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Nov. 23 Coronavirus updates: Positive cases spread in sports, Ohio reports 11,000 new cases

November 23 news about the coronavirus pandemic. Ohio reported 11,000 more cases as multiple members of the Baltimore Ravens tested positive.
Image: Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Brazil
Medical workers take care of a patient at the intensive care unit in a hospital in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on Nov. 19. Diego Vara / Reuters

This live blog has ended, click here for NBC News' continuing coverage of Covid-19.

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday late-stage trials of its Covid-19 vaccine, developed in conjunction with U.K.'s University of Oxford, have shown it to be “highly effective.”

The results are the third promising vaccine breakthrough in the fight against the coronavirus. Earlier this month, Pfizer and Moderna reported preliminary results from late-stage trials, showing that their vaccine candidates were almost 95 percent effective.

The latest Covid-19 data and coverage:

Malaysia to shut some factories of world's biggest latex glove maker


Image: Medical workers at a Top Glove hostel under enhanced lockdown in Klang, Malaysia
Medical workers at a Top Glove hostel under enhanced lockdown in Klang, Malaysia on Nov. 18. Lim Huey Teng / Reuters

Malaysia will close some factories of the world’s largest maker of latex gloves in stages as it moves to screen employees for Covid-19 after more than 2,000 workers tested positive, authorities said.

Top Glove has racked up record profits this year on sky-rocketing demand for its products and protective gear, thanks to the pandemic.

But 28 factory buildings will be shut in phases after 2,453 workers tested positive for the virus, from 5,767 screened, the country's director-general of health Noor Hisham Abdullah said on Monday. The cases are the country’s largest active cluster and its second largest since the start of the pandemic.

The government put up barbed wire fences in front of the workers’ hostels on Tuesday, with checkpoints that were guarded by police and army personnel. 

Top Glove has around 16,000 employees and runs 47 factories across Malaysia, Thailand, China and Vietnam, with 36 of them producing gloves. Europe and North America are its biggest markets.

Spain's King Felipe in quarantine after close contact with Covid-19 case


Image: Spain's King Felipe delivers a speech at the Reconquista hotel in Oviedo, Spain
Spain's King Felipe delivers a speech at the Reconquista hotel in Oviedo, Spain on Oct. 16. Andres Ballesteros / Reuters file

Spain’s King Felipe VI started 10 days of quarantine on Monday after coming into close contact with someone who later tested positive for Covid-19, a Royal House source said.

The king, 52, has cancelled his public appearances during the quarantine period after the person tested positive on Monday, one day after they were in close contact, the source added.

Queen Letizia and their two daughters will continue their royal activities, the source said.

Spain, one of the epicenters of the early outbreak in Europe, has registered more than 1.58 million coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, western Europe’s second highest tally after France, and 43,131 deaths.

Australian airline boss wants 'vaccine passport' for travelers

The Associated Press

Image: The Qantas check in area is seen empty at Sydney International Airport on March 19, 2020 in Sydney, Australia.
The Qantas check in area is seen empty at Sydney International Airport in the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic on March 19. Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images

The boss of Australia’s largest airline said Monday that once a coronavirus vaccine becomes widely available, it may require passengers to use it before they can travel abroad.

Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said he’s been talking to his counterparts at other airlines around the world about the possibility of a “vaccination passport” for overseas travelers.

“We are looking at changing the terms and conditions to say for international travelers that we will ask people to have the vaccination before they get on the aircraft,” Joyce told Australia’s Network Nine television.

Australia has imposed some of the most severe border restrictions in the world since the pandemic began, closing its borders to most international visitors. The country has weathered the pandemic, with nearly 28,000 cases and just over 900 deaths since pandemic began, fewer than many other nations of its size.

NFL will require all players to wear masks on sidelines


Players in the National Football League must wear masks on the sidelines unless they have their helmet on and are preparing to enter the game, the league said Monday as it unveiled an enhanced set of Covid-19 protocols.

In a memo distributed to teams, the NFL also outlined increased safety regulations for play-callers and said post-game interactions between players and staff would be limited.

Players that failed to comply would be subject to discipline, the league said.

The league added that the maximum number of players permitted to travel to road games would be reduced to 62 and access to club facilities would be limited for non-essential personnel. All members of a team's traveling party must wear N95 or KN95 masks on team planes and buses, it said.

Mexico’s Roman Catholic Church cancels world’s largest Catholic pilgrimage

The Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s Roman Catholic Church announced the cancellation Monday of what’s considered the world’s largest Catholic pilgrimage, for the Virgin of Guadalupe, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mexico’s Episcopal Conference said in a statement that the basilica will be closed from December 10-13. The Virgin is celebrated on Dec. 12 and for weeks in advance, pilgrims travel from across Mexico to gather by the millions in Mexico City.

Bishop Salvador Martínez, rector at the basilica, said recently in a video circulated on social media that as many as 15 million pilgrims visit during the first two weeks of December.

Facts over fear: How long will a vaccine be effective

Montana brings in more than 100 contract health workers

The Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. — The Montana governor’s office says more than 100 contracted medical staff have arrived in the state to assist hospitals in responding to the spike in COVID-19 cases.

The 110 health care workers are part of an anticipated total of 200 to be deployed in the state before Thanksgiving and who will remain until the end of the year.

The workers, including registered nurses and respiratory therapists, will aid hospitals that are at or near capacity as part of a contract between the state and NuWest, which provides traveling health care workers.

State health officials reported 677 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, bringing total confirmed cases to more than 56,000.

Loeffler has second consecutive negative test, will return to trail, campaign says

U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Georgia, has tested negative for Covid-19 after a second PCR test, her campaign said Monday.

Loeffler, who is in a competitive runoff race that could determine the balance of power in Congress, had been quarantining after Covid-19 tests in which some tests were negative, another PCR test was positive and another test was inconclusive.

Monday night Loeffler "received her second consecutive negative PCR test result," campaign spokesperson Stephen Lawson said in a statement. Lawson said Loeffler has no symptoms and feels great. "She looks forward to getting back out on the campaign trail," the statement says.

PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction, and the tests are considered highly accurate but take longer than some other tests.

L.A. mayor warns city could be out of hospital beds by Christmas

Colorado can order hospitals to transfer or stop seeing more patients

Colorado's governor on Monday signed an executive order that allows the state health department to order hospitals to stop admitting patients or transfer patients to other facilities.

The executive order granting the authorization to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment lasts for 30 days.

The order says that given the rise in Covid-19 cases, the number of people seeking treatment may far exceed capacity and hospitals may need to transfer patients. NBC affiliate KUSA of Denver reports that it gives the state department flexibility and that hospitals in the state have already shown a willingness to transfer patients from one that is overburdened to another facility.

There have been more than 202,000 cases of Covid-19 in Colorado, with more than 2,400 deaths, according to state data. 

Covid exposure sidelines 1,000 Cleveland Clinic staff members

Kentucky teenage cancer survivor dies from Covid-19

A 15-year-old cancer survivor died from Covid-19 after contracting the virus in October, Kentucky officials said. She was the first school-aged child to die from Covid-19 in the state.

Alexa Rose Veit, who was born with special needs and survived a bout with Leukemia in 2019, first began exhibiting symptoms October 26 and underwent a routine Covid-19 test, according to a statement from Ballard County Emergency Management Director Travis Holder.

Veit’s symptoms continued to worsen, and she was eventually hospitalized in Nashville, Tennessee, after developing pneumonia. She died November 15, one day after her mother was released from the hospital for Covid-19.

Read the full story

Ghislaine Maxwell quarantined in jail after exposure to Covid-19

Ghislaine Maxwell, jailed and awaiting trial on charges that she conspired with financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse minors, has been placed into Covid-19 quarantine after a staff member who works in her part of Brooklyn’s MDC detention facility tested positive for the virus.

Maxwell has so far tested negative, prosecutors say.

The attorneys disclosed her condition to a federal judge in an update about the conditions of her detention and her access to discovery as she prepares for trial.

They said that Maxwell’s test was last Wednesday, Nov. 18,  and she will be quarantined until Wednesday, Dec. 16.

In the filing they told the judge, “during her time in quarantine, the defendant will be housed in the same cell where she was already housed before she was placed in quarantine, and medical staff and psychology staff will continue to check  on the defendant every day.”

Maxwell was arrested July 2 in New Hampshire and accused of enticing minors, some as young as 14, to engage in illegal sex acts with Epstein in the mid-1990s, authorities announced at the time.

Maxwell was charged with six counts for acts committed between 1994 and 1997 and then allegedly lying to investigators in 2016. Four counts are related to allegedly helping transport minors for sexual activity and two for perjury, according  to the criminal complaint.

Minnesota Vikings player placed on Covid-19 reserve list

Fort Lauderdale bar shuts down after violating Covid-19 safety guidance

A south Florida bar announced on Sunday that it would be temporarily shutting down just two days after reopening due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Wharf Fort Lauderdale had been issued a citation from Broward County officials and a warning from Fort Lauderdale officials on Saturday afternoon after they were found to be in violation of the county’s Covid-19 safety guidance, a city of Fort Lauderdale spokesperson, Mike Jachles, told NBC News. 

Photos and videos posted on social media show dozens of patrons without masks crowding around the bar at the Wharf Fort Lauderdale, which shut down in mid-March at the height of the pandemic. 

Patrons crowd around the bar at The Wharf Fort Lauderdale, in a photo verified by local officials, which announced on Sunday it would be temporarily shutting down.
Patrons crowd around the bar at The Wharf Fort Lauderdale, in a photo verified by local officials, which announced on Sunday it would be temporarily shutting down.via Twitter

“Unfortunately, due to the statewide spike in cases and local regulations, we will temporarily be shutting down,” the Wharf Fort Lauderdale said in a statement on its Twitter account. “We will reopen when we are able to provide the proper experience for you at our beautiful outdoor venue.” 

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Steve Geller told NBC News affiliate WTVJ that he was pleased by the bar’s decision to shut down, noting he was worried the venue was creating a superspreader event. 

“All businesses are responsible for what goes on inside their business, and bars are especially heavily regulated by the State and local authorities,” Geller said in a statement to WTVJ. “Bars and other business owners need to understand that they must enforce our Emergency Orders.”

Broward County has reported more than 100,000 cases and more than 1,600 deaths due to Covid-19.

Boris Johnson hopes most vulnerable Britons will be vaccinated by Easter

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday he hoped most Britons at high risk from the coronavirus would be vaccinated against the disease by Easter.

"We should be able to inoculate, I believe on the evidence I'm seeing, the vast majority of the people who need the most protection by Easter," Johnson said at a news conference. 

The prime minister stressed, however, that that hope was entirely hypothetical and it depended on whether Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency independently decided that the vaccines worked and were safe. 

Johnson said the government would not force people to have vaccinations. 

"That's not the way we do things in this country," he said. 

But he stressed that his government thought the vaccination was a good idea. 

“I totally reject the propaganda of the anti-vaxxers. They are wrong," he said. "Everybody should get a vaccine as soon as it is available."

Reuters contributed to this report.

2 members of Kansas City fire department die from Covid-19

Two members of the Kansas City Fire Department died over the weekend from Covid-19, officials said. 

Capt. Robert Rocha, 60, a 29-year-veteran of the department, died early Saturday morning. Scott Davidson, 45, an 18-year-veteran of the department who had served as a paramedic and most recently as a communications specialist, died on Sunday

Officials thanked them for their service and extended condolences to both of their families.

“KCFD first responders continue to put their lives on the line daily in service to our City as this pandemic rages on,”the department's chief, Donna Lake, said. “My request to all is to follow the guidance to protect yourself and your family from the virus.”

Three Kansas City Fire Department first responders have died from Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, the department said in a press release

White House will proceed with holiday parties despite official guidance

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Public health officials are sounding alarms and urging Americans not to travel and limit gatherings this holiday season amid a new surge in coronavirus cases.

But that isn't stopping the White House from planning a host of festivities, including holiday parties, which kicked off Monday with the arrival of the White House Christmas tree.

“Attending the parties will be a very personal choice,” said Stephanie Grisham, First Lady Melania Trump's spokeswoman and chief of staff. “It is a longstanding tradition for people to visit and enjoy the cheer and iconic décor of the annual White House Christmas celebrations."

The decision to move forward with indoor events and other gatherings comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, top White House advisers and public health professionals across the nation have been pleading with Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving or spend the holiday with people from outside of their households.

Grisham said the White House would be taking precautions to provide "the safest environment possible” for attendees at events. That includes smaller guest lists, requiring masks, encouraging social distancing on the White House grounds and hand sanitizer stations placed throughout the State Floor.

“Guests will enjoy food individually plated by chefs at plexiglass-protected food stations. All passed beverages will be covered. All service staff will wear masks and gloves to comply with food safety guidelines," she said.

Ohio reports more than 11,000 new Covid-19 cases

Ohio saw 11,885 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 over the last 24 hours, health officials announced Monday, as the state's governor described the virus as a "fast, runaway freight train."

Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, said Monday that the new numbers might appear inflated because of a two-day delay in case reporting from the Cleveland Clinic and Mercy Health.

"This high jump in cases is caused, at least in part, by technical problems with two labs being unable to report cases for two days. There are also many antigen tests still pending," DeWine said in a tweet.

Ohio also reported that 24 people have died of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the number of virus fatalities in the state to just over 6,000.

CDC upgrades warning on cruise ship travel to highest risk level possible

Stefan Sykes

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday raised its warning against cruise trip travel amid the pandemic, recommending “all people avoid travel on cruise ships.”

The new travel notice comes 3 weeks after the CDC issued a “Conditional Sailing Order” for cruise ships traveling within U.S. waters, which lifted an eight-month no-sail order and gave cruise lines the green light to set sail again. 

Now, the federal agency has changed course. In new guidelines, it has classified cruise ship travel as “Level 4: Very High Level of COVID-19” and it’s asking that people avoid cruise ship travel, including river cruises, worldwide. 

“Cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on cruise ships,” read the CDC’s updated travel notice for cruise ship travel. 

But for those still considering cruises despite the risk, the CDC suggests social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing. “Passengers who decide to go on a cruise should get tested 3-5 days after your trip AND stay home for 7 days after travel. Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days,” the travel notice read. 

Pennsylvania could run out of ICU beds within a week

Pennsylvania has seen a "worrisome" increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations in recent days and could run out of intensive care unit beds within a week, according to the state's secretary of health.

There are 3,379 Pennsylvanians currently hospitalized with coronavirus, 775 of whom are in the ICU, according to the state department of health. Meanwhile, the statewide percent-positivity rate has climbed to 11.1 percent, up from 9.6 percent the week prior, secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said in their weekly coronavirus status update. 

“This week’s data, in terms of hospitalization increase, an increase in the use of ventilators, case increase and percent positivity are worrisome,” Levine said in the status update, released Monday. “Latest models show we could run out of ICU beds within a week."

Wolf called the latest uptick a "call to action." 

“We need all Pennsylvanians to take the steps they can to protect one another," he said.

Black doctors endorse taking 'safe and effective' COVID vaccine

Randi Richardson

A group of eight esteemed Black doctors wrote a “love letter to Black America” to encourage people to get the Covid-19 vaccine once it becomes available.

The letter comes months after a significant portion of Black Americans said they were unlikely to get the first-generation coronavirus vaccine once it becomes available, according to an Axios/Ipsos poll. Compared to slightly more than half of white and Latino respondents who said they’d get the vaccine, 72 percent of Black respondents said they would not immediately get a vaccination for Covid-19.

In addition to some general skepticism over the vaccine, there is historical skepticism among the Black community regarding medical experimentation and vaccines. Many point to the experiences of Henrietta Lacks, whose cells were taken by doctors at Johns Hopkins University without her knowledge for experimentation as she died of cancer, and of the men subjected to the torturous Tuskegee Syphilis Study.

Click here to read the full story.

Multiple members of Baltimore Ravens test positive

Musicians sitting in individual greenhouses have Covid-19 safe jam session in Tennessee

Five greenhouses and small space heaters have allowed a band to continue playing together during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mary Robinette Kowal, 51, a writer from East Tennessee posted videos and photos on her Twitter account showing her father and his Irish music band playing together from their individual greenhouses. 

“They've been able to do so this [all] summer, but the weather is turning,” Kowal wrote on Twitter, explaining the need for the space heaters.

In a video she posted on her Twitter account, five of the band members can be seen playing their instruments to an uptempo Irish tune. Unfortunately, the sixth member was sidelined after testing positive for Covid-19.

While social media users have commended the creativity of the greenhouses, Kowal said they are a necessary solution. Her father, the fiddle player, is in his 80s and her mother has Parkinson’s disease, putting both in the high risk category if they were to contract Covid-19.

“I’m grateful that I have the means to let my dad have a good day. There’s nothing romantic about Covid-19,” Kowal wrote. “Please wear your mask.”

New York opening field hospital on Staten Island, first time emergency facility needed since spring

New York state is opening a field hospital on Staten Island, where coronavirus has been spiking for weeks, officials said Monday.

The temporary facility, next to Staten Island University Hospital, had been used in the spring during the initial action against the pandemic, authorities said.

U.S. cases could nearly double to 20 million by Inauguration Day, WashU model predicts

Covid-19 cases in the U.S. could hit 20 million by Inauguration Day, according to a modeling forecast from researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, published Monday in the journal Scientific Reports.

The increase would represent a near-doubling of current U.S. case totals, which stand at more than 12 million.

The model takes into account the current level of social distancing in the country, which the researchers describe as a 60 percent return to normal; if Americans were to completely return to normal, it predicts that cases would reach 25 million by late January. 

"Even small increases in social distancing can have a large effect on the number of cases we observe in the next two and a half months,” study co-author Raphael Thomadsen said in a statement. “Going back to a 50 percent return to normalcy, which was the average level of distancing in early August, would likely result in 5 million fewer cases by the end of January."

Meatpacking plants linked to 6-8 percent of U.S. Covid-19 cases, study finds

Between 6-8 percent of U.S. Covid-19 cases and 3-4 percent of deaths through late July are tied to countywide outbreaks at meatpacking plants, according to a new study.

The study, published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, found a "strong positive relationship between livestock-processing plants and local community transmission" of the virus. This suggests the plants "may act as transmission vectors" that accelerate the spread of the virus.

A higher number of infections were found in counties where large facilities had been allowed to speed up processing lines, according to the study.

The findings come after meatpacking food giant Tyson Foods lobbied to secure a government waiver to increase production speeds even as dozens of workers came down with the virus. 

The study's authors said that the negative public health impacts of these facilities may be attributed to operating practices and labor conditions. They add that addressing these risk factors "could not only strengthen the U.S. food system in the face of Covid-19 and future disruptions, but also help illuminate analogous weak points in other industries and supply chains."

Reggaeton star Bad Bunny tests positive for coronavirus

The Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Reggaeton superstar Bad Bunny has tested positive for the new coronavirus, his representative said Monday.

The announcement came a day after the musician won favorite male Latin artist and favorite Latin album for “YHLQMDLG” at the American Music Awards.

Bad Bunny, whose real name is Benito Martínez Ocasio, was scheduled to sing his hit, “Dákiti,” with Jhay Cortez at the event but canceled without explanation, leaving many fans disappointed. The singer, however, presented the award for favorite Latin female artist remotely.

Publicist Sujeylee Solá told The Associated Press that Bad Bunny wasn’t showing any major symptoms as of Monday. She did not provide further details, saying only that the musician was not granting any interviews.

U.S. Air Force nurses deploy to North Dakota

U.S. Air Force medical personnel deployed to North Dakota over the weekend amid an uptick in new cases of Covid-19.

The personnel, made up primarily of nurses, will be sent to civilian hospitals across the state to support the fight against the virus.

North Dakota has seen more than 72,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, and some 846 people there have died of complications from the virus, according to NBC News' running tally.

Between the period of Nov. 9 and Nov. 22, the state saw roughly 18,379 new cases, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

British PM Boris Johnson says England lockdown will end Dec. 2

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday that England’s lockdown will end on Dec. 2 and people will be able to leave their homes for any reason.

England’s residents will be able to meet up in groups of six outside and collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume, Johnson said. Shops, gyms and the leisure sector will also be allowed to reopen. 

England’s regions will however return to a tougher tiered system than before the November lockdown, with restrictions in each tier depending on how prevalent the coronavirus is in that area, he said. 

“We must get through winter without the virus spreading out of control and squandering our hard-won gains,” he said. “Our winter plan is designed to carry us safely to spring.”

Johnson did not say what the rules would be over the Christmas holiday period but said he was working on a special time-limited Christmas dispensation across the whole of the United Kingdom.  

"I can't say Christmas will be normal this year," he said. 

Mexico reports jump of over 9,000 new cases in one day


MEXICO CITY - Mexico’s health ministry reported 9,187 additional cases of the novel coronavirus on Sunday, only the third time it has recorded more than 9,000 new infections in a single day.

The total number of cases rose to 1,041,875, while 303 more deaths brought the toll to 101,676.

Mexico broke records in October with a daily jump of 28,115 cases, a figure officials said incorporated cases dating back months due to a new methodology.

Click here to read the full story.

'Holiday celebrations can be superspreader events,' warns U.S. Surgeon General

United States Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams is pleading with the public to "keep Thanksgiving small and smart," warning that indoor gatherings could result in a proliferation of coronavirus cases — including at the White House.

"I want the American people to know we're at a dire point in our fight with this virus by any measure. Cases, positivity, hospitalizations, deaths — we're seeing more Americans negatively impacted," Adams said Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America." "We're going to have vulnerable people start to be vaccinated in mere weeks. I'm asking Americans, begging you, hold on just a little longer."

When asked about reports that the White House plans to hold indoor holiday celebrations next month, going against Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, Adams responded, "We want everyone to understand that these holiday celebrations can be superspreader events. We want them to be smart and as small as possible."

He refused to specifically address the White House's plans, but encouraged everyone to review tips for holding a safe holiday gathering on the CDC's website.

"They apply to the White House, the American people, everyone," Adams said. 


Case surge forces Sweden to rethink strategy praised by U.S. conservatives

Karolina Modig

Bill O'Reilly

Karolina Modig and Bill O'Reilly

STOCKHOLM — Sweden once found cheerleaders among conservative commentators and activists in the United States for its light-touch approach to the coronavirus pandemic.

But as the numbers of deaths and infections surge, Sweden's government has been forced to introduce much tougher regulations to prevent the virus from spreading.

Beginning Tuesday, the number of people who can gather in public will be reduced from 50 to eight. Only eight diners per table will be allowed in restaurants.

Click here to read the full story.

NYC sheriff bust ‘sex club’ after not following rules on mass gatherings

An illegal swingers’ club violating health and liquor laws with more than 80 attendees was shut down Sunday by the New York City’s Sheriff’s Office.

Two organizers and a club patron of Caligula, in Astoria, Queens, were charged with multiple demeanors, the sheriff’s office said. The club did not have a liquor license or special permit to sell or store alcohol, according to the sheriff’s office.

The bust came after Gov. Andrew Cuomo expanded the city’s Covid-19 micro-cluster plan last Wednesday to include Astoria under the “yellow zone,” which caps mass gatherings at 25 people.

Click here for full story.

Pandemic's toll on mental health accentuated in cities

Kanwal Syed

Naitian Zhou

Kanwal Syed and Naitian Zhou

Covid-19 hasn't been the only catastrophe sweeping the country this year.

Health experts say Americans are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression made worse by pandemic-related stressors, including job loss, evictions, remote learning, travel restrictions and limits on gathering.

The contentious presidential election, increased racial tensions and natural disasters, in addition to Covid-19, added to Americans' stressors, said Dr. Joshua Gordon, director of the National Institute of Mental Health.

Click here to read the full story.

TSA screened 2 million people Friday and Saturday, despite CDC warning against travel

The Transportation Security Administration screened more than 2 million passengers on Friday and Saturday, despite a warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to avoid holiday travel.

While the TSA has screened an average of 1 million people a day since March, Friday was just the second day over 1 million.

The CDC's announcement last week was a "recommendation for the American public to consider," said Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC's Covid-19 incident manager. "We're seeing ... exponential growth in cases, and the opportunity to translocate disease or infection from one part of the country to another, it leads to our recommendation to avoid travel at this time."

When multiple households gather, cases of Covid-19 rise dramatically, studies have shown. Spikes occurred after Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Labor Day.

Thanksgiving — the most heavily traveled holiday in the U.S. — is a particular challenge, and colder weather across much of the country means family gatherings will likely be held indoors. The holiday also comes as average daily cases are higher than at any point in the pandemic.

Russia sets new daily Covid record

The Associated Press

A medical worker wearing protective gear enters the treatment hall of a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients in the Krylatskoye Ice Palace in Moscow on Nov. 18. Pavel Golovkin / AP

MOSCOW — Daily new coronavirus infections in Russia hit a new high on Monday, with authorities reporting a record 25,173 new cases. The latest figure brings the country’s total to over 2.1 million. The government coronavirus task force also reported 361 deaths on Monday, raising the total since the start of the pandemic to 36,500.

Russia, which currently has the world's fifth-largest number of confirmed cases, has been swept by a rapid coronavirus resurgence since September. Despite this, authorities insist there are no plans to impose a second lockdown or to shut businesses nationwide.

Hong Kong warns situation 'worsening rapidly'


People wait outside a Covid testing center Sunday in Hong Kong. Peter Parks / AFP - Getty Images

HONG KONG — Hong Kong reported 73 new coronavirus cases on Monday as the government warned the epidemic in the densely populated city is rapidly getting worse with silent transmission chains feared amid a rise in asymptomatic infections.

The Chinese-ruled city has so far managed to avoid the widespread outbreak of the disease seen in many major cities across the world, with numbers on a daily basis mostly in single digits or low double digits in recent weeks.

Many of the latest cases are linked to dance clubs and the government has appealed to residents in affected areas to take a Covid-19 test to help contain the outbreak. Mobile testing stations have been set up in several districts.

"The local epidemic situation is worsening rapidly," the government said in a statement. "Some of the confirmed cases are asymptomatic and this has indicated the existence of many silent transmission chains in the community."

UK regulator will make vaccine decision in 'shortest time possible'


LONDON - Britain medicine regulator said on Monday it would aim to make a decision on Pfizer and BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine candidate "in the shortest time possible" after receiving additional data about the shot.

"It is our job now to rigorously assess these data and the evidence submitted on the vaccine’s safety, quality and effectiveness," said June Raine, chief executive of Britain's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

"As we have received this data through a rolling review, we have already started our analysis and will aim to make a decision in the shortest time possible, without compromising the thoroughness of our review."

California governor in quarantine with family after kids exposed to Covid-19

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is quarantining with his family after three of his four children were exposed to a patrol officer who tested positive for Covid-19, he said in a tweet late Sunday.

Newsom said that he and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, learned on Friday evening of his children’s exposure to the officer from the California Highway Patrol. He and his wife were not exposed, he said.

The family tested negative on Sunday and they will be quarantined for 14 days.

California has seen a rise in Covid-19 cases and enacted a curfew on Saturday for the vast majority of its counties. The stay at home order requires nonessential work, movement and gatherings to stop from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

China tests millions after coronavirus flare-ups in 3 cities

The Associated Press

BEIJING — Chinese authorities are testing millions of people, imposing lockdowns and shutting down schools after multiple locally transmitted coronavirus cases were discovered in three cities across the country last week.

As temperatures drop, large-scale measures are being enacted in the cities of Tianjin, Shanghai and Manzhouli, despite the low number of new cases compared to the United States and other countries that are seeing new waves of infections.

Many experts and government officials have warned that the chance of the virus spreading will be greater during the cold weather. Recent flare-ups have shown that there is still a risk of the virus returning, despite being largely controlled within China.

On Monday, the National Health Commission reported two new locally transmitted cases in Shanghai over the last 24 hours, bringing the total to seven since Friday. China has recorded 86,442 total cases and 4,634 deaths since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

AstraZeneca says its coronavirus vaccine can be around 90 percent effective

LONDON — British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca said on Monday that its vaccine for Covid-19 could be up to 90 percent effective in preventing the disease — the third promising breakthrough in the fight against a pandemic that has killed nearly 1.4 million people worldwide.

“This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against Covid-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency," Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement.

Analysis of data from a phase 3 trial of the vaccine developed by Oxford University showed that it was 90 percent effective at stopping the disease when half a dose was administered followed by a full dose. In another dosing regiment, when two full doses were administered, the vaccine was 62 percent effective, researchers said, resulting in combined average efficacy of 70 percent.

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