CDC director says there’s no data children drive coronavirus spread — but the U.S. isn’t testing many kids
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence leads a White House coronavirus disease (COVID-19) task force briefing with Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, at the U.S. Education Department in Washington, U.S., July 8, 2020.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield said Tuesday there’s no evidence that children drive the spread of the coronavirus, but that’s likely because the U.S. hasn’t tested enough kids to know one way or the other.
“We really don’t have evidence that children are driving the transmission cycle of this,” Redfield said at a White House Task Force briefing to address school reopenings.
It’s a point that was also cited at a White House event Tuesday on school reopenings by American Academy of Pediatrics President Sally Goza, who said, “children are less likely to become infected and they are less likely to spread infection.”
But there’s not enough data to arrive at that conclusion, White House health advisor Dr. Deborah Birx said later in the briefing on Wednesday. She said U.S. data is incomplete, because the country has not been testing enough children to conclude how widespread the virus is among people younger than 18 and whether they are spreading the virus to others.
The question of whether kids might be a driver of transmission is key, especially as local officials decide whether and how to reopen schools in the fall. President Donald Trump has been mounting pressure on officials to reopen schools for in-person learning in the fall even as the country grapples with the largest outbreak in the world. And while kids appear to be less likely to get severely sick from Covid-19, their role in the broader spread of the virus is unknown.
“I think it really comes to the evidence base of what do we have as far as testing in children,” Birx said Wednesday, addressing a question about whether kids spread the virus. “So if you look across all of the tests that we’ve done, and when we have the age, the portion that has been the lowest tested portion is the under-ten-year-olds.”
Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention speaks while U.S. President Donald Trump listens during the daily briefing of the coronavirus task force at the White House on April 22, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images
Testing resources have been tight in the U.S. since the first Covid-19 patients in the U.S. was identified in late January. As a result, severely sick people and those who have symptoms have been prioritized to be tested. CDC data indicates that younger and otherwise healthy people are less likely to become sick or develop Covid-19 symptoms, so the U.S. hasn’t tested many of them, Birx said.
“Remember, early on, we said test if you have symptoms and now we know that if you’re under 18, the majority of you don’t have symptoms,” Birx said, explaining the lack of data on children in the U.S. “Our data is skewed originally to people with symptoms, and then skewed to adults over 18, so we are looking very closely into that category by using our antibody test.”
Antibody tests are used to determine whether someone has previously been infected with the coronavirus. Large-scale antibody tests are used to determine how prevalent the virus has circulated throughout a given community. It has been used by scientists to study how many people, both with and without symptoms, have been infected with the virus in hard-hit cities like New York.
Representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were not immediately available to return CNBC’s inquiry on whether the agency is conducting a widespread antibody survey among minors.
While proponents of aggressively reopening schools say the coronavirus does not present a major health risk to most kids, others worry that kids in packed school buildings could become infected and spread the virus to parents, who may be more susceptible to severe illness.
White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was not present at Wednesday’s briefing, has previously said that even though children don’t appear to be as vulnerable as older people, kids can still become extremely sick and even die from Covid-19.
“Even though the incidence is less of serious complications, we are now getting multiple examples of young people who are getting sick, getting hospitalized and some of them even requiring intensive care. The death rate is lower. I admit that,” Fauci said during a live-streamed event with Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama.
“Even if you do not get any symptoms and you do perfectly well, by getting infected, by allowing yourself to get infected because of risky behavior, you are part of the propagation of the outbreak, so you are part of the problem,” he added.
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci (L) speaks as Response coordinator for White House Coronavirus Task Force Deborah Birx looks on during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on March 31, 2020, in Washington, DC.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
The inconclusive remarks come as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on local officials to reopen schools even as the U.S. continues to report record-breaking spikes in daily new cases.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump tweeted that he disagrees with the CDC’s guidelines on reopening schools safely in the fall, calling them tough and expensive. Vice President Mike Pence said at the briefining Wednesday the agency will release revised guidelines in the coming weeks.
The CDC published guidelines in May for what schools ought to consider in how to bring students back into buildings. The guidance recommends more frequent and intensive cleanings, distancing students, closing communal areas and more. That could mean asking schools to hire more staff and invest in re-fitting school buildings, which could weigh especially heavily on districts with less funding.
Trump’s tweet about the guidelines comes one day after he vowed to pressure state officials and educators into reopening schools — even as several states continue to grapple with rapidly expanding outbreaks.
“We’re very much going to put pressure on the governors and the schools to reopen,” Trump said at a White House event Tuesday on school reopenings. “Open your schools in the fall,” the president told state officials and school teachers in attendance.
Schools across the country closed early for the year when the virus hit the U.S. hard in March, moving from in-person learning to distance, or virtual, learning. However, educators have emphasized that virtual learning is disruptive to student growth and many students depend on their schools as a safe environment and source of meals.
Our work-from-home ETF could have staying power beyond the pandemic, Direxion’s head of product says
Work-from-home stocks are working.
The Direxion Work From Home ETF (WFH) has been attracting investors since its June 25 launch, a testament to the rising interest in offerings based on the new normal brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
David Mazza, head of product at Direxion, told CNBC’s “ETF Edge” on Monday that WFH has seen “a significant increase in assets and trading volume as investors begin to embrace the fact that it’s not just about stay-at-home trades or work-from-home trades.”
The fund has climbed more than 5% since its launch. Its top 10 holdings are as follows:
“This is a long-term theme that’s beginning to play out in the market, and by that I mean societal acceptance of having greater remote work and the ability to work from anywhere,” Mazza said. “The names … in this portfolio cover four technological pillars that are driving the ability for people to work from home.”
- The first pillar is cloud technology, represented in Direxion’s fund by tech giants Microsoft and Amazon, which both have growing cloud-computing businesses, Mazza said.
- The second pillar is cybersecurity, which folds in stocks such as Fortinet and Okta.
- The third pillar is “project and document management,” Mazza said, citing holdings such as Box and Dropbox.
- The fourth and possibly most relevant pillar is remote communications, which accounts for high-profile holdings such as Zoom Video, but also lesser-known names including 8×8 and Twilio, Mazza said. He added that Twilio is helping facilitate New York City’s Covid-19 contact-tracing initiative.
“Many of these might not displace a Microsoft or displace an Amazon just because of their influence and pervasiveness across so many pillars that we use as consumers,” Mazza acknowledged. “But I think the broader point is that when we begin to think about what are the themes that are going to have legs in the new normal, to me, one of those is all the potential … to empower us to be productive, to be efficient, whether that’s working partially in an office, collaborating with people that are socially distanced from us there or collaborating where some of us are in the office, some of us are at our homes or some of us may be other places.”
Tom Lydon, the CEO of ETF Trends and ETF Database, said in the same interview that investing in stay-at-home stocks is “definitely not a fad.”
“Everybody in America and around the world is embracing technology, and stocks are benefiting from that,” he said. “Some of these stocks you maybe have never heard before, but the ETF companies like Direxion do a great job in talking about the underlying stocks and, really, why they might be different from other holdings that you have in your portfolio.”
Lydon called attention to the market’s near-obsession with the FAANG names, the longtime acronym for the stocks of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet. Along with Microsoft, the six are heavily represented across indexes and ETFs given their massive market caps.
“The question is: What are the future FAANG stocks going to be?” Lydon said, adding that the equal-weighted S&P 500 is now down more than 12% year to date, a sign that big-cap names are responsible for the broader index staying afloat in 2020. The S&P 500, which is market cap-weighted, is down nearly 3% for the year.
“It’s been those big stocks that have kind of carried the day, but there are also other stocks that are growing that haven’t yet made it into those indexes,” Lydon said. “So, we have opportunities with these new creative ETFs that are out there.”
WFH climbed 1% on Wednesday. In mid-June, BlackRock filed for its own thematic ETF called the iShares Virtual Work and Life Multisector ETF, though it has not yet disclosed any holdings.
New York City public schools won’t fully reopen for its 1.1 million students this fall, Mayor de Blasio says
A teacher collects personal belongings and supplies needed to continue remote teaching through the end of the school year at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 on June 09, 2020 in New York City.
Michael Loccisano | Getty Images
New York City public schools, the nation’s largest school system, won’t fully reopen this fall as the city tries to keep the coronavirus epidemic under control, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.
The district, which has 1.1 million students, will use a combination of in-person class and remote learning, he said. The “vast majority” of students will attend in-person class for two or three days each week, de Blasio said.
“Basically, this blended model — this kind of split schedule model — is what we can do under current conditions,” de Blasio said, citing the need to maintain social distancing. “And then, let’s hope and pray science helps us out with a vaccine, with a cure, treatment, the things that will allow us to go farther.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) speaks at a press conference about COVID-19.
Michael Brochstein | Barcroft Media | Getty Images
De Blasio’s announcement comes as school districts across the U.S. develop plans for learning this fall, after the Covid-19 outbreak forced many to shift to online teaching in March. Although the nation continues to grapple with rising coronavirus cases, the fate the upcoming school year has come into focus for its importance to both the development of students and its role in aiding the U.S. economic recovery.
President Donald Trump has been pushing districts to fully reopen, threatening earlier Wednesday to withhold federal funding from schools that do not resume in-person classes this fall.
Richard Carranza, chancellor of the city’s Department of Education, stressed that students will be learning five days a week. But, he said, proper social distancing cannot be maintained if every student attend in-person class each day.
“It’s just geographically, physically not possible,” he said. “Health and safety requires us to have fewer students in the building at the same time, so for the 2020-21 school year it will look different.”
De Blasio acknowledged the challenges associated with remote learning, saying he understood it is “not perfect.”
“But we’ve also seen a lot kids benefit gratefully from it during these last months, and we know we’ll be able to do it even better in the months ahead,” he said.
Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line have hired a panel of top health advisers to help overcome the “rough patch” caused when coronavirus outbreaks on ships brought the industry to a standstill, Norwegian CEO Frank Del Rio said Tuesday.
The two cruise companies — and fierce rivals — created a joint panel of former public health officials and top epidemiologists to advise the companies on how to safely return to operations, they announced Monday. The recommendations will also be aimed at changing minds at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has previously identified cruising as a source of spread of the virus.
On March 14, the CDC issued a no-sail order for cruise ships that it later extended until July 24. It currently advises people against taking a cruise and says passengers who return to the U.S. should quarantine at home for 14 days.
“Because of the unprecedented nature of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 on cruise ships, the US government is advising US travelers to defer all cruise travel,” the CDC says on its website. The CDC said Covid-19 “appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships and boats.”
The panel is co-chaired by former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb and former Utah governor Mike Leavitt, who served as secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush. Other members of the panel include infectious disease specialist Dr. Michael Osterholm and former CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding.
“We have been in contact with the CDC. The panel has been in contact with the CDC,” Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain told CNBC’s Seema Mody in an interview Tuesday on “Squawk on the Street.” “They’re well aware of it and they have reacted warmly to it, so I’m actually quite positive that we’re doing exactly what we should do.”
Richard Fain Royal Caribbean Cruises | Chairman & CEO
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
The cruise companies are splitting the compensation costs for the “brain trust,” as Fain called it, Royal Caribbean spokesman Jonathon Fishman told CNBC. The panel began meeting in June, the companies said Monday in a statement, and will present their recommendations by August.
The cruise industry, which has been slammed by the coronavirus pandemic that’s brought global travel to a standstill, faces a challenging task: adding safety measures that will convince customers and regulators that companies can keep people safe. Experts say finding the right balance is tricky yet critical to the cruise lines winning the approval of the CDC and at the same time, retaining their loyal customer base.
“We’re looking to establish protocols that protect the health of our guests and crew and do so without undermining what makes the cruising so special,” Fain said Tuesday. “It will be different.”
It’s still unclear exactly how cruising might change and if sailing will be able to resume in mid-September, which the companies are currently targeting. The panel “has only just started on the process,” Fain said. Norwegian’s Del Rio said “early on, some conclusions were jumped to that perhaps are not valid today.”
Fain said the buffet that so many vacationers have grown to love will likely not include self-serve options and instead rely on a crew member. According to industry experts, other changes being considered include face masks on board and doctor’s notes for passengers above the age of 70.
Frank Del Rio, CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
One of the earliest outbreaks of the virus outside of China, where the virus emerged, took place on a cruise ship near Japan in February. Since then, the virus has spread aboard a number of other ships, leading to onboard deaths in at least one case.
The CDC’s no-sail order says “cruise ship travel exacerbates the global spread of Covid-19 and that the scope of this pandemic is inherently and necessarily a problem that is international and interstate in nature and has not been controlled sufficiently by the cruise ship industry or individual State or local health authorities.”
Last month, the Cruise Lines International Association, a trade association that represents all three publicly traded cruise companies, announced that its members would voluntarily extend the suspension of operations out of U.S. ports until Sept. 15. It cited the “the ongoing situation within the U.S.” as a reason for the decision.
Despite the concerns around the role of cruises in the pandemic, Del Rio said bookings for 2021 are “remarkable given the circumstances.”
“This gives me great encouragement that people understand that the virus is all around us and the cruise ship is no exception,” Del Rio said Tuesday. “And as soon as we can provide definitive proof that it is safe to go on a cruise, and that’s what the panel’s mission is, they’ll be back.”
Both executives said this is an opportunity for the companies to adapt to current circumstances rather than totally reinvent what it means to cruise.
“We believe that the long-term viability of this business is intact and we’re going through a rough patch with this virus,” Del Rio said. “But we’re confident that this rough patch will not last forever.”
Carnival Corp., the largest cruise company in the world, is not involved in the health panel. On Monday, the company announced plans to host its own public summit along with the World Travel and Tourism Council to discuss best practices related to containment and mitigation of Covid-19.
As a result of the outbreaks and government pressure to prevent the spread of the virus, most cruise operations around the world have stalled since mid-March. With no source of steady revenue, Carnival, Royal, and Norwegian have sought new sources of cash through issuing new debt and attracting new investors, including the Saudi sovereign wealth fund and private-equity firms.
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.
Thanks to a swelling resurgence in coronavirus cases, the vast majority of Americans are still being forced to work from home and will likely continue doing so for the foreseeable future. So, it was only a matter of time before issuers started orchestrating work-from-home plays in the form of ETFs.
Just two weeks ago, Direxion launched the world’s first work from home ETF (ticker: WFH) — comprised of companies ranging from software, cloud computing and cybersecurity to online videoconferencing and project management. The fund highlights names like Twilio, CrowdStrike and Zoom Video — all companies at the forefront of the global shift to remote productivity. But the fund also offers exposure to names like Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM and Google parent Alphabet.
BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has followed up with its own iShares Virtual Work and Life Multisector ETF — though has yet to disclose any holdings. The BlackRock ETF has been filed with the SEC for approval but hasn’t launched. According to the SEC filing, the fund will seek to track the investment results of an index composed of U.S. and non-U.S. companies that “provide products, services and technologies that empower individuals to work remotely, and support an increasingly virtual way of life across entertainment, wellness and learning.”
It’s safe to say the work-from-home theme draws on similar demand for popular stay-at-home trends like streaming, e-commerce, gaming and sports betting — as shown by the recent launch of the Roundhill Sports Betting and iGaming ETF (ticker: BETZ) – and the outperformance of funds like the VanEck Video Gaming and eSports ETF (ticker: ESPO) and the Amplify Online Retail ETF (ticker: IBUY) — both up roughly 40% so far this year.
Todd Rosenbluth, senior director of ETF and mutual fund research at CFRA, said it should come as no surprise that thematic investing is gaining traction again.
“This time, there’s actually a rotation from individual stock selection and trying to pick a long-term theme and getting the benefits of diversification from ETFs,” he said last week on CNBC’s “ETF Edge.”
He pointed to Direxion’s new launch as an example — saying investors can gain exposure not only to established growth tech titans like Amazon and Alphabet, but also to more targeted companies specifically tied to the work-from-home culture.
With more asset managers flocking to opportunities created by the pandemic, Rosenbluth expects to see many more players in the work-from-home space.
He mentioned investors are also looking to products like the newly minted ETFMG Treatments, Testing and Advancements ETF (ticker: GERM), which tracks biotechnology companies engaged in testing and treating infectious diseases.
“We’re going to see more of these thematic-oriented ETFs in response to the current environment,” Rosenbluth said. “And I think all investors benefit from these choices.”
Bryon Lake, head of Americas ETF distribution at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, agreed — saying such themes speak to the overall flexibility of the ETF wrapper.
“Of course, you’re going to see a lot of the same names keep bubbling back up,” he said in the same “ETF Edge” segment — referring to mega-cap tech titans like Amazon, Apple and Netflix. “But [regardless of] whether that’s quality or whether that’s a thematic work-from-home play, what we do know is that investors like to own what they know.”
As for whether he sees this as a lasting investing trend, Lake said that remains to be seen.
“I think that ties into this whole theme of winners and losers coming out of this crisis,” he said. “And some of those work-from-home companies may benefit over the long term, just given the structural shifts that we’re seeing.”
People stand in queue to enter a restaurant on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, Florida on June 26, 2020.
Chandan Khanna | AFP | Getty Images
The list keeps getting longer.
Governors in Michigan, Florida, Texas, California, Colorado and Arizona are closing thousands of bars again ahead of the Fourth of July weekend as Covid-19 cases in those states surge.
For bar owners, the rollbacks have sown confusion and stress, and threaten the survival of their businesses. Many spent their much-needed cash to reopen, only to close again days or weeks later.
“The stop and start costs thousands of dollars for every business,” said David Kaplan, co-owner of Death & Co, a cocktail lounge with locations in Los Angeles, Denver and New York.
The Texas Bar and Nightclub Association is suing the state over Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to close bars for the second time in three months. Dozens gathered in the Austin to protest the rollback.
As the U.S. sets record highs for new cases in a single day, other states are slowing their efforts to reopen their economies. New Jersey and New York City have both indefinitely postponed the return of indoor dining.
Viral videos posted on social media show consumers packed inside and outside of bars across the country. Meanwhile, several outbreaks have been linked to local bars, including nearly 140 cases in East Lansing, Michigan.
Kaplan said that bars that don’t enforce social distancing measures make it more difficult for the bars and restaurants that are trying to be safe. But the economic pressure of the crisis and limited guidance from government officials also poses a challenge.
“The guidance is so slim, and then the enforcement is kind of nonexistent, so it’s tough,” Kaplan said. “I think most folks, if they’re not doing things well, probably want to or they’re trying, but it’s a totally different way of operating.”
Only the Denver location of Death & Co, which technically operates as a restaurant, is open again. Kaplan’s team spent about $3,500 to reopen the Los Angeles bar before halting plans when cases in California began spiking again. Gov. Gavin Newsom closed bars and indoor dining on Wednesday in 19 counties, including Los Angeles.
“We have to find a middle ground, because if we don’t find a route to open, we face permanent closure,” Kaplan said. “It’s not if and when we feel safe, it’s if and when we feel the risk is at an acceptable level and our team is comfortable to continue the reopening process. It’s a terrible decision honestly.”
Todd Conner, owner of The Offbeat and The Good Nite bars in Los Angeles, said that he was happy to be closed for the safety of the community, but the city made a mistake to reopen bars so soon. Los Angeles cleared bars to reopen on June 19.
“I think they jumped the gun here,” said Conner. “If they had waited, it would have saved me a lot of time and resources — resources that would’ve been better spent when the day does come to reopen.”
When Los Angeles moves to reopen bars for the second time, Conner said that he’ll be proceeding with more caution.
“By all the wishy-washy back and forth and bad decision making, we’re starting to lose faith in the system, that they have our backs here,” he said.
Bars vs. restaurants
Some bar owners criticized the decision to treat bars and restaurants differently, even though many restaurants also serve alcohol to customers.
Todd Quigley owns Craft and Growler, a Dallas-based craft beer bar. While his establishment also serves food, Texas classifies it as a bar. When the state reopened restaurants before bars, his to-go sales went from about half of pre-pandemic levels to about 10%. And now that bars are once again shuttered, that trend is returning — and the money from his Paycheck Protection Program loan has run out.
“If we’re not the same as restaurants, I get killed,” Quigley said, noting that he’s obeyed Covid-19 protocol.
“It’s not a restaurant or bar classification, it’s ownership and management. And you’ve got to shut down the places that don’t do it right,” he added.
In Florida, police officers told several restaurants that they had to close because they had bars, according to Carol Dover, CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.
“Most of the restaurants, unless you’re quick service, will have a bar inside. And so, there was a lot of confusion, on the law enforcement side, that those bars had to be closed,” Dover said.
The rollbacks could also mean furloughing rehired workers. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 11.1% in June, according to the Department of Labor, with the leisure and hospitality sector gaining 2.1 million job — or about 40% of the growth.
“I’ve got to decide, do I stay open at all or not? I’d rather do what I’m doing and keep people off unemployment, but the state of Texas has put me in a very bad position,” Quigley said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a press conference on the coronavirus outbreak at the U.S. Capitol March 11, 2020 in Washington, DC. Schumer and other members of the Democratic caucus called for corporations and employers to offer paid sick leave to all employees following recommended health procedures. Also pictured (L-R) are Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA).
Win McNamee | Getty Images
Senate Democrats unveiled a plan Wednesday that would extend the enhanced unemployment benefit passed to sustain workers displaced by the coronavirus until state unemployment rates fall, when it would be phased out.
Congress approved an additional $600 per week in federal unemployment insurance, on top of what states normally provide, as part of the $2 trillion pandemic rescue package approved in March. The policy has given the millions of workers laid off or furloughed during the outbreak a critical income backstop, but it expires at the end of the month even as the U.S. unemployment rate hovers above 13%.
The Democrats’ plan marks a starting point in talks on an upcoming relief bill with Republicans, who want to let the benefit expire at the end of the month. Democrats say the bill would improve the program by tying additional aid to economic conditions rather than setting an arbitrary date to end it.
The legislation would extend the enhanced insurance through March but reduce the amount beneficiaries receive as the economy recovers. Once a state’s three-month average unemployment rate dips below 11%, the benefit would get cut by $100 for every percentage point the jobless rate falls until it slides below 6%.
For example, a beneficiary would get an extra $500 per week if their state’s average unemployment rate sits between 10% and 11%. Once it drops below 10%, the person’s enhanced benefit would fall to $400 per week.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat who introduced the bill along with Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said letting the benefit expire would mean “millions of American families will have their legs cut out from underneath them at the worst possible time — in the middle of a pandemic when unemployment is higher than it’s been since the Great Depression.”
Republicans have opposed extending the policy. They argue the benefit, which leaves many people making more than they did while working, deters employees from going back to work. Returning is a difficult prospect for many Americans who do not receive hazard pay or guaranteed sick leave during the pandemic.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that “to have the basic protections of unemployment insurance is extremely important and should be continued.” But he called the extra jobless benefit a “mistake.”
Some Senate Republicans and Trump administration officials have supported a back-to-work bonus, potentially paid out weekly. McConnell has said the Senate will consider another coronavirus aid package when it returns from its two-week Fourth of July recess.
The $3 trillion relief bill House Democrats passed in May would extend the enhanced federal unemployment benefit through January.
The June jobs report set for release Thursday will provide a picture of how much the economy recovered as states started to reopen more businesses in recent weeks. Increased risks to Americans’ health and the economy have surfaced in recent days as the pandemic continues to rip across the country.
Coronavirus cases across the U.S. have spiked, forcing states including California, Texas and Florida to pause or roll back their economic reopening plans.
The U.S. has reported more than 2.6 million Covid-19 cases and at least 127,000 deaths related to the disease — easily the highest totals in the world, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
New York City set to move further into reopening as early as July 6, indoor dining allowed to return, mayor says
People practice social distancing in white circles in Domino Park in Williamsburg during the coronavirus pandemic on May 17, 2020 in New York City.
Noam Galai | Getty Images
New York City is scheduled to begin its phase three reopening as early as July 6, which would reopen restaurants for indoor service and additional personal care businesses with reduced capacity, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday.
Phase three reopening would allow various recreational areas throughout the city, including basketball, tennis and volleyball courts to operate, de Blasio said at his daily press briefing.
Additional personal care businesses like nail salons, spas, massage parlors and tattoo and piercing facilities would be allowed to return, according to New York state’s reopening guidelines.
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 health modifications and reduced capacity. On Tuesday, de Blasio announced on Twitter that the city’s beaches would be allowed to return on July 1.
The city and the state have reported a steady decline in hospitalizations and positive Covid-19 cases for weeks. On Tuesday, around 2% of tests conducted citywide came back positive, de Blasio said. On Thursday, de Blasio announced that the city would begin offering free antibody testing to residents at 11 health and hospital facilities throughout the area.
“Now we got work to do to get there. Let’s keep on it,” he said.
This is a developing story. Please check back later for updates.
A sign is posted in front of a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in Newark, California.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
Chuck E. Cheese’s parent company CEC Entertainment said Thursday that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after venue closures stemming from the coronavirus pandemic roiled its business.
The company, which is owned by private equity firm Apollo Global Management, expects to continue operations throughout bankruptcy and will continue to reopen locations that were temporarily shuttered during the pandemic. It has already reopened nearly half of company-owned Chuck E. Cheese and Pied Piper locations, as of Wednesday.
For the quarter ended March 29, CEC Entertainment estimated its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was between $39 million and $43 million. Same-store sales during that period, which is typically its busiest time of the year, fell 21.9%. In a regulatory filing from early April, the company said that it was not paying rent.
CEC Entertainment said that it expects to use the Chapter 11 bankruptcy to continue discussions with financial stakeholders and landlords to restructure its balance sheet to support its reopening efforts and long-term strategy. Wilmington Trust is its largest creditor.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier in June that potential buyers were circling the company as it struggled to keep its business afloat. Last year, the company announced a merger with a special purpose acquisition company that would take it public, but the deal collapsed. Apollo bought CEC Entertainment in 2014 in a $948 million deal that took it private.
States might not need to do an ‘absolute shutdown’ if they run into coronavirus trouble, Dr. Fauci says
States with growing coronavirus outbreaks might not need to shut down again like many did in March, but they might need to consider pausing or rolling back stages of reopening, White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday.
Fauci specifically cited Texas, Arizona, Florida and other states with “a serious problem” as places that might need to consider such measures.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say an absolute shutdown, lockdown, but if someone is going from gateway to phase one to phase two and they get into trouble in phase two, they may need to go back to phase one,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told members of Congress during a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “I don’t think they necessarily need to go back to lockdown.”
Cases have been rising in recent weeks in more than two dozen states, mostly across the American South and West. On Tuesday, California, Arizona and Texas all reported more new cases in a single day than ever before. In some parts of the country, including the Houston area in Harris County, Texas, hospitals are nearing ICU capacity and could be forced to move to surge operations “in a few weeks,” according to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s office.
Some parts of the country continue to successfully drive down transmission while gradually easing restrictions, Fauci said, citing New York City and Washington D.C.
“There are other areas, other states, other cities that have not done so well. I have a considerable concern about those because I want to make sure that we get everything under control,” he said. “It now really is a mixed bag. We have some doing really well and some really in trouble.”
Some of the states seeing surges in new cases were among the first and most aggressive to reopen. Florida, for example, allowed most restaurants and stores to open with limited capacity on May 4. The heavily populated Miami-Dade and Broward counties did not reopen until May 18. On June 5, most of the state moved deeper into reopening, allowing more stores to reopen as well as for gyms and some stores to operate at full capacity.
“We’re not shutting down. We’re going to go forward … We’re not rolling back,” Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news briefing one week ago. “You have to have society function.”
In some other states, the recent surge in new cases around the country has prompted officials to delay reopening plans. In Maine, Democratic Gov. Janet Mills announced Monday that bars would not be allowed to reopen for indoor service on July 1, as previously scheduled. In her announcement, she cited “the outbreaks we have seen across the country associated with indoor service” as cause for the delay.
In Oregon, Democratic Gov. Kate Brown earlier this month announced the state would pause applications from counties to move further into reopening for seven days due to a spike in new infections.
“This one-week pause will give public health experts time to assess what factors are driving the spread of the virus,” Brown said in a statement on Twitter on June 11. “I will use the data we see in the next week to determine whether to lift this pause or extend it.”
States that delay reopenings or even reimplement some restrictions should take the time to build up capacity to conduct testing, contact tracing and isolating of infected and exposed people, Fauci said. All three systems help to detect chains of spread and cut them off before they have the chance to balloon into full-on outbreaks.
“I hope as the weeks and months go by, we will be able to do what you’re referring to and mobilize the identification, isolation and contact tracing in those states,” he told members of Congress Tuesday. “The ones that have recently been in the news. Florida, Arizona, Texas and those states that are now having a serious problem.”
Earlier Tuesday, Fauci said parts of the U.S. are beginning to see a “disturbing surge” in coronavirus infections. As of Monday, the U.S. seven-day average of new infections increased more than 30% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. Cases are growing by 5% or more in 26 states, including Arizona, Texas, Florida and Oklahoma. Coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise as well.
Unlike many other countries in Europe and Asia, which were able to drive down the rate of spread from their peaks to a containable level of dozens or hundreds of new cases per day, the U.S. struggled to bring daily new infections closer to zero. U.S. cases had risen to about an average of 30,000 infections per day at the peak of the outbreak before plateauing to around 20,000 infections per day, Fauci said.
“Now we’re going up [again]. A couple of days ago, there were 30,000 new infections,” he said. “That’s very troublesome to me.”
— CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace contributed to this report.