COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 19 November

People line up for coronavirus tests at Dodger Stadium, as the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 13, 2020. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - RC2L2K96IJGR

New restrictions have been introduced in states across America. Image: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Joe Myers
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  • This daily round-up brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Top stories: Vaccines boost; US deaths top 250,000; cases fall in France.
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1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 56.2 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 1.34 million.

South Asia has passed 10 million confirmed cases, according to a Reuters tally. India has the highest number of cases, where officials are concerned that Diwali celebrations could see cases rise again.

New York City has returned to at-home learning for all students, as it closed schools after a jump in COVID-19 infections.

A gauge of global stocks climbed to a record high for the third straight day, as further upbeat vaccine news outweighed concerns about rising cases and the economic impact.

US land borders with Canada and Mexico are expected to remain closed to non-essential travel until at least 21 December.

New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have fallen again in France, with 28,383 reported yesterday, compared to 45,522 on Tuesday. The number of people in intensive care units has fallen in three of the past five days.


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2. Vaccine boost

Pfizer said Wednesdaythat the final results from the late-stage trial of its COVID-19 vaccine showed it was 95% effective. The company also said it has the required two-months of safety data and is set to apply for emergency US authorization.

Moderna announced similar preliminary results for its own vaccine's effectiveness on Monday.

Both companies have said they could have emergency approval in the US and Europe by next month, with deliveries underway before the end of the year.

“If all goes well, I could imagine that we gain approval in the second half of December and start deliveries before Christmas, but really only if all goes positively,” BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin told Reuters TV. BioNTech partnered with Pfizer in the development of its vaccine.

This view was supported by US Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, who said: “We now have two safe and highly effective vaccines that could be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and ready to distribute within weeks.”

Organizations, such as airline Air France-KLM, are gearing up for the challenge of vaccine delivery. “It’s going to be a major logistics challenge,” said Air France cargo chief Christophe Boucher, citing the “massive” volume of vaccines to be distributed globally.

“Another difficulty is the temperature control,” Boucher said in an interview at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport.


3. US deaths pass 250,000

Confirmed COVID-19 deaths have passed a quarter of a million people in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The United States is reporting 1,176 daily deaths over a 7-day average - more than the daily average deaths in India and Brazil combined - the two countries next most affected, reports Reuters.

Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the United States
The US has recorded more COVID-19 deaths than any other country. Image: Our World in Data

States have introduced new restrictions and measures in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, after cases accelerated in recent weeks. In Cleveland, people have been asked to stay home, while in Minnesota, all restaurants, bars, fitness centers and entertainment venues have been closed for four weeks.

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