The latest on the coronavirus pandemic

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton and Eoin McSweeney, CNN

Updated 3:57 PM ET, Sat November 28, 2020
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9:03 p.m. ET, November 27, 2020

Los Angeles County issues new stay-at-home order and bans all gatherings as Covid-19 cases surge

From CNN's Sarah Moon

All public and private gatherings with people outside a single household will be prohibited for three weeks in Los Angeles County starting Monday to curb an unprecedented spread of coronavirus, the Department of Public Health announced in a news release.

“As new Covid-19 cases remain at alarming levels and the number of people hospitalized continue to increase, a temporary Los Angeles County health officer order will be issued to require additional safety measures across sectors,” the county's health department said Friday. 

The order comes days after the county reported a record number of new Covid-19 infections, the highest number of deaths in months, and increased hospitalizations.

County health officials are urging all residents to stay home as much as possible and to wear face coverings when they are outside, even when exercising at parks and beaches.

While beaches, trails, and parks remain open, only gatherings from a single household will be allowed. Under the new order, playgrounds and cardrooms will also be closed.

According to the news release, the maximum occupancy for essential businesses will be reduced to 30%. Occupancy will be shrink to 20% for nonessential businesses, personal care services, and libraries. Businesses operating outdoors, including fitness centers, zoos, botanical gardens, and batting cages, will be reduced to 50% maximum capacity.

The new health order will be in effect until Dec. 20.

Voluntary compliance: The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement to CNN that it will not enforce the order.

“Since the first Stay at Home Order was issued in March of this year, we have focused on education and voluntary compliance, with enforcement measures being an extreme last resort,” the statement said. 
“We trust in the community and rely on people to assess risk and take precautions as appropriate,” they added.
7:29 p.m. ET, November 27, 2020

CDC Covid-19 vaccine advisers call emergency meeting to discuss distribution

From CNN’s John Bonifield and Maggie Fox

Advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called an emergency meeting for Tuesday to vote on who they recommend should be the first to get a coronavirus vaccine once one is authorized.

The CDC's Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices wants to have advice out to the public ahead of any decision from the US Food and Drug Administration about emergency authorization of a vaccine, ACIP chair Dr. Jose Romero told CNN.

"We are meeting because the FDA, the Operation Warp Speed, have asked states and other jurisdictions to please submit their plans on Friday of this coming week," Romero said.
"We foresee imminent authorization if this vaccine is shown to be effective and safe in the near future and we want to be at the point where we are providing appropriate guidance to the states and jurisdictions for the use of these vaccines," said Romero, who is Secretary for Health for the Arkansas Department of Health.
"This is not something that is being rushed. We have already discussed the groups within the first tier. We are simply going over the data once again and having a vote primarily on the first tier group 1a -- healthcare providers and the people in the long term, congregate facilities."

ACIP met on Monday to discuss the priority groups for receiving any vaccine that may get emergency use authorization from the FDA. The CDC has already recommended that the first group -- designated as 1a -- should include frontline health providers and support personnel.

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8:23 p.m. ET, November 27, 2020

FDA intends to make vaccine authorization decision within a few weeks after Dec. 10 meeting

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen

The US Food and Drug Administration intends to make a decision about authorizing Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine within a few weeks of a key meeting scheduled for Dec. 10, according to an agency official. 

"It will be a matter of weeks. It could be from days to weeks,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said Wednesday. "It's possible it could be within days, but our goal is to make sure it's certainly within a few weeks.”

“I can't give you an exact date that we're going to have an emergency use authorization issued because we have to do it right. Obviously we're going to be working to do it as quickly as we possibly can," Marks added during the event sponsored by the group Vaccinate Your Family.

The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, a panel of independent experts, is scheduled to meet Dec. 10 to discuss Pfizer’s application for emergency use authorization.

So far, Pfizer is the only company to apply for an EUA from the FDA. The submission to the FDA was 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 BioNTech said.

The vaccine cannot be shipped until the FDA issues an EUA, according to a presentation by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Marks' timeline varies from one offered Thursday by President Donald Trump. “The vaccines are being delivered literally -- they’ll start in the next week or the week after,” Trump said in a virtual Thanksgiving address to US troops.

Vaccinations will begin in the US "towards the latter part of December,” according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

8:10 p.m. ET, November 27, 2020

Holiday season starts under pall of more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Ray Sanchez and Christina Maxouris

America enters the somber holiday weekend following a Thanksgiving Day that saw more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases and 1,200 deaths -- skyrocketing numbers given that 20 states did not report data.

Traditionally the start of a time of shopping and giving, the final days of November have seen record highs in the worsening pandemic -- surpassing previous surges and showing no signs of slowing down in the precarious winter months.

The US on Friday marked the 25th day in a row with more than 100,000 new cases, including cases from states that didn't report on the holiday. Hospitalizations hit a new high Thursday -- for the 17th consecutive day -- with more than 90,400 Covid-19 patients nationwide, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

The country's death toll since the pandemic's start is now more than 264,000. And nearly another 60,000 people could lose their lives over the next three weeks, according to an ensemble forecast published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week.

The number of daily deaths will likely double in the next 10 days, prolonging a sense of loss and isolation in a season traditionally spent with family and friends.

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