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WHO says 'the worst is yet to come' amid surge of COVID-19 cases

New COVID-19 cases are surging in the U.S. as WHO warns 'the worst is yet to come'. Yahoo Finance’s On The Move panel discusses.

Video Transcript

ADAM SHAPIRO: And then there's the "Wall Street Journal." It reports that NPC International-- that's the largest fast-food franchise operator here in the United States-- preparing to file for bankruptcy. You know them as Pizza Hit. They have 1,200 of those stores and also 385 Wendy's restaurants.

So we're going to have Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio joining us in about five minutes to talk about the ways businesses can do more to protect their essential workers. But in the coronavirus pandemic, essential workers and protecting all of us is key, and Dr. Anthony Fauci has been testifying about the potential for a vaccine to do just that, and here's some of what he had to say.

ANTHONY FAUCI: There is no guarantee-- and anyone who's been involved in vaccinology will tell you-- that we will have a safe and effective vaccine, but we are cautiously optimistic, looking at animal data and the early preliminary data, that we will at least know the extent of efficacy sometime in the winter and early part of next year.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Heidi and Brian-- I'll start with you, Heidi. We've heard from the FDA. They will not approve a vaccine for inoculation, you know, in the United States unless it has at least 50% efficacy against a placebo. So we get that from the FDA, and then we hear Fauci saying cautiously optimistic. That is his standard line. Is he trying to prepare us for a letdown?

HEIDI CHUNG: Well, Adam, I don't know about a future letdown in the works, but I feel like the terms cautiously optimistic, that's just the way that everyone has sort of been viewing the entire pandemic. At this point, we're cautiously optimistic about treatment and vaccines. The market is cautiously optimistic that we're going to be able to overcome this potential second spike in COVID-19 cases. I believe there are some 10 US states that have seen their case counts double in the month of June. So all of those statistics, Adam, are very concerning.

But like you mentioned earlier, we are about to close out the second quarter. And in the second quarter, both the Dow and the S&P 500 are on track to close out their best quarter since 1998, and the NASDAQ on pace to close out its best quarter since 2001. So a lot of that market momentum and a lot of other positive economic data that we have gotten over the recent weeks has really been predicated on the fact that we're expecting the US to really overcome the coronavirus pandemic here, but a lot of the data points that we've been getting recently are pointing in the opposite direction.

So I think a lot of folks out there, a lot of experts are having a bit of trouble finding the direction of the economic recovery as well as the market recovery headed into Q3 as well as the second half of this year. Like you also mentioned earlier, we are headed into earnings season. And as we know, in the previous earnings season, a lot of companies foregoing giving guidance. A lot of companies stepping away from having to give updates related to COVID-19. So this next earnings season will prove to be an ultimate test for markets to see whether or not investors are able to go ahead and invest and take an offensive stance.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah, and absolutely. To Heidi's point too, you look at the metrics in a number of states. You've got Florida cases of COVID-19 rising 4.2%. That's a tick down from the seven-day average of 5.6%. But still, you have the amount of cases at long-term care facilities hitting a record.

You have New York expanding the 14-day quarantine that they've imposed on a number of states. They added eight new states to that-- California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, and Tennessee. And Arizona, of course, coronavirus cases increasing by 294% by Reuters's count in the month of June. Not looking good in some of those states.