A version of this story appeared in the November 16 edition of CNN’s Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction newsletter. Sign up here to receive the need-to-know headlines every weekday.
More than 1 million Americans have been infected with Covid-19 in the last week. Over the weekend, the United States topped 11 million coronavirus cases and 246,000 deaths, meaning that one in 1,340 Americans alive in January has now died in the pandemic and one in 30 has been infected.
It’s also getting worse. At least 45 states reported more new infections last week compared to the previous week, according to Johns Hopkins University. A new record-high number of patients have been hospitalized. Hospitals in several states are running out of capacity and staff.
But the country’s leadership is nowhere to be seen. As an average of more than 1,000 Americans died every day in the past week, President Donald Trump continued to ignore the deepening crisis. In the absence of national action, states have been left to manage on their own. Over the weekend, Washington state announced new restrictions on social gatherings, while Michigan told high schools and colleges to move to remote learning for three weeks. New Mexico is banning in-person services for nonessential businesses starting today.
But the Trump administration hasn’t just gone missing. It’s actively pushing against the measures that experts say are necessary to curb the spread of the virus. White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Scott Atlas criticized Michigan’s new restrictions and urged people to “rise up” against them.
The US is now looking a lot like Europe did a month ago. Belgium, France, Spain, the Czech Republic and others then saw infection levels rising beyond their worst predictions. Running out of hospital beds was a real possibility.
But those countries managed to slow the spread and – for now – prevent the virus from overwhelming their health systems. How? Through lockdowns and mask mandates.
The US could follow in their footsteps. Or it could just keep talking about the election.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED
Q: Since there are multiple vaccines in trials, what happens if you get a vaccine ASAP, but a more effective one comes out later? Can you get more than one Covid-19 vaccine?
A: Drugmaker Pfizer said last week that an early look at data from its coronavirus vaccine shows it is more than 90% effective – a much better than expected efficacy if the trend continues. Despite the announcement, other vaccine makers are rushing ahead with their trials and research.
Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said it’s plausible that more than one vaccine will be available. “Look at where we are with shingles right now, where we had a vaccine that was pretty good, and then there was one that was a lot better, and everybody took both.”
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WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
Moderna says its vaccine is 94.5% effective
The Moderna vaccine is 94.5% effective against the coronavirus, according to early data released by the company Monday. “These are obviously very exciting results,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease doctor. “It’s just as good as it gets – 94.5% is truly outstanding.”
The announcement comes as Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine arm, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, is starting a new, advanced Phase 3 trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine in Britain – using two doses instead of one to see if that protects people better against infection.
Meanwhile, British vaccine researchers say they are considering trials that would mix two different coronavirus vaccines to see if the combination works better than one vaccine formulation alone.
They saved lives – now they’re facing deportation
As a qualified health care assistant, Lily – not her real name – has worked at a nursing home in Dublin throughout the pandemic, taking only three weeks off when she contracted the virus herself in April.
Then the news arrived. “You no longer have permission to remain in the State and you must now return voluntarily to your country of origin or be deported,” said a letter from Ireland’s Department of Justice and Equality. The letter told her she had five days to inform the authorities of her decision. Kara Fox reports on Ireland’s migrant health care workers threatened with deportation in the middle of a global pandemic.
UK PM Boris Johnson is self-quarantining, again
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced yesterday that he had come into contact with someone who then tested positive for Covid-19 and has been told to self-quarantine. “The good news is that NHS Test and Trace is working ever-more efficiently, but the bad news is that they’ve pinged me and I’ve got to self-isolate,” Johnson said in a video on his official Twitter account.
Johnson was admitted to intensive care in a London hospital earlier this year after testing positive for the virus, and has since recovered. “It doesn’t matter that I’ve had the disease and I’m bursting with antibodies. We’ve got to interrupt the spread of the disease and one of the ways we can do that now is by self-isolating for 14 days when contacted by Test and Trace.”
ON OUR RADAR
- A couple got married in a hospital parking lot after the groom recovered from Covid-19.
- South Australia has reinstated Covid-19 restrictions and halted international flights to try to curb a new outbreak.
- Soumitra Chatterjee, Indian acting legend, has died from Covid complications.
- Walmart will start counting customers again as cases reach record levels.
- Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s children were withdrawn from school after administrators raised concerns about the family’s adherence to Covid-19 precautions.
- A New Jersey restaurant with a coronavirus scare stayed open because of the generosity of a neighboring barbershop.
How to decline Thanksgiving in the name of coronavirus
Bailing on tradition in the name of Covid-19 doesn’t have to put you at odds with loved ones. Experts offer tips on saying “no.”
“There’s probably no need to wipe down everything you touch outside your home, but it’s crucial to wash your hands and then avoid touching your face after being out in public.” – Dr. Sanjay Gupta
The US is setting devastating new records nine months into this pandemic. CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta answers listener questions in this time of growing uncertainty. Listen Now.