CDC warns against Thanksgiving travel as Covid-19 cases spike

After close contacts get Covid, acting Sec. Def. Chris Miller won’t isolate

Two people tested positive for coronavirus after having close contact with acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, who will not conduct a period of self-isolation as is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a Pentagon spokesperson.

Anthony Tata, who is performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday and twice subsequently, chief Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

Tata was tested because the Lithuanian Embassy informed the Pentagon that its Defense Minister, Raimundas Karoblis, tested positive for Covid-19.

Karoblis visited the Pentagon over several days in the last week, where he met with Miller, Tata, as well as Secretary of Navy Kenneth Braithwaite.

Miller and others won’t isolate, the Pentagon spokesperson said:

“As CDC COVID mitigation guidelines were followed during the Acting Secretary’s bilateral meeting with the minister, as well as meetings with Mr. Tata, Acting Secretary of Defense Miller is not quarantining,” the Pentagon said.

U.S. crosses 190,000 new daily Covid-19 cases

More than 193,000 people reported new Covid-19 infections in the U.S. Thursday, a new record. County and state health departments across the country reported 1,945 deaths. 

According to NBC News’ tally, case counts have exceeded 100,000 for more than two weeks now. In the last week, an average 165,665 cases have been confirmed per day, up more than double from the average 80,669 cases per day the U.S. was averaging four weeks ago.

Several records were set Thursday on the state level:

  • Iowa reported 39 Covid-19 deaths, tying its record set the day before.
  • Kentucky reported 3,637 cases
  • Maryland had 2,912 cases
  • 72 reported dead in Minnesota
  • 28 deaths in Nebraska
  • 2,416 cases in Nevada
  • 528 cases in New Hampshire
  • 4,491 new cases in New Jersey
  • 3,665 cases in New Mexico
  • Oregon reported 20 dead
  • Vermont reported 149 new cases
  • Wyoming reported 21 deaths

Track surges across the states.

Need a negative test before heading to Hawaii, governor says

HONOLULU — Anyone flying to Hawaii will be required to have a negative Covid-19 test result prior to their departure for the state, with the new rule going into effect two days before Thanksgiving, Gov. David Ige announced Thursday.

Until now, passengers flying to the islands using a pre-travel testing program were permitted to arrive and then upload their negative test results to a state database, allowing them to skip two weeks of quarantine.

Hong Kong suspends in-person classes for some students for 2 weeks

HONG KONG — Hong Kong has suspended in-person classes for lower primary school students after the city’s top health official said the coronavirus situation in the territory was rapidly deteriorating.

Classes for primary 1 to 3 students will be suspended for two weeks from Monday. The suspension comes just over a week after kindergartens were ordered to close following an outbreak of upper respiratory tract infections.

Hong Kong confirmed 26 new coronavirus infections on Friday, 21 of which were local cases.

“I would appeal to people to stop all unnecessary gathering activities because the situation is severe now in Hong Kong,” health minister Sophia Chan said.

Pfizer to apply for emergency use for its Covid-19 vaccine

Pfizer announced it will submit an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Friday for an emergency use authorization for its experimental Covid-19 vaccine.

Early results from Pfizer’s Phase 3 clinical trials yielded promising news: Two shots, given three weeks apart, appeared to be 95 percent effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech are poised to have 50 million doses available this year and 1.3 billion in 2021, using facilities both in the U.S. and Belgium.

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Rachel Maddow says her partner has Covid, at one point thought it ‘might kill her’

MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow made an impassioned plea on Thursday night live from her home after announcing her partner of 21 years, Susan Mikula, had fallen ill with the coronavirus.

Calling Mikula the “center” of her life, the TV personality said her partner had been sick for the past few weeks, “and at one point, we really thought there was a possibility that it might kill her.”

“She’s gotten sicker and sicker, while I tried to care for her while still staying physically apart from her,” Maddow said, explaining her absence from the airwaves. “And the bottom line is that she’s going to be fine, she’s recovering, she’s still sick but she’s going to be OK.”

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European Covid restrictions appear to be paying off, says WHO, as U.S. cases soar

LONDON — Coronavirus lockdown restrictions in Europe appear to be paying off, with a dip in new weekly cases, the World Health Organization said, offering a glimmer of hope ahead of Christmas, while cases soar in the United States.

Restrictions, from school and store closures to limited social interactions, have led to a slight decrease in new Covid-19 weekly cases from 2 million to 1.8 million over the last two weeks, the WHO said.

“It’s a small signal, but it’s a signal nevertheless,” WHO regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge said in a statement Thursday.

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