US Presidential Election & covid-19: Trump, Biden, results, cases and restrictions | Summary November 21

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

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: 12 million

US covid-19 deaths: 255,483 (Source: JHU)

- US surpasses 12 million coronavirus cases, India is second-highest with 9 million

- Team Trump's Pennsylvania lawsuit is dismissed by Judge Brann as "strained legal argument without merit."

Biden victory confirmed in Georgia after a hand recount and audit of approximately 5 million ballots

- President-elect's team begins fundraising after being denied access to transition funding by the GSA

- Biden's winning margin in the popular vote now exceeds six million

Republican Senator for Pennsylvania Pat Toomey publically congratulates Biden on his election victory

- House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on GOP election challenges: 'I think this borders on treason'

- FDA could approve Pfizer coronavirus vaccine "within weeks"

- White House press sec. Keyleigh McAneny claims 40 million covid-19 vaccine doses will be made available this year

- Joe Biden describes Trump as ”one of the most irresponsible presidents in US history"

CDC pleads with Americans to avoid Thanksgiving travel amid skyrocketing covid cases

Browse the latest stories on the US election:

Trump's legal team files for a second recount in Georgia

The President's legal team have officially filed for another recount in Georgia, it has been confirmed. It was one of the state's mentioned by Donald Trump during his various accusations of vote fraud, but no evidence has yet been provided to support his claim. State election officials have already carried out a mandatory hand recount of the 5 million votes cast in recent days, with Biden again declared the winner.

The timing for this is a little odd, coming just a day after Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified the result for Joe Biden. The final count had the President-elect ahead by over 12,000 votes, making it extremely unlikely that a recount will make any difference. 

Georgia Senate candidate Kelly Loeffler tests positive for covid-19

A spokesperson for Sen. Kelly Loeffler has confirmed that she tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday. Loeffler had recently tested negative on a rapid test and was cleared to attend campaign events with MIke Pence on Friday ahead of Georgia's Senate run-off races. On Saturday she was tested again, and it came back as “inconclusive."

The recent events with the Vice President were just the start of Loeffler's campaign engagements as the Republicans try desperately to retain control of the Senate. Both of Georgia's Senate seats were up for grabs this election, but both were so close that they triggered a run-off. Both elections will be held on 5 January with both parties hoping to win ontrol of the Senate. 

Pennsylvania judge on Trump lawsuit: "Our people, laws, and institutions demand more"

Judge Matthew Brann, the Pennsylvania district judge who presided over Team Trump's legal challenge in the state, has criticised the accusations as "without merit and speculative". Trump's legal team alleged that because there were minor administrative difference between the election processes in different counties, the result was compromised. 

In the court documents, Judge Brann said of the lawsuit: "In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state. Our people, laws, and institutions demand more."

CDC upgrades covid-19 risk on cruise ships to very high

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Saturday it recommended that all people avoid cruise ship travel as the risk of coming into contact with coronavirus on liners is very high. The CDC advised passengers who decide to go on a cruise should get tested 3-5 days after their trip and stay home for 7 days after travel, even if they test negative. 

Last month, the agency issued a framework for a phased resumption of cruise ship operations after a no-sail order issued in March in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic was to expire.

The CDC said earlier that from March 1 through Sept. 28, data showed "a total of 3,689 confirmed cases of covid-19 or covid-like illness cases on cruise ships and 41 deaths."

[Reuters]

Latest Republican Senator to recognise Biden's victory

Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania has publically congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. President Trump continues to dispute the result of the election but an increasing number of GOP lawmakers are refusing to toe the party line. Former presidential nominee Mitt Romney has been a particularly vocal cirtic of Trump's in recent days. 

Sen. Toomey's decision comes just hours after a Pennsylvania judge dismissed the Trump campaign's legal attempt to discount the state's votes. Judge Matthew Brann described the hurried lawsuit as "strained legal argument without merit."

Regeneron cleared for emergency use by the FDA

The anti-malarial drug Regeneron, which Donald Trump credited for his covid-19 recovery, has been granted Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA. Their antibody cocktail was one of a number of experimental treatments that were given to the President when he caught the virus. 

Regeneron have so far received over $500 million from the federal government to develop the treatment which is designed for high-risk patients who are experiencing respiratory symptoms. As such their antibody cocktail has only been cleared for use on patients over the age of 12 who have had to be admitted to hospital. 

Latest coronavirus data shows record infections in five states

The Atlantic's covid-19 tracker makes pretty bleak reading today as the US surpassed 12 million positive tests. This is by far the most of any country in the world and the US has the highest number of hospitalised coronavirus patients recorded so far.

A number of states are reported significant spikes in the number of cases too, with New Jersey, California, Mississippi, Idaho, and Oregon recording record numbers of cases. 

Trump campaign's Pennsylvania lawsuit dismissed

In the latest legal setback for the Trump campaign, a Pennsylvania judge has ruled against a lawsuit which he said contained "strained legal argument without merit."

Trump's lawyers had tried to argue that the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law was violated by minor voting procedure differences between some Pennsylvania counties. NBC report that the lawsuit was based on differences in how voters were notified about technical problems with their submitted mail-in ballots. Judge Matthew Brann wrote that the lawsuit was essentially calling to “disenfranchise almost seven million voters”.

Judge Brann continued“In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its 6th most populated state."

Trump already planning for life after presidency

The President has maintained publically that he is still confident of overturning the election result but a Washington Post report has found that he is secretly considering his future career path.

It is thought that Trump has been offered $100 million book and TV deals if he was to tell tales of his time in the White House. He may well look to profit from his enduring support which has seen him comfortably surpass the number of votes he received in 2016, with a return to a career in the media a possibility. 

Most explosive of all, the report suggests that he has not ruled out attempting to run again in 2024. He has previously spoken to his team about running with his daughter Ivanka, could a Trump-Trump ticket be on the cards for the GOP?

G20 calls for global solution to coronavirus financial crisis

Group of 20 major economies should work to provide trillions of dollars in trade financing for developing countries to ensure the recovery of the global economy from the covid-19 pandemic, a top official with the World Trade Organization said on Saturday.

WTO Deputy Director General Alan Wolff told G20 leaders it was critical to utilize trade to help underwrite the economy, facilitate trade in essential medical supplies, and reform the institutional framework for world trade.

"When crops do not move and factories are idled throughout the developing world, the global recovery will be delayed for all," Wolff, a U.S. citizen, told the leaders. "A trade finance initiative should be seen as an essential part of improving the outlook for economic recovery."

The Geneva-based world trade body is in turmoil as the administration of outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump has blocked both selection of a new director general and the functioning of a dispute settlement body. Wolff urged G20 leaders to engage seriously in a "major institutional reform effort" and restore the WTO's deliberative and negotiating functions.

[Reuters]

Team Biden begins fundraising for presidential transition

As President Trump continues to deny the election result the GSA is unable to complete the 'attainment' process that would allow the transition to officially begin. In the meantime the Democrats will have to rely on donations from supporters to pay for the required staff and premises. 

 

Oprah conducts 'virtual' Obama interview

Due to covid-19 guideline Oprah Winfrey was not able to interview the former President face-to-face, but some computer trickery brought them together in front of a roaring fire. They discussed Obama's time in office, and the effect that the high-pressure job has on family life. 

Texas struggles to cope with the number of covid-19 deaths

The Lone Star State has been one of the states worst-hit by the pandemic with over 1.1 million confirmed infections and 20,872 deaths. As we apporach Thanksgiving the situation appears to be worsening with the average number of daily cases up by more than 50% in the past two weeks.

Covid measures make a real difference in states who choose to impose them

Currently, the onus is almost entirely on state officials to decide on coronavirus guidelines with different states opting for dramatically different methods. Andy Clavitt served as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the Obama administration and has drawn a pretty stark comparison between South Dakota and Vermont, two states who have responded very differently. 

While Vemont have instituted a number of measures to encourage people to remain socially distant, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has recently dismissed the need for people to avoid large gatherings. She recently tweeted: “We won’t stop or discourage you from thanking God and spending time together this Thanksgiving.”

NY Mayor Cuomo to receive Emmy for covid-19 briefings

In the midst of a global health crisis, misinformation is perhaps more dangerous now than ever before. Even leading politicians are struggling to make themselves heard in a consistently changing environment but New York Mayo Andrew Cuomo is doing better than most. 

He is set to receive an Emmy award, typically given to those in the television industry, for his use of TV in response to the covid-19 pandemic which hit his city particularly hard earlier this year. In one such TV address earlier this week he slated President Trump's vaccine plan, calling on him to "stop the abuse, stop the division".

He said: "If the Trump administration does not change this plan and does not provide an equitable vaccine process we will enforce our legal rights, we will bring legal action to protect New Yorkers"

 

Biden's popular vote lead stretches further

The President-elect is quietly making preparations for his move to the White House but the vote count for the 2020 presidential election is still not quite finished. The latest figures show that his lead over President Trump has now surpassed 6 million votes. 

His winning margin is currently the second-largest since 1996, with Obama's 2008 victory the only one to have exceeded it in that period. Biden was, of course, on the ticket then as well as Obama's running mate. Biden/Harris have now won 10 million more votes than any winning presidential ticket in U.S. history.

President back at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia

President back at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia

Donald Trump was spotted at his own golf course in Virginia today despite the country being in the midst of one of the most dangerous spikes of the coronavirus. In doing so he missed out on a conference call with other G20 leaders to discuss pandemic preparedness. 

[AFP]

Trump skips G20 side-event on pandemic preparedness

The President's time in office is coming to an end but he does not seem to be particularly eager to make the most of his final months in the White House. He addressed the virtual G20 this morning but did not participate in a side-event on pandemic preparedness that took place later, instead using the time to play golf in Virginia.

This year's G20 meeting of the most powerful countries in the world was hosted by Saudi Arabia, where much of the focus was understandably aimed at responses to the coronavirus. Trump however used it as an opportunity to again argue about the result of the presidential election and wrongfully take credit for Pfizer's vaccine break-through. 

One source close to the event said of Trump's address: “His was the anomalous speech. Everyone else talked about global matters of life and death.”

Volunteers Jailene Cruz and Genesis Maldonado sort food at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank distribution center, as the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Los Angeles, California

In pictures: Volunteers Jailene Cruz and Genesis Maldonado sort food at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank distribution center, as the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease continues, in Los Angeles, California. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia confident Biden administration will pursue regional stability

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said on Saturday he was confident that Democrat Joe Biden's incoming US administration would pursue policies that help regional stability and that any discussions with it would lead to strong cooperation.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud also told Reuters in a virtual interview on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders Summit that he did not see any indication of any threat to regional security during the transitional period.

Second stimulus check: what can I do if I have not received any payment?

As part of the CARES Act passed in the spring Americans were sent a stimulus check but not everyone received one. Find out why and what to do...

U.S. nears 12 million Covid-19 cases ahead of Thanksgiving holiday

The number of Covid-19 cases in the United States was on track to surpass 12 million on Saturday, just days ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday that health experts have warned could fuel the surging spread of infection around the country.

The milestone marks a worsening of the country's Covid-19 epidemic, which has claimed a quarter of a million lives in the United States, more than in any other nation, and has prompted more than 20 states to impose sweeping new restrictions this month to try to curb the virus.

Reuters data shows the pace of new infections in the United States has quickened, with nearly one million more cases recorded in just the last 6 days since the country recorded 11 million.

This compares with the 8 days it took to get from 10 million cases to 11 million cases, and the 10 days it took to get from 9 to 10 million. Health officials have warned that the wave of infections could soon overwhelm the healthcare system if people do not follow public health guidance, particularly around not traveling and mingling with other households for the traditional Thanksgiving celebration on Thursday. (Reuters)

VOA CEO told to stop investigating journalists for anti-Trump bias

The CEO over Voice of America, Michael Pack, has been ordered by a judge to stop investigating the outlet's reporters for anti-Trump bias, NPR reports. 

Actions by Pack and his aides have likely "violated and continue to violate [journalists'] First Amendment rights because, among other unconstitutional effects, they result in self-censorship and the chilling of First Amendment expression,"  U.S Judge Beryl Howell Howell wrote in her opinion. "These current and unanticipated harms are sufficient to demonstrate irreparable harm." 

Trump claiming "big voter fraud information coming out concerning Georgia", which is set to certify Joe Biden as the winner of the state after a recount was completed yesterday.

Trump's team has yet to provide any evidence of voter fraud...

Russia ready to provide other countries with Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, says Putin

 Russia's President Vladimir Putin told G20 leaders on Saturday that Russia was ready to provide its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to other countries who need it. Russia is also preparing its second and third vaccine, Putin said, adding that creation of vaccine portfolio was 'our common goal'. 

Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler helped set up one of the most notorious tax dodges 

Senator Kelly Loeffler is up for election this year to finish the two years left in the term of her seat that she was appointed to by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. In this report by Salon, Loeffler’s involvement in Ugland House, a five-story building that is home to over 19,000 companies which allows them to skirt US tax law, is detailed by Roger Sollenberger.

Cruise industry extends sailing pause again 

Holland America and Princess Cruises have both extended voluntary suspensions of cruises yet again. Originally the set to end 31 December, both state needing more time to meet the safety standards that are need to ensure safe voyages. Some extensions will go until 2022. 

Kyle Rittenhouse free on $2 million bail 

The 17-year-old had been extradited to Kenosha, Wisconsin where he is accused of killing two people and injuring a third during demonstration that erupted in the city after the police shooting a Jacob Blake in August. Rittenhouse claims he shot the individuals in self-defense after he drove to Wisconsin from Illinois to help with a newly purchased assault rifle to police the protests. 

Once again the pollsters were wrong, why? 

William Lyons  a former pollster explains how pollsters collect the data that they use to make predictions of how people will vote and why changing times have made their ability to get it right ever harder. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to get an Emmy 

The International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences will buck tradition and award Governor Cuomo its International Emmy Founders Award.  The Award honors a person or group that “crosses cultural boundaries to touch or humanity,” for his daily briefings he gave on covid-19 in New York. 

A lie to contract tracers caused South Australia to go into 6-day lockdown 

An unnamed individual who tested positive for covid-19 told contact tracers that he had only briefly visited a pizza bar that had been connected to an outbreak.  Thinking that the strain of virus was highly contagious the authorities put South Australia on a 6-day lockdown. However after further investigation health officials discovered that the man actually worked for the bar and had spent several shifts with another worker who also tested positive.  There is no law against lying to contact tracers but the authorities are reviewing the case.  South Australia will end the lockdown after only two days of being in effect. 

Joe Biden

A likeness of Biden

Ciro Fusco captures a shot of Italian artist Genny Di Virgilio presenting his terracotta figurine of the US President-elect Joe Biden at his workshop in Naples, Italy. Di Virgilio, who is an expert in making nativity figurines, also dabbles in creating works of contemporary personalities ranging from politics, culture, and sports.

Hungarian confectioner gets creative with chocolate Santas 

What started as a joke has paid off handsomely with demand outstripping supply for a small Hungarian confectioner. 

el paso

Mannequins are displayed in a storefront on a quiet downtown street amid a Covid-19 surge in El Paso, Texas. Texas surpassed 20,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths on November 16, the second highest death total in the US. Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP

Eastern Europe crosses over 5 million covid-19 cases 

The tally of coronavirus cases in the Eastern European sub-region passed 5 million on Saturday, a Reuters tally showed, as governments across Europe take measures to try to rein in surging cases.

The region, which comprises Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine, has the highest count of reported covid-19 cases in Europe.

Eastern Europe reported over 82,000 cases in a single day on an average in the last week, while adding over 1,500 deaths daily on average.

Russia, Poland, and Ukraine are among the top 20 countries with the most cases in the world.

A recent surge in cases has taken Russia past the 2 million threshold, behind only the United States, India, Brazil, and France in total infections. Authorities have resisted imposing lockdowns across the country as they did earlier this year, however, preferring targeted, regional measures.

Europe has so far reported over 15 million covid cases, making it the region with the highest number of cases. It has recorded more than 346,000 deaths, the second-highest in the world by region after Latin America, according to a Reuters tally.

volunteers

Volunteers Jailene Cruz and Genesis Maldonado sort food at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank distribution center, as the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease continues, in Los Angeles, California. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

US officials worry about holiday spike as coronavirus surges

US health authorities braced for further increases in covid-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths on Friday, capping a week in which the spread of the novel coronavirus accelerated ahead of next week's Thanksgiving holiday.

The seven-day rolling average of new covid-19 cases reached more than 165,000 on Thursday, while the seven-day average for deaths climbed to 1,359, more than any day since late May, according to a Reuters tally of public health data.

With hospitalizations rising across much of the nation, straining already exhausted medical staff, officials in more than 20 states have imposed restrictions to curtail the spread of the virus.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, said the virus is spreading at a high rate across more than half the country and that Thanksgiving gatherings should be limited to immediate family members rather than a maximum number of people.

"I don't like it to be any number... if you say it can be 10, and it's eight people from four different families, then that probably is not the same degree of safe as 10 people from your immediate household," Birx told CNN on Friday.

"Hope and help are on the way"

US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has said that Pfizer is filing an application for an emergency use authorization and the FDA could approve its trial vaccine "within weeks."  

Trump team yet to convince Michigan GOP to override popular vote

Following a meeting at the White House, Michigan democrats appear unconvinced to go against protocol and override the over 150,000 voters in the state who clinched it for Joe Biden. 

Georgia is now certified. What took so long?

It took 17 days following the election to certify the results of the US presidential election in Georgia following several setbacks.

Read the full story:

Pennsylvania Gov. Confident of Biden Win; Republicans Call for Election Audit

Pennsylvania's House of Representatives voted to allow an audit of the presidential election results to be performed by a state committee on Friday. Some Democrats have criticised the audit and expressed the opinion that President-elect Joe Biden will be ultimately be declared the election winner, according to Newsweek.

Sponsored by House Republicans, the audit is expected to be conducted by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee and completed by February. Election results in Pennsylvania have been challenged by the legal team of President Donald Trump, who has alleged without evidence that widespread voting fraud contributed to a projected Biden victory. Trump has yet to concede to Biden and has claimed several times that he is the true winner of the election.

According to the text of House Resolution 1100, the audit is necessary because "Pennsylvania citizens have questioned the process by which the 2020 general election has been conducted, regardless of which candidate or party may prevail."

The document alleges that a "litany of inconsistencies" occurred during the election because of decisions made by federal and state courts including prohibiting signature requirements for mail-in voting and "counties not following the United States Supreme Court ruling requiring ballots received after election day to be segregated."

trump

Trump: "I won"

Joe Biden on Saturday reached the two-week mark since becoming president-elect, with President Donald Trump stinging from back-to-back setbacks in his desperate, unprecedented bid to undo his election defeat.

Biden, a Democrat, is preparing to take office on 20 January, but Trump, a Republican, has refused to concede and is seeking to invalidate or overturn the results through lawsuits and recounts in a number of states, claiming - without proof - widespread voter fraud.

That effort, which critics call an unparalleled push by a sitting president to subvert the will of voters, has met with little success. Trump's campaign has suffered a string of legal defeats and appears to have failed to convince key fellow Republicans in states that he lost, such as Michigan, to buy into his unfounded conspiracy theories.

Trump's bid to cling to power appeared ever more tenuous on Friday after Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced a manual recount and audit of all ballots cast in the southern state had confirmed Biden as the winner there.

A pair of Michigan Republican leaders delivered another blow when they declared on Friday night after a White House meeting with Trump: "We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan."

Trump, in his first public comments in days about the election outcome, again asserted "I won" during a White House event on lowering drug prices earlier on Friday.

After a series of court defeats, the Trump team is resting its hopes on getting Republican-controlled legislatures in battleground states won by Biden to set aside the results and declare Trump the winner, according to three people familiar with the plan.

It is a long-shot effort focusing on Michigan and Pennsylvania for now, but even if both those states flipped to the president he would need to overturn the vote in another state to vault ahead of Biden in the Electoral College. 

Such an event would be unprecedented in modern US history. 

drone

A resident watches as a drone delivers a covid-19 self collection test kit to her home, after being ordered from Walmart, amid a coronavirus surge in El Paso, Texas. Residents who live within 1.5 miles of the Walmart Supercenter in East El Paso are eligible for the free kits delivered by DroneUp as part of a drone delivery pilot program. Texas surpassed 20,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths November 16, the second highest in the US, with active cases in El Paso now over 35,000 and confirmed covid-19 deaths at 845. Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP

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 on the coronavirus 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.

.