US Presidential Election & covid - 19 updates: Trump, Biden, results, cases and restrictions - 18 Nov

US election and covid-19 latest news live

News summary:

Electoral college votes (270 needed to win) 

Joe Biden: 306
Donald Trump: 232

US covid-19 cases: 11.4 million

US covid-19 deaths: 250,029 (Source: JHU)

- New York City to close schools from Thursday 19 Nov

- Wayne County, MI certifies election results, reversing a previous decision not to certify in Detroit

- Trump's poll-watching case in Pennsylvania is thrown out by the state Supreme Court, in big lose for Donald

- Trump has fired the US head of cybersecurity, Chris Krebs for confirming the election was secure

- FDA approves first rapid at-home covid-19 30-minute test kit

- Georgia's recount continues and 2,600 ballots were found in Floyd county, as well as 2,775 in Fayette county. Neither discovery will affect the end count

- Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa has tested positive for covid-19.

- Brad Raffensberger accuses fellow Republicans of pressuring him to dismiss legal ballots in Georgia

- US biotech firm Moderna announces its covid-19 vaccine has achieved a 94.5% effectiveness rate in phase-three trials

Browse the latest stories on the US election:

Europe aims for closer pandemic cooperation with US

Europe hopes for a closer cooperation with the US in tackling the coronavirus pandemic and the global distribution of a vaccine once US President-elect Joe Biden takes office, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Thursday.

Europe and the United States should also coordinate more closely in the fight against climate change, Maas said ahead of the first meeting with his European Union counterparts since the US election.

'There is almost no issue where we are not very much dependent on each other,' he added. 'We are convinced that Europe and the US need a new transatlantic deal.'

Trump supporters continue on message

"Stop the count in the states where Trump is ahead...keep counting where he's behind"

It's a Jenius plan from the loyal followers.

Leaked White House report on US covid efforts

The Guardian has reported on an internal White House taskforce report that warned of “aggressive, unrelenting, broad community spread across the country, without evidence of improvement but, rather, further deterioration”.

The report, which leaked widely to the media, added: “Current mitigation efforts are inadequate and must be increased.”

Daily death numbers are rising: 1,707 were reported by Johns Hopkins University on Tuesday. With some forecast models predicting a death toll beyond 400,000 by March, a year after the pandemic began, states across the US are implementing targeted social restrictions in attempts to beat back rising case numbers and reduce pressure on hospital resources.

Read the full story.

Russia

Covid-19 deaths hit record high in Russia 

Russia on Thursday surpassed 2 million coronavirus cases after reporting an additional 23,610 infections and 463 deaths related to covid-19, both record daily rises.

Russia is fifth in the number of infections reported, with 2,015,608, behind the United States, India, Brazil and France. Russia's official death toll now stands at 34,850.

Helping the world

The FT considers the best way for wealthier nations to help the poorest, and aid the global attempt to rid ourselves of the current pandemic.

Trump's unwritten rule has handicapped conservatives

'The conservative movement has become handicapped,' suggests Gabby Orr for Politico.

'Organizations can’t sound the alarm about President-elect Joe Biden’s agenda. Conservative reporters won’t take pitches about Biden’s rumored Cabinet contenders, insistent on covering evidence-deficient claims of voter fraud instead.

'One conservative group involved in policy advocacy backed off from hiring two soon-to-depart Trump administration officials after growing concerned about the consequences.'

And it’s all because of an unspoken rule set by President Donald Trump. Read more below.

What damage can Donald Trump do on his way out?

There are still 10 weeks until president-elect Joe Biden succeeds Trump in January. What powers does the “sitting duck” president have until then?

Minnesota announced tough new covid restrictions

All restaurants and bars in the US state of Minnesota must halt in-person dining, fitness and entertainment centers are to close and youth sports will be cancelled for four weeks to curb the spread of surging coronavirus cases, governor Tim Walz said on Wednesday night.

Texas, Florida, South Dakota don't plan on lockdown

The governors of Texas, Florida and South Dakota said they have no plans to shutdown their states as a new wave of coronavirus cases sweep the country.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in an interview that there won't be "any more lockdowns" in the state and he wants to focus on "working to heal those who have Covid" so they can leave the hospitals and get back to their normal routines, the Texas Tribune reported.

As of Wednesday, Texas had over 1.1 million cases and 20,274 deaths related to coronavirus, according to data compiled by NBC News, and the state had seen a 47 percent increase in cases over the past 14 days.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he didn't want to order a shutdown because he didn't want to "hurt families who can't afford to shelter in place for six weeks," according to a statement his office sent to local station WPEC.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has been very critical of lockdowns and reiterated her stance in a tweet last week.

"We already know that lockdowns DON'T stop the spread of the virus. However, they destroy small businesses and jobs, and they make it difficult for families to put food on the table," she wrote.

Dr Fauci assures Americans that vaccine is on its way

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert who has guided the U.S. through the pandemic, projected Americans could expect their first doses of an approved coronavirus vaccine as early as April.

Front-line health care workers are expected to get their first doses by the end of December or early January. After prioritising people at risk of infection or severe disease, the healthy general population can expect first doses of a vaccine starting in April and through July if all continues on track, Fauci told the USA TODAY Editorial Board on Wednesday.

Republican Senator accused of violating ethics rules

Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler drew backlash on Wednesday for soliciting campaign funds while speaking in the halls of Congress ― a potential violation of Senate ethics rules ― during an interview with Fox News.

Loeffler, who will face off against Democrat Raphael Warnock in a runoff election in January, warned Georgia conservatives that “hundreds of millions of dark, liberal money is pouring into our state” ahead of the contest.

“That’s why it’s so important that everyone across the country get involved,” Loeffler told Fox News with the pillars of the U.S. Capitol appearing behind her. “They can visit KellyforSenate.com to chip in 5 or 10 bucks, and get involved, volunteer.”

The Senate’s rules and standards of conduct for campaign activity prohibit Senate members and staff from receiving or soliciting campaign contributions in any federal building.

Coronavirus outbreak in top Minnesota hospital

Coronavirus outbreak in top Minnesota hospital

Over 900 employees at Mayo Clinic, a top research hospital that is based in Rochester, Minnesota, have contracted covid-19 in the last two weeks.

The Guardian Lauren Aratani reports:

At a press briefing on Tuesday, Dr Amy Williams, dean of clinical practice at the hospital, said that the vast majority of staff who were infected – 93%were not infected at work, according to the St Paul Pioneer Press. Most of those who were infected at work contracted the virus while eating without a mask during their breaks, Williams said.

The hundreds of employees who have contracted the virus over the last two weeks make up over a third of all employees who were infected since the start of the pandemic. The hospital is experiencing a shortage of 1,000 employees at its headquarters in Rochester, according to the Pioneer Press.

“It shows you how easy it is to get covid-19 in the midwest,” Williams said during a press call. “Our staff are being infected mostly due to community spread, and this impacts our ability to care for patients.”

The hospital did not say whether any of those infected had died from the virus. Lost on the Frontline, a joint effort by the Guardian and Kaiser Health News, is investigating the deaths of 1,396 healthcare workers who appear to have died of covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.

Covid-19 cases have been rising across the country as the dreaded winter surge in cases has arrived. Yesterday, 161,000 new cases in the US were reported, and 76,830 people were reported to be currently hospitalized with the virus across the country.

Minnesota has seen a particularly alarming spike in cases over the last few weeks. The seven-day moving average for new cases in the state was 7,402 on Tuesday, the highest it has been in the state, according to Johns Hopkins University. The governor is anticipated to enact new restrictions on social gatherings and businesses such as bars and restaurants amid the influx.

Andrew Cuomo calls reporter's tone "obnoxious and offensive"

When asked if the New York Governor was overriding state laws in closing schools, tensions ran high.

Walmart, McDonald’s and Uber among companies with most employees at risk of going hungry

Walmart, McDonald’s, Dollar Tree, Uber, Burger King, FedEx and Wendy's are among the companies that have the most employees on food stamps and Medicaid, according to a report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The GAO looked into the matter after a request from Bernie Sanders. “These giant corporations pay starvation wages—wages so low their workers have to rely on Medicaid and food stamps,” Sanders said, pointing to several fast food companies, FedEx and other companies whose workers have to rely on benefits because they do not make enough money to survive.

Republican Senator Grassley still symptom free

The Senator for Iowa Chuck Grassley tested positive for coronavirus just yesterday.

 

Republican Lindsey Graham urges Trump to give Biden transition briefings

Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who has backed President Donald Trump in his baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, on Monday said he would "urge" the president to share intelligence briefings with President-elect Joe Biden.

Criticism for Trump lawsuits aimed at blatantly disenfranchising Black voters

On The Guardian’s Kenya Evelyn report above from Milwaukee on the Trump campaign’s request for a partial recount in Wisconsin.

Ari Berman writes: 

"Yesterday Wayne County GOP canvassing chair said she wanted to certify votes in "communities other than Detroit"

Today Trump filing recount only in Milwaukee & Madison where 74% of Black voters live

Disenfranchising Black voters is Trump's legal strategy."

Who's been hired by Joe Biden so far?

President-elect Joe Biden has already selected some of his team with former Obama and Clinton advisors and aides given prominent roles in his more representative administrative.

Trump campaign shells out $3m for partial recount in Wisconsin, focus on Black counties

The Guardian’s Kenya Evelyn reports from Milwaukee on the Trump campaign’s request for a partial recount in Wisconsin:

Looking to challenge Joe Biden’s presidential win in the November 3 election at any turn, Donald Trump and his campaign are tapping into an all-too familiar playbook in the fight for voting rights.

The campaign announced they will formally request a recount in Dane and Milwaukee counties, home to Wisconsin’s capital city of Madison and its largest city, Milwaukee.

With thriving university campuses, younger and more diverse populations, both cities are liberal bastions, in stark contrast to the state’s more conservative suburbs and rural communities.

While turnout didn’t reach the record levels of counterparts in Philadelphia, Atlanta or Detroit, Black Milwaukeeans especially showed up at the polls on 3 November, a deciding factor in Biden flipping the state by 20,000 votes thus far.

Trump won Wisconsin by just 23,000 votes back in 2016, thanks in part to disguised Russian online propaganda compelling young, Black voters in Milwaukee to stay home.

For Republicans, challenging the legitimacy of the nation’s most segregated city this time around likely won’t overturn the result, but it serves the campaign’s goal of playing on racial and political divisions to contest votes of mostly Black and Democratic urban centers.

Biden transition team sidesteps Trump

Biden transition team sidesteps Trump

Joe Biden’s transition team is reportedly speaking with former Trump administration officials, as the federal government continues to block the president-elect from receiving resources for his transition.

According to ABC News, the former administration officials are providing input on potential national security threats that the next president may have to confront.

ABC News reports:

"The backchannel outreach to at least four former officials who served in senior-level roles comes as the General Services Administration continues withholding its ascertainment of Biden as winner of the presidential election, effectively denying him access to key resources and briefings meant to ensure a safe and secure continuity of government on Jan. 20.

As a result, sources familiar with the matter said that Biden’s team has been in contact with those who have recent experience in various federal agencies, and in most cases the individuals are career officials and not political appointees. It was not clear exactly what information the transition team is soliciting from these former officials, but it was not believed to include classified materials."

Biden once again criticised the GSA today for not recognising his victory in the presidential election, saying, “We’ve been unable to get access to the kinds of things we need to know about the depth of the stockpiles.”

Arizona's Katie Hobbs releases statement RE threats of violence

Secretary of State for Arizona Katie Hobbs has been receiving "threats of violence and vitriol", and today released a statement condemning them as "a symptom of [the] consistent and systematic undermining of trust in each other and our democratic process."

Rockefeller Christmas tree in NYC arrives in peak 2020 condition

The poor tree also seems to be feeling the strain of this year of adversity.

De Blasio: schools in NYC to close from tomorrow

Out of an "abundance of caution", he said today. The city added 1,940 cases and 10 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Will the new stimulus package that Biden has asked Congress for arrive before the holidays?

On Monday President-elect Joe Biden called on Congress to work together and provide “immediate relief” for the millions of Americans in need of help.

US states roundly failing to combat coronavirus spike

Data collated from the New York Times, Rt.live and Covid Tracking Project has shown the extent of the spiralling pandemic situation in America. The analysis done by public health officials generally follows the progression of three key metrics, namely: "the number of daily new cases; the infection rate, which can show how likely the virus is to spread; and the percentage of tests that come back positive, which should be low in a state with sufficient testing." By all three of those criteria, the US is failing to prevent a second wave. 

With over 11m confirmed cases, the US has the highest number of infections in the world. Most crucially, and to contradict the President's claims, the rise in case numbers is far exceeding the increase in testing over the same period. The most recent data shows tests carried out in the US were up by 12.5% week on week, while the number of cases increased by over 40%.

Bernstein: "The economy is at a very precarious moment"

As the number of covid-19 cases nationwide continues to sky-rocket a former advisor to Joe Biden, Jared Bernstein, has called for greater financial support for those struggle with the economic consequences. Despite the optimism surrounding the vaccine news, America is expected to suffer a bleak winter with many areas forced to return to some form of lockdown measures. 

There has been no repeat of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that was passed back in March, meaning that Americans have been without financial support for months now. The size of the bill that Biden is able to pass will most likely depend on the result of the 5 January run-off Senate races in Georgia. Wins for the Democrats would give them control of both Houses and give Biden the ability to pass a more extensive stimulus package once he takes office. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi retains Democratic nomination

Having served as the Speaker of the Democrat-led House of Representatives since 2019 Nancy Pelosi has again received the nomination the Democratic Caucus and looks set to retain her position. The Democrats were expected to increase their margin in the House this election but failed to do so, prompting some to suggest that Pelosi's time as Speaker could be over. 

The news comes shortly after she made clear the rules around covid-19 precautions in the House, suggesting that all members will have to wear a mask to be allowed in: "Members and staff will not be permitted to enter the hall of the House without wearing a mask."

Team Trump confirm Wisconsin recount payment

The President's re-election campaign has moved onto the next stage of legal dispute as it looks to get the vote count in Wisconsin overturned. The margin between Donald Trump and Joe Biden exceeds the 0.5% that triggers an automatic recount, so the Trump campaign has had to cover the $3million cost. 

They have only requested that certain areas are recounted, ones which have the highest proportion of black voters of any county in the state and where Biden is thought to have performed best. 

 

Three-quarters of Republicans doubt the election process

The 2020 presidential election was one of the most polarising in US history and that division has continued past Election Day. A new poll published by Monmouth has shown the extent to which the country is divided over the election, with Republicans and Democrats at odds over the validity of the result. 

The study found that 76% of Republicans have doubts about the fairness of the 2020 election, while only 8% of Democrats feel the same way. The news comes as President Donald Trump continues to contest the result via his social media, tweeting earlier today "The Democrats cheated big time, and got caught. A Republican WIN!". This was, as always, a completely baseless claim. 

Dolly Parton is being credited with saving the world by her fans 

Dolly Parton was an early contributor to the vaccine research done at Vanderbilt University Medical Center which in turn worked with Moderna to create the vaccine that so far has shown great promise with a nearly 95 percent effectiveness.  Her $1 million dollars might be a drop in the bucket compared to the billions that have been spent to find a vaccine for covid-19 but she was there before the government dollars came in for the ”critical” early stages. 

Pfizer and BioNTech will file for Emergency Use Authorization on Friday

In an interview with CNN, BioNTech's CEO announced the company will file the necessary paperwork.

Nancy Pelosi will be Speaker of the House again

Nancy Pelosi has been the Speaker of the House since 2019 when the Democrats retook the House.  To be named Speaker for the second time in 2019 she faced a revolt from members of her caucus and eventually agreed to stepdown after four years in  2023.  Previously she had been the Speaker from 2007-2011.

Sweden abandons hands-off approach to covid-19 

Sweden had been an exception among European countries in its efforts to tackle the coronavirus by not implementing a lockdown or a mask mandate. The Swedish model was championed by those who preach herd immunity and felt that restrictive measures were overreach. But the numbers told a different story and now the Swedish government is admitting their method didn’t work and is changing tack. 

Can Mardi Gras be done safely with the coronavirus?

The city of New Orleans plans to have Mardi Gras this year despite covid-19 with some modifications. The city is asking for suggestions.

Ivanka Trump gives dad credit for something started before he was President 

Operation Warp Speed has sped up the approval process for new vaccines to help in the fight against covid-19.  However the collaboration between the US Government and Moderna that helped lead to Moderna’s vaccine began well before Donald Trump took office. 

Pfizer phase 3 results even better than expected 

Pfizer’s covid-19 vaccine did even better in phase 3 trials reaching a 95 percent efficacy rate and no serious side effects. 

Airlines working to overcome covid-19 vaccine distribution hurdle 

With the announcement of successful vaccine trials from Pfizer and Moderna there is a rush to get the logistics ready.  One of the hurdles to distributing the vaccine will be to keep it cold, in Pfizer’s case ultra-cold. Dry-ice, which is frozen carbon dioxide, will be needed to transport the vaccine doses but as it turns back to a gas it replaces the oxygen in the cabin limiting the amount any one plane can carry.  Airlines are looking into methods to be able to transport more doses. 

Before planning to do a big gathering consider this 

After attending a recent Ohio wedding, half of the people tested positive, three of them the grandparents of the newlyweds, two of whom went to emergency room. This is just the most recent gathering to become a super-spreader event in the US as case numbers soar.  Another wedding in August led to 176 infections and seven dead.  The fatalities were people who hadn’t attended the ceremony. 

WHO answers kid questions

The World Health Organization is holding a question and answer session later today with a focus on the younger generation of our population.

What dangers does covid-19 pose to children? How much transmission is there between kids and older people? How can schools maintain safety guidelines?

Join in or check out their summary after its conclusion.

Sweden locking down more and more

In the spring, as European governments imposed draconian lockdown orders that turned capitals into ghost towns and forced people to largely confine themselves to their homes, Sweden opted for a lighter touch.

The “Sweden model,” as it came to be known, has been the subject of fascination and study even as the effectiveness of the approach is still hotly debated.

But on Tuesday, in a few short words posted on social media, King Carl XVI Gustaf captured the dramatically different mood as a resurgent virus sweeps across Europe.

“Hold on tight,” he said in a statement posted on Instagram. “Hold on!”

The NYT looks at the government's announcement that they will impose the strictest limitations on the country since the coronavirus first appeared, warning that there will be darker days ahead.

Testing times with covid-19 shortages

"We're still far behind where we need to be with testing. And as these cases skyrocket, the need for tests are far outpacing what we have," says Heather Pierce, senior director for science policy and regulatory counsel at the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Testing shortages have hobbled the nation's ability to fight the pandemic since it began. But testing improved significantly since the spring, when tests were scarce and waiting times were often long. Tests are now accessible at many locations, including doctors' offices, clinics, fire stations, drive-through test sites, and grocery and drug stores. People can even drop a sample of spit into the mail to find out if they're infected.

Full story:

Deflecting fraud tactic?

As President Trump and his team continue to call out irregularities, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has blown the whistle on some allegedly appalling behaviour from the Republicans overseeing the recount.

Presumably there will be some tweets soon from the White House for some deep investigations into this.

Trump maintains strong stance

The lame duck president continues with his flurry of tweets about election fraud. As he does, courts continue to throw out the claims.

Who to believe? A man with a proven history of dishonesty and deception or an independent legal system.

"The US Dollar drifted lower overnight following disappointing US Retail Sales and with increasing concerns about the downstream effects of the resurgent Covid-19 pandemic"

Jeffrey Halley, OANDA analyst

Trump's other drug war

This is part of a broader White House effort to deliver on Trump’s signature 2016 campaign pledges - in this case, lowering drug prices - before he leaves office in January.

Senior officials worked through the weekend to craft a version of the policy that Trump plans to announce as soon as Wednesday - positioning it as an interim final rule to leapfrog the monthslong process of releasing a draft and gathering public feedback.

The plan, known as the most-favored nations rule, would link government payments for medicines to lower prices paid abroad. It could cut Medicare drug payments by as much as 30 percent, lopping off a chunk of pharmaceutical companies’ profits in one of their largest customer pools.

India-US relations: Modi calls Biden

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to US President-elect Joe Biden by telephone to congratulate him on his election victory, which he said showed the strength of US democracy, and he vowed to deepen strategic ties.

Modi initially sent his congratulations to Biden in a social media message soon after US television networks projected him to be the winner of the 3 November election even though President Donald Trump has refused to concede defeat. Modi followed that up with a phone call to congratulate Biden and reaffirm his commitment to a strategic partnership between the two big democracies, Modi said on Twitter late on Tuesday.

'Prime Minister Modi warmly congratulated President-elect Biden on his election, describing it as a testament to the strength and resilience of democratic traditions in the United States,' the Indian foreign ministry said.

Modi had previously built close ties with Trump.

Senator Grassley positive

The Republican Senator for Iowa, Chuck Grassley, has confirmed that he has tested positive for coronavirus. 

"I’m feeling good and will keep up on my work for the people of Iowa from home," said the 87-year-old via Twitter.

World shares slip after US retail sales dampen vaccine euphoria

Global shares stepped back on Wednesday as soft US retail sales fuelled worries that rising coronavirus cases could stifle a still fragile economic recovery, dampening the euphoria from vaccine trial breakthroughs.

US S&P500 futures shed 0.3% in Asian trade on Wednesday, a day after S&P500 index lost 0.48%, while Europe's Euro Stoxx 50 futures eased 0.2%. Japan's Nikkei dropped 0.76%, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was little changed, drawing support from better handling of the pandemic in much of the region.

'Given the rapid gains over the last 10 days or so, a correction was inevitable,' said Hirokazu Kabeya, chief global strategist at Daiwa Securities.

FDA grants at-home coronavirus test permission

U.S. regulators on Tuesday allowed emergency use of the first rapid coronavirus test that can be performed  entirely at home. The announcement by the Food and Drug Administration represents an important step in U.S. efforts to expand testing options for covid-19 beyond health care facilities and testing sites — but the test will require a prescription, likely limiting its initial use.

The FDA granted emergency authorization to the 30-minute test kit from Lucira Health, a California manufacturer.

The company's test allows users to swab themselves to collect a nasal sample. The sample is then swirled in a vial that plugs into a portable device that interprets the results and displays whether the person tested positive or negative for the virus.

Joe Biden's White House: more core staff announced

President-elect Joe Biden announced additional senior White House staff hires, tapping some of his longest-serving aides to serve alongside newer players in his orbit in key roles in the West Wing.

Including: 

Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La. as White House Office of Public Engagement.

Jen O’Malley Dillon as deputy chief of staff under Ron Klain.

Steve Ricchetti as senior counsellor.

Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon as Jill Biden's chief of staff.

Julie Rodriguez will be director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

Annie Tomasini as operations manager at the Oval Office.

Texas, Illinois: seven arrested for stealing $16m covid-19 relief funds

Seven people based in Texas and Illinois have been arrested for stealing nearly $16 million in covid-19 relief funds, which they allegedly used on expensive cars as well as other luxury goods, NBC News reports. Among those arrested are Amir Aqeel, Siddiq Azeemuddin, Pardeep Basra, Rifat Bajwa, Mayer Misak, Mauricio Navia, and Richard Reuth.

According to the Department of Justice, the group reportedly sent in multiple fraudulent loan applications to the Paycheck Protection Program, including untrue tax forms, bank records, and payroll expenses. The indictment alleges that Aqueel’s 86-year-old mother was in on the scheme, helping him cash hundreds of fake paychecks by fake employees. Federal agents executed 45 warrants and apprehended a Lamborghini and a Porsche, among other items.

PA ruling huge blow to Trump's election integrity attacks

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out one of the Trump campaign's longest-running post-election complaints Tuesday, ruling that officials in Philadelphia did not violate state law by maintaining at least 15 feet of separation between observers and the workers counting ballots.

The ruling is likely to undercut the Trump campaign's case in federal court, where Rudy Giuliani joined a hearing Tuesday afternoon to argue on behalf of President Donald Trump's effort to contest the election results in Pennsylvania.

Republican observers said they were kept so far back, behind a waist-high fence, that they couldn't see any of the details on ballot envelopes or reach any conclusions about whether vote counting procedures were correctly followed. The Trump campaign sued, and a state appeals court said the observers were not given enough access. It ordered the county to move the fence closer to the counting tables.

But the state Supreme Court reversed that ruling by a vote of 5-2. It said Pennsylvania law requires only that observers must be allowed “in the room” where ballots are counted but does not set a minimum distance between them and the counting tables. The Legislature left it up to county election boards to make these decisions, the court said.

Krebs bids farewell on Twitter

Chris Krebs, the US head of cybersecurity fired by Donald Trump today for standing up against his baseless claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, says he was "honoured" to serve.

Michigan county certifies Joe Biden's win

Michigan’s largest county has reversed course and unanimously certified its presidential election results. An earlier vote had threatened to temporarily stall official approval of Democrat Joe Biden’s win in the state.

US election and coronavirus: latest news

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the US elections, with all the ongoing reaction, breaking news and regular updates of the fall-out from the historic election on 3 November.

We'll also be keeping you updated on all the latest developments to do with the pandemic which is the number one priority for President-elect Joe Biden who is already getting to work on how he plans to govern a very divided United States with Donald Trump still yet to recognise or acknowledge defeat.

In his victory speech, Biden, along with his vice president-elect Kamala Harris, called for unity and cooperation and said he knew how Trump supporters felt. But with so much disinformation filling social media accounts across the country - some driven from the White House - it's clear that desire is going to take some time to fulfil.

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