November 17 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Sebastian Shukla and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, November 18, 2020
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2:47 p.m. ET, November 17, 2020

Ohio issues statewide curfew starting Thursday

From CNN's Kay Jones

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a statewide curfew today to help combat the spread of Covid-19 in the state.  

Starting Thursday, the curfew will be in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and will last for 21 days. It includes closing all retail establishments and asking everyone to be home by 10 p.m.

"I'm asking, in addition to the curfew itself, I'm asking each Ohioan every day to do at least one thing that reduces your contact with others," DeWine said. 

Hospitalizations throughout the state have increased over the past month.

The governor went on to describe the increase, saying that 1,000 people were hospitalized with the virus on Oct. 13. That number increased to 3,000 by Nov. 12. He said the number of hospitalizations now stands at 3,648. 

The number of patients in intensive care units also increased in the past month from 280 to 900, DeWine said. 

The Ohio Department of Health has reported a total of 312,443 coronavirus cases since March.  

Note: These numbers were released by the state’s public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

3:47 p.m. ET, November 17, 2020

North Dakota senator says he doesn't regret his state not issuing mask mandate sooner as cases increase

​​From CNN's Sarah Fortinsky

Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer defended North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and said he doesn't have any regrets about his home state not acting sooner to institute mask mandates, adding that "North Dakotans are free people who love freedom."

North Dakota remains the state with the most cases per 100,000 population, followed by South Dakota, according to recent state reports from the White House coronavirus task force. 

On Friday, Burgum announced a new measure requiring face coverings in indoor businesses and indoor public settings as well as outdoor public settings where physical distancing isn't possible.

Asked Tuesday if he has regrets this wasn't done earlier, Cramer said, "No, no."

"If there's any regret it's that we're at the point now where we're having to have a mask mandate at a time when it's not even as bad as it was not that long ago. So, no, the governor I think has used all of the information at his disposal to make the right decisions along the way," Cramer said, adding that the governor has evaluated other states' approaches to managing the virus, and "there doesn't seem to be any two places that are exactly the same."

He stressed that his concern lies mostly with the economy and the effect that new restrictions might have on North Dakotans' livelihoods.  

"I am hearing from dozens and dozens of restaurant owners, motel, hotel owners that are very concerned about their survival. So, that's as big, if not a bigger concern for me, is the loss of jobs, the loss of businesses and small businesses and loss of an economy that's going to be hard to rebuild if we don't reopen it in an appropriate manner," Cramer said.

2:09 p.m. ET, November 17, 2020

Phoenix mayor calls for a statewide mask mandate

From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin

Phoenix, Arizona, Mayor Kate Gallego has asked Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to issue a statewide mask mandate, she tweeted today. 

Arizona is one of an ever-shrinking number of states without a statewide mask mandate. Ducey, however, has allowed individual communities to mandate mask wear. Scottsdale was the first to make masks mandatory starting on June 19. Other major municipalities with requirements include Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff.

Arizona, like almost every other state in the country, has seen a rise in Covid-19 cases in the last few weeks. The state has reported more than 2,000 new Covid-19 cases on seven different days in the last two weeks, the state’s Covid-19 dashboard showed.

The last time Arizona reported more than 3,000 new Covid-19 cases was July 31 and the highest ever daily new case count was 4,877 set on July 1.

Arizona has reported at least 279,896 cases of Covid-19 and 6,312 deaths since the pandemic began.

2:00 p.m. ET, November 17, 2020

Vaccines won't work unless enough people get them, Fauci says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Vaccines do not work unless enough people get them, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday. 

Vaccine uptake will determine whether the country is free of the pandemic by next fall. 

“Whenever you talk about vaccines, there are two elements of it,” Fauci said during a New York Times DealBook virtual seminar.  

  • The first is the efficacy of the vaccines. Two of the candidates that are involved with Operation Warp Speed have had “striking results, I mean more than 90% efficacy for one, 94.5% efficacy four another, that’s a huge advance, I don’t think you can have any doubt about that," Fauci said.
  • Very closely connected to the efficacy though, he said, is how many people get the vaccine. 

There is a challenge ahead, he said, due to hesitancy around getting vaccinated. Outreach needs to be done to make sure that the overwhelming majority of Americans get vaccinated, Fauci said, “because if we have an effective vaccine and 50% of the people don’t take it, you still have a considerable public health challenge.” 

It takes “a blanket of protection” to stop an outbreak, Fauci said. “So, you’re asking me what things are going to be like in the fall, I can tell you, that really depends on whether or not we get the majority of the people, the overwhelming majority of the people, vaccinated.” 

And a vaccine won’t mean an end to other measures, such as hand-washing, mask use and social distancing. 

“There will always be an element of need to adhere to public health measures. The degree of stringency of it is going to depend upon the level of infection in the community,” he said. 
2:04 p.m. ET, November 17, 2020

"We're going back to a different economy," Federal Reserve chair reiterates

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe 

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on September 24 in Washington, DC.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on September 24 in Washington, DC. Toni L. Sandys/Pool/Getty Images

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell doubled down on his remarks that the economy as we know it is over during a virtual appearance at the At the Bay Area Council Business Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony.

“We’re not going back to the same economy, we’re going back to a different economy,” Powell said, echoing comments from last week. 

He also reiterated that people in lower-income jobs, and specific industries hadn’t recovered as much as others and that workers in the services industry might need more help going forward.

"The recovery is incomplete,” he said, warning of near-term risks surrounding the resurgence of Covid-19 infections. “We have a long way to go.”

Meanwhile, Powell said it wasn’t the right time to worry about the fiscal health of the United States. Rather, that should be an issue to address when unemployment is low and taxes are rolling in. “That’s the time to really focus,” he said.

12:37 p.m. ET, November 17, 2020

Iowa governor says Covid-19 hospitalizations have more than doubled since Nov. 1 

From CNN's Gregory Lemos 

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday that hospitalizations have more than doubled since Nov. 1.

There are 1,510 people in the hospital with Covid-19, she said during a news conference. At the start of the month 14% of patients had Covid-19. Today, that number is 28%.  

Reynolds said hospitalizations have been climbing over the past two weeks "and in some cases have been significant." 

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 2,003 new cases of Covid-19 and a 17.1% positivity rate Tuesday, according to the Covid-19 dashboard. At least 2,025 people have died from the virus since the state began its reporting.  

12:00 p.m. ET, November 17, 2020

Grassley aide won't say who exposed the senator to Covid-19

From CNN's Manu Raju and Ted Barrett

Sen. Chuck Grassley speaks on Capitol Hill on October 14 in Washington, DC.
Sen. Chuck Grassley speaks on Capitol Hill on October 14 in Washington, DC. Susan Walsh/Pool/Getty Images

An aide to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley won’t say who the person is that exposed the senator to Covid-19.  

The aide also said people who have been in contact with the senator have been “appropriately notified” about the potential exposure. 

Here's a statement from Grassley aide Michael Zona:

“Sen. Grassley and the office are following all relevant public health guidelines as well as those from his doctors and the Senate attending physician. We will provide further details when we are able. The office has been limiting staff contact with Senator Grassley since the beginning of the pandemic and following the guidelines of the Senate attending physician about social distancing and mask wearing. Those who have been in contact with Senator Grassley have been appropriately notified and are instructed to follow the advice of their physicians as well as all CDC and local health guidelines.”

Earlier today, the Iowa GOP senator announced in a statement that he had been exposed to Covid-19 and was quarantining.

11:40 a.m. ET, November 17, 2020

White House coronavirus task force warns of "further deterioration" as pandemic worsens

From CNN's Betsy Klein

The White House coronavirus task force has again ramped up its warnings to states in a weekly report as the pandemic continues to aggressively worsen, raising alarms on the potential impact of rising cases on hospitals. 

“There is now aggressive, unrelenting, expanding broad community spread across the country, reaching most counties, without evidence of improvement but rather, further deterioration. Current mitigation efforts are inadequate and must be increased to flatten the curve to sustain the health system for both COVID and non-COVID emergencies,” state reports dated Nov. 15 obtained by CNN said. 

The language in the weekly reports, which offer the administration’s most unvarnished picture of the pandemic, has become progressively more dire in recent weeks, matching the severity of the current situation as the President himself remains silent on rising cases, focusing instead on positive vaccine developments in his only public event on the matter in a month last Friday. 

North Dakota remains the state with the most cases per 100,000 population, followed by South Dakota, then Iowa, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota, Kansas, and Montana. Hawaii is the state with the fewest cases per 100,000 population. 

This week’s reports also included a comparison to Europe, which is experiencing, per the task force, “a fall surge similar to the USA.” Europe, however, is “showing early signs of improvement,” the reports said, citing mask requirements in public settings, with most European countries imposing fines for non-compliance, as well as “significant restrictions on gathering size.”

11:31 a.m. ET, November 17, 2020

Dr. Fauci says his Thanksgiving is “going to change significantly this year”

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NPR’s Rachel Martin on Morning Edition Tuesday that his Thanksgiving is going to change significantly this year.

“It’s going to change significantly and that’s one of the things that I tell the American people when I get asked,” Fauci said. “We’ve got to make risk assessment and risk benefit discussions within the family.” 

His three adult daughters, who live in separate parts of the country, got together and said that they did not want to put him, as an elderly person, at risk. Fauci is 79 years old. 

He and his wife will have a meal and Zoom with his daughters to spend time with them.

“I don’t like it that way, but I think they’re making a prudent decision in trying to protect their father and I’m proud of them for that,” he said.