Coronavirus updates: Infections surge in Spain, Russia; Most adults willing to get a vaccine

Spain and Russia lead Europe’s Covid-19 resurgence

A Red Cross volunteeer delivers mask to commuters at Diagonal station on the first working day in Cataluña after Easter holidays and the reactivation of non-essential work activity in companies whose employees cannot telework during the coronavirus crisis, on April 14, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain.

David Zorrakino | Europa Press via Getty Images

Europe has recorded a significant increase in the number of new coronavirus infections in recent weeks, as countries attempt to reopen their economies while also achieving public health goals. 

The number of new Covid-19 infections reported across the region increased by 5.6% to just over 4 million cases for the week ending August 23, according to data compiled by the World Health Organization. 

Those new cases reflect an increase of 72% compared to the week ending June 7, when the lowest number of cases per week were reported.

More than half of the new cases reported through the week ending August 23 stemmed from four countries: Spain (21%), Russia (16%), France (10%), and Ukraine (6%). — Sam Meredith

Nearly three-quarters of adults are willing to get a vaccine, global survey shows

Around 74% of adults globally said they would get vaccinated if a coronavirus vaccine became available, according to a survey by the World Economic Forum and Ipsos. The survey polled close to 20,000 adults from 27 countries between July 24 and Aug. 7 this year.

Respondents from China showed the most interest in getting a vaccine, with 97% indicating their willingness to do so. Those in Russia were least enthusiastic, with 54% intending to get the vaccine, according to the survey. 

An expert from the World Economic Forum expressed concerns that more than a quarter of the people surveyed were not willing to get a vaccine. 

“The 26% shortfall in vaccine confidence is significant enough to compromise the effectiveness of rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Arnaud Bernaert, the WEF’s head of shaping the future of health and healthcare.

The most frequently cited reason for not getting a vaccine was worry about possible side effects, according to the survey. — Yen Nee Lee

Stay-at-home stock Zoom’s revenue quadrupled from a year ago during pandemic

Stay-at-home stock Zoom Video reported second-quarter revenue that quadrupled from a year ago, boosted by coronavirus shutdowns and a spike in popularity of the company’s video chat service. 

Zoom posted adjusted earnings per share of 92 cents, smashing Wall Street projections of 45 cents per share according to Refinitiv consensus estimates. 

Revenue came in at $663.5 million, far exceeding the $500.5 million expected and marking a 355% increase from a year ago, CNBC’s Jordan Novet reports. —Sara Salinas

WHO cautions against prematurely authorizing a vaccine

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, warned that authorizing a coronavirus vaccine too early and with too little data could create a variety of problems. 

“The risk of approving a vaccine prematurely for us is that, first of all, it will make it very difficult to continue with randomized clinical trials,” she said. “And secondly, there’s a risk of introducing a vaccine that’s been inadequately studied and might turn out to have a low efficacy, thereby not doing the job of bringing an end to this pandemic or even worse, have a safety profile that’s not acceptable.” 

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, echoed Swaminathan in saying that collecting and monitoring vast amounts of data is crucial as nations start distributing vaccines to their general population. As the vaccine is introduced to larger and perhaps more diverse parts of the population, negative side effects could emerge, underscoring the importance of the collection of safety data, he said. —Will Feuer

New Jersey cinemas can reopen Friday, but few will be able to

New Jersey movie theaters will be permitted to reopen Friday. 

In order to reopen, cinemas must require masks, have social distance guidelines and will need to operate at 25% capacity, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said. Other states have capped attendance at 50%. 

New Jersey is one of only four states that has not yet reopened movie theaters to the public. California, New York and North Carolina, which have just under 1,000 cinemas collectively, or about 18% of the total movie theaters in the U.S., will not be open this weekend.

Due to the short notice in Murphy’s announcement, it’s not likely many theaters will be able to reopen by Friday, as theater owners have less than four days to hire, train and prepare their locations for customers. —Sarah Whitten

President Trump’s payroll tax holiday takes effect Sept. 1. What workers can expect

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech as the 2020 Republican presidential nominee during the final event of the Republican National Convention on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, August 27, 2020.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Workers participating in President Donald Trump’s payroll tax holiday may enjoy a bump in pay this fall, but their take-home pay could dip in early 2021.

Tuesday, Sept. 1 is the first day of Trump’s payroll tax deferral for employees, which he issued through an executive order in early August. The holiday applies until the end of 2020.

Workers and employers each share half the responsibility for a 12.4% tax that funds Social Security and a 2.9% that covers Medicare. The Social Security tax is subject to a wage threshold of $137,700 in 2020, but the Medicare tax is assessed over that threshold.

In particular, Trump’s executive order applies to the Social Security tax that’s paid by the employee, and it would apply to workers whose biweekly pay falls under $4,000 on a pretax basis. —Darla Mercado

FDA approval of coronavirus vaccine before election is ‘unlikely,’ Gottlieb says

Former Food and Drug Administration chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC he believes it is “unlikely” that the public health agency would issue emergency approval for a coronavirus vaccine ahead of the November election. 

“I think it’s more likely you’re going to get a top-line result some point in November and maybe be able to make a decision about an emergency use authorization after that,” Gottlieb said in a “Squawk Box” interview. 

Gottlieb, a member of Pfizer’s board, which is developing a Covid-19 vaccine, stressed that having enough evidence in October on the effectiveness of a vaccine would require the U.S. to have a significant outbreak of the virus. The vaccine candidate would also have to be very effective for that evidence to emerge, he said. 

“But that probably wouldn’t leave enough time to issue an emergency use authorization by November, regardless,” said Gottlieb, who led the FDA in the Trump administration from May 2017 to April 2019. —Kevin Stankiewicz 

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. He also serves as co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ and Royal Caribbean’s “Healthy Sail Panel.” 

United Airlines CEO says a coronavirus vaccine will help air travel rebound

A sign reminding passengers to stay 6 feet apart is seen at a screening checkpoint at Orlando International Airport.

Paul Hennessy | LightRocket | Getty Images

United Airlines is burning through an estimated $40 million per day with air travel levels only a fraction of a year ago, but CEO Scott Kirby says he “can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

The airline has parked about 40% of its fleet and faces the possibility of cutting up to 36,000 jobs beginning Oct. 1, but Kirby believes a Covid-19 vaccine could trigger a bounce-back in demand, CNBC’s Phil LeBeau reports.

Airline passenger levels are still down 70% versus a year ago, according to the Transportation Safety Administration, with leisure and business travel still weak.

“Zoom can be a substitute when you can’t be there, but it is not the same as being there in person. I think that it won’t happen overnight, but within a year or two, I do think business travel will come back,” Kirby said. —Chris Eudaily

Young workers are prone to financial stress amid the pandemic

Companies are hiring for this type job most.

@alliecandice | Twenty20

Workers of all ages have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic’s economic wrath. 

But it turns out young workers may be bearing the brunt of the financial stress, according to a recent survey by TD Ameritrade.

Of those ages 15 to 29 who were surveyed,  85% reported that they feel pushed to the limit in at least one area when it comes to their jobs, managing their finances, studying or social media. About 1 in 3 young Americans said they had been laid off or put on temporary leave.

Many said they are “living like they are broke” rather than above their means. Saving and budgeting ranked as the top task that caused financial burnout. Other stressors included car maintenance, shopping for insurance, investing, managing and paying for student loans, retirement planning or splitting bills with friends or roommates.

Those who are feeling overwhelmed may want to consider seeking help, either through a financial coach or budgeting app. —Lorie Konish

Canada to purchase 76 million doses of Novavax vaccine

American biotech company Novavax said it has it’s reached an agreement in principle with Canada to supply 76 million doses of its experimental coronavirus vaccine.

The company said it expects to finalize an agreement to supply Canada with doses “as early as the second quarter of 2021.” The agreement is contingent on the vaccine getting a license from Health Canada, the company said. Novavax did not disclose the financial terms of the agreement.

Shares of Novavax rose more than 4% in early morning trading on the news. —Will Feuer

Stocks open flat as Wall Street wraps up its best August in more than 30 years

U.S. stocks opened flat as the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average wrapped up their best August performances since the 1980s, reports CNBC’s Fred Imbert. 

The S&P 500 is up 7.2% month to date, putting it on track for its biggest August gain since 1984. The Dow has rallied more than 8% this month and is also headed for its best August in 36 years. —Melodie Warner 

GlaxoSmithKline, Vir join race to find antibody treatment

GlaxoSmithKline and partner Vir Biotechnology have started testing their experimental antibody on early-stage Covid-19 patients, Reuters reported. 

The antibody is designed to block the virus from invading cells and to have immune cells attack already infected cells. The study will evaluate the long-acting single injection’s ability to prevent hospitalization for recently diagnosed high-risk cases.

GSK said initial results could be available by the end of the year, complete results during the first quarter of 2021, and early access to patients could be offered before June, Reuters reported. —Melodie Warner 

New Jersey to resume indoor dining with restrictions this week

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is letting restaurants reopen their dining rooms with some restrictions, starting Friday.

Capacity will be capped at 25%, and tables will need to be socially distanced.

Restaurants and trade groups have stepped up pressure on the state to resume indoor dining in recent weeks. Murphy indefinitely postponed the return of indoor dining in late June as cases across the country rose. Outdoor dining has been allowed since mid-June. —Amelia Lucas

U.S. cases approach 6 million

A Tyson Foods employee puts on a second protective mask outside of the company’s meat processing plant, which has been hit by a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Waterloo, Iowa, U.S.


The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. is approaching 6 million as newly confirmed infections appear to slow and summer winds down.

The U.S. reported 35,337 new cases on Sunday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, though new cases tend to dip on the weekend as testing and reporting offices close. The country has now confirmed more than 5,997,000 cases, according to Hopkins data.

Only three countries in the world have reported more than 1 million confirmed cases of the virus: India, Brazil and the U.S. The virus has killed more than 183,000 people in the U.S., more than any other country in the world, according to Hopkins data. —Will Feuer

New cases rise in more states

New cases of the coronavirus are rising by more than 5%, based on a seven-day average, in 26 states, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

One week ago, new cases were rising by at least that much in just 12 states. While new cases are falling in former hot spots such as Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, according to CNBC’s analysis of Hopkins data, outbreaks are growing in a number of states, including Alabama, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina and the Dakotas. 

The rise in new cases comes about two weeks after Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield said the middle of the country “is getting stuck” when it comes to combating the virus.

“We’re starting to see some of the cases now in the red zone areas are falling, but if you look at those states that are in what we call the yellow zone, between 5% and 10%, they’re not falling, so middle America right now is getting stuck,” he said. “We don’t need to have a third wave in the heartland right now.” —Will Feuer

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