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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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.

11:35 a.m. ET, November 21, 2020

Baltimore high schools cancel 101st annual Thanksgiving football game because of Covid-19

From CNN's Sheena Jones

Two Baltimore County, Maryland, high schools have canceled their long-standing rivalry football game to abide by Covid-19 restrictions, according to a joint statement from the schools. 

The Calvert Hall College High School and Loyola Blakefield teams had played each Thanksgiving morning for 100 years.

But this year's "Turkey Bowl" — what would have been the 101st annual game — has been canceled after Baltimore County officials issued an executive order restricting outdoor gatherings, including high school athletics, the release said. 

"We sincerely regret that this treasured tradition will not be held in 2020," the schools said in the release. " We look forward to resuming this storied rivalry and having you join us in the stands to cheer on two of the finest Catholic institutions in the nation."

This year’s game was scheduled to be played at Calvert Hall’s Paul Angelo Russo Stadium.

11:14 a.m. ET, November 21, 2020

Thanksgiving in Canada could be a cautionary tale for the US

From CNN's Amir Vera

As Americans get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving next week, they can turn to Canada for a cautionary tail.

Canada saw a spike in cases just three weeks after their country celebrated its Thanksgiving holiday on October 12.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia's provincial health officer, said she pleaded with people to keep their gatherings small. She also announced a ban on inviting more than six people into a home.

"Unfortunately, there were a number of events that have happened that have led to quite dramatic increases," she said earlier this month.

One Thanksgiving party with an extended family actually led to 10 Covid-19 infections, including three babies, according to York Region Public Health, a health unit north of Toronto.

The virus also spread to another household, infecting four more people, and to a workplace where two more people were infected with the virus.

Cases like that and other helped fuel the spike in cases.

"I think we need to consider all the celebrations that are coming up whether it's Diwali, or Hanukkah, or Christmas," Henry said, "and look at how we can regroup and focus on our immediate families and making sure we can support each other to do it safely."

11:22 a.m. ET, November 21, 2020

Here's who will receive a Covid-19 vaccine first, according to a CDC immunization expert

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

High-risk groups will receive a coronavirus vaccine first, according to the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. 

People such as health care providers, hospital employees and nursing home residents will be vaccinated before the larger US population, Dr. Jose Romero said to CNN’s Michael Smerconish in an interview. 

“Our focus is on the high-risk groups at this moment,” said Romero, who is also the Arkansas secretary of health.

Romero said people who have been vaccinated will be tracked.

“Every person that gets immunized will get a card, and they will be entered into our vaccine registry database. We will be able to follow them and know who has been vaccinated and what vaccine they need to receive in the second dose,” Romero said.

There is “wiggle room” for different states in deploying a vaccine, Romero said. 

“States may prioritize individuals as they feel important, due to local issues. For the most part, ACIP recommendations are followed, so, I think that states will adhere to the recommendations,” he said.

Romero said he does have some concern that people will not take a vaccine even when it is ready and safe to do so.

“We know that there is some reluctance for accepting a new vaccine among different population groups — it can be as high as 50%, depending on the surveys. … I want to stress that the issue of safety of the vaccine has been paramount throughout the process,” he said. 

Watch more:

11:15 a.m. ET, November 21, 2020

EU Commission leader calls for "global solidarity" on vaccines

From CNN’s Sarah Dean

Olivier Matthys/AP
Olivier Matthys/AP

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for “global solidarity” on coronavirus vaccines, tests and treatments during the virtual G20 summit on Saturday.

“Vaccines will help the world overcome the pandemic,” von der Leyen tweeted. “At the G20 summit I called for $4.5 billion to be invested in ACT-Accelerator by the end of 2020,” she said. 

The EU chief appeared alongside world leaders at the virtual G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia in a family photo on Saturday. 

The Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is a global collaboration launched to accelerate development, production and equitable access to Covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

"Covid-19 taught us that we need to step up global preparedness,” von der Leyen added in a tweet. Next year she and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will “convene a Global Health Summit under the Italian G20 Presidency,” she said. 

"We’ll discuss the lessons learned from the crisis to better protect humanity against pandemics,” von der Leyen added.