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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:

676d ago / 5:32 PM UTC

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."

676d ago / 5:28 PM UTC
676d ago / 5:13 PM UTC

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."

676d ago / 5:06 PM UTC

Reggaeton star Bad Bunny tests positive for coronavirus

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.

676d ago / 4:53 PM UTC

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.

676d ago / 4:47 PM UTC

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. 

676d ago / 4:25 PM UTC
676d ago / 3:58 PM UTC

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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676d ago / 3:41 PM UTC

'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. 

 

676d ago / 2:59 PM UTC

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

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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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676d ago / 2:38 PM UTC
676d ago / 2:26 PM UTC

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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676d ago / 2:11 PM UTC

Pandemic's toll on mental health accentuated in cities

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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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676d ago / 1:29 PM UTC

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.

676d ago / 12:44 PM UTC

Russia sets new daily Covid record

Image:
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.

676d ago / 12:20 PM UTC

Hong Kong warns situation 'worsening rapidly'

Image: HONG KONG-HEALTH-VIRUS
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."

676d ago / 11:40 AM UTC
676d ago / 11:34 AM UTC

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."

676d ago / 11:17 AM UTC

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.

676d ago / 11:16 AM UTC
676d ago / 11:14 AM UTC

China tests millions after coronavirus flare-ups in 3 cities

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.

676d ago / 11:11 AM UTC

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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676d ago / 11:09 AM UTC