Pfizer to apply for emergency approval of vaccine today; COVID-19 cases up 26% in 1 week — 5 updates

The U.S. reported 8,461 COVID-19 deaths for the week ending Nov. 18, the highest weekly COVID-19 death count since May, according to The COVID-19 Tracking Project.  

Weekly COVID-19 cases in the U.S. rose 26 percent for the week ending Nov. 18. The nation hit another daily COVID-19 case record Nov. 19, with more than 187,000 new infections, a steep uptick from Nov. 4, the first day the U.S. confirmed more than 100,000 daily cases, reports The New York Times.  

Four more updates:

1. Pfizer said it will apply for FDA emergency use authorization for its vaccine Nov. 20, reports The New York Times. If approved, some Americans may be able to receive a vaccine by mid-December, according to the NYT. On Nov. 18, Pfizer and BioNTech said their experimental vaccine was safe and 95 percent effective. 

2. The White House coronavirus task force held a public briefing Nov. 19 for the first time in months. White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx, MD, urged Americans to "increase their vigilance," displaying a U.S. map that shows the vast majority of the country deemed as "red zones." 

3. The CDC is advising Americans to avoid travel for Thanksgiving, urging the public to only gather with members of their own household this holiday season. The American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association also issued an open letter Nov. 19, calling for the public to scale back holiday gatherings. 

4. The majority of California is under a new stay-at-home order, issued Nov. 19 by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Residents in 41 counties must remain home between 10 p.m and 5 a.m. unless performing essential activities.  

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 11,720,514
Deaths: 252,564
Recovered: 4,410,709

Counts reflect data available as of 8:25 a.m. CST Nov. 20.

More articles on public health:
Number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, state by state: Nov. 20
Duke University's COVID-19 surveillance testing kept cases at bay, CDC finds
25 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Nov. 20

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