U.S. coronavirus death toll tops 200,000 as cases jump in more than half of states – CNBC

China’s online shopping growth slows in August

Chinese fervor for online shopping stalled in August, a sign that the world’s second-largest economy still faces numerous challenges as it tries to spur domestic consumption.

Rather than relying on exports, the Chinese government is trying to develop local demand as the primary driver of the country’s growth.

The pandemic this year has quickened the growth of online shopping, with its share of overall retail sales rising from about one-fifth last year to one quarter this summer. But uncertainty about future income and economic growth are concerns.

“With unemployment stress and growth headwinds persisting into the fourth quarter, any recovery in overall consumption will be mild,” Imogen Page-Jarrett, research analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit said. — Evelyn Cheng

Singapore universities boosts digital efforts during pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has forced educators in Singapore to get more creative and has advanced online learning.

Medical schools are some of the educational institutions that have taken to digital learning, with students at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS) learning about patient care using a digitally simulated hospital environment.

Also known as Pass-It — or Patient Safety as Inter-Professional Training — the virtual experience helps students understand how to treat patients safely where they would have otherwise accompanied a doctor to a patient’s bedside or the operation theater.

“Pass-It’s ‘gamified’ style lets multiple learners be immersed in situations where they are given the opportunity to participate in what would usually be a highly restricted environment,” said Associate Professor Alfred Kow, a surgeon and Assistant Dean of education at NUS Medicine.

“With the Covid-19 situation, students have also been removed from these settings of practical learning due to the risk of exposing them to aerosol-generating procedures.” — Kavita Chandran

Trump says U.S. will remain open as UK imposes restrictions

President Donald Trump said that the U.S. would not impose lockdowns to curb the spread of Covid-19 following U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement of new restrictions to control the country’s climbing cases.

Earlier in the day, Johnson walked back some of the lifted lockdown measures in England, telling people to work from home again if possible and ordering pubs and restaurants to close at an earlier time, among other modifications. 

“The U.K. just shut down again. They just announced that they’re going to do a shutdown, and we’re not going to be doing that,” Trump told Fox 2 Detroit during an interview at the White House. “We understand the disease, we understand how to handle it.”

The federal government has largely left the decision to impose restrictions on businesses and gatherings to state leaders, though the president has called on them to lift restrictions on residents and reopen the nation’s economy. — Noah Higgins-Dunn

Notre Dame football game postponed after seven players test positive for coronavirus

The University of Notre Dame football game at Wake Forest University has been postponed after seven Fighting Irish players tested positive for Covid-19, UND announced.

The university said it tested 94 athletes this week. Combined with last week’s results,13 athletes are in isolation and 10 in quarantine, Notre Dame said in a statement.

The Notre Dame Football program said they have paused all football-related activities for the time being after consulting with the St. Joseph County Department of Health.

Earlier in August, Notre Dame paused football practices due to positive coronavirus test results. A coronavirus outbreak on campus also shifted UND classes to remote learning for two weeks.

ESPN reports the Notre Dame-Wake Forest game is the fourth ACC game affected by Covid-related issues. 

Notably, the Big Ten recently reversed its decision to push football to the spring and now plans to begin its season the weekend of October 24. —Hannah Miao

Kudlow says more Covid stimulus isn’t necessary to sustain ‘V-shaped’ recovery

Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s top economic advisor, said the broad economic recovery from Covid-19 doesn’t necessarily require additional fiscal stimulus.

“I don’t think the V-shaped recovery depends on the package, but I do think a targeted package could be a great help,” Kudlow said from the White House. “Even though I think the economy is improving nicely, it could use some help in some key, targeted places.”

He did acknowledge that while the overall U.S. economy appears to be in the middle of a comeback after a recession, there are still industries that are suffering as a result of the virus and efforts to contain its spread. —Thomas Franck

Trump and Biden to face questions on Covid-19, economy in first presidential debate

Joe Biden and Donald Trump

Ron Adar | Echoes Wire | Barcroft Media via Getty Images; Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden will be questioned on topics including the coronavirus pandemic and the U.S. economy when they face off next week in the first of three debates before the 2020 election. 

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced that the Sept. 29 debate in Cleveland, Ohio, will center around six topics, each of which will receive a 15-minute time slot. The moderator, Fox News’ Chris Wallace, selected the categories, the commission said.

The first debate will be held at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic. It is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. ET and is expected to run about 90 minutes.

The topics are:

  • The Trump and Biden records
  • The Supreme Court
  • Covid-19
  • The economy
  • Race and violence in our cities
  • The integrity of the election

—Kevin Breuninger

Hong Kong Disneyland will reopen for a second time, but California parks remain closed

An employee at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Getty Images

Hong Kong Disneyland will reopen for a second time on Friday, but Disney is still waiting on reopening guidelines for its shuttered California parks.

The Hong Kong park was forced to shutter two months ago due to the rise in the number of coronavirus cases. However, restrictions were relaxed last week after testing of nearly 2 million people in the region found only 42 cases of the virus.

There had been plans for the Anaheim-based locations to open in July, but a spike in Covid-19 cases led California to retract guidelines. These closures has been a tough financial blow to Disney, which makes most of its parks revenue from its U.S.-based locations.

“To our California government officials, particularly at the state level, I encourage you to treat theme parks like you would other sectors,” Josh D’Amaro, head of parks for Disney, said during a media update Tuesday. “Help us reopen. We need guidelines that are fair and equitable to better understand our future and chart a path towards reopening. The longer we wait, the more devastating the impact will be to the Orange County and Anaheim communities.” —Sarah Whitten

Health officials struggle with contact tracing, CDC study says

Despite “aggressive” efforts to ramp up contact tracing, health officials have struggled to get the public to participate in outbreak investigations, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that focuses on two counties in North Carolina.

“Despite aggressive efforts by health department staff members to perform case investigations and contact tracing, many persons with COVID-19 did not report contacts, and many contacts were not reached,” the authors of the study said. “The relatively low participation and cooperation with contact tracing suggests a lack of community support and engagement with contact tracing. This, coupled with delays in testing results are contributing to ongoing transmission.”

The researchers noted that the data found in their study is consistent with that found in other states across the country. They added that the proportion of people who could not be successfully contacted for tracing is higher than that of contact tracing efforts for other infectious diseases in the U.S. before the pandemic.

“There are a few probable reasons for this. First, limiting contact tracing to a telephone conversation might have inhibited the ability of public health workers to establish a rapport and elicit contacts,” the authors wrote. “Second, persons with COVID-19 might have sought to avoid subjecting their contacts to quarantine control measures, including potential loss of work and related economic consequences.” —Will Feuer

Fraud linked to Covid-19 cost Americans $145 million

Americans have lost about $145 million to fraud linked to Covid-19, according to the Federal Trade Commission. 

Consumers have filed more than 205,000 reports of coronavirus-related scams since the beginning of the year, according to the federal agency. The average American lost about $300 in each case. 

Con artists have stolen money and personal information from the unsuspecting public in a number of ways, including scams involving financial relief measures like unemployment benefits and stimulus checks. 

The true fraud figure is almost certainly higher than the official tally, which doesn’t include instances that go unreported. —Greg Iacurci

Delta delays decision on pilot furloughs until Nov. 1

Delta Air Lines is delaying its decision on whether to furlough more than 1,700 pilots until Nov. 1, an effort to give more time to discuss cost-cutting measures with the labor union.

The delay comes just as airlines and their workers are staring down a Sept. 30 expiration of $25 billion in federal aid, which prohibits job cuts.

Two key Senate Republicans on Monday introduced a bill that would provide more than $28 billion to the airline sector, including cargo carriers and airline contractors, which would protect jobs through the end of March. That came after lawmakers and the White House failed several times to reach a new national coronavirus relief bill that could include the additional airline aid.

Delta expects to largely avoid furloughs thanks to volunteers that signed up for unpaid time off and accepted buyouts. Also, the company lowered many workers’ schedules by 25% to reduce costs.

American Airlines and United Airlines have said they could furlough or lay off 35,000 workers combined, though United’s pilots are voting on a deal this week that could avoid close to 3,000 planned pilot job cuts.–Leslie Josephs

Cases grow in more than half of U.S. states, JHU data shows

Shannon Axelsson takes a break from sitting on the beach to be tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Revere, Massachusetts, August 11, 2020.

Brian Snyder | Reuters

The U.S. has reported an uptick in coronavirus cases following weeks of reported declines and warnings from top health officials of coinciding outbreaks with the forthcoming flu season.

As of Monday, new cases were growing by 5% or more, based on a weekly average to smooth out the reporting, in 29 states and Washington D.C., according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Nationwide, daily coronavirus cases have grown nearly 20% compared with a week ago, moving above 43,300 new cases on average. 

“We are seeing a pretty sharp uptick here in the United States,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former U.S. Food and Drug Administration chief, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday. “Now whether or not that’s a post-Labor Day bounce, and it’s going to start to level off or it’s a beginning of an uptrend heading into the fall, it’s unclear right now.”  —Noah Higgins-Dunn

$300 unemployment benefits end in some states as stimulus talks stall

Many states have finished issuing a temporary $300 weekly boost in unemployment benefits as hopes for another coronavirus relief measure fade on Capitol Hill. That dynamic leaves millions of jobless workers facing the prospect of no additional aid before Election Day.

At least nine states — including Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Texas and Utah — have issued the $300 subsidy to all eligible workers to date, according to state officials.

The payments, part of a Lost Wages Assistance program created by the Trump administration, are available for up to six weeks. They come after a prior $600 weekly enhancement expired in July. 

Congressional negotiations for another round of stimulus measures have been stalled for weeks. The fight to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away on Friday, risked further overwhelming stimulus talks before the presidential election. —Greg Iacurci

U.S. death toll tops 200,000

The coronavirus, which first officially arrived in the U.S. about eight months ago, has now killed more than 200,000 people across the country as officials rush to deliver a vaccine.

The U.S. accounts for roughly 21% of all confirmed Covid-19 deaths around the world despite having only 4% of the world’s population. The U.S. has reported about 61.09 deaths per 100,000 residents, making it the country with the 11th most deaths per capita, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

Coronavirus deaths have now outpaced the number of American soldiers lost during World War I and the Vietnam War combined, according to the Census Bureau.

“Not only are these real people, but these are families that are suffering because they’ve lost loved ones, or they’re dealing with a loved one that has long-term health issues because of Covid-19,” said Dr. Syra Madad, senior director of the systemwide special pathogens program at New York City Health + Hospitals. “We’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg. We’re only nine months into this pandemic.”

She added looking at deaths alone provides an incomplete picture of the true toll of the pandemic, because researchers are only just beginning to learn about the long-term health complications that Covid-19 causes. —Will Feuer

Airlines call for pre-departure testing to replace blanket international travel restrictions

Travelers wearing face shields and protective masks walk with their luggage inside Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Bing Guan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Global airlines are calling for travelers to take Covid-19 tests before all international flights, Reuters reports.

As coronavirus cases surge in Europe and travel restrictions tighten, airlines hurt by the pandemic are urging governments to consider alternative precautions that better facilitate traffic recovery.

A global agreement on pre-departure coronavirus testing could help boost passenger confidence, International Air Transport Association director Alexandre de Juniac told Reuters.

Rapid antigen tests, while more likely to report false negatives, offer fast results and do not require medical staff to administer. The antigen tests cost as little as $7 each, according to de Juniac, who expects them to become available in the “coming weeks,” the wire service reported. —Hannah Miao

Walmart delivers Covid-19 tests by drone

Walmart is testing a new way to use drones: Delivering Covid-19 tests to customers’ homes.

The big-box retailer said it has teamed up with Quest Diagnostics and DroneUp, a nationwide drone services provider, to drop off self-administered test kits in North Las Vegas starting this week. It will expand to Cheektowaga, a suburb of Buffalo, New York, in early October. 

The company said it plans to make hundreds of deliveries. To qualify, customers must live in a single-family home that’s within a mile of a Walmart store. The kits will land on the driveway, sidewalk or backyard of the customer’s home. The delivery is free and test-takers will send their sample to Quest Diagnostics with a pre-paid shipping label.

Tom Ward, the company’s senior vice president of customer product, said in a corporate blog post that the latest pilot will help Walmart understand how drones could be used for health care and retail.

“Our hope is the drone delivery Covid-19 self-collection kit launch will shape contactless testing capabilities on a larger scale and continue to bolster the innovative ways Walmart plans to use drone delivery in the future,” he said. —Melissa Repko

‘This is deeply concerning,’ ex-FDA chief says of CDC guidance errors

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former Food and Drug Administration chief, told CNBC that erroneous and reversed coronavirus guidance from the nation’s top health agency amid reports of tampering from Trump administration officials is “deeply concerning” and could threaten the agency’s credibility. 

“You need to be able to accept that the material being put out by an organization, by an agency, represents the view of that agency,”  Gottlieb told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

On Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it erroneously posted draft guidance on airborne transmission of the virus saying the coronavirus spreads through airborne particles that can remain suspended in the air and travel beyond 6 feet. Gottlieb told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that “it’s really hard to believe” that the posting was made on accident. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

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.”

UK’s Boris Johnson tells people to work from home in reversal of reopening

The British prime minister has urged people to work from home once again as part of a raft of new coronavirus restriction measures, just weeks after repeatedly telling workers to return to the office. 

Speaking to the House of Commons, Boris Johnson said the country was at a “perilous turning point,” like fellow European nations France and Spain. Covid-19 cases in the region have spiked in recent days. 

The new restrictions include working from home if possible, a wider use of face masks and a 10 p.m curfew for pubs and restaurants.

“We will spare no effort in developing vaccines, treatments and new forms of mass testing but unless we palpably make progress, we should assume that the restrictions I have announced will remain in place for perhaps six months,” Johnson said.

He stressed that this was not a return to full lockdown, however, with schools, universities and “Covid compliant” businesses allowed to remain open. —Katrina Bishop

Mall owner Brookfield Properties is laying off 20% of its retail workforce

People walk through the Brookfield Place Pavilion at the World Trade Center West Concourse pedestrian transit connection in New York City.

Getty Images

Retail real estate owner Brookfield Properties is going through a major round of job cuts, CNBC has learned, as the coronavirus pandemic takes a toll on its business and new leasing activity at its malls dries up. 

Jared Chupaila, the CEO of Brookfield Properties’ retail group, announced the news this week in an email to employees, which was obtained by CNBC. He said the retail division is cutting roughly 20% of its workforce, across both its corporate headquarters and leasing agents on the field. Brookfield Properties’ retail division employs about 2,000 people. 

Brookfield Properties has more than 170 retail properties in 43 states, according to its website, including Brookfield Place downtown in New York City and Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas. It added a number of malls to its portfolio when it acquired the Chicago-headquartered mall owner GGP for $9.25 billion in cash back in 2018

“While many companies were quick to implement furloughs and layoffs at the onset of the pandemic, we made the conscious decision to keep all our team employed while we gained a better understanding of its longer-term impact on our company,” Chupaila said in the memo. However, he went on, the mall owner has now decided to make cuts “to align with the future scale of our portfolio.” —Lauren Thomas

S&P 500 opens higher snapping a 4-day losing streak

U.S. stocks opened higher recovering some of the steep losses from the previous session as shares of Big Tech advanced, reports CNBC’s Fred Imbert and Yun Li. 

Stocks rose slightly on Tuesday, recovering some of the steep losses from the previous session as shares of Big Tech advanced. —Melodie Warner 

Don’t expect a ‘fairytale’ end to the pandemic when there’s a vaccine, expert warns

A lot of hope is being placed on finding an effective and safe vaccine against Covid-19 as the pandemic continues around the world, but a professor of infectious diseases at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine has said that hope could be misplaced.

“I would see the vaccine as only helping (the situation),” Dale Fisher told CNBC’s Capital Connection. “It’s not going to be the fairytale (ending) everyone wants it to be where we’ll have an 100% effective vaccine and 100% of people will take it, and they’ll all receive it over the course of a month and we can go back to our way of life.”

He argued that there was a “pretty low benchmark” when it came to the efficacy of a vaccine. For instance, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said at the end of June that it expected “a Covid-19 vaccine would prevent disease or decrease its severity in at least 50% of people who are vaccinated.”

“This means that for half the people that get the vaccine it wouldn’t work,” Fisher said. “Most people aren’t expecting this to be 100% effective. So I think you need to have the non-pharmacological interventions, such as the mask wearing and the limiting of gatherings and things like that for a long time to come.” —Holly Ellyatt

Lowe’s rolls out contactless pickup lockers

Lowe’s is adding a new way for customers to shop, while skipping interactions with others during the pandemic. The home improvement giant is installing lockers at all of its stores where customers can pick up their online purchases. 

Joe McFarland, the company’s executive vice president of stores, said the retailer is speeding up the lockers’ rollout because of its online sales growth and shoppers’ strong preference for contactless approaches. 

“Given the pandemic and the way that it’s changed how we live, how we work, how we shop, this was one of those areas that we decided that we had to pull forward,” he said.

Lowe’s will install the lockers at stores in most metro areas by Thanksgiving and in all of its more than 1,700 U.S. stores by the end of March. It originally planned to add them later next year.

Customers get a one-time scannable barcode when their order is ready for pickup. Instead of touching a screen or a keypad, they scan the barcode at the locker using their smartphone. —Melissa Repko

Curfews, bans and calling in the army: Europe tries to avoid lockdowns by turning to other measures

A pedestrian walks past a closed amusement and casino arcade in the Puente de Vallecas district of Madrid, Spain.

Paul Hanna | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Europe is confronting a much-feared “second wave” of coronavirus cases after a lull in new infections during summer came to an end.

To date, there have been almost 2.9 million confirmed cases of the virus in Europe and over 186,000 people have died, data from the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention shows, and cases are rapidly rising again. 

Despite the risks, leaders in the region are reluctant to impose a second round of nationwide lockdowns, given the economic and societal implications of such moves. Instead, they are looking at more targeted, localized measures, from curfews curtailing the opening hours of bars and fines for failing to self-isolate, to calling in the army to help manage acute outbreaks in cities.

CNBC has a snapshot of what Europe’s biggest economies are doing to stop the spread of the virus. —Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

Read the original article

Author: The Covid-19 Channel