November 4 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Steve George, Zamira Rahim, Lauren Kent, Ed Upright, Rob Picheta and Hira Humayun, CNN

Updated 1:01 AM ET, Thu November 5, 2020
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5:52 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Poland reports record rise in cases

From CNN's Antonia Mortensen

Health care workers wear personal protective equipment in an intensive care unit of Krakow University Hospital, Poland, on November 3.
Health care workers wear personal protective equipment in an intensive care unit of Krakow University Hospital, Poland, on November 3. Omar Marques/Getty Images

Poland reported a record 24,692 new coronavirus infections and 373 deaths on Wednesday, according to the country's health ministry.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki is expected to hold a press conference Wednesday amid the surge, where he is expected to announce further measures to combat the virus.

Restrictions have also been imposed across Europe. England is set to enter lockdown from midnight Thursday, Germany's softer, so-called "lockdown light" restrictions began on Monday and Austria started a nationwide lockdown on Tuesday.

Meanwhile Ukraine reported a record 9,524 new cases in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Wednesday.

These record case counts come just days after the World Health Organization said that Europe has once again become the epicenter of the global pandemic.

4:53 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Here's why you can test negative for Covid-19 but still be infected and contagious

From CNN's Holly Yan

A nurse hands a sample to a medical assistant at a Covid-19 testing site in Boston on October 22.
A nurse hands a sample to a medical assistant at a Covid-19 testing site in Boston on October 22. Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe

If you think a negative test result means you don't have coronavirus, you could be wrong -- it can take days before a new infection shows up on a Covid-19 test. It is possible to be harboring the virus, but be testing negative and have no symptoms in the early stages of infection.

So if you want to get tested as a precaution before seeing friends or family, here's what you need to know:

If I got infected yesterday, would a test today pick that up?

Probably not. A study in the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine examined false-negative test results of people who actually had Covid-19. The study estimated that during four days of infection before symptoms typically started, the probability of getting an incorrect/negative test result on Day 1 was 100%.

On the day people started showing symptoms, the average false-negative rate had dropped to 38%, according to the study. Three days after symptoms started, the false-negative rate dropped to 20%.

"The virus just takes time to replicate in the body to detectable levels," said Justin Lessler, a senior author of the study and associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in an email.

Could I be contagious while testing negative?

Absolutely. "People sort of feel like if you test (negative), you're out of the woods. And you're kind of not," said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, chief of the infectious diseases division at Massachusetts General Hospital.

For people who get sick with Covid-19, symptoms can take up to two weeks to appear, but the average time is about five days, Walensky said.

"It's generally thought that you're most infectious the two days before that day and the two days after that," she added.

Do different kinds of Covid-19 tests matter?

There are two main types of diagnostic tests that detect active coronavirus infections:

Molecular tests, such as PCR tests, look for the virus' genetic material. Most of these tests are performed with nasal swabs or throat swabs, though some can be done using saliva, the US Food and Drug Administration says. This test is typically "highly accurate" and does not need to be repeated, according to the FDA.

Antigen tests, often known as rapid tests (though some molecular tests are rapid, too), look for specific proteins on the surface of the virus rather than the virus' genetic material. The good news is you can get antigen test results in less than an hour. The bad news is you're more likely to get a false negative with a rapid antigen test.

So what should I do if I want to see friends or relatives?

If you insist on seeing loved ones for the holidays, self-isolating for 14 days beforehand is probably your safest bet, Walensky said.

"A 14-day quarantine -- with a real quarantine -- if you do that properly, you don't need a test," she said, adding that isolating properly means you cannot run errands or go to the grocery store. "That's probably the cleanest way to do it."

Adding a coronavirus test to your list of precautions "is a helpful thing, but only if it's done properly," Walensky said. "And if you don't know exactly when or how to use it, then you very well could be setting yourself up for a false sense of security."

Read more:

3:55 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

The border between Australia's two most-populous states will open on November 23

From CNN's Angus Watson in Sydney

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian speaks at a press conference in Sydney, on November 04.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian speaks at a press conference in Sydney, on November 04. Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

The border between the Australian states of Victoria and New South Wales will reopen later this month, according to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

"On Monday, 23 November, the NSW/Victoria border will reopen. We need to keep moving forward as we live with Covid-19. I have confidence that everyone will continue to work hard to keep everyone safe," Berejiklian said in a tweet Wednesday.

The border between the two states has been closed since July, when a second wave of coronavirus hit Victoria, resulting in more than 20,000 cases. Melbourne -- the biggest city in Victoria -- was under lockdown for months.

On Wednesday, Victoria announced zero new community transmission cases for the fifth day in a row, while New South Wales reported three new local cases Wednesday and six cases from overseas travelers.

Other domestic border restrictions remain in place.

3:47 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Russia reports highest daily virus toll, recording more than 19,700 new cases

From CNN’s Mary Ilyushina in Moscow

Russia reported 19,768 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the highest number it has ever reported in a single day, according to data from the country’s coronavirus response center. 

That brings Russia's total of officially reported cases to 1,693,454, including at least 29,217 deaths, according to data as of November 4.

3:13 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

North Korean officials who violate the country's emergency coronavirus laws could face execution

From CNN's Yoonjung Seo in Seoul

North Korean officials who violate coronavirus prevention laws could be subject to life in prison or execution, according to a South Korean lawmaker who attended a government audit hearing of the National Intelligence Service.

The violations are processed by marshal law, not civil law, the audit revealed, according to South Korean lawmaker Ha Tae-keung's office.

Ha's office also said North Korea is not accepting coronavirus-related aid from South Korea because of fear of transmission of the virus through the materials. South Korea's Unification Ministry confirmed that North Korea has not accepted hand sanitizer, masks, PPE and testing kits.

To date, North Korea has not reported any confirmed coronavirus cases.

2:18 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Japan reports more than 800 new coronavirus cases, bringing total to more than 103,000

From CNN's Junko Ogura in Tokyo 

Japan's Ministry of Health has reported 872 new virus cases and six more deaths, according to a statement Wednesday.

That brings Japan's total Covid-19 cases to 103,612, including 1,799 deaths, according to the ministry.

Wednesday's statement followed a dip in cases the day before.

On Tuesday, Japan reported 490 new coronavirus cases -- the first time the country had recorded fewer than 500 cases since October 26. 

2:51 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

US reports more than 91,000 new Covid-19 cases

An attendant talks to a person waiting in their car at a Covid-19 testing site at Ascarate Park in El Paso, Texas, on October 31.
An attendant talks to a person waiting in their car at a Covid-19 testing site at Ascarate Park in El Paso, Texas, on October 31. Cengiz Yar/Getty Images

The United States reported 91,530 new Covid-19 cases and 1,130 coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

The country has reported a total of 9,382,617 cases, including 232,620 deaths, according to JHU's tally.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other U.S. territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

CNN is tracking the spread of coronavirus across the US here:

1:13 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

South Korea reports 118 new Covid-19 cases, including 98 local infections

From Yoonjung Seo in Seoul

South Korea recorded 118 new Covid-19 cases for Tuesday, including 98 locally transmitted cases, South Korean health official Yoon Tae-ho said in a briefing on Wednesday.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases across the country to 26,925, and the death toll currently stands at 474, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

12:27 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

California election worker tests positive for Covid-19, contact tracing efforts underway

From CNN's Alexandra Meeks 

An election worker in San Joaquin County in the US state of California tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters of the state said in a statement.

"An election worker from an Escalon Voter Service Center located at the Escalon Community Center tested positive for Covid-19," said Registrar of Voters Melinda Dubroff. "We do not know at this time when or where this individual was originally exposed to the virus."

The positive case was reported at 6:15a.m. PT Tuesday, according to Dubroff. Prior to the election worker testing positive, about 50 people dropped off their ballot at this particular voting center and approximately 200 people voted in-person inside the facility over the past three days, Dubroff said. 

While this particular voting center has been open since Saturday, it is unclear to what extent the infected election worker was in contact with voters.

Dubroff said the center had followed all public health protocols recommended by the country's Public Health Department, such as wearing masks, gloves, face shields and observing social distancing.

Contact tracing underway: All 16 staff members who were working at the Escalon Community Center this morning are now in quarantine and were replaced with new election workers, Dubroff said. The facility underwent a deep cleaning, and contact tracing has begun in coordination with county health officials. The facility later reopened.

San Joaquin County has approximately 334,000 registered voters of an estimated population of 455,000 eligible voters, according to the Registrar. County data shows San Joaquin has leaned Democratic in the previous three presidential elections.