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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11:47 a.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Number of Covid-19 patients in German ICUs reaches all-time high

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

Medical personnel at a hospital in Aachen, Germany, examine a Covid-19 patient in the intensive care unit on November 10.
Medical personnel at a hospital in Aachen, Germany, examine a Covid-19 patient in the intensive care unit on November 10. Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images

The number of Covid-19 patients admitted to intensive care units in Germany has reached an all-time high.

3,186 Covid-19 patients are being treated in intensive care facilities - the highest number of patients in ICUs since the pandemic began, the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive and Emergency Medicine (DIVI) said Thursday.

Earlier this week, DIVI reported that cases had exceeded the levels seen during the initial coronavirus wave, confirming that German hospitals are filling up at high speed.

The data also shows that 56% of patients in ICUs currently need ventilation.

When taking into account patients admitted to ICUs in Germany for other diseases, around 70% of intensive-care capacity facilities in the country are currently occupied.

Despite this, 6,600 ICU beds are still vacant and Germany has a reserve of 12,300 beds it can deploy, including field hospital beds at the Berlin convention center.

But health minister Jens Spahn on Thursday warned that ICUs could be overwhelmed if daily infection rates continue to rise at the current level.

The head of Germany's Robert Koch Institute (RKI) warned earlier on Thursday that the overall number of infections remains “very high” and that he expects hospitals to reach capacity.

11:16 a.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Fauci doubts Covid-19 will be eradicated but remains optimistic about vaccine

From CNN's Andrea Diaz and Naomi Thomas

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies at a hearing in Washington on September 23.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies at a hearing in Washington on September 23. Alex Edelman/Pool/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that vaccines will ensure we won’t have a pandemic for much longer, but he doubts the coronavirus will be eradicated.

"I doubt we're gonna eradicate this, I think we need to plan that this is something we may need to maintain control over chronically. It may be something that becomes endemic that we have to just be careful about," the director of the US National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases said during a panel appearance in London.
"Certainly it's not going to be pandemic for a lot longer because I believe the vaccines are going to turn that around," Fauci added during the Chatham House event.

Pfizer announced Monday that its vaccine candidate was more than 90% effective according to early data. The news was met with relief globally.

"When people say we’ve developed vaccines ‘quickly’ we must be careful because the speed at which it was done was largely due to the extraordinary scientific advances that were made in the area of platform technology," Fauci said Thursday.

He said the speed of development was based on technological advances, “so there really was no compromise in safety nor in scientific integrity."

In a separate interview Thursday, the US' top infectious diseases expert reassured Americans that vaccines could have a positive impact.

“I want to just repeat the message that I keep saying over and over again, that help is really on the way,” Fauci told ABC’s Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America.”
 “If you think of it metaphorically, you know, the cavalry is coming here," he said, discussing people fatigued by the pandemic.

Fauci said vaccines were "going to start being implemented and deployed in December, and as we get into the early part of the year, it’s going to be January, February, March, more and more and more people are going to be able to be vaccinated.” 

“So, if we could just hang in there, do the public health measures that we’re talking about,” he said. “We’re going to get this under control, I promise you.” 

The US is currently the worst affected country by Covid-19 globally, with more than 10 million reported cases and more than 241,900 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

10:56 a.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Austria marks new daily Covid-19 case record

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt

Austria has reported a new daily record of 9,262 new Covid-19 infections recorded within the past 24 hours, according to data on the Ministry of Interior website. 

The previous record was 8,241, set on Saturday, November 7.

The new cases bring Austria's total Covid-19 tally to 181,642 infections and 1,608 deaths.

There are currently 3,811 people in hospital, of whom 546 are being treated in intensive care, according to the ministry.

Like much of Europe the country is currently under a partial lockdown, aimed at curbing the virus' spread.

Restrictions include the closure of cafes, bars and restaurants, although takeaway services are allowed to operate.

All gyms, theatres, cinemas and museums are shut and a night-time curfew has been imposed from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

10:36 a.m. ET, November 12, 2020

WHO chief warns against pinning all hope on Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN's Simon Cullen

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, speaks in Geneva, Switzerland, on October 15.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, speaks in Geneva, Switzerland, on October 15. Martial Trezzini/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned against pinning all hope on a Covid-19 vaccine, saying people need to remain vigilant and take precautions against coronavirus.

We may be tired of Covid-19 but it is not tired of us,” Tedros told the Paris Peace Forum on Thursday.

“European countries are struggling but the virus has not changed significantly, nor the measures to stop it.

“A vaccine is needed urgently, but we cannot wait for a vaccine and put all our eggs in one basket.”

Many countries in Europe are under lockdown conditions amid a second wave of infections. Several governments have warned that health systems will be overwhelmed if the number of new infections is not brought under control soon.

Pfizer said Monday that its vaccine candidate was more than 90% effective, according to early results -- news which was met with relief globally.

But while Pfizer's news appears promising, significant logistical challenges remain in terms of distributing a potential vaccine.

10:27 a.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Head of US federal vaccine group says FDA might not make a decision on Covid-19 vaccine until Christmas

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen

The first patient enrolled in Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial is pictured at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore on May 4.
The first patient enrolled in Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial is pictured at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore on May 4. Courtesy University of Maryland School of Medicine/AP

The US Food and Drug Administration might not complete its review of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine until Christmas, according to the head of the federal network coordinating Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials. 

Pfizer announced Monday that early data shows its vaccine is more than 90% effective. 

The drug giant says it could apply to the FDA for emergency use authorization soon after safety data on the vaccine is gathered next week. 

Dr. Larry Corey, who runs the Covid-19 Prevention Network, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health, said he thought it would then take several weeks for the FDA to finish reviewing the vaccine’s safety and efficacy data, as well as information about its manufacturing.

 “I want to set the expectation that this is a big decision,” said Corey.

Alex Azar, the secretary of Health and Human Services, has said the process of getting FDA authorization will take several weeks, while Dr. Anthony Fauci says vaccinations will likely start a bit before Christmas.

Corey pointed out that it took more than four weeks for the FDA to consider an application by Eli Lilly and Co for its antibody therapy. Lilly applied to the FDA for emergency use authorization on October 7 and received it on November 9. 

 “You can look at that timing as a marker,” Corey said. “There’s a lot of data to review.” 

Corey believes it will take about 10 days for the FDA to review Pfizer’s clinical trial data. The agency also needs to review Pfizer’s manufacturing data.

 “I’m not sure how long that review will take, but it could be two weeks. I think that’s reasonable,” Corey said. 

If approved, Pfizer’s vaccine would first be given to priority groups such as health care workers, the elderly, and those with underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable to Covid-19 complications. 

Fauci told CNN on Tuesday that the US "likely will be able to start dispensing vaccines in December.”

He also told Australia’s ABC network that “vaccinations will start in December, very likely some time a bit before the Christmas holidays.” 

Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which created the Covid-19 Prevention Network last summer. 

Azar said Monday that the process of getting authorization for Pfizer’s vaccine would be “in the several week time period.” 

9:48 a.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Britain's Boris Johnson has mismanaged Covid, Brexit and the economy. Now his inner circle is falling out

Analysis from CNN's Luke McGee

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the East Midlands region in England on November 6.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the East Midlands region in England on November 6. Molly Darlington/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

The UK is deep in its second wave of Covid-19 at the same time as Brexit enters its final act. This might seem enough to keep its leadership occupied.

But the government of Boris Johnson is now engulfed in a political power struggle that is very publicly playing out on the newspaper front pages -- and could, some Conservatives hope, signal a shift in influence on the Prime Minister.

The political storm surrounding Johnson and his team of advisers broke on the same day that the UK's coronavirus death toll passed the eyewatering 50,000 figure.

Read the full article here:

9:16 a.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Germany's Lufthansa airline runs trial flight with rapid virus tests

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

Staff at the Test to Fly Center in Germany's Munich Airport wait to test passengers prior to a Lufthansa flight on November 12.
Staff at the Test to Fly Center in Germany's Munich Airport wait to test passengers prior to a Lufthansa flight on November 12. Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Germany's largest airline Lufthansa has completed its first test flight where all passengers returned negative Covid-19 results using a rapid antigen test.

The flight was from Munich to Hamburg, the airline said in a statement published Thursday. A second test flight is planned to take passengers from Hamburg to Munich.

"With our test strategy, we are pursuing the goal of using the data obtained to gain important insights into the use of rapid tests,” said Christina Foerster, Lufthansa Group Executive Board Member for Customer, IT & Corporate Responsibility.
“Successful testing of entire flights can be the key to revitalizing international air traffic.”

The rapid antigen tests do not detect the Covid-19 pathogen, but can detect proteins associated with it. 

Lufthansa said that customers receive their test results within 30 to 60 minutes of being tested.

The airline said that only if the results are negative will a passenger's boarding pass be activated and access to the gate granted. 

Passengers not wanting to be tested will be transferred to an alternative flight, the statement added.

10:09 a.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Slovakia extends state of emergency until end of 2020

From CNN's Amy Cassidy

Health workers evaluate Covid-19 antigen tests on November 7 in Prešov, Slovakia.
Health workers evaluate Covid-19 antigen tests on November 7 in Prešov, Slovakia. Zuzana Gogova/Getty Images

Slovakia will extend its state of emergency until the end of December, Justice Minister Maria Kolikova announced Wednesday, allowing the government to continue with coronavirus restrictions.

The state of emergency was first declared on October 1 and was due to expire on November 14. After it was announced, a national curfew came into force on October 24, barring people from leaving their houses during the day without a negative coronavirus test except in certain circumstances.

People can leave their homes freely between the hours of 1 and 5 a.m.

Slovakia has also banned gatherings of more than six people since October 13, and indoor bars and restaurants, as well as gyms, cinemas and theatres, are closed.

The country has battled a surge in coronavirus cases since September.

It has registered 464 deaths since the start of the pandemic, of which 50 were recorded in the past 24 hours.

In the same window of time Slovakia registered 2,591 new cases and conducted 12,584 tests.

Slovakia has now registered 81,772 cases in total, according to official health data. 

8:55 a.m. ET, November 12, 2020

How to decline Thanksgiving in the name of Covid

From CNN's Matt Villano

Thanksgiving has always been a big deal for Sara Wellensiek and her family.

Every year, the Phoenix blogger, her husband and their three boys fly to Nebraska to spend the week seeing loved ones. They go to a University of Nebraska Cornhuskers football game. They eat pumpkin spice treats. They spend the actual holiday with relatives. Then they come back to Arizona and have another celebration at home.

This year, however, the family will see almost nobody. Because they're not even planning to leave the house.

The reason for this change in plans: the Covid-19 pandemic. Like many people, Wellensiek said she doesn't want to risk getting the virus or giving it to people she loves. She also doesn't want to contribute to another spike of cases in her community.

Read the full story here: