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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8:20 a.m. ET, November 10, 2020

What we know about the Pfizer vaccine

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

US drugmaker Pfizer's announcement Monday that it believes its Covid-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective has triggered a wave of optimism around the world, parts of which are under a second round of lockdown, desperately looking for a way out.

Pfizer's announcement, based on early data from its Phase 3 trial, was much better than expected and some experts are saying doses could be produced and distributed in the next month. The trial of the vaccine, made in partnership with Germany's BioNTech, has enrolled more than 43,500 participants since July 27.

  • Timeline: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US government's top infectious disease expert, says doses could be given to people "by the end of November, the beginning of December."
  • Global doses: The US drugmaker believes it could make up to 50 million doses available globally this year, and 1.3 billion doses in 2021.
  • Caveats: While the development has been welcome around the world, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNN: "How long this protection lasts is something we don't know."
  • Challenges: US State health officials have expressed concerns about the requirements for handling Pfizer’s vaccine, which must be stored at the extremely cold temperature of minus-75 degrees Celsius (minus-103 Fahrenheit), far below the capacity of standard freezers.
  • Safety: Pfizer says “no corners were cut” in the vaccine's development, saying there are no safety concerns.
  • Progress: As of Sunday, 38,955 of the volunteers in the Pfizer trial have received a second dose. The company says 42% of international trial sites and 30% of US trial sites involve volunteers of racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds.
  • Market reaction: The news on Pfizer triggered a rally Monday, but global stocks petered out Tuesday, with some major indexes still inching up.
7:32 a.m. ET, November 10, 2020

US state officials "daunted" over how to distribute the most fragile vaccine in American history

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen, John Bonifield and Sierra Jenkins

A patient participates in Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine on May 4 in Baltimore, Maryland. 
A patient participates in Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine on May 4 in Baltimore, Maryland.  University of Maryland School of Medicine/AP

State health officials in the US have told CNN that they are feeling “overwhelmed” and “daunted” at the prospect of distributing Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine, should it become widely available soon.

On Monday, Pfizer announced that early data from its Phase 3 trial showed its vaccine was more than 90% effective. The drug giant could apply for authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as early as this month. 

The vaccine's handling requirements are stringent — it has to be stored at about minus-75 degrees Celsius (minus-103 Fahrenheit), more than 50 degrees Celsius lower than any other vaccine currently on the market in the US.

The required conditions are far colder than the temperatures in freezers kept in doctors' offices, pharmacies and public health clinics.

Molly Howell, who’s in charge of the immunization program in North Dakota, said she felt “overwhelmed” and “daunted” while watching a webinar last month on how to distribute Pfizer’s vaccine. 

"How are we going to do this?” she texted a colleague who was also on the webinar. 

Her colleague responded with an exploding head emoji.

Pfizer has offered “thermal shippers” about the size of a suitcase to keep the vaccine cold. They’re only temporary, and need to be replenished with dry ice every five days. 

“It would be hard to with a straight face say, ‘Oh, we're all set,’” said Christine Finley, Vermont’s immunization program manager. 

“[This] equals a challenge I don’t think we’ve ever seen before.” 

6:57 a.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Vaccine hesitancy could undermine Covid-19 response, British scientists say

From CNN's Zamira Rahim

People gather to protest against a coronavirus vaccine and restrictions on October 17 in London.
People gather to protest against a coronavirus vaccine and restrictions on October 17 in London. Hasan Esen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Misinformation, mistrust and public hesitancy to take a coronavirus vaccine could undermine the fight against Covid-19, British scientists said, warning that the UK may not meet the threshold of vaccine uptake to protect the community.

If a vaccine is released, 80% of the population will likely need to be vaccinated to offer widespread protection, according to a report published Tuesday by The British Academy and The Royal Society.

But it found that around 27% of people in Britain felt uncertain about receiving a Covid-19 vaccine, while 9% said they were "very unlikely" to be vaccinated.

The report urges the UK government to address public concerns over vaccine safety and efficacy. But in order to ensure such widespread uptake, scientists have urged the British government to tackle the public's concerns about vaccines.

"To achieve the estimated 80% of uptake of the vaccine required for community protection, we need a serious, well-funded and community-based public engagement strategy," said Professor Melinda Mills, the report's lead author.

"There needs to be a frank conversation with the public about just how long it will take and that things will not immediately go back to normal when vaccines arrive."

She added: "We must learn from lessons of history and move away from the one-way provision of information and instead generate an open dialogue that addresses misinformation and does not dismiss people’s real vaccine concerns and hesitancy."

6:23 a.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Some children in England have lost basic skills, like how to use a knife and fork, report finds

From Amy Cassidy in Glasgow

A classroom at Vaughan Primary School in London sits empty on May 12, as part of the Covid-19 mandatory lockdown.
A classroom at Vaughan Primary School in London sits empty on May 12, as part of the Covid-19 mandatory lockdown. James Veysey/Shutterstock

School closures and restrictions on movement have caused children in England without strong support structures to regress in key skill areas, including numeracy, reading and writing, and even how to use a knife and fork.

The findings were laid out in a report Tuesday by Ofsted, an education standards watchdog which monitors schools in England. Ofsted employees carried out the assessment by visiting more than 900 education and social care providers during September and October. 

Some children in the earliest years of education had to return to nappies despite having been potty-trained, according to the report, while many in the same age group also lost early progress with words and numbers.

"Among older children, inspectors heard that many now lack stamina in reading and writing; some have lost physical fitness; and others are showing signs of mental distress, manifesting in an increase in eating disorders and self-harm," the report added.

Chief Education Inspector Amanda Spielman said the decision to keep schools open during England’s second national lockdown in November was “very good news indeed."

"The impact of school closures in the summer will be felt for some time to come – and not just in terms of education, but in all the ways they impact on the lives of young people," Spielman added.

Despite educational institutions reopening this autumn, an increasing number of parents are choosing to homeschool. Teachers say parents are motivated by virus fears, as opposed to a commitment to delivering robust home education.

Ofsted said it was also concerned about a fall in referrals to social services, which raises alarm bells that abuse may be going undetected.

6:10 a.m. ET, November 10, 2020

"Lockdown" is Collins Dictionary's word of the year

From CNN's Zamira Rahim

A municipal worker disinfects the empty Monastiraki square in Athens, Greece, on November 7, the first day of a three-week lockdown.
A municipal worker disinfects the empty Monastiraki square in Athens, Greece, on November 7, the first day of a three-week lockdown. Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images

Collins Dictionary's word of the year is typically a sign of the times — previous winners include Gangnam Style (2012), photobomb (2014) and binge-watch (2015). But in 2020 the dictionary's pick is decidedly bleaker: "Lockdown."

Collins said it has registered over 250,000 usages of "lockdown" this year so far, compared to just 4,000 usages in 2019.

Collins selected the term from a longlist dominated by pandemic-related terms, including "coronavirus," "furlough" and "key worker."

According to Collins, the dominance of words linked to Covid-19 was "no surprise."

"Something that changed everyone’s lives so profoundly – leaving no country or continent untouched – was bound to have a significant impact on our language," a Collins spokesperson said.

"Our lexicographers chose ‘lockdown’ as Word of the Year because it is a unifying experience for billions of people across the world, who have had, collectively, to play their part in combating the spread of Covid-19."

On its website, Collins described lockdown as "the condition we’ve most dreaded in 2020 – a state of national stasis, where almost everything that constitutes normal public life is suspended."

5:12 a.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Australia records 3 days of no local infections for the first time since March

From CNN's Chandler Thornton

People shop at Bourke Street mall in Melbourne, Australia, on November 7.
People shop at Bourke Street mall in Melbourne, Australia, on November 7. Diego Fedele/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Australia has recorded three consecutive days of zero locally-transmitted Covid-19 cases for the first time since March.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement Tuesday on Twitter, while urging Australians to continue following safety measures and to not become complacent.

Australia has 27,678 total confirmed Covid-19 cases and 907 deaths from the virus, as of Monday.

5:01 a.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Covid-19 vaccine will not be mandatory in the UK

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in Pisa, Italy 

Piccadilly Circus on November 9, the start of the first full week of England's four-week lockdown.
Piccadilly Circus on November 9, the start of the first full week of England's four-week lockdown. Dominic Lipinski/PA Images/Getty Images

A coronavirus vaccine, if successfully developed, will not be made mandatory in the United Kingdom, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC News on Tuesday.

Hancock's comments come a day after the Prime Minister’s spokesperson confirmed that 10 million doses of Pfizer’s candidate vaccine would be manufactured and made available to the UK by the end of 2020, if approved by regulators. The UK has procured 40 million doses of the candidate vaccine, the spokesperson said.

"We're not proposing to make this compulsory, not least because I think the vast majority of people are going to want to have it," Hancock said.

When asked if children will need to be vaccinated, Hancock said that the vaccine "is not for children” as they have a “very low susceptibility” to the virus. 

In a separate interview with Sky News, Hancock added that those "most vulnerable" will be prioritized, such as those who live or work in care homes and healthcare workers. 

"The faster we can protect those who are most at risk, the easier it will be to be able to have confidence, to be able to take the steps that will allow life to get back to normal," Hancock said.

3:39 a.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Chinese biotech firm Sinovac denies vaccine safety issues behind Brazil’s decision to halt trials

From CNN's Nectar Gan

A nurse shows a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Chinese company Sinovac Biotech at the Sao Lucas Hospital in Porto Alegre, Brazil on August 08.
A nurse shows a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Chinese company Sinovac Biotech at the Sao Lucas Hospital in Porto Alegre, Brazil on August 08. Silvio Avila/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese biotechnology firm Sinovac says that Brazil's decision to halt clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine CoronaVac is not due to the vaccine itself.

"We have communicated with our Brazilian partner, the Butantan Institute, and the head of the institute believes the incident has nothing to do with the vaccine," said the company in a statement on Tuesday, without giving a reason for the reported suspension.
"Sinovac will continue to communicate with the Brazilian side on this matter. Work-related to our clinical research in Brazil will continue to be carried out in strict accordance with GCP (Good Clinical Practice) requirements. We are confident in the safety of the vaccine."

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman read the company's statement to reporters when asked to comment on the development at the ministry's daily press briefing Tuesday.

The halted trials: Brazil's health regulator suspended clinical trials of CoronaVac following a "serious adverse event" involving a volunteer recipient on October 29, according to sources cited by CNN's affiliate, CNN Brasil.

The note from Brazil's National Health Surveillance Agency did not elaborate on the specific nature of the event or where it took place, citing privacy concerns.

Race for a vaccine: Sinovac's Phase 3 trials began in late July, with an aim to recruit 130,000 volunteers. Phase 3 trials represent the final and most important testing stage before regulatory approval is sought.

This pause in testing marks a potential setback for one of China's leading vaccine candidates and comes as US drugmaker Pfizer said Monday that early data from its own coronavirus vaccine showed more than 90% effectiveness.

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3:25 a.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Asian stocks and US futures are running out of steam

From CNN's Laura He and Jazmin Goodwin

Asian markets were muted in Tuesday trade, as investors weighed the effect that promising news about Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine could have on the post-pandemic global recovery. Tech stocks sputtered.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 0.4%, losing some of the momentum it had built earlier in the morning. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.5%, also paring earlier gains. South Korea's Kospi was up 0.2%. But China's Shanghai Composite lost 0.5%, pulling back from early gains.

On Monday, stocks soared as drugmaker Pfizer announced that an early look at data from its Covid-19 vaccine shows a 90% efficacy rate. Investors also reacted positively to greater political certainty following Joe Biden's victory in the US presidential election.

"Investors have been patiently waiting for the news of any vaccine development breakthrough and last night this patience paid off," said Tai Hui, chief Asia market strategist for JP Morgan Asset Management.

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