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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

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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:

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.

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'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

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.

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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.

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Pandemic's toll on mental health accentuated in cities

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.

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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

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."