November 2 coronavirus news

By Zamira Rahim, Lauren Kent, Ben Westcott and Steve George, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, November 3, 2020
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2:13 p.m. ET, November 2, 2020

US CDC says its Covid-19 quarantine recommendations do not preclude people from voting

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Residents of Baltimore City line up to vote early in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 27.
Residents of Baltimore City line up to vote early in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 27. J. Countess/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for isolation and quarantine do not preclude Americans from voting in the election, said a CDC spokesperson on Monday.

CDC’s recommendations for isolating someone who has Covid-19 or quarantining someone who was in close contact with a person with Covid-19 would not preclude them from exercising their right to vote,” a CDC spokesperson told CNN via email.

In-person voting can be carried out safely following CDC’s recommendations for polling location and voters, the spokesperson said.

When possible, alternative voting options – which minimize contact between voters and poll workers – should be made available for people with Covid-19, those who have symptoms of Covid-19, and those who have been exposed, the spokesperson added.

Poll workers who are assisting voters with symptoms should be provided with personal protective equipment and trained to use it appropriately.

Voters who are sick or in quarantine should take steps to protect poll workers and other voters. This includes wearing a mask, staying at least six feet away from others, and washing their hands or using hand sanitizer before and after voting," the spokesperson said. "These voters also should let poll workers know about their condition when arriving at the polling location."
12:44 p.m. ET, November 2, 2020

New York City keeping 'a close eye' on rising cases, mayor says

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia in New York

NYC Media
NYC Media

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he's keeping "a very close eye" on rising coronavirus cases as the percent of people who have tested positive reaches "worrisome levels," but that hospital capacity was still under control.

The city-wide positivity rate has hit 2.08%, de Blasio said, adding that the seven-day rolling average of 1.81% was a "better number" and "more consistent with where we’ve been."

"We want to turn the tide now...We want to start knocking down that 7-day rolling average," de Blasio said on Monday. "We’re keeping a very close eye on the situation because we’re obviously at a point where that has gone up in recent weeks and we take that very seriously."

The daily number of people in New York City admitted to hospitals for Covid-19 is at 80, and the confirmed positivity rate for those patients is 16.8%. According to de Blasio, both figures “in the scheme of things” are “pretty good for today.”

Meanwhile, 21 public schools across the city are currently closed for a 2 week period under Covid-19 protocols, though the mayor advised the number changes every day as schools transition in and out of this process.

"The schools overall have been extraordinarily safe," de Blasio said, adding that the city continues to take cautioned steps that he says so far have been effective.

New York -- once the epicenter of the pandemic as the largest and densest city in the US -- began gradually reopening in June. At the city’s peak in April, more than 500 people were dying every day and hospitals and funeral homes were overwhelmed.

In total, New York City has recorded 256,434 coronavirus cases, 19,350 confirmed deaths and 4,663 "probable deaths" related to Covid-19, according to the city's public health agency.

11:50 a.m. ET, November 2, 2020

Queen Elizabeth returns to Windsor Castle as England prepares for second national lockdown

From CNN’s Max Foster outside London

Queen Elizabeth II on October 15, 2020.
Queen Elizabeth II on October 15, 2020. Ben Stansall/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, traveled back to Windsor Castle in the south of England on Monday, three days before a second national lockdown comes into force.

The Duke of Edinburgh travelled back with Her Majesty to Windsor," a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said. The pair spent the weekend at the Royal Estate in Sandringham, Norfolk. 

The spokesperson added that their return to Windsor "had been the plan for a while," refusing to comment on speculation that the two were isolating with a bubble of staff ahead of a new month-long lockdown. 

We won’t be commenting on future arrangements or Christmas at this stage,” the palace spokesperson said.

The news comes amid reports that the pair's grandson Prince William, second-in-line to the British throne, tested positive for coronavirus earlier this year.

When exactly William was infected is unclear. The Sun newspaper, which broke the story, said that he took a seven-day break from calls and video messages from April 9 to April 16.

The paper added that William, also styled the Duke of Cambridge, recently told an "observer" at a function that he did not go public with his diagnosis because "there were important things going on and I didn't want to worry anyone."

In March, William's father, Prince Charles, himself tested positive and had to go into isolation. The 71-year-old later said he had been lucky to only experience mild symptoms, adding he'd "got away with it quite lightly."

11:18 a.m. ET, November 2, 2020

Xinjiang region reports 13 new local cases amid China's biggest outbreak in months

From CNN's Eric Cheung in Hong Kong

An empty road is seen amid the coronavirus outbreak on October 27, 2020 in Kashgar Prefecture, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China.
An empty road is seen amid the coronavirus outbreak on October 27, 2020 in Kashgar Prefecture, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. VCG/VCG/Getty Images

A mass testing campaign in China's tightly-controlled western region of Xinjiang has revealed the country's worst coronavirus outbreak in months.

Authorities in the heavily policed region -- where Beijing has been accused of detaining more than a million Muslims -- reported 13 new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases Monday, according to the state-run People's Daily news outlet.

The outlet cited a press conference held by the Xinjiang government on Monday night.

The cases were all asymptomatic and were reported in Shufu County, in Xinjiang's Kashgar area, near the border with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. All the infections are among people who were already under quarantine and medical surveillance, People's Daily reported.

In late October, Kashgar launched a mass testing program for its 4.7 million residents after an asymptomatic case was identified in Shufu County.

The total number of infections in Xinjiang now stands at 59 symptomatic cases and 236 asymptomatic cases.

It's the country's biggest coronavirus cluster since more than 180 infections were reported in the capital Beijing in June.

11:51 a.m. ET, November 2, 2020

Italy to tighten Covid-19 restrictions, but stops short of full lockdown

From CNN's Livia Borghese in Rome and Sharon Braithwaite in Pisa

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks in Rome about Covid-19 on November 2.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks in Rome about Covid-19 on November 2. Roberto Monaldo/LaPresse/AP

Italy is set to tighten Covid-19 restrictions, but is stopping short from introducing a full lockdown, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Monday as infections and hospitalizations surge in the country.

The new measures will include a nighttime curfew and travel restrictions between the worst-hit regions, in an effort to contain a second wave of the virus.

The situation is deteriorating," Conte said, adding that due to the increasing number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, it is "necessary to adopt before Wednesday a new body of restrictive measures."

The restrictions will be included in a government decree expected to be issued by the end of the week.

Conte also said the country would be divided into three areas depending on the level of contagion and the number of hospitalizations, with the most affected areas facing tighter restrictions. Distance learning will also become compulsory for high schools.

We must intervene with more stringent measures," Conte told the Italian Chamber of Deputies, adding, "There is a high possibility that 15 out of 20 regions will exceed the critical level of ICU within a month."

In a tweet on Monday, Pope Francis said: "Today we pray for all the #FaithfulDeparted and especially for the victims of the #Coronavirus: for those who have died alone, without the caress of their loved ones; and for those who have given their lives serving the sick."

9:52 a.m. ET, November 2, 2020

Middle Eastern countries face varying Covid-19 outcomes

From CNN's Kareem Khadder and Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem, Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran and Tamara Qiblawi in Beirut 

Worshippers in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, pray around the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque on November 1.
Worshippers in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, pray around the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque on November 1. AFP/Getty Images

Coronavirus cases are ebbing and flowing in the Middle East, where governments are cranking up lockdown measures in some places, and loosening them in others. Here’s a roundup of the Covid-19 situation across the region.

Iran records highest daily virus death toll 

Long considered the epicenter of the virus in the Middle East, Iran continues to see a relentless rise in Covid cases, after only a weeks-long respite at the beginning of the summer.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei says the country is going through its third wave of the pandemic. 

On Monday, the country's daily death toll hit a record high for the second consecutive day, with 440 people dead. Iran has had 620,491 confirmed cases and 35,298 deaths from the virus in total. 

Iran is the country worst hit by the pandemic in the region. Neighboring Iraq has the second-highest number of cases with nearly half a million confirmed infections and just under 11,000 total deaths. 

Saudi Arabia receives first foreign pilgrims in seven months

For Saudi Arabia, which has the third-highest number of confirmed cases in the region, the virus has shown some signs of abating. Daily increases have dropped significantly since mid-summer, when it hit a record high of nearly 5,000 daily cases in June. So far in November, it has a daily tally of less than 400

As part of a series of measures to loosen the kingdom’s rigorous social distancing restrictions, the Muslim holy sites have received their first foreign Umrah pilgrims in seven months. 

Umrah is an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca that can be undertaken at any time of the year, unlike the Hajj, which has specific dates. It is also much smaller than the Hajj. 

The Umrah is being performed according to strict social distancing guidelines, with a greatly reduced number of pilgrims permitted at the sites and with mandated distances between them.

Pilgrims typically pray shoulder to shoulder as large crowds circumambulate the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, but the new measures have created striking images of pilgrims' coordinated movements and distances from one another. 

Lebanon and Jordan: Cases surge

After initially seeing low occurrences of the virus, Lebanon and Jordan have been tackling a dramatic surge in cases.

On Sunday, Jordan recorded 3,259 new cases and 37 deaths, after the country hit a record number of cases last week. In Lebanon, which has a considerably smaller population than Jordan, the daily tally last week nearly hit 2,000, as more and more hospitals become overwhelmed. 

Both countries have announced new measures to curb Covid-19, tightening curfews and forcing more facilities to close. Lebanon has imposed new lockdowns on over 100 towns and villages across the country in an effort to contain the virus. 

Jordan and Lebanon had some of the strictest and most proactive lockdowns in the region during the first wave of the pandemic but their economies suffered greatly. Because of the toll on people's livelihoods, social distancing measures have met with significant resistance during the second wave. 

Israel administers first dose of vaccine 

In Israel, a strict lockdown appears to have paid off. Israel hit a record daily tally of over 11,300 cases in late September, prompting strict social distancing measures. The daily count has dropped dramatically since; Israel recorded 521 daily cases on Sunday. 

On Sunday, Israel administered the first dose of its Covid vaccine as part of its first phase of clinical trials. The first dose was given to 26-year-old volunteer Segev Harel, who will be monitored for three weeks for side effects and antibodies.

A total of 80 volunteers will be given either a vaccine or a placebo during the Phase 1 trials. Phase 2 trials, involving 960 volunteers, are set to begin in December. 

9:33 a.m. ET, November 2, 2020

A quick look at Covid-19 in each US election battleground state

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

People in cars wait in line for Covid-19 testing on October 13 in Reading, Pennsylvania.
People in cars wait in line for Covid-19 testing on October 13 in Reading, Pennsylvania. Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle/Getty Images

With just one day until the US election, the country is averaging 81,336 new Covid-19 cases per day, according to Johns Hopkins University. Several swing states are currently seeing their highest average of new cases. 

Here is a quick look at Covid-19 in each of the key battleground states:

Arizona 

Arizona currently averages 1,330 new Covid-19 cases per day. New cases are up 33% from last week, according to Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations had greatly decreased from the summer, but are now surging, according to The Covid Tracking Project. Currently, Arizona averages 872 hospitalizations a day, which is up 8% from last week. Arizona has no statewide mask mandate in place.     

Florida

Florida currently averages 4,111 new Covid-19 cases per day. New cases are up 22% from last week, according to Johns Hopkins University. Florida has averaged more than 1,000 new cases a day for a staggering 149 days, since June 6. The state has the third highest cumulative case count and the fourth highest death count in the nation, according to Johns Hopkins University. Florida has no statewide mask mandate.       

Michigan

Michigan is at its peak of new cases, reporting roughly 3,113 new cases a day over the last seven days -- up 50% from last week. Hospitalizations across the state are not even close to their peak back in April, but have surpassed 1,000 a day since October 15, according to The Covid Tracking Project. Michigan requires face masks to be worn in public places statewide.        

North Carolina

North Carolina is at its peak of new cases, reporting roughly 2,370 new cases a day over the last seven days -- up 18% from last week. Hospitalizations average 1,183 patients a day, according to The Covid Tracking Project -- that's roughly even with the state's figures during the summer. The governor said the state would remain in Phase 3 of reopening as cases and hospitalizations started to rise in recent weeks. North Carolina requires face masks to be worn in public places statewide.        

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is averaging 2,243 new cases per day, according to Johns Hopkins University. This is the highest the state's new daily cases have ever been -- up 31% from last week. Hospitalizations have increased sharply across the state since the end of September, data from The Covid Tracking Project shows. Pennsylvania requires face masks to be worn in public places statewide.    

Wisconsin

Wisconsin is averaging 4,385 new cases per day -- down 4% from last week, according to Johns Hopkins University. Deaths across the state are at a record high since the pandemic began, with an average of 38 people dying each day over the past seven days. Hospitalizations in the state are at the highest level they have been since the start of the pandemic. Wisconsin requires face masks to be worn in public places statewide.  

  

9:02 a.m. ET, November 2, 2020

Israel administers first dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Phase 1 clinical trials

From CNN's Oren Liebermann

Nurse Hela Litwin administers the first Covid-19 vaccine developed by the Israel Institute of Biological Research to Segev Harel, the first volunteer, at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv. Israel's Ministry of Defense posted this photo on Twitter on November 1.
Nurse Hela Litwin administers the first Covid-19 vaccine developed by the Israel Institute of Biological Research to Segev Harel, the first volunteer, at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv. Israel's Ministry of Defense posted this photo on Twitter on November 1. From Israel's Ministry of Defense/Twitter

Israel administered the first dose of its Covid-19 vaccine as the first phase of its clinical trials began on Sunday at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv.

The first dose was given to 26-year-old volunteer Segev Harel, who will now be monitored for three weeks, to see if he has any side effects and whether he develops antibodies.

The vaccine, which is called BriLife -- a combination of the Hebrew words for health, Israel, and life -- was developed at the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR).

As part of Phase 1 trials, either the vaccine or a placebo will be administered to 80 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55 at two different hospitals in Israel.

We have been working around the clock leading up to this important day -- the start of clinical trials," said Dr. Shmuel Yithzaki, the head of the Biology Division at the IIBR. "The work of all the hidden heroes in the institute and the hospitals has been poured into a little bottle which has the potential to bring a life-saving vaccine to the citizens of the state of Israel."

The second phase, expected to begin in December, will see 960 healthy volunteers given the vaccine or a placebo. This phase will involve safety tests on the vaccine, to determine the effective dosage, and further examine the vaccine’s effectiveness.

The third phase, expected to begin in April or May 2021, will see more widespread testing with the participation of 30,000 volunteers.

"The true exit from the coronavirus crisis is in the development of vaccines," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after visiting the hospital. "Therefore, this is a very important day, a day that gives a shot of encouragement."

8:49 a.m. ET, November 2, 2020

At least 1,500 nurses have died from Covid-19 worldwide, says International Council of Nurses

At least 1,500 nurses have died from coronavirus around the world, according to analysis from the International Council of Nurses (ICN).

That toll is up from 1,097 in August -- but it is only a partial accounting, and does not reflect the true number of deaths, since the group was only able to gather data from 44 of the world's 195 countries.

Since May 2020, we have been calling for the standardised and systematic collection of data on healthcare worker infections and deaths, and the fact that is still not happening is a scandal," ICN Chief Executive Officer Howard Catton told a virtual conference on October 27.

The group's own analysis suggests that about 10% of coronavirus cases globally are among healthcare workers.

The ICN represents more than 130 national nursing associations with 20 million members globally.