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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7:35 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Trump coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Jim Acosta

Dr. Scott Atlas attends a news conference at the White House on August 4.
Dr. Scott Atlas attends a news conference at the White House on August 4. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Dr. Scott Atlas, a highly controversial member of the White House's coronavirus task force, has resigned from his post in the Trump administration, according to a person who works with the task force.

Another source close to the task force said the departure of Atlas comes as welcome news as his discredited theories will no longer have a seat at the table.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

7:29 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Congress should not recess for Christmas without a coronavirus stimulus deal, lawmaker says

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin called on congressional leadership in both chambers to delay any holiday break for lawmakers until they manage to enact an economic relief package for Americans suffering financially from Covid-19.

"When I talk to my peers, my Democratic peers, my Republican peers, we should not be going home for Christmas without a Covid deal,” Slotkin, who represents Michigan's 8th congressional district, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday.

"If the rest of the country is going to be so worried, so concerned and so just on edge about what is going to happen to their small business, on unemployment, we shouldn't be going home and enjoying Christmas with our families until and unless we get a deal," she added. 

The final votes for the year in the House are currently scheduled for Dec. 10, which is the first night of Hanukkah, while the upper chamber is scheduled to begin a state work period on Dec. 21, which lasts until the end of the year.

Slotkin also chastised congressional leadership for allowing the election to pass without first securing a relief package. 

"There is blame to go around," she said, when Blitzer asked if the absence of stimulus package might have cost Democrats seats in the House, which they control. "... I think the election and the politics around the election and other things just got in the middle of it. I feel strongly... everyone should have locked themselves in a negotiating room until they got a deal."

"People are looking to see that the government can get something done, right?" she added. "...I expect the same of my own leadership and leadership in the Senate and then the White House between now and Christmas."


7:37 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

NFL postpones Ravens-Steelers game for third time due to Covid-19

From CNN's David Close and Jill Martin

 Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images
 Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

The NFL has postponed the game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers for a third time. The game originally scheduled for Thanksgiving, was first postponed to Sunday and then again to Tuesday.

The game is now set for Wednesday at 3:40 p.m. ET in Pittsburgh. 

The Ravens have been struggling to manage a coronavirus outbreak within the team. Since facing the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 22, the Ravens have placed 21 players on the team’s Reserve/Covid-19 list. As of Monday afternoon, the team’s website states that 19 of those players remain on the list.

The NFL describes the Reserve/Covid-19 list as being for players who either test positive for Covid-19 or who have been quarantined after having been in close contact with an infected person or persons.

“As we continue to follow the advice of the NFL’s health experts, as well as the Ravens’ medical professionals, we are preparing for our game against the Steelers," the Ravens said in a statement. “This evening, we hosted a safely distanced walk-through/conditioning session at the Under Armour Performance Center. Players arrived already prepared to work out on the field, and they did not enter the locker room or training room."

“We intend to hold another walk-through session on Tuesday, in preparation for traveling to Pittsburgh Tuesday evening," the team said.

The NFL has yet to cancel a 2020 regular season game.

7:09 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

"Urgent actions" are needed in federal government's response to coronavirus pandemic, new report says 

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

The federal government must take “urgent actions” in its response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report from the US Government Accountability Office.

For example, the GAO report found medical supply shortages persist, despite efforts made by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to mitigate shortages and expand the supply chain.

States and US territories are concerned about ongoing shortages of some Covid-19 testing materials and medical supplies, including rapid point-of-care tests and reagents needed for testing and nitrile gloves, an October GAO survey found.

About one-third of states that responded to the October survey said they were “greatly” or “completely” concerned about having enough vaccine-related supplies to administer a potential Covid-19 vaccine. Another 21 states said they were “moderately concerned.”

The GAO made recommendations to HHS and FEMA in September, but they have not been implemented.

“In light of the surge in COVID-19 cases, along with reported shortages, including GAO’s nationwide survey findings, GAO underscores the critical imperative for HHS and FEMA to implement GAO’s September 2020 recommendations,” the independent agency, the investigative arm of Congress, said.

The new report is also concerned with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s changes in testing strategy and guidance, saying the CDC has not been transparent about the changes.

“GAO recommends that HHS ensure that CDC clearly discloses the scientific rationale for any change to testing guidelines at the time the change is made,” the report said.

The GAO report made 11 recommendations for improving the federal pandemic response. It recommended that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services quickly develop a plan to respond to 27 recommendations in the Coronavirus Commission on Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes analysis, a report released on Sept. 16.

The GAO report also recommended the Department of Veterans Affairs develop a plan to inspect state veterans homes and “should collect timely data on COVID-19 cases and deaths in each state’s veterans homes.”

7:44 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Fauci: "All things considered, we're not in a good place"

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

From Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook
From Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook

With coronavirus cases already at record-breaking levels, the US may see an additional surge just before Christmas, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday.

“All things considered, we’re not in a good place,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Monday.

Too many people have traveled and gathered for Thanksgiving, he said.

“Because of the travel and people congregating for meals, et cetera, you don't see any difference for a day, two, three, five days,” he said. “You’ll see the difference two or three weeks from now, which would put it right at the time that people would be traveling for Christmas.”

Though a coronavirus vaccine is on the horizon, Fauci urged people not to let their guard down.

“We have it within our power to get ourselves through this until we ultimately get a vaccine,” Fauci said.

He emphasized the importance of adhering to five basic public health measures: wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds, doing activities outdoors instead of indoors and washing hands.

Universal mask-wearing is particularly important, Fauci noted, because the virus is being spread by people who may not look sick.

“The infection in the community level now is driven by people who are without symptoms, because about 40 to 45% of the people who are infected have no symptoms,” he said. “We know that a substantial proportion of the people who get infected, get infected from someone who doesn't even know they're infected.”

Watch: Dr. Fauci sends message of encouragement:

6:47 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Moderna confirms it filed for FDA emergency authorization for its coronavirus vaccine

From CNN’s Maggie Fox

Moderna headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Moderna headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Matthew Healey/AFP/Getty Images

Vaccine maker Moderna says it has filed for emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine.

“Moderna’s data for the Emergency Use Authorization request for mRNA-1273 has been submitted to the U.S. FDA,” the company said in a tweet from its official Twitter account.

Earlier, the US Food and Drug Administration said it had scheduled a meeting of its vaccine advisers, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, for December 17 to consider Moderna’s EUA. But the FDA cannot confirm the submission. Only the company can do so – and now it has.

6:58 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

New York governor worried about "overwhelming the hospital system"

From CNN's Sarah Jorgensen

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers a Covid-19 update in Rochester, New York, on November 25.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers a Covid-19 update in Rochester, New York, on November 25. Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo/AP

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that state will begin using hospitalizations as a main metric to determine cluster zones and closures across the state

Hospitalization rates are increasing across the state, 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.

The governor said he is talking to hospital administrators across the state.

"We want to know where they are today with their capacity, with their PPE, et cetera," Cuomo said. "We learned this lesson the hard way. We have about 54,000 hospital beds in this state, we were told we would need about 120,000. We lived this nightmare. We learned from this nightmare, and we're going to correct for the lessons we learned during this nightmare."

"We're not going to live through the nightmare of overwhelmed hospitals again," he later said.

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

In addition to using hospitalizations as a main metric to trigger zone designations and closures, Cuomo also outlined four additional strategies the state will employ to combat the spread of Covid-19: increasing testing across the state, working towards vaccine distributions, keeping schools open safely and keeping the 10 person limit on private gatherings that the governor announced earlier in the fall.

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

He also emphasized the importance of having a balanced distribution of testing among various groups — health care workers, school workers and the general traveling population.

On the vaccine, he 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 be doing outreach to Black and brown communities, as well as lower income communities.

6:42 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

California governor says state's intensive care unit capacity could be overrun by Christmas Eve

From CNN's Holly Yan and Madeline Holcombe

Medical personnel treat a Covid-19 patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles on November 19.
Medical personnel treat a Covid-19 patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles on November 19. Jae C. Hong/AP

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he is considering "drastic action," including reinstating a stay-at-home order, as projections show the surge of Covid-19 cases will cause the state's intensive care unit capacity to be overrun by Christmas Eve.

Hospitalizations could double or triple within the next month if there are no major changes, he said. They are expected to reach 78% of capacity statewide with even higher numbers in Southern California and other areas, Newsom said in a news conference.

"If these trends continue, California will need to take drastic action," Newsom said from home, where he is quarantined with his family.

Los Angeles County reported today a total of 400,919 confirmed cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, a grim new milestone as the virus continues to "run rampant through almost every part of the county,” the county's Health Director Barbara Ferrer said during a news conference.

Daily hospitalizations in Los Angeles also sharply increased 93% over the past week, according to latest county health data. There are currently 2,185 Covid-19 patients hospitalized in Los Angeles and it is very possible that the daily number of people hospitalized will soon be over 2,500, Ferrer said.

CNN's Alexandra Meeks contributed to this report.

6:14 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Pfizer almost finished enrolling volunteers in clinical trial of Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN's Samira Said

Pfizer is almost finished enrolling volunteers in its Phase 3 clinical trial of a Covid-19 vaccine.

The company has stated it plans to enroll approximately 44,000 participants. On Monday, it announced the addition of 270 more volunteers, bringing the current enrollment to 43,931 people.

More than 42,722 participants have received their second vaccination.

A final analysis of the Phase 3 trial of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine showed it was 95% effective in preventing infections and caused no serious safety concerns, the company said previously.