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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1:12 p.m. ET, November 27, 2020

Pennsylvania reports highest number of new Covid-19 cases since pandemic began

From CNN's Taylor Romine

Pennsylvania reported 15,785 new Covid-19 cases, with a record high of 8,425 new cases reported on Wednesday, according to a release from the state's Department of Health and Covid-19 dashboard. 

Wednesday's total cases are the highest the state has seen since the pandemic began, according to state data.

Another 7,360 new cases were reported on Thursday, the health department said.

The release reported an additional 118 deaths on Wednesday and 21 deaths on Thursday.

As of Thursday at 12 a.m. ET, 4,087 patients were hospitalized with 877 people in intensive care.

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.  

12:32 p.m. ET, November 27, 2020

Wales will impose more restrictions as Covid-19 infection rate rises

From Sharon Braithwaite

Shoppers are seen in Cardiff, Wales during Black Friday on November 27.
Shoppers are seen in Cardiff, Wales during Black Friday on November 27. Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

The reproduction rate for Covid-19 transmission in Wales "could be as high as 1.4," First Minister Mark Drakeford said Friday, adding that the virus is "back circulating widely and quickly."

The reproduction rate — the number indicates how many other people each infected person passes the virus onto — now ranges between 0.9 and 1 in the entire United Kingdom, the government's dashboard showed on Friday, meaning that "on average every 10 people infected will infect between nine and 10 other people." This represents a decrease from last week, when it ranged between 1.0-1.1.

Wales must use the coming weeks to reduce the spread of the virus, Drakeford said, outlining the measures agreed by the Welsh government.

"Cinemas, bowling alleys and other indoor entertainment venues will now close. There will be new restrictions in the hospitality industry, which will come into effect on Friday of next week," he said at a news conference in Cardiff.

During Wales’ "firebreak" lockdown, which ended on Nov. 9, and in the weeks immediately afterwards, the R number in the country fe­ll below one, Drakeford said.

"The ground that we gained during the firebreak period is being eroded as the virus thrives on normal human behavior," Drakeford said, adding that "the result of the recent days is that the hospital system in Wales remains under sustained pressure."

Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England agreed this week on a common set of coronavirus rules ahead of Christmas.

The first minister warned Wales needs "to have as much headroom as possible as we approach the Christmas period to enable that relaxation to take place."

The Welsh government will finalize the details of new measures affecting the hospitality industry and put in place a "further major package of financial support" over the weekend and will be outlined next Monday, Drakeford said.

12:14 p.m. ET, November 27, 2020

New Jersey reports slight decrease in overall Covid-19 metrics

From CNN's Taylor Romine

A woman walks past a coronavirus testing site in the Ironbound section of Newark, New Jersey on November 24.
A woman walks past a coronavirus testing site in the Ironbound section of Newark, New Jersey on November 24. Seth Wenig/AP

New Jersey is reporting 4,100 new Covid 19 cases and 19 additional deaths, according to the state's Covid dashboard

This slight decrease in reported cases comes after New Jersey reported on Wednesday the second-highest total of new cases since the pandemic began. 

The state also announced that hospitalizations decreased on Thursday to 2,796 patients. As of Thursday, 279 people were currently on ventilators.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy once again reminded residents in a tweet to mask up and practice social distancing in order to protect themselves and their families. 

11:58 a.m. ET, November 27, 2020

Covid-19 hit 7 members of one family. Now they're speaking out so others don't go through the same pain. 

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

CNN
CNN

Seven members of a Minnesota family tested positive for coronavirus, spurring them to speak out. 

Charles and Kirstin Johnson-Nixon and their three sons — plus Kirstin’s mother and father — all contracted the virus, and they have been speaking on panels and vowed to educate the hardest-hit communities.

“It makes you want to yell out and be on a mission to bring awareness to people … because we're already dealing with all the other problems that we have to deal with being Black in this country,” Charles Johnson-Nixon said in an interview with CNN’s Adrienne Broaddus. 

Black, Latino and Native American people are nearly three times more likely to be infected with Covid-19 than their White counterparts, data shows.

“I've had pneumonia before; I didn't feel what I felt with Covid. …I’m a Black woman, I'm overweight, I have some underlying issues, but I thought ‘how could this happen, you know, to us?’ We are doing all the right things,” Kirstin Nixon-Johnson said. She continues to experience side effects of the virus.

Her father was in the hospital for 50 days, but the family is thankful that he is now at home and recovering, although he still needs to be on oxygen.  

“I lost my father when I was young, and one of my goals when I became a father was to make sure that I was going to be here for my kids and the idea that this thing could turn on me and take me away from them was the hardest thing to deal with,” Charles said.

Watch:

11:19 a.m. ET, November 27, 2020

FDA intends to make vaccine authorization decision within a few weeks after Dec. 10 meeting

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen

Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine vials are seen in this handout photo provided by the company.
Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine vials are seen in this handout photo provided by the company. Pfizer

The US Food and Drug Administration intends to make a decision about authorizing Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine within a few weeks of a key meeting scheduled for Dec. 10, according to an agency official. 

"It will be a matter of weeks. It could be from days to weeks,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said Wednesday. "It's possible it could be within days, but our goal is to make sure it's certainly within a few weeks.”

“I can't give you an exact date that we're going to have an emergency use authorization issued because we have to do it right. Obviously we're going to be working to do it as quickly as we possibly can," Marks added during the event sponsored by the group Vaccinate Your Family.

The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, a panel of independent experts, is scheduled to meet December 10 to discuss Pfizer’s application for emergency use authorization.

So far, Pfizer is the only company to apply for an EUA from the FDA. The submission to the FDA was based on results from the Phase 3 clinical trial of Pfizer's vaccine, which began in the United States on July 27 and enrolled more than 43,000 volunteers.

The final analysis from the trial found the coronavirus vaccine was 95% effective in preventing infections, even in older adults, and caused no serious safety concerns, Pfizer and BioNTech said.

The vaccine cannot be shipped until the FDA issues an EUA, according to a presentation by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Marks’s timeline varies from one offered Thursday by President Trump.

“The vaccines are being delivered literally – they’ll start in the next week or the week after,” Trump said in a virtual Thanksgiving address to US troops.

Vaccinations will begin in the US "towards the latter part of December,” according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

11:24 a.m. ET, November 27, 2020

How to survive economic uncertainty as pandemic benefits are set to expire

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Residents line up in their cars at a food distribution site at Lake-Sumter State College sponsored by the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and local churches on November 21.
Residents line up in their cars at a food distribution site at Lake-Sumter State College sponsored by the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and local churches on November 21. Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

With 12 million Americans at risk of losing pandemic unemployment benefits right after Christmas, personal finance columnist Jean Chatzky says “there is a lot of trouble coming down the road.”

Here are three tips on how to make it through economic uncertainty:

  1. Get a survival job: It’s not time to focus on your larger career right now if you are out of work right now, according to Chatzky. There are seasonal, delivery and fulfillment center jobs available during the holidays. “Just get something to tide you through and continue to bring money in as these unemployment benefits start to lapse,” she said.
  2. Consider a coronavirus hardship loan and tap into state and local resources: 80% of credit unions, plus some banks, are offering Covid-19 hardship loans, Chatzky said, which may be a good option as a smaller loan to just get through a tough time. “There is money out there in the form of emergency grants,” she said. “Google your state or your locality and the words ‘emergency grants.’ Or if it's a matter of putting food on the table, pick up the phone, call 211 or go to 211.org to find out about the programs in your area.”
  3. Pull money from your 401 (k: “Provisions in the CARES Act have made it better at this point to pull money out than to borrow in many cases, which I know you never expected to hear me say ever,” Chatzky said. “But you can repay the money inside of three years and then you won't be charged penalties or interest.” She said it is something to look into if “you are at the end of your financial rope.”

Watch:

11:33 a.m. ET, November 27, 2020

Covid-19 cases rising in NYC, but are still manageable, hospitals say

From CNN's Sonia Moghe

Medical workers are seen inside the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on November 11.
Medical workers are seen inside the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on November 11. Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images

Two hospital systems gave Thanksgiving updates on their coronavirus caseloads, both saying that cases are rising in their hospitals but expressing confidence in their ability to deal with the increasing case load.

One hospital system said, the situation now is “nothing approaching what we experienced in March,” and another system echoing that saying they are “well within our ability to handle." 

Mt. Sinai healthcare system’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Vicki LoPachin, said in a note Wednesday, that coronavirus cases continue to rise across the Mt. Sinai health system but that the current number of cases “is still within our projections, and well within our ability to handle.”

 “Our COVID-19 inpatient census remains at less than 10 percent of what we saw at the peak in the spring,” LoPachin said. “And we do not believe we will ever see anything close to those prior numbers.”

Dr. Craig Smith, chair of the department of surgery at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, which is also affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian’s hospital system, said in a message Thursday that the new Covid-19 case curve is “unequivocally positive” but nothing approaching “what we experienced in March.”

Smith’s candid updates during the heat of the coronavirus crisis in New York gained a large following in the spring. 

Smith said NYP and CU have a “meticulous plan” for staffing changes if the surge in cases increases quickly, and that at this time, the systems are not close to a level where non-urgent surgeries would need to be canceled in order to deal with an influx of cases.

Smith also said the institutions are in the process of planning “thorough plans” for vaccine distribution.

On Wednesday morning, the system had 157 Covid-19-positive patients admitted to their hospitals, 25 of whom were in critical care.

LoPachin warned Mt. Sinai healthcare workers to “relax, recharge and prepare for the work ahead” as coronavirus case numbers are expected to increase, as some ignore warnings against gathering for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“We know that many people will ignore the warnings and gather unsafely with their families tomorrow, and that the patients with new COVID-19 infections resulting from those gatherings will arrive in our hospitals in the next few weeks,” LoPachin said. “Your family needs you, your colleagues need you, and your patients need you, now more than ever.”

12:32 p.m. ET, November 27, 2020

Dozens of Covid-19 infections tied to basketball youth tournament in California

From CNN's Stella Chan

Courtside Basketball Center in Rocklin, California.
Courtside Basketball Center in Rocklin, California. KCRA

More than two dozen people from at least three California counties are infected with Covid-19 after participating in youth basketball tournaments in the city of Rocklin earlier this month, according to Placer County Health officials. 

The health department urges anyone who was at Courtside Basketball Center on Nov. 7 or Nov. 8 to quarantine and seek testing regardless of symptoms. They said residents should avoid participating in all indoor activities at the facility and did not identify the other two counties tied to the tournaments.

The county is in the state’s most restrictive purple tier of the state’s four level color-coded system and only outdoor operations are allowed.

The weekend of the tournaments, Placer County was in the orange tier indicating moderate spread level. Gyms and fitness centers can be open for indoor operations with modifications and a 25% maximum capacity, according to state guidelines.

“The cases of COVID-19 associated with Courtside Basketball Center are a reminder that contact sports facilitate the spread of coronavirus and illustrate why tournaments are not allowed,” said the health department release.

“This Health Alert is being issued because of the large scale of the apparent outbreak and potential range that make contact tracing difficult. In addition, the facility has refused to cease indoor operations and continues to host tournaments despite being advised such operations are not allowed and the full knowledge that COVID-19 cases have been associated with activities at the facility," the release continued.

The basketball center is hosting a Thanksgiving camp that continues today, according to information on the company’s website.

 CNN is requesting comment from Courtside Basketball Center.

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: