November 23 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Emma Reynolds, Ed Upright, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020
22 Posts
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5:07 a.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Oxford scientist shares excitement over vaccine results

From CNN's Schams Elwazer and Sharon Braithwaite

The chief investigator of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine trial said the fact that the candidate may be up to 90% effective is exciting news.

Results from clinical trials of this coronavirus vaccine show it has “an average efficacy of 70%,” with one dosing regimen showing an efficacy of 90%, pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca said in a Monday news release.

"Excitingly, we've found that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90% effective and if this dosing regime is used, more people could be vaccinated with planned vaccine supply,” Andrew Pollard, chief investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial, said.

How AstraZeneca's statement explains the dosing regimens:

  • When the vaccine was given as a half dose, followed by a full dose at least one month apart, the efficacy was 90%.
  • When given as two full doses at least one month apart, the efficacy was 62%.
  • The combined analysis from both dosing regimens resulted in an average efficacy of 70%.

The clinical trials, conducted in the UK and Brazil, showed the vaccine was highly effective in preventing Covid-19 with no hospitalizations or severe cases of the disease reported, the statement said.

Sarah Gilbert, professor of Vaccinology at the University of Oxford, said that announcement the "takes us another step closer to the time when we can use vaccines to bring an end to the devastation caused by SARS-CoV-2."

"It has been a privilege to be part of this multi-national effort which will reap benefits for the whole world," she added.

The UK government has already ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine. AstraZeneca told CNN on Friday that the company had delivered four million vials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate to the UK government, with millions more frozen doses ready to be sent.

Read the breaking news story here:

4:55 a.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Dance studio cluster drives spike in Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong

From CNN’s Jadyn Sham in Hong Kong

A health care worker holds a sign reading "Dancing Group," referring to a dance club cluster of Covid-19, as people stand in line outside a testing center in the Yau Ma Tei district of Hong Kong, on November. 23.
A health care worker holds a sign reading "Dancing Group," referring to a dance club cluster of Covid-19, as people stand in line outside a testing center in the Yau Ma Tei district of Hong Kong, on November. 23. Chan Long Hei/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Hong Kong recorded 73 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, marking a new spike in infections, according to health authorities on Monday.

This is the highest daily figure since August 16, when Hong Kong experienced a "third wave" of the virus. 

Cases in the city have hovered between zero and a dozen since that wave calmed in September.

Of Sunday's infections, 10 were imported from abroad, eight were untraceable, and 55 were confirmed as locally transmitted, according to Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan of Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health.

Fifty of the locally transmitted cases were linked back to a cluster involving 21 different dance studios in the city.

4:32 a.m. ET, November 23, 2020

After 118 days in the hospital with Covid-19, he's finally home just in time for the holidays

From CNN's Lauren M. Johnson

Darell Slater with his wife and daughters.
Darell Slater with his wife and daughters. Courtesy Kim Cochran

No one expected him home for the holidays -- but after 118 days in the hospital with Covid-19, Darell Slater will spend Thanksgiving with his family.

Slater, 71, was first diagnosed with Covid-19 on July 13 along with his wife, his family said. After two weeks of quarantine, she recovered but he did not.

"About a week later, after putting him on the ventilator, they told us that he was the sickest patient in the hospital ... and there was nothing else they could do for him there," said Slater's daughter, Kim Cochran.

By August 6, he was put on ECMO, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, a therapy that adds oxygen to the blood and pumps it through the body.

"They said Covid just went in like a bomb and destroyed his lungs," Cochran said. "Two weeks later, every time they tried to remove him from ECMO he would crash immediately."

On September 18, Slater finally tested negative for Covid-19, and he started to be slowly removed from all of the machines. He was moved to a medical rehab facility, where he would remain for the next seven weeks. Slater was wheeled out of the hospital on Friday, where his waiting family was waiting for him.

The family said they are thankful to all of the hospital staff that helped take care of their dad.

"We just want to tell the story because we don't want anyone to give up," Cochran said. "You just can't give up."

Read the full story:

4:25 a.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Russia reports more than 25,000 new Covid-19 cases in a day for the first time

From CNN's Zahra Ullah

A medical worker takes a venous blood sample from a patient for Covid-19 antibody testing at a Gemotest lab in Simferopol, Crimea, Russia, on November 20.
A medical worker takes a venous blood sample from a patient for Covid-19 antibody testing at a Gemotest lab in Simferopol, Crimea, Russia, on November 20. Sergei Malgavko/TASS/Sipa USA

Russia reported 25,173 new Covid-19 infections on Monday -- the highest number of cases it has reported in a single day, according to the country’s coronavirus response center. 

The country has now officially reported more than 2.1 million confirmed cases, and 36,540 virus-related deaths.

However, a CNN investigation previously found that Russia's official death figures may grossly understate the real toll by excluding people who are presumed to have Covid-19 post mortem, and even those with pre-existing conditions that proved fatal due to the infection.

Read our investigation:

3:27 a.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Boris Johnson: AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine results are "incredibly exciting"

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted on Monday that the results from AstraZeneca's experimental vaccine trials were "incredibly exciting."

"Incredibly exciting news the Oxford vaccine has proved so effective in trials. There are still further safety checks ahead, but these are fantastic results. Well done to our brilliant scientists at @UniofOxford &@AstraZeneca, and all who volunteered in these trials," he tweeted.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock also said on Monday that he was "really really pleased with this news."

"Of course, we have 100 million doses of this vaccine on order. And we've been working very closely with AstraZeneca as they're increasing the manufacturing of the vaccine," he said on BBC Breakfast.

"For our two top vaccine candidates that are the earliest in development, both to have come through with an effectiveness that high is really good news for everyone."

Trial results: The AstraZeneca/University of Oxford vaccine showed 90% efficacy in one dosing regimen, and 62% efficacy in a second regimen, giving it an average of 70% efficacy.

AstraZeneca said on Monday that it would immediately prepare to submit the trial data to authorities in countries that allow conditional or early approval.

4:19 a.m. ET, November 23, 2020

California governor tests negative after his children were exposed to the virus

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess and Josh Campbell

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference in Sacramento, California, on April 14.
Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference in Sacramento, California, on April 14. Rich Pedroncelli/AP/Bloomberg/Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a tweet that he and his entire family tested negative for Covid-19 on Sunday, after three of his children were exposed to an officer from the California Highway Patrol who tested positive.

According to the tweet, Newsom and his wife Jen learned of their children’s exposure late Friday evening. Newsom said he and his wife did not have any direct interaction with the infected officer, and wished the officer a speedy recovery.

Although they tested negative, the whole family will be quarantining for 14 days “consistent with local guidance,” said the tweet.

Remember: You can test negative and still be infected and contagious. The virus' incubation period goes up to 14 days -- so even if you have already contracted Covid-19, it can take days to show up on a test.

Justin Lessler, associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said the virus takes time to replicate inside the body -- so getting tested before the third day after exposure "is not of much use," he said.

That's why experts urge people to still quarantine after they've been exposed, even if they tested negative.

"If you are visiting an elderly family member and have a reasonable risk of having been exposed, there is no substitute for 14 days of quarantine," Lessler said. "At the very least I would wait 10 days and have a negative test."
3:04 a.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Seoul declares "emergency period" with new restrictions as cases spike

From CNN's Gawon Bae In Seoul

South Korea has declared an “emergency period” in the capital city of Seoul until the end of the year as cases continue to spike, Seoul’s acting mayor Seo Jung-hyup said on Monday. 

Under the new restrictions, public transportation is reduced by 20% after 10 p.m. and gatherings are capped at 10 people.

The city will also conduct regular Covid-19 tests on some 40,000 workers and users of nursing hospitals and daycare centers, Seo added. Stricter virus control measures will also be introduced to facilities such as religious centers and call centers. 

Seo urged people to refrain from holding end-of-year gatherings, and for religious groups to turn to online services. 

The Seoul metropolitan area will also be placed under Level 2 social distancing measures for two weeks, starting November 24.

Under Level 2 restrictions:

  • Mask wearing is mandatory in all indoor facilities.
  • Entertainment facilities such as clubs are prohibited.
  • Restaurants are only permitted to do deliveries and takeout after 9 p.m.
  • Gatherings will be limited to fewer than 100 people.
  • Schools must operate at one-third capacity.

On Monday, South Korea reported 271 Covid-19 cases from Sunday, including 112 cases in Seoul, according to the Seoul government.

3:45 a.m. ET, November 23, 2020

AstraZeneca says its coronavirus vaccine candidate is 70% effective on average

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

In this June 24 file photo, a volunteer receives an injection at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg, as part of Africa's first participation in a COVID-19 vaccine trial developed at the University of Oxford in Britain in conjunction with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
In this June 24 file photo, a volunteer receives an injection at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg, as part of Africa's first participation in a COVID-19 vaccine trial developed at the University of Oxford in Britain in conjunction with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. Siphiwe Sibeko/Pool/AP

Drugmaker AstraZeneca announced on Monday that its experimental coronavirus vaccine has shown an average efficacy of 70% in its large scale trials -- the latest of several vaccine trials worldwide to post their results this month.

The vaccine, developed with the University of Oxford, showed 90% efficacy in one dosing regimen, and 62% efficacy in a second regimen. That averages to a 70% efficacy, AstraZeneca said. 

The company said in a news release that its vaccine was “highly effective in preventing COVID-19, the primary endpoint, and no hospitalisations or severe cases of the disease were reported in participants receiving the vaccine."

The interim analysis included a total of 131 Covid-19 cases, according to the release.

Other vaccines in the works: This comes after Moderna announced earlier this month that its vaccine was 94.5% effective against coronavirus, and Pfizer announced its vaccine was 95% effective.

2:27 a.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Indian state chief warns people to take precautions to avoid coronavirus "tsunami"

From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi

The Chief Minister of India's Maharashtra state, Uddhav Thackeray, speaks during a news conference in New Delhi, India, on December 8, 2016.
The Chief Minister of India's Maharashtra state, Uddhav Thackeray, speaks during a news conference in New Delhi, India, on December 8, 2016. Arvind Yadav/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

The Chief Minister of India's Maharashtra state, Uddhav Thackeray, has warned the public to practice Covid-appropriate behavior to avoid a "tsunami" of infections after the festival season.

“The second and third wave of coronavirus that some states are experiencing, if you compare it with previous waves, it’s not a wave but a tsunami," Thackeray said in an address on Sunday, referring to rising infections in Delhi and other states. 

He added that Maharashtra has gained some control of the situation -- but cautioned citizens to wear masks and avoid crowds.

"We did bring the numbers down, but I had said before itself that we need to take extra precautions during Diwali ... but crowding did increase, so don’t think that the threat of coronavirus is gone," he said.

Maharashtra, India's second most populous state, has reported more than 1.78 million Covid-19 cases. The state's death toll stands at 46,623, according to the Indian Ministry of Health.