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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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.

11:12 p.m. ET, November 21, 2020

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

From CNN's Sharif Paget

People stand at a Covid-19 testing booth in Hong Kong, on November 9.
People stand at a Covid-19 testing booth in Hong Kong, on November 9. TPG/Sipa USA

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.”

9:56 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

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.

 

11:02 p.m. ET, November 21, 2020

World Health Organization head urges G20 leaders to allocate coronavirus vaccines fairly 

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on July 3.
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on July 3. Fabrice Coffrini/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged world leaders to allocate coronavirus vaccines fairly today during a virtual G20 summit.

“Fair allocation of vaccines is central to the pandemic endgame, and a faster global recovery,” Tedros said in a copy of his opening remarks, released by WHO.

Tedros said there is a need for an immediate investment of $4.5 billion for vaccines.

The Group of 20, or G20, summit is a gathering of world leaders to discuss international issues.

Tedros noted that the G20 -- which represents two-thirds of the world’s population and 80% of the global economy -- will play a vital role in not only ending the coronavirus pandemic, but preventing future pandemics.

“To prevent future outbreaks and their impact on lives, livelihoods and economies, all countries must invest in preparedness and universal health coverage,” he said.