Texas mandates face coverings as cases soar


Efforts to fully reopen the U.S. economy are faltering as 19 states pause or reverse plans to ease restrictions on business as new cases spike across the country. Despite the surge of infections, Vice President Mike Pence told CNBC the White House wants to press ahead with reopening after job numbers came in better than expected. Pence defended the administration’s position on masks, saying there’s no need for a national mandate. Nearly half of all states have implemented mask mandates in one form or another, including Texas.

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 10.84 million
  • Global deaths: At least 520,785
  • Countries with most cases: United States (more than 2.73 million), Brazil (more than 1.49 million), Russia (more than 660,000), India (more than 604,000) and Peru (more than 292,000)

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of July 3, 11:33 a.m. Singapore time. 

How Hong Kong beat coronavirus and avoided lockdown

11:38 a.m. (Singapore time) — Hong Kong has a densely packed population of 7.5 million people. It has recorded around 1,200 cases of Covid-19. In contrast, its financial rival Singapore has over 44,000 cases. 

Since having its first confirmed case in January, Hong Kong went through phased closures of government offices, schools, gyms and bars. But other services were relatively unaffected, including dine-in service at restaurants, shops, malls, and trains.

Reasons why Hong Kong escaped an uptick in cases while managing to avoid a lockdown boils down to its experience with SARS, strict quarantine measures, contact tracing, cultural habits and the role of its government. —Uptin Saiidi

Mailing every American a mask would be an ‘incredibly’ efficient stimulus: Former Obama advisor

11:20 a.m. (Singapore time) — Former Obama economic advisor Jason Furman told CNBC the U.S. government should consider mailing everyone a face covering to help slow the virus from spreading. “There’s really not a lot monetary or fiscal policy can do in the face of an out-of-control virus,” Furman said on “Closing Bell.”

“A mask is one of the steps that can control that virus,” the Harvard University professor said. 

Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise across some Southern and Western states, prompting governors in places such as Texas and Arizona to pause or rollback parts of their economic reopening. —Kevin Stankiewicz

Trump administration issues air travel guidelines

Travelers wearing protective masks use kiosks to check-in at the American Airlines Group Inc. counter at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

6:20 p.m. ET — The Trump administration said airline passengers and crews should wear masks throughout their journeys but stopped short of mandating them or requiring social distancing on board, a contentious issue now between carriers.

The guidelines, issued jointly by the Department of Transportation, Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services, said airlines and airports should require face coverings, saying they are particularly necessary any time social distancing cannot be maintained.”

The officials said airlines and airports should advise travelers “when it may not be possible to meet social distancing expectations” and stress the importance of wearing a mask and keeping hands clean during those times.

The recommendations come as U.S. airlines’ policies on leaving some seats unsold to space passengers out on flights have diverged in recent weeks. The Trump administration also said airlines should collect passenger contact data to assist with disease-tracing efforts. —Leslie Josephs 

Dr. Fauci warns that coronavirus is mutating and may be transmitting more easily

Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci wears a face mask while he waits to testifiy before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the Trump Administration’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 23, 2020.

Kevin Dietsch | Pool via Reuters

5:48 p.m. ET — The coronavirus appears to have mutated in a way that might help it spread more easily, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

All viruses mutate, but most mutations will not meaningfully change the behavior of the pathogen, its ability to spread or the disease it causes in humans.

“The data is showing there’s a single mutation that makes the virus be able to replicate better and maybe have high viral loads,” Fauci said in an interview with The Journal of the American Medical Association’s Dr. Howard Bauchner. “We don’t have a connection to whether an individual does worse with this or not; it just seems that the virus replicates better and may be more transmissible.” —Will Feuer 

Texas Gov. Abbott mandates face coverings

5:04 p.m. ET — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order requiring all residents to wear a face-covering in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive coronavirus cases.

The decision was made because the percent of total tests coming back positive and the hospitalization rate both increased too much, Abbott said.

“Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization both recommend that people wear them as a way to slow the spread of the virus. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr. 

U.S. military coronavirus cases surge as Pentagon lifts travel restrictions

4:49 p.m. ET — The number of U.S. active-duty military personnel infected with the coronavirus has spiked in the past three weeks, a revelation that comes as the Pentagon lifts travel restrictions in 48 states.

As of Thursday, the Pentagon has reported a total of 18,071 cases. Of those 12,521 are active-duty military, 2,644 are civilians, 1,740 are dependents and 1,166 are contractors. These figures include 8,683 recoveries and 38 deaths across the entire department. —Amanda Macias

Cash-strapped bar owners reckon with closing their doors a second time

An employee sweeps inside a closed bar in Austin, Texas, June 26, 2020.

Sergio Flores | AFP | Getty Images

3:54 p.m. ET — Six states are closing thousands of bars again ahead of the Fourth of July weekend. But bar owners aren’t happy with the rollbacks.

“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. Others, like Todd Quigley, owner of Craft and Growler, a Dallas-based craft beer bar, take issue with how states are treating bars and restaurants differently. —Amelia Lucas

Dr. Anthony Fauci warns against balancing lives with the economy

3:46 p.m. ET — White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association that “we’re in an unprecedented pandemic” and officials can’t “balance lives against the economy.”

“You have people who think in one direction and those who think in the other” when it comes to the decision to reopen the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic safely”, Fauci said.

Every state in the U.S. has reopened parts of their economies in recent weeks. Some, including Texas and Florida, have had to walk back those plans as cases spiked and outbreaks flared up across America.

“You don’t want to balance lives against the economy,” he said. “So let’s get public health to help us to get the economy open as opposed to two opposing forces.” —Noah Higgins-Dunn

Disney World suspends fall college program

With Minnie, Mickey and friends, Walt Disney World President Josh D’Amaro waves to guests gathered on Main Street USA, in the Magic Kingdom in the final minutes before the park closed, Sunday night, March 15, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Joe Burbank | Orlando Sentinel | Getty Images

3:38 p.m. ET — Walt Disney World has suspended its fall college program, according to an email to prospective participants obtained by WDW News Today.

The program has been suspended until further notice, WDW News reports, because the park is still in the early stages of reopening and many of the Disney housing complex buildings remain closed. Eligibility requirements for the program will be amended so those who applied after having recently graduated can still apply when the program re-starts, according to the report. 

The announcement comes after Disney canceled internships and June-start college program members in April, according to WDW News Today. —Alex Harring

Amazon delays Prime Day until October due to coronavirus

3:35 p.m. ET — Amazon is pushing back its annual Prime Day sale event until at least early October. The company gave third-party sellers a placeholder date of the week of October 5, according to an email obtained by CNBC and first reported by Business Insider.The email cautions that “exact Prime Day dates have not been announced.”

An Amazon spokesperson told CNBC in a statement: “We have not made any announcements regarding Prime Day.”

Amazon has delayed its annual shopping event several times in recent months due to coronavirus-related constraints. The company previously targeted September as the potential timing for Prime Day, but the company now faces new coronavirus outbreaks across the country, which could threaten to upend its logistics operations again. —Annie Palmer

Employment may never fully recover in some industries

3:02 p.m. — Despite June’s better-than-expected payrolls numbers, employment may never return to pre-Covid levels in a handful of sub-industries.

The long-term, nationwide pivot toward e-commerce had already put pressure on apparel retail employment, and economists say the coronavirus could act as a catalyst for employers to cut labor costs permanently.

Other sectors, such as leisure and hospitality, are posting more robust rebound in payrolls numbers. Bars and restaurants employed 12.3 million Americans in February 2020, only to see that figure collapse to 6.2 million in April. It’s since rebounded 47% off that low and for June rose to 9.2 million jobs.

Couriers and message carriers are among a rare group that have actually seen a net gain in employment since January. —Thomas Franck

Researchers find neurological damage in four children with coronavirus inflammatory syndrome

2:48 p.m. — Children diagnosed with Covid-19 pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or PMIS, may develop new neurological symptoms without any of the respiratory issues commonly associated with the virus, according to a study published Wednesday in JAMA Neurology.

After examining 27 pediatric patients with coronavirus PMIS between March 1 and May 8, researchers found that four experienced new neurological symptoms. They included impaired brain function, headaches, brainstem and cerebellar issues, muscle weakness and reduced reflexes.

All four patients required admission to the intensive care unit for treatment.

Although the study is small, researchers say the results show that Covid-19 can also cause neurological damage in children – not just adults – without any of the respiratory symptoms that have become a clear indicator of the virus. Scientists emphasized that since respiratory symptoms were uncommon among PMIS patients, clinicians should suspect Covid-19 in children who show new neurological problems without any other symptoms. —Jasmine Kim

Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain hospitalized

Herman Cain

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

2:41 p.m. ET — Former presidential candidate and onetime possible Fed board nominee Herman Cain was hospitalized after being diagnosed with the coronavirus. 

Cain, 74, was told Monday that he had tested positive for the disease, according to a statement posted to his official Twitter account.

By Wednesday, he “had developed symptoms serious enough that he required hospitalization,” the statement said.

Cain was at President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma last month, and was photographed sitting in close proximity with other attendees, none of whom appeared to be wearing masks.

The Trump campaign said Cain did not meet with the president. —Kevin Breuninger

Facebook will tell users to wear a mask

People wearing masks walk past a “Real New Yorkers Can Handle It” sign near Union Square amid the coronavirus pandemic on May 16, 2020 in New York City.

Alexi Rosenfeld | Getty Images

2:22 p.m. ET — Facebook and Instagram users will start seeing alerts at the top of their feeds that encourage masks or face coverings when in public.

It’s the latest move on Facebook’s end to use its platform to try and slow the spread of Covid-19.

After the WHO declared Covid-19 a global health emergency in January, Facebook started removing misinformation about the outbreak from its platforms.

The company in April began warning users if they have liked, reacted or commented on harmful coronavirus posts that the company has found to be misinformation and removed. —Jessica Bursztynsky 

Moderna vaccine trial reportedly delayed

1:52 p.m. ET — Shares of Moderna fell as much as 9.4% on a report the company’s late-stage trial for a potential coronavirus vaccine will be delayed.

Moderna, which is working with the National Institutes of Health, was expected to begin a phase 3 trial with 30,000 participants for its vaccine candidate later this month, pending the results from its mid-stage trial.

However, the company is pushing back the expected start date, according to health-care publication STAT News.

Moderna’s experimental vaccine contains genetic material called messenger RNA, or mRNA. It became the first candidate to enter a phase 1 human trial in March. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

These states are requiring people to wear masks

12:45 p.m. ET — Twenty-one states and Washington, D.C. are mandating people wear masks in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The regulations vary from state to state, with some governments requiring people to wear masks in all public spaces while other states require masks only in certain circumstances. 

Here’s a list: 

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii (essential businesses)
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky (employees in essential businesses)
  • Maine
  • Maryland (indoor stores, public transit)
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan (grocery stores, pharmacies)
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey (indoor businesses, public transit, construction)
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon (indoor spaces)
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia (indoor businesses)
  • Washington D.C.
  • Washington state

Vice President Mike Pence, in an interview with CNBC, reiterated the Trump administration’s position that a national mandate for people to wear masks is not necessary, even though coronavirus cases are surging. —Spencer Kimball 

NIH says it’s possible Americans will be able to attend sports events this fall

12:23 p.m. ET — National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said it’s possible Americans will be allowed to attend sporting events in time for the fall football season.

Sports fans and players across the world have been frustrated by canceled games as public health officials urge event-based businesses to temporarily close as the coronavirus continues to rapidly spread across the globe. Collins, speaking with a Senate committee, said rapid coronavirus testing, which can produce results in under an hour, will make sporting events feasible.

“We want to see Americans have a chance to have some normal experiences of enjoying life,” he told lawmakers. “I do believe this should be possible. —Berkeley Lovelace, Jr.

In-person classes safer than virtual, school to spend millions on testing, Cornell president says

12:20 p.m. ET — Holding in-person classes this fall is safer for Cornell University students than conducting an all-virtual semester, President Martha Pollack told CNBC.

Pollack, appearing on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” cited university research that found almost 50% of Cornell students intend to return to Ithaca, New York, where its campus is located, no matter how classes are held.

“If we are having residential instruction, we can mandate testing, and tracing and isolation, on a very aggressive regular basis,” Pollack said. “We will be much less able to do that with students who are online and just happen to be living in Ithaca, as opposed to Chicago or Atlanta or wherever.”

Cornell’s plan — which includes robust testing that will cost between $3 to 5 million — may not work for every college, Pollack stressed. “I want to be clear, it’s safer for our students at Cornell. We did the study with regard to the conditions in Ithaca.” —Kevin Stankiewicz

Amazon Air contractors face safety risks as new coronavirus outbreaks emerge

12:08 p.m. ET — Employees at Worldwide Flight Services (WFS), an Amazon Air subcontractor, say they continue to face an unsafe work environment during the pandemic.

WFS workers say managers aren’t enforcing mask requirements, and say hand sanitizer and soap are in short supply at facilities. At one WFS facility in Phoenix, safety concerns became so severe that a worker filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) last month.

WFS is one of several companies that maintains lucrative contracts with Amazon Air. Workers load and unload cargo from Amazon planes at airports across the country, but they’re not considered Amazon employees. As a result, some WFS workers say it feels like Amazon turns “a blind eye” to working conditions there, especially amid the coronavirus crisis.

As Amazon was hit with a surge of coronavirus-related demand in March, WFS workers were on the frontlines, handling the Prime packages ordered by millions of Americans who were cloistered inside their homes. Demand has stabilized but the workers now face a new round of coronavirus outbreaks around the country. WFS workers say they feel just as vulnerable as the beginning of the pandemic, since they still lack the basic protections to be able to do their job safely. —Annie Palmer

Nashville reverts to a modified Phase Two reopening on Friday as cases soar

An employee wearing rubber gloves and a mask greets patrons at Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant on April 27, 2020 in Franklin, Tennessee.

Jason Kempin | Getty Images

11:49 a.m. ET — Nashville will move back to phase two of its reopening process, with restaurants and bars reverting to phase one, beginning Friday, NewsChannel 5 Nashville reported.

Restaurants will go back to half capacity, down from 75%, while bars must now close for the next two weeks. Retail and commercial businesses can still operate at 75% capacity, while “high touch” businesses like beauty salons and gyms can remain open at half capacity.

Mayor John Cooper said in his weekly Covid-19 update that the city will remain in the phase for “at least a few weeks,” with no timeline given, according to NewsChannel 5 Nashville. —Alex Harring

American getting $4.75 billion federal loan, overstaffed by 20,000 employees for fall

11:35 a.m. ET — American Airlines warned employees that it expects it has 20,000 more employees than it needs for its reduced fall schedule and painted a weak picture of travel demand.

The Fort Worth-based carrier, which had 133,700 at the end of 2019, is urging employees to take voluntary options like buyouts, to avoid involuntary cuts once restrictions set by federal aid expire on Oct. 1. The carrier reached a deal for $4.75 billion in a separate federal loan, the Treasury Department said.

While booking trends have improved, American told staff that demand remains far below last year’s levels. For example, it flew 4.2 million people in June, up from just 965,000 passengers in April.

“But to be clear, even with traffic trending upward, the absolute numbers behind these improvements are quite somber: The customer count for the same period last year was between 17 and 19 million each month,” CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom said in a staff note. They said cash receipts topped $1 billion in June up from $11 million in April, but that it brought in an average of $4.2 billion a month over that period last year. —Leslie Josephs

The worst of the U.S. outbreak to end by January, Gottlieb says

Dr. Scott Gottlieb

Cameron Costa | CNBC

10:49 a.m. ET — The U.S. coronavirus outbreak will come to an end by January “one way or the other,” thanks to a vaccine or because enough people will have already been infected and have some immunity to it, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC.

“Either we’ll get to a vaccine or we’ll just have spread enough it’s just going to stop spreading efficiently, so we have a short period of time to get through,” Gottlieb said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “We should do everything we can to preserve what we want of our way of life over that time period to just get through it.”

Gottlieb’s hopes for an effective vaccine or for the U.S. population to achieve so-called herd immunity to curb the outbreak both depend on what scientists learn about the role of antibodies. Unfortunately, there’s still no clear evidence that antibodies give people any protection against being reinfected. —Will Feuer

Pence says there’s no need for national mask mandate

10:35 a.m. ET — Vice President Mike Pence said the White House does not need to impose a national mask mandate requiring that all American citizens wear a face covering to protect against the coronavirus.

“There are some areas of the country, large areas of the country, where we have very low number of cases at all,” Pence said in on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “It’s not a one-size-all approach whether it be on testing or on supplies and on mitigation efforts. What we want to do is empower governors and local officials to give the guidance to the people in those communities that are most appropriate to those circumstances.”

Pence’s comments echoed President Donald Trump’s sentiments. “I don’t know if you need mandatory,” Trump said when asked whether he’d support a national mask mandate. —Yelena Dzhanova

New cases reported daily by state

Dow climbs more than 300 points after strong U.S. jobs report

9:35 a.m. ET — Stocks opened higher as investors cheered a bigger-than-expected rise in jobs during June as the economy tries to recover from the coronavirus shutdown, CNBC’s Fred Imbert and Thomas Franck reported. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 355 points higher, or 1.4%. The Nasdaq Composite hit a record high, climbing more than 1%. The S&P 500 gained 1.3%. —Melodie Warner

Britain to ease isolation measures for certain travelers

Passengers, wearing protective face masks, walk through the international arrivals hall after arriving at Terminal 2 at London Heathrow Airport in London, U.K., on Monday, June 8, 2020.

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

8:51 a.m. ET — Britain will ease quarantine requirements for travelers from specific areas, Reuters reported Thursday.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters that self-isolation requirements will be scaled back for people arriving from certain countries or territories. More details are expected to come this week, according to the spokesperson.

The update comes as other nations and U.S. states impose stricter travel restrictions amid flaring outbreaks. —Alex Harring 

U.S. private payrolls surge in June, but jobless numbers hold steady

8:35 a.m. ET — The U.S. added a staggering 4.8 million nonfarm payrolls in June, according to data released by the Labor Department, as the country seeks to recover from virus-related shutdowns and stave off further outbreaks amid reopening.

The reported payrolls came in well above the 2.9 million payrolls economists had expected. The unemployment rate sits at 11.1%, also better than expected, but still far higher than pre-pandemic levels. 

The jobs market isn’t fully out of the woods, though. More than a million Americans each week file for initial unemployment benefits, with 1.427 million claims coming in for the week ended June 27. Continuing claims, representing those who have filed for benefits for at least two weeks, ticked higher on a weekly basis to 19.29 million. —Sara Salinas

Belgian retirement home uses ‘cuddle curtain’ to enable visits

7:13 a.m. ET — One of the hardest parts of the coronavirus pandemic for many people has been that social distancing measures have prevented them from visiting or comforting elderly relatives. But a retirement home in Belgium appears to have found a solution to the problem by creating a “hug curtain,” Reuters reported Thursday.

Visitors to the Jardins de Picardie nursing home, which is near Belgium’s border with France, can embrace relatives now by using the large plastic curtain that staff installed on June 14.

It has proved very popular, staff told the news agency, with one elderly resident saying the curtain was “the most beautiful invention” she had ever seen. She cried the first time she was able to hug her daughter again. —Holly Ellyatt

U.S. reports more than 50,000 new cases in a single day

People sit in their vehicles while waiting in line to enter a Covid-19 drive-thru testing site at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, U.S., on Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

Marco Bello | Bloomberg | Getty Images

7:06 a.m. ET — The U.S. reported more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day, setting a new record for single-day increases as outbreaks worsen in a number of states, prompting officials to rollback or pause reopening efforts.

The country reported about 50,700 new cases Wednesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, bringing the total number of confirmed U.S. cases to more than 2.68 million. The U.S. has more confirmed cases than any other country in the world, followed by Brazil, Russia, India and the U.K.

Earlier this week, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said the U.S. could hit 100,000 new cases per day if the outbreak continues on its current trajectory without more severe interventions or major behavioral changes among the U.S. public. —Will Feuer

Read CNBC’s previous coronavirus live coverage here: India’s cases cross 600,000; demand for China’s medical products surge



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