generations also reported at higher rates that they have suffered a mental decline since the pandemic started in March. Older generations reported having fortitude.

“There are a lot of young people that are kind of running around pulling their hair out right now,” Ken Dychtwald, psychologist and founder and CEO of Age Wave, said. –Alex Harring

WHO says its China team has interviewed Wuhan scientists over virus origins

A World Health Organization team sent to China to probe the origins of Covid-19 had “extensive discussions” with scientists in Wuhan, where the virus was first reported late last year, according to a Reuters, citing an agency spokesman. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have said the pathogen may have escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan, although they have presented no evidence for the claim, and China has denied it.

The talks included updates on animal health research, the spokesman said. China shut down a wildlife market in Wuhan at the start of the outbreak, a day after discovering some patients were vendors or dealers there. The WHO says the virus most likely came from bats and probably had another, intermediary animal “host.” —Noah Higgins-Dunn

Regeneron says antibody drug prevents and treats coronavirus in animals

Dr. Leonard Schleifer, CEO, Regeneron

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals announced that its antibody-drug combination prevented and treated Covid-19 in rhesus macaque monkeys and in hamsters, as the company races to develop the drug for human use, according to Reuters. The study has not been peer-reviewed, but the U.S. biotech company said the antibody cocktail was able to “almost completely block establishment of the virus.”

The data suggests that the therapy may offer clinical benefit in prevention and treatment of Covid-19, according to the researchers. They said the animals did not show any signs of increased viral load or worsening of pathology after treatment, which suggests it will not worsen symptoms in humans. 

The company signed a $450 million contract with the U.S. government as part of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed program. Positive results in animals are no guarantee of success in humans. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

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