Coronavirus updates: Rhode Island bucks national trend by opening schools, closing bars

By MORGAN WINSOR and ERIN SCHUMAKER, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 62.7 million people and killed over 1.4 million worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

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

Nov 30, 8:59 pm
Record 96,000 Americans hospitalized with COVID-19

The United States saw another record day of COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to the COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer-run effort to track the U.S. outbreak.

The group said the country currently has 96,039 people hospitalized with the disease, with a seven-day average of 91,331.

“Hospitalizations have doubled since November 1 and tripled since October 1. We should see 100k hospitalizations in the next couple of days,” The COVID Tracking Project wrote on its Twitter account Monday night.

The group called November the “worst month of the pandemic outside of April,” as the nation recorded a record 4.28 million new cases of COVID-19, over 72,000 new hospitalizations and 36,256 new deaths.

Nov 30, 8:22 pm
Trump’s controversial coronavirus adviser Atlas resigns

President Donald Trump’s coronavirus adviser Dr. Scott Atlas resigned on Monday.

Atlas, a neuroradiologist with no background in infectious diseases who had supplanted Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top federal public health officials as one of Trump’s top medical advisers, was reaching the end of his 130-day term as a “special government employee,” according to the official.

Fox News, where Atlas first caught Trump’s eye before the president appointed him to a paid advisory role in the White House, initially reported the news.

Atlas spoke with the president Monday, a White House official confirmed to ABC News.

Atlas did not respond to a request for comment.

Nov 30, 8:37 pm

Miami mayor tests positive

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, who assumed office less than two weeks ago, announced Monday that she has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Her husband, Dr. Robert Cava, also tested positive and was exposed to the virus by one of his patients last Wednesday, according to the mayor. The couple is currently quarantining, the mayor said.

“We both remain in good spirits and are fortunate to have only mild symptoms at this time,” Mayor Cava said in a statement.

Cava, a former Miami-Dade County district commissioner, was elected as the city’s first female mayor on Election Day and assumed office on Nov. 17.

The county has over 229,000 total COVID-19 cases and at least 3,835 total deaths, according to the Florida Health Department.

Nov 30, 7:37 pm

Trump’s controversial coronavirus adviser Atlas resigns

President Donald Trump’s coronavirus adviser Dr. Scott Atlas resigned on Monday, according to a White House official.

Atlas, a neuroradiologist with no background in infectious diseases who had supplanted Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top federal public health officials as one of Trump’s top medical advisers, was reaching the end of his 130-day term as a “special government employee,” according to the official.

Fox News, where Atlas first caught Trump’s eye before the president appointed him to a paid advisory role in the White House, initially reported the news.

Atlas spoke with the president Monday, the White House official confirmed.

Atlas did not respond to a request for comment.

-ABC News’ Ben Gittleson

Nov 30, 6:43 pm

Newsom says California will receive 327,000 vaccine doses in December

California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted Monday that the state will receive 327,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

“Transparency, equity, and safety will continue to be our top priorities as we begin the distribution process for Phase 1,” Newsom tweeted.

The pharmaceutical company announced earlier this month that its vaccine was more than 95% effective in its Phase 3 trial. The vaccine is given in two doses over three weeks, according to Pfizer.

Pfizer has asked the Food and Drug Administration for an emergency use authorization and a public hearing to address the request has been scheduled for Dec. 10.

The agency could make its official authorization decision shortly thereafter.

Nov 30, 6:16 pm

Ravens-Steelers game postponed for the 3rd time: ESPN

The NFL matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, which was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving Day, has been postponed for the third time, according to ESPN.

A source told ESPN that the game, which was rescheduled for Tuesday would be postponed to Wednesday. The game was first re-scheduled for Sunday.

The team was supposed to practice and board a plane for the game Monday, however, that was put on hold while they waited for test results, according to ESPN.

The Ravens have had 22 players test positive for COVID-19 or get identified as a high-risk close contact over the past nine days. MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson is one of the infected players.

Nov 30, 4:15 pm

Rhode Island set to open 2 field hospitals for COVID-19 patients

Rhode Island is set to open two field hospitals for non-critically ill COVID-19 patients, to lessen strain on existing hospitals.

Meanwhile, the state kicked off its two-week pause program Monday, including sending public safety alerts to residents’ phones, warning that hospitals are at capacity and advising the public to stay home as much as possible over the next two weeks.

ABC News’ Joshua Hoyos contributed to this report.

Nov 30, 1:44 pm
Florida schools, businesses to remain open as state’s outbreak worsens: Governor

Schools in Florida will remain open for in-person learning next spring, Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a Monday press conference in which he referred to school closings as the largest public health blunder in American history.

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising in Florida, according to an ABC News analysis of data from The COVID Tracking Project. Despite the worsening statistics, DeSantis said he will not close businesses or issue a statewide mask mandate, nor will he permit local governments to fine residents for failing to wear masks in public.

ABC News’ Scott Withers contributed to this report.

Nov 30, 12:44 pm
Vaccines could be ‘into people’s arms before Christmas’ if proven safe: HHS secretary

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said Monday that if safety and efficacy bear out, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could approve Pfizer’s vaccine within days of an independent FDA advisory committee meeting on Dec. 10.

“We could be seeing both of these vaccines out and getting into people’s arms before Christmas,” Azar told CBS.

Moderna announced Monday that it would seek emergency FDA authorization for its vaccine, making it the second U.S. company to do so. Moderna’s FDA hearing will be held Dec. 17.

ABC News’ Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.

Nov 30, 10:40 am
Rhode Island bucks national trend by opening schools, closing bars

Rhode Island entered a two-week pause Monday, shuttering bars, gyms, movie theaters, bowling allies and indoor sporting facilities. But unlike in many other states, schools will remain open.

“We’ve really got to shut it down for those two weeks,” Gov. Gina Raimondo said at a Nov. 19 press conference. “Because if we do, we can slowly crank up after those two weeks and make it through the end of the year.”

The tightened restrictions are in response to rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the state, which has reported 53,954 infections and 1,346 deaths to date.

Rhode Island’s pause will remain in effect until Dec. 13.

Nov 30, 8:58 am
TSA screens record number of travelers since March

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it screened 1,176,091 people at its checkpoints in airports across the United States on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, making it the busiest day for air travel since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The previous pandemic record was set on Wednesday, the day before the holiday, when TSA screened 1,070,967 individuals at airport security checkpoints.

By comparison, 2,882,915 travelers were screened on the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year, which remains the highest volume in TSA history.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it is recommending that Americans do not travel for Thanksgiving.

“It’s not a requirement, it’s a recommendation for the American public to consider,” Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, told reporters during a call on Nov. 19. “Right now, as we’re seeing exponential growth in cases and the opportunity to translocate disease or infection from one part of the country to another leads to our recommendation to avoid travel at this time.”

Nov 30, 8:20 am
Study shows COVID-19 infections dropped about 30% in England during second lockdown

New research suggests England has seen roughly a 30% drop in COVID-19 infections three weeks into its second nationwide lockdown.

The Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission (REACT) program, run by Imperial College London and research firm Ipsos MORI, is tracking current cases of COVID-19 in England by testing more than 150,000 randomly-selected people each month over a two-week period. An interim report released Monday from the latest round of testing, which includes results from more than 105,000 at-home tests between Nov. 13 and Nov. 24, shows that an estimated 0.96% of England’s population — or around one in 100 people — is infected with COVID-19.

The study, which is commissioned by England’s Department of Health and Social Care, also found that the overall reproduction (R) number has fallen to below 1 — estimated at 0.88 — meaning the country’s outbreak is currently shrinking rather than growing.

“In this interim report from the seventh round of data collection, we found a reduction in national prevalence of infection by around 30% from the high levels in the latter half of round 6 (26 October to 2 November 2020),” the study’s co-authors wrote in the report. “The national prevalence has now dropped to ~1%, a level last seen 6 weeks earlier. This fall in prevalence covers a period of nearly three of the four weeks of the second national lockdown, and is consistent with an observed reduction in the number of daily swab-positive cases recorded in routine surveillance data.”

Paul Elliott, professor of epidemiology and public health medicine at Imperial College London and director of the REACT program, called the data “encouraging” for England, which was under a regional tiered system of COVID-19 restrictions before entering lockdown again on Nov. 5. A tougher three-tier system will come into force when the lockdown ends just after midnight on Wednesday.

“We’re seeing a fall in infections at the national level and in particular across regions that were previously worst affected. These trends suggest that the tiered approach helped to curb infections in these areas and that lockdown has added to this effect,” Elliott said in a statement Monday. “As we approach a challenging time of year, it’s even more vital that through our actions and behaviors we all play our part in helping to keep the virus at bay.”

Nov 30, 7:00 am
Moderna to submit emergency authorization request to FDA

Moderna announced it plans to submit a request on Monday to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine, becoming the second company after Pfizer to do so.

Moderna said in a press release that the FDA’s meeting to review the safety and efficacy data for its National Institutes of Health-funded vaccine candidate, called mRNA-1273, will likely be scheduled for Dec. 17. The FDA hearing for the vaccine candidate developed by New York-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech is slated for Dec. 10.

Moderna also announced that the final analysis of its Phase 3 clinical trial of mRNA-1273 indicates a vaccine efficacy of 94.1%. Pending FDA authorization, Moderna said it expects to have approximately 20 million doses of mRNA-1273 available in the United States by the end of the year. The Massachusetts-based biotechnology company remains on track to manufacture 500 million to one billion doses globally in 2021.

“This positive primary analysis confirms the ability of our vaccine to prevent COVID-19 disease with 94.1% efficacy and importantly, the ability to prevent severe COVID-19 disease,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a statement Monday. “We believe that our vaccine will provide a new and powerful tool that may change the course of this pandemic and help prevent severe disease, hospitalizations and death.”

Nov 30, 5:48 am
US reports over 138,000 new cases

There were 138,903 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Sunday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

It’s the 27th straight day that the country has reported over 100,000 newly diagnosed infections. Sunday’s count is down from a peak of 205,557 new cases on Friday.

An additional 826 fatalities from COVID-19 were also registered nationwide on Sunday, less than the all-time high of 2,609 new deaths on April 15.

COVID-19 data may be skewed in the coming days and weeks due to possible lags in reporting over Thanksgiving followed by a potentially very large backlog from the holiday.

A total of 13,384,651 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 266,875 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.

Much of the country was under lockdown by the end of March as the first wave of pandemic hit. 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 over the summer.

The numbers lingered around 40,000 to 50,000 from mid-August through early October before surging again to record levels, crossing 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4 and reaching 200,000 for the first time on Nov. 27.

Nov 30, 4:55 am
Hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients hit all-time high in US

Hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in the United States reached an all-time high of 93,238 on Sunday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

The figure surpassed Saturday’s record of 91,635 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized. Current COVID-19 hospitalizations have gone up every day since Oct. 25, except for Sunday when the figure dipped slightly to 89,834, which The COVID Tracking Project credited to “the holiday effect.”

The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer-run effort launched from The Atlantic magazine to track the U.S. outbreak, has warned of data inconsistencies in the coming days and weeks due to lags over Thanksgiving followed by a potentially very large backlog from the holiday. For instance, some states didn’t report any data at all on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, while others only had partial reports. The totals for testing and new cases were inflated Saturday and Sunday as several states reported two days’ worth of data.

“The data wobbles don’t consist only of some states not reporting at all — though that’s happened a lot — but that most or all states that are reporting do not have a full data pipeline from labs and health departments,” The COVID Tracking Project wrote on its Twitter account Sunday.

However, the group noted that hospitalization numbers “are less affected by the data slowdown.”

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