US Presidential Election & covid-19 updates: Trump, Biden, transition, results, cases, latest news, Thanksgiving day

US Presidential Election & covid-19 updates: Trump, Biden, transition, results, cases, latest news

US latest news: Thursday 26 November 2020

News summary:

Electoral college votes (270 needed to win) 

Joe Biden: 306
Donald Trump: 232

US covid-19 cases: 12.77 million

US covid-19 deaths: 262,266  (Source: JHU)

- Furious Trump tells WH reporters: "Don't talk to me that way, I'm the President of the United States"

- Denver mayor forced to apologise for flying for Thanksgiving, after telling people to "avoid travel"

- Biden's Thanksgiving message: "The small act of staying home is a gift to our fellow Americans"

- Trump to utilise military to distribute the vaccine, starting 'next week'

- Over 2,000 coronavirus deaths in US on both Tuesday and Wednesday

- Attorney Sidney Powell files typo-ridden lawsuit against election integrity in Georgia

- Trump issues presidential pardon to Michael Flynn, who admitted to lying to the FBI over Russia links

- Biden gives Thanksgiving address, calls on America to write a "newer, bolder, more compassionate chapter"

Trump urges Americans to "gather" for Thanksgiving despite pleas to the contrary from experts

John Barsa, acting administrator of the USAID, has informed senior staff that he has tested positive for the coronavirus

Browse some of our latest related stories:

 

N.Korea attempted to hack into S.Korean coronavirus vaccine makers -Yonhap

North Korea has attempted to hack into South Korean companies developing coronavirus vaccines, the Yonhap news agency reported on Friday, citing a parliamentary intelligence committee.

Second stimulus check: how long since the first financial package was passed?

The CARES Act provided Economic Impact Payments for 160 million Americans but Congress and the White House have been unable to agree on another bill. That $2.2 trillion package included $435 billion worth of tax rebates that provided $1,200 stimulus checks for those struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic.

Kansas school district returns to remote learning

As case numbers continue to rise across the county Shawnee Mission School District has been forced to return to remote learning for middle and high schoolers due to staffing issues. The news comes just days after Mayor Cuomo of New York shut down a number of the states schools to combat rising covid-19 case numbers. 

Doctors warn CDC to advise about vaccine side effects

Experts fear that if the public is not advised by authorities of side effects people will not return for second dose if adverse effects are encountered. With this in mind doctors in the United States are recommending that the health authorities warn the public of adverse side effects that may occur after the first injection in some individuals. 

Trump to utilise military to distribute the vaccine, starting 'next week'

President Donald Trump has announced that he believes that delivery of the coronavirus vaccine will begin next week and the week after. Speaking to US troops overseas via video link to mark the Thanksgiving holiday, Trump said the vaccine would initially be sent to front-line workers, medical personnel and senior citizens.

It remains to be seens whether or not this will be possible with vaccines created by Pfizer and BioNTech still awaiting emergency approval from the FDA. Once it does get the go-ahead there are plenty of other obstacles to overcome with the vaccines needing to be kept at -75 degrees. 

Markets around the world rally after Biden's election win

Global stocks held near record highs on Thursday, as recent vaccine progress, Joe Biden's US presidential election victory and hopes for further stimulus kept markets bullish. This is a far-cry from the scene proposed by Donald Trump before the election, when he claimed that a Biden victory would send global markets tumbling.

World equities are having their best month on record in November, boosted by positive vaccine announcements and hopes that Biden's administration will deliver more economic stimulus and political stability. The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 49 countries, rose to a record high on Wednesday and held close to it on Thursday.

[Reuters]

Trump angry as Biden starts to select his cabinet

Despite recommending that the GSA initiates the presidential transition just days ago, President Trump has told White House reporters that he is unhappy that Biden has began making plans for office. GSA head Emily Murphy has started the attainment process which allows Biden the funds required to starting building his team. 

The President-elect's picks to date are: 

Department of Homeland Security: Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of National Intelligence: Avril Haines, Special Envoy on Climate: John Kerry, Secretary of State: Antony Blinken, UN Ambassador: Linda Thomas-Greenfield, National Security Advisor: Jake Sullivan

Trump states that he will leave the White House, if Biden is elected

For the first time since the election Donald Trump pledged to leave the White House if the Electoral College returns their votes for Joe Biden. The President-elect holds a substantial lead in both the Electoral College and in the popular vote, and with Trump's lawsuits falling flat in court it is difficult to see another way out.

However Trump remained optimistic about his chances, claiming that "there will be a lot of things happening between now and the 20 January [Inauguration Day]".

Negotiations falter on a second round of stimulus checks

The only major piece of financial support that has so far been passed by Congress is the CARES Act, the $2.2 trillion package that President Donald Trump signed into law back on 27 March 2020. However that was the peak of bipartisan consensus and since then lawmakers have failed to agree another deal to offer economic relief for those suffering.

Thanksgiving covid-19 figures show 90,000 hospitalised

The latest data on coronavirus infections in the US shows that over 90,000 Americans are currently hospitalised after testing positive for covid-19. Only yesterday health authorities in Pennsylvania were forced to send out a message via the state's emergency alert system to warn residents that the hospitals were close to full capacity

With another 125,000 cases recorded nationwide November continues to have the highest infection rate of any month since the pandemic began. 

Trump: "Don't talk to me that way, I'm the President of the United States"

In his first proper press conference in over three weeks, Donald Trump reacted angrily when reporters pressed him on his baseless claims of election fraud. He snapped at a reporter, saying "Don't talk to me that way, I'm the President of the United States."

He was later asked: "Isn't this the language of a dictator?" and "Mr. President, some people claim you're denying reality", shortly before he left the room. 

Trump's public appearances have dwindled since the election was called for Joe Biden and tonight was the first time he has answered any questions from those in attendance. Whether part of his legal strategy or simply a desire to be away from the cameras for once, there was the feeling that reporters were making up for lost time this evening. 

Trump

Trump says he'll leave the White House if...

On Thursday U.S. President Donald Trump said he will vacate the White House if the Electoral College votes for Democratic President-elect Joe Biden. In the closest he has come to a concession, Trump said if Biden is certified the election winner by the Electoral College he will leave the White House. Biden is due to be sworn in as President on Jan. 20.

Feeling a little bloated? One more chore before relaxing on the sofa 

You might want to sit back and relax and get to cleaning up a little later but public health experts warn not to leave food out.  If food stays out for more than two hours you may run the risk of food poisoning. No need to run the risk in this year of all years. The plates can wait till later though. 

Thanksgiving stories of unity from Chicago  

This year as the effects of the coronavirus interrupt many peoples Thanksgiving, keeping families apart and long lines at food shelters, the Chicago Tribune shares three stories of unity in these trying times. 

Denver mayor goes against his own advice to the public 

Another public figure has to explain why he isn’t practicing what he preaches.  This time it is the Mayor of Denver who traveled to Mississippi to be with his wife and daughter for Thanksgiving. He felt it was safer for him to travel to be with them than for the two to travel to Colorado.  

Madrid

Madrid lights up for the holidays 

On Thursday Spain’s capital Madrid flicked the switch on its Christmas lights to inaugurate the Christmas season.  The lights are usually an important tourist attraction, but this year there are few tourists due to the covid-19 pandemic. Fernando Alvarado captured this shot looking up the Gran Viá one of the main thoroughfares in central Madrid. 

Is EU border agency complicit is pushing back migrants illegally? 

Frontex, the European Union border agency, created to help in migrant rescue missions is accused of aiding Greek authorities in pushing back migrants crossing the waters between Turkey and Greece. According to reporting at the New York Times there is building evidence that the EU agency has helped to cover up this illegal practice. The agency designed to take pressure of peripheral countries that have been facing a surge of migrants over the past several years.  Frontex is set to deploy the first uniformed officers in the union's history has said that it is investigating the accusations. 

A Thanksgiving offering 

The US men and women in uniform are called on to defend the nation from dangers that threaten it. This Thanksgiving they are fighting the covid-19 virus alongside health workers as it attacks American. 

Joe and Jill Biden's Holiday message to America

AstraZeneca to test half-dose efficacy 

AstraZeneca released data on its vaccine trials which indicated that it was 70 percent effective at full dose, however by accident it was discovered that a lower dosage was 90 percent effective. The company’s CEO was quoted in Bloomberg News that the company plans to run a new study to test the half-dose. Approval of the vaccine in the US may take longer due to the fact its studies were done outside the US. 

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

Andrew Kelly captured participants gather ahead of the 94th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade closed to the spectators due to the spread of the coronavirus disease.  The parade has been a tradition in New York City started in 1924, presented by Macy’s department store.

Walmart, Costco & Target: Black Friday bible

The biggest shopping day of the year is upon us. If you're going to a Walmart, Costco or Target store to get your bargains this year, here are some hot tips.

Pa court halts certification of down ballot election results

Pennsylvania is prohibited from certifying the rest of its election results in down ballot races — and from taking any further action in regards to yesterday’s certification of the presidential race — pending a hearing on Friday in an appellate court, or intervention by the state Supreme Court.

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, in an order signed by Judge Patricia McCullough, issued an injunction Wednesday that stops the state from continuing its certification, and intends to hear evidence in a case filed by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly and GOP congressional candidate Sean Parnell about the constitutionality of mail-in ballots, a report by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette details.

National math and reading tests in U.S. postponed until 2022 due to coronavirus

National math and reading tests in U.S. postponed until 2022 due to coronavirus

Reuters: National math and reading tests used to track U.S. students’ knowledge in those subjects are being postponed until 2022 due to the coronavirus outbreak, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) said.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as “the nation’s report card,” previously had been planned to be held at the beginning of 2021 for hundreds of thousands of fourth and eighth graders in the United States.

“I have determined that NCES cannot at this time conduct a national-level assessment in a manner with sufficient validity and reliability to meet the mandate of the law”, NCES Commissioner James Woodworth said on Wednesday.

If the assessments were held in 2021, it would have cost tens of millions of dollars, he said, adding the delay allows states time to conduct their own state tests in spring 2021.

Kamala Harris says Mike Pence has ‘not yet’ spoken with her

Kamala Harris has revealed that she has ‘not yet’ spoken with her counterpart and current vice president Mike Pence since the presidential election was called, say The Independent.

Ms Harris, who became vice president-elect almost three weeks ago, told reporters on Wednesday she had not spoken with Mr Pence, nor the Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, The Hill reported.

She told reporters that she “can’t speak directly to that,” when asked about Mr McConnell, whose control over the Senate, could dictate what Democrats can and cannot do when president-elect Joe Biden assumes office.

As vice president, Ms Harris will become the president of the Senate and control daily proceedings, as well as cast deciding votes should two Democrats win runoff races in Georgia in January, and tie the upper chamber.

Supreme Court sides with Religious groups in covid vs. Cuomo case

In a 5-4 ruling, the US Supreme Court sided with religious organisations in a dispute over covid-19 restrictions put in place by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo limiting the number of people attending religious services, according to reports by CNN.

The case is the latest pitting religious groups against city and state officials seeking to stop the spread of covid-19, and it highlights the impact of Justice Amy Coney Barrett on the court. The decision comes as coronavirus cases surge across the country.

In the late-night decision, Barrett sided with her conservative colleagues in the dispute, while Chief Justice John Roberts joined the three liberal justices in dissent.

Last spring and summer, before the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court split 5-4 on similar cases out of California and Nevada, with Roberts and the liberals in the majority siding against houses of worship. Barrett was confirmed in October to take Ginsburg's seat.

How did a crime ring get away with stealing from the state of California?

Tuesday it was announced that potentially the biggest fraud of taxpayer dollars in California history took place from prisons across the state.

Trouble for Sidney Powell election lawsuit

Yes, it's 23 days since the election and yes, Trump supporting lawyers are still trying to discredit the election from the inside.

It may slightly help the miserably failing cause if they could spell.

Disney to lay off 32,000 workers in first half of 2021

Disney to lay off 32,000 workers in first half of 2021

Walt Disney Co said on Wednesday it would lay off 32,000 workers, primarily at its theme parks, an increase from the 28,000 it announced in September, as the company struggles with limited customers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The layoffs will be in the first half of 2021, the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to The Guardian.

Earlier this month, Disney said it was furloughing additional workers from its theme park in Southern California due to uncertainty over when the state would allow parks to reopen.

Disney’s theme parks in Florida and those outside the United States reopened earlier this year without seeing new major coronavirus outbreaks but with strict social distancing, testing and mask use.

Disneyland Paris was forced to close again late last month when France imposed a new lockdown to fight a second wave of the coronavirus cases.

The company’s theme parks in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo remain open. Disney did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on whether the 28,000 layoffs announced before were included in the latest figure, but a spokesperson for the company confirmed to Variety that the figure includes the previously announced number.

 

US daily death rate likely to double in next 10 days - expert

Dr Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University, has told CNN that he expects the daily death toll in the US to double in the coming days.

The country recorded over 2,000 coronavirus fatalities on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

"When you look at people who are hospitalized today, they were infected two weeks ago, maybe more. So, it takes about five to seven days to become symptomatic," Dr Reiner said.

"Usually, it takes about another week to be sick enough to be hospitalized so that's two weeks at least, and then it takes usually another week for folks to succumb to the illness."

He concluded: "I expect that the daily death rate will double in the next 10 days. We'll be seeing close to 4,000 deaths a day."

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: times, TV and how to watch online

The holiday season always involves a celebrity-studded spectacular from the New York store and this year's covid-safe edition is not to be missed.

Full details:

Trump panned for "baffling" Thanksgiving proclamation

Donald Trump’s 2020 Thanksgiving proclamation has caused disbelief among experts after the US president urged Americans to “gather” to celebrate the holiday.

At the end of his annual proclamation, Trump said: “I encourage all Americans to gather, in homes and places of worship, to offer a prayer of thanks to God for our many blessings."

Trump’s message comes despite health authorities pleading with people not to come together with those from outside their household this Thanksgiving, amid surging coronavirus cases in the US.

“As an emergency physician who’s on the frontlines every day over the last two weeks have seen more and more covid in our emergency departments, it’s a slap in the face,” Dr. James Phillips, the chief of disaster medicine at GWU Emergency Medicine, said on CNN.

It is baffling,” analyst Elie Honig told the network.

US Supreme Court backs religious groups over NY virus curbs

The US Supreme Court late on Wednesday backed Christian and Jewish houses of worship challenging New York state's latest restrictions in coronavirus hot spots.

The court on a 5-4 vote granted requests made by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and two Orthodox Jewish congregations.

The order marked one of the first consequential actions on the court of President Donald Trump's new appointee, conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast a deciding vote in favor of the religious groups.

Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts dissented along with the court's three liberals.

A 6 October decision by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo shut down non-essential businesses in targeted areas where infections have spiked, including some Brooklyn neighborhoods. It limited gatherings at religious institutions to 10 people in some areas and 25 in others.

The houses of worship say that the limits violated religious freedoms protected by the US Constitution’s First Amendment, and that their facilities were singled out for more stringent restrictions than essential businesses, such as food stores.

(Reuters)

Diego Maradona dies at 60: follow the reactions

A reminder that we also have live coverage as the tributes pour in following the death of soccer great Diego Maradona, who passed away on Wednesday at 60:

Disney increases planned layoffs to 32,000 as virus hits theme parks

Walt Disney Co said on Wednesday it would lay off about 32,000 workers, primarily at its theme parks, an increase from the 28,000 it announced in September, as the company struggles with limited customers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The layoffs will be in the first half of 2021, the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A spokesman for Disney confirmed that the latest figures include the 28,000 layoffs announced earlier.

Earlier this month, Disney said it was furloughing additional workers from its theme park in Southern California due to uncertainty over when the state would allow parks to reopen.

Disney's theme parks in Florida and those outside the US reopened earlier this year without seeing new major coronavirus outbreaks but with strict social distancing, testing and mask use.

Disneyland Paris was forced to close again late last month when France imposed a new lockdown to fight a second wave of the coronavirus cases. The company's theme parks in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo remain open.

(Reuters)

US

Travelers walk through Portland International Airport on Wednesday in Portland, Oregon. Millions of Americans traveled by plane ahead of Thanksgiving, despite federal recommendations for families to stay home.

(Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images/AFP)

Thanksgiving surge may "add into" Christmas surge - infectious disease expert

Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, has warned that a spike in coronavirus cases caused by Thanksgiving celebrations is likely to make the rise in cases around Christmas all the worse.

With the US currently recording between 150,000 and 200,000 daily infections, pandemic-record numbers of air passengers were reported in the run-up to Thanksgiving, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urging Americans to avoid traveling for the holiday.

The CDC has also advised people in the US to avoid Thanksgiving gatherings with people from outside their household.

I worry that the Thanksgiving Day surge will then just add into what will become the Christmas surge, which will then make this one seem as if it wasn't so bad,” Osterholm told CNN on Wednesday.

He added: “The challenges we have before us right now with the ever increasing number of cases, rapidly increasing number of cases in many areas, that we are going to see our hospitals literally on the verge of collapse. That's what we have to understand we're where we're at right now.”

Bill Gates predicts when the next pandemic will arrive

In case you missed it, here is our most-read story this week: Microsoft founder Bill Gates has revealed on his podcast, Bill Gates and Rashida Jones Ask Big Questions, his thoughts on the future of global pandemics. In a far-reaching conversation with actor and writer Jones, Gates outlined his hopes for a post-covid world and what challenges humanity will face...

A conductor walks through Grand Central Terminal the day before Thanksgiving during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 25, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

In pictures: A conductor walks through Grand Central Terminal the day before Thanksgiving during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 25, 2020. 

World needs to look at East Asia amid pandemic fight - says WHO Special Envoy

The world nees to look at how East Asia has handled the coronavirus pandemic, accoring to WHO Special Envoy, David Nabarro.

"I think the rest of us need to look at the East Asian experience and say, why has it proved so difficult for other countries to put that in place?” Nabarro told BBC News. 

Xi Jinping makes first "formal outreach" to Biden

Xi Jinping has congratulated president-elect Joe Biden, in what the the WSJ has reported as the Chinese president's "first formal outreach to the incoming administration".

The message, in which he called on both nation's to advance bilateral relations, has come after Donald Trump finally said his administration would cooperate with the Biden transition team. 

Russia reports record highs of 25,487 new coronavirus cases, 524 deaths

 Russia reported a record high of 25,487 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, bringing the national tally to 2,187,990. Authorities also reported a record high of 524 deaths related to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 38,062. (Reuters)

Biden's Thanksgiving message:"I've never been more optimistic about the future of America"

Joe Biden has offered a Thanksgiving message, expressing his optimism for the future and calling on Americans to "dream again" and "commit ourselves to thinking not only of ourselves but of others."

"Americans dream big," said the president-elect. "As hard as it may seem this Thanksgiving, we're gonna dream big again. Our future is bright. In fact, I have never been so optimistic about the future of America than I am right now."

Hello and welcome

Hello, welcome and happy thanksgiving as we begin our rolling coverage on Thursday, 26 November, covering all the lastest news and reaction from the US surrounding the presidential elections and the coronavirus pandemic, which is the number one concern for president-elect Joe Biden as he prepares to enter office in January. 

.