Coronavirus news for Thursday, March 18, 2021


New Jersey will hike indoor capability for eating places and gymnasiums to 50%

New Jersey’s indoor capability limits for eating places and gymnasiums will probably be raised to 50% from 35% as of Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy introduced Thursday.

“We believe we can confidently take these steps today as our COVID-19 metrics continue to trend in the right direction,” Murphy mentioned in an announcement. “I am hopeful that we’ll be able to take further steps in expanding capacity responsibly and incrementally guided by public health data.” 

Murphy mentioned the state’s masks mandate and security protocols will stay in impact.

Fred Imbert

These U.S. airways carried essentially the most passengers in 2020

U.S. and worldwide airways serving the United States carried 398.4 million individuals final yr — a 62% drop from 2019 — because the coronavirus pandemic stored many vacationers off airplanes, the Department of Transportation mentioned Thursday.

Some carriers have been busier than others. Southwest Airlines retained its crown because the busiest U.S. airline with 67.8 million vacationers final yr. However, that was a 58% drop from the almost 162 million people who flew the Dallas-based airline in 2019.

The pandemic sidelined most worldwide and enterprise vacationers, leaving carriers to compete for domestic vacationers.

American Airlines moved up a notch to the No. 2 spot with 65.7 million, an almost 58% decline from final yr, however sufficient to push Delta Air Lines down to 3rd. The Atlanta-based provider flew 55.1 million individuals in 2020, a 66% drop from 2019.

United Airlines took the No. 4 spot with 37.9 million individuals, adopted by SkyWest with 20.3 million, Spirit Airlines with 18.3 million, JetBlue Airways with 14.3 million, Alaska Airlines with 12.2 million, Frontier with 11.2 million. Allegiant Air got here in tenth with 9 million individuals, up from fifteenth place final yr.

Leslie Josephs

How to chop revenue and get the unemployment tax break

The American Rescue Plan gave a tax break on staff’ first $10,200 of unemployment advantages obtained final yr. However, it is restricted to individuals who had lower than $150,000 of revenue in 2020.

Retroactive contributions to particular person retirement accounts and well being financial savings accounts may help workers get the tax break. Self-employed enterprise house owners may also depreciate the worth of pricey gear purchased final yr extra rapidly.

These maneuvers can maybe scale back one’s “modified adjusted gross income” for 2020 under the $150,000 threshold.

Greg Iacurci

French prime minister publicizes monthlong lockdown in Paris

French Prime Minister Jean Castex imposed a four-week lockdown on Paris because the nation’s capital struggles with a faltering vaccine rollout and the unfold of a extremely contagious virus variant, Reuters reported. The lockdown will begin Friday at midnight.

The nation’s northern Hauts-de-France and Seine et Marne areas may also be underneath tighter restrictions together with the southern Alpes-Maritimes zone.

Schools will keep open, however residents won’t be allowed to journey elsewhere within the nation with out a compelling cause, the report mentioned.

Fred Imbert

CORRECTION: This weblog put up has been up to date to replicate that the French prime minister is Jean Castex.

Maryland will open vaccinations to residents aged 16 and older beginning April 27

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan mentioned in a press briefing that the state will open vaccinations to residents aged 16 and older beginning April 27, although individuals in that age group with underlying well being situations will probably be eligible starting March 30.

All Maryland residents aged 60 and over can get vaccinated starting on Tuesday, he added.

Fred Imbert

U.S. to start enjoyable Covid journey restrictions in mid-May, sources say

A business truck exits the freeway for the Bridge to Canada, in Detroit, Michigan, August 30, 2018.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

The Biden administration is looking to ease Covid travel restrictions with Canada and Mexico in the course of May, sources informed CNBC’s Kayla Tausche. An official timeframe has not been formally introduced.

The president may also chill out Covid journey restrictions for inbound worldwide journey from Brazil, the U.Okay. and Europe, two sources mentioned.

“There is going to be a sea change in mid-May when vaccines are more widely available to everyone,” mentioned one senior administration official. 

The U.S. has seen a rise in unaccompanied minors on the southern border, and the variety of adults apprehended is ready to hit 20-year highs. On the northern border, Canada has requested that the U.S. maintain the border closed.

Interagency teams inside the Biden administration have agreed to debate journey restrictions with the U.Okay., Brazil and Europe on a weekly foundation as new info is available in.

Rich Mendez

People are shifting from metropolis residences to homes within the suburbs — for their pets

Cheap hire, vacant area: Retailers seize the second to open shops

The athletic attire retailer Fabletics is planning to open two dozen shops within the U.S. this yr, bringing its whole to 74.

Source: Fabletics

For the primary time in years, retailers throughout the nation are planning to open more stores than they are closing.

From Ulta Beauty and Sephora, to Dick’s Sporting GoodsFive Below and TJ Maxx, companies are rebounding from the Covid pandemic and dusting off growth plans that have been placed on maintain. In the most recent instance, athletic attire retailer Fabletics mentioned Thursday that it’s going to open two dozen shops within the United States this yr. Even Toys R Us, the beloved toy chain that filed for chapter in 2017 and finally liquidated, has a new owner that is looking to open stores forward of the 2021 holidays.

Year-to-date, retailers within the U.S. have introduced 3,199 retailer openings and a pair of,548 closures, in line with a monitoring by Coresight Research. The agency tracked a whopping 8,953 closures, together with simply 3,298 openings, final yr, because the pandemic upended the retail trade and pushed dozens of businesses into bankruptcy.

Following a tsunami of retailer closures in 2020, the retail actual property panorama is fraught with vacancies. Mall and procuring middle house owners throughout the nation are looking for tenants to fill that space quickly. 

“There’s more space available, and we’re able to get better terms today than two years ago,” Fabletics co-founder and CEO Adam Goldenberg mentioned in an interview.

—Lauren Thomas

‘I completely disagree with you,’ Fauci tells GOP senator in fiery debate on masks

White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci pushed back against Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s claim that persons are not liable to contracting Covid after they’ve recovered or have been vaccinated.

Paul claimed Americans should not need to put on masks after getting vaccinated as a result of there’s “virtually 0% chance” they will get Covid-19.

“Isn’t it just theater?” the Kentucky junior senator requested throughout a listening to. “You’ve been vaccinated and you parade around in two masks for show. You can’t get it again.”

But Fauci mentioned the emergence of latest, extremely contagious variants poses a menace to individuals who have already got antibodies.

Can I just state for the record that masks are not theater,” Fauci mentioned. “I totally disagree with you.”

“In the South African study conducted by [Johnson & Johnson], they found that people who were infected with wild type and were exposed to the variant in South Africa, the 351, it was as if they had never been infected before, they had no protection,” Fauci mentioned.

–Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Senate confirms Xavier Becerra as HHS secretary

The Senate confirmed Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services within the subsequent part of the Covid-19 battle.

The chamber permitted his appointment to the put up in a 50-49 vote. Becerra turns into the primary Latino to steer HHS.

The division will play a significant function within the coming months within the mammoth activity of vaccinating a big sufficient share of the U.S. inhabitants to include the virus and usher in wider financial reopening. Becerra may also work on the Biden administration’s potential efforts to create a Medicare-like public insurance coverage choice.

Becerra has served as California’s lawyer common since 2017. He represented the state within the U.S. House for greater than 20 years earlier than he took over the job.

—Jacob Pramuk

Illinois to develop vaccine eligibility to all adults starting in April

Illinois will permit all residents age 16 and older to obtain a Covid-19 vaccine starting April 12, in line with an announcement from Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s workplace.

So far, Illinois has administered vaccines to greater than 1 / 4 of adults over the age of 16, together with 58% of residents who’re age 65 and older, in line with the assertion. The state is administering roughly 100,000 vaccines per day.

“With projections from the Biden Administration indicating that weekly vaccine deliveries to Illinois will surpass one million doses in April, it is fully in our power to turn the page on this dark and devastating chapter even as we race a tough clock: the new variants,” Pritzker mentioned in an announcement.

—Noah Higgins-Dunn

U.S. offering 4 million vaccine doses to Canada and Mexico, official says

A vial with the AstraZeneca coronavirus illness (COVID-19) vaccine is pictured at a hospital in Tbilisi, Georgia, March 15, 2021.

Irakli Gedenidze | Reuters

The United States is sending about 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to neighbors Canada and Mexico, an official informed Reuters.

The plan is for Mexico to obtain 2.5 million doses, and for Canada to obtain 1.5 million. The timeline for the deal was unclear, however officers informed Reuters that the vaccines could be delivered in “short order.”

“This virus has no borders,” the official informed Reuters. “We only put the virus behind us if we’re helping our global partners.

AstraZeneca, which has millions of doses in a U.S. facility and said that it plans to have 30 million jabs ready for distribution by April, has not yet been approved for use in the U.S.

Rich Mendez

Massachusetts lifts restrictions on stadiums, convention halls beginning next week

Massachusetts will allow indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks to reopen beginning Monday at a “strict 12% capability restrict,” according to a statement from Gov. Charlie Baker’s office.

The large sports and entertainment venues are required to submit plans to the state’s Department of Public Health, the statement said. Massachusetts will also expand gathering limits at event venues and public settings to 100 people indoors and 150 outdoors.

Additionally, dance floors at weddings will be permitted and overnight summer camps will be allowed to operate this summer, according to the statement. Massachusetts will also turn its travel order into a travel advisory, suggesting people arriving in the state quarantine for 10 days if they have been out of the state for 24 hours or more, the statement said.

—Noah Higgins-Dunn

New York to reopen outside sports activities stadiums starting April 1, governor says

Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the New York Mets stands in the on deck circle in front of cardboard fans during their Pre Season game at Citi Field on July 18, 2020 in New York City.

Al Bello | Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a press briefing that the state’s outdoor sports stadiums and concert venues will be allowed to reopen at 20% capacity beginning April 1.

That includes Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, home to major league baseball’s New York Mets and New York Yankees, respectively. People attending the sports stadiums will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test or proof they’ve been vaccinated before they’re allowed to enter, Cuomo said.

“I feel you are going to see the capability enhance and the testing necessities lower as we get extra proof, however we wish to begin protected and good,” Cuomo said at the briefing.

—Noah Higgins-Dunn

‘Above the mask’ makeup growing in popularity during the pandemic

Mascara, eyeliner and brow products — these “above the mask” make-up classes are seeing robust gross sales throughout the pandemic, Ulta CEO Mary Dillon informed CNBC in a “Squawk Box” interview, remaining optimistic in the overall growth of the industry.

“We see that make-up basically is beginning to come again,” Dillion said. “It’s only a matter of how lengthy will it take for individuals to be in a state of affairs after they’re not needing to put on a masks in a extra social state of affairs.”

On the other hand, products like lipstick and blush aren’t as popular because of them going unseen under a protective face mask.

Other categories that are faring well are skin care, hair care, fragrance and clean beauty.

“It began with issues like self-care. People had extra time to find out about skincare to place a bunch of latest skin-care routines into their process as a result of they’ve extra time at dwelling,” said Dillion.

Dillon will be stepping down as CEO and will be replaced by Ulta President Dave Kimbell.

—Katie Tsai

Biden will likely reach goal of 100 million vaccine shots in his first 100 days as early as Thursday

Tony Heaton of Falling Waters, wearing a West Virginia t-shirt with stars and stripes, receives a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine during a community vaccination event in Martinsburg, West Virginia, March 11, 2021.

Kevin Lemarque | Reuters

President Joe Biden is poised to meet his goal of delivering 100 million Covid-19 vaccine shots in his first 100 days in office as early as Thursday, a senior administration official told NBC News.

The president reached the goal ahead of schedule, the official said. Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Jan. 20, about 57 days ago.

Biden is scheduled to make an announcement on the “state of vaccinations” later Thursday where he may discuss the milestone.

Health experts say the president’s goal of 100 million shots in 100 days was an attainable benchmark. After a slower-than-expected rollout under former President Donald Trump, the pace of vaccinations in the U.S. has rapidly increased, averaging about 2 million to 3 million shots per day.

—Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

CORRECTION: This blog post headline has been updated to reflect that the goal of 100 shots in Biden’s first 100 days is the benchmark likely to be reached Thursday.

Delta CEO flags rising jet-fuel prices as demand increases

Delta Air Lines CEO says demand is on the rise and that the carrier aims to turn a profit in the third quarter of this year.

But the business faces several challenges.

“Fuel costs are up about 30% for the reason that begin of the yr and we’re incurring obligatory prices to construct again our enterprise,” Ed Bastian said in a staff memo. “In addition, the restoration up to now has been led by leisure vacationers. We know that our core enterprise prospects will probably be slower to return, and worldwide journey will seemingly be the final section to totally get well.”

Bastian and other airline chiefs this week said bookings have climbed more in March after a difficult January and February and that demand for summer travel is strengthening sending stock prices to pre-pandemic highs.

—Leslie Josephs

What you could learn about getting the Covid vaccine

A healthcare worker administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to a staff member of the Clarendon School District at Manning High School in Manning, South Carolina, on Friday, March 12, 2021.

Micah Green | Bloomberg | Getty Images

In the U.S., 22% of the inhabitants has received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Come May, all adults will be eligible to obtain the vaccine.

There are three vaccines for Covid permitted by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use, from drugmakers PfizerBioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Experts say you should take the vaccine that you can get.

The process of finding appointments to receive Covid vaccines varies depending upon your state. The CDC’s VaccineFinder tool is a good starting point to find providers and pharmacies near you that have the vaccines. President Joe Biden announced that there will be a federally-run vaccine appointment website ready to use by May.

Common side effects to the vaccines include pain near where the vaccine was injected, redness and soreness, as well as fatigue, headache, chills, fever and nausea, which can last up to a few days.

It takes a few weeks for the body to mount an immune response after getting the vaccine. A person is considered “absolutely vaccinated” for Covid two weeks after receiving the second dose of a two-dose vaccine (such as those developed by Moderna and Pfizer) or two weeks after getting the single-dose J&J vaccine, according to the CDC.

The CDC recently said people who are fully vaccinated can visit with other people who are also fully vaccinated, as well as some unvaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or social distancing, according to the guidelines.

Cory Stieg

Irish pub owner on the restaurant industry one year after the first shutdown

Lorcan Phelan, owner of the James Joyce Pub and the Irish Times Pub in Long Island, New York, joins CNBC’s “Worldwide Exchange” to discuss what the past year has been like for bars and restaurants, a year after the first shutdowns happened in the state.

Lyft continues to show signs of recovery

Lyft mentioned Thursday it is continuing to see recovery in its rideshare business and expects that to continue through the rest of the year.

The company announced that last week was its best week, in terms of rider volume, since lockdowns began last March. It also posted positive year-over-year growth in daily rideshare ride volume for the first time in a year on Wednesday.

Lyft now expects to post positive weekly rideshare growth on a year-over-year basis and every subsequent week through the end of the year (barring a significant worsening of coronavirus conditions). Additionally, starting next week, the company said it expects its rideshare ride volume to grow in excess of 100% year-over-year as it begins “to lap the numerous influence of Covid-19 on our enterprise a yr in the past.”

Lyft’s replace comes about two weeks after it reported in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that improving trends will allow it to narrow losses in the current quarter by more than expected. The company said it expects to manage its adjusted EBITDA loss in the first quarter to $135 million, from the $145 million to $150 million it previously forecast.

—Jessica Bursztynsky

U.S. jobless claims total 770,000, slightly above estimate

First-time claims for unemployment benefits totaled 770,000 for the week ended March 13, compared with the 700,000 jobless claims expected by economists surveyed by Dow Jones, reports CNBC’s Jeff Cox.

The unexpected jump comes as the labor market tries to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw large swaths of the economy shut down and more than 22 million Americans join the unemployment line a year ago.

—Melodie Warner 

WHO always knew vaccine distribution would be a major problem, spokesperson says

Dr. Margaret Harris, a spokesperson for the World Health Organization, says the public health body always knew vaccine distribution would be a “main drawback.”

UK vaccination rollout progress now threatened by supply disruptions

The U.Okay. authorities’s so-far profitable immunization program is dealing with questions over whether it’s about to face a shortage in the supply of coronavirus vaccines.

“We have much less provide than we would have hoped for the approaching weeks however we anticipate it to extend once more later,” Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told the BBC on Thursday.

“The vaccine rollout will probably be barely slower than we would have hoped however not slower than the goal,” he said. “We have each cause to consider that provide will enhance within the months of May, June and July.”

A flurry of reports in the British media has said the U.K.’s rollout could hit some turbulence. It’s been widely reported that delivery of millions of doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot being produced by the Serum Institute of India could be held up by four weeks.

Britain is also facing possible disruptions to supply if the EU goes through with a proposal to withhold exports of vaccines made in the bloc while its own program lags. Supplies of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that the U.K. is also using in its vaccination program, come from Belgium.

Holly Ellyatt

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