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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11:50 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

"Targeted vaccinations” to begin in December and January, leading to widespread vaccination by April, says HHS secretary

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

All Americans who want to get a Covid-19 will be able to do so by April, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Thursday.

“Initially, in December and January, we're going to be having very targeted vaccinations, also helped in large part by some of our largest chains, like Walgreens and CVS,” Azar told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview.

The US does not have an authorized coronavirus vaccine yet. But one vaccine maker, Pfizer, reported promising early data on Monday and officials widely expect the company to be able to apply for US Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization before the end of this month. 

Azar said HHS believes there will be enough vaccine for “all of our most vulnerable citizens” to get vaccinated in December, followed by “all of our senior citizens, as well as our emergency first responders and our health care workers” in January. 

“By the end of March to early April, we think across all of the vaccines that we have invested in, we have enough for all Americans who wish to get vaccinated,” he said.

HHS announced Thursday that it is partnering with large chain pharmacies and networks to increase access to an expected Covid-19 vaccine.

“It’s really during those stages that this broad community pharmacy program will be available,” Azar added.

Pfizer’s vaccine must be stored at -94 Fahrenheit (-70 Celsius), far below the capacity of standard freezers. That could pose significant storage and distribution challenges.

Azar said other vaccine candidates are coming soon that he hopes "will have a lesser cold chain, just simple freezer requirements, for instance, that will enable that type of vaccination program." 

Watch the moment:

11:42 p.m. ET, November 12, 2020

"You are in my heart," said nurse who died from Covid-19 in final video message to family

From CNN's Chuck Hadad

Sergio Hernandez, a nurse who contracted Covid-19, became a patient in his own hospital.

Just before he was intubated, he recorded a video message for his family in an effort to reassure them that he’d be all right.

“I will recover, God willing. We will move forward. I will see you again, friends, family … I know you will be praying for me,” he said in the video, which was translated from Spanish. “I love you and you are in my heart.”

Just hours later, he died. Hernandez, 28, leaves behind a wife and five-year-old son.

“His son was his life. Everything he did, all of his efforts, all of the risks he took, it was all for him, his son, and his family,” his cousin Adalberto Hernandez said on Anderson Cooper Full Circle.

Sergio Hernandez lost his sister to Covid-19 and helped his mother and another sister recover from their own battles with the virus.

“After nursing them at home he decided to then go risk his life to help others battling Covid at the same hospital that he would end up passing.”

Watch Adalberto Hernandez describe his cousin who died from Covid-19:

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