November 27 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 2:08 a.m. ET, November 28, 2020
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10:30 a.m. ET, November 27, 2020

NYC mayor warns city can't "let up the fight" this weekend as new cases continue to exceed threshold 

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

New York City continues to surpass its new cases threshold limit, adding 1,522 Covid-19 cases, according to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. The city set threshold is 550 cases.

The city also reported 114 patients admitted to the hospital, which remains under the city set threshold of 200.

The city’s infection rate on a seven-day average is 3.33%, he tweeted Friday.

“We CANNOT let up the fight this weekend, New York City,” de Blasio tweeted.

The mayor urged residents to wear a mask, get tested and "help us push back this second wave.”

See the mayor's tweet:

10:56 a.m. ET, November 27, 2020

NFL's Denver Broncos cancel practice and close facility after positive Covid-19 tests

From CNN’s Dan Kamal

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The NFL’s Denver Broncos confirmed in a statement Friday that a player and two staffers have tested positive for Covid-19.

The team has canceled practice and closed its facility and will continue preparations for Sunday’s game virtually.

In the statement, the team indicated it is working closely with medical experts and the league office and “will take all steps necessary to ensure the well-being of the players, coaches and staff.”

The 4-6 Broncos are scheduled to host the 8-2 New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

10:02 a.m. ET, November 27, 2020

Covid-19 hospitalizations are decreasing in El Paso, according to health officials

From CNN's Kay Jones, Raja Razek and Hollie Silverman

Hospitalizations due to Covid-19 in El Paso, Texas, are decreasing, according to health officials, with the lowest number of patients hospitalized since October. 

The El Paso City and County Health Department reports that 907 patients are currently hospitalized due to the virus, down from a peak of 1,148 on Nov. 11. It's also the lowest number of hospitalizations since Oct. 28, when 908 patients were in hospitals due to Covid-19 

There is just one confirmed death reported on Friday, bringing the total number of deaths to 919. The El Paso dashboard shows that 529 deaths are currently under investigation. 

El Paso is reporting 678 new cases on Friday, bringing the total to 84,683. The dashboard shows that 37,058 of those cases are currently active. 

El Paso County ordered a new curfew starting Thanksgiving eve as the area continued to grapple with rising Covid-19 cases. The curfew took effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday and will run from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. until November 30, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego announced at a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

Note: These numbers were released by the El Paso City/County 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.  

10:04 a.m. ET, November 27, 2020

Thanksgiving TSA airport screenings down 65% from last year

From CNN’s Pete Muntean

Travelers wearing face masks line up for security checks at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago on Nov. 25, 2020. 
Travelers wearing face masks line up for security checks at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago on Nov. 25, 2020.  Joel Lerner/Xinhua/Getty Images

The Transportation Security Administration says it screened 560,902 people at airports on Thursday, according to a verified tweet from Lisa Farbstein, a Transportation Security Administration spokesperson.

Thanksgiving is typically a light travel day, but Thursday’s number is 65% lower than last year.

At least 1,591,158 people were screened by TSA last Thanksgiving.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended last week that Americans should not travel for Thanksgiving, and posted updated guidelines for safely celebrating the holiday.

10:06 a.m. ET, November 27, 2020

North Korean hackers suspected of targeting vaccine maker AstraZeneca in cyberattack, according to Reuters

From CNN’s Nada Bashir, Chris Liakos, Yoonjung Seo, Sophie Jeong and Angus Watson

A volunteer is administered the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. 
A volunteer is administered the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England.  John Cairns/University of Oxford/AP

North Korean hackers are suspected to have carried out a cyberattack against British coronavirus vaccine developer AstraZeneca in recent weeks, Reuters revealed Friday citing two unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter. 

According to Reuters, North Korean hackers posed as recruiters on networking site LinkedIn and WhatsApp in order to approach AstraZeneca staff — including those working on coronavirus research — with fake job offers.

The suspected hackers then sent documents – some using Russian email addresses – purporting to be job descriptions that were in fact laced with malicious code designed to give the hackers access to the victim’s computers, Reuters reported. 

According to Reuters’ sources, the hackers are not thought to have been successful. 

While AstraZeneca has declined to comment on the matter, the University of Oxford — which is working in conjunction with the drugmaker to develop a coronavirus vaccine — told CNN in a statement that the university is working closely with the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to ensure its protection.

“Oxford University is working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre to ensure our COVID-19 research has the best possible cyber security and protection,” a university spokesperson told CNN. 

 The NCSC has not directly commented on the matter, but told CNN on Friday that it is “committed to protecting our most critical assets, the health sector, and crucial vaccine research and development against threats.”

CNN has reached out to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea’s mission to the United Nations in Geneva for an official comment, however has yet to receive a response. 

In a telephone conversation with CNN, a member of staff at the mission said the Reuters report is “fake news,” alleging that the information has been “fabricated.” 

The reporting comes after a South Korean lawmaker said the country had also thwarted North Korean attempts to hack its own pharmaceutical companies working on coronavirus vaccines. 

Speaking on Friday, lawmaker Ha Tae-Keung did not say when the hacking occurred or which drug companies were targeted, but confirmed North Korea has made attempts to hack South Korean pharmaceutical companies that are developing local vaccines for the coronavirus.

CNN International Correspondent David Culver reports:

9:47 a.m. ET, November 27, 2020

Here's how some major retailers adapted their Black Friday plans this year due to Covid-19

From CNN's Jordan Valinsky

Customers wait in line outside a Target store for a 7 A.M. Black Friday opening on November 27, 2020 in Manalapan, New Jersey. 
Customers wait in line outside a Target store for a 7 A.M. Black Friday opening on November 27, 2020 in Manalapan, New Jersey.  Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Black Friday got a pandemic-induced makeover this year, with many major retailers starting their sales earlier than ever and ending them later. 

Companies are hoping to avoid the crush of customers that crowd stores on the Friday after Thanksgiving by giving them more buying, pickup and delivery options.

This year, the Black Friday deals that are usually reserved for in-store shopping will appear online during the month. Nearly 51% of shoppers feel anxious about shopping in-store during the holidays and 64% of their budget is expected to be spent online, according to a new shopping survey from Deloitte.

And those who are brave (or crazy) enough to hit the stores on Black Friday will notice enhanced safety protocols and capacity controls.

Here's how major US retailers changed their Black Friday plans this year:

  • Best Buy: Some Best Buy deals became available online in October with more deals going live in stores on Nov. 1. On select days, Best Buy (BBY) shoppers can get deeper discounts from its Black Friday ad early via its website, with the first event beginning Nov. 5. Stores will open at 5 a.m. on Black Friday with the retailer still requiring shoppers to wear face coverings. It's also enforcing capacity controls and there will be a "dedicated customer experience host" to help direct shoppers and answer questions. Contactless curbside pickup and expanded same-day delivery will also be available.
  • Home Depot: Home Depot will offer discounts online and in stores through Dec. 2. The retailer recently said it decided to "reinvent" Black Friday this year to reduce stress for consumers who typically rush to stores in droves to grab the best deals. Given the pandemic, the company indicated that maintaining safety was also a factor in its decision. Home Depot (HD) gave its app users advance access earlier this week to some of the discounts.
  • Target: Target is bolstering its safety features at its stores — including contactless payment in its app, reducing lines by having employees rove the store to let customers pay and letting shoppers make reservations. Deals have been sold online and in stores for the entire month of November in a promotion called "Black Friday Now." The store is also extending its price-match policy from two weeks after the purchase date to two months.
  • Walmart: America's largest retailer is spread Black Friday sales over three weekends. Although it's pushing people to shop online and use its curbside pickup option, shoppers that go to its stores won't experience the pandemonium of the past. Instead, they will form single-file lines at the entrance and be given sanitized shopping carts. "Health Ambassadors" will be stationed at entrances to remind people to put on their masks. Social distancing will be enforced inside with capacity controls and one-way lanes. Walmart said the changes at its stores "will be safer and more manageable for both our customers and our associates."

Read more here about the measures retailers are implementing.

9:16 a.m. ET, November 27, 2020

Former Georgia Chief Justice George Carley dies from Covid-19

From CNN's Melissa Alonso  

George H. Carley, age 82, the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia, died late Thursday night from Covid-19, according to a statement from Chief Justice Harold D. Melton.  

Carley passed away on Thanksgiving day around 11 p.m. at Emory Decatur Hospital, according to the statement. 

"Justice Carley was appointed to the Supreme Court of Georgia in 1993 by then-Gov. Zell Miller. In May 2012, he was sworn in as the 29th Chief Justice, serving as leader of Georgia’s judicial system until Dec. 31, 2012, when his term in office came to an end," the statement said. 

Besides his family, Carley loved two things: the Georgia Bulldogs and the Court, the statement said. 

 “We are devastated by the loss of Justice Carley, a beloved friend and colleague to so many of us,” Chief Justice Melton said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Sandy, his son, George H. Carley, Jr., and his two grandsons,” said Melton.

11:23 a.m. ET, November 27, 2020

UN migration agency urges countries to factor migrants into vaccine distribution plans

From CNN's Laura Smith-Spark

The UN's migration agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), has called on governments not to forget migrants as they start to plan coronavirus vaccination programs.

Dr. Jaime Calderon, a senior regional health adviser for the IOM, told a meeting of the South-Eastern Europe Health Network that migrants should be factored into public health and vaccination plans.

“Vaccines are among our most critical and cost-effective tools to prevent outbreaks and keep communities safe and healthy,” he said, according to an IOM news release Friday.

“For everyone to thrive, countries must intensify efforts to ensure that no one is left behind and all migrants — no matter their legal status — have access to the life-saving benefits of vaccines.”

The South-Eastern Europe Health Network links countries including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia and North Macedonia, each of which is a source country and increasingly a transit country for migrants, the IOM says.

"Some 30,000 migrants passed irregularly through the region this year, about the same as previous years, despite pandemic restrictions," the news release said.

Harsh winter weather conditions and seasonal flu are likely to place regional health services under great strain, the health forum heard.

“This is bad news for the tens of thousands of migrants in the region,” said Calderon. “All too often, migrants encounter obstacles in accessing health services — due to language and cultural barriers, fees they cannot afford, and lack of inclusive health policies.” 

8:56 a.m. ET, November 27, 2020

Here are the latest Covid-19 headlines from across the US

From CNN's Christina Maxouris and Amanda Watts

It is the morning after the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, and the coronavirus pandemic continues to surge across the country and is showing no signs of slowing down.

If you're just reading in now, here are some of the latest Covid-19 trends and headlines in the US:

  • On Thanksgiving, the US marked its 24th day in a row with more than 100,000 new cases. More than 1,200 deaths were also reported. The US currently averages 164,759 new Covid-19 cases per day, which is unchanged from last week.  
  • Hospitalizations Thursday hit a new high for the 17th consecutive day. According to the COVID Tracking Project, there are now more than 90,400 Covid-19 patients nationwide.
  • The country's death toll since the pandemic's start is now more than 263,000. And nearly another 60,000 could lose their lives over the next three weeks, according to an ensemble forecast published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week.
  • Gatherings that took place over Thanksgiving could further an already ferocious surge. Officials urged Americans this week to avoid travel and celebrate with immediate household members only. Many Americans listened, a poll showed this week, but millions of others have boarded planes across the country since last week.
  • The FDA says starting Friday, the public can provide comment for their Covid-19 vaccine meeting. The US Food and Drug Administration has posted to Twitter more details about an upcoming meeting of its outside advisory committee to discuss Pfizer and BioNTech's emergency use authorization application for a coronavirus vaccine candidate. The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet on Dec. 10. 
  • Only 1 in 8 US Covid-19 cases may have been counted. In total, more than 12.8 million Americans have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic's start. But a new study suggests that could only be a small fraction of the true number of infections in the US.Only about one in eight — or 13% — all of Covid-19 infections in the country were recognized and reported through the end of September, researchers at the CDC estimate.
  • While the widespread effects of a vaccine are likely months away, Americans can still help turn the tide. The public safety measures that have been touted by officials for months — face masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds and practicing good hygiene like regular hand washing — are simple steps, but could make a world of a difference. More than 40,000 lives could be saved over the next two months if 95% of Americans wore face masks, according to projections from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
  • Florida extended a ban on cities imposing mask mandates. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis extended an order this week that bans local municipalities from issuing fines for violations of pandemic-related mandates — like mask mandates — or limiting restaurant capacity without justification. The extension is in stark contrast with other state leaders' recent announcements of further restrictions and more enforcement. In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order this week increasing the maximum fine for businesses violating Covid-19 orders to $10,000. The previous maximum penalty was $500.

Here's a look at where cases are rising compared to the previous week, according to Johns Hopkins University data: