November 30 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Brett McKeehan, Emma Reynolds, Ed Upright, Jo Shelley, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0504 GMT (1304 HKT) December 1, 2020
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11:48 a.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Los Angeles County's stay-at-home order goes into effect today. Here's what you need to know.

From CNN's Jon Passantino

Clouds move over the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles on November 7.
Clouds move over the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles on November 7. Damian Dovarganes/AP

All public and private gatherings with people outside a single household are banned in Los Angeles County starting today under a new health order to curb an unprecedented spread of the coronavirus.

The order is in effect for three weeks, until Dec. 20. 

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials issued the order Friday, urging all of the county’s 10 million residents to stay home as much as possible and to wear face coverings when they are outside, even when exercising at the beach and parks. The directive also orders the closure of all playgrounds and cardrooms. While beaches, trails and parks remain open, only gatherings from a single household are allowed.

The order also reduces the maximum occupancy for essential businesses to 35%, and for non-essential businesses, personal care services, and libraries to 20%. Businesses operating outdoors, including fitness centers, zoos, botanical gardens, and batting cages are reduced to a maximum of 50% capacity. The order exempts outdoor church services and protests, which are constitutionally protected rights, the county said. 

The new restrictions come after the nation’s most populous county reported a record number of new Covid-19 infections and the most deaths in months. The directive is in addition to a controversial new ban on outdoor dining in L.A. County, and a statewide curfew prohibiting nonessential activity outside the home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. local time for the vast majority of residents. 

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, however, said it will not enforce the county’s new stay-at-home order, instead relying on voluntary compliance.

“Since the first Stay at Home Order was issued in March of this year, we have focused on education and voluntary compliance, with enforcement measures being an extreme last resort,” the sheriff’s department said in a statement to CNN. “We trust in the community and rely on people to assess risk and take precautions as appropriate.”

As of Sunday, Los Angeles County has reported 395,843 confirmed cases of Covid-19 to date and 7,639 deaths. The county 7-day positivity rate average is 6.9%.

11:18 a.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Maryland reports highest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations since May

From CNN’s Andy Rose

The number of Maryland coronavirus patients in the hospital is at a six-month high, according to new figures released Monday by the state's Department of Health.

The state reports 1,527 Covid-19 patients in their hospitals, including 344 in intensive care. The last time Maryland saw a figure that high was May 14.

The seven-day rolling average shows a positivity rate of 6.5%, with 1,923 new cases reported in the last 24 hours. Maryland has confirmed 198,370 cases of Covid-19, with 4,486 deaths.

Note: These numbers were released by the Maryland Department of Health and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

11:17 a.m. ET, November 30, 2020

American Airlines is running Covid-19 vaccine distribution test flights

From Greg Wallace

The American Airlines logo is seen at John F. Kennedy Airport on May 13 in Queens, New York.
The American Airlines logo is seen at John F. Kennedy Airport on May 13 in Queens, New York. Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

American Airlines said Monday it is readying wide-body airliners and ground cargo facilities for the unique challenges of transporting coronavirus vaccines.   

The airline said it has operated Boeing 777 jets on trial flights between Miami and unspecified points in South America this month.  

“The trial flights stimulate the conditions required for the COVID-19 vaccine to stress test the thermal packaging and operational handling process that will ultimately ensure it remains stable as it moves across the globe,” the airline said in a statement.  

American said it has already shipped vaccines and specimens used in the coronavirus vaccine clinical trials.   

The vaccines require “special handling to keep a consistently cold temperature throughout their journey,” American said. It uses two types of containers: Active containers that contain temperature controlling technology and passive containers that keep shipments chilled with cold packs or dry ice.  

The airline says it has technology to track the vaccines during shipment.  

11:12 a.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Here's how Christmas in Rockefeller Center will look different this year

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

People skate at The Rink at Rockefeller Center near the newly unveiled Christmas Tree on November 28 in New York City, New York.
People skate at The Rink at Rockefeller Center near the newly unveiled Christmas Tree on November 28 in New York City, New York. Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

If you want to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree in New York City in person this year, there will be several restrictions you will have to follow.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the process for viewing the tree will include reserved time slots, restrictions on the number of people in pods viewing at one time and a 5 minute time limit.

Here's what will be different:

  • There will be a reservation system for people who want to see the tree in person, de Blasio said, calling it “a different approach” but one that will “keep people safe.”
  • Two streets near the tree, 49th and 50th streets between 5th and 6th avenues, will be closed to vehicular traffic. Tree viewing entrances will be designated to certain spots only.
  • There will be a 5 minute tree viewing limit, according to de Blasio. Guests will be directed to pods where 4 people are allowed at a time.
  • There will also be a virtual que, which will allow patrons to scan a QR code to see wait times. 

Later this week he said the lighting will be “live and on television,” adding “you’re going to see the ceremony the tree lighting and that’s the best way to see it, to feel that moment that we cherish every year when the lights go on and another reminder of the beauty of the holiday season,” he said. 

10:43 a.m. ET, November 30, 2020

NYC mayor stresses testing in the “aftermath of Thanksgiving”

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during an interview on November 30.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during an interview on November 30. CNN

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is urging people to follow state guidelines and get tested for Covid-19 in the “aftermath of Thanksgiving."

He noted even if individuals did not travel, they should get tested. 

“The best way to address everything is through testing," de Blasio said.

The city has the “highest testing capacity” to date, he said, and has increased staff and moved mobile units to the busiest testing sites.

NYC Health and Hospitals will tweet about low wait times at certain places a few times a day, and will also launch Testandtrace.NYC which will update wait times at 51 sites. 

A Test and Trace official said at least 1 in 5 cases investigated by the contact tracing program in recent weeks has been found to be due to household transmission. The city is promoting the slogan “don’t wait, separate” and reminded of its programs designed to help set up individuals with a hotel room should that be needed. 

10:38 a.m. ET, November 30, 2020

US could be administering two coronavirus vaccines before Christmas, HHS secretary says

From CNN's Andrea Diaz

United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar speaks to the press in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on November 20 in Washington, DC.
United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar speaks to the press in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on November 20 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Distribution of Covid-19 vaccines could begin within weeks, pending authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.

“We could be seeing both of these vaccines out and getting into people's arms before Christmas,” Azar said.

An FDA advisory committee is scheduled to discuss Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine on December 10.

“We could be looking at approval within days after that," Azar said during an interview with “CBS This Morning” on Monday. 

Pfizer applied to the FDA for emergency use authorization earlier this month and Moderna said it would apply on Monday. The FDA committee is expected to consider Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine on December 17.

10:33 a.m. ET, November 30, 2020

This Texas woman has a warning after her whole family contracted Covid at a birthday party

Alexa Aragonez speaks during an interview on November 30.
Alexa Aragonez speaks during an interview on November 30. CNN

After 12 of her family members gathered for a birthday party in Texas, at least 15 people contracted Covid-19.

Now, Alexa Aragonez has a message: this could happen to you.

"It's a lesson for not only my family, but a message that everyone should listen to at least for a little bit and understand – that this family could be yours and at any moment in time your world can change because of Covid-19," she told CNN on Monday.

Aragonez said that while most of her family was able to successful fight the virus, her mom was hospitalized and is still dealing with long-term cardiovascular complications.

She said she thinks gathering isn't something that is unique to her family, especially during the holiday season.

"It's very common to think that a family that's taking great care of themselves and following most of the CDC guidelines thinks it has some flexibility to gather," Aragonez said. "Unfortunately there are so many of us that do the same thing, and my family came together and thought this was a message worth sharing."

Watch part of the interview here:

9:48 a.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Stocks open mixed

From CNN’s Anneken S. Tappe

US stocks kicked off mixed on Monday, which is the final trading day of November. Nevertheless, the market is set to close off a historic month.

The Dow is on track for its best month since January 1987. The Nasdaq Composite, which hit a record closing high on Friday, could once again surpass that mark.

Investors expect the economy to undergo a rebound next year thanks to multiple reports of promising vaccine developments.

Here's where things opened:

  • The Dow opened 0.5%, or 149 point, lower.
  • The S&P 500 slipped 0.2%.
  • The Nasdaq opened 0.2% higher.
9:38 a.m. ET, November 30, 2020

CVS and Walgreens are preparing to administer Covid-19 vaccines in long-term care facilities

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

CVS and Walgreens are preparing to be among the first to administer Covid-19 shots in the United States, if the US Food and Drug Administration authorizes emergency use of a vaccine. Those vaccinations would take place in long-term care facilities, not in retail stores. 

In October, the Trump administration announced agreements with CVS and Walgreens to give vaccinations to residents of long-term care facilities nationwide. Advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called an emergency meeting tomorrow to vote, in part, on whether to recommend that residents in those facilities be among the first people in the US to get a coronavirus vaccine.

CVS anticipates providing shots in long-term care facilities in mid-December.

"We’ll be ready to administer COVID-19 vaccines in long-term care facilities in mid-December based on anticipated emergency use authorization for one or more vaccine candidates," said T.J. Crawford, a CVS spokesperson.

Walgreens expects to begin administering shots in long-term care facilities within days of receiving doses.

"We are committed to administering vaccines to long-term care facilities as soon as we receive doses. We believe we can be in some long-term care facilities within a few days of when we receive the first vaccine doses," a Walgreens corporate spokesperson told CNN Monday.