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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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.

8:34 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Georgia Secretary of State in quarantine after wife tests positive for Covid-19 

From CNN’s Jason Morris and Caroline Kenny

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference on November 11 in Atlanta.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference on November 11 in Atlanta. Brynn Anderson/AP

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is in quarantine after his wife tested positive for Covid-19, according to his office.    

"The office is confirming that Secretary Raffensperger is being tested for Covid and will work from quarantine following a positive test for his wife. Per personnel procedures, his staff that works in his Capitol office have all been advised to be tested and to work from home. The critical job of the county-conducted election audit of every ballot will continue on schedule," said a written statement from Raffensperger’s spokesperson.

Raffensperger announced Wednesday that there will be a full hand recount of the presidential race in the state, where President-elect Biden is clinging to a small lead. 

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.”