November 21 coronavirus news

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

Updated 0025 GMT (0825 HKT) November 23, 2020
14 Posts
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6:39 a.m. ET, November 21, 2020

Russia reports a new record single-day increase of Covid-19 cases

Russia reported 24,822 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, the highest number of cases it has ever reported in a single day, according to data from the country’s coronavirus response center. 

Moscow, the worst-affected city, accounted for 7,168 cases, also a new daily record for the Russian capital. 

The total number of coronavirus cases in Russia as of November 21 is 2,064,748.

The number of deaths due to coronavirus in Russia increased by 467 -- another record daily increase. The country’s coronavirus response center reports an overall death toll so far of 35,778.

CNN investigation earlier this week revealed that official Russian coronavirus death figures may grossly understate the real toll by excluding people who are presumed to have Covid-19 post mortem and even those with pre-existing conditions that proved fatal due to the infection.

5:57 a.m. ET, November 21, 2020

Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble postponed due to rise in cases after authorities U-turn

From CNN's Akanksha Sharma and Pauline Lockwood in Hong Kong

A traveler arrives at the departure hall of Changi Airport Terminal 3 in Singapore, on November 11.
A traveler arrives at the departure hall of Changi Airport Terminal 3 in Singapore, on November 11. Ore Huiying/Getty Images

Hong Kong has postponed a much-hyped travel bubble with Singapore due to a rise in coronavirus cases in the city, just hours after their counterparts in Singapore said it would go ahead.

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.”

"We will make further announcements perhaps by early December on the formal launching of the scheme," he added.

Singapore's Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung also announced in a Twitter post that the bubble has been delayed.

But hours earlier, Singapore had said the bubble would go ahead despite the spike in Hong Kong, with extra precautions added to ensure safety.

The "Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore announced that the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble (ATB) will be launched as scheduled, with arriving passengers subject to an on-arrival test as a further precaution," Ong explained on Saturday.

"Given the evolving situation in Hong Kong, Secretary Edward Yau and I discussed further this afternoon, and decided that it would be better to defer the launch of the ATB, by two weeks. We will review within two weeks on the new launch date and update again,” Ong said.

Hong Kong has experienced a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in the last few days after weeks of steadily low cases loads. 

“The scale of the increase is very alarming,” said Doctor Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Communicable Disease Branch at Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection. She warned on Saturday that this new increase in cases will be “very difficult to control."

4:52 a.m. ET, November 21, 2020

The spread in the US could be "faster, broader and longer" than before, expert warns

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

A medical worker wearing personal protective equipment administers a Covid-19 test at the Alemany Farmers Market in San Francisco, California, on November 19.
A medical worker wearing personal protective equipment administers a Covid-19 test at the Alemany Farmers Market in San Francisco, California, on November 19. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images

November has been a month full of devastating Covid-19 records in the US.

Almost every single state has sounded the alarm on a rapid surge in cases and nationwide numbers have been climbing much faster than ever before -- with the country reporting a staggering 2.7 million infections since the beginning of the month.

On Friday, more than 195,500 new infections were reported -- a level many could not imagine just weeks ago. The highest number of single-day cases during the country's summer surge was a little more than 77,100 in July.

But despite the alarming numbers, multiple experts this week predicted things will likely get worse before they get better.

The virus is still running unabated in the US and the rate of rising cases is now "dramatically" different from what it was before, White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx told CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

"This is faster. It's broader. And what worries me, it could be longer," she said.

Louisiana's health department announced that about 90% of new cases reported were community spread, while 10% of them were in congregate settings. Colorado officials said a new modeling report estimates about one out of every 49 residents in the state is infected with Covid-19 -- by far the highest prevalence since the virus arrived there. In Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee said the "state is on fire," with the virus "raging" across its communities.

Those announcements come ahead of Thanksgiving week, when health officials fear many Americans will opt to visit family and friends and further fuel the spread of the virus -- many times, without knowing it.

2:54 a.m. ET, November 21, 2020

The world's scramble for dry ice is just one headache in getting Covid-19 vaccines where they need to go

From CNN's Tim Lister

An employee fills a clinical and pharmaceutical product shipping box with dry ice at the Va-Q-Tec AG factory in Wurzburg, Germany, on November 18.
An employee fills a clinical and pharmaceutical product shipping box with dry ice at the Va-Q-Tec AG factory in Wurzburg, Germany, on November 18. Alex Kraus/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Vaccines like to be kept cool, none more so than the Pfizer candidate for Covid-19, which has to be deep-frozen. And that's going to be an issue for developing countries -- and for rural areas in the developed world.

The "cold chain" is just one of the challenges in distributing vaccines worldwide.

There are plenty of others: decisions about priority populations and databases to keep track of who's received what vaccine, where and when. Additionally, different vaccines may have more or less efficacy with different population groups; and governments will need PR campaigns to persuade people that vaccines are safe.

But the logistics of transporting and storing vaccines -- getting them from the factory gate to the patient's arm -- are critical. And as most vaccines are likely to require two doses, the whole chain needs must be repeated within weeks.

Read the full story:

2:00 a.m. ET, November 21, 2020

Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble to go ahead with additional measures despite rise in cases

From CNN's Akanksha Sharma in Hong Kong

Travelers push their luggage in the departure hall of Hong Kong International Airport on October 19.
Travelers push their luggage in the departure hall of Hong Kong International Airport on October 19. Jerome Favre/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Flights between Singapore and Hong Kong will go ahead as part of the planned travel bubble which begins November 22, despite a recent rise in Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong.

There will be additional measures, however, according to Singapore's Civil Aviation Authority (CAAS.)

Travelers from Hong Kong will be required to take a Covid-19 PCR test upon arriving at Changi Airport that will cost 196 Singapore dollars ($145), except for the first week, to give travelers time to "adjust to this change." Travelers will need to self-isolate until they receive their results, which will take about six to eight hours.

"The additional requirement is a precautionary measure given the rise of COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong over the past few days, and is provided for under the Singapore-Hong Kong ATB agreement," CAAS said.

The travel bubble will be suspended if the seven-day average of unlinked cases, or cases with an unknown origin, exceeds five per day, CAAS added. Hong Kong's current average is 2.14. 

"The threshold will be exceeded if there are more than 22 unlinked cases in Hong Kong over the next three days. This will trigger a two-day notice period, after which suspension will come into effect," a news release from the CAAS said.

If this happens, there will be a two-day notice before the bubble is suspended and a seven-day Stay Home Notice (SHN) will be applied for travelers from Hong Kong into Singapore. 

"Hong Kong has a comprehensive public health surveillance system and the overall incidence rate is still low," CAAS said.

1:19 a.m. ET, November 21, 2020

US reports more than 195,000 new Covid-19 cases -- a record one-day total for the second straight day

From CNN's Rebekah Riess

The United States reported 195,542 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University, the second consecutive day that the country has posted its highest one-day total of the pandemic.

The previous daily high was recorded on Thursday with 187,833 cases.

A further 1,878 virus-related fatalities were also reported Friday.

At least 11,910,858 Covid-19 cases, including 254,413 deaths, have now been reported nationwide.

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

CNN is tracking the US cases:

12:57 a.m. ET, November 21, 2020

Navajo Nation reports a record number of new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Andy Rose

The Navajo Nation reported 351 new coronavirus cases Friday, surpassing the previous one-day record set in May by 47%.

“This is not only devastating, but it indicates that the uncontrolled spread of the virus is impacting all communities on the Navajo Nation and in nearby border towns and cities,” President Jonathan Nez said in a written statement.

It comes as the Navajo Nation is under a three-week “stay-at-home lockdown,” with most businesses closed and residents told to remain in their homes, except for emergencies and essential activities.

The nation’s total number of positive cases since the start of the pandemic is 14,441. The Navajo Nation is located within parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.

“Our health care system is struggling and may soon be overwhelmed,” said Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer. “We have to do everything within our power to protect our children, elders, and those with existing health conditions.”

12:33 a.m. ET, November 21, 2020

Most coronavirus cases are spread by people without symptoms, CDC now says

From CNN's Maggie Fox

A sign reminding people to wear masks is seen by the pier on September 7 in Manhattan Beach, California.
A sign reminding people to wear masks is seen by the pier on September 7 in Manhattan Beach, California. Chris Delmas/AFP/Getty Images

Most coronavirus infections are spread by people who have no symptoms, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in newly updated guidance.

It's one of the main reasons mask use is so important, the CDC said.

"Most SARS-CoV-2 infections are spread by people without symptoms," the agency said in a section of its website devoted to explaining the science of how to use masks to control the spread of the virus.

"CDC and others estimate that more than 50% of all infections are transmitted from people who are not exhibiting symptoms," it added in the guidance posted Friday.
"This means at least half of new infections come from people likely unaware they are infectious to others."

According to the CDC, 24% of people who transmit the virus to others never develop symptoms and another 35% were pre-symptomatic. It also said 41% infected others while experiencing symptoms.

Read more:

12:01 a.m. ET, November 21, 2020

Japan reports new daily high of Covid-19 cases for a third straight day

From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

Commuters queue in line to wait for a bus during rush hour in Tokyo, Japan on November 20.
Commuters queue in line to wait for a bus during rush hour in Tokyo, Japan on November 20. Eugene Hoshiko/AP

Japan recorded a daily high increase of new coronavirus cases for the third day in a row on Friday.

The country's Health Ministry announced there had been 2,427 new coronavirus infections and 20 deaths in the past 24 hours.

The nationwide toll currently stands at more than 128,377 Covid-19 cases and at least 1,976 fatalities.

Osaka prefecture also reported another daily high with 370 new cases.

Osaka Gov. Yoshifumi Yoshimura asked residents Friday to avoid dining with more than five people and for longer than two hours for the next two weeks. The Osaka government also asked that high-risk elderly citizens only make essential outings during the same period.

Japan's capital Tokyo added 522 new cases, bringing the city's total to 36,778.