November 23 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Emma Reynolds, Ed Upright, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020
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2:32 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Regeneron monoclonal antibody therapy ready to go out to patients Tuesday, Azar says

From CNN's Jen Christensen

Regeneron scientists work on an antibody therapy at a facility in New York on October 2.
Regeneron scientists work on an antibody therapy at a facility in New York on October 2. Regeneron/AP

US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that distribution of Regeneron’s Covid-19 antibody therapy will begin Tuesday.

The therapy has been given an emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration to be used in patients age 12 and older who have a mild to moderate case of Covid-19 and who are at a high risk of progressing to a more severe form of the 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.

Azar said there will be 30,000 doses of the Regeneron treatment ready to go out Tuesday, with more to come in the next few weeks.

Americans won’t be charged for the drug itself, Azar said. HHS is working with payers to cover the cost of the administration of the drug.

Azar also called the emergency use authorization of Regeneron’s treatment “incredibly exciting news.”

 “We have been, and will be, working with states and other partners to get the word out. If you have tested positive for Covid-19, or they are at high risk for severe disease, we have treatment options that may be able to help you,” Azar said in a news briefing Monday. “It's vital that Americans be aware of these expanding options.”

There is also an Eli Lilly antibody treatment being used under an emergency use authorization that helps patients with mild to moderate forms of Covid-19. In the last two weeks, more than 85,000 patient courses of the Lilly product have been delivered to more than 2,400 sites around the country, Azar said.

Azar added that while there has been good news about vaccines and antibody treatments lately, Americans still need to remain vigilant to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Encouraging news about vaccines and therapeutics should be all the more reason for Americans to double down on the measures like masks, hand washing and social distancing, that we need to beat this pandemic,” Azar said.

He also encouraged those who are within three months of recovery from Covid-19 to donate their plasma to provide convalescent plasma treatments to Covid-19 patients.

2:29 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Fauci says he doesn't agree with states separately reviewing Covid-19 vaccine data

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he doesn't necessarily agree with states – such as New York and California – reviewing Covid-19 vaccine data for safety and efficacy on their own.

"I can understand, though I don't agree with they're doing that," Fauci told Washington Post national political reporter Robert Costa during a live video interview on Monday.
"I would hope that if they do that, they do it in an expeditious manner that doesn't delay anything."

Fauci added that the nation's review process for vaccine development remains thorough.

 "The process really is a sound process," he said.

"Hopefully, I can appeal to them to say, yes, you can look at the data – but everybody should be looking at the data, there's nothing wrong with that — but trust the process," he said about the states. "Because it's a sound process."

2:23 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Fauci says some people are experiencing "effects that we're concerned about" after recovering from Covid-19

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

Washington Post Live
Washington Post Live

A percentage of people who recover from Covid-19 experience a set of symptoms – a post Covid syndrome – that is raising concern, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a live video interview with The Washington Post national political reporter Robert Costa on Monday.

For people who get seriously ill and are in an ICU intubated on ventilation, “even if it isn’t Covid-19, anyone that goes through that is not going to feel perfectly normal for a considerable period of time,” Fauci said.

“But there’s something else that’s going on with Covid-19,” he continued.

Even in people who haven’t necessarily had serious disease, Fauci said that they are finding anywhere from 20% to maybe 30% of people who have had symptomatic disease “have what’s called a post-Covid syndrome.” The exact percentage isn’t known yet, but a larger cohort study is being done, he said.

“Namely, they no longer have virus in them, they can’t infect anybody, but it takes them anywhere from weeks to months – and maybe even beyond – to feel perfectly normal,” he said.

“They have a constellation of symptoms and signs that seem to be consistent when you talk to different people,” he said. These include extreme fatigue, shortness of breath – even among people who are athletes – temperature control problems, sleep disturbances and sometimes what is described as brain fog, or difficulty focusing or concentrating.

“So, there are these effects that we’re concerned about,” Fauci said.

2:24 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Coronavirus pandemic hits a new peak in Turkey

From CNN's Gul Tuysuz

The coronavirus pandemic hit a new peak in Turkey with the country’s health ministry reporting the highest number of daily deaths and cases since the start of the outbreak. 

The Turkish health ministry reported 153 Covid-19 related deaths over the last 24 hours, topping the previous high last Friday of 141 deaths. 

The ministry announced 6,713 new Covid-19 "patients" – this is the highest daily number recorded since the start of the pandemic.

Turkey’s daily reported cases are not comparable with the rest of the world.

Since July, the country releases the number of "patients" – this number only includes people showing symptoms and people who have positive PCR tests. The publicly available data does not include asymptomatic cases or those who present clinical signs of Covid-19 but test negative, according to previous health ministry statements. 

The number of new Covid-19 "patients" recorded Monday is higher than any daily cases reported before the decision to exclude asymptomatic cases from public data began in July.

Occupancy rates for ICU beds are now at 71.3% – the highest since the start of the pandemic – with overall hospital bed capacity at 54.7%, the ministry said.

Stricter measures went into effect last week, including limited weekend curfews, age-specific daily lockdowns for people over the age of 65 and under 20, as well as the temporary closure of movie theaters, tea houses, pool halls, and internet cafes. Restaurants and cafes have been restricted to delivery and take-out only and schools have been moved online. In Istanbul, the local pandemic board has also started implementing outdoor smoking bans in certain neighborhoods, squares and streets. 


2:08 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Fauci says AstraZeneca vaccine efficacy is “good news” – but he’s waiting to be briefed soon

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

A researched at the Jenner Institute in Oxford, England, works on the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.
A researched at the Jenner Institute in Oxford, England, works on the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. University of Oxford/John Cairns/AP

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Monday that AstraZeneca's vaccine candidate showing 70% efficacy on average is "good news," but he is waiting to be briefed on the data.

"I'm going to be briefed no later than tomorrow morning by the company," Fauci said during a live video interview with The Washington Post.

AstraZeneca's announcement noted that the 70% efficacy of its vaccine is actually the average of two very different vaccination schedules tested in its trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil.

One schedule included 2,741 study participants who were given a half dose, followed by a full dose at least one month apart – that showed an efficacy of 90%. The other schedule included 8,895 study participants who were given two full doses at least one month apart – that showed 62% efficacy.

"To have a 90% efficacy in one of the components – mainly one dose range of the components, which was a half a dose first followed by a full dose – that's good news," Fauci said.

"What that tells us now is that this is the third vaccine that we have giving a very high degree of efficacy, which bodes well for vaccinology in general, in the context of Covid-19," Fauci said. "We would like to have multiple candidates that are highly efficacious."

1:33 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020

More than 256,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

There have been at least 12,282,123 cases of coronavirus in the US, and at least 256,934 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

So far today, Johns Hopkins has reported 35,274 new cases and 152 reported deaths.

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

1:42 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Dr. Sanjay Gupta shares his tips on how to celebrate a safe Thanksgiving


The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington predicts that by the start of January, more than 2,000 people in the US will die every day from Covid-19.

It warns, if behavior doesn't change, total US deaths could reach more than 471,000 by March 1, and the group says hospital systems, particularly ICUs, are expected to be "under extreme stress in December and January in 18 states."

That's why CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta says he won't be spending the holidays with his family this year and is advising others to follow his example.

In a CNN article he wrote on Saturday, Gupta says:

"One of the biggest areas of concern: small, indoor household gatherings, like the ones most families typically plan this time of year. Let's face it. It is getting colder outside, which means most of the country will be spending time indoors.
Also, when you are eating, you can't wear a mask. And, holiday dinners aren't quiet affairs, which means there is likely to be loud talking and maybe even singing, which is festive, but also a prescription for aerosolized virus.
And can you imagine not hugging or snuggling in close? Add a glass of wine into the equation, and physical distancing might go out the window."

However, if you are planning on hosting or attending a holiday gathering, Gupta suggests some modifications you can make to limit the risk.

Watch his tips here.

1:15 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut jointly surpass 1 million Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Alec Snyder

People wait in line for a COVID-19 test at a medical clinic near the Staten Island neighborhood of Tottenville on November 20 in New York City, New York.
People wait in line for a COVID-19 test at a medical clinic near the Staten Island neighborhood of Tottenville on November 20 in New York City, New York. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — known around New York City and its outlying suburbs as the Tri-State Area — have jointly surpassed one million Covid-19 cases, according the Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

Here's a breakdown of the Covid-19 cases by state, according to JHU:

  • New York leads the way with 596,214 cases
  • New Jersey has 306,007 cases and
  • Connecticut has 101,469 positive cases

Combined, the three states’ total is 1,003,690 identified positive cases. The US has surpassed 12 million Covid-19 infections and 256,000 deaths.

Two states have each surpassed 1 million cases alone, as Texas has confirmed at least 1,153,612 cases and California has reported 1,114,524 cases since the onset of the pandemic. 

Florida is close behind, at 938,414 cases.

12:59 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Oklahoma reports more than 3,000 new Covid-19 cases for the third day in a row 

From CNN's Kay Jones

Oklahoma reported Monday more than 3,500 new Covid-19 cases. It is the third day in a row the state has reported more than 3,000 new cases. 

There are now 177,874 total cases in the state, up 3,544 since the last report. The Oklahoma State Department of Health also reported 15 new deaths, bringing the total to 1,649.

The state's dashboard shows that only 5% of the state's intensive care unit beds are available. There are currently 1,495 patients hospitalized with the virus.

Note: These numbers were released by the state's public health agency and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.