November 22 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Jenni Marsh, Rob Picheta, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, November 23, 2020
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5:24 a.m. ET, November 22, 2020

The US reports more than 177,000 Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Rebekah Riess

The United States reported 177,552 new coronavirus cases and 1,448 deaths on Saturday, according to John Hopkin's University.

The country has now reported a total of 12,088,410 cases, including 255,861 deaths, according to the university's tally.

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

CNN is tracking the US cases:

5:00 a.m. ET, November 22, 2020

North Korea calls for tighter border control as global pandemic worsens

From Gawon Bae in Seoul

North Korea on Sunday called for stricter border control and coronavirus restrictions amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic, according to the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Worker’s Party of Korea.

“We need to rigorously guard the blockade of barriers in order to defend the nation's safety and people's well-being" in the health crisis, the paper said.

It urged people to be a "true patriot" and follow coronavirus restrictions. 

North Korea has repeatedly claimed it is free of the coronavirus. In a speech last month its leader Kim Jong Un said he was thankful for the country not having a single coronavirus victim.

4:30 a.m. ET, November 22, 2020

Australia's Victoria state announces further relaxation of coronavirus restrictions

From CNN's Isaac Yee

A man wearing a face mask is seen walking through Albert Park, in Melbourne, Australia, on November 7.
A man wearing a face mask is seen walking through Albert Park, in Melbourne, Australia, on November 7. Diego Fedele/SOPA Images/Sipa USA

Victoria, the state once at the center of Australia’s Covid-19 epidemic, has announced a further relaxation of coronavirus restrictions as it continues to report no new cases.

“Three months ago, Victoria had 4,293 active cases. Today we have one. It’s an incredible achievement. And the clearest evidence there is of our determination to not only get on top of this virus – but to squash it," Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement released Sunday.

The eased restrictions, due to kick in at 11:59 p.m. Sunday night, include:

  • The number of visitors allowed in one household will increase from two to 15 per day.
  • Public outdoor gatherings will be allowed at a maximum of 50 people.
  • The number of attendees at weddings, funerals, and religious ceremonies indoors will be increased to 150 people.
  • Cinemas, galleries, and museums will be allowed to host up to 150 people indoors.

Victoria reported no new coronavirus cases on Sunday. The state's total caseload stands at 20,345, with 819 deaths. There is currently only one active Covid-19 case in the state.

3:45 a.m. ET, November 22, 2020

Japan's coronavirus cases hit record for the fourth day

From Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo and Isaac Yee in Hong Kong

Japan's daily coronavirus infections hit a record high for the fourth day in a row, with 2,508 cases recorded on Saturday, according to the Japanese Health Ministry.

The spike brings the nationwide caseload to 130,891. The country also saw 11 virus-related fatalities on Saturday, bringing the total death toll to 1,987.

Prime Minster Yoshihide Suga said Friday the government's travel and dining promotion program will be halted in coronavirus hotspots to curb further infections.

"In the areas where the infection increase reaches a certain level, we will take stronger prevention measures in coordination with prefectural governors,” Suga said. The areas and date of the temporary cancellation are to be determined next week.

On Saturday, Japan’s capital Tokyo recorded its highest number of daily infections with 539 cases. Osaka, the country's second largest city, also reported a record high of 415 new cases.

2:41 a.m. ET, November 22, 2020

Canada's Ontario reports more than 1,500 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

One of the three new COVID-19 test centres are now open for appointment only testing. A at Gore Meadows Community Centre, operates until 2 pm, Monday to Friday.
One of the three new COVID-19 test centres are now open for appointment only testing. A at Gore Meadows Community Centre, operates until 2 pm, Monday to Friday. Rick Madonik/Toronto Star/Getty Images

The Canadian province of Ontario reported 1,588 new coronavirus cases Saturday, according to government statistics, which CNN affiliate refers to as the “highest seen in the pandemic so far.”

The province also reported 21 virus-related deaths on Saturday.

Across Ontario, 513 coronavirus patients are now hospitalized, including 146 in the intensive care units and 87 on ventilators.

The surge in cases comes as the country's biggest city Toronto is set to go into a lockdown on Monday to limit the spread of Covid-19.

The lockdown will last for at least 28 days and it includes Peel Region, which is part of the Greater Toronto Area. 

"We cannot afford a province-wide lockdown, so we are taking preventative action today by moving Toronto and Peel into Lockdown level restrictions and other regions into higher levels of restrictions,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Friday.

These are the lockdown rules:

  • Indoor social gatherings or events won't be allowed except with members of the same household, and outdoor gatherings will be limited to no more than 10 people, according to the release. 
  • Wedding services, funerals, and religious ceremonies where physical distancing can be maintained indoors or outdoors will also be limited to no more than 10 people. 
  • Retail will be allowed to operate for curbside pick-up or delivery only. Certain businesses such as grocery stores and pharmacies will be allowed to open at 50% capacity. 
  • Schools and childcare will remain open, and post-secondary education will move to virtual learning except for training that can only be provided in person. 

Other parts of the province will move to higher levels of restrictions starting Monday as well, according to the release. 

1:51 a.m. ET, November 22, 2020

The National Guard has been deployed to El Paso to provide support with the morgue crisis

From CNN's Alaa Elassar and Gisela Crespo

Refrigerated trailers serving as makeshift morgues are pictured outside of the El Paso County Medical Examiner's office in El Paso, Texas, on November 16.
Refrigerated trailers serving as makeshift morgues are pictured outside of the El Paso County Medical Examiner's office in El Paso, Texas, on November 16. Justin Hamel/AFP/Getty Images

Members of the Texas National Guard have been mobilized to El Paso County, Texas, to help with the morgue crisis as the state battles a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths.

A team of 36 National Guard troops has been deployed to "provide mortuary affairs support," according to the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM).

The team was mobilized Saturday morning "after completing an assessment of the situation on the ground in El Paso County this week," TDEM spokesman Seth Christensen said.

"As we've seen a rapid increase in cases and hospitalizations, we are unfortunately also seeing a spike in deaths. We have been working closely with funeral homes and mortuaries to assist with increased capacity and coordination of resources," El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said in a statement on Twitter. 
"The Texas Military will provide us with the critical personnel to carry out our fatality management plan and we are very grateful to them for their ongoing support."

Read the full story:

1:30 a.m. ET, November 22, 2020

FDA authorizes emergency use of the antibody cocktail given to Trump to treat Covid-19

From CNN's Arman Azad and Alaa Elassar

View of Corporate and Research & Development Headquarters of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. on Old Saw Mill River Road in Tarrytown, New York, on October 2.
View of Corporate and Research & Development Headquarters of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. on Old Saw Mill River Road in Tarrytown, New York, on October 2. Lev Radin/Sipa USA

The US Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Regeneron's antibody cocktail to treat Covid-19 in high-risk patients with mild to moderate disease.

President Donald Trump received the therapy, called REGEN-COV2, when he was hospitalized for coronavirus. The treatment has to be infused into the bloodstream and is meant to mimic an immune response to infection.

The cocktail reduced Covid-19-related hospitalizations and emergency room visits in some patients within 28 days of treatment, the FDA said in a news release.

Regeneron's chief executive officer, Dr. Leonard S. Schleifer, said in a statement that demand may initially exceed supply, "making it even more critical that federal and state governments ensure REGEN-COV2 is distributed fairly and equitably to the patients most in need."

Some context: An emergency use authorization (EUA) is a lower regulatory bar than full approval by the FDA. An EUA allows products to be used under particular circumstances before all the evidence is available for approval.

"When used to treat Covid-19 for the authorized population, the known and potential benefits of these antibodies outweigh the known and potential risks," the FDA said.

Read the full story:

12:45 a.m. ET, November 22, 2020

Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler tests positive for Covid but is undergoing further testing 

From CNN’s Caroline Kenny

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) speaks to the crowd of supporters during a "Defend the Majority" rally at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agriculture Center in Perry, Georgia, on November 19.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) speaks to the crowd of supporters during a "Defend the Majority" rally at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agriculture Center in Perry, Georgia, on November 19. Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler has tested positive for Covid-19, her campaign announced.

Loeffler tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday, but a subsequent test came back as inconclusive on Saturday evening, according to campaign spokesperson Stephen Lawson.

Loeffler was maskless with Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. David Perdue during campaign events most of the day Friday. The trio rode on a bus from the airport to two campaign events for Georgia Senate seat runoff elections in January.

"Senator Loeffler took two Covid tests on Friday morning. Her rapid test results were negative and she was cleared to attend Friday’s events. She was informed later in the evening, after public events on Friday, that her PCR test came back positive, but she was retested Saturday morning after conferring with medical officials and those results came back inconclusive on Saturday evening," Lawson said in a statement.

"She has no symptoms and she will continue to follow CDC guidelines by quarantining until retesting is conclusive and an update will be provided at that time,” Lawson said.

The campaign official added that Loeffler is notifying those with whom she had direct contact with while she awaits further tests.

12:18 a.m. ET, November 22, 2020

Mississippi reports highest single-day surge of Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Claudia Dominguez

Mississippi reported 1,972 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, the highest single-day jump in infections since the pandemic began.

The previous peak of 1,775 cases was recorded on July 30, according to Mississippi State Department of Health Communications Director Liz Sharlot.

The state also saw 15 virus-deaths Saturday, bringing its death toll to 3,657. It has reported a total of 142,401 coronavirus cases so far, according to the health department.

Currently, there are 897 coronavirus patients hospitalized in the state, including 223 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), according to the department.