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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.
Image: US-VIRUS-HEALTH
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:

S.D. governor's Thanksgiving message filled with misinformation, expert says

The governor of South Dakota has delivered a Thanksgiving message to her constituents that a public health expert is calling “dangerous” and rife with “misinformation.”

Gov. Kristi Noem, in a statement titled “Thanksgiving and Personal Responsibility,” ignored the alarms that Dr. Anthony Fauci and other expert epidemiologists have been sounding for weeks and said “we won't stop or discourage you from thanking God and spending time together this Thanksgiving.”

Noem, who has refused to order a mask mandate even though South Dakota currently has the second highest infection rates in the country (52.53 percent), urged residents to “exercise personal responsibility” and said “smaller gatherings may be smarter this year.”

In explaining why South Dakota has not followed the example of most other states and imposed restrictions as the number of new Covid-19 cases continues to skyrocket, the Republican governor also made the false statement that “there is no science to support the claim that lockdowns stop the spread of the virus” and the misleading assertion that “not even mask mandates have stopped cases from rising in communities.”

That, said Dr. Sadiya Khan, an epidemiologist at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, “is a dangerous statement from a person in a position of power and influence that is not based on scientific fact and ignores common sense.”

“This is misinformation,” Khan said. 

Recent Covid restrictions by city and state

As the coronavirus pandemic surges across the country, states and cities imposed new measures to curb the spread of the virus. 

- Mayor Bill de Blasio closed New York City public schools on Wednesday as the city reached a 3 percent positivity rate. 

- In Philadelphia, officials announced new restrictions earlier in the week, banning indoor gatherings and prohibiting indoor dining. Indoor restaurants, gyms and museums were shuttered beginning Friday. The measures also restrict high school and colleges to holding virtual classes only.  

- Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam put in place new restrictions on indoor dining on Monday, with bans on alcohol service at 10 p.m and restaurants closing by midnight. Entertainment venues are restricted to 30 percent capacity. 

- Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced restrictions on restaurants and bars, making them takeout only starting Friday. Minnesota also shuttered gyms and indoor entertainment venues.

- In Illinois, all bars and restaurants will close at 11 p.m. and eateries can only serve outdoors starting Friday. Health and fitness centers can only operate at 25 percent occupancy. All indoor gaming and entertainment venues will close. 

- Last week, Oregon issued a statewide two-week lockdown as coronavirus cases rose in the state. 

- Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced a statewide mask mandate on Nov. 8. Businesses must require employees to wear masks and all Utah residents are required to wear them in public.

- California Gov. Gavin Newsom enacted a curfew on social gatherings starting Saturday night. From 10 p.m. until 5 am each day, stay at home orders will go into effect in 41 counties. The edict will expire on December 21. 

- On Thursday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued a 10 p.m. - 5 a.m. curfew order that will expire in mid-December.

- Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced a statewide two-week “pause” on Thursday. The order will shutter bars, gyms, indoor sporting venues, and in-person colleges. Restrictions on crowds will be placed on high schools, indoor restaurants and places of worship from November 30 to December 13.

Rudy Giuliani's son Andrew, a White House staffer, tests positive

Rudy Giuliani's 34-year-old son, Andrew, said Friday, that he tested positive for Covid-19. 

"This morning, I tested positive for COVID-19. I am experiencing mild symptoms, and am following all appropriate protocols, including being in quarantine and conducting contact tracing," he tweeted.

Andrew Giuliani, who works in Trump's White House, attended the Republican National Committee press conference with his father and other lawyers who spoke Thursday, according to a Trump campaign official. The event lasted nearly two hours.

Toronto Raptors to start NBA season in Tampa

TORONTO — The Canadian government denied a request by the NBA and the Raptors to play in Toronto amid the pandemic, and the team says it will start the season next month in Tampa, Florida.

“Ultimately, the current public health situation facing Canadians, combined with the urgent need to determine where we will play means that we will begin our 2020-21 season in Tampa, Florida,” the team said in a statement Friday.

The Canadian government had been reviewing a proposal from the NBA and the Raptors. The team had said it needed to know this week with training camp less than two weeks away.

The Raptors and the NBA needed an exemption to a requirement that anyone entering Canada for nonessential reasons must isolate for 14 days. The U.S.-Canada border remains closed to nonessential travel.

The federal government denied the Blue Jays’ request to play in Toronto this year because health officials didn’t think it was safe for players to travel back and forth from the U.S., one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. The number of cases in both countries, but particularly in the U.S. has surged since.

Mexico is fourth country to top over 100,000 Covid deaths

MEXICO CITY — Mexico passed the 100,000 mark in confirmed COVID-19 deaths, becoming only the fourth country to do so amid concerns about the lingering physical and psychological scars on survivors.

José Luis Alomía Zegarra, Mexico’s director of epidemiology, announced late Thursday that Mexico had 100,104 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, behind only the United States, Brazil and India.

Mexico’s number includes only test-confirmed deaths; the true toll is far higher. In late October, a government study of excess mortality found that a total of about 140,000 deaths this year were probably attributable to the new coronavirus, a number that has only grown since then.

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NYC mayor warns that indoor dining, gyms could soon close

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday that the city could move into the "orange zone," which bans indoor dining, as soon as the week after Thanksgiving as cases of the coronavirus continue to surge. 

The mayor warned of the move during a radio appearance on WNYC.

"The restrictions that are coming. I've been very overt in the fact that the governor said an orange zone is coming. By our own projections, based on the state data, that will happen soon after Thanksgiving, probably the first week of December," he said, according to WABC

Under the orange zone, places such as gyms and salons will be closed and bars and restaurants will only be allowed to have outdoor dining and takeout. Indoor dining is prohibited. Nonessential indoor and outdoor dining must also be limited to no more than 10 people and violators face a fine up to $15,000 per day.

"I don't say that with anything but sorrow for the people who work in those places, the people who own those small businesses," the mayor said. "But that is what is going to happen."

Hospitalizations are at all-time high since start of pandemic

There are more people hospitalized with Covid-19 right now than “at any time since the pandemic began,” The Covid Tracking Project reported Friday.

Nearly 80,000 people infected with the virus are being treated in hospitals and the average number of hospitalizations eclipsed 72,000 in the seven day period ending Wednesday, the researchers reported.

That is a nearly 24 percent jump from the previous week and the highest average number seen since April 15, in the early days of the coronavirus crisis.

“This wave of cases arrives in a moment when many hospital systems across the country are already inundated with Covid-19 patients and are warning of staff shortages,” the researchers reported.

One million new cases of Covid-19 were reported in the United States during that seven day period.

“The record levels of hospitalizations we’re already seeing will almost certainly be followed by a spike in reported fatalities,” the researchers warned. And that’s “even if Americans follow new state lockdown measures and skip big Thanksgiving gatherings,” they said.

The 8,461 deaths reported during the seven-day period is the highest weekly death count since May, they said. 

Hard-hit by Covid-19, Latinos bear mental health burden 8 months into pandemic

Ana Urbina is so afraid of contracting Covid-19 that she even worries about going outside to throw out the garbage. Staying home all the time means Urbina is watching more TV than usual — including the news, which then increases her anxiety.

“I am too stressed,” said Urbina, 60, a Miami resident who’s diabetic, disabled and immunocompromised. “The state of my health is becoming more complicated, and that stresses me.”

Urbina is among the roughly 40 percent of Latinos nationwide who reported experiencing frequent symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, according to an analysis from April 23 to Nov. 9 by the National Center for Health Statistics in partnership with the Census Bureau. The rate peaked in mid-July and at the beginning of November when nearly 50 percent of Latinos reported experiencing such symptoms.

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Pelosi emphasizes need for Covid-19 relief package as pandemic worsens

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., emphasized Friday the need for another Covid-19 relief package as the pandemic continues to worsen and with the release of several vaccines on the horizon. 

“We are in a full blown economic and health catastrophe and it's amazing to see the patience the GOP has for other people's suffering," Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference, criticizing Republicans for the deadlock with Democrats. 

"Let’s hope that it’s time for McConnell’s pause to end," she added, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., saying that she hopes talks about a larger government spending bill will create the impetus for Covid-19 negotiations.  

Pelosi said Congress needs to approve funding for the vaccines that are soon going to become available. “It’s here, it’s imminent ... We should be having the resources to make sure the vaccine is distributed equitably so that everyone has access to it.”