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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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. 

2:18 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

A Covid-19 outbreak among the Amish showed importance of trust-building by local public health department

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

A Covid-19 outbreak among the Amish this spring showed the real need for public health officials to build trust among a community that typically limits engagement with the government.

Despite the pandemic, the Amish community in the Greater Holmes County Area of Ohio continued to hold community gatherings. During the outbreak in May, there were at least six social gatherings, including a logistical meeting to plan church services, three church services, a wedding, and a funeral, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Ohio state and county health officials wrote in the CDC’s weekly report Thursday. 

The team said those gatherings likely contributed to the rapid spread of Covid-19. Some community members also had misconceptions about what would protect them from infection. Some said they thought wearing a mask would cause them harm. Others thought if they took vitamins and herbs it would protect them. 

The local public health department learned about the outbreak after a couple tested positive in mid-May. The husband, who had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, had to be hospitalized for a couple of days. Another adult family member with cancer who tested positive for Covid-19 died May 21. 

Community leaders told the Wayne County Health Department that a number of people in the community had symptoms so the department set up testing at the local school. In total, 30 people tested positive for Covid-19. The report suggests there may have been more cases, but the more traditional members of the community may not have gotten tested.

The local health department interviewed some of the Amish at the testing site and learned about some of the misconceptions about the ways to stop the spread of the disease. 

Researchers also learned that the community didn’t have access to updated and trusted guidance. Most rarely, if ever, used the internet or email. Nonetheless, many understood the importance of social distancing and knew that coughing and sneezing could spread the virus.

Wearing a mask was not socially or culturally acceptable, some members of the community said. Some were also reluctant about social distancing, because communal cultural practices were central to the Amish identity. 

The CDC said it is important for health departments to build trusting relationships with the Amish. The departments should use culturally sensitive language when they reach out to community leaders and emphasize the message that mitigation behaviors protect the family and the community. Health education materials should be shared through Amish newspapers and local radio stations. Access to testing needs to be convenient and timely.

1:46 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Medicago and GlaxoSmithKline announce Covid-19 vaccine trials

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

The GlaxoSmithKline company headquarters in London, England.
The GlaxoSmithKline company headquarters in London, England. Martyn Williams/Alamy

Biopharmaceutical company Medicago has developed an experimental coronavirus vaccine candidate, which uses drug giant GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) adjuvant.

An adjuvant is added to some vaccines to enhance the immune response, which creates stronger immunity against infections. 

In this case, Medicago's vaccine uses virus-like particles grown in a close relative of the tobacco plant. The vaccine combines the particles with GSK's adjuvant to generate an immune response.

The two companies announced on Thursday that the vaccine candidate was entering Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials.

The trial will evaluate the vaccine's efficacy, safety and ability to provoke an immune response.

"Our Phase 1 results of the adjuvanted vaccine candidate were very encouraging and fully support further clinical evaluation," Nathalie Landry, executive vice president of scientific and medical affairs at Medicago, said Thursday.
"This is the first of several GSK Covid-19 vaccine candidate collaborations to start Phase 2/3 clinical testing and an important step forward in our contribution to the global fight against the pandemic," Thomas Breuer, chief medical officer of GSK Vaccines, said.

The Phase 2 trial will part be conducted in multiple sites in Canada and, upon allowance from the US Food and Drug Administration, in the US.

The volunteers will include healthy adults ages 18 to 64 and elderly adults over 65, according to the announcement. Each age group will include more than 300 subjects.

1:09 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Irish citizens abroad advised not to return home for Christmas

From CNN's Amy Cassidy in Glasgow

Irish citizens living abroad should not book travel home for Christmas as it is “too soon” and risks further spreading Covid-19, Ireland's deputy prime minister said Thursday.

“I know that's difficult. I know that's tough. But Christmas is six weeks away and it's too soon now I think for people to be booking flights to come home,” Leo Varadkar said, answering questions in Ireland's parliament. 

Covid-19 infections have fallen in Ireland since the country became the first in Europe to implement a second national lockdown on October 21. The restrictions are due to ease on December 2.

Varadkar said the country was “ahead of projections in terms of getting the virus under control" with the average number of weekly cases being only a quarter "of what it was a few weeks ago."

But international travel and the festive season poses the risk of “reseeding” Covid-19 back into the country, he said, adding that travel from Northern Ireland could be even riskier than from Qatar or Miami. 

Ireland has reported 66,247 overall cases and 1,965 deaths. Neighboring Northern Ireland has a total of 44,693 cases and 810 deaths despite having a population of just 1.88 million compared to Ireland's 4.9 million.

12:41 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Biden adviser: US lockdown of four-to-six weeks could drive down Covid-19 numbers

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Medical workers register motorists at a Covid-19 drive-thru testing site in El Paso, Texas, on Monday, November 9.
Medical workers register motorists at a Covid-19 drive-thru testing site in El Paso, Texas, on Monday, November 9. Joel Angel Juarez/Bloomberg/Getty Images

A four-to-six-week lockdown could drive down the US' surging Covid-19 cases, if the government covered lost wages and small business losses, a member of President-elect Biden’s transition coronavirus advisory board has said.

Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, suggested the idea in an interview with Yahoo Finance on Wednesday.

Osterholm said that the personal savings rate in the US had increased, and there was “a big pool of money out there” which could be borrowed at historic low interest rates by the federal government. 

“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individuals workers, for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies," Osterholm said. "For cities, states, county governments, we can do all of that."

If we did that then we could lock down for four to six weeks and if we did that, we could drive the numbers down. Like they’ve done in Asia. Like they did in New Zealand and Australia," he added.

If this happened, “then we could really watch ourselves cruising into the vaccine availability in the first and second quarter of next year and bringing back the economy long before that."

US cases hit 10 million on Tuesday, with infection rates still rising in many states.

CNN is tracking the spread of Covid-19 across the US here:

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.