November 24 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Kara Fox, Antonia Mortensen, Ed Upright, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020
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10:38 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020

51% of Americans say they are likely to take a first-generation Covid-19 vaccine, new poll finds

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

A patient receives an injection as a part of Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland on May 4.
A patient receives an injection as a part of Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland on May 4. Courtesy of University of Maryland School of Medicine/AP

51% of Americans now say they are somewhat or very likely to take a first-generation Covid-19 vaccine as soon as one becomes available, according to new poll results released Tuesday by Axios-Ipsos. This is a six point increase from last week, and a 14 point increase from late September.

70% of respondents said they would likely get a vaccine if public health officials proved that it was safe and effective, according to the poll, which was based on a nationally representative sample of 1,002 US adults and conducted between November 20 and 23.

"Among some groups who are less likely to get a vaccine, namely Black Americans and Republicans, majorities report they would get a vaccine backed by public health officials," Ipsos said in a news release.

65% of respondents said they would be likely to take a vaccine if it was deemed more than 90% effective by pharmaceutical companies.

47% now believe that a vaccine will be ready within the next three months. This is up 15 percentage points from a week ago.

9:43 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020

Doctor cries as she describes "heartbreaking" experience of patients dying from Covid-19

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Dr. Shirlee Xie, a hospitalist at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis, speaks during an interview on November 24.
Dr. Shirlee Xie, a hospitalist at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis, speaks during an interview on November 24. CNN

A Minnesota doctor summed up her experience treating Covid-19 patients this week in one word: "heartbreaking."

Dr. Shirlee Xie, a physician at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis, described caring for several coronavirus patients in one shift.

"I sent two patients home on hospice: One went to a nursing home and he will be in a mandatory 14-day quarantine there, and I don't know if he's going to live past quarantine. The other patient I discharged on hospice was 41 years old, and she was terrified of dying alone," she said. 

Two other patients were a couple in their 80s who had been married for more than 60 years. They were able to be put in a room together, Xie said as she wiped away tears, but the wife did not survive.

"The wife got sicker and sicker, and she died in the hospital and her husband had to watch her die. And so he had to see that fear and that grief," she said. 

Xie said it’s "really hard to comprehend that weight" that health care workers bear.

"I don't think you can describe how that feels to us as their caretakers, to have to see that kind of suffering from patients," she added. 

Xie said she’s seeing fellow health care workers now becoming Covid-19 patients, as well as entire families who cannot isolate who are getting sick. 

She took care of one woman who was recovering from coronavirus after spending a month in the ICU, but doctors then could not get in touch with her family. 

"We were trying to call her family every day to give them an update and we couldn't get a hold of anyone. And then one day, we found out it's because her husband had died of Covid and her daughter had died of Covid, all while she was in the hospital. And so how do you tell somebody that? How do you tell somebody that their family has died?" 

Watch the full interview below:

9:41 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020

Catch up: The latest Covid-19 trends in the US as cases and hospitalizations surge

From CNN's Brandon Miller and Christina Maxouris

Covid-19 is running unabated across almost every American community, and one model projects it will take the country just under two months to reach a staggering 20 million cases.

The US could nearly double its current numbers — about 12.4 million reported infections —by January 20, according to the Washington University in St. Louis forecasting model.

The prediction comes as Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations nationwide are exploding, with more than 3.1 million infections reported in the US since the start of November — the most reported in a single month ever.

Here's a look at the latest Covid-19 trends and figures in the US:

  • 30 states are showing upward trends in new Covid-19 cases. New Mexico is up over 50% in the past week. Just four states are showing downward trends in new cases: South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Tennessee. 
  • There were 85,936 hospitalizations reported on Monday, according to The Covid Tracking Project data. This is the highest this metric has ever been. The US has also had 14 consecutive days of record-breaking current hospitalizations. 
  • The total new cases reported in the last 7-days has climbed over 1.2 million for the first time in Johns Hopkins University data, bringing the average number of daily new cases up to 172,118 – the highest that value has been so far in the pandemic. 
  • There were 889 deaths reported yesterday, which is the most reported on a Monday since July 27. 
  • In California – where new cases are up 43% week-over-week – the state set a record for new cases on Saturday with 15,685 new cases reported. Yesterday had 13,695 reported, the most ever for a Monday. The average number of daily new cases has more than doubled in the past two weeks.  

Here's where Covid-19 cases are rising across the country compared to the previous week, according to Johns Hopkins University data:

9:32 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020

Christmas on Europe's ski slopes looks unlikely

From CNN's Antonia Mortensen, Stephanie Halasz, Nicola Ruotolo and Sharon Braithwaite

Tourists ski at the Stelvio National Park resort in Bormio, Italy, on December 26, 2018.
Tourists ski at the Stelvio National Park resort in Bormio, Italy, on December 26, 2018. Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

While the winter season has not yet started on Europe's slopes, hopes for a skiing holiday there this Christmas are quickly fading.

On Monday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that skiing holidays this year could cause a third wave of the pandemic, and urged coordination between other European Union countries.

If Italy bans skiing, but neighboring countries allow it, he said, then Italian tourists returning home from hitting the slopes abroad “would risk bringing back the contagion to Italy.” 

There is no specific governmental decree banning skiing at the moment. But Conte has found support in the minister of regional affairs, Francesco Boccia.

"I find discussing dinners and parties with 6-700 deaths a day really out of place after having lived through this second wave," Boccia said on Monday, adding that the conditions for the industry to reopen had not been met.

The Italian government is not the only European country to be concerned about reopening skiing resorts for Christmas. Early in the pandemic, hundreds of Covid-19 infections across Europe were traced back to a ski resort in Austria.

Austrian slopes are meant to be open this year but with restrictions differing from resort to resort, according to the Austrian government. 'Apres-ski' will also be banned however, with ski gondolas out of commission it said. Hotels, restaurants, bars and pubs remain closed until December 6, according to the Austria Tourism.

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki appealed to holidaymakers on Friday, saying that they should not be planning "any trips, no tourist attractions, neither in Austria, Italy, Switzerland, nor in Poland."

Switzerland has so far closed the bulk of its ski resorts, leaving only a small number open.

The French government has yet to make an announcement on skiing this year.

9:16 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020

What's happening across Europe today

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite, Nicola Ruotolo, Zahra Ullah, James Frater, Antonia Mortensen, Nadine Schmidt, Anna Chernova and Stephanie Halasz 

Pedestrians walk in a street in Sittingbourne, in the Swale district of Kent, England, which has become a coronavirus hotspot, on November 24.
Pedestrians walk in a street in Sittingbourne, in the Swale district of Kent, England, which has become a coronavirus hotspot, on November 24. Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Countries across Europe are still battling the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Here's the latest from the continent.

GERMANY

The holidays: Germany’s top leaders have agreed on a draft proposal to outline Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, according to CNN’s affiliate NTV. On Wednesday, German chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with the state premiers to agree on the framework. The draft proposal says that:

  • Up to 10 people can celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve together, with children up to the age of 14 excluded from that count
  • The time frame for these rules would be valid from December 23 - January 1
  • Fireworks are expected to be banned in popular public areas to avoid large crowds. 

ICUs are packed: Patients being treated in intensive care unit facilities reached an all-time high, according to data released on Monday by the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive and Emergency Medicine.

  • 3,742 Covid-19 patients are being treated in ICU facilities
  • Around 57% of patients in ICU's need ventilation
  • 21,333 intensive-care capacity facilities in the country are currently occupied for other diseases
  • 6,616 ICU beds are still vacant

Cases and deaths: Germany has registered 13,554 new daily coronavirus infections within 24 hours -- 865 less than Tuesday a week ago -- according to data from the country's infectious disease agency, the Robert Koch Institute.

The reported death toll rose by 249 to 14,361. Germany's total coronavirus case count now stands at 942,687. Its positivity rate stands at 9.6%, compared to 9.2% last week.

BELGIUM

Cases are falling: The number of new Covid-19 cases in Belgium continues to fall, but it is declining more slowly than in the first half of November.

Over the past week, an average of 3,672 new daily cases were registered in the country, a decrease of 28%, or a halving of the number of infections every 15 days.

“This makes this decline less pronounced than in the first half of November, when it recorded a fall of almost 50% on a weekly basis or a halving every 7 days,” Steven van Gucht, head virologist of the Belgian health authority, Sciensano said. He added that if that trend continues they expect an average of 500 new cases a day by the end of the year.

Belgium has registered 559,902 Covid-19 cases so far, with a total of 15,755 deaths.

Lockdown: Strict lockdown measures were put in place on November 2 and are due to last until December 13, with a review this coming Friday. Local media are reporting the strict measures may well be kept in place for the Christmas holidays to avoid another wave.

Belgium has registered 559,902 Covid-19 cases so far, with a total of 15,755 deaths.

ITALY

Vaccines: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte says vaccine distribution will start at the end of January. He said that for now, the vaccine will be voluntary and will not be administered on a mandatory basis.

Conte said he "will definitely" get the vaccine because it will be "absolutely safe," adding that he would not however, be among the first to be vaccinated since the "fragile and most exposed to danger need to have it first."

Christmas: Hopes of skiing over the Christmas holiday are fading, after Conte stressed that allowing “indiscriminate holidays on the snow” would cause a third wave.

During an interview on Italian TV Monday evening, Conte said coordination between EU countries aimed to limit activities ‘connected to skiing’ was needed because if Italy bans skiing, but the neighboring countries allow it, then Italian tourists returning home from hitting the slopes abroad “would risk bringing back the contagion to Italy.” 

At the moment, there is no specific government decree banning skiing.

United Kingdom

Exiting lockdown: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a plan to return to a three-tiered system when England ends lockdown on December 2. Under the previous tier system, regions were previously classified as: Tier 1 "medium" alert level, Tier 2 "high" alert level and Tier 3 "very high" alert level.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has warned his strategy is "full of risks" and "threatens to undo the progress and undermine the difficult sacrifices" the public have already made.

Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the BMA, said that it's "extremely concerning that outdoor events with crowds of up to 4,000 people will be allowed to go ahead and groups of 1,000 will be allowed to congregate indoors as many of the new proposals are more relaxed than previous measures."

He added that the government should not "repeat the same mistakes" of the "failings of the first three-tiered system" which led to another national lockdown.

Last week, the BMA urged strict new measures when England lockdown ends to prevent a "collapse" of healthcare services this winter. Among the measures the BMA wants to see being imposed is no travel between or across different local lockdown tiers. 

Ministers will announce and vote on which areas will be placed into which tier on Thursday.

9:09 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020

Sputnik V vaccine is 91.4% effective according to interim data, says Russia

From CNN's Zahra Ullah in Moscow

A medical worker prepares the Gam-COVID-Vak vaccine, also known as Sputnik V, for vaccination of medical staff at a hospital in St. Petersburg, Russia, on October 7.
A medical worker prepares the Gam-COVID-Vak vaccine, also known as Sputnik V, for vaccination of medical staff at a hospital in St. Petersburg, Russia, on October 7. Alexander Demianchuk/TASS/Getty Images

Russia said Tuesday that its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine is more than 91% effective, according to the latest data from its ongoing Phase 3 trials.

Data obtained 28 days after the first dose and seven days after the second dose showed the vaccine was 91.4% effective, according to a press release published on the Sputnik-V Twitter account.  

Preliminary data obtained 42 days after the first dose -- 21 days after the second dose -- indicates the vaccine’s efficacy could be higher than 95%.  

The Gamaleya National Research Centre for Epidemiology and Microbiology hopes to publish the data from the Phase 3 trials in an international medical journal following a peer review, the statement continued. 

Some experts have accused Russia of cutting corners with its vaccine development -- a claim Moscow has denied.

The calculations were based on the analysis of data of 18,794 volunteers who received both the first and second doses of the Sputnik V vaccine or placebo. 

The latest interim analysis came after 39 confirmed Covid-19 cases among Phase 3 trial participants who received the vaccine or a placebo, according to the press release from the Russian Direct Investment Fund and Gamaleya Institute. 

The statement added there were no unexpected adverse events during the trials and monitoring of participants is ongoing. 

Around 40,000 volunteers are taking part in the Phase 3 trials in Russia, of which more than 22,000 volunteers were vaccinated with the first dose and more than 19,000 with the first and second doses, according to the statement.  

9:06 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020

These are the US surgeon general's tips for holding a safer gathering 

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on September 9 in Washington, DC.
Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on September 9 in Washington, DC. Greg Nash/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

As the Thanksgiving holiday quickly approaches, US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams shared three things he thinks about when it comes to having a safer holiday gathering – but he emphasized the safest gathering only includes immediate household members.

"I think of three things," he said on Fox and Friends Tuesday. "I think of preparation, of separation, and of ventilation."

For preparation, Adams said people should do everything they can – starting right now – to limit their exposure to others outside their household.

"You should also tell people who are at higher risk – older people with chronic medical conditions – ‘Look, let’s do it next year. Keep it small this year. Let’s keep Grandma safe,’" he said.

For separation, gatherings should be set up to maintain six feet of social distancing and have a limited number of guests – ideally less than 10.

Finally, when it comes to ventilation: "Outside is better than inside," he said, mentioning that temperatures in Washington, DC, will allow for an outdoor Thanksgiving celebration. Ceiling fans should be turned on and HVAC systems on continuous, he said.

"These are things you can do to have a safer gathering," Adams said. "Even though I want you to remember the safest gathering is with the immediate members of your household."

  

8:29 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020

Frenchman fined for breaking lockdown to "smash a guy’s face in"

From CNN’s Gaelle Fournier

A man has been fined by police in the French region of Brittany after being caught breaking lockdown with a written statement saying that he was going out to “smash a guy’s face in,” the local police chief told CNN. 

The 39-year-old man was hiding behind a car early Saturday morning, and appeared to be drunk, when he was spotted by a police patrol. Officers questioned him and discovered that he was carrying a flick-knife, police said. The police checked his explanation for being outside -- a legal requirement during France's lockdown -- and the man had written:

I’ve gone to smash someone’s face in. That’s my excuse and it’s a good one."
Daniel Kerdraon, police chief in the town of Lannion, said that the officers explained this wasn’t a legitimate reason and that he would be detained overnight.
“Somehow, he wanted to respect the law because when he was questioned at the police station, he insisted on the fact that he was at less than a kilometer from his home,” Kerdraon told CNN. 

Under French lockdown restrictions people are allowed outside for one hour of exercise per day and no farther than one kilometer from their homes. 

The man was fined $160 for breaking the lockdown and $175 for being drunk in a public space.

On Monday, the man was questioned about carrying the flick knife. He told police “he did not intend to hurt the guy with it.”

8:36 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020

A negative Covid-19 test yesterday doesn’t mean you’re safe tomorrow, US surgeon general says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams puts on a face mask during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss vaccines and protecting public health during the coronavirus pandemic on September 9, in Washington DC.
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams puts on a face mask during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss vaccines and protecting public health during the coronavirus pandemic on September 9, in Washington DC. Michael Reynolds/Pool/Getty Images

Getting a negative Covid-19 test isn’t a reason to relax precautions, US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said on “Fox and Friends” Tuesday.

Adams explained that it takes, on average, five days – but can take up to 14 – after a person has been exposed to the coronavirus for them to develop symptoms.

 “Let’s just be real here. I would rather be around someone who just had a negative Covid test than someone whose status I didn’t know,” Adams said. “But a negative test yesterday or Sunday doesn’t mean that you’re safe tomorrow. It doesn’t mean that you can relax your precautions,” Adams said.

He said he wants people to continue following the three W’s: wearing a mask, washing your hands, watching your distance.