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
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11:31 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

US surpasses record Covid-19 hospitalizations for the third consecutive day

From CNN’s Haley Brink

A medical staff member walks in the Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) on November 10, in Houston, Texas.
A medical staff member walks in the Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) on November 10, in Houston, Texas. Go Nakamura/Getty Images

The United States currently has more people hospitalized with Covid-19 than ever before, according to the Covid Tracking Project (CTP).

There were 67,096 people in hospital on Thursday across the entire United States, according to the CTP. This is now the third consecutive day that that nation has topped 60,000 current hospitalizations.

Last Thursday, the US reported 53,322 current hospitalizations.

Eighteen states and one US territory reported record high Covid-19 hospitalizations Thursday, according to the CTP.

Those states are: Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming and Puerto Rico.

Record high hospitalizations are expected to continue as new Covid-19 cases continue to skyrocket.

11:09 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio: "We have a second wave bearing down on us"

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio attends the opening of the Bank of America 'Winter Village' at Bryant Park on November 5, in New York City.
Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio attends the opening of the Bank of America 'Winter Village' at Bryant Park on November 5, in New York City. Noam Galai/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned today that a second wave of coronavirus is headed for the city, but said if New Yorkers practice proper social distancing the wave could still be stopped. 

"We have a second wave bearing down on us but we can stop that second wave," he said, in response to a question from CNN's Wolf Blitzer on whether or not he would shut down schools if more than 3% of Covid-19 tests came back positive, as he promised to in the summer. The current positive rate over a seven day rolling period is 2.6%.

"We've proven there's a formula for beating this virus and getting the people fully engaged because when people decide they are going to change their behavior that's when you beat back the virus," said the mayor.

De Blasio said New Yorkers could stop the second wave by refraining from holiday travel and large gatherings and by wearing masks. 

10:45 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

The economy as we knew it might be over, US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

The Covid-19 pandemic brought the US economy to a screeching halt, and while it has started its long road to recovery, the economy we knew is probably a thing of the past, said Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Thursday.

"We're recovering, but to a different economy," Powell said during a virtual panel discussion at the European Central Bank's Forum on Central Banking.

The pandemic has accelerated existing trends in the economy and society, including the increasing use of technology, telework and automation, he said. This will have lasting effects on how people live and work.

While technological advances are generally positive for societies over the long term, Powell said, on a short-term basis they create disruption, and as the market adjusts to the new normal the pain isn't shared evenly.

For example, it's likely that lower-paid workers, as well as those in jobs requiring face-to-face interactions, such as retail or restaurant workers, will shoulder most of the burden of this shift. These groups, heavily skewed towards women and minorities, have already been among those most affected by pandemic layoffs, Powell said.

The post-pandemic economy is also at risk of being less productive: women have been forced to quit their jobs due to child care responsibilities during the crisis, and children aren't getting the education they deserve, Powell said.

Read more of Powell's remarks here:

10:25 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

A multiple sclerosis drug may help coronavirus patients recover

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

A drug normally prescribed to treat multiple sclerosis helped reduce the risk of severe disease from Covid-19, British researchers reported Thursday.

But more research is needed to show whether the drug, which calms down the immune system, can really help people with severe coronavirus infections.

The researchers found British biotechnology company Synairgen's new experimental version of interferon beta-1a, repurposed to treat Covid-19, increased the odds of improvement and recovery among hospitalized Covid-19 patients in a Phase 2 trial.

"SNG001 reduced the odds of developing severe disease or dying by 79%," the researchers wrote in the journal The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

SNG001 is an inhaled formula of interferon beta-1a, typically used to decrease inflammation and reduce the nerve damage caused by multiple sclerosis. In the trial, SNG001 was administered to 48 patients using a nebulizer while 50 patients received the placebo.

After two weeks, patients who got the daily treatment were twice as likely to show signs of recovery by day 15 or 16 and more than three times as likely to improve by day 28 than those who got placebo, the researchers found. However, "there was no significant difference between treatment groups in the odds of hospital discharge or time to hospital discharge," the researchers wrote.

Read more:

10:06 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Maine wedding reception linked to outbreak in long-term care facility and correctional facility, CDC study says

From CNN Health’s Virginia Langmaid

A wedding reception in Maine led to three separate Covid-19 outbreaks that infected 117 people, putting three into the hospital and killing seven more, health investigators reported Thursday.

None of those who got seriously ill or died even went to the wedding, and many lived 100 miles away. It is a case study of how failure to follow social distancing and masking guidelines can have far-reaching consequences, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its weekly report.

“The bride, groom, and groom’s family (seven persons) traveled from California to Maine on August 6,” the researchers wrote. No one quarantined. But the index patient, the researchers said, was a Maine resident whose symptoms began the day after the wedding.

The wedding reception took place on August 7 and included 55 people. Maine guidelines allow no more than 50 people at an indoor gathering. Guests were seated 6-8 people per table, and remained in close contact during the event. 

While event staff conducted temperature checks and wore masks, further mitigation efforts fell by the wayside. “Although the facility had signs posted at the entrance instructing visitors to wear masks, guests did not comply with this requirement nor maintain a physical distance of at least six feet, and staff members did not enforce these measures,” the researcher wrote. 

Five days after the wedding, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention received reports that two guests had tested positive. Thirty guests and vendors eventually tested positive for Covid-19 within two weeks of the reception. The small town where the wedding was held had not seen a single case of Covid-19 before the wedding, but afterwards, 27 citizens who had not attended the wedding tested positive, and one died.

One guest who tested positive developed a cough, yet attended an in-person school meeting, taking no precautions. Later, two school staff members tested positive, and school openings were delayed for two weeks while exposed staff quarantined. 

But the spread went even further afield.

“In addition to the community outbreak, secondary and tertiary transmission led to outbreaks at a long-term care facility 100 miles away and at a correctional facility approximately 200 miles away,” wrote the researchers. 

One wedding guest infected a parent who worked at the long-term care facility and one guest worked at the corrections facility. Both continued to work while experiencing Covid-19 symptoms that included cough, fever, and a loss of taste. The outbreak at the corrections facility infected 82 people, most of them staff, while the outbreak at the care facility infected 38. Three care facility residents were hospitalized, and six died. 

Conditions within the corrections facility also likely aided viral spread. “The facility had not implemented daily symptom screening for staff members or enforced regular use of masks after the first case was identified,” said the authors. The corrections facility did eventually practice these measures after the outbreak began.

The total toll is likely an undercount, the researchers said, because the investigators never were given a guest list to track down everyone who may have been affected. 

9:43 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Longest-serving member of Congress diagnosed with Covid-19 at age 87

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Rep. Don Young speaks with reporters at the Alaska Division of Elections on June 28, 2019 in Anchorage, Alaska.
Rep. Don Young speaks with reporters at the Alaska Division of Elections on June 28, 2019 in Anchorage, Alaska. Mark Thiessenm/AP

The longest-serving member of Congress, 87-year-old Don Young, says he has been diagnosed with Covid-19.

I am feeling strong, following proper protocols, working from home in Alaska, and ask for privacy at this time,” Young wrote in a post shared on Twitter Thursday.

Young was first elected as Alaska’s at-large member of the House of Representatives in a 1973 special election and was just reelected to his 25th consecutive term.

Young is the oldest member of Congress in either chamber.

His age puts him at a very high risk category for the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines state: "The greatest risk for severe illness from Covid-19 is among those aged 85 or older."

9:26 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Chicago issues stay at home advisory as cases rise in the city

From CNN's Omar Jimenez, Brad Parks and Kay Jones

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Chicago has issued a stay-at-home advisory, as Covid-19 cases continue to rise throughout the city.

According to a release announcing the advisory, residents are encouraged to stay at home, only leaving for school or work and for essential needs. That includes seeking medical care, grocery shopping, going to the pharmacy, and picking up food.

The advisory goes into effect on Monday, November 16 and will remain in place for 30 days.

Residents are also "strongly advised" to not have guests in their homes outside of essential workers like home healthcare providers or childcare workers, cancel traditional Thanksgiving celebrations and to avoid travel. 

Chicago has 122,712 total cases since the start of the pandemic, according to the dashboard. The most recent 7-day positivity rate is now at 14.1%, up from 10.9% the previous week.

These numbers were released by the Chicago Department of Public Health and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN's database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project     

9:12 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

This Thanksgiving, "separation should be the norm," says infectious diseases expert

From CNN Health’s Lauren Mascarenhas and Cheri Mossburg

This Thanksgiving “separation should be the norm,” Dr. William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University, said Thursday.

As much as people may want to gather together this Thanksgiving, Schaffner told CNN’s Jake Tapper, the safest thing to do is stay separate and connect with loved ones virtually. 

Less is more this Thanksgiving,” Schaffner said. “It is the Covid Thanksgiving. We don't want to give the virus while we're giving thanks.”

For those planning to gather with people outside of their households, Schaffner advised a 14-day quarantine – beginning today.

“Fourteen days tight quarantine is pretty good assurance,” he said. “If you can get a test in there before Thanksgiving, even better,”

“It's 14 days, because that's the incubation period of the virus,” Schaffner added. “Should you be infected today, you'll become sick sometime during that 14 days.”

Experts have advised that people avoid travel as much as possible this holiday season. 

For those who must travel, “traveling by car is much less risky, because you have total control of the environment,” Schaffner said.

Los Angeles Health Director Barbara Ferrer said college students should not plan on returning home for Thanksgiving. If they do, they should stay home for the duration of the winter holidays.

"None of this is easy, but it's all doable,” she said. “These sacrifices help us get our children back to school and keep our businesses open. Please choose to be part of the solution because it's going to take all of us to avoid increased heartbreak.”
8:55 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Mississippi Governor says "we're not going to participate in a nationwide lockdown"

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves speaks during a press conference at the White House on September 28 in Washington, DC.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves speaks during a press conference at the White House on September 28 in Washington, DC. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said the state would not participate in a nationwide lockdown and that he believes not much will change with respect to the virus if Joe Biden "ultimately becomes the next president."

“The fact is, that we're going to try to work with whomever the president is, but we're not going to participate in a nationwide lockdown,” the Republican Governor said. “This notion that one of his advisors has said that all we really need is about a six-week national lockdown and we can slow down the spread of this virus, is totally and completely beyond reasonableness.” 

Reeves said while the federal government may make recommendations, under the Stafford Act when you have emergencies, they have to be state managed, locally executed, and federally supported. 

“And so I don't believe that there's any constitutional or statutory authority for any president to shut down Mississippi's economy. We will certainly fight that, if it becomes a necessary,” the governor added.

Reeves said it had been "a particularly difficult week for me and for my family" after his youngest daughter Maddie tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday, amid "significantly higher numbers of cases in our state."

Reeves said Maddie was recovering well and that his two oldest daughters have “basically been in self-isolation” since the middle of last week, because of a potential exposure.

The state's Department of Health reported 1,271 new cases of Covid-19 Thursday, for a total of 130,665 cases, and 17 new Covid-19 related deaths, for a total of 3,514 deaths.