November 16 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton and Sebastian Shukla, CNN

Updated 11:00 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020
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7:13 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

California considers curfew to mitigate Covid spread

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

California officials are considering a curfew as the state grapples with the rapid spread of coronavirus.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said a curfew is just one of the ideas being researched and officials are figuring out what it might look like in California. It’s unclear what they have in mind, but a curfew could be implemented statewide, or may just accompany one or more of the state’s four restriction tiers which are determined county by county. 

Los Angeles County officials are specifically considering a curfew, “so businesses do not have to close again, but would instead have limited hours for essential activities,” according to County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Data presented by the county’s health director shows young people are accounting for more and more of the cases, while the elderly are suffering the most serious effects.

California would not be the first state to employ a curfew:

  • A newly-implemented curfew in Massachusetts keeps residents at home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • New York City businesses with liquor licenses must close by 10 p.m.
  • Virginia has implemented an alcohol-related curfew, prohibiting on-site sale, consumption, and possession after 10 p.m. at restaurants, breweries, and wineries.

Newsom’s team is evaluating studies from France, Germany and Saudi Arabia. The team is examining the efficacy of a curfew while assessing how they are working in other areas.

7:07 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

Fauci's advice to young health professionals: Prepare for another pandemic

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Dr. Anthony Fauci has a message for the next generation of health professionals: pandemics happen, and it’s important to be prepared. 

During an event hosted by the American Medical Informatics Association, Fauci was asked what young professionals should be taught about responding to public health threats.

“First of all, pandemics occur,” said Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director. “They're not somebody’s fantasy.”

Fauci cited several examples of pandemics throughout history.

“Preparation is much, much, much more important than response,” he said. “Ultimately, you have to respond, but if you prepare well, your response will be well.”

“If you don't prepare, and then start chasing after a pandemic, that is generally not a good formula for success,” he added.

7:01 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

Science is ultimately going to get us out of the pandemic, Fauci says

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

Science will ultimately help humanity end the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday.

“When you have a pandemic outbreak like this, science is ultimately going to get us out of it,” Fauci said at an event hosted by the American Medical Informatics Association.

Developments like coronavirus vaccines are being driven by science, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, pointed out.

“I think you've got to understand the important role of science in containing public health threats,” he said. “Namely, what we're doing now with a vaccine.”

“What's going to get us out of this dilemma – not a dilemma, this terrible situation that we're in – is going to be the vaccine,” he added. 

6:42 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

NIH has been "all in" on development of coronavirus therapeutics, Fauci says

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies at a Senate Heath Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on September 23.
Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies at a Senate Heath Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on September 23. Graeme Jennings/Pool/Getty Images

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been “all in” on the development of therapeutics for coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday.

“All of these interventions that people see on the outside started off in somebody's lab, with a creative idea,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said.

He cited monoclonal antibodies, which, “we showed to be quite successful in the treatment of Ebola.”

“We're going to be doing the same thing here with Covid, namely taking monoclonal antibodies and passively transferring them for the purpose of preventing someone from getting advanced disease,” Fauci said at an event hosted by the American Medical Informatics Association.

Fauci noted that the NIH-run trial of the antiviral drug remdesivir proved to be successful. He added that they are also working to develop state of the art testing.

One big goal is a better coronavirus test for everyone.

“Ultimately, what we really want is a home kit diagnostic, so you could wake up in the morning and say, ‘should I be going to work, should I be going to dinner with my elderly mother or father or should I be in the presence of people who have underlying diseases?’” Fauci added. 

6:14 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

Coronavirus can infiltrate the diaphragm and weaken ability to breathe, study shows

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

Coronavirus can infiltrate the diaphragm, perhaps interfering with a patient’s ability to breathe, researchers reported Monday.

Researchers with Amsterdam University Medical Centers examined the diaphragm muscle from autopsies of 26 patients who had died from Covid-19 and eight patients who did not have coronavirus in the Netherlands in April and May of this year. The diaphragm sits at the base of the chest and plays an important role in breathing.

The team found evidence of coronavirus in the diaphragm of four of the patients who died from Covid-19, the team reported in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

The diaphragm muscle has cells rich in a cellular doorway called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2), which they say provides “an entry point for SARS-CoV-2 to infect diaphragm myofibers.” 

The team also found increased evidence of fibrosis, a response to injury or damage, in the diaphragm. In fact, they found the level of fibrosis was more than two times higher in the diaphragms of coronavirus patients than non-coronavirus patients.

The team suggests that severely weakened or damaged diaphragm muscles linked with coronavirus infection may lead to persistent difficulty breathing and fatigue. They also say this could make it more difficult for these patients to be weaned off of ventilators.

About 92% of the patients studied needed help breathing with mechanical ventilation. The length of mechanical ventilation and intensive care unit stay was comparable between the coronavirus and non-coronavirus patients.

The researchers say it’s still unclear whether damaged or weak diaphragm muscle is a direct effect of coronavirus infection.

5:25 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

A winter surge in Covid cases could push hospitals "to the breaking point," doctor says

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

The winter surge of coronavirus cases could push some hospitals “to the breaking point,” Dr. Dara Kass, an emergency physician at Columbia University Medical Center, said Monday.

Kass said that some areas being hit hardest by the current surge in coronavirus cases are also the least equipped to handle them.

“When you look at Utah, or Montana or the Dakotas, they just have such a fewer number of ICU beds and specialists, that when they get at capacity, it's going to be a breaking point for them in a way it wasn't for us in the coastal cities and states,” she said at an online event hosted by Stat.

Kass noted that there are a limited number of people who can help respond to the surge.

“There is a fixed resource – not just hospital beds and personal protective equipment, but also respiratory therapists, doctors, nurses, even janitorial staff – and when those resources get stretched, at some point the entire system really does break down,” she said. 

Coronavirus patients often need more time and resources in the hospital than other patients, Kass added.

“They’re in the hospital for weeks on end, even if they survive,” she said. “That hospital bed is taken up for a very long period of time.”

Adding to the hospital capacity issue, Kass said that every non-coronavirus patient “gets prioritized against the sickest Covid patient.”

“It's nearly impossible for us to prioritize all of those critical illnesses while managing the coronavirus, when we're constantly having to do infection control and mitigation from this virus to those patients,” she said.

5:19 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

Here are the latest Covid-19 numbers from Florida

From CNN's Kay Jones

People in cars line up to receive Covid-19 tests at a drive through testing site in Orlando, Florida, on November 9.
People in cars line up to receive Covid-19 tests at a drive through testing site in Orlando, Florida, on November 9. Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto/Getty Images

The Florida Department of Health reported more than 4,600 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, one day after reporting more than 10,000 new cases.

The 4,663 new cases bring the state's total to at least 889,864.  

The state is also reporting 41 new deaths, bringing the total to approximately 17,559 among Florida residents. 

The positivity rate for the past week is at 8.38% while today's rate is 7.92%, according to the state's dashboard.

Note: These numbers were released by the Florida Department of Health and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

5:15 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

Face masks don't hinder lung function while exercising, study finds

From CNN’s Leanna Faulk

A woman wearing a face mask runs across the Westminster Bridge in London.
A woman wearing a face mask runs across the Westminster Bridge in London. Yui Mok/PA Images/Getty Images

While face masks may lead to an increase in shortness of breath, there is little evidence that wearing face masks significantly impairs lung function, even during heavy exercise, according to a new study out Monday.

Any effect is very small, the team of US and Canadian researchers reported in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

“There might be a perceived greater effort with activity, but the effects of wearing a mask on the work of breathing, on gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide in blood or other physiological parameters are small, often too small to be detected,” said Dr. Susan Hopkins, one of the researchers and professor of medicine and radiology at University of California San Diego School of Medicine. 

People with severe cardiopulmonary disease may experience, “added resistance and/or minor changes in blood gases” that could affect exercise capacity, the researchers found.  

“In such cases, these individuals might feel too uncomfortable to exercise, and that should be discussed with their doctor,” Hopkins said. “However, the fact that these individuals are at great risk should they contract Covid-19 must also be considered,” she added. 

The study reviewed all known scientific literature published that examined the effects of various face masks and respirators on the respiratory system during physical activity. For healthy people, the effects on the respiratory system were minimal, regardless of the level of exercise or the type of mask.  

Age and gender played no significant role among adults. 

“There is no current evidence to support sex-based or age-based differences in the physiological responses to exercise while wearing a face mask,” they wrote.

5:06 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

Nearly half of veterans with kidney injury from Covid-19 do not fully recover, study finds

From CNN’s Leanna Faulk

A study of more than 5,000 US veterans hospitalized with Covid-19 found that veterans were at a higher risk of acute kidney injury (AKI) as a result of the coronavirus.  

Worse, nearly half of all veterans who developed these kidney injuries as a result of Covid-19 did not fully recover kidney function by the time they were discharged, according to study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. 

The study of more than 5,000 veterans found that those who developed kidney injuries while hospitalized for coronavirus were more than six times as likely to die as those without kidney damage.

The team of researchers led by Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly of the Institute for Public Health at Washington University found that older, Black men with high blood pressure and diabetes were among the majority of US veterans who suffered kidney damage during Covid-19. 

Black people were nearly twice as likely to develop kidney damage because of severe coronavirus infection, they found. 

“The COVID-19 global pandemic is exacting human, economic, and societal tolls unseen in decades and it has exposed bare the world's deepest inequities,” they wrote.

The researchers say that they hope their findings will be used to help inform efforts to manage the pandemic and plan for long-term needs of recovering patients.