Israel saw a resurgence of Covid-19 after reopening too quickly
Professor Yair Ein-Eli takes part in a demonstration of a reusable face mask that his research team says can disinfect itself and kill the coronavirus, Haifa, northern Israel.
Amir Cohen | Reuters
Israel was ready to declare victory when it came to its handling of the Covid-19 crisis back in mid-April. But the story doesn’t end there.
Israel may have reopened too quickly, critics say, and the country is now seeing a major resurgence of cases. Many Israelis say its “second phase” is far worse than its first, and pubs, pools and gyms are starting to shut down once again.
We spoke to a range of citizens and experts to hear their perspective about what’s gone well in Israel so far — namely its bioinformatics and its early shutdown — and where it could improve. —Christina Farr
CDC says masks could bring the virus under control
If every American wore a mask, it could bring the coronavirus under control in as little as one to two months, said Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Redfield’s comments came after the CDC published a study earlier Tuesday that said policymakers should consider requiring face coverings to reduce the spread of the coronavirus after studying two Missouri hair stylists who had Covid-19 but didn’t pass it on to their clients.
“The time is now,” Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said during an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association’s Dr. Howard Bauchner. “I think if we could get everybody to wear a mask right now I think in four, six, eight weeks we could bring this epidemic under control.”
In the same interview, Redfield also said the current surge in new cases is probably not due to states reopening efforts, but speculated that it could have been sparked by Northerners who traveled South during the week of the Memorial Day holiday. —Will Feuer
Moderna vaccine produced ‘robust’ immune response in all patients, company says
A potential coronavirus vaccine from Moderna produced a “robust” immune response in all 45 patients in its early stage human trial, according to newly released data published in the peer-reviewed New England Journal of Medicine.
In May, the company released preliminary information from its early stage trial, but it lacked all of the data and it hadn’t been peer-reviewed yet. The newly released data provides more promising information that the vaccine may give some protection against the virus.
Earlier in the day, Moderna announced it would begin its late-stage trial for its vaccine on July 27. The trial will enroll 30,000 participants across 87 locations, according to ClinicalTrials.gov.
The effort by Moderna is one of several working toward a potential vaccine for Covid-19. More than 100 vaccines are under development globally, according to the World Health Organization. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
RNC considers outdoor convention amid spiking Florida cases
A spike in coronavirus cases in Florida has pushed Republican National Convention organizers to consider hosting the August event outdoors, a committee spokesperson said.
The deliberation comes as officials have been grappling with numerous logistical changes, from moving the venue to holding the convention over the course of months. Health experts have found Covid-19 to be less likely to spread outdoors.
“We are planning for multiple scenarios and various health precautions,” said an RNC spokesperson. “We had already contracted with several venues around the Vystar, including multiple outdoor venues.” —Yelena Dzhanova
Vox Media preparing layoffs as advertising revenue slumps, sources say
Jim Bankoff, Chairman and CEO of Vox Media
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Vox Media is preparing layoffs after furloughing about 100 employees in April as part of virus-related cost cutting, according to people familiar with the matter.
Many of the furloughed workers who have not taken buyout packages will be affected, though some new cuts are also likely, the people said. Vox’s revenue fell 40% short of internal forecasts for the second-quarter and is on pace to fall 25% below forecast for the year.
Vox executives are meeting with unions this week to discuss alternative cost cuts and hope to have a resolution by Friday. Vox has about 1,200 employees and owns media websites including SBNation, Curbed, Eater, The Verge and New York Magazine. —Alex Sherman
Best Buy requires customers to wear masks
A customer has a new television delivered to his vehicle at a Best Buy store on March 23, 2020 in Melrose Park, Illinois. Best Buy has closed all of it retail stores to shoppers to help curtail the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), but allows customers to place orders online or by using the Best Buy app and have the merchandise delivered to their vehicle at the front of the store.
Scott Olson | Getty Images
Before Best Buy customers step into stores, they’ll now have to put on a mask or face covering.
Starting Wednesday, the company will require shoppers to wear masks in an effort to keep customers, communities and employees safe, Best Buys said in a news release.
Best Buy is joining other retailers, including Costco and Apple, that already require face coverings. The big-box retailer will provide a mask if a customer does not have one, and it said customers can continue to shop in other ways, such as curbside pick-up or at-home delivery.
Best Buy previously stopped short of mandating the face coverings but encouraged their use. The company’s CEO Corie Barry said in May that customers largely complied, but employees also dealt with customers who didn’t want to wear masks and were “scared, frustrated and occasionally hostile.” —Melissa Repko
Mall owners are renting out their parking lots during virus shutdowns
A drive-in movie theater is set up in the parking lot of Brookfield’s Park Meadows mall in Lone Tree, Colorado, right outside of Denver.
Mall owners are finding creative ways to use their parking lots during the coronavirus pandemic, even setting up the empty expanses as sources of revenue — welcome at a time when some retailers inside the mall are closing for good or skipping rent.
Brookfield Properties has inked a deal with the entertainment company Kilburn Live to turn the parking lots at a number of its U.S. malls into drive-in theaters, hosting movies and virtual concerts. Kilburn acts as a tenant to Brookfield, just like Macy’s or Nike, and pays rent to occupy the space outside. Michelle Snyder, the chief marketing officer of Brookfield’s retail arm, said the mall owner has plenty of other ideas in the pipeline.
Other mall parking lots across the country are hosting food trucks, serving as Covid-19 testing sites and serving as curbside pickup destinations, among other uses. Some of these solutions could become permanent, especially if the pandemic lasts longer than expected and consumers remain cautious to visit enclosed spaces. —Lauren Thomas
What to do if you’ve lost your health insurance
More than 5.4 million people who were laid off from their jobs amid the pandemic are now uninsured, according to a new study by Families USA, an advocacy group. For comparison, 3.9 million people became uninsured in the Great Recession between 2008 and 2009.
Getting health coverage on your own can be complicated and expensive. Generally, newly laid off and uninsured people will have three ways to get coverage: COBRA, the Affordable Care Act subsidized marketplace or a public plan like Medicaid or Medicare.
Here’s how to figure out what’s best for you. —Annie Nova
Delta takes a $2 billion charge during pandemic over forays into foreign airlines
Delta Air Lines‘ longtime strategy of taking stakes in foreign carriers is backfiring in the pandemic. The Atlanta-based carrier said it took more than $2 billion in charges in the second quarter because of those soured investments, including in LATAM and Aeromexico, two airlines that recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It also took a $200 million charge for turmoil at partner Virgin Atlantic.
Delta said that the governments in these airlines’ home countries didn’t provide financial support like the $50 billion in loans and direct federal aid set aside for U.S. airlines.
“While each of these is disappointing, none of our partners’ home countries were prepared to provide governmental financial support similar to what the U.S. Treasury did with the CARES Act which necessitated their decisions to restructure,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in an earnings call Tuesday. —Leslie Josephs
U.S. seven-day average of new coronavirus cases surpass 60,000 for the first time
The U.S. surpassed more than 60,000 new coronavirus cases for the first time on Monday, based on an average of new cases per day over the previous seven days, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
More than a third of U.S. states reported record highs in daily new cases, based on a seven-day moving average, according to the data. Twenty states, including Florida and Georgia, broke records on Monday.
When adjusting for population size, Florida now has the fastest growing outbreak in the U.S., followed by Arizona, Louisiana and South Carolina.
The average daily Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in Florida and Arizona are now on par with New York during the height of its epidemic in April, according to the CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data.
However, some public officials warn that the increased testing capacity could be skewing those numbers. New York wasn’t able to do nearly as much testing in April as many states do now. —Jasmine Kim, Nate Rattner
Pelosi would cancel House’s August break to pass a coronavirus relief bill
Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that she would delay or cancel the House’s August recess if needed to approve another coronavirus relief bill.
The House speaker said she would “absolutely” have representatives forego a planned month in their districts in order to approve more aid as the pandemic rampages in southern and western states. To pass an aid package before the end of the month, the Democratic-held House and Republican-controlled Senate will have to resolve several major issues including the expiring $600 per week federal unemployment benefit, aid for state and local governments and GOP plans to give doctors and businesses liability protections.
As the U.S. unemployment rate stands above 11%, millions of Americans will face a sudden and steep loss of income when the extra jobless benefit expires at the end of the month. Pelosi also aims to pass assistance for renters and homeowners as moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures start to expire around the country.
Both Democrats and Republicans back another round of direct payments to individuals. But the GOP could support setting a lower income threshold for receiving a stimulus check than Democrats would. — Jacob Pramuk
Top infectious disease experts lend support to Fauci
Thomas M. File, Jr., president of the Infectious Disease Society of America, said in an issued statement that efforts to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the leading voices in the country’s response to the coronavirus, “at this perilous moment are disturbing.”
The White House has tried to distance itself from and discredit Fauci over the weekend, saying “several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things,” according to a statement first reported by The Washington Post.
“Knowledge changes over time. That is to be expected,” File said in his statement in support of Fauci.
Meanwhile, four former heads of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chastised U.S. leaders for politicizing the country’s Covid-19 response. In an op-ed in The Washington Post, the former CDC directors, who served under both Democrat and Republican presidents, wrote that the U.S. faces “two opponents” in its efforts to reopen the country: Covid-19 and politicians and others attempting to undermine the CDC. — Noah Higgins-Dunn
Marc Benioff says if everyone in the U.S. wore masks for 3 weeks ‘we would not have any more coronavirus’
Marc Benioff, the Salesforce co-founder and chief executive, told CNBC’s “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer that universal face mask use could end the coronavirus in the United States within a few weeks.
“Masks are so important,” Benioff said. “If everyone in the United States wore a mask for 3 weeks — just 3 weeks — we would not have any more coronavirus, because there would be no more spread, but people do not want to wear masks.”
Benioff and Cramer came together to sponsor the Next-Gen Mask Challenge, launched by pandemic response coalition XPRIZE Pandemic Alliance. The eight-month challenge offers a $1 million prize divided to three teams that can design a face mask that the public will wear, CNBC’s Tyler Clifford reports. —Suzanne Blake
Moderna will start late-stage vaccine trial in two weeks
Moderna, which is working with the National Institutes of Health, will start its late-stage trial testing if a potential Covid-19 vaccine on July 27, according to a new posting published on ClinicalTrials.gov. The trial will enroll 30,000 participants, some of whom will receive a placebo.
In May, the company released data from its early-stage trial, which showed the vaccine produced neutralizing antibodies, which researchers believe is necessary to build immunity to the virus, in at least eight participants. The vaccine also produced an immune response in all participants.
The effort by Moderna is one of several working on a potential vaccine for Covid-19, which continues to rapidly spread across the globe. More than 100 vaccines are under development globally, according to the World Health Organization. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
New York governor adds four states to travel advisory
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that four additional states — Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin — have met the state’s travel advisory metrics and travelers from those states will be ordered to quarantine for 14 days, according to a statement from Cuomo’s office.
There are now 22 states on New York’s travel advisory, which was signed alongside the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut, according to the statement. Delaware has been removed from the list.
The quarantine applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average, according to the order. Cuomo announced Monday that the state would ramp up its enforcement of the order, stationing “enforcement teams” at the state’s airports and Port Authority in New York City. — Noah Higgins-Dunn
Qantas is set to cut nearly all its international flights until March 2021
Qantas Airways is effectively cutting nearly all its international flights until March 2021, changes to the airline’s inventory reveal. Australia’s flagship carrier will only maintain a few flights to New Zealand, which are currently still grounded until mid-August of this year.
The airline has removed inventory for all its international routes beyond New Zealand, a move that typically precedes cancellation.
Qantas in March announced the suspension of all international flights until October, a grounding period that now looks to be extended to a full year — and could still extend further as the coronavirus pandemic continues to batter air travel. The airline’s stock price has fallen just over 50% year to date.
The airline announced in June that it was retiring its six Boeing 747 planes immediately, six months before initially planned, slashing 20% of its staff, and grounding its double-decker Airbus A380s for the next three years. —Natasha Turak
Small biopharma company NanoViricides see stock fall in wake of CNBC report
As the virus was spreading in China, small biopharma company NanoViricides, began a press tour claiming to be close to clinical trials for a treatment for Covid-19.
“What we have built is actually a Venus flytrap for viruses,” Anil Diwan, NanoViricides’ president and chairman, said in an interview with Fox Business on Jan. 23.
The media appearances and press releases started in late January, sometimes appearing to send the stock soaring. When asked in the interview if that was reality, Diwan conceded it was not yet.
Investors took note. The news sent NanoViricides’ stock briefly soaring from under $4 to nearly $17 per share. In the wake of CNBC’s report that was published this morning, the stock plunged more than 10% to below $7.
NanoViricides is a 15-year-old drug development company based in Shelton, Connecticut, with a market cap of more than $77 million on Monday.
However, investors may be leery of the company’s history. CNBC found that this coronavirus isn’t the first time the company’s stock has shot up during a global health scare apparently due to press releases.
The company has made announcements about drug developments during other global health scares, such as Ebola, bird flu and swine flu (H1N1). Each time, the company’s stock appeared to rise on the news before falling.
How has the company stayed in business without any revenue? It appears mostly to be from issuing new shares of stock for investors.
On Jan. 24, the day after the first appearance by Diwan on Fox Business, the company announced it closed a public offering of 2.5 million shares of stock.
Despite the press releases and media appearances on coronavirus, Diwan said in an email in February the company is focused on a different disease.
“Our priority remains our lead drug candidate for the treatment of shingles rash. … We have limited resources that we must judiciously prioritize towards making our drug development programs successful,” he said in that email. “We are performing activities for the coronavirus project solely from a humanitarian perspective.”
Vyas confirmed by email in late April that this remained correct. The company has not responded to CNBC’s follow-up questions. —Jennifer Schlesinger
Virus pushes Delta, Wells Fargo to rare quarterly losses
Travelers wear face coverings while standing at a Delta self check-in kiosk at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images
Delta posted a second-quarter loss of $5.7 billion, the airline’s largest since 2008. Air travel demand all but halted during at the peak of coronavirus shutdowns, causing Delta and other carriers to slash flight schedules and burn through cash.
Wells Fargo’s second-quarter net loss of $2.4 billion marks the bank’s first since the financial crisis. The company set aside $8.4 billion in loan loss reserves tied to the coronavirus pandemic and slashed its dividend from 51 cents a share to just 10 cents.
For more on how corporate earnings are faring during Covid-19, click here. —Sara Salinas
3M partners with MIT on rapid, cheap antigen test
The current U.S. testing capacity has struggled to keep up with the surge in demand driven by expanding outbreaks in a number of states, including Florida, Texas and California. Rapid, affordable and accurate antigen tests could help quickly detect new infections and target public health interventions.
Antigen tests can be more quickly processed and are less dependent on the global supply chain than so-called PCR diagnostic tests, which are seen as the most accurate screening strategy currently available. Antigen tests are typically less sensitive than PCR tests, which means they can result in false negatives that misdiagnose someone who actually has an active infection.
“The biggest challenge in the outbreak is identifying who is infectious,” Hadley Sikes, the lead researcher of the MIT team, told CNBC. “Trying to figure out who is infectious and having them isolate. That’s really what we need.” —Will Feuer
Immunity might wane after just two months, U.K. study finds
Researchers at Kings College London (KCL) in the U.K. have found that antibody responses to the coronavirus tend to peak three weeks after the initial onset of symptoms, but then begin to decline after as little as two or three months afterwards meaning that immunity to the virus could be short-lived.
The study, led by Dr. Katie Doores from KCL’s School of Immunology & Microbial Sciences, examined the antibody levels of over 90 patients, health-care workers and staff at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS foundation trust, which runs several London hospitals, between March and June.
While 60% of the people in the study had a “potent” level of antibodies an average of 23 days after the first onset of symptoms, that figure dropped to 16.7% of those tested 65 days after the first signs of symptoms.
Doores said that further research is needed to determine the level of antibodies required for protection from infection.
“We need to continue to measure antibody responses in these individuals to see if antibody titres continue to drop or plateau to a steady state,” she said. Antibody titres refer to the presence, and amount, of antibodies within a person’s blood. —Holly Ellyatt
Hong Kong reports 48 new cases as city battles new cluster
Hong Kong reported 48 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday as the city continues to grapple with a new cluster of infections, many of which are tied to a series of restaurants, according to the city’s health authorities, Reuters reported.
“Half of the reported cases today have unknown sources. It is very worrying because the cases can spread easily in the community,” said Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, a senior health official, according to Reuters.
On Monday, The Center for Health Protection of the Department of Health announced 52 new confirmed cases. The health agency identified the restaurants that the clusters are believed to be tied to and encouraged people who had recently visited them to seek out testing. All residents of the buildings of infected people were given supplies to collect their own samples to be tested. The city has now reported 1,570 total cases.
In response to the spreading infections, Hong Kong will implement new, harsh restrictions on gatherings that take effect at midnight, local time. The new restrictions require masks on public transportation, prohibit restaurants from providing dine-in service, and limit gatherings to four people. —Will Feuer
Read CNBC’s previous coronavirus live coverage here: California’s two largest school districts to return online in the fall