November 24 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Kara Fox, Antonia Mortensen, Ed Upright, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020
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8:55 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020

The US set another record for new Covid cases in children last week, AAP says

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

There were more than 144,000 new cases of Covid-19 reported among children in the week ending Nov. 19 -- marking the highest weekly increase since the pandemic began, according to an update Monday from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Children now account for more than 11% of all confirmed coronavirus cases in the US. There has been a 28% increase in child Covid-19 cases over two weeks.

The AAP said 144,145 new cases among children 17 and under were reported from Nov. 5 to 19. The group, which represents pediatricians, says nearly 1.2 million children have been infected in the US as of Nov. 19. According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 12.4 million Americans have been infected with the novel coronavirus.

Severe illness and death from Covid-19 are still rare among children. As of Nov. 19, children represented between 1.2% and 3.1% of total hospitalizations, depending on the state. Between 0.2% and 5.6% of all child Covid-19 cases resulted in hospitalizations in states that reported that information, and fewer than 0.14% of all children with Covid-19 died. Seventeen states reported no child deaths.

The count is not complete, because not all states report data the same way. These numbers come from 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. A smaller subset of states report information about hospitalizations and deaths by age.

The AAP says there is an “urgent need” to collect more data on longer-term impacts on children, including the ways in which the virus may hurt children physically and emotionally long-term.

8:03 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020

AstraZeneca's Oxford coronavirus vaccine is 70% effective on average, data shows, with no safety concerns

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz, Kara Fox and Amy Cassidy

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

The average efficacy of 70% came from the average of two different dosing schedules tested as part of the trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil.

The vaccine, developed with the University of Oxford, showed 90% efficacy in one dosing regimen -- when the vaccine was given to 2,741 people as a half dose, followed by a full dose at least a month later -- and 62% efficacy in a second regimen -- when two full doses were given to 8,895 people at least a month apart. That averages to a 70% efficacy, AstraZeneca said.

It is not yet clear why the two dosages produced such different results.

When people were given the smaller dose, the number of asymptomatic infections dropped, indicating a difference in transmission, Professor Andrew Pollard, the trial's lead investigator at Oxford, said in a call with journalists on Monday.

"What we've always tried to do with a vaccine is fool the immune system into thinking that there's a dangerous infection there that it needs to respond to -- but doing it in a very safe way," Pollard explained. "So we get the immune response and we get the immune memory ... waiting and ready if the pathogen itself is then encountered."

It may be that the best way of "kicking the immune system into action" is to give the body a small amount of the vaccine to begin with -- and then follow up with a larger amount, but as the data on that method is preliminary, there is still more work to do, Pollard said.

AstraZeneca is the third drugmaker to unveil promising results in the fight against coronavirus this month, with Moderna announcing earlier in November that its vaccine was 94.5% effective against coronavirus, and Pfizer/BioNTech revealing that its vaccine was 95% effective.

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