US coronavirus hospitalizations, new cases break record for second straight day

Pfizer and BioNTech submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization for their coronavirus vaccine candidate, this comes as the US reported a record one-day total of new Covid-19 cases. CNN's Nick Watt reports.

Posted: Nov 20, 2020 5:09 PM
Updated: Nov 20, 2020 8:15 PM


The number of Americans hospitalized with Covid-19 and the number of new US cases reported rose to record levels for a second day in a row on Friday.

More than 82,000 people were hospitalized, according to the Covid Tracking Project, topping Thursday's record. More than 193,000 new cases were reported, according to Johns Hopkins University data -- the first time US cases have topped 190,000 in a day.

Over half of the country is now in the 'red zone,' Dr. Deborah Birx, a White House Coronavirus Task Force member told CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta in an exclusive interview, warning that this surge was unlike those in the past.

'When you look at what's happening now, the rate of rise is dramatically different,' Birx said. 'This is faster. It's broader. And what worries me, it could be longer.'

As of Friday, the US was averaging 74,063 current hospitalizations over the last 7 days -- up 19.13% compared to the previous week.

More than 2,000 American deaths were recorded by Johns Hopkins University on Thursday -- the highest number since early May. And by December 18, more than 2,300 Americans could be losing their lives daily, according to the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

The group now predicts a total of 471,000 American deaths by March 1 -- up more than 30,000 since their last projection about a week ago.

But amid the dire warnings are reassurances from experts that Americans merely need to wear masks, social distance and avoid social gatherings for a little while longer.

'It's not forever. Good vaccines are coming, extraordinarily effective vaccines,' said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of tropical medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.

'So we're going to have a much better place, definitely by this time next year, or even earlier -- spring or summer,' he said. 'Therefore, it's your obligation to keep yourself and your family alive.'

'It's all hands on deck,' he said.

Fauci: 'Double down' on masks, social distancing until vaccine

In a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci urged Americans to 'double down' on lifesaving measures as the nation waits for a vaccine to be approved.

Fauci highlighted preliminary data from both Moderna and Pfizer that showed their vaccine candidates were about 95% effective, calling the results 'extraordinary.' But that doesn't mean the country can let up on wearing masks, avoiding gatherings and social distancing.

'We need to actually double down on the public health measures as we are waiting for that help to come, which will be soon,' Fauci said. 'If we do that, we'll be able to hold things off until the vaccine comes.'

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration on Friday for an emergency use authorization (EUA) for their vaccine candidate, the first to seek regulatory approval in the US.

An EUA is not a full approval, but allows products to be used under particular circumstances before all the evidence is available for approval.

'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.

The FDA said Friday it had scheduled a meeting of its outside advisory panel, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, to discuss the application for an EUA on December 10.

In a statement, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn acknowledged that 'transparency and dialogue are critical for the public to have confidence in Covid-19 vaccines,' and went on to offer assurances that the evaluation would be 'open and transparent as possible.'

While the application is 'encouraging,' the Infectious Diseases Society of America stressed a transparent review of Pfizer's data is still needed, including 'evidence that the vaccine has been studied in diverse populations.'

Based on current projections, Pfizer expects to produce up to 50 million vaccine doses this year and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.

Fauci has said he expects the first vaccinations to begin 'toward the latter part of December,' and logistic preparations are already underway.

Gen. Gustave Perna, the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, said Thursday there were 100 million vaccine kits ready to go if and when distribution of a vaccine begins.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a recorded video statement released Thursday that his state has purchased 5 million needles, 5 million syringes and 5 million alcohol swabs to prepare for the distribution of the vaccine. The governor called recent breakthroughs 'the greatest rays of hope that we have seen since the pandemic began.'

Dr. Troy Brennan, CVS Health's executive vice president and chief medical officer, said his company is also preparing for the massive rollout of vaccines. While he expects CVS will have vaccines on hand by mid-December, the company is focused on coordinating with Operation Warp Speed to get them to nursing homes and assisted living facilities first.

Brennan said he expects CVS stores across the country to start offering Covid-19 vaccines by the end of February or the beginning or March.

Health workers ask public to observe Thanksgiving responsibly

In an open letter on Thursday, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and the American Nurses Association asked the public to scale back on traditional gatherings to help curb the spread of the virus.

'The record-shattering surge underway is resulting in uncontrolled community spread and infection that has already overburdened health systems in some areas and will ultimately consume capacity of our health care system and may reduce the availability of care in many places in our country,' they said.

The exploding number of cases also prompted the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to update their Thanksgiving travel guidelines, recommending Americans not travel for the holiday. Those who travel should wear masks, keep their distance from others and wash their hands regularly.

In the past week, similar messages have been echoed both by leading health experts and state leaders.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards warned that if residents were planning on a Thanksgiving that looks like previous ones, 'You're making a mistake.' In Utah, where hospitals are overwhelmed and about 45 ICU beds remain vacant, the governor advised that only people from the same household gather for the holiday.

Wearing masks could save lives. According to the IHME team, 65,000 lives could be saved by March 1 if 95% of Americans wore masks.

More curfews, measures to curb the spread

Massachusetts added Maine and New Hampshire to a list of states subject to travel restrictions. When arriving in Massachusetts, travelers must fill out a form, quarantine for 14 days or receive a negative Covid-19 test administered in the three days prior, according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. As of Friday, only Vermont and Hawaii did not appear on the list of restricted states.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday a limited Stay-at-Home order will be going into effect Saturday for the counties that are in the state's most restrictive tier. That includes Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Riverside County, Orange County and Sacramento County.

About 94% of California's population is currently in the most restrictive tier.

Nonessential work and gatherings must stop between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., the governor said, adding the order will remain in effect for one month.

A statewide curfew is now in effect for 21 days from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in Ohio, where Gov. Mike DeWine clarified police won't be out pulling people over if they see them driving at night, saying it should be assumed they have a 'legitimate reason to be out.'

'But on the other hand, if there is a number of people congregating somewhere, and the police see that ... certainly they're probably going to pull over and say, 'Hey, it's beyond the 10 o'clock, you guys need to go home.''

In Arkansas, the governor announced an 11 p.m. closure for all businesses that are licensed to sell and allow consumption of alcohol on premises.

The new directive goes into effect Friday and will last until January 3, the governor's office said, adding that it covers restaurants and bars as well as private clubs with 'on premise' permits.

And there could be more restrictions just over the horizon. In New York City, where public schools transitioned to remote learning on Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned the city could move into the 'orange zone' as soon as the week after Thanksgiving, closing indoor dining and gyms, according to state guidelines.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 154878

Reported Deaths: 2206
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31824528
Washington21099212
Marion18373285
Clackamas13328175
Lane10200126
Jackson8315111
Umatilla763982
Deschutes593459
Yamhill376764
Linn357756
Malheur334458
Polk303942
Klamath278455
Douglas244754
Josephine232849
Benton232516
Jefferson195128
Coos144019
Union128119
Columbia124821
Wasco122026
Lincoln112820
Hood River106429
Morrow104614
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6507
Curry4246
Tillamook4142
Lake3746
Harney2736
Grant2221
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3559311

Reported Deaths: 51794
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles118923221241
Riverside2894503767
San Bernardino2860772783
Orange2607213982
San Diego2589823260
Santa Clara1102371777
Kern102627811
Fresno950151422
Sacramento929611464
Alameda802791241
Ventura77395834
San Joaquin665691082
Contra Costa62164674
Stanislaus55887946
Tulare47784746
Monterey42138327
San Mateo38872515
San Francisco34138398
Santa Barbara31763407
Solano30024164
Merced28915395
Sonoma28004298
Imperial26855589
Kings21951218
Placer19763232
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15414209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12787185
Shasta10969174
Butte10922160
El Dorado9095100
Napa899869
Sutter884597
San Benito575259
Yuba573336
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Tuolumne394659
Nevada394074
Mendocino379643
Amador344841
Humboldt318033
Lake314140
Glenn221923
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128736
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3957
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
Unassigned00
Medford
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Brookings
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