November 17 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Sebastian Shukla and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, November 18, 2020
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8:11 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

Covid-19 hospitalizations top 70,000 in US

From CNN’s Amanda Watts and Virginia Langmaid

There are now more than 70,000 people hospitalized in the United States with Covid-19, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

On Monday, 73,014 people were hospitalized with Covid-19, according to CTP. This is the highest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations the nation has ever experienced, and is at least 10,000 more hospitalizations higher than its spring and summer peaks.

The US currently averages more than 3,500 new hospitalizations per day, CTP data shows.

According to CTP data, these are the highest hospitalization numbers:

  1. Nov. 16: 73,014
  2. Nov. 15: 69,864
  3. Nov. 14: 69,455
  4. Nov. 13: 68,516
  5. Nov. 12: 67,096
8:21 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

Countries letting coronavirus go unchecked are "playing with fire," WHO director-general says 

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said countries allowing the coronavirus to go “unchecked” are playing with fire. 

“This is a dangerous virus, which can attack every system in the body,” he said during a news conference in Geneva on Monday. “Those countries that are letting the virus run unchecked are playing with fire.” 

Tedros did not name any particular country, but said there will be further needless deaths and suffering, and there are a significant number of people who are experiencing long-term effects of the virus. Health workers are facing extreme mental health pressure and cases are burdening health systems severely in too many countries, Tedros said. 

He said that health workers went into medicine to save lives, and they must not be put in a position where they have to make impossible choices about who to care for. 

“We need to do everything we can to support health workers, keep schools open, protect the vulnerable and safeguard the economy,” Tedros said. 

“There is no excuse for inaction. My message is very clear: act fast, act now, act decisively,” Tedros said. “A laissez-faire attitude to the virus -- not using the full range of tools available -- leads to death, suffering and hurts livelihoods and economies.” 

8:58 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

UK has reached "initial agreement" with Moderna to secure 5 million doses of candidate vaccine

From CNN's Nada Bashir

The UK government has reached an “initial agreement” with pharmaceutical company Moderna to secure 5 million doses of their candidate vaccine, should it be approved by regulators, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced Monday. 

“Should this latest vaccine be approved, the doses would be available from spring next year and I can announce that we have today secured an initial agreement for 5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine,” Hancock said during a Downing Street briefing.  
“This is another encouraging step forward, although I stress that this is preliminary. The safety data is limited, and their production facilities are not yet at scale,” he added. 

Earlier on Monday, Moderna announced that early data shows that its vaccine is 94.5% effective against coronavirus, making it the second vaccine in the United States to have a stunningly high success rate.

7:41 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

Moderna's coronavirus vaccine is 94.5% effective, company says

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen

The Moderna vaccine is 94.5% effective against coronavirus, according to early data released Monday by the company, making it the second vaccine in the United States to have a stunningly high success rate.

"These are obviously very exciting results," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease doctor. "It's just as good as it gets -- 94.5% is truly outstanding."

Moderna heard its results on a call Sunday afternoon with members of the Data Safety and Monitoring Board, an independent panel analyzing Moderna's clinical trial data.

"It was one of the greatest moments in my life and my career. It is absolutely amazing to be able to develop this vaccine and see the ability to prevent symptomatic disease with such high efficacy," said Dr. Tal Zacks, Moderna's chief medical officer.

Vaccinations could begin in the second half of December, Fauci said. Vaccinations are expected to begin with high-risk groups and to be available for the rest of the population next spring.

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