November 12 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Jenni Marsh, Zamira Rahim, Ed Upright, Roya Wolverson and Joshua Berlinger, CNN

Updated 12:17 a.m. ET, November 13, 2020
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1:36 a.m. ET, November 12, 2020

New forecast offers grim projections of upcoming trends in coronavirus pandemic

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

People line up outside a Covid-19 testing site in New York City, New York on November 11.
People line up outside a Covid-19 testing site in New York City, New York on November 11. Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images

As the coronavirus pandemic accelerates across the United States, conditions could worsen on the West Coast, in the Northeast and in the Mid-Atlantic states over the next several weeks, according to a new forecast from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Policy Lab. 

The CHOP Policy Lab will begin releasing weekly findings from its COVID-Lab county-level forecasts on the pandemic, the lab said Wednesday on its website. It noted that hospitalizations, ICU admissions and ventilator use are now rising in all 50 states.

Growing cases: The model is predicting “substantial growth” in Covid-19 cases over the next four weeks in the northeast and south through the mid-Atlantic region, “where dire trends previously seen in the Midwest have now set in,” the lab said. The forecast noted that mitigation efforts in and around New York City and Boston have “slowed but not abated” an increase in hospitalizations and ICU admissions in the cities.

The CHOP Policy Lab forecast is also projecting “significant case growth” along the West Coast in major cities in California, as well as in Portland and Seattle into mid-December.

Fast-filling ICU beds: “In every Midwestern state, COVID-19 patients are occupying more than 25% of ICU beds,” the lab reported.

In four states -- Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota -- coronavirus patients have filled up 50% or more of all available ICU beds. “We suspect that in many localities across these states, ICUs are near, at or over capacity,” the forecast said.

The forecast also noted that in Wisconsin, one of the earliest states to see an explosive growth in Covid-19 cases this fall, may be nearing a peak in transmissions, but hospitalizations and ICU admissions have not yet stabilized.

At least half of the 819 counties in the lab’s forecast are seeing a testing positivity rate of 9%, a measure of how prevalent positive coronavirus cases are compared to the number of tests administered.

1:17 a.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Delhi hits highest daily increase with 8,000 new cases 

From CNN’s Vedika Sud and Manveena Suri in New Delhi

A health worker uses a rapid kit to test for Covid-19 at a testing camp organized for shopkeepers and workers at a market place in New Delhi, India on November 9.
A health worker uses a rapid kit to test for Covid-19 at a testing camp organized for shopkeepers and workers at a market place in New Delhi, India on November 9. Altaf Qadri/AP

India’s capital region Delhi recorded 8,593 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, a record daily increase, according to a health bulletin issued by the local government.

This is the first time 8,000 cases have been reported in a single day in the capital region and brings the total number of active cases to 42,629. An additional 85 deaths were reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the city's death toll to 7,228.

Delhi has now recorded 459,975 cases.

Last week, Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the capital was facing its third wave. 

The spike in cases is a result of people defying social distancing rules, and a rise in air pollution in the past week or so, said Dr Arvind Kumar, chairman of Center for Chest Surgery and founder and managing trustee at non-profit Lung Care Foundation.

“There are two factors which I feel are responsible for the increase in Covid-19 cases in Delhi," he said. "About two to three weeks back we had a major festival, where people met each other, greeted each other, prayed in groups. So a lot of social distancing norms were violated in the last two weeks.”
“Also, there has been a massive, massive spike in pollution in Delhi and the National Capital region,” he added. 

Experts are concerned that pollution may mean people spend more time indoors, and that poor air quality could aggravate respiratory conditions.

What's happening in India: Nationwide, India recorded at additional 47,905 cases on Thursday, bringing the country's total to 8,683,916 cases, according to the country’s health ministry. To date, 128,121 deaths have been recorded -- including 550 reported on Thursday.

12:25 a.m. ET, November 12, 2020

US hospitals approach "crisis level" as some reach capacity and others face threats of strike

From CNN's Kay Jones, Brad Parks, Alec Snyder and Rebekah Riess

Hospitals in the United States are coming under immense strain as some reach full capacity and others face threats of strikes by staff.

Mississippi's Department of Health announced Wednesday that the state’s Covid-19 hospitalizations “are on track toward the crisis level we saw this summer,” warning that if changes weren't made immediately, there would be critical shortages of first-line care for those seriously ill or injured.  

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves extended mask mandates for 15 countries through December 11, according to a release from the Governor’s office. 

The Mayo Clinic Health System said its hospitals in Northwest Wisconsin were full to capacity, with 100% of its beds filled in the region. It said that half of the intensive care unit capacity is occupied by Covid-19 patients, while 40% of regular medical surgical beds are being used by Covid-19 patients -- who it said normally stay in hospital 2-3 times longer than non-Covid patients. 

"The public urgently needs to treat Covid-19 as the health emergency it is to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed,” the Mayo Clinic Health System said in a joint statement sent to CNN Wednesday.

Approximately 300 hospital staff in the area are on work restrictions due to exposure to Covid-19, the statement added. 

"While we are temporarily deferring elective procedures in order to free up beds for Covid-19 patients, the public needs to understand we continue to care for other patient populations in addition to Covid patients -- we remain open for trauma, emergency care, and urgent care needs," the statement said.

Meanwhile, at least 1,500 nurses in Philadelphia are on the verge of striking, according to a spokesperson with the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP). 

The nurses feel they have been “pushed to the brink by unsafe staffing that seriously undermines patient safety,” according to the release.

“The frontline nurses at four Philadelphia-area hospitals have taken steps toward a strike to protect their patients and themselves on the cusp of a second deadly wave of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the release said. "The nurses are seeking a commitment to safe minimum staffing levels from each of the four hospitals."

CNN has reached out to Trinity Health, Tower Health and Einstein Health for comment. 

12:02 a.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Coronavirus pandemic reveals “big problems” in clinical trials, FDA expert says

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed “problems” with the state of clinical trials, Dr Janet Woodcock, the director of the Centers for Drug Evaluation and Research at the United States Food and Drug Administration, said this week.

There are currently more than 700 trials for coronavirus therapeutics underway in the US, Woodcock said.

Most are not going to tell doctors very much that’s useful, said Woodcock, who is also leading Operation Warp Speed’s search for new therapeutics against Covid-19.

Woodcock made her comments to the New England Journal of Medicine in a discussion that was posted online.

One of the concerns about the large number of trials is that they are started by different investigators and are each too small to have answers. Plus, there’s a lack of coordination among them. 

“You take convalescent plasma -- we don't have a single trial,” Woodcock said. “Even though that's been available for quite a long time, we don't have a single trial that is large enough to yield answers right now, a randomized trial, and we're supporting continued conduct of those randomized trials."

The uncoordinated nature of these trials “is a really big problem,” Woodcock said, adding that the trials are “underpowered,” and many will never enroll enough patients to really yield data.

“And since many of these patients are in the community, they don't have an opportunity to participate in trials, and so if tens of thousands of people who are ill and most of them cannot be entered into trials where we can learn knowledge quickly, this is really a challenge,” she added.

“We need as a community to come together after this and do some lessons learned and figure out how to respond better,” she said.

12:00 a.m. ET, November 12, 2020

Navajo Nation more than doubles number of communities with "uncontrolled spread" of Covid-19

From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin

The Navajo Nation -- a tribal area which spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah -- has issued a health advisory to 21 new communities warning residents of the “uncontrolled spread” of Covid-19, according to a statement.

The Native American territory now has 34 communities under a 14-day advisory for Covid-19 spread, the statement added. 

Residents in the impacted communities are “advised to stay on the Navajo Nation and refrain from off-Reservation travel,” a public health order from the Navajo Department of Health said.

“Individuals are also advised not to gather with anyone outside your immediate household and stay within your local communities.”

Navajo leaders said in the statement that the increase in the uncontrolled spread of Covid-19 is “largely due to travel off the Navajo Nation and family gatherings.”

As a result, the nation will implement a 56-hour curfew starting at 9pm on Friday November 13, the statement explained. 

“We are dealing with an invisible monster and the only way we are going to beat this virus is by doing it together and listening to our public health experts,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez in the statement. 

The Navajo Nation was once a prominent hot spot for Covid-19 in the US. In May, the nation surpassed New York and New Jersey for the highest per-capita Coronavirus infection rate.

Nez cited multi-generation living situations, a lack of running water among residents and fewer places to purchase food as causes for increased spread of the disease in May.

1:11 a.m. ET, November 12, 2020

New CDC guidance could be “huge” in motivating people to wear masks, says former CDC director

From CNN Health’s Lauren Mascarenhas

The new United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on mask wearing could be “huge” in motivating people to wear masks, former acting CDC director Dr. Richard Besser said Wednesday.

The CDC updated its guidance Tuesday to say that masks can help protect the wearer, not just those around them, from coronavirus infection. Previously, CDC had said the main benefit of masks was to help prevent infected people from spreading the virus to others.

The guidance is in line with public health advisories issued in many places throughout Asia at the beginning of the pandemic and has been credited with helping to curb the spread of the virus in those countries.

Besser told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that the updated guidance from the CDC on mask wearing is “critically important.”

“It's hard to motivate people in terms of protecting other people, but in terms of protecting yourselves, getting your loved ones, your children, your parents to wear masks -- this could be huge,” he said. 

“If people wear masks, then we're going to be able to avoid the broad -- the total shutdowns that we saw in the spring,” said Besser, who currently heads Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a health philanthropy.