Coronavirus: California orders 10 p.m. curfew across most of the state to slow the Covid pandemic

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One week out from Thanksgiving, coronavirus cases are still on the rise across the U.S. The national seven-day average of daily new infections now stands at 161,165, according to a CNBC analysis of John Hopkins data, 26% higher than a week ago. Health experts are warning against travel and large gatherings for the holiday, encouraging Americans instead to stay home and slow the spread of the virus.

Here are some of the biggest developments on Thursday:

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 56.35 million
  • Global deaths: At least 1.35 million
  • U.S. cases: More than 11.53 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 250,548

WHO tells doctors not to use Gilead’s remdesivir for treating coronavirus

A lab technicians shows the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatment drug "Remdesivir".
Amr Abdallah Dalsh | Reuters

A WHO panel advised doctors against using Gilead Sciences' antiviral drug remdesivir as a treatment for patients hospitalized with Covid-19.

The group said there is currently "no evidence" that it improves survival rates or the need for ventilation.

"After thoroughly reviewing this evidence, the WHO GDG expert panel, which includes experts from around the world including four patients who have had covid-19, concluded that remdesivir has no meaningful effect on mortality or on other important outcomes for patients, such as the need for mechanical ventilation or time to clinical improvement," the group wrote in a press release.

The recommendation was published in the British medical trade journal The BMJ on Friday in the U.K.

-Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

White House seeks to assure Americans U.S. is prepared

Vice President Mike Pence sought to reassure Americans Thursday evening that the country is "prepared" to handle the coronavirus outbreak even as the nation's top health agency warns that new deaths caused by Covid-19 are accelerating into the winter.

The event at the White House marked the first press briefing from the coronavirus task force since July, as well as the first such briefing since Covid-19 cases surged to their highest-ever levels in the U.S. 

"America has never been more prepared to combat this virus than we are today," Pence said at the beginning of the briefing.

The presentation from the White House appeared out of step with messaging from the CDC. Earlier Thursday, the CDC broke its silence, holding a rare news briefing in which Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC's Covid-19 incident manager, said "we're alarmed" about the state of U.S. outbreak. He added that the U.S. is seeing an "exponential increase in cases and hospitalizations and deaths."

—Will Feuer

FDA clears Eli Lilly drug to be used with Gilead's remdesivir for treating Covid patients

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued emergency use clearance for Eli Lilly's rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib to be used along with Gilead Sciences remdesivir in treating coronavirus patients.

The FDA made the decision after reviewing a clinical trial by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which showed a slight reduction in median recovery time for patients treated with the combination compared to patients treated only with remdesivir.

Chris Eudaily

Azar says Pfizer expected to file vaccine application Friday

Pfizer is expected to file an application on Friday to the FDA seeking emergency use for its coronavirus vaccine, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters.

"We would expect Moderna filing soon also," he added during the White House coronavirus task force's first public meeting in months. 

Pfizer said Wednesday it would submit an application to the agency "within days' after a final data analysis found its vaccine was highly effective and appeared to be safe. A safe and effective vaccine is seen by investors and policymakers as a solution to get the global economy back on track after the pandemic wreaked havoc on nearly every country.

–Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

California institutes 10 p.m. curfew to suppress Covid spread, Newsom says

California Gov. Gavin Newsom updates the state's response to the coronavirus at the Governor's Office of Emergency Services in Rancho Cordova, Calif., Monday, March 23, 2020.
Rich Pedroncelli | AP

California will impose a "limited Stay at Home Order" on a majority of the state's residents beginning Saturday, requiring nonessential work and gatherings to cease between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a tweet.

The order applies to people living in counties under California's most restricted reopening tier, which is roughly 94% of the population.

"These immediate actions will help reduce community spread, protect individuals at higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19, and prevent the state's health care delivery system from becoming overwhelmed," Dr. Erica Pan, the state's acting public health officer, said in a statement. "Reducing movement and mixing of individual Californians is critical to decreasing transmission, hospitalizations, and deaths."

Pan said that activities conducted during this time are typically nonessential, like "social activities and gatherings that have a higher likelihood of leading to reduced inhibition." People are less likely to wear face coverings or socially distance during these events, Pan said.

The order will remain in effect until Dec. 21 and may be revised or extended, according to the statement.

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said the coronavirus positivity rate in the state is now 5.6%, up from just 3% recently. Hospitalizations are up 12% in the last 2 weeks, Ghaly said, adding that about 12% of new positive test results will be hospitalized within 2 to 3 weeks.

Ghaly said that the state's actions back in March had kept Californians ahead of the curve and appealed to all residents to help.

—Noah Higgins-Dunn, Riya Bhattacharjee

Schumer says McConnell open to new relief talks, as aides talk govt funding

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), with Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), holds his news conference following the weekly Senate Republican caucus policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. November 17, 2020.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said at a press conference in New York that the majority leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., signaled that he was open to resuming the long-stalled talks over Covid-19 relief.

Shortly after Schumer made those remarks, however, Democratic and Republican aides told NBC News that the New York lawmaker had oversold the development.

Aides to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are meeting on Thursday to begin government funding talks that will be necessary to avert a shutdown next month, and Covid-19 relief is expected to be part of those discussions.

Democrats and Republicans have been at an impasse for months over the size and scope of Covid-19 economic relief, with Democrats pressing for spending in the trillions and Republicans largely unwilling to go over $500 billion.

Financial assistance and other protections for millions of Americans are expected to lapse at the end of the year without a deal.

--Tucker Higgins

Adult children are returning home in record numbers. Here’s how they can get back on their feet

Elizabeth McCown pictured with her mother, Suzanne Cellabos, moved back home after graduating from college.
Source: Suzanne Cellabos

The coronavirus pandemic is driving more young adults to move back home. In July, 52% lived with one or both parents, higher than the peak reached during the Great Depression era, a recent Pew Research Center analysis found.

Meanwhile, 50% of parents are helping pay their adult children's everyday expenses like groceries and cell phone bills, according to a September survey by Country Financial.

While moms and dads may want to help out, they need to make sure they don't sacrifice their retirement savings, said Lawrence Sprung, president of Hauppauge, New York- based Mitlin Financial. They may also be hurting their children's discipline going forward.

To ensure your kids land on their feet, make sure you set parameters for the new living situation or the monetary help. Have them contribute to the household expenses, or at the very least the household chores. Both parents and kids should have a budget to track what's coming in and going out, with parents taking into account the added expenses from the new arrangement. —Michelle Fox

Millions poised to lose unemployment, rent and student loan relief at year-end

Around 12 million Americans are poised to lose unemployment benefits at the end of the year, coinciding with the expiration of protections for renters and student loan borrowers.

That nexus may spell financial catastrophe for many who remain jobless, especially people of color and lower earners, absent any federal extensions, which look increasingly unlikely to materialize.

Meanwhile, the economic recovery is showing signs of losing steam and officials around the country are reimposing business shutdowns to dampen rising Covid-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

Greg Iacurci

Nearly a quarter of sailors from a Navy ship have tested positive for Covid-19, officials say

Nearly a quarter of roughly 300 sailors from Navy destroyer USS Michael Murphy have tested positive for Covid-19, officials told NBC News Thursday.

All positive cases from the ship are ashore in Hawaii and no one has been hospitalized, the officials said. Other sailors are quarantining on board with a caretaker crew. The USS Michael Murphy is docked at Pearl Harbor and currently being cleaned, according to the officials.

The close quarters aboard Navy vessels create an environment conducive to coronavirus outbreaks. The USS Wayne E. Meyer also recently reported several Covid cases among sailors assigned to the ship.

In March, coronavirus swept through the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a ship underway in the Pacific with 4,779 in crew. A study later found that 27% of the crew tested positive for Covid-19 during the duration of the outbreak. A sailor assigned to the Theodore Roosevelt died of Covid-19-related complications in April, the Navy said.

Hannah Miao

Vaccinating people who disregard Covid as ‘fake news’ could be ‘a real problem,' Fauci says

Convincing people who consider the coronavirus to be "fake news" to get vaccinated against the disease could become an issue as the nation seeks to achieve so-called herd immunity, White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

"They actually don't think that this is a problem," Fauci said during a conversation with The Hastings Center. "Despite a quarter million deaths, despite more than 11 million infections, despite 150,000 new infections a day, they don't believe it's real. That is a real problem."

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has estimated that at least 75% of the country will need to be vaccinated against Covid-19, though ideally that figure would be higher. His comments with The Hastings Center are similar to those published in an interview with The New York Times on Thursday where Fauci said he's "stunned" that people in certain parts of the country with devastating Covid-19 outbreaks still consider the pandemic to be fake. — Noah Higgins-Dunn

Biden advisor says more people ‘will get infected and die’ the longer Trump delays transition

Dr. Celine Gounder, who sits on President-elect Joe Biden's coronavirus task force, told CNBC that more people will be infected with Covid-19 and die the longer the Trump administration delays the transition process and avoids coordinating the vaccine's distribution.

The Trump administration's vaccine distribution team confirmed on a conference call Thursday that they haven't briefed anyone on Biden's transition team, "and have no plans to do so," Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said in a tweet.

"The longer we wait on transition the more people will get infected and die," said Gounder, an infectious disease specialist at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine. "I think this is really a major impediment to rolling out and scaling up the vaccine."

—Noah Higgins-Dunn

Younger Americans who contract Covid could face long-lasting impacts

A recent study found that about 10% of Covid patients have lingering symptoms, or what's now being called post-Covid syndrome.

Many of these so-called long haulers are younger patients, says Dr. Noah Greenspan, a cardiopulmonary physical therapist and founder of the New York-based Pulmonary Wellness and Rehabilitation Center and the new Covid Rehabilitation and Recovery Clinic.

While it's still too early to know exactly what the potential long-term costs associated with contracting Covid will be, research shows that there's a significant difference in health costs between people who have chronic conditions and those who don't.

For patients under the age of 65, diseases of the blood, congenital anomalies and circulatory system diseases are among the most expensive chronic conditions, adding up to average out-of-pocket costs over $1,500 annually, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. In contrast, the average health insurance plan participant without a chronic condition paid just $778 a year out-of-pocket. 

Beyond the financial costs, Covid long haulers are also concerned about the potential opportunity costs: If they are facing a lifelong illness, how will their futures be impacted?

"Covid, in my experience, is and will continue to be with me every day and part of every decision I make," says Corianne Goldstein, a Covid long hauler who's been experiencing symptoms and complications for months.

Megan Leonhardt