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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:

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.  

3 more White House aides test positive for coronavirus

Three more White House staffers have tested for Covid-19 in recent days, NBC News has confirmed.

The most recent positive cases are three lower-level White House aides.

The aides are only the latest officials who work in the Trump White House or who were associated with the Trump campaign to test positive. 

Trump campaign adviser Corey Lewandowski tested positive for the coronavirus last week.

Connecticut surpasses 100,000 Covid-19 cases

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers says state's hospitals are overwhelmed

With Wisconsin’s hospitals near full capacity, Gov. Tony Evers declared a new public health emergency.

“Wisconsin’s hospitals are overwhelmed and facing staff shortages,” Evers said in a statement. “We continue to see record-setting days of Covid-19 cases in Wisconsin. We need everyone to stay home and wear a mask if you have to go out. We need your help to stop the spread of this virus.”

More than a third of the state’s hospitals are operating at peak capacity and cannot admit any new patients, the governor said.

Evers, who is a Democrat, has had his attempts to impose new restrictions repeatedly stymied by the Republicans who control the state legislature and have used conservative groups to tie the governor up in court. 

Meanwhile, Wisconsin has an alarming 16 percent infection rate and has reported more than 358,00 coronavirus cases and 3,010 deaths since the pandemic started, according to NBC News data. 


Utah governor to end one-household-gathering rule before Thanksgiving

Outgoing Utah Gov. Gary Herbert on Thursday said he would reissue a statewide mask mandate that is set to expire but would not reissue a statewide ban on inter-household gatherings, just days before the Thanksgiving holiday.

As part of a state of emergency declared on Nov. 9 in response to surging Covid-19 rates in Utah, Herbert issued both a mask mandate and a ban on inter-household gatherings that lasted for two weeks.

Set to expire on Monday, Herbert said that the next iteration of the declaration would drop the one-household gathering rule.

"What you do in the confines of our own home is going to be up to you, but we also are giving strong recommendations of how you conduct that in a safe environment," Herbert said at his monthly news conference Thursday.

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Pfizer has applied for emergency use for its Covid-19 vaccine

Pfizer submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration on Friday for an emergency use authorization for its experimental Covid-19 vaccine.

Early results from Pfizer's Phase 3 clinical trials have yielded promising news: Two shots, given three weeks apart, appeared to be 95 percent effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech are poised have 50 million doses available this year and 1.3 billion in 2021, using facilities both in the United States and Belgium.

Read the full story.

Kentucky Gov. called state's surge a "fast-moving train" that's straining healthcare resources

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the number of new Covd-19 cases is going up so fast in his state they can’t keep up.

“It took us what, six, seven months to get to our first day of 1,000 cases,” the Democratic governor told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd. “It took us about a month and a half later to get from 1,000 to 2,000. It took us a week to go from 2,000 to 3,000.”

As a result, Beshear said, “our need for health care workers is going up while our availability is going down, and we have to step in before we run out of health care capacity in Kentucky.”

“And when that happens, you know, the death compounds and I’m just not willing to let that happen,” he said.

Beshear said he has no choice but to double down on mask wearing and social distancing while imposing “surgical” restrictions to slow down the spread but disrupt daily life as little as possible.

“We’re dealing with fast-moving train that has devastating consequences for our families across Kentucky,” he said. “And before we can turn the train around, we got to slow it down and stop it and then we turn it around.”

Kentucky has recorded 148,389 coronavirus infections and 1,742 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest NBC News data.

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.