The latest on the coronavirus pandemic

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton and Eoin McSweeney, CNN

Updated 2057 GMT (0457 HKT) November 28, 2020
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11:00 a.m. ET, November 28, 2020

Coronavirus cases in Arizona continue to climb

From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) reported 4,136 new daily coronavirus cases in Arizona on Saturday along with 36 new coronavirus related deaths.

This brings the total number of coronavirus cases across the state to 322,774 and the death toll due to Covid-19 to 6,624, according to ADHS.

As of Saturday, Arizona’s seven-day average positivity rate for coronavirus cases stand at 13%, ADHS reports.

Arizona’s overall intensive care unit capacity remains limited, with 11% of ICU beds available for Covid-19 patients and people with all other illnesses.

ADHS reported that 2,383 inpatient beds in Arizona are occupied by Covid-19 patients, a little less than three times the number of beds occupied by Covid-19 patients since the beginning of November.

To note: These numbers were released by the state’s health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and CNN's Covid tracker.

10:48 a.m. ET, November 28, 2020

More than 60 people arrested at anti-lockdown protest in London

From CNN’s Sarah Dean

More than 60 people have been arrested during an anti-lockdown protest in London on Saturday, the Metropolitan Police said.

“These were for a number of different offenses, including breaching coronavirus restrictions. We expect this number to rise,” the police said on Twitter.

Read the tweet:

 

9:32 a.m. ET, November 28, 2020

Anti-lockdown protesters march through central London

From CNN’s Sarah Dean

Anti-lockdown protesters march through central London on November 28.
Anti-lockdown protesters march through central London on November 28. Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

Anti-lockdown protesters are marching through London’s city center ahead of England’s national lockdown coming to an end on Wednesday. 

Social media footage appears to show some protesters clashing with police and demonstrators chanting "freedom."

The Metropolitan Police said on Twitter on Saturday afternoon that “crowds continue to protest and gather in the vicinity of Oxford Circus and Regent Street."

“A number of police officers are on scene. We are urging people to leave the area and go home. If not, you may face arrest or enforcement action," the police said.

Protests in London are currently banned under coronavirus legislation and the police had issued an open letter to demonstrators urging them to stay home.

Earlier on Saturday, the police said three people were arrested for breaching coronavirus restrictions at Kings Cross Station.

8:16 a.m. ET, November 28, 2020

UK prime minister appoints official to be responsible for coronavirus vaccine deployment

From CNN’s Sarah Dean

Nadhim Zahawi arrives at the Cabinet Office in London on March 9.
Nadhim Zahawi arrives at the Cabinet Office in London on March 9. Yui Mok/PA Images/Getty Images

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed a health minister to be responsible for coronavirus vaccine deployment.

Nadhim Zahawi’s appointment to the role, a temporary arrangement until at least next summer, was announced by Downing Street on Saturday.

Zahawi will become a joint minister between Department of Health and Social Care and Business Energy and Industrial Strategy for this period. 

8:01 a.m. ET, November 28, 2020

UK scientific advisory group highlights "additional pressures and responsibilities" on women over Christmas, advises on greater consideration

From CNN's Nada Bashir

The British government’s scientific advisory board has, in new guidance, called for greater consideration for women who — they say — face “additional pressures and responsibilities” due to coronavirus restrictions over the Christmas period. 

“Specific consideration should be given to the differential impact [of restrictions] on specific groups,” the UK Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said Friday. 

”Consideration should be given to the additional pressures and responsibilities that fall to women due to restrictions, and when celebrations and observances must be reimagined,” SAGE added. 

The new guidance published Friday was, according to SAGE, based on a paper prepared by the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) in October, which said that “women carry the burden of creating and maintaining family traditions and activities” at Christmas. 

“Messaging should be supportive of women adapting traditions and encouraging those around them to share the burden and to be supportive of any alterations to adapt for Covid-19 restrictions,” the paper added. 

The paper was considered by the government’s scientific advisors during a meeting on October 29, and informed the government’s advice on women published Friday. 

The guidance has sparked debate on Twitter, with some arguing that the advice is “outdated” and “out of touch,” while others have expressed support for the acknowledgement of the “unequal domestic division of labour” between men and women. 

6:25 a.m. ET, November 28, 2020

UK health leaders say mass testing is a "distraction" from future vaccine rollout

From CNN's Eoin McSweeney

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a virtual press conference inside 10 Downing Street in central London on October 31, 2020 to announce new lockdown restrictions in an effort to curb rising infections of the novel coronavirus
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a virtual press conference inside 10 Downing Street in central London on October 31, 2020 to announce new lockdown restrictions in an effort to curb rising infections of the novel coronavirus Alberto Pezzali/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Experts in the UK have questioned the Prime Minister's promise of mass community testing, saying it could be a "distraction" from other priorities, like the planning and rolling out of vaccines.

Liverpool is offering mass testing to its 500,000 residents, something which Boris Johnson would like to see implemented to all areas in tier 3 after the current lockdown ends next Wednesday.

This might not be possible due to the cost and resources needed, said the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) and the Faculty of Public Health (FPH) in a joint statement on Friday.

"There is an enormous price tag attached to this programme, and the resources and capacity needed come at a time of overwhelming and competing priorities, including making sure all those who are symptomatic get tested and self-isolate to planning and rolling out vaccines," read the statement.

Lateral flow testing, a rapid turnaround test that can process coronavirus samples on site without the need for laboratory equipment, was also piloted in Liverpool. However the ADPH and FPH warned the UK government that these pilots are still at an early stage and the reliability and accuracy of the tests "in different circumstances is evolving."

The leading UK health bodies also said setting up and managing the testing sites alone has required enormous "additional logistical capacity." Replicating this across the country at the same speed would be "difficult to envisage," they added.

They said that improving NHS Test and Trace must be the priority for testing.

"There is an enormous price tag attached to this programme, and the resources and capacity needed come at a time of overwhelming and competing priorities, including making sure all those who are symptomatic get tested and self-isolate to planning and rolling out vaccines," the ADPH and FPH concluded.

5:56 a.m. ET, November 28, 2020

Europe's ski resorts are facing the "season from hell"

From CNN's Rod Hodgetts

A professional athlete skis by chairlifts on Plan Maison ski run in the alpine ski resort of Breuil-Cervinia, northwestern Italy, on November 25.
A professional athlete skis by chairlifts on Plan Maison ski run in the alpine ski resort of Breuil-Cervinia, northwestern Italy, on November 25. Marco Bertorello/AFP via Getty Images

Skiers and snowboarders across Europe are experiencing a roller coaster ride as doubts build over when the mountains might open for sport this winter.

Until this week, there had been some optimism among ski industry experts, with hopes that the ski season would get underway before year's end, and perhaps the prospect of uncrowded slopes might help shrug off any fears of catching Covid.

But recent moves by Europe's politicians to delay or restrict the opening of the winter sports destinations, means fresh uncertainty both for the ski industry and for anyone hoping to make a booking.

It's now increasingly unlikely that Europe's ski season will get fully underway before 2021, and even then it could be subject to last-minute cancellations and closures. One operator has described it as a "season from hell."

Are you planning a ski trip to one of the continent's main snow sport destinations?

Here's what you need to know

5:13 a.m. ET, November 28, 2020

Why Oxford's Covid-19 vaccine could do more for the world than other shots

From CNN's Emma Reynolds

A volunteer receives an injection at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital on the outskirts of Johannesburg, on June 24 as part of South Africa's first participation in an Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine trial. 
A volunteer receives an injection at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital on the outskirts of Johannesburg, on June 24 as part of South Africa's first participation in an Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine trial.  Siphiwe Sibeko/Pool/AP

In the days since Oxford University and AstraZeneca unveiled the results of the partnership's Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trials, a growing number of questions have emerged.

The stated 70% average efficacy was significantly lower than the 94.5% to 95% reported by the other two leading candidates, Moderna and Pfizer.

Yet this vaccine could still prove to be more valuable for the world than the other two in the coming months. If the questions over its results are answered and it receives approval, it may lead the way in providing vaccine coverage in poorer countries where it is urgently needed.

The UK government took the first step in that approval process on Friday, announcing that it had formally referred the candidate to the UK's medicines regulator for assessment.

"[T]he Pfizer vaccine is committed to its initial doses going to the EU and the US. And Moderna's supply will be tied up with the US for at least probably the first half of 2021, so in light of that, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is really good news for the rest of the world," Andrea Taylor, assistant director of programs at Duke Global Health Innovation Center, told CNN.

AstraZeneca has promised to supply hundreds of millions of doses to low and middle income countries and to deliver the vaccine on a not-for-profit basis to those nations in perpetuity. The vaccine developed at England's Oxford University is significantly cheaper than the others and, crucially, it would be far easier to transport and distribute in developing countries than its rivals since it does not need to be stored at freezing temperatures.

"I think it's the only vaccine that can be used in those settings at the current time," Azra Ghani, chair in infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial College London, told CNN.

Read the full story here

#Vaccines##

4:25 a.m. ET, November 28, 2020

US is "rounding the corner into a calamity," expert says, with Covid-19 deaths projected to double soon

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

Medical workers administer Covid-19 tests at a drive-thru testing site in San Francisco, California, on Thursday, November 19.
Medical workers administer Covid-19 tests at a drive-thru testing site in San Francisco, California, on Thursday, November 19. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

As Thanksgiving week draws to an end, more experts are warning the Covid-19 pandemic will likely get much worse in the coming weeks before a possible vaccine begins to offer some relief.

More than 205,000 new cases were reported Friday -- which likely consists of both Thursday and Friday reports in some cases, as at least 20 states did not report Covid-19 numbers on Thanksgiving.

The US has now reported more than 100,000 infections every day for 25 consecutive days and hospitalizations remain at record high levels -- with more than 89,800 patients reported nationwide Friday, according to the COVID Tracking Project. A record was set just a day earlier, with a staggering 90,481 hospitalizations, according to the project. And the nation recorded a daily death toll of less than 1,000 only twice this week -- while the two days prior to Thanksgiving each saw more than 2,000 American deaths reported.

And while there is more good news on the vaccine front, for now Americans need to "hunker down" and prepare for a difficult winter ahead, according to Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and a visiting professor at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

"We cannot let our guard down," she told CNN Friday night. "The vaccines will make a big difference in the spring and the summer; they're not going to make a difference right now."

She also advised anyone who traveled to visit with family and friends or hosted guests outside their immediate household unit to quarantine.

Read the full story here