November 25 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:59 a.m. ET, November 27, 2020
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11:30 p.m. ET, November 24, 2020

US sets record for Covid-19 hospitalizations

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

Medical staff treat a patient in the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 19, in Houston.
Medical staff treat a patient in the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 19, in Houston. Go Nakamura/Getty Images

The United States set a record for the number of people currently hospitalized with Covid-19 on Tuesday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. 

As of Tuesday, 88,080 people are currently hospitalized with Covid-19, according to CTP. This is the highest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations the nation has ever experienced. 

According to CTP data, the highest hospitalization numbers are: 

  1. Nov. 24: 88,080
  2. Nov. 23: 85,836
  3. Nov. 22: 83,779
  4. Nov. 21: 83,232
  5. Nov. 20: 82,150
8:57 p.m. ET, November 24, 2020

CDC director: US is going to see health care system "overwhelmed" in some areas during Covid surge

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

Some areas of the United States will soon see their health care systems overwhelmed, as coronavirus hospitalizations surge around the nation, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday. 

“In some areas, we are going to see the health care system overwhelmed,” Redfield said in an interview with Fox News.

But he said Americans are not defenseless against the virus, and can blunt the surge by practicing mitigation measures.

“This is why, again, the vigilance in the mitigation steps is so important to keep those health care systems from going over the top in terms of being able to maintain their resilience -- not just to serve people with Covid, but to serve (people) without Covid,” Redfield said.

He said definitively that safety precautions, such as wearing masks, work.

“Hope’s on the way with a vaccine,” Redfield said, adding that until then, “We still need to really be vigilant about these mitigation steps, and stop the debate about whether they work or not.”

8:57 p.m. ET, November 24, 2020

FDA could deliberate for "days" about emergency use authorization for Covid-19 vaccine, commissioner says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said that discussions about whether to issue an emergency use authorization for a potential Covid-19 vaccine could take "days.”

Once the FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) meets on Dec. 10 to discuss Pfizer and BioNTech’s application for an emergency use authorization for their coronavirus vaccine, the FDA could deliberate for days on whether to issue an EUA.

"We expect it to be days, but it’s very dependent on the complexity of the data and the comments we get back from VRBPAC," Hahn said in an interview with USA Today published on Tuesday.

"There are several steps to the vaccine authorization process. First, a company must apply to the FDA. Then, the FDA must go through the application and send it to an outside review board called the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee," Hahn said. "That committee meets on Dec. 10 and will send the FDA its comments and recommendations. Only then can the FDA make a final decision on a vaccine."

8:56 p.m. ET, November 24, 2020

US could distribute Covid-19 vaccine "soon after" Dec. 10, HHS secretary says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

The United States could start distributing doses of a Covid-19 vaccine "soon after" Dec. 10, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday.

The US Food and Drug Administration's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet on that date in December to discuss Pfizer and BioNTech’s application for an emergency use authorization for their coronavirus vaccine.

"If all goes well, we could be distributing vaccine soon after Dec. 10," Azar said during an Operation Warp Speed briefing on Tuesday. 

"We believe we can distribute vaccine to all 64 jurisdictions within 24 hours of FDA authorization. Then we hope administration could begin as soon as the product arrives," Azar said. "One of the private sector partners we've enlisted, CVS Health, has said that they expect to be vaccinating residents of nursing homes -- one of the top priority groups -- within 48 hours after FDA authorization."