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Nov. 20 Coronavirus updates: Latest news about the pandemic

November 20 news about the coronavirus pandemic. Thanksgiving plans may be impacted by the CDC's recent announcement and new statewide safety guidelines.
Bodies wrapped in plastic line the walls of a refrigerated trailer used as a mobile morgue in El Paso, Texas on Nov. 13, 2020.Justin Hamel / AFP - Getty Images

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading coronavirus news from Nov. 21, 2020.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Thursday that Americans not travel next week for Thanksgiving. The guidance comes as the nation has seen 1 million new cases in the last week.

The latest Covid-19 data and coverage:

Some Americans are still traveling for Thanksgiving

Wisconsin governor renews mask mandate despite court challenge

Wisconsin's governor on Friday extended a statewide mask mandate despite a legal challenge from conservatives, renewing an emergency health order requiring face coverings in public spaces to curb an alarming surge in COVID-19 infections.

The new decree from Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, came six months after a coronavirus stay-at-home order issued last spring was invalidated by the state Supreme Court in a lawsuit that Republican lawmakers brought against the lockdown.

The same court heard oral arguments on Monday in a similar lawsuit brought by a prominent Wisconsin conservative donor contesting Evers' authority to impose an earlier face-covering mandate, which is due to expire Saturday.

Cuomo to get Emmy for virus briefings

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to soon receive an International Emmy award for his once-daily televised briefings on the coronavirus pandemic that killed tens of thousands of New Yorkers this spring.

The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, whose members include media and entertainment figures from over 60 countries and 500 companies, announced Friday it plans to present the award to the Democratic governor in a live-streamed show Monday.

International Academy President & CEO Bruce L. Paisner said Cuomo is being honored with the academy’s Founders Award for using his briefings to inform and calm the public. Previous recipients include former Vice President Al Gore, Oprah Winfrey, and director Steven Spielberg.

“The governor’s 111 daily briefings worked so well because he effectively created television shows, with characters, plot lines, and stories of success and failure,” he said. “People around the world tuned in to find out what was going on, and New York tough became a symbol of the determination to fight back.”

More than 194,000 cases reported in the U.S. for new single-day record

The United States shattered another single-day record for new coronavirus cases on Friday with more than 194,000 Covid-19 infections confirmed and at least 1,880 deaths, according to NBC News counts

The previous single-day record for new cases was reported on Thursday with 193,200 infections.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 11,972,950 confirmed cases and 255,218 deaths have been reported in the U.S. 

The grim news comes as millions of Americans weigh canceling Thanksgiving Day celebrations or risk exacerbating an already deadly pandemic that shows no signs of slowing down this year.


Superspreader events are still happening

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Pentagon imposes new restrictions on employees

The Department of Defense will impose new restrictions on the thousands of people who work at the Pentagon as Covid-19 cases continue to climb at the Pentagon's campus and throughout the greater Capital region. 

The new guidelines will raise the health protection level from "Bravo" to "Bravo-plus" starting at 5 a.m. Thanksgiving Day.

Under the restrictions, only 40 percent of workspaces can be occupied with the remaining 60 percent of employees telecommuting until further notice. Face coverings will be mandatory for anyone coming within 6 feet of another person, and employees will be subject to random health screenings. All visitors already must undergo similar screenings before entering the property. 

Inslee announces $135M in grants, loans, aid for businesses, workers

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday announced $135 million in grants, loans and other assistance to help businesses and workers hurt by new restrictions he imposed through mid-December in response to a rising number of coronavirus cases across the state.

At a news conference, Inslee said businesses would be able to apply for $70 million in grants, as well as $30 million in loans to help offset the business restrictions that took effect this week, including the closure of fitness facilities and gyms, bowling centers and movie theaters, and the requirement that restaurants and bars be limited to to-go service and outdoor dining. 

The economic package also includes $20 million in rental assistance and $15 million in utility payment assistance for those with low income. All of the funding is part of federal coronavirus outbreak assistance funds distributed to states.

“We are in a very difficult situation, and we are acting to save people’s lives in the state of Washington,” Inslee said. “But we also need to act to help people’s economic prospects hurt by this pandemic.”

What scientists are paying attention to for vaccine safety

The first experimental coronavirus vaccines could be available by the end of the year, and while that’s welcome news for public health officials, surveys have shown that people’s trust in a Covid-19 vaccine remains on shaky ground.

A Gallup poll in November found that 58 percent of Americans say they would get a Covid-19 vaccine, up from a low of 50 percent in September. But there are still worries that the speed of developing and testing the vaccines may have compromised their scientific integrity.

In a White House Task Force briefing Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci tried to settle concerns about the safety of the first two vaccines for which early Phase 3 clinical trial results have been reported.

Fauci is confident of the process, but what are scientists paying attention to when it comes to vaccine safety?

Read the full story. 

Donald Trump Jr. tests positive for Covid-19

Donald Trump Jr., the president's eldest son, has tested positive for coronavirus, a spokesman told NBC News on Friday.

“Don tested positive at the start of the week and has been quarantining out at his cabin since the result. He’s been completely asymptomatic so far and is following all medically recommended COVID-19 guidelines," the spokesman said. 

Donald Trump Jr., 42, was among the more than a hundred people who attended his father's election night party at the White House and has been traveling as a campaign surrogate to defend his father's election loss in various states.

Since then, Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and other White House aides and members of Congress have also tested positive. 

Kimberly Guilfoyle, a senior Trump campaign official and Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, tested positive for the coronavirus in July. 

Donald Trump Jr., son of President Donald Trump, speaks on stage in National Harbor, MD.Samuel Corum / Getty Images file

Ben Carson says he recovered from Covid-19 after Trump approved use of experimental antibody

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said Friday in a Facebook post that he and his wife have recovered from Covid-19 after he and his wife announced they tested positive earlier this month. 

Carson, 69, said in the lengthy post that he "was extremely sick," started to feel better but soon became "desperately ill" after the symptoms accelerated. 

"President Trump was following my condition and cleared me for the monoclonal antibody therapy that he had previously received, which I am convinced saved my life," he said. "President Trump, the fabulous White House medical team, and the phenomenal doctors at Walter Reed have been paying very close attention to my health and I do believe I am out of the woods at this point." 

Carson, a retired physician, was among the more than a hundred people who attended Trump's election night party at the White House earlier this month. Since then, Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and other White House aides have also tested positive for the disease caused by the coronavirus.