August 5, 2021

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Top Stories Without The Fluff

NYC to reopen more business in July

Texas continues to set new daily records for cases and hospitalizations, and the state is now pausing its reopening efforts to “corral the spread,” according to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. The U.S. reported more new coronavirus cases on Wednesday than on any single day before, according to a tally by NBC News, as the virus spreads to new communities and sparks outbreaks mostly across the American South and West.

This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks. 

  • Global cases: More than 9.44 million
  • Global deaths: At least 482,923
  • U.S. cases: More than 2.38 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 121,979

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

No evidence that quarantines for travelers work, CDC says 

2:10 p.m. ET — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there is no “evidence-based data” to support quarantines for travelers, like those imposed by New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The comment by CDC Director Robert Redfield came a day after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that travelers arriving in the tri-state region from Florida, Texas and other states with spiking Covid-19 infection rates will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.

According to the CDC’s website, quarantines can help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.

Other leaders outside the tri-state region have imposed quarantines or travel restrictions meant to curb the spread of the virus. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order in March requiring people coming to Florida from the New York City region to self-quarantine for 14 days. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Airlines are cracking down on passengers without face masks 

Travelers wearing protective masks walk through Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, June 9, 2020.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

1:15 p.m. ET — Airlines are warning travelers that if they refuse to wear a face mask on board they won’t be able to fly, and in some cases are banning offenders outright.

U.S. carriers started mandating masks for travelers last month to try to protect passengers and crews from Covid-19.

“We take the requirement to wear a mask very seriously,” Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said in a staff note. “Customers who choose not to comply with this or any other safety requirement risk losing their future flight privileges with Delta. So far, there have thankfully only been a handful of cases, but we have already banned some passengers from future travel on Delta for refusing to wear masks on board.”

Last week, American Airlines said one traveler who refused to wear a mask on board and was booted from the flight would be banned until masks were no longer required.

The Department of Transportation says travelers should wear face masks on board according to Centers for Disease Control guidance but has stopped short of mandating them, leaving airlines to implement and enforce their policies. —Leslie Josephs

Texas pauses reopening plan as cases and hospitalizations rise

12:34 p.m. ET — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Thursday that the state will pause any further phases to open as it continues to report record increases in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Businesses that were permitted to open under the previous phases can continue to operate at the designated occupancy, according to a statement. Many businesses in Texas were granted permission to reopen in May, such as restaurants, gyms, retailers, professional sports, bars and other venues, and it wasn’t immediately made clear which businesses wouldn’t be allowed to be reopen moving forward or when the order would be lifted.

Texas is one of the states experiencing a recent surge in Covid-19 cases, reporting more than 5,500 additional cases on Wednesday, according to the state’s health department.

“The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses. This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business,” Abbott said in the release. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

Feds sent $1.4 billion to people who are dead

12:05 p.m. ET — Almost $1.4 billion in stimulus checks have been sent to deceased Americans, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

That includes about 1.1 million payments out of approximately 160 million sent. The $1,200 stimulus checks were authorized by Congress with the CARES Act.

The IRS has made it clear that those who receive stimulus checks on behalf of the deceased need to return the money.

The GAO report calls for taking further action to address the situation, including sending new letters with instructions on how to return the funds and more data sharing among government agencies to prevent future errors. —Lorie Konish

NYC set to move further into reopening as early as July 6, mayor says

11:26 a.m. — New York City could begin its next phase of reopening as early as July 6, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday.

The next phase would allow the city’s restaurants to open their indoor dining spaces and reopen additional personal care businesses, like nail salons, spas, massage parlors and tattoo and piercing facilities  with reduced capacity, according to New York state’s reopening guidelines.

Phase three reopening would allow various recreational areas throughout the city, including basketball, tennis and volleyball courts to operate, de Blasio said.

New York City began its phase two reopening on Monday, which allowed for in-store shopping at retail stores, visits to hair salons and barbershops and outdoor restaurant dining with modifications. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

New York Gov. accuses states of playing politics with the virus

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo exits a #7 Subway train in Manhattan on the first day of New York City’s phase one reopening during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York, U.S., June 8, 2020.

Mike Segar | Reuters

11:09 a.m. – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo accused conservative states that are seeing a rise in Covid-19 cases of playing politics early in the United States’ outbreak.

“You played politics with this virus and you lost,” he told CNN. “You told the people of this state, you told the people of this country, the White House, ‘don’t worry about it. Go about your business. This is all Democratic hyperbole.'”

The statement by Cuomo came after the U.S. reported more new coronavirus cases on Wednesday than on any single day before, according to a tally by NBC News.

On Wednesday, Cuomo announced that travelers arriving in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut from Florida, Texas and other states with spiking Covid-19 infection rates will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.  —Berkeley Lovelace

Texas postpones elective procedures as hospitalizations rise

The doctor in charge of the COVID-19 unit at United Memorial Medical Center in north Houston, checks on COVID a patient who was hoping to be released this week.

Carolyn Cole | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

10:29 a.m. — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered all licensed hospitals in counties that include major cities such as San Antonio, Dallas, Houston and Austin to postpone elective procedures in order to protect hospital capacity for Covid-19 patients.

The order applies to all “surgeries and procedures that are not medically necessary to diagnose or correct a serious medical condition of, or to preserve the life of, a patient who without timely performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death…,” according to an executive order signed by the governor.

Texas is one of several states mostly across the American South and West experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases. There are currently 4,389 Covid-19 patients hospitalized statewide in Texas, up from 2,793 a week ago, according to the state’s health department.Some hospitals in the Houston area, in particular, are nearing capacity.

For example, Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston said earlier this week it will begin to admit adult patients to alleviate burdened hospitals in the area. —Will Feuer

Virtual clinical trials gain popularity amid pandemic 

10:13 a.m. ET — Eager to streamline the drug development process during the pandemic, researchers, pharmaceutical companies and a handful of start-ups have started virtual clinical trials, also known as remote or decentralized trials. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration helped clear the path to virtual trials in March by issuing guidelines for these types of clinical studies.

Whereas traditional clinical trials require participants to make frequent in-person visits to a clinic or hospital, virtual trials can allow researchers to recruit patients, gain consent, administer treatment, monitor safety and collect data without the subjects ever leaving home.

According to research firm GlobalData, more than 1,100 clinical trials across the U.S. and Europe had been disrupted as of May 20.The new approach brings attention to the time and expense of the traditional model. The average cost of bringing a new drug to market has been estimated to be as high as $2.6 billion, with two-thirds of the cost going to clinical trials — about 90% of which end in failure. —Lori Ioannou

Kentucky Derby to take place with spectators and safety measures

Riders cross the finish line at the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4th, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Ian Johsnon | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images

10:01 a.m. ET — Spectators will be able to attend the 146th Kentucky Derby, with safety provisions for Covid-19 in place, Churchill Downs Racetrack announced after consultation with Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and state public health officials.

The race is set to be held Sept. 5 and will take place with reduced venue capacity. Guests will be encouraged to socially distance, wash their hands frequently and wear a face covering at all times unless in their reserved seat, according to a press release.

“The impact of the Kentucky Derby extends well beyond the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs,” the racetrack’s president, Kevin Flanery, said in the release. “It is an incredibly important time for the City of Louisville and the Commonwealth of Kentucky both culturally, economically and with respect to our time-honored traditions. Both employees and guests are asked to take an active role in following all guidelines. We must all do our part to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.” —Suzanne Blake

Cowboys-Steelers Hall of Fame Game will be postponed to 2021 due to Covid-19

9:48 a.m. ET — Pro Football Hall of Fame officials are expected to announce the postponement of the Aug. 6 Hall of Fame Game due to Covid-19, a source told CNBC.

The contest was set to feature the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers in the opening preseason game for the 2020 season. Hall of Fame officials are also expected to postpone the Hall’s enshrinement ceremony until next year.

The National Football League will have a conference call on Thursday to discuss planning around the opening of training camps next month, as the league continues to monitor the pandemic. The league is also in talks with the National Football Players Association and health specialists on ways to lower risk of exposure to the coronavirus. —Jabari Young

Macy’s to cut 3,900 corporate jobs in restructuring

A view outside Macy’s Herald Square during the coronavirus pandemic on May 13, 2020 in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

9:32 a.m. ET — Macy’s announced it is cutting 3,900 corporate jobs — or 3% of its total workforce — to reduce costs as it struggles with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The department store chain said it expects to save about $365 million through the layoffs in fiscal 2020. It said it will save roughly $630 million on an annualized basis. 

“We know that we will be a smaller company for the foreseeable future, and our cost base will continue to reflect that moving forward,” CEO Jeff Gennette said in a statement. Macy’s is set to report its final first-quarter earnings on July 1, having already released preliminary figures. —Lauren Thomas

Target adds fresh, frozen foods to same-day services as more customers shop online

A Target store employee collects shopping carts to bring back into the store on August 21, 2019 in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

9:20 a.m. ET — Target customers can soon buy fresh and frozen groceries online and pick them up the same day at a nearby store.

The national retailer already has same-day services that allow customers to pick up online purchases like paper towels and canned goods in stores or through curbside pickup. Now, it’s adding hundreds of items like milk, bread and frozen vegetables to the offering.

It will have an expanded assortment at over 400 stores by the end of the month and more than 1,500 stores by the holidays. That’s roughly 80% of its 1,871 stores nationwide.

Target already planned to add the items, but that’s taken on new urgency as more Americans — and more of its customers — look for safer ways to shop during the pandemic.

In the retailer’s fiscal first quarter, use of its same-day services, including its home grocery delivery service Shipt, grew by 278%. —Melissa Repko

Initial jobless claims disappoint at 1.48 million, but total claims improve

8:51 a.m. ET — The Labor Department’s jobless report came in worst than expected as 1.48 million Americans filed for state unemployment benefits during the week ended June 20, marking the 14th straight week that filings remained above 1 million.

Economists polled by Dow Jones had expected first-time applications to total 1.35 million.

Though the weekly number did disappoint, the total number of those receiving benefits continued to fall. Total recipients of unemployment benefits, or continuing claims, fell by 767,000 to 19.52 million. —Thomas Franck, Jeff Cox

Olive Garden parent’s sales fall 43% in its latest quarter

8:44 a.m. ET — Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille, said that its fiscal fourth quarter revenue fell 43% as the pandemic weighed on sales.

The company’s same-store sales fell 47.7% across all of its brands in the quarter ended May 31.

But Darden expects business to pick up during its fiscal first quarter as dining rooms reopen. The company is projecting that its total sales will be about 70% of year-ago totals.

Shares of the company were up about 2% in premarket trading. —Amelia Lucas

Chuck E. Cheese’s parent company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

A sign is posted in front of a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in Newark, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

8:39 a.m. ET — CEC Entertainment, the parent company of Chuck E. Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after pandemic-induced closures upended its business.

In the quarter ended March 29, which is typically its busiest time of the year, same-store sales fell 21.9%.

The company, which is owned by private equity firm Apollo Global Management, will continue reopening locations throughout the bankruptcy process. Nearly half of its company-owned locations have reopened as of Wednesday.

CEC Entertainment said that it expects to use the bankruptcy process to continue talking with its financial stakeholders and landlords to restructure its balance sheet. —Amelia Lucas

More consumers are ordering breakfast online

A delivery man wears a protective face mask while riding a bicycle in Kips Bay during the coronavirus pandemic on May 5, 2020 in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

8:35 a.m. ET — Consumers nearly doubled their spending on fast-food breakfast items ordered through third-party delivery services between the weeks of March 16 and April 13, Edison Trends found.

Delivery services have provided an alternative for at-home breakfast amid the coronavirus pandemic, even as fast-food chains see overall decreases in segment sales.

Edison Trends found consumers have spent more on McDonald’s for breakfast than any other fast-food chain. Starbucks and Dunkin’ have also seen upticks in breakfast sales since the pandemic began. Read more about order-in breakfast from CNBC’s Amelia Lucas. —Alex Harring

Sotheby’s auction will test art market during coronavirus

8:27 a.m. ET — The global art market will be tested for the first time amid the Covid-19 pandemic on Monday as Sotheby’s auctions off more than $300 million worth of art, including a single work for $60 million, CNBC’s Robert Frank reports.

Bidders will not be able to see the artwork in person, given visitor rules at Sotheby’s New York headquarters, but they will participate in a virtual live auction with telephone and online bidding and an auctioneer in London.

“We’ve been incredibly impressed over the last three months, despite all of the contextual backdrop, just how resilient the market has been,” said Sotheby’s CEO Charles Stewart. “I would say that in many ways, we’re seeing actually increased engagement from our collectors.”

Since March, Sotheby’s has successfully held more than 100 online sales, compared with 40 sales in the same period in 2019. New features to Sotheby’s mobile app include an augmented reality tool so users can virtually place a painting on their wall. —Suzanne Blake

LabCorp launches new antibody test

Adam Schechter, president and CEO of LabCorp, speaks about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, April 27, 2020, in Washington, as President Donald Trump and Stephen Rusckowski, CEO of Quest Diagnostics. listen.

Alex Brandon | AP

7:35 a.m. ET — LabCorp announced a new test that can be used to assess the capacity of antibodies in patients’ plasma to combat the coronavirus.

The plasma from recovered patients is being explored as a potential treatment for the disease. Information from the new test could be used in the development of Covid-19 vaccines, the diagnostics manufacturer said. LabCorp said the antibody test will be available to bio-pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, blood banks and other plasma-screening facilities.

“By leveraging our drug development and diagnostic capabilities, we are working tirelessly to find solutions to prevent and treat Covid-19,” Paul Kirchgraber, head of LabCorp’s drug development business, said in a statement Thursday. “The launch of this neutralizing antibody assay is the latest effort in our company’s commitment to accelerate the evaluation of vaccine candidates so that a successful candidate may reach patients sooner.” —Holly Ellyatt

WHO has ‘all the support we need,’ chief says

Director-General of the WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, attends a news conference on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Geneva, Switzerland February 11, 2020.

Denis Balibouse | Reuters

7:12 a.m. ET — The World Health Organization said it is getting all the political and financial support it needs. The comments came at a news conference in Geneva, where France and Germany expressed support for the United Nations agency and Germany announced more than €250 million ($280 million) in new funding for the agency.

Germany also said it would donate medical equipment to the WHO for distribution to countries with shortages, Germany’s minister of health Jens Spahn said, though the new funding and donations are still contingent on parliamentary approval.

“Including this medical equipment, the German Ministry of Health will be providing more than 500 million, more than half a billion euros, to WHO this year,” Spahn said. “This is the highest amount ever we have contributed to the WHO in one year.”

The announcement comes nearly a month after U.S. President Donald Trump announced the U.S., the WHO’s biggest funder, would cut ties with the WHO out of discontent with its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re getting today all the support we need, political and financial, as has been said,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. —Will Feuer

Read CNBC’s previous coronavirus live coverage here: Eiffel Tower reopens to tourists; Disney delays reopening for California parks

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