Bill Gates says future coronavirus vaccines need to be distributed equitably
Bill Gates said he was confident that a coronavirus vaccine will be available by 2021, but remains concerned that it won’t be made available to lower-income groups, particularly in less developed countries.
Gates told reporters on a conference call that his foundation is thinking about how to produce and distribute the vaccines to those who need them most.
“It shouldn’t just be the rich countries winning a bidding war,” he said. “Misallocating the vaccine would cause dramatic additional deaths.”
Affluent countries, including the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom, have pre-ordered more than 2 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines, which could leave limited supplies in the coming year. But there are international efforts in progress to ensure that poorer countries still have access to the vaccine. —Noah Higgins-Dunn and Christina Farr
AstraZeneca U.S. vaccine trial on hold until at least midweek
The company has already restarted its U.K. tests, Reuters reports, after trials were paused globally following a reported incident of a severe neurological condition in one of the trial participants.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a safety panel are investigating the incident, according to the report. —Sara Salinas
States try to help those left out of Trump unemployment program
Some states are stepping in to plug gaps in a Trump administration program offering an extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits to workers.
The Lost Wages Assistance subsidy is only available to workers who currently get at least $100 a week in jobless benefits from their state or other programs. Nearly 1 million workers are ineligible due to this threshold, according to one estimate. Many are low-wage and part-time workers.
Rhode Island is temporarily upping the state’s minimum unemployment benefit to $100 a week so all workers in the state may qualify. Idaho is using alternate funding to pay an extra $300 a week to people ineligible for the Trump program.
Meanwhile, West Virginia is offering a $100 weekly supplement to such workers. Arkansas is diverting funding from its welfare program to offer at least $300 a week specifically to low-income individuals who don’t qualify for Lost Wages Assistance. —Greg Iacurci
Democrats investigating Trump officials’ alleged meddling with CDC coronavirus reports
U.S. House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee Chairman James E. Clyburn (D-SC).
Graeme Jennings | Getty Images
Democratic lawmakers launched an investigation into reports that Trump administration appointees tried to interfere with coronavirus reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A House subcommittee on the pandemic is requesting interviews with officials from the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as a slew of documents, citing reports showing aides to President Donald Trump “sought to help him downplay the risks of the coronavirus crisis by attempting to alter, delay, and block critical scientific reports from CDC.”
The probe, led by House Minority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., comes after Politico reported HHS communications aides pushed to review or change the CDC’s reports on Covid-19. —Kevin Breuninger
Macy’s details plans for televised-only Thanksgiving Day Parade
New York City will host Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year, though the celebrations will be modified to prevent crowds and protect against the coronavirus.
The number of participants in this year’s parade, which typically draws crowds of nearly 3.5 million people and 8,000 volunteers in New York City, will be reduced by about 75%, Macy’s announced in a press release. The parade won’t use its usual 2.5-mile parade route and will instead shift to a televised broadcast only with production staged in one area of the Big Apple.
Instead of handlers walking the giant balloons down the parade’s usual route, an “innovative, specially rigged” framework of vehicles will fly the balloons. All of the parade’s participants, who must be over 18 years old, have to adhere to social distancing guidelines and face coverings will be required, Macy’s said.
“It will be a different kind of event. They’re reinventing the event for this moment in history, and you’ll be able to feel the spirit and the joy of that day on television, online. Not a live parade but something that will really give us that warmth and that great feeling we have on Thanksgiving Day,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said during his daily press briefing. —Noah Higgins-Dunn
Business execs warn of vaccine nationalism, ask leaders to work together
Nations should be thinking about inclusiveness when it comes to rebuilding economies around the world, according to a group of business execs who spoke on a CNBC-moderated panel at the Singapore Summit.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, executive chairman of Indian biopharmaceutical firm Biocon, urged presidents and prime ministers to work together and think of those in less fortunate positions rather than desperately trying to acquire the first stock of any approved vaccines.
Meanwhile, Ajay Banga, chief executive at Mastercard, said he thinks some nationalist tendencies had been accelerated by the virus, before going on to call out some of the consequences. —Sam Shead
Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says now is not the time to worry about the deficit
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that lawmakers should not allow qualms over the size of the nation’s deficit or the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet to delay additional Covid-19 relief.
“Now is not the time to worry about shrinking the deficit or shrinking the Fed balance sheet,” Mnuchin said. “There was a time when the Fed was shrinking the balance sheet and coming back to normal. The good news is that gave them a lot of room to increase the balance sheet, which they did.” —Thomas Franck
President Trump ‘possessed specific knowledge that could have saved lives,’ Bob Woodward says
Journalist Bob Woodward was shocked when he learned President Donald Trump in January “possessed the specific knowledge that could have saved lives,” according to an interview with Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s “TODAY” show.
Woodward was speaking about a briefing the president received from his national security advisers on Jan. 28 about the pandemic coming to the U.S., according to the “TODAY” interview. Trump failed to share that critical information in his State of the Union address to Congress on Feb. 4. Woodward told NBC that Trump missed an opportunity that night to convey that warning.
“It is one of those shocks, for me, having written about nine presidents, that the president of the United States possessed the specific knowledge that could have saved lives and historians are going to be writing about the lost month of February for tens of years,” Woodward told NBC. —Terri Cullen
U.S. stocks opened higher as Nasdaq rebounds from worst week since March
U.S. stocks opened higher amid a slew of corporate dealmaking activity as the market tried to recover from its first back-to-back weekly declines in months, reports CNBC’s Fred Imbert.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 202 points higher, or 0.7%. The S&P 500 climbed 1% and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.5%. —Melodie Warner
Ohio State University cancels spring break next semester
The Ohio State University, commonly referred to as Ohio State or OSU, is a public research university located in Columbus, Ohio.
Ohio State University will cancel its spring break next semester to reduce “travel-related exposures,” Provost Bruce McPheron told students in an email sent on Friday. Instead, the university will hold two instructional breaks with no classes on Feb. 9 and March 31, the email said. Classes during the first week next semester will be held online only to provide students and staff “ample time to quarantine.”
As of Friday, Ohio State reported more than 2,200 Covid-19 cases for a positivity rate, or the percentage of tests that are positive, of 3.85%, according to its data dashboard.
“While there were many adjustments to our plans over the summer, we hope that our experience this semester will allow for a smoother and more predictable plan heading into spring semester,” McPheron said in the email. — Noah Higgins-Dunn
Americans raid retirement savings to make ends meet
Americans are turning to their retirement savings as the coronavirus-induced recession continues to stress household finances.
Nearly 3 in 10 people reduced their savings or stopped saving for retirement altogether due to the economic fallout from Covid-19, according to a FinanceBuzz survey published last month.
Around 30% of people with retirement accounts withdrew money over the last 60 days, pulling out $6,757 on average, according to a MagnifyMoney survey published in May.
Unemployment soared to levels unseen since the Great Depression in the early weeks of the pandemic. Joblessness remains elevated compared with most recessions post-World War II and nearly 30 million people are collecting unemployment benefits. Millions of Americans are reporting difficulty with paying household bills. —Greg Iacurci
Winter brings a new challenge to already struggling restaurants
Restaurant operators are facing a winter season like no other as outdoor dining options that have kept them afloat in recent months will become less viable.
The National Restaurant Association estimates $165 billion in sales has been lost between March and July while 100,000 eating and drinking establishments are not open for business in any capacity. It remains to be seen how many of those become permanent closures, as Main Street waits on Washington for another aid package. —Kate Rogers
Eli Lilly’s RA drug Olumiant helps shorten recovery in hospitalized Covid-19 patients
Phlebotomist Jenee Wilson talks with Melissa Cruz, an ER technician for Valley Medical Center who has recovered from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) she contracted from a patient, as she finishes donating convalescent plasma at the Central Seattle Donor Center of Bloodworks Northwest during the outbreak in Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Lindsey Wasson | Reuters
Eli Lilly said its rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib was effective in reducing recovery time for hospitalized Covid-19 patients when taken in combination with Gilead’s antiviral remdesivir, Reuters reported.
Lilly said its drug Olumiant, when used in combination remdesivir, cut the amount of time in the hospital by roughly one day versus patients who were treated with remdesivir alone, according to the wire service —Terri Cullen
OPEC cuts oil demand forecast for this year and next as pandemic continues to roil travel
OPEC cut its 2020 and 2021 forecasts for oil demand, citing weaker-than-expected recovery in India and throughout Asia, as the pandemic continues to drive down travel, CNBC’s Sam Meredith reports.
The group now estimates that 2020 demand will clock in at an average of 90.2 million barrels per day, 400,000 bpd lower than what OPEC estimated last month. The new forecast marks a contraction of 9.5 million bpd from last year’s demand.
OPEC also warned that demand will remain low through the first half of 2021, as “risks remain elevated and skewed to the downside, particularly in relation to the development of Covid-19 infection cases and potential vaccines.” —Sara Salinas
Israel to become first country to reimpose lockdown measures
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the country will reimpose lockdown measures for three weeks from Friday, seeking to curb the spread of the coronavirus amid a surge of new cases.
As part of the new restrictions, Israelis will have to stay within 500 meters of their homes, while schools and shopping malls will be closed. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 20 people and indoor gatherings are restricted to 10 people.
The move makes Israel the first country worldwide to reimpose a strict national lockdown.
To date, Israel has recorded 156,823 coronavirus cases, with 1,126 related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. —Sam Meredith
WHO reports record one-day spike in global cases
A health worker takes a swab sample from a man for coronavirus testing, near Bal Bhawan ITO, in New Delhi, India.
Raj K Raj | Hindustan Times | Getty Images
The World Health Organization reported a record single-day spike in global cases on Sunday, tallying more than 307,000 new infections in 24 hours, according to Reuters. That’s more than 1,000 new cases higher than the previous single-day record as set on Sept. 6.
India, the United States and Brazil contributed the most new cases to that total, the WHO said, as each country struggles to keep transmission low.
Global deaths rose by 5,537 on Sunday to top 917,000. —Sara Salinas
Delta to tap its SkyMiles frequent flyer program to raise $6.5 billion
Delta Air Lines passenger planes are seen parked due to flight reductions made to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Elijah Nouvelage | Reuters
The air carrier is seeing to help boost its liquidity as it struggles to weather the plunge in business and leisure travel as a result of the pandemic. The company plans to sell senior secured notes and enter into a new credit facility. SkyMiles will lend the net proceeds of the bond offering to Delta, while a portion will go to a reserve account. —Terri Cullen