November 12 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Jenni Marsh, Zamira Rahim, Ed Upright, Roya Wolverson and Joshua Berlinger, CNN

Updated 12:17 a.m. ET, November 13, 2020
42 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
8:18 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

First cruise ship to sail the Caribbean since the pandemic has up to 5 Covid-19 cases on board

From CNN's Patrick Oppmann in Havana, Marnie Hunter and Jaide Garcia

File photo of the SeaDream 1.
File photo of the SeaDream 1. SeaDream Yacht Club

A cruise ship remains docked in Barbados on Thursday as passengers and crew undergo testing following the confirmation of coronavirus cases on board. 

Five people aboard the SeaDream 1 cruise ship have tested positive for Covid-19, the ship’s captain said in an announcement, according to passenger Ben Hewitt.

The SeaDream Yacht Club said in a news release that “guests” have tested positive for the virus, but did not specify the number. It said that all guests and non-essential crew are quarantining in their rooms. It is not clear how long they will be doing so.

SeaDream 1 is the first cruise ship to embark on a voyage in the Caribbean since the coronavirus shut down the cruise industry. The trip was meant to show how increased safety protocols could allow operations to restart. Many of the passengers are journalists and bloggers invited to cover the week-long trip. 

On Wednesday the ship’s captain announced one of the 53 passengers had felt ill and tested positive for coronavirus, and that the ship was returning to Barbados where it is based, according to Gene Sloan, a passenger on SeaDream 1 and senior reporter for the Points Guy travel website.  

“The captain in his announcement told us somebody had tested positive, asked us to immediately go back to our cabins where we would isolate and also that all non-essential crew would isolate,” Sloan said. 

Sloan recorded an announcement from the captain on Thursday saying all 66 crew members had tested negative for the coronavirus. 

Sloan said crew members told him that if all other passengers tested negative they might be able to leave their cabins soon and disembark from the ship in the coming days.  

 

8:04 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Coronavirus cases "skyrocketing" in US as states report record infections, deaths and hospitalizations

From CNN’s Andy Rose, Konstantin Toropin, Jennifer Henderson, Evan Simko-Bednarski and Raja Razek

Covid-19 cases are "skyrocketing" in parts of the US as more states report records and battle to bring infection rates under control.

The United States has now reported at least 10,523,260 cases and 242,577 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University figures -- and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects there will be up to 282,000 US coronavirus deaths by December 5.

New Mexico

New Mexico set a record with 1,753 new cases Thursday, its highest daily total during the pandemic and a 17% increase on yesterday’s record figure.

New Mexico also set a single-day record for coronavirus deaths, with the Department of Health reporting 18. The state has reported 1,176 Covid-related deaths and 60,776 cases.

Oregon

The state broke three of its records Thursday -- the most new Covid-19 cases, the most patients in hospital and the most in intensive care units.

It reported 1,693 new Covid-19 cases, 361 suspected or confirmed coronavirus patients hospitalized and 94 patients in ICU beds, according to its data dashboard.

Oregon has had 77,121 cases of Covid-19 and 733 deaths from the disease since the pandemic began.

Maryland

Covid-19 hospitalizations in Maryland have increased 53% over the past two weeks, Governor Larry Hogan said in a Thursday news conference.

There are 863 people hospitalized for Covid-19, the highest since June 11, Hogan added. There are 199 people in the ICU with Covid-19, the highest number since June 25, he said.

Maryland has 1,477 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours for a total of 159,900, and 12 deaths for a total of 4,112 deaths.

Maryland in now in the red zone, according to federal government designations, with an average of 22.8 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people.

Michigan

Cases of Covid-19 are "skyrocketing" in the state of Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a Thursday news conference.

"I'm not going to sugarcoat this," Whitmer said, "We are in the worst part of this pandemic to date."

Covid-19 hospitalizations have increased fivefold in as many weeks, and are expected to double within the next two weeks, she said. The state's chief medical officer, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, said the positivity rate was at 10.8%.

"The curve that we had flattened? Right now that curve is a straight line, and it is straight up," Whitmer said. "Our hospitals are nearing capacity, and they are burning through PPE."

Texas 

The Texas Department of State Health Services said on Twitter Thursday that the state is in a "serious fight" with Covid-19. 

The Texas DSHS urged residents to wear masks and gather virtually where possible, saying the state faced "a dangerous winter as more people head indoors and with an already high amount of COVID cases and hospitalizations."

Texas reported 5,756 new Covid-19 cases Thursday, bringing the total number of cases to 993,841 in the state. It also reported 143 new COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the total number of coronavirus related fatalities to 19,147 in the state. Johns Hopkins University figures yesterday showed the state had the first to tally more than 1 million infections.

There are currently 6,925 lab-confirmed Covid-19 patients in Texas hospitals. 

Track the spread of the virus in the US here:

7:16 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Symptom-based screenings for Covid-19 are ineffective, a CDC study of airport screenings found

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

A traveler is checked with a handheld thermometer at Los Angeles International Airport on June 24 in Los Angeles, California.
A traveler is checked with a handheld thermometer at Los Angeles International Airport on June 24 in Los Angeles, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Temperature and symptom-based screening programs don’t help catch coronavirus cases, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a new report that took a closer look at the programs used at US airports until mid-September. 

In January, the CDC started an enhanced screening program for air passengers arriving from certain countries with widespread transmission of the novel coronavirus. 

The goal was to find travelers who were sick and separate them from other passengers; to share information with travelers about self-monitoring; and to get their contact information that could be shared with the passenger’s local public health department. 

The CDC said this was a resource-intensive program that had a low case detection rate. Between January 17 and September 13, the CDC screened more than 766,000 travelers. Nearly 300 met the criteria for public health assessment, 35 were tested for the coronavirus, and 9 tested positive. That means the program identified about one case per 85,000 travelers screened, the CDC reported Thursday in the agency’s weekly report.

This style of screening doesn’t seem to work for a few reasons. Covid-19 has a wide range of nonspecific symptoms common to other infections; there are a high number of asymptomatic cases; travelers may deny symptoms or take steps to avoid detection; and passenger data was limited.

The CDC also only shared contact information with local health departments for 68% of the passengers it screened. There were data collection problems, the report said, and some states opted out of receiving the information.   

The CDC ended the program September 14. Instead, the CDC has concentrated on communicating more with travelers to promote recommended preventive measures. The agency has also enhanced the public health response capacity at ports of entry. 

The CDC said travelers and their local communities would be better protected if there was “more efficient” collection of contact information for international air passengers before they arrive and real-time data that could be sent to US health departments. Pre-departure testing within 72 hours before the trip, and post-arrival testing would help, as would rules that would encourage a traveler to self-isolate for a certain period.

6:44 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

CDC projects up to 282,000 US Covid-19 deaths by December 5

From CNN Health’s Ben Tinker

An ensemble forecast published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects there will be 260,000 to 282,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by December 5.

What it means: Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s ensemble forecast only offers projections a few weeks into the future. The previous ensemble forecast, published November 5, projected up to 266,000 coronavirus deaths by November 28.

At least 242,557 people have already died from Covid-19 in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

CNN is tracking the spread of US coronavirus cases here:

6:05 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Walgreens, CVS and other chains partner with government to increase access to Covid-19 vaccines

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen, Elizabeth Cohen, Samira Said and Nadia Kounang

People cross the street near a Walgreens store on September 30 in New York City.
People cross the street near a Walgreens store on September 30 in New York City. Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

The US Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday it is partnering with large chain pharmacies and networks that represent independent pharmacies to increase vaccine access in anticipation of a Covid-19 vaccine authorization or approval.

Walmart, Walgreens, Kroger, CVS, Costco, Publix Super Markets Inc. and others have signed onto the agreement as of November 6, HHS said. The pharmacy partnership covers about 60% of pharmacies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

HHS Services Secretary Alex Azar said the agreement will take advantage of this existing private sector infrastructure to get vaccines out to communities as quickly as possible for no out-of-pocket cost.

“The vast majority of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy, and our new agreement with pharmacy partners across America is a critical step toward making sure all Americans have access to safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines,” Azar said in a statement.

Paul Ostrowski, director of distribution for Operation Warp Speed, told CNN that he wanted "to make the distribution of this just as easy as a normal influenza vaccine."

“We're ready to go today, and one has to look no further than their local drugstore today," he said.

The first vaccine expected to receive authorization, made by Pfizer, is different from the flu vaccine – or any other vaccine – in one important way. It has to be stored at minus 75 degrees Celsius, which is 50 degrees colder than any other vaccine in the United States. Doctors’ offices and pharmacies do not have freezers that go nearly that low. 

Pfizer is supplying “thermal shippers” for the vaccine that must be replenished with dry ice. Ostrowski said UPS would provide dry ice reshipments throughout the US upon demand, although he did not say how this would be funded.

“We're not going to send a vaccine to a place that can’t administer it,” said Ostrowski. “We’re going to push those vaccines to places where we know that they can either have storage or we will refill them with dry ice as necessary throughout the process."

He noted that the vaccine can be stored in regular refrigeration for up to five days.

CNN previously reported that in a letter on October 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asked states to be ready to receive Pfizer's vaccine by November 15. State officials interviewed by CNN said it was unlikely they could be. 

A review by CNN of the 46 state vaccine plans that are online shows only a few states have detailed plans for maintaining the vaccine's ultra-low temperature storage.  

Ostrowski said strike teams from the CDC were being deployed to make sure states were ready, and that states have been provided access to major pharmacies, “which are very, very good at administering vaccines."

Ostrowski, a retired Army lieutenant general, said that “within 24 hours” of the FDA granting emergency authorization for a vaccine, “our trucks will be rolling.”   

6:19 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

States shatter Covid-19 records as US reports more than 10.5 million cases and 240,000 deaths

From CNN's Brian Vitagliano, Kay Jones, Taylor Romine and Konstantin Toropin

RN Treva Rivers administers a Covid-19 test at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pennsylvania, on October 13.
RN Treva Rivers administers a Covid-19 test at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pennsylvania, on October 13. Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle/Getty Images

US states continue to shatter records for coronavirus cases and hospitalizations as the country reported more than 10.5 million infections and at least 242,310 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

JHU reported 89,206 new cases and 400 deaths so far today from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.

Here are just some of the stark figures:

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania reported its highest daily increase in Covid-19 cases Thursday, with 5,488 new infections and 49 deaths, according to the state's Department of Health.

The statewide total now stands at 248,856 Covid-19 cases and about 13,202 of the total cases are among healthcare workers, according to the release.

The total deaths in the state attributed to Covid-19 stands at 9,194

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 2,080 individuals hospitalized with Covid-19, with 438 of them in intensive care units. Most hospitalized patients are aged 65 or older, and most of the deaths have been among patients 65 or older. 

Utah

The state reported 3,884 new Covid-19 cases Thursday -- a new record that is a significant jump above previous high, its data dashboard shows. Utah also hit record highs in its Covid-19 7-day case average and test positivity percentage.

Utah’s previous record for new Covid-19 cases, 2,989, was set on November 5.

The rise in infections has driven the seven-day new case average to a record 2,738.4 cases. This measure has been climbing fairly steadily since the start of October. Utah’s percentage of positive tests also hit a record 23.21% after surging since October 11.

Greg Bell, the President of the Utah Hospital Association, said the state was running out of intensive care beds and that the state has “in earnest, began transferring patients about 10 days ago” from hospitals at capacity. 

New Jersey

The state hit its highest Covid-19 hospitalization rate since June 4 with 1,827 in hospital. Since Monday, the state has seen 10,472 new cases, which Governor Phil Murphy said was "stark and sobering,"

Murphy announced 3,517 new Covid-19 cases, 18 deaths, and a positivity rate of 12.02%. There are 360 Covid-19 patients in intensive care, the highest rate since June 12. 

Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said that if New Jersey continues at this trajectory, it will return to the state it was in back in spring. 

Murphy said holiday gatherings should be limited to immediate family or household. 

In the past week, there have been 15 outbreaks at schools and 46 new Covid-19 infections, which Murphy noted was much lower than he and his staff were expecting.

Wisconsin

Covid-19 is "getting worse everywhere" in the state, said a top health official as Wisconsin reached almost 7,500 new cases on Thursday.

The 7,497 new cases bring the state's total to 293,388, Julie Willems Van Dijk, Deputy Secretary of Wisconsin Department of Health Services, said at a news conference. She also announced 58 new deaths bringing the state's total to 2,515

"Covid-19 is everywhere in our state. It is bad everywhere, and it's getting worse everywhere," she said. "It is straining hospitals and people are dying." 

Van Dijk said that only 8% of ICU beds are available statewide and that hospitals are struggling with staffing, partly because staff are sick or quarantining. 

The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,209, Van Dijk said. She said Wisconsin has 1,000 cases per day higher than New York City during the height of the pandemic.

New York

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a news release Thursday that the state’s positivity rate is 2.95% and 29 more people died from coronavirus in a 24-hour period.

In the state's "micro-cluster" focus zones, the test positivity rate is 4.86%.

The governor said the next few weeks are going to be “key," with Covid raging nationally.

"There is no pre-destined future here. It's a pure consequence of our actions. If we stay New York Tough and don't fall subject to COVID fatigue and we stay smart through the holidays, through Thanksgiving, through Christmas, through Hanukkah, we'll keep it under control,” he said in a statement.

CNN is tracking the spread of US coronavirus cases here:

5:12 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

One in four deaths in France are due to Covid-19

From Eva Tapiero in Paris

French Prime Minister Jean Castex says one in four deaths currently happening in the country are caused by Covid-19. 

“Today in France 1 in 4 deaths is due to the virus” Castex said on Thursday. “France is facing an extremely strong second epidemic wave," he added. Over the past week between 400 and 500 people have died every day, he said.

"It would be irresponsible to lift or lighten lockdown now," Castex continued. “We have decided to keep the rules unchanged for at least the next 15 days." 

"For a week now, we have noted a drop in the number of positive cases," the Prime Minister said about the numbers. “If that trend is confirmed, the peak of the second wave could be reached at the beginning of next week.” 

He added that measures could be eased starting December 1st, emphasizing that those measures would be limited to reopening some shops, and would exclude the reopening of bars and restaurants. “If that trend [of lower numbers] doesn’t confirm next week, we will take further action.” he added. 

Commenting on the increased pressure on the hospital system, Castex said 4,803 patients were currently in intensive care, which is "95% of our usual capacity."

2:52 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

New York City preparing to shut schools down if test-positivity rate continues to increase

From CNN's Sheena Jones

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is preparing to shut down schools if the test-positivity rate continues to increase, he said Thursday at the city’s Covid-19 briefing.

Nearing the threshold: The city is seeing a 2.6% test-positivity rate on a seven-day average. The mayor previously said schools would be closed if the test-positivity rate reached 3%. 

The mayor said the city has seen growth within the test positivity rate, but there was still time to turn the number around. 

De Blasio said if schools shut down, “our hope would be to make it a very brief period of time.”

He reported there are 100 people hospitalized across the city with Covid-19, according to data from Wednesday, and 870 cases of Covid-19 on a seven-day average.

3:45 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Mental health-related ER visits suggest children and teens are at risk, CDC research finds

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

The coronavirus pandemic had a big effect on emergency room visits for children suffering mental health crises, researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

While fewer children and teens were seen in emergency departments for mental health issues during the pandemic, they made up a bigger proportion of ER visits than before – suggesting that problems were serious enough to overcome concerns about visiting hospitals, the researchers said.

The team set out to see if there was evidence of more mental health trauma among children because of the pandemic. They found a 43% decrease the number of mental health–related emergency department visits among children starting in March.

But the proportion of these visits compared to other emergency related visits rose by 44%, they found. 

“This report demonstrates that, whereas the overall number of children’s mental health–related ED visits decreased, the proportion of all ED visits for children’s mental health–related concerns increased, reaching levels substantially higher beginning in late-March to October 2020 than those during the same period during 2019,” they wrote.

“Children’s mental health warranted sufficient concern to visit EDs during a time when nonemergent ED visits were discouraged.” 

The findings “provide initial insight into children’s mental health in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and highlight the importance of continued monitoring of children’s mental health throughout the pandemic, ensuring access to care during public health crises, and improving health coping strategies and resiliency among children and families.” 

The team used data from the CDC’s National Syndromic Surveillance Program from January 1 to October 17, 2020 and the same period during 2019. This emergency department data includes a subset of hospitals in 47 states and represents around 73% of emergency department visits in the US.