November 6 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Steve George, Lauren Kent, Rob Picheta and Hira Humayun, CNN

Updated 12:32 AM ET, Sat November 7, 2020
43 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
7:46 p.m. ET, November 6, 2020

Covid-19 infections could double in next month according to Harvard epidemiologist

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Coronavirus infections could double over the next month as the virus continues to spread across the United States, Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch predicted during an online discussion Friday. 

The US recorded more than 121,000 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, the highest single-day total since the pandemic began. Cases have also surpassed 100,000 on Friday.

"I think if caseloads double in the next month, I will not be at all surprised. If it goes more than that I would be somewhat surprised but not completely shocked," Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said during a chat with the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

But Lipsitch said he doesn’t like to make predictions because he still believes coronavirus mitigation efforts can work to bring down transmission rates.

"It's not that I don't want to make them, it's that making projections gives the impression that it's not in our hands, that it’s some kind of hurricane where we can stand there, but we can’t do anything about it," he said.

The number of daily cases and how much the virus continues spreading "depends on our responses," Lipsitch added.

At the current pace, the spread will "grow exponentially," he said, because we're "not very close to herd immunity" in most places. In some places, he added, the spread could be slowed somewhat increased immunity. 

Lipsitch also said people should expect lockdowns again, and stay-at-home orders, if intensive care units are overloaded.

"I think it really depends on how much capacity has been built up over the time that we've had to prepare, thanks to the intense control measures that were put in place early on in some places, and how much places continue to get overwhelmed," Lipsitch said.

7:13 p.m. ET, November 6, 2020

Death row inmate granted reprieve over Covid-19 pandemic

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Pervis Payne has been on death row for 32 years.
Pervis Payne has been on death row for 32 years. From PervisPayne.Org

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) has granted death row inmate Pervis Payne a temporary reprieve from execution until April 9, 2021, “due to the challenges and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” a statement from the Governor’s office said Friday.

Pervis’ execution, imposed by the Shelby County Criminal Court in 1988, had previously been scheduled to be carried out on December 3, 2020, according to the Governor’s reprieve.

“Governor Lee was right to delay Pervis Payne’s execution due to the Covid-19 crisis. Bringing witnesses into the prison is unsafe for them, the staff, and the prisoners. This additional time will give the Tennessee Legislature the opportunity to pass bi-partisan legislation to allow Mr. Payne’s and others’ claims of intellectual disability to be heard in court," read a statement from Payne's attorney Kelley Henry.

Background: Pervis Payne has been on death row for 32 years. He received two death sentences after he was convicted in 1988 of two counts of first-degree murder for the June 1987 stabbing deaths of 28-year-old Charisse Christopher and her 2-year-old daughter in the Memphis suburb of Millington. Payne also was convicted of assault with intent to commit first-degree murder of Christopher's 3-year-old son, who survived. Payne maintains that he is innocent and went into Christopher's apartment after hearing a cry for help, according to court documents.

His attorney's Friday statement said, "This additional time will also allow us to investigate Mr. Payne’s strong innocence claim, together with the Innocence Project. We are grateful to the 150 faith, legal, legislative, and community groups in Memphis and across the state that support clemency for Mr. Payne. Together with Mr. Payne’s family, we will continue the fight to prove Mr. Payne’s innocence.”

6:52 p.m. ET, November 6, 2020

Social distancing earlier could have saved over 59,000 lives in the US

From CNN Health’s Jamie Gumbrecht

More than 1 million US Covid-19 cases and more than 59,000 deaths could have been prevented by early May if mitigation steps had been implemented two weeks earlier, according to a modeling study published Friday in Science Advances.

Sen Pei, a research scientist at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and colleagues built a Covid-19 transmission model that looked at all US counties from February 21 through May 3.

Broad coronavirus transmission control measures were announced March 15, they wrote. The study found that starting interventions such as social distancing and business closures a week earlier, on March 8, led to 600,000 fewer confirmed cases and 32,000 fewer deaths. Beginning such interventions two weeks earlier, on March 1, resulted in more than 1 million fewer confirmed cases and more than 59,000 fewer deaths.

Pei and colleagues wrote that they recognize that protracted shutdowns are a burden, but said it’s vital to balance a return to social and economic activity with avoidance of viral spread. South Korea, Vietnam, New Zealand and Germany “have shown that such a balance may be achievable; the strategies adopted in these countries could be used to guide policies in the US and elsewhere.”

“Our results demonstrate the dramatic impact that earlier interventions could have had on the COVID-19 pandemic in the US,” the authors wrote. “Looking forward, the findings underscore the need for continued vigilance when control measures are relaxed.”

And, they write, “rapid detection of increasing case numbers and fast re-implementation of control measures is needed to control rebound outbreaks of COVID-19.”

The researchers note their experiments are based on idealized assumptions. It’s complicated to initiate and implement social distancing rules during an outbreak, and compliance might lag, they write.

But, “given that more effective control of COVID-19 has been maintained to date in countries such as South Korea, New Zealand, Vietnam and Iceland, these cases and deaths could have been averted, not merely postponed.”

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

More states break records for Covid cases, as US hospitalizations soar

The state of Illinois set another daily high reporting for new Covid-19 cases Friday, reporting 10,376 new infections and 49 more deaths.

It joined a number of US states that have broken their records for daily case loads, as the situation worsens across the United States.

Indiana announced 4,714 more cases, its record high and enough to move its overall case count since the start of the pandemic over 200,000.

Ohio reported 5,008 new cases, the highest number recorded in a 24-hour timeframe since the onset of the pandemic in March, according to Governor Mike DeWine.

Maine also set a daily record on Friday with 1,149 new cases, according to state CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah. the state also saw a tripled positivity rate over the last two weeks.

And Pennsylvania added 3,384 new cases, another statewide high.

The figures come as an ensemble forecast by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects another 31,000 people could lose their lives over the next two and a half weeks.

Hospitalizations in New Mexico have shot up by 260% in the last month, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said, and health officials added they expect to run out of general hospital beds "in a matter of days." The daily number of deaths hit a record high this week.

In the Midwest -- where communities have been hit particularly hard and outbreaks are only worsening -- hospitalizations are up "following the region's sharply accelerating case surge," the CDC project said in a Thursday blog post.

"Reported deaths from the Midwest are rising as well, several weeks into that region's case surge," the project said.

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

Delaware's stay-at-home order and mask mandate curbed the spread of coronavirus, study finds

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

Delaware’s state-mandated Covid-19 mitigation efforts and investigations dramatically reduced the number of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths earlier in the year, according to a study published Friday in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Report.

The first Covid-19 case was identified in Delaware on March 11 and the state immediately went to work to manage the pandemic. It started by investigating all identified cases. Nearly two weeks later, Delaware issued a stay-at-home order that lasted through June 1. By April 28 there was a state mask mandate. By May 12, the state started broader contact tracing.  

Looking at cases through June, it appears those steps were the right ones. From late April through June, the incidences of Covid-19 declined by 82%, hospitalizations dropped by 88% and mortality fell by 100%.

In that time period there were 9,762 newly confirmed cases, but right after the state’s mask mandate went into effect in late April, Covid-19 cases began to see a steep decline. 

Because of limited resources, the state didn’t start wider contact tracing until May, when the Delaware National Guard was activated to help the public health department. When it did, it made a difference. Although, the report found that there were several barriers to finding a wide number of contacts. More than 80% of patients either couldn’t recall contacts or refused to disclose them, but even with these limits, the case numbers further declined. 

“Masks are critical for reducing SARS-CoV-2 transmission from persons with symptomatic or asymptomatic infection,” the report said. “Early detection, self-isolation, and investigation of Covid-19 cases and self-quarantine of close contacts can be effective in preventing transmission, if contacts are identified and reached soon after exposure.”

6:33 p.m. ET, November 6, 2020

Lebanon sees record Covid-19 numbers as ICU beds in Syria's Idlib exceed 80% capacity

From CNN's Ghazi Balkiz, Eyad Kourdi and Jaide Garcia 

Lebanon reported 2,142 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, which is the highest daily number of infections recorded since the beginning of the pandemic, the country's Ministry of Public Health said Friday.

This is the second consecutive day of record numbers of new Covid-19 cases in the country. On Thursday Lebanon reported 2,089 new Covid-19 cases.

The latest recorded cases brings the country's total to 91,328. The Ministry also announced 17 new deaths in the past 24 hours, raising the national death toll to 700.

Lebanon has recently witnessed a surge of Covid-19 cases as the country is suffering from an economic collapse and the aftermath of the port blast on August 4.

Meanwhile in northwestern Syria, medical authorities in Idlib province said beds in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) are filled to 83% capacity and are asking the World Health Organization (WHO) for help to prevent a Covid-19 humanitarian crisis. 

The province registered 4,518 positive cases of Covid-19 as of Wednesday, according to a statement from the Health Directorate of Idlib. 

Day by day the number of Coronavirus cases is increasing rapidly in Idlib province," the statement said and explained that there are only 5 hospitals able to handle critical coronavirus cases in the region, with 59 of the 71 ICU beds filled. 

The Health Directorate called on people in the province to take protective measures seriously and asked the "international NGOs, especially the WHO to take its responsibilities and save the lives of three million people in this region." The statement continued to say that half the population in the region is living in camps and high-density areas. 

Syria in total has registered 19,115 positive coronavirus cases, according to cumulative numbers from local medical authorities in the northeast region, the northwest region and regime-held areas. 

6:33 p.m. ET, November 6, 2020

Kansas City hospitals are reaching capacity due to increase in Covid-19 patients

From CNN’s Laurie Ure

Kansas City hospitals are reaching capacity due to the strain of Covid-19, hospital officials say.

Chief medical officers from seven hospital systems told reporters during a Zoom news conference that city hospitals could be overwhelmed in a matter of weeks. 

"If widespread community transmission continues to go up, we will be overwhelmed," said Dr. Steven Stites, chief medical director at the University of Kansas Health System. "That is the inescapable conclusion that we face." 

"Covid is the leading admission diagnosis" at the University of Kansas, Dr. Stites said.

The physicians, who earlier briefed local officials on the matter, say hospitalizations in the region are at their highest since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. They say the issue is less about the number of available beds as much as it is about the staffing to support patients who might occupy those beds. 

"Basically, there's a staffing shortage, and that staffing shortage is not going away any time soon," said Dr. Stites. 

"When we try to go get agency nurses or travelling nurses and things like that, we're trying to borrow from the same pool," he said.

On Tuesday, Kansas City area hospitals had 153 non-intensive care unit beds, but only 76 that could be staffed, and 32 ICU beds of which only 22 could be staffed, according to David Wild, Vice President of Performance Improvement at the University of Kansas Health System. This creates a significant difference from statistics that appear on the US Department of Health and Human Service's database of available beds, he said.

The doctors, while emphasizing that they're not at this point yet, said one unfortunate way to handle maximum capacity would be to ask patients to hold off on elective surgery to help with hospital capacity issues. They said this is a bad option because patients who do not address health issues during the Covid crisis can worsen their outcomes.

6:29 p.m. ET, November 6, 2020

Portugal sees highest daily increase in new Covid-19 cases since pandemic started

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in London

A nurse puts on a second pair of gloves before doing a round tending to COVID-19 patients in negative pressure rooms at the Curry Cabral hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. 
A nurse puts on a second pair of gloves before doing a round tending to COVID-19 patients in negative pressure rooms at the Curry Cabral hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.  Armando Franca/AP

Portuguese health authorities have reported 5,550 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, the highest daily increase since the pandemic reached the country. 

Portugal now has a total of 166,900 diagnosed coronavirus cases. Health authorities also reported an additional 52 deaths from Covid-19, with the total death toll from the virus rising to 2,792.

Portuguese MPs are set to debate and vote on a new State of Emergency for the country on Friday. The move would give the government renewed powers to restrict civil liberties and movement as it implements strict anti-coronavirus restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19. 

6:25 p.m. ET, November 6, 2020

Reducing travel quarantines below 14 days carries risks, says WHO

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio

An Air France Hop plane lands at dusk in Berlin, Germany, on Thursday.
An Air France Hop plane lands at dusk in Berlin, Germany, on Thursday. Christoph Soeder/dpa/AP

Reducing the two-week quarantine that some countries currently impose on arriving travelers could lead to authorities missing potential coronavirus cases, according to the World Health Organization's Covid-19 technical lead, Maria Van Kerkhove.

There is a balanced approach that if there is a reduction in that 14-day period, there are some risks that are associated with that, in terms of missing potential cases,” Van Kerkhove said during a daily briefing Friday.

Van Kerkhove said WHO’s recommendations on this have remained the same and that they were “based on science.”

“Our guidance for incubation period is 14 days, and that’s based on the amount of time most individuals, 95% of individuals, will develop symptoms after exposure,” the epidemiologist said.