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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2:07 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

New York outlines 5 new strategies to combat the spread of Covid-19

From CNN's Sarah Jorgensen

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a press conference on September 8, in New York.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a press conference on September 8, in New York. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

In addition to using hospitalizations as a main metric to trigger zone designations and closures, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also outlined four additional strategies the state will employ to combat the spread of Covid-19.

They are:

  • Increasing testing across the state
  • Working toward vaccine distributions
  • Keeping schools open safely
  • Keeping the 10-person limit on private gatherings that the governor announced earlier in the fall

On schools, Cuomo said that the goal was to keep grades K-8 open wherever it was safe. The state will implement testing on a weekly basis for schools in orange and red zones.

On the vaccine, Cuomo said that delivery could start in the next few weeks, and that he is working with fellow governors on distribution plans, but noting that widespread distribution will likely not occur until "late spring or early summer."

He noted that the state will do outreach to black and brown communities, as well as lower income communities.

On testing, Cuomo emphasized the importance of having a balanced distribution of testing among various groups — healthcare workers, school workers, the general traveling population.

Statewide, New York has a 4.5% positivity rate currently, Cuomo said.

12:51 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Third consecutive Florida State football game called off

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

A general view of a Florida State Seminoles Helmet on the field at Doak Campbell Stadium on December 2, 2017.
A general view of a Florida State Seminoles Helmet on the field at Doak Campbell Stadium on December 2, 2017. Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

For the third consecutive week, Florida State’s football team will not take the field. 

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) announced Monday that the scheduled game between Florida State and Duke will not be played on Saturday, and instead the conference has scheduled a new game between Duke and Miami for that date.  

Miami’s previously scheduled December 5 game against Wake Forest was postponed over the weekend by the ACC due to Covid-19 issues within the Wake Forest football program.

Florida State’s Nov. 21 game against Clemson was previously postponed, as was the team’s Nov. 28 game against Virginia.

12:58 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

What questions do you have about a possible Covid-19 vaccine?

From CNN's Melissa Mahtani

The Moderna headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on May 18, 2020.
The Moderna headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on May 18, 2020. Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

There’s been some more promising news on the vaccine front.

This morning, Moderna announced it will become the second pharmaceutical company to apply to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization of its Covid-19 vaccine.

Earlier this month, Pfizer and BioNTech submitted their coronavirus vaccine candidate to the FDA.

If either submission is approved, Covid-19 vaccines could be available within the US before the end of the year.

However, despite the good news, there are still many questions that need to be answered and many logistics that will need to be worked out.

While the experts meet to answer those questions, we want to hear what's on your mind.

Would you take a Covid-19 vaccine once it becomes available? If not, why not? Leave your vaccine questions here and we will try to find you some answers.

12:44 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

New York will begin using hospitalizations as main metric to trigger closures, governor says

From CNN's Sarah Jorgensen

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at a press conference on September 8, in New York.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at a press conference on September 8, in New York. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York state will begin using hospitalizations as a main metric to determine cluster zones and closures across the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in a news conference on Monday. 

The shift is the first of five new strategies that the governor has said he will outline on Monday to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Hospitalization rates are increasing across the state — there are currently over 3,500, Gov. Cuomo said, adding that "every region is dealing with a hospital issue now," and that capacity is the top concern. 

“We are now worried about overwhelming the hospital system," Cuomo said. 

New York is entering a "new phase in the war against Covid," he said at the top of his presser. 

“Covid is shifting the battlefield dramatically," Cuomo said. 

The colder weather combined with more people traveling and the start of the holiday season are all factors in this new phase, but Cuomo noted that with the upcoming holidays we could see a "holiday surge on top of a fall surge." 

The governor noted that in, in good news, schools are doing well, saying it was "astonishing" how low the infection rate is in schools.

12:31 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

NBA's Charlotte Hornets will not host fans at the start of the season

From CNN's Dan Kamal 

The Charlotte Hornets logo at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, on October 17, 2018.
The Charlotte Hornets logo at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, on October 17, 2018. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Charlotte Hornets home games will be played without fans when the 2020-21 season begins next month. 

The NBA franchise made the announcement Monday, adding in a statement that it “will continue to work with state and local health officials, as well as the NBA, to develop a plan that will allow fans to return…in both a safe and timely manner.”

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks also announced plans to stage early-season games without fans.

Several NBA franchises – including the Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz – have announced plans to host fans at a reduced capacity when the season begins.

12:26 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Pennsylvania's current Covid-19 hospitalizations “clearly surpassed” spring peak, official says

From CNN’s Alec Snyder

Pedestrians walk past a sign on a parking garage in Mount Lebanon, Pennslyvania, reminding people to wear a mask, on Wednesday, November 18.
Pedestrians walk past a sign on a parking garage in Mount Lebanon, Pennslyvania, reminding people to wear a mask, on Wednesday, November 18. Gene J. Puskar/AP

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said that the state has 4,405 people hospitalized due to Covid-19 as of 8:00 a.m. Monday morning, a number that “clearly surpassed” the state’s highest numbers in the spring.

Of those hospitalized, 914 patients are in the intensive care unit, with 465 on ventilators, Levine said in a Monday news conference. The state’s 14-day hospitalization-per-day trend has also increased by more than 3,000 since the end of September, she said.

Pennsylvania is reporting 4,268 new cases Monday and 5,178 cases from Sunday, with 32 new deaths Monday and 75 on Sunday. The statewide positivity rate hovers just below 12% and only one county has a positivity rate below 5%, she said.

Nearly 28,000 cases have been reported among children from ages 5 to 18, Levine said, 8,150 of which have been reported in the last two weeks alone.

Note: These numbers were released by the Pennsylvania 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.

12:53 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Moderna executive says distribution of company’s vaccine will be “typical”

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen

In this January 27, still image from video, Moderna Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks speaks during an interview at the company headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.
In this January 27, still image from video, Moderna Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks speaks during an interview at the company headquarters in Cambridge, Mass. Rodrique Ngowi/AP

Distribution of Moderna’s vaccine will be “typical” and require no special handling or storage, the company’s chief medical officer told CNN Sunday. 

Moderna’s vaccine must be shipped and stored at minus 20 degrees Celsius, or about the temperature of a home freezer. Other vaccines, such as the one against chicken pox, also require shipping at that temperature. 

“I don’t think from a distribution standpoint [that] our vaccine poses any unique challenges,” said Dr. Tal Zaks. “Our vaccine does not require any unusual infrastructure.” 

The company said it is applying for emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration Monday. The agency is scheduled to meet with its advisory committee on December 17 to review the application. 

The federal government, which has contracted with McKesson, a medical distribution company, will handle the distribution of Moderna’s vaccine, Zaks said. 

“We’re working closely with [Operation Warp Speed] and the [US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] to prepare for that once hopefully we have the emergency use authorization,” he said, adding that the distribution will involve both trucks and airplanes, he said. 

When people receive the Moderna vaccine, they’ll be given instructions for how to report if they experience any side effects, Zaks said. 

Patients will be given phone numbers for both the company and the FDA to make those reports so that Moderna can track any adverse reactions once the vaccine is on the market. In clinical trials, some study subjects did experience symptoms such as body aches and fatigue, but no serious side effects, according to the company.

11:54 a.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Covid-19 vaccine’s quick assembly does not mean it's not safe, Moderna chairman says 

From CNN's Andrea Diaz

Moderna chairman Noubar Afeyan speaks during an interview on November 30.
Moderna chairman Noubar Afeyan speaks during an interview on November 30. CNN

Moderna’s ability to assemble its coronavirus vaccine just days after receiving the genetic sequence of the virus from China does not indicate it’s any less safe or effective than vaccines made using slower technology, Moderna chairman Noubar Afeyan said during an interview with CNN Monday.

"We have simply found a way to do this using a code molecule. That's what messenger RNA is. Like DNA, it is an effectively an information marker," Afeyan said. "That is why we're able to take the information from the virus and turn around and make the RNA within a few days. That is not at all an indication of safety and efficacy et cetera. It's simply in the nature of the technology we've pioneered that we're able to do that."

Moderna’s vaccine was made using a “platform” that was designed over many years, with all the structure ready to go when the pandemic hit. All that was needed was a genetic sequence from the virus doctors wanted to protect against.

Afeyan also said the testing the company has done in partnership with the US federal government and academic centers in the last 10 months is as rigorous, if not more, than most other vaccines that have developed. 

"There is a sentiment out there that if you go fast, you must be taking corners. At least in our case, and I believe in everyone's case, that's simply not the case," Afeyan said.

WATCH MORE HERE:

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%.