National News Desk

Coronavirus updates: Nearly 70,000 Americans hospitalized, ICUs almost out of space



(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1.3 million people worldwide.

Over 54.4 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some national governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their outbreaks. The criteria for diagnosis — through clinical means or a lab test — has also varied from country to country.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the virus has rapidly spread to every continent except Antarctica. The United States is the worst-affected nation, with more than 11 million diagnosed cases and at least 246,236 deaths.

Nearly 200 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least 10 of which are in crucial phase three studies. Of those 10 potential vaccines in late-stage trials, there are currently five that will be available in the United States if approved.

Here’s how the news is developed Monday. All times Eastern:

Nov 16, 9:35 pm
US saw over a million new cases in last week: HHS

The United States saw over a million new coronavirus cases over the last week, according to an internal memo from the United States Department of Health and Human Services that was obtained by ABC News.

This comes as 53 states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new cases, according to the agency.

The 1,070,845 cases recorded between Nov. 9-15 represent a 39.5% increase from the previous seven-day period, according to the memo.

There were 8,443 new COVID-19 deaths in the same period, representing a 23.5% increase from the previous week, according to HHS.

The national test-positivity rate increased from 8.7% to 10.7% in week-to-week comparisons, the memo said.

Roughly a quarter of the nation’s hospitals had 80% of their ICU beds filled, according to HHS.

The agency said 147 U.S. counties are identified as “rapid risers” as of Nov. 12.

In Michigan, which is slated to restrict nonessential businesses this week, all regions in the state are now at the highest risk level for spread, according to the memo.

Nov 16, 8:27 pm

Iowa issues mask mandate, restrictions as cases rise

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced her state will issue a mask mandate for all indoor activity starting midnight Tuesday.

Reynolds said in a news conference that the state recorded more than 52,000 new cases in the past two weeks, and that one in every four current hospital patients has COVID-19.

“In late October hospitalizations were approaching the 100-a-day mark,” the Republican governor said. “Now they have topped 200 a day.”

The governor’s order “limits indoor social, community, business and leisure gatherings or events to 15 people,” and limits outdoor gatherings to 30 people, according to a news release.

“This includes wedding and funeral receptions, family gatherings and conventions,” the governor’s office said in a statement.

The order will remain in effect until Dec. 11 at the earliest, according to the governor’s office.

As of Monday, 188,392 Iowans have tested positive for the virus and 1,991 residents have died from the disease, according to the state’s Health Department.

Nov 16, 5:17 pm

California ‘pulling the emergency brake’ on reopening

Forty counties in California, representing 94% of the state’s population, will move backward into the most restrictive reopening tier, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday.

“This is the fastest increase California has seen since the beginning of this pandemic,” Newsom said. “California is pulling the emergency brake.”

The new restrictions end most indoor activities. Outdoor dining, gyms, religious services, movies and museums are still permitted. In addition to tightening rules on businesses, Newsom said he was discouraging non-essential out-of-state travel and considering implementing a curfew.

ABC News’ Matthew Fuhrman contributed to this report.

Nov 16, 4:44 pm

1 million US kids have had COVID-19

More than 1 million U.S. children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to a report published Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

Last week, nearly 112,000 children were diagnosed, marking the largest weekly increase since the U.S. outbreak began.

Because states differ in how they report on age groups, this report includes infants through teens. In total, infections among children represent 11.5% of overall U.S. cases. Since COVID-19 symptoms in children tend to be milder than those in adults, experts believe many cases go undiagnosed and that current figures are most likely an undercount.

Nov 16, 3:59 pm

Philly tightens COVID restrictions until Jan. 1

Philadelphia officials announced sweeping COVID-19 restrictions Monday that will last through the end of the year.

Colleges, universities and high schools are required to switch to online learning, and churches have been asked to hold online services. All employees able to work remotely should do so.

Additionally, outdoor gatherings will be limited to 10% occupancy, and food and beverages are not allowed to be served.

“I know these restrictions are tough,” Dr. Thomas Farley, Philadelphia’s health commissioner, said Monday. “People are going to be put out of work, and some businesses may go under,” Farley added. “We also know that the consequences to health of not doing it are really bad.”

“If we do this right, our businesses will recover faster because the epidemic wave will subside sooner.”

The new rules go into effect on Friday.

Nov 16, 1:12 pm
Labor Department issues $2.8 million in fines to companies that didn’t protect workers

The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued more than $2.8 million in fines for failing to properly protect employees from COVID-19.

The violations compiled by OSHA include failure to implement plans to protect workers from respiratory viruses; failure to provide workers with PPE or train them to wear it properly; failure to report illness or death; and failure to to provide a safe workplace.

Since the pandemic began, OSHA has issued 204 citations and $2,856,533 in penalties, many in nursing homes and health care facilities.

ABC News’ Stephanie Ebbs contributed to this report.

Nov 16, 11:50 am
Nearly 70,000 Americans currently hospitalized

Nearly 70,000 people are currently hospitalized due to complications with COVID-19 as intensive care units around the country run out of space and supplies.

The number of hospitalization shows no signs of slowing down after the seven-day average of patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 increased by 23%, according to an ABC News analysis of the trends across 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., using data from the COVID Tracking Project.

The virus also continues to disproportionally impact Americans of color. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the week ending on Nov. 7, hospitalization rates for Hispanic or Latino individuals are 4.2 times higher than that of non-Hispanic White individuals. American Indian or Alaska Native individuals have been hospitalized at 4.1 times the rate of non-Hispanic White individuals, and Black individuals have been hospitalized at 3.9 times the rate of non-Hispanic White individuals.

The U.S. is now averaging almost 145,000 new cases a day — nearly four times the daily average from just two months ago. In the last seven days, the average number of new COVID-19 cases has increased by 35%.

The 1 million Americans diagnosed with the virus in the last seven days equates to 101 every minute.

-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropolous

Nov 16, 7:41 am
Moderna announces initial Phase 3 data showing its COVID-19 vaccine is up to 94.5% effective

In another promising medical development, the biotechnology company Moderna has announced its COVID-19 vaccine could be up to 94.5% effective.

The news comes a week after Pfizer announced its vaccine could be up to 90% effective based on a similar, early analysis from its Phase 3 trial.

In a release Monday, Moderna said its Phase 3 trial “met statistical criteria with a vaccine efficacy of 94.5%,” according to an early analysis of the data that included 95 participants with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

However, vaccine specialists caution that these numbers are not set in stone — both estimates could increase or decrease as the respective trials continue, and the vaccines may ultimately prove to work better in some groups than in others.

Despite the promising data, Moderna isn’t ready to roll out its vaccine in a mass immunization campaign just yet. The company will first need to ask the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization (EUA), a limited green-light for higher-risk groups.

The company said it plans to seek EUA “in the coming weeks.” That application will include at least two months of safety data after the last injection in half the volunteers. 
Moderna has said it expects the FDA application will include the “final analysis” of 151 cases of COVID-19 in its trial, rather than just the initial 95 cases.

This puts them roughly on track along with Pfizer for possible limited authorization by the FDA as soon as December. Moderna is expected to have 20 million doses to go along with Pfizer’s 50 million for global distribution before more can be made in 2021.

Moderna also announced promising data Monday about how the vaccine can be shipped and stored. According to the company, the vaccine can safely be stored for up to six months in a normal freezer, and up to 30 days in a normal refrigerator.

Pfizer’s vaccine must be kept at around -94 degrees Fahrenheit — far colder than a typical freezer can accommodate. Because of these temperature requirements, the company will ship vaccine doses in special temperature-controlled thermal boxes packed with dry ice.

With the new data published this week, Moderna could be the second company to seek authorization in the United States, after Pfizer.

Nov 16, 5:12 am
Russia’s daily coronavirus cases hit all-time record

Russia registered a total of 22,778 new coronavirus infection cases and 303 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, according to the coronavirus response headquarters in a statement that was released on Monday.

The city of Moscow alone recorded 6,360 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.

Russia has now seen a total of 1,948,603 coronavirus infection cases and 32,489 people have died of coronavirus in Russia over the entire period of the pandemic.

Nov 16, 5:12 am
Russia’s daily coronavirus cases hit all-time record

Russia registered a total of 22,778 new coronavirus infection cases and 303 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, according to the coronavirus response headquarters in a statement that was released on Monday.

The city of Moscow alone recorded 6,360 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.

Russia has now seen a total of 1,948,603 coronavirus infection cases and 32,489 people have died of coronavirus in Russia over the entire period of the pandemic.

Nov 16, 4:52 am
Olympic optimism as IOC’s Bach meets with Japan PM Suga

As global coronavirus infections spread and countries impose new lockdowns, a glimmer of hope for the Summer Olympic Games was seen briefly in Japan’s capital on Monday. International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach is in Tokyo, his first visit since coronavirus forced the decision to postpone the summer games for a year.
At the prime minister’s office, Bach and Prime Minister Suga met for about 30 minutes. The two fistbumped for photographers before making optimistic statements.

Bach said, “We again will make this Olympic Games a great symbol of solidarity and unity of humanity in this world, which by then will be a post-coronavirus world.”

Suga said, “We are determined to host the games as proof that humanity has defeated the coronavirus pandemic.”
Bach’s four-day visit to Tokyo began on Sunday. On Monday night, the IOC president is expected to meet Japan’s long-serving former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who made the call to delay the games in March. Bach is also scheduled to meet Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike and Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee president Yoshiro Mori.
Despite not implementing harsh measures to combat COVID, such as a European-styled hard lockdown, Japan seems to have sidestepped the ravages of the disease.

There are currently under 120,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and less than 2,000 deaths. Like other nations, as temperatures fall and people head indoors, coronavirus numbers are expected to rise. Health officials reported 1,441 new coronavirus cases on Sunday.

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