November 20 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Sebastian Shukla and Angela Dewan, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, November 21, 2020
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6:21 p.m. ET, November 20, 2020

Donald Trump Jr. tests positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins 

Donald Trump Jr. attends a book signing to promote his book "Liberal Privilege"in Long Island, New York, on Sunday, October 18.
Donald Trump Jr. attends a book signing to promote his book "Liberal Privilege"in Long Island, New York, on Sunday, October 18. Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

President Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., has tested positive for Covid-19, his spokesperson said.

“Don tested positive at the start of the week and has been quarantining out at his cabin since the result. He’s been completely asymptomatic so far and is following all medically recommended COVID-19 guidelines," his spokesperson said.

Bloomberg first reported the story. 

5:40 p.m. ET, November 20, 2020

FDA announces advisory committee to meet to discuss Pfizer's vaccine application in December

From CNN's Ben Tinker and Maggie Fox

The US Food and Drug Administration said Friday it has scheduled a meeting of its outside advisory panel to discuss Pfizer and BioNTech’s application for emergency use authorization for a coronavirus vaccine.

The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) will meet on Dec. 10. 

The companies submitted their application for an EUA earlier Friday. It’s the first application for an FDA regulatory OK for a coronavirus vaccine.

"The FDA recognizes that transparency and dialogue are critical for the public to have confidence in Covid-19 vaccines. I want to assure the American people that the FDA's process and evaluation of the data for a potential Covid-19 vaccine will be as open and transparent as possible," FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in a statement.

"The FDA has been preparing for the review of EUAs for Covid-19 vaccines for several months and stands ready to do so as soon as an EUA request is submitted. While we cannot predict how long the FDA's review will take, the FDA will review the request as expeditiously as possible, while still doing so in a thorough and science-based manner, so that we can help make available a vaccine that the American people deserve as soon as possible.”

The FDA is supposed to post the VRBPAC meeting schedule in the Federal Register at least two weeks ahead of time. The agency has promised to fully consider input from the committee, which is made up of vaccine experts and others with no ties to the companies submitting vaccines for FDA approval or authorization.

“A discussion about the safety and effectiveness of Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine with this committee, made up of outside scientific and public health experts from around the country, will help ensure clear public understanding of the scientific data and information that the FDA will evaluate in order to make a decision about whether to authorize a vaccine for emergency use for the prevention of Covid-19,” Hahn said.

The FDA said it will livestream the VRBPAC meeting on the agency's YouTube, Facebook and Twitter channels and from the FDA website.

5:42 p.m. ET, November 20, 2020

Regeneron has had discussions with Biden's team about Covid-19 antibody treatment

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

The president of the company that makes the monoclonal antibody treatment given to President Trump says his company has been speaking with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team.

“We have had discussions with representatives of the Biden administration before, during and since the election,” Dr. George Yancopoulos, president and chief scientific officer of the biopharmaceutical company Regeneron, said Thursday.

Regeneron has applied for emergency use authorization for its antibody treatment for coronavirus, but is still waiting for a decision from the US Food and Drug Administration.

“I know that they have a lot of sophistication, and they have tremendous interest of course in all these approaches, including these antibody treatments. They want to know all about them,” Yancopoulos said at a conference sponsored by Reuters.

He added that Regeneron has presented its latest data to Biden’s team.

“Biden has always been a pro-science guy, so of course we're hopeful that they're going to take a careful and a data-based approach, and try to do the best to figure out how to best deliver the available therapies and vaccines to the people who might benefit the most,” Yancopoulos said. 

 

9:12 p.m. ET, November 20, 2020

Scotland bans all nonessential travel to England

From Amy Cassidy in Glasgow

Cars pass a Covid warning sign on the eastbound M8 motorway in Glasgow ahead of the introduction of further coronavirus restrictions on Friday, November 20.
Cars pass a Covid warning sign on the eastbound M8 motorway in Glasgow ahead of the introduction of further coronavirus restrictions on Friday, November 20. Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images

Scotland on Friday banned all nonessential travel across the border to England, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed in her daily briefing.

The new law came in to force at 6 p.m. local time on Friday (1 p.m. ET), anyone caught breaking the rules could face a fine of around $80.

Travel to Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is also prohibited, unless for essential reasons. 

However, people living under restriction levels zero to two — which includes the Scottish Borders region — are technically still allowed to travel overseas for a holiday. Starting Friday it will be an offense for those living under tiers three and four to leave their local area.  

“Just because it’s not against the law to travel overseas doesn’t mean we think it’s OK to do it just now. This is a global pandemic, and it is for that reason that we have repeatedly advised people not to travel overseas unless it is for an essential purpose,” Sturgeon said at the briefing.

It was announced on Tuesday that over two million people in 11 areas in the west of Scotland — including Glasgow, the country’s largest city — will move into the highest level of restrictions starting Friday. 

This will see nonessential shops, cafes and gyms close for at least three weeks. Bars, pubs and restaurants in most of these areas have been closed since Oct. 9, and people can only meet with one other household in an outdoor setting. 

Sturgeon also confirmed that on Friday Scotland registered 1,018 new cases of Covid-19 and 32 deaths, bringing the country's total figures since the start of the pandemic to 86,630 confirmed cases and 3,459 deaths.

Authorities in England are yet to say if they will reciprocate the cross-border travel ban.

5:06 p.m. ET, November 20, 2020

Eli Lilly's monoclonal antibody for Covid-19 gets interim approval in Canada

From CNN's Jen Christensen

Eli Lilly’s monoclonal antibody treatment for Covid-19, bamlanivimab, got interim authorization from Health Canada Friday, according to a company news release.

The treatment is approved for use in Canada in adults and children older than 12 with a mild to moderate case of Covid-19 who are at high risk of progressing to more severe disease.

This is the second authorization for bamlanivimab. The US Food and Drug Administration gave it an emergency use authorization Nov. 9.

The treatment was created through a partnership with the help of the Canadian biotechnology company AbCellera.

5:15 p.m. ET, November 20, 2020

Brazil surpasses 6 million Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Mayumi Maruyama

A container carrying the experimental COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac is unloaded from a cargo plane that arrived from China at Guarulhos International Airport in Guarulhos, near Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Thursday, November 19.
A container carrying the experimental COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac is unloaded from a cargo plane that arrived from China at Guarulhos International Airport in Guarulhos, near Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Thursday, November 19. Andre Penner/AP

Brazil has surpassed 6 million cases of Covid-19, making it the third country to hit this milestone after the United States and India.

Brazil registered 38,397 new infections Friday, raising the total number of cases to 6,020,164, according to data released by the health ministry.

The country registered 552 more deaths on Friday, bringing the total to 168,613.

Last week, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro dismissed the high number of Covid-19 deaths, saying “we will all die one day.”

4:16 p.m. ET, November 20, 2020

California sets new daily record for Covid-19 infections

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Lines of vehicles make their way to and from Dodger Stadium for Covid-19 testing on Friday, November 20, in Los Angeles.
Lines of vehicles make their way to and from Dodger Stadium for Covid-19 testing on Friday, November 20, in Los Angeles. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

California reported 13,005 new coronavirus cases on Friday, shattering the state’s record for the most new cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

The unprecedented number of new infections surpassed the state’s previous peak of 12,807 reported in July when California last experienced a surge in cases.

An additional 91 deaths were also reported Friday, bringing the state’s total to 18,557 Covid-19-related fatalities. 

The 14-day positivity rate in California has climbed to 5.2%, more than double what it was in mid-October. An average of about 166,000 tests are being conducted in the state each day.

The number of newly-admitted patients have far exceeded the two-week hospitalization average of 4,329. On Friday, the state reported an additional 178 patients hospitalized with Covid-19 for a total of 5,497. The number of available intensive care unit beds is waning slightly, with just over 1,900 beds currently vacant.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and health officials have implored residents to avoid gatherings and are implementing an overnight curfew for the vast majority of the state beginning Saturday. Officials are also urging residents not to travel for the upcoming holidays.

Note: These numbers were released by the California Department of Public Health and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project. 

3:39 p.m. ET, November 20, 2020

Johnson & Johnson expects to have efficacy results on its Covid-19 vaccine by early 2021

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

David Benito/Getty Images
David Benito/Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson expects to have an efficacy readout on its coronavirus vaccine by January or February of 2021, Dr. Paul Stoffels, the company's chief scientific officer, said Thursday.

“The efficacy endpoint should be there in the first few weeks or months, January or February, in the new year,” Stoffels said at a conference sponsored by Reuters called the Reuters Total Health Conference.

Stoffels said the company is recruiting upwards of 1,000 people a day for its vaccine clinical trial and expects to reach its goal of 60,000 participants by the end of the year.

“It's not just the efficacy. It's also the safety,” Stoffels said. “We need half of the people having two months of exposure to the vaccine – as you probably know from the FDA guidelines – so that will bring us around the year end, early next year for having all the data.”

Stoffels said Johnson & Johnson is also working hard to meet diversity goals for its clinical trial.

Johnson & Johnson paused its trial in October due to an unexplained illness in a participant. Stoffels the independent Data Safety and Monitoring Board determined that illness was not related to the vaccine, and the company has not had any unexpected events since.

“The DSMB is looking very closely,” he added. “We have regular reviews on the safety, and so far, so good.”

2:50 p.m. ET, November 20, 2020

Pfizer and BioNTech file with FDA for emergency authorization for their coronavirus vaccine

From CNN's Jamie Gumbrecht

A health worker injects a person during Pfizer clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine in Hollywood, Florida, on September 9.
A health worker injects a person during Pfizer clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine in Hollywood, Florida, on September 9. Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech have submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization for their coronavirus vaccine candidate.

“This is a historic day, a historic day for science and for all of us,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a video shared on Friday. “It took just 248 days to get from the day we announced our plans to collaborate with BioNTech to our FDA submission day. We have operated at extraordinary speed in our clinical development program, from concept to regulatory filing, while always maintaining our focus on safety.”

This is the first coronavirus vaccine to seek a regulatory OK in the United States. Pfizer and BioNTech said a statement Friday that their vaccine candidate, known as BNT162b2, will potentially be available for use in high-risk populations in the United States by the middle to end of December.

The submission to the FDA is based on results from the Phase 3 clinical trial of Pfizer’s vaccine, which began in the United States on July 27 and enrolled more than 43,000 volunteers. The final analysis from the trial found the coronavirus vaccine was 95% effective in preventing infections, even in older adults, and caused no serious safety concerns, Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, announced this week. The submission also includes safety data on about 100 children ages 12 to 15.

About 42% of global participants and 30% of US participants in the Phase 3 study have racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, the companies said in a news release, and 41% of global and 45% of US participants are ages 56 to 85. 

Another possible vaccine candidate: Moderna, another pharmaceutical company, announced Monday that early results from its clinical trials show their vaccine is 94.5% effective. The company plans to apply to the FDA for authorization after it accumulates more safety data later this month.

The FDA has scheduled a meeting of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, a group of outside experts, for Dec. 8, 9 and 10, a source familiar with the process told CNN this week. The agency could make a decision at the end of the meeting on Dec. 10 about whether to issue an emergency use authorization, the source said.

Emergency use authorization, or EUA, from the FDA is not the same as full approval. An EUA allows products to be used under particular circumstances before all the evidence needed for approval is available. The agency must determine the product’s “known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks.”