November 21 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0025 GMT (0825 HKT) November 23, 2020
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3:08 p.m. ET, November 21, 2020

California reports record number of new coronavirus cases for the second day in a row

from CNN's Hollie Silverman and Cheri Mossburg

 

A medical worker places test tubes into a cardboard box at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site in San Francisco, California, on November 19.
A medical worker places test tubes into a cardboard box at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site in San Francisco, California, on November 19. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The California Department of Public Health announced 15,442 new Covid-19 cases in a press release Saturday.

This marks a record high in newly reported cases in the state, shattering Friday's highest case count of 13,005. The previous high was reported in July with 12,807 new cases. 

There have now been a total of 1,087,714 confirmed cases in California, the release said. 

The seven-day positivity rate is 6.1% and the 14-day positivity rate is 5.4%, according to the release.

 

2:24 p.m. ET, November 21, 2020

How to say "no" to a Thanksgiving invite because of Covid-19, according to etiquette experts

From CNN's Matt Villano

With Thanksgiving just days away, coronavirus cases are continuing to rise in many parts of the US.

Health experts have urged Americans to alter their holiday plans this year, encouraging people to celebrate with just those in their own households or host socially distant gatherings outdoors.

But if you need to decline a Thanksgiving invite, etiquette experts have some advice: They said it's a good idea to express your choice as a personal one.

Using "I statements," or statements that start with the first-person pronoun, make clear to loved ones that your decision has nothing to do with them, said Kianga Kelley-Crowley, founder and owner of Simply a Lady, an etiquette and communications consulting company in Wichita, Kansas.

"It's all right to say, 'I prefer not to get together with everyone,' or 'I'm sorry but we're not going to be able to attend this year,'" she said. "Take responsibility for your decision. Own it. Speak the truth to your family members. It's perfectly acceptable to say you're focusing on your own safety and would rather stay home."

Lisa Mirza Grotts, who calls herself the "Golden Rules Gal," added that her buzzword of the season is risk.

The etiquette expert said she has focused on explaining her decisions only in terms of potential danger — nothing else. This approach has made it easier for her to communicate unpleasant news, she noted. 

"When you share your feelings in the context of risk — 'I don't want to be a virus spreader and put others at risk' — the sentiment is very straightforward," said Grotts, who is based in San Francisco. "This is one of the easiest outs there ever will be. It's not about you. It's about others and what you can do to them."

1:51 p.m. ET, November 21, 2020

How US medical experts are spending Thanksgiving during the pandemic

As Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving next week, some doctors shared what they're planning for the holiday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NPR’s Rachel Martin on Morning Edition Tuesday that his Thanksgiving will be "significantly" different this year than previous holidays.

His three adult daughters — who live in separate parts of the country — said that they did not want to put him, as an elderly person, at risk. Fauci is 79 years old. 

He and his wife will have a meal and Zoom with his daughters to spend time with them.

“I don’t like it that way, but I think they’re making a prudent decision in trying to protect their father and I’m proud of them for that,” he said. 

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta also said he won't be visiting family this year.

"I have three daughters, and with my elderly parents living in a different state, this is usually the time of year when we get to see each other," he wrote in an article explaining why he's staying home. "But this holiday season, our interactions will be on screens -- with promises and hopes that next year will be different."

And CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen — who has urged Americans to skip indoor gatherings, but said it's possible to visit family by socializing outdoors — described how she has hosted outdoor get-togethers.

"I like to have a big table in the middle, where I put all the drinks and plates," she said. "I also have chairs set up so that every household is spaced at least 6 feet apart. I'll pour drinks and then have people come up, individually, to pick them up. Food should be plated separately; no buffets or people reaching into a common bowl. We won't share food or drinks."

1:20 p.m. ET, November 21, 2020

The US is approaching 12 million coronavirus cases

From CNN's Hollie Silverman        

According to Johns Hopkins University's latest tally, there have been at least 11,963,509 cases of coronavirus in the US since the pandemic began. At least 254,897 people have died in the US from coronavirus.        

The total includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.         

As of 1 p.m. ET today, 52,651 new cases and 484 new deaths have been reported in the US since midnight. 

1:15 p.m. ET, November 21, 2020

This New Jersey city is asking residents to shelter in place for 10 days around Thanksgiving

Police officers remind a woman on November 12 in the doorway of a Newark, New Jersey, restaurant of the new curfew and dining regulations in an area where coronavirus cases have recently spiked.
Police officers remind a woman on November 12 in the doorway of a Newark, New Jersey, restaurant of the new curfew and dining regulations in an area where coronavirus cases have recently spiked. Seth Wenig/AP

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka is asking the residents of the New Jersey city to shelter in place for 10 days to help combat the spread of Covid-19, according to a video posted on the mayor’s Facebook page. 

The shelter in place would begin the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and end Dec. 4, the mayor said. 

“We want people to shelter in place for 10 days,” the mayor said, adding that people are urged to come out only for essential purposes.  

“Do not go outside if you don’t have to,” Baraka added. 

At this time, Baraka has not issued an executive order or a stay-at-home advisory. CNN has reached out to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s office for comment. 

The mayor's request for residents to stay home is the latest coronavirus-related measure the city has taken. In October, Newark issued a curfew for all non-essential businesses.

1:39 p.m. ET, November 21, 2020

Food bank volunteers plead for Congress to act on stimulus funds ahead of Thanksgiving

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

With less than a week until Thanksgiving, the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is forcing some Americans to go to food banks for the first time. 

At a food drive in DeKalb County, Georgia, people lined up at 5:30 a.m. ET for an event that was not supposed to start until 10 a.m., CNN’s Natasha Chen reported.

And as expanded unemployment benefits are set to expire in the next few weeks, food drive volunteers and local officials are urging the US government to act.

“I’m pleading to our leaders in Washington — Republicans and Democrats — to really look around and see and understand the amount of pain and distress that is spreading across this nation,” DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said in an interview with Chen at the food drive. “And I'm pleading with them to come together to either extend the deadline for these funds or to send out a second stimulus package that will help families who are in need, begging them to rise above the discord and the rancor and do what's right for the people of this nation.”

Meanwhile, at the First Unitarian Church in Los Angeles, volunteers are working to ensure residents do not go hungry this Thanksgiving. They expect about 1,000 people to line up today.

“These are unprecedented times, and whether it's a holiday or whether it's another Saturday, it's now up to volunteers to feed the people. This is an essential service…that's being handled by volunteers because the federal government is failing to address basic safety nets for people,” organizer Trinity Tran said to CNN’s Paul Vercammen. 

If you are facing food insecurity today, learn how to get help here.

Watch more:

12:40 p.m. ET, November 21, 2020

Hong Kong reports highest daily increase in new coronavirus cases in 3 months

From CNN's Sharif Paget

Hong Kong recorded 43 new coronavirus cases on Saturday — the biggest daily jump in more than three months, according to a statement from the city’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP). 

Of the newly reported cases, 36 were locally transmitted, the statement said. 

"Given that the situation of COVID-19 infection remains severe and that there is a continuous increase in the number of cases reported around the world, members of the public are strongly urged to avoid all non-essential travel outside Hong Kong," the CHP spokesperson was quoted saying in the statement. 

The CHP also called on members of the public to avoid going out, having social contact and dining out.

The announcement of the new cases comes after Hong Kong postponed a much-hyped "travel bubble" with Singapore due to a rise in coronavirus cases in the city. 

Edward Yau, Hong Kong's secretary for commerce and economic development, announced the two-week delay during a press conference on Saturday. 

"We had planned to launch the HK-Singapore travel bubble tomorrow,” Yau said. “But in the light of the recent upsurge of local cases, we have decided together with Singapore government that we would defer the launching of the Air Travel bubble by two weeks.”

12:12 p.m. ET, November 21, 2020

How to host a socially distanced Thanksgiving outside this year

From CNN's Katia Hetter

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, and CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen is urging Americans to skip visiting family and friends to have holiday dinners around indoor dining tables.

She said people can still visit family by socializing outdoors and described how Americans can host outdoor gatherings.

Here's what she said:

If you're the host, set up chairs and tables in advance. I like to have a big table in the middle, where I put all the drinks and plates. I also have chairs set up so that every household is spaced at least 6 feet apart. I'll pour drinks and then have people come up, individually, to pick them up. Food should be plated separately; no buffets or people reaching into a common bowl. We won't share food or drinks.

Make sure to keep an eye on the kids. To be safe, put masks on the kids if they're playing together, though be sure to enforce physical distancing. If they are sharing toys, apply hand sanitizer frequently. We try to do it every 30 minutes.

Designate a bathroom for guests. Guests should go indoors, one at a time. No gathering indoors. Everyone should wear masks while using the restroom. Open windows and doors leading to the restroom if possible.

11:52 a.m. ET, November 21, 2020

Trump appears to be skipping a G20 session focused on pandemic preparedness

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

President Donald Trump plays golf at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia on Saturday, November 21.
President Donald Trump plays golf at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia on Saturday, November 21. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

It does not appear President Trump will participate in a side-event at the G20 virtual summit focused on pandemic preparedness.

The event — which is due to begin this hour — will feature remarks from the leaders of Germany, France, South Korea and Argentina.

The goal of the event is to "foster international cooperation and to find solutions that protect people’s lives and livelihoods," the Saudi release says.

Trump has just arrived at his golf course in Virginia and does not appear on the list of speakers at the event.

Trump earlier this morning appeared at the virtual summit. He and the rest of the G20 leaders appeared on small windows on the screen.