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Coronavirus live updates: Scientists call on WHO to recognize airborne virus risk; 70 countries warn of HIV drug shortages

Air travel surges during July 4 — now comes the hard part

An average of 661,811 people a day passed through U.S. airport security during the July 4 holiday weekend, up more than 90% compared with first five days of June. but the figures remain far below last year’s levels. TSA’s holiday weekend traffic was down more than 72% from the same period of 2019.

Airlines now have to contend with a rising number of coronavirus cases during what is the peak period for air travel.

Carriers scrambling to convince travelers it’s safe to travel, stepping up cleaning procedures and requiring masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Airlines, however, are diverging on whether to physically distance passengers on board flights. Some airlines, including Delta and Southwest, have been limiting the number of seats they sell on flights to space travelers out more on their planes. Other airlines, such as American and United aren’t blocking seats but instead, say they notify travelers if the plane is filling up. —Leslie Josephs

Major private jet companies receive more than $200 million in government funding

An airport ground crew prepares a Cessna 510 jet airplane for takeoff at Santa Fe Municipal Airport in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Robert Alexander | Getty Images

Major private jet companies, including Wheels Up and OneSky Flight, received more than $200 million in government funding through the payroll support program, CNBC’s Robert Frank reports.

Some have criticized the decision to fund private jet companies, which have seen an uptick in new customers amid the pandemic, but the companies themselves said the funding would stave off layoffs.

NetJets, the largest private jet company, did not apply for funding.

According to the Treasury Department, the amounts given to each carrier were based on payroll expenses from September 2019 to April 2019. Funds from the program must be used for the continuation of employee wages, salaries and benefits, according to the department. –Alex Harring

Companies returned $30 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans

Companies have returned or canceled more than $30 billion in loans approved through the government’s emergency Paycheck Protection Program, a senior administration official said.

The multibillion-dollar sum shows that the vast majority of the returned funds came from private companies; public companies have only returned $430 million, according to data analytics firm FactSquared.

The Small Business Administration also reported a partial list of the companies that received the PPP relief loans through June 30. President Trump on Saturday extended the deadline to apply to the PPP through Aug. 8. —Tom Franck

Goldman cuts Q2 growth outlook amid virus resurgence

David Solomon, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, speaks during the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York, September 25, 2019.

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

Goldman Sachs has lowered its second-quarter gross domestic product forecast as several states slow their reopenings due to coronavirus spikes. The bank cut its growth outlook to 25% from 33%, still easily the fastest quarterly gain since at least 1947.

GDP dropped 5% in the second quarter but is expected to rebound amid record-breaking monthly payroll growth, and a return in manufacturing and building. However, coronavirus cases in the U.S. spiked 13.4% over the past week. —Jeff Cox

Countries warn of HIV drug shortage, WHO says

More than 70 countries warned they could run out of crucial HIV medicines and 24 countries said their supplies are already “critically low,” according to a new survey conducted by the World Health Organization.

Land and air transportation closures, failure of suppliers to deliver the medication, and limited access to health services were among the causes of disruption to the supply of antiretroviral medicine, or ARVs, largely used as a therapy to treat HIV, cited in the WHO survey. 

In May, the WHO and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS estimated that AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan African could double in 2020 alone if the supply of ARVs is disrupted for six months.

“The findings of this survey are deeply concerning,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. “Countries and their development partners must do all they can to ensure that people who need HIV treatment continue to access it. We cannot let the COVID-19 pandemic undo the hard-won gains in the global response to this disease.” —Will Feuer

Mylan plans to sell remdesivir in India below price it will charge rich nations

An employee of Egyptian pharmaceutical company Eva Pharma holds a pack containing vials of Remdesivir, a broad-spectrum antiviral medication approved as a specific treatment for COVID-19, at the company’s factory, which started producing the drug this week with a production capacity of up to 1.5 million doses per month.

Fadel Dawood | dpa | Getty Images

Mylan said it plans to sell a generic version of Gilead Sciences’ coronavirus antiviral remdesivir drug in India for 4,800 rupees, or $63.41, Reuters reported. At this price, the cost is approximately 80% below the price Mylan will charge wealthy nations for the drug.

Mylan joins Indian drug makers Cipla and Hetero, which both launched generic versions of the treatment last month. Gilead has said remdesivir will cost $2,340 per patient in rich nations, with a majority of its supply going to the U.S.

The 4,800-rupee price was listed for the 100 mg vials, but it is unclear how many vials will be required for a full treatment, according to Reuters.  —Alex Harring

Dow jumps more than 300 points as Wall Street shakes off a rise in virus cases

Stocks opened sharply higher as Wall Street continued to shake off the rise in coronavirus cases, CNBC’s Fred Imbert reported.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 370 points, or 1.4%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 1.4% and 1.5%, respectively. —Melodie Warner

Becton Dickinson granted emergency use approval for rapid antigen test

Becton Dickinson said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorization for a  Covid-19 antigen test that can be administered at the point of care and produce results within 15 minutes, according to a Reuters report.

Antigen tests work by scanning for proteins that can be found on or inside a virus. The FDA has touted the tests for combating the coronavirus pandemic because they can be produced quickly and can test patients in a variety of settings, Reuters reported. —Melodie Warner

Regeneron begins coronavirus antibody cocktail late-stage trial

A technician at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals headquarters in Tarrytown, New York.

Mike Segar | Reuters

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said it launched late-stage clinical trials to evaluate the effectiveness of its antibody cocktail in preventing and treating Covid-19, Reuters reported. 

The company’s joint trial with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will test the therapy’s ability to prevent infection in those who have had close exposure to a Covid-19 patient. —Melodie Warner 

WHO must fully recognize the risk of airborne virus, scientists say

A group of 239 scientists from around the world is reportedly set to push for the World Health Organization to give greater acknowledgment to the risk of the airborne spread of the coronavirus.

The experts are due to publish an open letter this week, according to a report in The New York Times, outlining why they believe the global health body needs to revise its recommendations.

The WHO’s current guidance states that Covid-19 is transmitted primarily between people via respiratory droplets and contact. However, the authors of the letter argue emerging evidence indicates airborne transmission could be more important than the WHO has acknowledged to date.

A spokesperson for the WHO told CNBC on Monday that it was aware of the reported letter and technical experts at the organization were currently reviewing its contents. The WHO added it was likely to comment further on the report at its regular press briefing later on Monday. —Sam Meredith

India’s total cases surpass that of Russia

A health care worker checks the temperature in the Dharavi slums during Covid-19 pandemic, on June 20, 2020 in Mumbai, India.

Satish Bate | Hindustan Times | Getty Images

The total number of confirmed cases in India has surpassed that of Russia, placing the South Asian nation at third in the world for number of Covid-19 cases.

India reported 697,413 total cases, topping Russia’s 686,777, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Adjusted for population, heavily populated India’s outbreak is magnitudes smaller than that of Russia.

India has reported just over 51 cases per 100,000 residents, according to Covid-19 data from Hopkins and population data from the World Bank. Russia has reported nearly 475.7 cases per 100,000 residents, according to Covid-19 data from Hopkins and population data from the World Bank.

The U.S. and Brazil have still reported more cases than any other countries in the world, with more than 2.88 million and 1.6 million, respectively, according to data collected by Hopkins. —Will Feuer

Read CNBC’s previous coronavirus live coverage here: Fauci says contact tracing ‘not going well,’ Texas and Florida roll back reopening plans


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