November 11 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Jenni Marsh, Nectar Gan, Stephanie Halasz, Kara Fox, Ed Upright, Emma Reynolds and Roya Wolverson, CNN

Updated 0515 GMT (1315 HKT) November 12, 2020
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12:04 a.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Worker at Yolo County elections office in California tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Stella Chan

An employee at Yolo County Elections Office in northern California tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday and may have exposed others, according to a news release.

Election workers risked their health this year to staff polling and ballot counting centers amid the coronavirus pandemic, and now more than two dozen are self-quarantining after being potentially exposed to workers who recently tested positive for the virus.

A Yolo County news release said the staff member had minimal interaction with poll workers but did work with other elections staff and some election observers. It said the employee had "limited exposure to Voter Assistance Centers or Yolo County residents and voters.”

While the county has adhered to social distancing and cleaning protocols, it is implementing further mitigation steps including:

  • Only allowing critical staff in the office
  • Deep cleaning facilities
  • Making work from home options available, and continuing disinfecting techniques
  • Sending close contacts home to self-quarantine

Contact tracers are working to notify close contacts. The infection will not impact the December 3 certification deadline for the 2029 General Election. The county says more than 99,000 votes were cast with more than 90,000 mail-in ballots. 

“To preserve the health and safety of our staff, observers and the public, we are taking extensive measures to contain this incident and are adjusting our election certification processes accordingly,” Yolo County Assessor/Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters Jesse Salinas said in the news release. “We appreciate the public’s understanding and patience as we proceed through this situation safely.”

The county, which includes West Sacramento and Davis, has 3,577 cases including 64 deaths. 

11:50 p.m. ET, November 11, 2020

Spain to require negative Covid-19 test from travelers arriving from high-risk countries

From CNN’s Claudia Rebaza and Vasco Cotovio

People walk with their luggage upon their arrival to the Reina Sofia Tenerife-South airport on the Canary Island of Tenerife on October 31.
People walk with their luggage upon their arrival to the Reina Sofia Tenerife-South airport on the Canary Island of Tenerife on October 31. Desiree Martin/AFP/Getty Images

Spanish authorities will require visitors from high-risk countries to show proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test, carried out no longer that 72 hours before they arrive in the country. 

The new control measure will go into effect on November 23, the Spanish Ministry of Health said in a statement on Wednesday. 

Travel rules: Arrivals will have to show the original document with the test result, either electronically or on paper, and it must be in Spanish or English. Visitors who fail to provide the necessary proof could be denied entry into the country. 

Spanish health authorities will use recommendations from the European Union and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control as a reference when deciding which countries fall in the “high-risk” category.

11:40 p.m. ET, November 11, 2020

Utah, Kentucky, and New Mexico set new coronavirus case records

From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin, Jennifer Henderson, Rebekah Riess, and Andy Rose

US states Utah, Kentucky and New Mexico all broke grim records for coronavirus cases on Wednesday.

Kentucky reported its highest daily total of 2,700 new cases, according to a news release from Governor Andy Beshear’s office.  

Kentucky’s positivity rate is now 8.12%, which is the highest it’s been since May 5, the release added.

"This entire state is in danger. Covid-19 is absolutely everywhere. We need everybody to wear your masks and follow red zone reduction recommendations and school recommendations. It is a must if you want to lessen the impact in your community,” said Governor Beshear. 

Counties have been assigned green, yellow, orange or red zones depending on their rate of infections, with those in red zones required to avoid all non-essential activities outside of the home, including schooling.

New Mexico reported exactly 1,500 new Covid-19 cases Wednesday, a new record for the state. It comes three days after the previous record of 1,418 was set, and brings the total number of cases to 59,034, according to the state Department of Health.

Coronavirus hospitalizations are spiking in New Mexico, with 481 reported Wednesday. That’s an increase of more than 400% in the past two months. The state also reported 14 additional Covid-19 deaths, bringing its pandemic death toll to 1,158.

Utah hit a slightly different record high of 2,583.6 over a 7-day average for Covid-19 cases, and a record test positivity percentage of 22.55%, its data dashboard shows.

Its percentage of positive tests had been climbing since October 11, where it had been holding steady at approximately 14%.

The state has continued to set records since early October when the state started experiencing a resurgence of Covid-19. This weekend, Governor Gary Herbert issued a declaration of a state of emergency and statewide mask mandate.

The Utah Department of Health says the state has had 139,720 Covid-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Illinois also reported record rises in cases today. Texas became the first US state to surpass 1 million cases, reporting more than 10,000 new Covid-19 cases for a second day in a row.

11:34 p.m. ET, November 11, 2020

Greece to impose stricter national curfew as cases hit new one-day record

From CNN’s Chris Liakos in London

Policemen check on a driver for special permission to go outdoors in Athens, Greece, on November  7.
Policemen check on a driver for special permission to go outdoors in Athens, Greece, on November 7. Marios Lolos/Xinhua/Sipa USA

Greece will impose a tighter national curfew after it reported a new daily record of 2,752 cases and 43 deaths.

Movement between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. local time will be restricted starting Friday November 13 unless necessary for work and health purposes or to walk pets close to home.

Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said Wednesday that the new measure is designed to curb the transmission of the virus, which is being driven by unnecessary movement to others’ homes.

Greece has been under a nationwide lockdown since Saturday. People who need to leave their homes have to send text messages to the authorities ahead of time. Public Health experts on Monday urged extra caution and said it was “worrying” that by Sunday evening, 1 million people had sent text messages to go out and exercise after 9 p.m.

According to Greece’s National Public Health Organization, Greece has recorded 63,321 cases and 909 deaths in total since the start of the pandemic.

11:21 p.m. ET, November 11, 2020

New CDC guidance could be “huge” in motivating people to wear masks, says former CDC director

From CNN Health’s Lauren Mascarenhas

Dr. Richard Besser
Dr. Richard Besser CNN

The new United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on mask wearing could be “huge” in motivating people to wear masks, former acting CDC director Dr. Richard Besser said Wednesday.

The CDC updated its guidance Tuesday to say that masks can help protect the wearer, not just those around them, from coronavirus infection. Previously, CDC had said the main benefit of masks was to help prevent infected people from spreading the virus to others.

The guidance is in line with public health advisories issued in many places throughout Asia at the beginning of the pandemic and has been credited with helping to curb the spread of the virus in those countries.

Besser told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that the updated guidance from the CDC on mask wearing is “critically important.”

“It's hard to motivate people in terms of protecting other people, but in terms of protecting yourselves, getting your loved ones, your children, your parents to wear masks -- this could be huge,” he said. 

“If people wear masks, then we're going to be able to avoid the broad -- the total shutdowns that we saw in the spring,” said Besser, who currently heads Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a health philanthropy.

11:10 p.m. ET, November 11, 2020

Navajo Nation more than doubles number of communities with "uncontrolled spread" of Covid-19

From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin

The Navajo Nation -- a tribal area which spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah -- has issued a health advisory to 21 new communities warning residents of the “uncontrolled spread” of Covid-19, according to a statement.

The Native American territory now has 34 communities under a 14-day advisory for Covid-19 spread, the statement added. 

Residents in the impacted communities are “advised to stay on the Navajo Nation and refrain from off-Reservation travel,” a public health order from the Navajo Department of Health said.

“Individuals are also advised not to gather with anyone outside your immediate household and stay within your local communities.”

Navajo leaders said in the statement that the increase in the uncontrolled spread of Covid-19 is “largely due to travel off the Navajo Nation and family gatherings.”

As a result, the nation will implement a 56-hour curfew starting at 9pm on Friday November 13, the statement explained. 

“We are dealing with an invisible monster and the only way we are going to beat this virus is by doing it together and listening to our public health experts,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez in the statement. 

The Navajo Nation was once a prominent hot spot for Covid-19 in the US. In May, the nation surpassed New York and New Jersey for the highest per-capita Coronavirus infection rate.

Nez cited multi-generation living situations, a lack of running water among residents and fewer places to purchase food as causes for increased spread of the disease in May.

11:04 p.m. ET, November 11, 2020

Sweden to ban alcohol sales after 10 p.m. as Covid-19 cases surge

From CNN's Amy Cassidy in Glasgow

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven gives a press conference in Stockholm on November 11.
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven gives a press conference in Stockholm on November 11. Henrik Montgomery/TT News Agency/AFP/Getty Images

Sweden plans to further tighten its coronavirus restrictions by banning the sale of alcohol after 10 p.m. and closing bars and restaurants at 10.30 p.m., Elin Aarflot, press secretary to the Minister of Health, told CNN. 

“Unfortunately, it looks like we are going into darker times both across the world, in Europe and Sweden in terms of the spread of the disease,” said Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at Wednesday’s news conference.

“All the indicators point in the wrong direction,” he added. 

The proposal will be considered by the relevant government bodies, pending a decision on Monday. If approved as expected, the measures will come into effect on November 20.  

As of Tuesday, Sweden has registered 6,082 Covid-19 related deaths and a total of 166,707 cases, according to the latest official health data.  

10:43 p.m. ET, November 11, 2020

France reports increase in Covid-19 cases two weeks into national lockdown

From CNN's Pierre Bairin in Paris

Medical staff carry a patient infected with  Covid-19 into Strasbourg hospital's emergency unit on November 6.
Medical staff carry a patient infected with Covid-19 into Strasbourg hospital's emergency unit on November 6. Patrick Hertzog/AFP/Getty Images

France has reported another rise in Covid-19 cases even though it has been in a national lockdown for two weeks. 

More people have entered hospital, with 31,918 patients receiving treatment and 4,789 in intensive care, according to the French Health Agency.

The numbers: The French Health Agency recorded 35,879 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, an increase of more than 12,000 daily cases from earlier this week. 

The context: French scientists, however, advised looking at trends over several days rather than daily balances. France reported 20,155 cases on Monday, and 22,180 cases on Tuesday. The trend is down from last week, when it reported 40,558 cases on Wednesday, 58,046 on Thursday and 60,486 on Friday.

On Thursday, French Prime Minister Jean Castex is expected to deliver a report on the effectiveness of lockdown measures, in place since October 30. 

10:32 p.m. ET, November 11, 2020

Covid-19 vaccine investigator calls Pfizer announcement only a "first step"

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Pfizer's announcement that its Covid-19 vaccine appears to be more than 90% effective was a "great milestone" but only a "first step," Dr. Stephen Thomas, chief of infectious disease at SUNY Upstate Medical University in New York and lead principal investigator of Pfizer's Upstate Covid-19 trial site, said on CNN Right Now.

"This greater than 90% efficacy, that's a great milestone but it is the first step of a few steps. The second is going to be that the company is going to have to put together a data package, and submit that to the FDA," Thomas told CNN's Brianna Keilar on Wednesday.

Before the US Food and Drug Administration can issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) for any vaccine, the manufacturers must show it works safely and as intended. 

"The expectation is that there will be a package of data delivered to the FDA before the end of this month and I'm assuming based upon the timelines that the FDA has kept thus far, that their review and their deliberation will go quite quickly," Thomas said.

He estimated that there will be an answer before the end of the year from the FDA, but warned that things may slow after that.

"The FDA is going to have to deliberate and make a decision. And once that decision is made, whether or not to issue an EUA, then the next process needs to occur, which is the logistics .. we have to get the vaccine doses to the locations where people can access them," Thomas said.

That process will take months and many experts, from top levels of government down, say it’s unlikely that most Americans will get vaccines before spring at the very soonest.