The United States surpassed 10 million coronavirus cases Monday as hope spread around a potential vaccine when Pfizer announced that early data shows its vaccine candidate is more than 90% effective at preventing infections.
The news comes as President-elect Joe Biden announced his COVID-19 task force.
Former surgeon general Dr. Vivek Murthy and former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. David Kessler will lead the task force, along with Yale University professor Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith.
Meanwhile, worldwide infections surpassed 50 million. In Europe, some countries have seen new cases beginning to level off while others are just now reintroducing lockdown and curfew measures this week.
Some major developments:
- All but one U.S. state had more cases last week than the week before.
- In the sports world, Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo has tested positive for the coronavirus. In college football, the SEC postponed the Auburn-Mississippi State game and the Mountain West Conference canceled Air Force’s game at Wyoming. Both were scheduled for Saturday.
- Utah’s governor issued a statewide mask mandate while New Jersey will order bars and restaurants to close early.
- In Iowa, hospitalizations have soared 84% in the past two weeks. On Sunday, the state reported 1,034 people hospitalized with COVID-19.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 10 million cases and more than 238,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: more than 50.7 million cases and 1.26 million deaths.
🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.
This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.
US surpasses 10 million COVID-19 cases
As the United States’ new coronavirus case tally soars, more than 10 million people have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins data.
The latest marker of the pandemic’s sweeping impact on the U.S. arrived Monday as the country was both at its closest point to having a safe and effective vaccine and in the middle of its third and so far largest surge in cases.
While the news of Pfizer’s vaccine candidate being 90% effective was a sign of hope, the U.S. has added more than 100,000 new cases for five days in a row.
Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo infected with virus
Michigan State’s highly accomplished Tom Izzo has earned a dubious distinction: the most prominent college basketball coach to get infected with the coronavirus.
Izzo, who led the Spartans to the 2000 national championship, said in a statement released Monday that he has tested positive. Izzo, 65, has been outspoken and one of the state’s biggest proponents for wearing masks.
“I’ve been extremely diligent for many months now, wearing my mask in public and around the office, while adhering to social distancing guidelines,” Izzo said. “I’ve been racking my brain, trying to figure out if there was a time where I let my guard down for just an instance. And while I haven’t identified any area of exposure, what I have determined is that this shows the power of the virus.”
Crowded North Dakota hospitals can allow COVID-positive staff to work
North Dakota hospitals are at full capacity, packed in large part because of the continued rise in COVID-19 cases, to the point they’re getting approval to allow health care workers who have tested positive for the coronavirus but are not showing symptoms to continue working.
Gov. Doug Burgum announced the special dispensation Monday, saying hospital administrators had requested it to alleviate a staffing crunch. Burgum also said the state would send out rapid tests for the virus to hospitals, nursing homes and educational facilities to speed up the process of finding out who’s infected.
North Dakota leads the country in cases by 100,000 people with more than 170.
FDA gives emergency OK to drug similar to what helped Trump
On the same day of an encouraging announcement about a possible COVID-19 vaccine, the Food and Drug Administration late Monday authorized use of a drug that appears to protect infected people from getting very sick.
The FDA issued an emergency use authorization to drug-maker Lilly for bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody that mimics the immune system’s response to infection with the virus that causes COVID-19.
The drug is similar to a pair of antibodies made by Regeneron that President Donald Trump has said “cured” him of COVID-19. Regeneron has also applied for FDA authorization for its drug, REGN-COV2. The federal government has already agreed to spend $375 million to provide 300,000 doses of bamlanivimab for high-risk patients, who will not have to pay out-of-pocket costs for the medication.
According to the FDA’s authorization, bamlanivimab is allowed to be used to treat recently diagnosed, mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in high-risk patients. Delivered via a single dose infusion, the medication should be given as soon as possible after diagnosis and within 10 days of symptom onset, according to the company.
Ben Carson tests positive for COVID-19
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson tested positive for COVID-19, his office announced Monday. Carson was one of multiple Trump administration officials who attended an Election Day watch party at the White House and subsequently tested positive.
Carson “is in good spirits and feels fortunate to have access to effective therapeutics which aid and markedly speed his recovery,” the secretary’s chief of staff, Coalter Baker, said in a statement.
The news of Carson’s positive test comes just days after White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who also attended the White House event Tuesday, tested positive.
– William Cummings and Nicholas Wu
Pfizer’s vaccine candidate shown to be 90% effective
In a major boost to vaccine development, Pfizer and its collaborator BioNTech released early study results Monday indicating that their vaccine, BNT162b2, prevented more than 90% of infections with the virus that causes COVID-19.
In newly released data on the first 94 trial participants to come down with COVID-19, the vaccine was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing infection. Half the participants received a placebo and half the vaccine, so the new data shows that many more people who received the placebo than the vaccine were infected.
Pfizer is the first drug company to release data from a large, Phase 3 trial as it and several other companies are working to produce a COVID-19 vaccine that is safe and effective.
“Today is a great day for science and humanity,” Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity, and economies struggling to reopen.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, called news of the vaccine’s apparent effectiveness “extraordinary,” but also warned Americans against letting their guard down.
“It’s good because we know there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” Fauci said on CNN, “but that doesn’t mean that we’re going to give up the important public health measures that we continually still have to do every single day.”
– Karen Weintraub
Misinformation and stereotypes big obstacles to controlling pandemic
Misinformation and stereotypes get in the way of controlling the pandemic.
That’s the conclusion from two new studies conducted by University of Delaware associate professor Valerie Earnshaw, who found similarities in the obstacles to managing the raging COVID-19 pandemic with the challenges in addressing the HIV and Ebola outbreaks.
“We know from studies on mental illness and HIV that stigma will keep people from getting tested,” Earnshaw said, “and stereotypes are one way that people experience stigma. Stereotypes help people believe that those who get COVID, or HIV, are unlike them or doing the wrong thing.”
One of the studies found that people who believe coronavirus conspiracies are less likely to support public health efforts to keep the virus from spreading, and suggested the best approach to counter misinformation is through personal doctors.
College football: 50 games postponed or canceled
Interruptions continue to be the norm in the college football season, which has now seen 50 games postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus. The latest to get postponed was Saturday’s game between visiting Auburn and Mississippi State, which has less than the required number of scholarship players available because of positive tests and quarantines.
In addition, the Air Force game Saturday at Wyoming was canceled because of an outbreak among the Falcons, who had already postponed their matchup with Army.
On Monday, Arkansas announced that coach Sam Pittman tested positive for COVID-19 during routine screening the day after the Razorbacks’ win Saturday against Tennessee.
New Jersey to force bars and restaurants to close early
Bars and restaurants in New Jersey will have to close early under a new set of restrictions to be announced by Gov. Phil Murphy later Monday in an effort to curb rising cases of COVID-19.
The new restrictions, which take effect later this week, mean bars and restaurants must close inside by 10 p.m. as they head into what is typically one of the busiest times of the year, said Marilou Halvorsen, president of the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association. The state reported another 5,250 cases of coronavirus over the weekend.
“We’ll take some steps later today, but they won’t come close to what we were doing in the spring. This is not a lockdown,” Murphy said Monday morning on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” Instead, he said, “we’re going to shave at the edges.”
– Dustin Racioppi, Trenton Bureau
How Europe is handling its COVID-19 surge
In Italy, doctors are warning that while they have enough beds to treat sick COVID-19 patients, the number of specialists to administer the care they need won’t be sufficient as cases continue to rise.
Portugal entered a state of emergency Monday and imposed new lockdown and curfew orders for the majority of its population. Hungary also imposed a curfew, limited the size of family gatherings and banned all events, its strictest measures yet.
It’s good news in Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic. Belgian virologist Yves Van Laethem said Sunday that a renewed surge of hospitalizations has peaked, while Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, said Monday that “the momentum is flattening, that we have less strong increases” in its new case counts. Czech officials also said Sunday that the country had recorded its lowest new daily case count since mid-October. All three countries are in the middle of returns to partial lockdowns.
Small medical practices can’t afford to stay open during COVID-19 pandemic
Dr. Barbara Hummel is the sole employee of her office, working as a doctor, receptionist and office manager. At the height of her business, she would see about 16 patients a day. But since the coronavirus pandemic, she’s been lucky to see nine patients come through the door. Some days, as few as two patients have shown up.
Hummel is not alone. Smaller physician practices like hers are struggling to stay open during the public health crisis as the coronavirus continues to strain the American health care system. A survey issued by the American Medical Association late last month found the average revenue in medical practices has dropped by 32%.
Revenue reductions were 50% or greater for nearly 1 out of 5 physicians, according to the survey of 3,500 physicians, and one-third of surveyed physicians said in-person visits decreased by 50% or more during the pandemic.
– Adrianna Rodriguez
All but one state had more cases last week than the week before
South Dakota was the lone state with fewer COVID-19 cases in the week ending Sunday compared to the week before, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data shows. Also, 43 states had a higher rate of people testing positive than the week before, an analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows.
Twenty-eight states also broke their records for the number of new cases in a week, the analysis shows. On Saturday, the United States reported 105,927 new cases, the fifth day in a row the country passed the 100,000 mark.
– Mike Stucka
Biden announces COVID-19 advisory task force
President-elect Joe Biden announced his COVID-19 advisory task force Monday and also made an appeal to all Americans to wear masks.
The group of public health experts, almost all doctors, will offer guidance to Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and their coronavirus staff as they prepare to take over the presidency.
“Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts,” Biden said in a statement. “The advisory board will help shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective and distributed efficiently, equitably and free; and protecting at-risk populations.”
Here are the names on the list:
- Dr. David Kessler
- Dr. Vivek Murthy
- Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith
- Dr. Luciana Borio
- Dr. Rick Bright
- Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel
- Dr. Atul Gawande
- Dr. Atul Gawande
- Dr. Celine Gounder
- Dr. Julie Morita
- Dr. Michael Osterholm
- Loyce Pace
- Dr. Robert Rodriguez
- Dr. Eric Goosby
The inclusion of Rick Bright could raise some eyebrows from within the Trump administration. Bright resigned from the federal government after criticizing its pandemic response. He filed a lengthy whistleblower complaint claiming his early warnings about the virus were ignored. Bright was director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.
– Kim Hjelmgaard
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert issues statewide mask mandate
Utah Republican Gov. Gary Herbert issued a statewide mask mandate late Sunday, hoping to stem a troubling spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. The orders went into effect Monday and are set to remain in effect until Nov. 23.
The mask mandate will be in effect “until further notice,” requiring residents to wear masks in public and when they are within six feet of anyone with whom they don’t live. All casual social gatherings are restricted to household-only until Nov. 23.
Additional orders include weekly COVID-19 testing for students enrolled at public and private institutions of higher education who either live on campus or attend at least one in-person class per week, starting by at least Jan. 1.
All extracurricular activities, including athletic and intramural events, are on hold until Nov. 23. That does not apply to intercollegiate athletic events or high school championships as long as teams and schools follow instructions for testing and crowd size
– The Spectrum & Daily News
New COVID-19 restrictions in Alaska’s largest city begin Monday
New coronavirus restrictions in Alaska’s largest city will take effect Monday as infections continue to rise. Acting Anchorage Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson last week announced new changes to two of its COVID emergency orders, including a face mask mandate, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
The new order will allow people who can’t wear masks to wear face shields. If they can’t do so, people are encouraged to use services such as delivery, takeout or curbside pickup. Children over the age of 5 will be required to wear face masks without parent supervision and face coverings are now required at gyms and fitness facilities for everyone.
Indoor gatherings are now limited to 10 people if there will be food or drinks and to 15 people if not. Outdoor gatherings with refreshments are limited to 20 and to 30 people without. Public and private schools must limit classroom capacity to 50%.
COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY
Contributing: The Associated Press