November 9 coronavirus news

By Emma Reynolds, Zamira Rahim, Jenni Marsh, Joshua Berlinger and Stephanie Halasz, CNN

Updated 1:41 a.m. ET, November 10, 2020
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3:30 p.m. ET, November 9, 2020

Pfizer vaccine data submission and FDA review will take several weeks each, says HHS secretary Azar

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), speaks during a news conference in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 21.
Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), speaks during a news conference in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 21. Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Pfizer will need to submit data on its vaccine candidate to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and wait for a review -- two stages that will take several weeks each, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told Fox News.

The drugmaker said on Monday that early data shows its vaccine is 90% effective, but Azar said Pfizer needed to pull together the details and provide them to the FDA for an independent review process before authorization.

So, you should be thinking in the several week time period, both for the submission and then review by FDA of the data,” Azar said Monday. 

Azar said that thanks to Operation Warp Speed, the government has guaranteed receipt of an FDA-authorized vaccine from Pfizer -- 100 million doses that were purchased for around $2 billion, Azar said. There is also an option for another 500 million. These will start in increments of about 20 million doses, which begin in late November and continue monthly, according to Azar. 

The timescale: In a news release on Monday, Pfizer said it plans to seek emergency use authorization from the FDA, soon after volunteers have been monitored for two months following their second dose of vaccine, as requested by the agency. Pfizer said it anticipated reaching that marker by the third week of November. 

3:11 p.m. ET, November 9, 2020

Eight states have not yet begun distributing quick Covid-19 tests, says official

From CNN Health's Andrea Diaz

Assistant HHS Secretary for Health Brett Giroir testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on September 23.
Assistant HHS Secretary for Health Brett Giroir testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on September 23. Graeme Jennings/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Eight states have yet to distribute quick, cheap, on-the-spot coronavirus tests that were sent to them by the federal government to help speed coronavirus screening efforts, a top official said Monday.

The government has stopped shipping the Abbott BinaxNow tests to those states for now, Admiral Dr. Brett Giroir, US Department of Health and Human Services' assistant secretary for health, told reporters during a briefing.

"Even though many of these states have excellent plans on how to use them, we are pausing shipments to these states until they have started to distribute their tests, because given where we are in the outbreak, we cannot let tests sit unused," Giroir said.

He said the states are: Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Nevada, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia, and New Mexico. 

CNN is reaching out to these states for comment.

Giroir said that by the end of the week, the federal government will have shipped more than 50.2 million of the BinaxNow tests. 

"That includes over 33 million to governors, over 11 million to nursing homes, over 3.2 million to assisted living, over 679,000 to home health and hospice, 450,000 to tribal nations, over 391,000 to HBCUs -- historically black colleges and universities -- and over 594,000 to disaster relief operations or surge surveillance testing sites," he said.  

Giroir said schools were opening "quite successfully" across the country, with minimal transmission of coronavirus, but that there was not much screening going on.

"We do know that school testing -- although it's important -- very few states or districts are actually screening students. There's limited screening of staff," Giroir said in a briefing with reporters. "So that priority is probably less than we thought before, but again we have to assess." 
3:06 p.m. ET, November 9, 2020

Nearly 10% of Covid-19 hospital patients have to be readmitted, report finds

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

Medical staff members work inside of the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, on Sunday, November 8.
Medical staff members work inside of the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, on Sunday, November 8. Go Nakamura/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Nearly 10% of patients treated in hospital for Covid-19 had to be readmitted within two months of being discharged, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Readmissions were more common among patients sent to a skilled nursing facility or those who needed home care after they were hospitalized, compared to patients who were sent home to care for themselves, the report -- published Monday in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report -- found. 

Almost 2% of Covid-19 patients had multiple readmissions to the hospital.

Readmission was most common among people who were 65 or older, had underlying health conditions, or had been hospitalized three months before getting sick with Covid-19. 

White people were more likely than any other demographic to be readmitted to hospital.

The CDC noted these trends by examining 126,137 electronic health records between March and July. Of those patients:

  • 15% died during their first trip to hospital
  • 15% were admitted to the intensive care unit
  • 13% needed a ventilator
  • 4% need noninvasive ventilation

Researchers also found trends consistent with earlier studies of hospitalized Covid-19 patients.

More than 60% of patients who were hospitalized had one of five chronic conditions:

  • Nearly 30% were obese or had diabetes
  • More than 20% had chronic kidney disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • 16% had heart failure
3:04 p.m. ET, November 9, 2020

UK PM: Anti-vaccine argument "holds no water"

From CNN's Schams Elwazer

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a virtual press conference on the coronavirus pandemic at 10 Downing Street on November 9.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a virtual press conference on the coronavirus pandemic at 10 Downing Street on November 9. Tolga Akmen/WPA pool/Getty Images

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday that he thinks the anti-vaccination argument "holds no water."

"I think people need to remember that, in having a vaccination, you’re not just protecting yourself – you’re protecting anybody who could get infected by you or your family as a vector of the disease, so I hope very much that people won’t be listening to those types of arguments,” he added.

It came after Johnson confirmed that the UK had 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and was "ready to start using it" once it was approved. The drugmaker said Monday that early data showed its vaccine was more than 90% effective -- a much better than expected level of efficacy, if the trend continues.

Johnson also announced that more than half a million rapid Covid-19 tests would be rolled out across England this week, in the next phase of his government’s plan to expand asymptomatic testing.

The 600,000 lateral flow tests sent by the National Health Service (NHS) Test and Trace to local public health leaders this week will enable increased testing of priority and high-risk groups in local communities, according to a UK government press release.

They will be followed by weekly local allocations.

'Last week we rolled out mass testing in Liverpool using new, rapid technology so we can detect this virus quicker than ever before, even in people who don’t have symptoms," said health secretary Matt Hancock. "Mass testing is a vital tool to help us control this virus and get life more normal."
2:55 p.m. ET, November 9, 2020

Netherlands' daily Covid-19 cases drop below 5,000 for the first time in a month

From CNN's James Frater in London

A health worker conducts a swab test on a bus converted into a mobile Covid-19 (coronavirus) test lab, in Hillegom, the Netherlands, on November 9.
A health worker conducts a swab test on a bus converted into a mobile Covid-19 (coronavirus) test lab, in Hillegom, the Netherlands, on November 9. Lex van Lieshout/ANP/Getty Images

The number of new daily coronavirus infections in the Netherlands has dropped below 5,000 cases for the first time in a month.

The latest data from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) shows that 4,709 new cases were reported -- the lowest since October 6, when 4,541 new infections were recorded.

Cases peaked in the Netherlands on October 30 with 11,094 cases recorded in one day. Since then, the number of new cases has fallen consistently, halving in the last ten days. 

This takes the country's total number of coronavirus cases to 414,745.

It can take Dutch authorities up to seven days to finalize figures for new cases and deaths, to allow for delays in receiving data from regional centers.

2:47 p.m. ET, November 9, 2020

Pennsylvania positivity rate stands at nearly 7% -- with more than 10,000 cases recorded in three days

From CNN’s Ganesh Setty

Registered Nurse Treva Rivers administers a COVID-19 test at a free testing site in Reading, Pennslyvania, on October 13.
Registered Nurse Treva Rivers administers a COVID-19 test at a free testing site in Reading, Pennslyvania, on October 13. Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle/Getty Images

Pennsylvania has reported more than 10,000 cases in three days, with a record-setting daily increase of 4,035 cases on Saturday, and another 6,311 since.

The statewide positivity rate stands at nearly 7%, a 1% increase from last week, according to Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. 

This "concerning trend" shows that the rise in cases is not just due to increased testing, Levine noted.  

"We are now seeing the highest case counts of the Covid-19 pandemic across Pennsylvania that we have seen since the beginning. This is a sobering look at our current reality, as Covid-19 continues to impact our state and our country," she added.

The state's Department of Health reported nine new virus-related deaths across Saturday and Sunday, bringing the total to 9,024 fatalities. 

There are 1,735 Pennsylvania residents currently hospitalized, Levine continued. That's up from 1,267 hospitalizations reported last week, she said. 

This is a call to action for everyone in Pennsylvania. Covid-19 is right here, and we are at a critical point," Levine said.
2:43 p.m. ET, November 9, 2020

Biden hails "positive news" on vaccine but says process must "be grounded in science"

From CNN's Michael Hayes, Jacqueline Howard, Artemis Moshtaghian and Schams Elwazer

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks at The Queen in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 9.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks at The Queen in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 9. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

US President-elect Joe Biden has hailed the "positive news in this fight" against coronavirus, after Monday's announcement of "progress made toward a successful vaccine" — but added the process must "be grounded in science and fully transparent."

"Soon, the expectation is the FDA will run the process of rigorous reviews and approvals. And the process must also be grounded in science and fully transparent so the American people can have every confidence that any approved vaccine is safe and effective," he said during a speech in Wilmington, Delaware, after being briefed by his newly-formed coronavirus advisory board.

Biden added that even if a vaccine is approved, it "will not be widely available for many months yet to come."

Drugmaker Pfizer announced Monday that an early look at data shows its vaccine is more than 90% effective -- a much better than expected efficacy if the trend continues.

Other responses:

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus posted on Twitter on Monday that the announcement was "encouraging" news.

"We welcome the encouraging vaccine news," Tedros tweeted, adding that WHO salutes all scientists and partners around the world who are "developing new safe, efficacious tools" to beat Covid-19.

Tedros said the world was experiencing "unprecedented scientific innovation" and "collaboration" to end the pandemic. According to WHO, as of last week, there are at least 47 Covid-19 candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation around the world.

Admiral Brett Giroir, the US Department of Health and Human Services' assistant secretary for health, also said he was encouraged, during a call with reporters.

"We are all very optimistic that this vaccine, and others also in clinical trials, can effectively end the pandemic. But until that vaccine is widely administered and distributed, we have much work to do," Giroir said. "Our nation is in a critical phase of the pandemic, with significant community spread, cases averaging nearly 100,000 per day."

Giroir emphasized that people in the United States must continue physical distancing, wearing masks and maintaining hand hygiene -- and said that testing remains important.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer called the results "great news," adding that she was proud to see that Pfizer, "a Michigan business … will produce the vaccine."

Whitmer cautioned that when the vaccine is ready "it will take time to distribute," saying everyone needed to "continue doing their part" to protect each other from Covid-19, and that was why it was "so important that President-Elect Biden has announced a team of medical experts to lead our country’s COVID-19 response."

"It is crucial that leaders across the country listen to science and the recommendations of health experts, and President-Elect Biden has made it clear that he shares that commitment," she added.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada had signed a deal with the drug company in August to secure millions of doses, adding that other vaccine candidates were also progressing well.

"In Canada and around the world, scientists are working very hard and doing a great job. We hope to see vaccines landing in the early next year," he said. "Between now and then, it’s really, really important that we double down on our efforts."

He emphasized how important it was for Canadians to control the spread of Covid-19 in the coming months, so that when vaccines arrive the country can act quickly.

"We see the light at the end of the tunnel. We are hopeful we are getting there because our scientists are working incredibly hard," Trudeau said. "But we need to do our part. We need to stay strong and hang in there a few more months – maybe more than that, but, we can see it coming."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that if the vaccine passes all the rigorous safety checks and is approved for use, "this country will be ready to start using it."

Speaking at a news conference at Downing Street, Johnson said the vaccine had been tested on over 40,000 volunteers and interim results suggested it was 90% effective.

"But we haven’t yet seen the full safety data, and these findings also need to be peer-reviewed. So we’ve cleared one significant hurdle, but there are still several more to go before we know the vaccine can be used," he said.

He said the UK government had ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine -- enough for about a third of the population at two doses each "and that puts us toward the front of the international pack on a per capita basis." The UK has also ordered more than 300 million doses from five other vaccine candidates, he added.

Watch Biden's message on masks:

2:08 p.m. ET, November 9, 2020

United States surpasses 10 million coronavirus cases

From CNN's Amanda Watts

The United States has passed 10 million coronavirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

There have been at least 10,018,278 cases of Covid-19 in the US and at least 237,742 people have died. 

So far today, Johns Hopkins has reported 50,123 new cases and 172 reported deaths. The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

This is the fastest the United States has added one million new cases since the pandemic began. 

JHU recorded the first case of coronavirus in the United States on January 21. 

  • 98 days later, on April 28, the US hit 1 million cases
  • 44 days later, on June 11, the US hit 2 million cases
  • 27 days later, on July 8, the US hit 3 million cases
  • 15 days later, on July 23, the US hit 4 million cases
  • 17 days later, on August 9, the US hit 5 million cases
  • 22 days later, on August 31, the US hit 6 million cases
  • 25 days later, on September 25, the US hit 7 million cases
  • 21 days later on October 16, the US hit 8 million cases
  • 14 days later, on October 30, the US hit 9 million cases
  • 10 days later, on November 9, the US hit 10 million cases

 Eight other countries in the world have reported over 1 million total Covid-19 cases:

  • India has over 8 million total cases
  • Brazil has over 5 million total cases
  • Russia, France, Spain, Argentina, the United Kingdom, and Colombia each have over 1 million total cases

Track Covid-19's spread across the US here:

1:58 p.m. ET, November 9, 2020

NY Governor says micro-clusters will be "the constant," with coronavirus rates expected to go up in winter

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

People wearing protective masks wait in line for Covid-19 testing at a CityMD in New York, on Monday, November 9.
People wearing protective masks wait in line for Covid-19 testing at a CityMD in New York, on Monday, November 9. Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said rates of coronavirus infection are expected to rise as winter approaches, and warned that micro-clusters will be "the constant for the foreseeable future.”

The rates will all go up. We expect the rates will continue to go up, through the fall and into the winter," he said in a briefing on Monday. "The best you can do is manage the increase, but it will be increasing.”

Cuomo said "the numbers are undeniable across the globe, across the country."

He said that overall, New York state was "doing much better than any state in the country," save for rural states such as Vermont and Maine, with a lower "relative index."

New York reported a positivity rate of 2.8%, 26 new deaths and 1,400 hospitalizations on Monday. The positivity rate was last at 2.5% in early June.

Cuomo said that watching a small increase and attacking that area was the best mode of operation.

In Brooklyn, red zones will be "eliminated" and become lower tier orange zones.

He said the numbers in Staten Island were of concern, but that no restrictions would be implemented at this time.

Cuomo said parts of Eerie County, Monroe County, and Onondaga County would become "yellow zones," with restrictions including a 25 person maximum for gatherings, four person maximum for dining, and bars and restaurants closing at midnight.

With reporting from Taylor Romine