Birx says she hopes to begin briefing the Biden team on Monday
From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas
Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force told CBS that she hopes to start briefing the Biden-Harris team on Monday.
“Because what’s really critical is we’ve spent that last nine months really developing sophisticated databases that are bringing together information from across the country down to the county level. We can see who’s being admitted, we can see who’s getting sick, we can see where this virus is moving in communities,” she said on "Face the Nation" on Sunday.
Birx said that the one thing that will be bought to the Biden team in that discussion is to understand how they want to see the data.
“Data isn’t helpful is it’s not actionable, and each group needs to see it the way it makes them, moves to action,” she said. “That’s why we write the governors report weekly to really ensure every governor understand what we’re seeing and what we think needs to be done.”
12:15 p.m. ET, November 29, 2020
New York City public schools will begin reopening in-person learning in early December, mayor says
New York City public schools grades 3-k, Pre-k, and K-5th grade will begin reopening for in-person learning Dec. 7, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Schools will begin reopening in phases, de Blasio said.
Students will be tested weekly and parents will be required to sign a consent form for every student that will take in-person classes, de Blasio said.
“It’s less concern about the spread when it comes to younger kids,” de Blasio said.
Nearly 300,000 students are eligible to return to school, according to de Blasio.
District 75 schools, which provide specialized instruction for students with significant needs, will reopen beginning Dec. 10, de Blasio said
Schools are moving to five-days a week of in-person classes as much as possible, the mayor said.
12:00 p.m. ET, November 29, 2020
White House coronavirus task force member says families who gathered at Thanksgiving should get tested
From CNN's Leanna Faulk
In order to mitigate the spread of the virus, White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Deborah Birx, is encouraging Americans to get tested for Covid-19.
“If you're young and you gathered, you need to be tested about five to 10 days later,” Birz told CBS. “You need to assume that you're infected and not go near your grandparents and aunts and others without a mask.”
Birx said that people over the age of 65 should get tested immediately if they develop any symptoms.
“If you're over 65 or you have comorbidities and you gathered at Thanksgiving – if you develop any symptoms, you need to be tested immediately,” Birx said.
Birx also encouraged families who gathered for Thanksgiving to consider wearing a mask while inside their homes in order to protect their loved ones from possibly contracting the virus.
11:45 a.m. ET, November 29, 2020
Maryland reports nearly 2,000 new cases of Covid-19
From CNN's Sheena Jones
Maryland reports 1,999 new cases of Covid-19 and the state has a test positivity rate of 6.53%, according to information on the state’s department of health website.
The state reported 23 additional deaths on Sunday, the website said.
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 our Covid tracker.
12:03 p.m. ET, November 29, 2020
Fauci says Americans should have confidence in the Covid-19 vaccine distribution plans
From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC that Americans should have confidence in distribution plans for a Covid-19 vaccine due to a long history of vaccine distribution, despite problems with testing strategies.
“The reason that we should feel more confident about that, Chuck, is that we have a long, long history of the distribution of vaccines,” Fauci told Chuck Todd on Sunday.
While it isn’t to the extent that vaccine goes to 300 million people, every year the system is set up so that they distribute 80 million or more vaccines, he said on "Meet the Press."
“This isn’t something that they’ve done just for the first time, obviously you’re going to want to scale it up because the numbers are going to be greater,” he said.
More details: There are a couple of aspects to getting vaccine into the arm of someone who needs it, Fauci said.
The first is to get transport from where it is being made and stored to the localities that need it, which Fauci said is being handled by General Gus Perna and the military.
Once the vaccine gets there, the state and local authorities are responsible for the distribution.
“The part about 300 million doses getting shipped is going to be taken care of by people who know how to do that,” he said. “The part at the distal end, namely getting into people's arms, is going to be more challenging than just the regular flu season. I think you'd be foolish to deny that. But I think it's going to be able to be done because the local people have done that in the past. Hopefully, they'll get the resources to help them to do that.”
11:15 a.m. ET, November 29, 2020
Fauci: "Close the bars and keep the schools open" in New York City
From CNN's Leanna Faulk
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said bars and indoor-seated restaurants should be closed to prioritize re-opening schools in New York City.
“Close the bars and keep the schools open,” Fauci told ABC on Sunday.
Fauci said in order to keep schools open, Americans must continue to stop the spread of the virus within the community.
“Let's try to get the kids back, and let's try to mitigate the things that maintain and just push the kind of community spread that we're trying to avoid,” Fauci said. “And those are the things that you know well – the bars, the restaurants where you have capacity seating indoors without masks.”
“Those are the things that drive the community spread – not the schools,” he said.”
11:10 a.m. ET, November 29, 2020
White House testing czar says he's confident the administration's vaccine distribution plan will work
From CNN's Naomi Thomas
Adm. Brett Giroir, the White House’s coronavirus testing czar, responded on Sunday to a question from CNN about whether it would be a mistake for the Biden team to change the vaccine distribution plan.
CNN's Dana Bash quoted Giroir’s message to the Biden administration team from earlier in the week as “you need to let it work.”
“Obviously we think the plan that’s there is pretty optimum,” Giroir said. “There was formal meetings with Operation Warp Speed last week with the Biden transition team, I’m told that meeting went extremely well.”
Giroir also gave the reminder that almost everyone on Operation Warp Speed, “who’s actually delivering the vaccine and controlling the logistics, they’ll be there on January 19, they’ll be there on January 21.”
“So, I believe there’ll be a smooth, professional transition,” he said.
He said to remember that they’re starting with about 40 million doses of vaccine, already this year there have been 180 million flu vaccines distributed.
“Now the logistics are more difficult and the cold chain is more difficult, but I really am confident in the plan to get it, and particularly get it to the states and get it to the high risk populations,” he said.
“This is a lifesaving vaccines. This puts an end to the pandemic. This the way we get out of the pandemic, the light is at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “But the American people have to do the right things until we get that vaccine widely distributed, wear a mask, avoid indoor crowded spaces, all the things you know.”
On testing, Giroir said that the US is doing more than enough.
“We’re doing everything we can possibly do on testing,” he told CNN.
“We have our first home based test, it's only available about 100,000 per month, but we're going to continue to invest, knock down every door to get the technologies and to scale up,” he said. “We would ultimately like to get to a point in time where we do a lot more asymptomatic testing.”
10:38 a.m. ET, November 29, 2020
Mississippi surpasses 150,000 total Covid-19 cases
From CNN's Kay Jones
Mississippi Department of Health has reported its second highest daily total of new Covid-19 cases on Sunday as the state surpasses 150,000 total cases.
The 1,845 new cases reported on Sunday brings the state's total number of confirmed cases to 151,785.
Hospitalizations are increasing statewide, with 971 patients currently hospitalized with the virus. This is up from 618 patients on Nov. 7, according to the dashboard. Of those, 245 patients are currently in the intensive care unit.
There are 27 new deaths being reported on Sunday, with nine of those occurring between Friday and Saturday, the state's dashboard shows. The total number of deaths in Mississippi since the start of the pandemic now stands at 3,806.
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 our Covid tracker.
10:54 a.m. ET, November 29, 2020
White House testing czar says Americans who traveled during Thanksgiving should get tested
From CNN Health’s Leanna Faulk
Adm. Brett Giroir, the White House's coronavirus testing czar, said today if you’ve done any traveling over the holidays, you should get tested.
“Just remember you've had an increased risk of being exposed, so you should decrease unnecessary activities for about a week, and if you can get tested in three or five days that's also a very good idea,” Giroir told CNN on Sunday.
Giroir said he is concerned about a possible surge in cases and hospitalizations as travel increases.
“There certainly can be a surge because of the travel and the mixing of people who have not been in their own little pods,” he said. “We are at a risky time because of the travel and again, it's not just the travel, but it's exposing people who have not been sort of in their own pods.”
“Our hospitalizations are peaking right now at about 95,000,” he said. “About 20% of all people in the hospital have Covid, so this is a really dangerous time.”
Unless you’ve come into contact with someone for longer than 15 minutes who has tested positive for Covid-19, it is not recommended that you quarantine after gathering for Thanksgiving, according to Giroir.
“That's not recommended to have a quarantine after travel unless you've had a direct exposure to a person with Covid for 15 minutes in close contact,” he said.
“Make really sure you adhere 100% to mask wearing to avoid crowds because you could inadvertently have gotten Covid and spread it, so just be careful during the week after your travel because you are at increased risk,” Giroir said.