Coronavirus updates: CDC issues stricter guidance for Thanksgiving

By MORGAN WINSOR, ERIN SCHUMAKER and IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1.2 million people worldwide.

Over 50.4 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some national governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their outbreaks. The criteria for diagnosis — through clinical means or a lab test — has also varied from country to country.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the virus has rapidly spread to every continent except Antarctica. The United States is the worst-affected nation, with more than 10 million diagnosed cases and at least 237,742 deaths.

Nearly 200 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least 10 of which are in crucial phase three studies. Of those 10 potential vaccines in late-stage trials, there are currently five that will be available in the United States if approved.

Here’s how the news developed Monday. All times Eastern:

Nov 09, 8:30 pm
Cases, deaths see major increase over last week

The U.S. saw a jump in coronavirus cases and deaths over the last week, according to a memo from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services obtained by ABC News.

From Nov. 2-8, 730,925 new cases were confirmed, representing a 29.2% increase from the previous seven-day period, according to the memo. During that same time period, there were 6,654 deaths, which represented a 15.1% increase from the previous week, HHS said.

The national test-positivity rate increased to 8.6% from 7.2% in week-to-week comparisons, and 24% of hospitals across the country have more than 80% of their ICU beds filled, the memo said.

Nov 09, 8:21 pm
CDC issues stricter guidance for Thanksgiving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising Americans to keep their Thanksgiving plans small in updated guidance on its website.

“The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household. If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, take steps to make your celebration safer,” the agency said.

The CDC also provided more specific guidance for households over the holiday.

Guests should consider bringing their own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils, and avoid going into places where food is prepared, according to the agency.

Hosts should make sure their home is sanitized and consider having the windows open if they are eating indoors, the CDC said.

“If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils,” the agency said.

Nov 09, 7:37 pm
FDA approves new treatment for milder cases

The FDA has issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the investigational monoclonal antibody therapy bamlanivimab for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adult and pediatric patients.

The treatment, from Eli Lilly and Company, was shown in trials to reduce hospitalization for patients who are at high risk for disease progression within 28 days after treatment when compared to placebo, the agency said in a press release.

Bamlanivimab is not authorized for patients who are hospitalized due to COVID-19 or require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19, the FDA said.

“The issuance of an EUA is different than FDA approval,”  the FDA said in a statement. “In determining whether to issue an EUA, the FDA evaluates the available evidence and carefully balances any known or potential risks with any known or potential benefits of the product for use during an emergency.”

Nov 09, 7:08 pm
Fauci says he has no intention of leaving after Jan. 20

Dr. Anthony Fauci says he has no intention of leaving his post after President-elect Joe Biden assumes office.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases declined to talk about the election during an interview with CNN Monday evening, but said he plans on staying in his position next year.

“I have no intention of leaving,” he said. “This is an important job. I’ve been doing it now for a very long time. I’ve been doing it under six presidents. It’s an important job and my goal is to serve the American public no matter what the administration is.”

Fauci complimented the members of the new Biden/Harris COVID-19 task force, saying they’re established colleagues that he admires and has worked with for years.

In the meantime, Fauci warned that Americans need to heed the health warnings and guidance in place as cases continue to rise across the country. Although Fauci called Pfizer’s announcement of its vaccine progress “extraordinary,” he said people need to remain cautious.

“This is something that we should really feel good about,” he said of the vaccine news. “But I want to make sure people understand that it’s good because we know there is light at the end of the tunnel, but that doesn’t mean that we are going to give up the important public health measures that we continually still have to do every single day.”

Nov 09, 4:54 pm
Stricter COVID rules take effect in NJ Thursday, governor says

Gov. Phil Murphy announced stricter coronavirus rules in New Jersey Monday, including restrictions on bars, restaurants and casinos. Starting Nov. 12, indoor dining and drinks will be not be allowed between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Takeout and delivery services, as well as outdoor dining, are still permitted. In addition to dining restrictions, all interstate games and tournaments for indoor youth sports are prohibited, starting Thursday.

“It is simply not safe for teams to be crossing state lines at this time to participate in indoor competitions,” Murphy wrote on Twitter.

The rules come on the heels of rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in New Jersey, as well as a testing positivity rate that exceeds the threshold health experts recommend.

“We’re taking steps today to mitigate the current increasing rate of spread,” Murphy added. “The last thing I want to do is shut our economy back down. Thankfully, we’re not at that point.”

Nov 09, 2:17 pm
New record: US surpasses 10 million COVID-19 cases

The United States hit another grim milestone Monday afternoon, when it surpassed 10 million COVID-19 infections, according to Johns Hopkins University.

With 10,018,278 COVID-19 cases, the U.S. has reported more infections than any other nation. India, which has the second highest number of infections, reported 8,553,657 COVID-19 cases as of Monday.

So far, 237,742 Americans have died of COVID-19.

Nov 09, 1:48 pm
Second COVID wave looms in NYC, mayor says

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged New Yorkers to wear masks and keep six feet apart as he warned of a looming second wave of COVID-19 during a Monday press conference. The city’s positivity rate has moved in the wrong direction over the past few days, according to de Blasio.

“We have to act immediately to turn this around,” he added.

While cases, testing positivity rates and deaths are all rising, they remain far below what New York City experienced in the spring, which de Blasio described as “horrendous.” For now, hospitalizations are decreasing.

“We did it before,” de Blasio said of using masks and social distancing to drive down transmission rates. “We need to do it again right now.”

Nov 09, 12:42 pm
US poised to surpass record-breaking 10 million COVID cases today

As a new administration prepares to take the helm in Washington, D.C., the United States is expected to surpass a staggering 10 million confirmed coronavirus cases. The expected milestone follows five consecutive days in which COVID-19 cases in the U.S. topped 100,000.

Every state in the country, except for Hawaii, is reporting an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, according to an ABC News analysis of data from The COVID Tracking Project.

Japan and China, by comparison, have reported 109,000 cases and 91,600 cases respectively as of Nov. 9, according to Johns Hopkins University.

ABC News’ Soorin Kim, Brian Hartman, Benjamin Bell and Arielle Mitropoulos contributed to this report.

Nov 09, 11:35 am
Sec. Ben Carson tests positive

U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning after experiencing symptoms that prompted him to get tested.

“Secretary Carson has tested positive for the coronavirus,” Carson’s chief of staff, Coalter Baker, told ABC News in a statement. “He is in good spirits and feels fortunate to have access to effective therapeutics which aid and markedly speed his recovery.”

Carson was tested at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. It was a short visit and he is no longer at the hospital.

Carson was at the White House for the Trump campaign’s election night watch party on Tuesday — an event that was also attended by White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who also tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

ABC News’ Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.

Nov 09, 10:53 am
Ukraine’s president tests positive

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

“There are no lucky people for whom #COVID19 does not pose a threat. Despite all the quarantine measures, I received a positive test,” Zelensky wrote on his official Twitter account.

The former comedian-turned-president noted that he feels “good” and takes “a lot of vitamins.”

“Promise to isolate myself, but keep working,” he added. “I will overcome COVID19 as most people do. It’s gonna be fine!”

Nov 09, 10:44 am
Wales emerges from ‘firebreak’ lockdown as new restrictions begin

Wales emerged from its 17-day “firebreak” lockdown on Monday, with pubs, gyms, hair salons, restaurants and schools allowed to reopen.

But as the lockdown restrictions ended, new ones went into effect. People cannot travel in or out of the country, including to neighboring England, without a “reasonable excuse.” Two households can again join together to form a bubble and meet up inside their homes. People can meet in groups of four inside cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants, which can serve alcohol until 10 p.m.

Businesses that were forced to shutter during lockdown can now reopen, while supermarkets can again sell non-essential goods. People are still required to work from home whenever possible.

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford called on people to be “careful and cautious.”

“The fact that you can travel is not an invitation to travel and it’s certainly not an instruction to travel,” Drakeford said at a press conference Monday.

Drakeford said it’s still too early to know whether the “firebreak” was a success but there were “tentative positive signs,” including a plateauing case rate.

“We cannot go back to the way we were living our lives and throw away all that hard work,” he added.

Wales’ lockdown ended just a few days after England entered a month-long lockdown on Nov. 5.

Nov 09, 9:10 am
Portugal returns to state of emergency amid rising infections

Portugal began a 15-day state of emergency on Monday, with curfews imposed in the areas hit hardest by coronavirus pandemic.

From Monday until at least Nov. 23, some seven million people across Portugal must stay at home on weekdays between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., and on weekends after 1 p.m. Meanwhile, restaurants have to close by 10:30 p.m. on weekdays and are only allowed to provide takeaway services on weekends after 1 p.m.

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa announced on Friday that the country would return to a state of emergency, which grants authorities special powers such as the restriction of movement. The decree can be extended indefinitely in 15-day periods. A state of emergency was in effect in Portugal earlier this year at the beginning of the pandemic.

The move comes as the southern European country of over 10 million people grapples with a rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Although Portugal has reported relatively low numbers compared with other countries in Europe — over 179,324 total cases with 2,896 deaths — daily infections hit an all-time high of 6,640 over the weekend.

Nov 09, 7:23 am
Early data shows Pfizer’s vaccine is more than 90% effective

In a promising development, an initial glimpse at the data from Pfizer’s ongoing late-stage clinical trial shows that the American pharmaceutical giant’s COVID-19 vaccine is more effective at preventing the disease than placebo.

A press release from Pfizer early Monday morning said the vaccine, being co-developed with Germany’s BioNTech, was “found to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19” according to an early analysis that included 94 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in trial participants.

“With today’s news, we are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis,” Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

Vaccine experts told ABC News these results are “encouraging.”

More safety data is still necessary before the company will apply for a limited authorization for high-risk individuals (i.e. elderly, health care providers and/or first responders) or the more complete Biologics License Application that grants approval for almost everyone.

Pfizer’s vaccine won’t be rolled out in any mass immunization campaign just yet. First, the company must demonstrate that the vaccine is not just effective but also safe. According to guidelines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, that means at least two months of safety data after the last injection in half the volunteers.

The company plans to submit for FDA authorization in the third week of November. From there, it could take the FDA two to four weeks to make an authorization decision after a public hearing and a recommendation from an independent vaccine advisory committee.

According to FDA guidance, companies are permitted to ask for an emergency authorization based on efficacy data from an interim analysis, plus at least two months of safety data.

This could make Pfizer the first company to have a vaccine available in the United States if given the green light by the FDA. Other companies, like Moderna, are not far behind.

Operation Warp Speed chief advisor Dr. Moncef Slaoui told ABC News that if everything continues to go according to plan and there are no major scientific or manufacturing delays, most Americans could have access to a vaccine by spring 2021 and possibly be immunized by June.

Nov 09, 6:03 am
Biden and Harris unveil transition COVID-19 advisory board

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris unveiled their transition COVID-19 advisory board on Monday morning, naming the people in charge of making the rubber of the duo’s coronavirus policy hit the road as they prepare to take office in just 72 days.

“Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts,” Biden said in a statement announcing the board. “The advisory board will help shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective, and distributed efficiently, equitably, and free; and protecting at-risk populations.”

In his first address to the nation as president-elect on Saturday night, Biden said one of his first actions would be putting the panel in place — a signal of his primary focus on getting the coronavirus pandemic in check when he takes office in January.

As previously reported, the team will be led by three co-chairs: former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. David Kessler, along with Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a professor of medicine at Yale University.

In total, 13 co-chairs and members comprise the board, including former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Dr. Rick Bright, who made headlines earlier this year when he resigned from his role at the National Institute of Health and filed a whistleblower complaint over “an abuse of authority or gross mismanagement” at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the COVID-19 response.

Biden and Harris will receive a briefing from the board on Monday morning, according to their transition team — the first public event for the pair since being projected as the winners of the 2020 election.

Nov 09, 5:19 am
India’s capital sees record rise in cases

India’s capital territory, Delhi, confirmed 7,745 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, its highest single-day rise in infections yet.

The capital city of New Delhi, which is located within the national capital territory and is home to more than 21 million people, is the latest Indian megacity to emerge as an epicenter of the country’s outbreak. The country’s previous epicenter was the financial hub of Mumbai.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said Friday that the state government will increase the number of beds for COVID-19 patients in several government-run hospitals, a move which he said “will be paramount in order to successfully combat the third wave.”

Overall, the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare confirmed on Sunday 45,903 new cases of COVID-19 and 490 deaths from the disease, bringing the country’s cumulative total to 8,553,657 cases with 126,611 deaths.

India has one of the highest tallies of diagnosed COVID-19 cases in the world, second only to the United States.

Nov 09, 4:31 am
US reports over 105,000 new cases as tally nears 10 million

There were 105,927 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Sunday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The latest daily tally falls under the country’s all-time high of 128,412 new cases set the previous day.

An additional 457 fatalities from COVID-19 were also registered nationwide Sunday, almost half the previous day’s count and down from a peak of 2,666 new deaths in mid-April.

A total of 9,972,333 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 237,574 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.

By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country’s cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up and crossing 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4.

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