November 10 coronavirus news

By Zamira Rahim, Stephanie Halasz, Ben Westcott, Steve George, Emma Reynolds, CNN

Updated 0504 GMT (1304 HKT) November 11, 2020
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3:34 p.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Pennsylvania reports highest daily increase in Covid-19 cases with 4,361

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

People wait in line for COVID-19 testing outside of the FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pennsylvania, on October 13.
People wait in line for COVID-19 testing outside of the FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pennsylvania, on October 13. Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Pennsylvania again broke its record for new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, reporting an additional 4,361 in a news release Tuesday. 

The state also added 62 new deaths, according to the department of health release. Pennsylvania has now reported 238,657 cases and 9,086 deaths.

There are 1,827 coronavirus patients in state hospitals, with 393 of them in intensive care. 

Behind the numbers: Mask-wearing is mandatory in Pennsylvania outside the home. The state has seen significant increases in the number of Covid-19 cases among younger age groups, particularly 19 to 24-year-olds, according to the department.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf commended President-elect Joe Biden and his coronavirus task force in a statement Tuesday.

“It is reassuring to see President-elect Biden take this virus seriously and move forward with a task force that is focused on science and reality,” Wolf said. 

The governor praised Biden for “the team he has put together to lead the country out of this very difficult period,” which Wolf said included some of the country's most respected public health experts, including two Philadelphia-area physicians.

“We need leadership that is consistent and committed to ending this pandemic, to saving lives and livelihoods, and to making decisions based on facts and science,” Wolf said.

3:37 p.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Lower dose of antibody will work fine, Operation Warp Speed official says

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

Eli Lilly, AbCellera, and NIAID have worked together to create an antibody they think may help treat Covid-19.
Eli Lilly, AbCellera, and NIAID have worked together to create an antibody they think may help treat Covid-19. Courtesy Eli Lilly and Company

A lower dose of Eli Lilly’s monoclonal antibody treatment will work just fine to help coronavirus patients, a top government official said Tuesday.

Dr. Janet Woodcock said she was confident that the dose to be distributed to Covid-19 patients will be enough to help them.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave an emergency use authorization (EUA) for a 700 milligram dose -- the lowest dose given to patients in a trial used as the basis for the EUA.

The results of the trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in October, showed that patients on all doses were less likely to need hospital treatment and had fewer symptoms than patients given placebos. But it also showed patients given a middle dose of 2,800 mg cleared the virus more quickly than those given higher or lower doses.

Woodcock, a former top FDA official who is now therapeutics lead for Operation Warp Speed, said that did not matter.

She told a news conference that the dose level was the FDA’s decision, but said that the study showed that patients had fewer hospitalizations at every level.

“Most people can clear the virus on their own, and giving them additional antibodies isn’t doing very much, because they are going to make their own antibody and clear the virus,” Woodcock said. “Amongst those who are not clearing the virus at each level, each one of these doses that was tested reduced the virus spread very rapidly.”

The goal with these treatments is to stop the progression of the disease, Woodcock said. Intervening early with monoclonal antibodies should keep patients out of hospital. 

“The lower dose is a rational choice in this situation because you don’t want to give more of a drug than you need,” Woodcock said. “All drugs have side effects, and adverse effects, and so forth, and so getting the lowest dose that actually gets the job done is a very important thing. I think you probably could go lower, frankly.” 

3:01 p.m. ET, November 10, 2020

US expects "challenges" distributing antibody treatment

From CNN's Jen Christensen and Andrea Diaz

Eli Lilly 
Eli Lilly 

The US government anticipates “challenges” in distributing Eli Lilly and Company’s cutting-edge Covid-19 monoclonal antibody therapy bamlanivimab, Dr. Janet Woodcock, therapeutics lead for Operation Warp Speed, said Tuesday. 

The therapy was given emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration on Monday.

The drug doesn’t come in pill form but requires an IV infusion over an hour, with another hour needed afterwards to observe the patient for poor reactions. The government requires it to be given to patients in settings where they can be monitored and emergency drugs are available.

“We anticipate that initially, there'll be challenges for the healthcare system in administering IV infusions to infected patients,” Woodcock said during a news conference with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense.

Woodcock said Lilly and HHS have been making plans to help set up infusion centers and that distribution will require multiple different solutions.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said that distribution will begin this week and the treatment will be free of charge.

Getting new therapeutics like this to patients has the potential to save thousands of lives and significantly reduce the disease's burden on our healthcare system,” Azar said at the briefing.

The US government has a contract for 300,000 doses of the therapy through December with the option to purchase another 650,000 through next June. There are 80,000 doses currently available, Azar said.

How the treatment will be allocated: A HHS Public Health Emergency dashboard shows where the first shipments are going. States with the most confirmed Covid-19 patients, and those with the most hospitalized patients, will be given priority.  

Bamlanivimab will be allocated in two phases, Dr. John Redd of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday. 

In phase one, states and territories will allocate the antibody treatment to hospitals and hospital-affiliated locations, Redd said. Phase two will include more outpatient sites. 

The treatment will also be allocated in phase one to the Department of Defense, the Veterans Health Administration, the Indian Health Service, the Bureau of Prison and the Department of State.

2:43 p.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Estonia recommends canceling Christmas parties due to coronavirus

From CNN's James Frater in London

Estonia has recommended canceling "all joint events," including Christmas parties, as part of coronavirus measures that take effect from Thursday, according to a government statement. 

"Celebrating Christmas with family is, of course, allowed," the statement added, noting that the cancelation recommendations apply to all events attended by people who are not in daily contact.

Some of Europe's Christmas markets have been canceled, while others will go ahead:

  • Cologne, Germany -- canceled
  • All of Belgium -- canceled
  • Viennese Christmas Dream market in Austria -- going ahead
  • Strasbourg Christmas Market in France -- going ahead
  • Basel Christmas Market in Switzerland -- going ahead

New Estonian measures also include mandatory face coverings in public places and a recommendation for all employees to work remotely, if possible. 

“In addition, in the current situation, we consider it necessary to tighten restrictions in commercial establishments and catering and entertainment establishments so that we could control the spread of the virus," said Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.

From Monday, November 16, bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues must close at midnight and can have a maximum of 10 people per group.

The Health Board of Estonia reported 128 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours on Monday, bringing its total to 6,376 cases. The country has recorded 76 deaths since the pandemic began.  

2:24 p.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Restaurants, gyms and cafes account for large majority of Covid-19 cases in cities, modeling study finds

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

A closed restaurant stands in New York City on October 15.
A closed restaurant stands in New York City on October 15. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A small minority of places people frequent account for a large majority of coronavirus infections in big cities, according to a new modeling study.

The study, published in the journal Nature on Tuesday, suggests that reducing maximum occupancy in such places -- including restaurants, gyms, cafes and hotels -- can substantially slow the spread of illness.

"Our model predicts that capping points-of-interest at 20% of maximum occupancy can reduce the infections by more than 80%, but we only lose around 40% of the visits when compared to a fully reopening with usual maximum occupancy," Jure Leskovec, an author of the study and associate professor of computer science at Stanford University, said during a news briefing on Tuesday.

The model also found significant racial and socioeconomic disparities in infections.

The researchers from Stanford University and Northwestern University used cellphone location data to model the potential spread of Covid-19 within 10 of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington DC. The data, representing the hourly movements of 98 million people, included mobility patterns from March to May.

The researchers examined Covid-19 case counts for each area and how often people traveled to "points of interest" including grocery stores, fitness centers, cafes, snack bars, doctor's offices, religious establishments, hotels, motels and restaurants. 

"On average across metro areas, full-service restaurants, gyms, hotels, cafes, religious organizations, and limited-service restaurants produced the largest predicted increases in infections when reopened," the researchers wrote in their study.

The model predicted that "infections are happening very unevenly -- that there are about 10% of points of interest that account for over 80% of all infections, and these are places that are smaller, more crowded and people dwell there longer," Leskovec said at the briefing.

The model showed that people living in areas with the lowest income, based on Census data, were more likely to be infected -- partly because of places in their areas tending to be smaller, leading to crowding.

"Our model predicts that one visit to a grocery store is twice more dangerous for a lower-income individual compared to a higher-income individual," Leskovec said. "This is because of grocery stores visited by lower-income individuals have on average 60% more people by square foot, and visitors stay there 17% longer."  

The study comes with limitations, including that the model is a simulation -- not a real-life experiment -- and the data is based on 10 metropolitan areas and does not capture all places someone could frequent.

1:55 p.m. ET, November 10, 2020

NYC Mayor says positivity rate increase is "very worrisome"

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a press briefing in New York City on November 10.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a press briefing in New York City on November 10. NYC Media

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the continued increase in the percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 was “very worrisome.”

The positivity rate was up 2.8% Tuesday, with a seven-day rolling average of 2.31%, which de Blasio said was “not someplace we want to be.” 

If the seven-day average goes above 3%, schools will go remote for a period, he said. If it continues climbing, some businesses could face “full scale closures,” or “limits on hours.”

"We can turn this back, but this is a warning sign if ever I’ve seen one that we have some work to do quickly to make sure the city stays safe and we do not have that second wave," de Blasio said.

“We believe we can still fight back the second wave,” he added later.

The mayor said one area of “tremendous concern” was new cases on a seven-day average. NYC had set a threshold of 550 cases, which it has “far surpassed” with 795, de Blasio said.

While some of the extra cases is indicative of more testing, “some of it obviously indicates a problem,” he said.

“We have not had major events or major gatherings be the cause … of spread that we’ve been able to identify," added de Blasio.

Dr. Jay Varma, health advisor to the city, said about 5% of cases were associated with gatherings, and around 10% were due to travel.

For more than half, “we don’t have a way to directly attribute the source of infection and that’s a concern,” Varma said.

1:32 p.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Lebanon lockdown to include government departments and schools

From CNN’s Ghazi Balkiz in Beirut

Lebanon’s lockdown will include the closure of government departments, schools, universities, and retail stores -- but some key institutions will remain open, the government said on Tuesday. 

Beirut’s Rafic Hariri airport will stay open, as will security directorates, telecommunication departments, banks, and private and public health sectors. 

It is unclear if the lockdown will affect movement on the streets. 

What else? The lockdown includes suspension of work in companies, private institutions, stores of all kinds and offices of self-employed workers.

Exceptions to the lockdown include mills, bakeries, everything related to the manufacturing, storage and sale of basic food, and delivery services in restaurants, the government said. 

The reconstruction of the area damaged by the August blast in Beirut’s port will continue, the government added.

1:08 p.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Brazilian biomedical institute denies claim linking Sinovac vaccine to "serious adverse event"

From CNN's Shasta Darlington in Sao Paulo

The Director of the Butantan Institute Dimas Covas speaks during a press conference at Butantan's headquarters in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 10.
The Director of the Butantan Institute Dimas Covas speaks during a press conference at Butantan's headquarters in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 10. Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images

The director of Brazil’s biomedical Butantan Institute, Dimas Covas, has said that a "serious, adverse event" suffered by a Sinovac vaccine trial volunteer was unrelated to the trial itself.

Brazilian health authorities halted the clinical trials of the Chinese vaccine on Monday after the event.

“The serious adverse event observed in a volunteer in the trial has no relation to the vaccine,” Covas said at a press conference in Sao Paulo Tuesday.
“It was analyzed and determined that there was no relation."

But he could not provide more details about the event or the volunteer, citing privacy reasons, insisting that regulators had all the information showing that the event was unrelated to the trial.

Chinese firm Sinovac began the Phase 3 clinical trial of its CoronaVac vaccine in collaboration with the Butantan Institute and the state of Sao Paulo in late July.

CoronaVac has been at the heart of a political feud between Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and the governor of Sao Paulo, Joao Doria, who is expected to run against him in the country’s next presidential elections in 2022.

While Doria said he hopes to eventually vaccinate Sao Paulo state residents with CoronaVac, Bolsonaro has disparaged the vaccine and has backed a vaccine candidate produced by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

Covas said Tuesday that there was no reason to interrupt Sinovac's trial.

On Tuesday, Bolsonaro said on social media that with the suspension of the Sinovac trial the “president wins one.”

Separately, Sinovac said Brazil's decision to halt clinical trials was not due to the vaccine itself.

11:59 a.m. ET, November 10, 2020

UK has a "70 to 80% chance" of life getting back to normal by Easter, government adviser says

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in Pisa and Katharina Krebs in London

Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University John Bell speaks during a parliamentary committee hearing on November 10.
Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University John Bell speaks during a parliamentary committee hearing on November 10. UK Parliament TV

Britain has a "70 to 80% chance" of life getting back to normal by Easter if the UK doesn't "screw up" the distribution of a potential Covid-19 vaccine, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University John Bell said Tuesday.

Bell is a member of the government’s vaccine taskforce. He appeared at a parliamentary committee hearing on Tuesday where he discussed Pfizer's promising Covid-19 vaccine candidate. Pfizer said Monday that the vaccine had more than 90% efficacy, based on early data.

Bell said that Monday's announcement by Pfizer was "a massive step forward" and that he's optimistic of getting enough vaccinations done in the first quarter of 2021. But he cautioned that obstacles to approving and distributing the vaccine remained.

"We've got to get a regulatory approval, we've got to get more material manufacturing. We have to get it distributed," he said.

However, he said it signals that many of the other vaccines "that have the same immunogenicity are likely also to be efficacious so I wouldn't be surprised if we hit the new year with two or three vaccines, all of which could be distributed."

“That's why I'm quite optimistic of getting enough vaccinations done in the first quarter of next year that by spring, things will start to look much more normal than they do now," he added.

The chair of parliament’s Health Committee Jeremy Hunt tweeted that the UK could at least start feeling "more optimistic."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Tuesday that the UK government doesn't yet know "whether or when the vaccine is approved," but that it has asked the National Health Service (NHS) "to be ready from any date from the 1st of December." 

"The logistics are complex, the uncertainties are real and the scale of the job is vast. But I know that NHS brilliantly assisted by the armed forces will be up to the task," Hancock said during a Covid-19 statement in the House of Commons.