Holiday travel spikes despite CDC warning; Regeneron's antibody cocktail wins emergency approval — 7 COVID-19 updates

The U.S. surpassed 12 million total COVID-19 cases Nov. 21, according to data from Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University.  

The nation also reported more than 198,500 new cases Nov. 20, which is a new record, reports The New York Times

The number of deaths per day has started rising over the past two weeks after holding stable for months, according to the Times. Nearly 1,500 COVID-19 deaths have occurred each day over the past week, the publication said. 

Six more updates:

1. Regeneron's antibody cocktail earned FDA emergency use authorization Nov. 21. The therapy, called REGN-COV2, can be given to COVID-19 patients 12 and older deemed high risk for developing severe COVID-19. The FDA allowed the treatment to be administered to President Donald Trump Oct. 2 after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

2. AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine is 70 percent effective, the drugmaker said Nov. 23. The results are from an interim analysis of 131 COVID-19 cases in the U.K. and Brazil. No hospitalizations or severe virus cases were reported in study participants, though the company will continue to conduct additional analyses. AstraZeneca is set to immediately prepare submission of the data to regulatory authorities worldwide.

3. Thanksgiving travel is projected to hit a pandemic peak, with airports reporting more than a million travelers Nov. 22, the highest since mid-March, according to The New York Times. Up to 50 million people could be traveling across the U.S. over Thanksgiving, according to AAA. Many experts and agencies have urged the public to limit holiday travel amid nationwide COVID-19 surges.

4. The Texas National Guard has sent 36 members to El Paso to help with morgue operations amid a spike in deaths, reports CBS News. El Paso County has reported 81,511 total cases and 862 deaths as of 8:25 a.m. CST Nov. 23, according to the county's COVID-19 dashboard.

5. Nevada will implement a three-week pause effective Nov. 24 to help contain the virus's spread, Gov. Steve Sisolak said Nov. 22. The statewide pause includes a stronger mask mandate, stricter capacity limits for most businesses and additional restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings. 

6. COVID-19 cases in California have tripled in the last month, with the state now reporting more than 11,500 new cases a day over the past week, according to The Fresno Bee. Los Angeles County has suspended outdoor dining amid the surge in cases, reports the Los Angeles Times. Orange County is also offering residents free at-home COVID-19 saliva tests from Ambry Genetics to expand testing capacity in the area, according to NBC Los Angeles.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 12,249,674
Deaths: 256,800
Recovered: 4,526,513

Counts reflect data available as of 8:30 a.m. CST Nov. 23.

More articles on public health:
UW Health's open letter to residents: 'We are, quite simply, out of time'
28 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Nov. 23
US flu activity 'unusually low': 5 notes from CDC's Fluview report


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