November 27 coronavirus news

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

Updated 2:08 a.m. ET, November 28, 2020
30 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
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:

8:46 a.m. ET, November 27, 2020

Trump says Covid-19 vaccine will start being delivered “in the next week and the week after”

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

President Donald Trump speaks at the White House on November 26.
President Donald Trump speaks at the White House on November 26. Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images

In a virtual Thanksgiving address to US troops yesterday, President Trump said that vaccines for Covid-19 would start to be delivered next week.

“The whole world is suffering this tremendous pandemic, not just us, the world. And you wouldn’t know that listening to the news reports, but the whole world is suffering,” Trump said. “And we’re rounding the curve, the vaccines are being delivered literally it’ll start next week and the week after, and it will hit the frontline workers and seniors and doctors, nurses, a lot of people, going to start and we’re going very quickly.”

Trump continued by saying that “two companies already announced and a third one coming up and a fourth and fifth one coming up soon also.”

Shots, however, aren't likely to being going into arms within the next two weeks.

The FDA has scheduled a meeting of its outside advisory panel to discuss drugmaker Pfizer's application for emergency use authorization for a coronavirus vaccine for Dec. 10.

On Wednesday,  Dr. Peter Marks, director of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said a decision on the EUA would occur within the weeks after.

"It will be a matter of weeks. It could be from days to weeks. I 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 said. "It's possible it could be within days but our goal is to make sure it's certainly within a few weeks."

Once a decision on an EUA is granted, a committee of CDC vaccine advisors then must decide who will receive the initial supply of vaccine before vaccinations begin.

9:07 a.m. ET, November 27, 2020

What’s happening across Europe today

From CNN's Amy Cassidy, Sarah Diab, Sharon Braithwaite, Nada Bashir, Zahra Ullah, Anna Chernova, Kara Fox and Tim Lister

Medical personnel in Moscow work in a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients on November 9.
Medical personnel in Moscow work in a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients on November 9. Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images

Santa is deemed an essential worker. The British government edges closer to approving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Russia's death toll soars.

If you're just joining us, here's the latest coronavirus news from across the continent to get you up to speed.

UK

The British government has announced a “significant first step” in getting the AstraZeneca vaccine “approved for deployment,” formally referring the company’s experimental vaccine candidate to the medicines regulator for assessment. The British-Swedish drugmaker is developing the vaccine in conjunction with the UK's Oxford University.

If it gains regulatory approval, the UK will be one of the first countries in the world to receive it, according to the country's Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

AstraZeneca expects to have up to 4 million doses ready for the UK by the end of the year, with 40 million more by the end of March, it added.

The news has arrived at a critical moment for the company, which has been pushing back against criticism about a lack of transparency behind its data. 

Northern Ireland has begun a two week “circuit-breaker” lockdown in an attempt to get infections down before Christmas. Schools will remain open, but some businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector have been forced to close.

Meanwhile, regions in England could see their coronavirus risk-category de-escalated before Christmas, as part of a mid-December review period. The national lockdown will end on December 2, after which London will be placed in the Tier 2 "High Alert" risk category, while cities including Greater Manchester, Birmingham, Leicester and Bristol will be placed in the Tier 3 "Very High Alert" category.

Ireland

The Irish government is set to announce its exit plan from Level Five restrictions that have seen businesses close and social gatherings forbidden since October.

According to state broadcaster RTE, restaurants and pubs will likely reopen on Monday, but it is expected that household gatherings will not be permitted until December 18. It also reports that hairdressers will reopen on Wednesday, and people will be able to travel within their county and attend religious services.

Deputy premier Leo Varadkar told RTE this week the government is considering allowing three households to gather for up to two weeks during the Christmas period. “We know people are going to do it anyway, so it's better we provide for it in a safe way,” he said.  

Meanwhile, Santa will be exempt from coronavirus restrictions over the holiday period.

Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told members of parliament yesterday that he had been “working on the Santa Claus issue for a number of weeks," noting that as Santa is an essential worker, "he is exempt from the need to self-quarantine for 14 days and should able to come in and out of Irish airspace, and indeed in and out of Irish homes, without having to restrict his movements."

He added that children shouldn't stay up at night to greet Santa, as he will still be required to social distance.  

Germany

Germany reached a grim milestone Friday when it logged its one millionth coronavirus case. Once deemed a symbol of hope in Europe’s Covid-19 chaos, the country has struggled to cope with a second wave.

This comes after Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the country's coronavirus restrictions and partial national lockdown would last until December 20 and could be extended into 2021. “It is up to us. We are not powerless,” she said on Thursday in the German Bundestag.

In the past 24 hours, data released by the Robert Koch Institute shows 22,806 new recorded cases, bringing Germany’s total number of coronavirus cases to 1,006,394.

Germany has also recorded its highest single day death toll since the start of the pandemic. In the past 24 hours, 426 virus-related deaths occurred, raising the total fatalities to 15, 586.

 

Russia

Also hitting records is Russia, with 27,543 new cases recorded on Friday, taking the total recorded number since the start of the pandemic to 2,215,533.  

According to data from the country’s coronavirus response center, this is the highest number of cases ever reported there in a single day -- 2000 more than the previous record. A further 496 fatalities were recorded, bringing the overall death toll so far to 38,558. 

Moscow alone accounted for 7,918 new cases. Mayor Sergey Sobyanin on Thursday extended some new restrictions in the city until January 15. As the worst-affected city, the capital beat its own record too on Friday.

It is important to keep in mind that official Russian death figures may grossly understate the real toll by excluding people who are presumed to have Covid-19 post mortem and even those with pre-existing conditions that proved fatal due to the infection, a CNN investigation revealed.

 

Spain 

Health Minister Salvador Illa formally outlined Spain’s three-phase vaccine roll-out strategy, with fifteen population categories created to establish who would have precedence in receiving a vaccine.  

At the top of the list is the elderly, and people with disabilities who live in residences and the staff who care for them. Illa estimated that 2.5 million people would be vaccinated in the first phase, which would run from January to March. 

The second phase would include other Spaniards older than 64 and those in higher risk groups. Those who live or work in closed communities as well as people vulnerable because of their social surroundings would also be prioritized, he said, with the general population beginning to get the vaccine in June on a free and voluntary basis. 

 

Finland

The country hailed as recently having one of the lowest infection rates in Europe, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, is now seeing cases rise at "alarming speed,” the Health Ministry said Thursday.

According to the Health Ministry, the number of cases "increased sharply, and new infections were reported in all hospital districts” between November. 16-22. Within that period, a total of 2,541 new cases were reported, representing an increase of 906 from the previous week. 

Infection rates are particularly high in the Greater Helsinki area, it added.

The Health Ministry confirmed that new restrictions and recommendations are to be introduced, but it did not outline the details of the proposed measures. So far, the country has reported a total number of 22,652 cases and 388 coronavirus related deaths.

Italy

Italian premier Giuseppe Conte hinted that many of Italy’s red zones “will turn orange or yellow, as the latest Covid-19 surveillance report, to be published later on Friday, is hoped to reveal the country’s R number has reduced to 1.   

Speaking to Italy’s Channel 5 news Thursday, Conte said “this would mean that the citizens of those territorial communities could benefit from less restrictive, less penalizing measures." But he cautioned that sacrifices must still be made to avoid a third wave in January: "We can't let our guard down. Italians are aware that it will be a different Christmas.”

Daily deaths in Italy continue to be reported in staggering heights, with 822 fatalities recorded Thursday. However, for the first time in seven weeks, the number of patients in ICU decreased. 

8:29 a.m. ET, November 27, 2020

More than 400,000 Russian servicemen will get the Sputnik V vaccine, state media says

From CNN's Anna Chernova and Zahra Ullah in Moscow

More than 400,000 servicemen in Russia will be vaccinated against coronavirus, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday according to state news agency TASS.

More than 2,500 servicemen have been vaccinated so far, with vaccinations of 80,000 members of the armed forces scheduled for the year’s end, TASS reported, citing Shoigu.

"In accordance with the instructions of the president, vaccination of the personnel of the armed forces against the new coronavirus infection has begun. In total, it is planned to vaccinate more than 400,000 servicemen,” he said.

Meanwhile, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin hasn't been vaccinated against the coronavirus himself, months after he announced his country's Sputnik V as the "world's first" approved Covid-19 vaccine.

Putin has said that his own daughter had gotten it.

The Kremlin said Tuesday that Putin cannot get a vaccine that has not yet finished the final stage of trials, even though the jab has already been given to servicemen, some Russian frontline health care workers, teachers and several top level officials outside the clinical trials.

"The president cannot use an uncertified vaccine," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said during a call with reporters.

Peskov did not explain the difference between the vaccine being "certified" and "approved," but said: "Mass vaccination has not started yet. And, of course, the head of state cannot take part in vaccination as a volunteer. It's impossible."