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

US elections and covid-19 latest news

News summary:

Electoral college votes (270 needed to win) 

Joe Biden: 306
Donald Trump: 232

US covid-19 cases: 13.25 million

US covid-19 deaths: 266,063  (Source: JHU)

- New stay-at-home order imposed in Los Angeles County as cases continue to rise

- Election fraud lawsuit donor sues Trump for $2.5 million after another defeat in Pennsylvania

- Pfizer's covid-19 vaccine begins its journey to US from Belgium ahead of FDA aproval

- Final days in office could see unprecedented activity from Trump

- 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

Browse some of our latest related stories:

Ominous warning from Bill Gates

NY schools set to re-open

New York City’s state schools will start to reopen on 7 December, beginning with primary schools, the mayor, Bill de Blasio, announced on Sunday.

Fauci fears post Thanksgiving explosion on new cases

The US top infectious disease expert said late on Sunday that the country may see “surge upon a surge” of coronavirus cases in the weeks after Thanksgiving, and he does not expect current recommendations around social distancing to be relaxed before Christmas.

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US CDC reports 265,166 deaths from coronavirus

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) late on Sunday reported a total 13,142,997 cases of new coronavirus, an increase of 143,333 from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 1,210 to 265,166.

The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness known as covid-19, caused by the new coronavirus, as of 4 p.m. ET on Nov. 28 compared with its previous report a day earlier

The CDC figures do not necessarily reflect cases reported by individual states.

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US health vaccine meeting planned

US health authorities will hold an emergency meeting this week to recommend that a coronavirus vaccine awaiting approval be given first to healthcare professionals and people in long-term care facilities

Canada extends travel restrictions for those entering the country

Canada will extend its restrictions for all travelers entering the country, except from the United States, until Jan. 21, the government said on Sunday, in a move to limit the spread of covid-19.

Restrictions for U.S. citizens and foreign nationals arriving from the United States will continue until Dec. 21 and may be extended at that time, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said in a statement. 

Joe Biden cabinet picks 

Joe Biden has named Jen Psaki, a former Obama communications director, as his White House press secretary, who will work with an all-female communications team, reports the WSJ

Meanwhile, Politico reports that Biden is expected to name Cecilia Rouse to lead the Council of Economic Advisers, Wally Adeyemo as deputy Treasury secretary and Neera Tanden as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Restaurants defying lockdown orders

"Some restaurants are rejecting a new round of shutdown orders, saying that serving customers indoors is their only way to stay in business and that they can do so safely," reports the WSJ....

EU proposes new post-Trump alliance with U.S. in face of China threat – FT

The European Union is seeking to forge a new alliance with the United States to bury the tensions of the Trump era and meet the challenges posed by China, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing a draft plan.

The plan proposes rebuilding ties with common fronts on issues from digital regulation to tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, the FT said. Relations between the United States and Europe have been strained under President Donald Trump. The EU and most of the bloc's states have congratulated President-elect Joe Biden.

"As open democratic societies and market economies, the EU and the US agree on the strategic challenge presented by China’s growing international assertiveness, even if we do not always agree on the best way to address this,' the FT cited the draft plan as saying. (Reuters)

US CDC reports 265,166 deaths from coronavirus

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday reported a total 13,142,997 cases of new coronavirus, an increase of 143,333 from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 1,210 to 265,166.

The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness known as Covid-19, caused by the new coronavirus, as of 4 p.m. ET on Nov. 28 versus its previous report a day earlier. The CDC figures do not necessarily reflect cases reported by individual states. 

 

Trump defends his handling of coronavirus on Fox

Trump has been severly critical of his once-beloved Fox News of late, but that has not stopped him from giving a phone interview to the Murdoch-owned broadcaster this Sunday.

Trump once again defended his administration's handling of the pandemic: "I came up with vaccines that people didn't think they would have for five years. And we have them; they're going to be distributed in two weeks. 

"Think of what we've done. Nobody is doing it like this and we're doing much better than Europe by the way. You never hear about Europe. But we're doing better than the rest of the world."

Wisconsin counties finish recounts, Biden's lead reconfirmed

The recount of presidential ballots in Wisconsin’s two largest counties finished on Sunday, confirming that Democratic President-elect Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump in the key swing state by more than 20,000 votes.

Dane County finished its recount on Sunday, according to the county clerk, a few days after Milwaukee County finished its. Each recount produced little change in the final breakdown of the more than 800,000 ballots cast in the state. In the end, Biden's lead over Trump in Wisconsin grew by 87 votes. (Reuters)

Trump Claims FBI And Justice Department May Have Helped Rig Election

Despite having finally assented to allowing his administration to cooperate with the transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden, President Trump on Sunday continued to spout baseless voter fraud claims in his first interview since Election Day, including suggesting that the FBI and Department of Justice were involved in rigging the election against him. 

“This is total fraud,” Trump told host Maria Bartiromo during the interview on Fox Business’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” adding: “And how the FBI and Department of Justice—I don’t know—maybe they’re involved, but how people are getting away with this stuff—it’s unbelievable.” 

The president offered no evidence to back up this claim, and then went on to complain at length about how the two agencies had been “missing in action” in investigating his voter fraud claims. 

Via Forbes

NYC to open elementary schools in abrupt shift

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday that he would reopen public elementary schools, abruptly shifting policy in the face of widespread criticism that officials were placing more of a priority on economic activities like indoor dining than the well-being of New York City’s children.

Mr. de Blasio said that middle and high schools would remain closed, but he also signalled that he would overhaul how the city manages schools during the pandemic, which has forced millions of children in the United States out of schools and is widely perceived to have done significant damage to their education and mental health.

The mayor said the city would abandon a 3 percent test positivity threshold that it had adopted for closing the school system, the largest in the country, with 1.1 million children. And he said the system would aim to give most parents the option of sending their children to school five days a week, which would effectively end the so-called hybrid learning system.

Students can return only if they have already signed up for in-person learning, meaning fewer than 335,000 of the city’s schoolchildren, or roughly a third, are even eligible. Eliza Shapiro reporting for The New York Times.

NFL: Saints fined $500,000 for covid-19 protocol violations

The NFL fined the New Orleans Saints $500,000 and stripped them of a seventh-round draft choice for violations of the sport’s coronavirus protocols during a postgame locker room victory celebration without masks, reports Washington Post.

The Saints become the second NFL team to lose a draft pick because of protocol violations. The Las Vegas Raiders previously were fined $500,000 and stripped of a sixth-round selection because of violations.

The Saints, like the Raiders, were treated as repeat offenders. In September, Coach Sean Payton and the team were among the NFL head coaches and franchises fined for mask-wearing violations. Payton was fined $100,000 and the Saints were fined $250,000.

NFL fines, strips Raiders of draft pick, also penalises Steelers for coronavirus violations

In the latest case, video of the Saints’ celebration following a 38-3 triumph Nov. 8 over the Buccaneers in Tampa showed the violations. The Saints are appealing the penalties, according to ESPN, which first reported the sanctions.

Vaccine for 20 million Americans by end of 2020?

In an interview with CNN the White House testing czar Brett Giroir impresses the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines that are already being shipped across the US this weekend ahead of pending emergency use approval from the FDA.

Coronavirus: a reason to stop smoking?

Tom Frieden, ex-director of the CDC seems to think so. To read more about the initiative have a read of this scientific paper in The Lancet.

Pennsylvania supreme court throws out Republican bid to reject 2.5m mail-in votes

Pennsylvania supreme court throws out Republican bid to reject 2.5m mail-in votes

In the latest knock back to Donald Trump's seemingly never ending run of losses in courts all over the US, Pennsylvania’s highest court has thrown out a lower court’s order that was preventing the state from certifying dozens of contests from the 3 November election, say the Guardian.

In the latest Republican lawsuit attempting to thwart president-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the battleground state, the state supreme court unanimously threw out the three-day-old order, saying the underlying lawsuit was filed months after the law allowed for challenges to Pennsylvania’s year-old mail-in voting law.

Justices also remarked on the lawsuit’s staggering demand that an entire election be overturned retroactively. “They have failed to allege that even a single mail-in ballot was fraudulently cast or counted,” justice David Wecht wrote in a concurring opinion.

The state’s attorney general, Democrat Josh Shapiro, called the court’s decision “another win for democracy”.

Darth Vader crosses to the other side

The English actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars films, although his voice was replaced with that of James Earl Jones, has died aged 85. RIP.

In case you needed convincing that covid-19 is really bad

A visual effects artist has created a harrowing video that visualises just how many casualties there have been in the US so far from the coronavirus pandemic.

Supreme Court weighs Trump bid to bar illegal immigrants from census totals

Supreme Court weighs Trump bid to bar illegal immigrants from census totals

REUTERS: The Supreme Court on Monday is set to take up President Donald Trump’s unprecedented and contentious effort to exclude illegal immigrants from the population totals used to allocate U.S. House of Representatives districts to states.

The challengers to Trump’s July directive include various states led by New York, cities, counties and immigrant rights groups. They have argued that the Republican president’s move could leave several million people uncounted and cause California, Texas and New Jersey to lose House seats, which are based on a state’s population count in the decennial census.

The court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority including three justices appointed by Trump, is scheduled to hear an 80-minute oral argument by teleconference.

Trump lost his bid for re-election on Nov. 3. This case focuses on one of several policy moves his administration is rushing to complete before Democratic President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20.

Cyber Monday all you need to know

Online retailers are pulling out all the stops for the online sales bonanza. If you’re open to buying from resellers, Cyber Monday has a charm all its own.

Read the full story:

Justice Dept rushes to expand execution methods  for federal death row inmates

The Justice Department has rushed to change the rules around federal death penalties as they expedite a slew of scheduled executions in the final days of the Trump administration, including expanding possible execution methods to include electrocution and death by firing squad, according to CNN.

The approved amendment to the "Manner of Federal Executions" rule gives federal prosecutors a wider variety of options for execution in order to avoid delays if the state in which the inmate was sentenced doesn't provide other alternatives.

The rule was included among three dozen policy changes President Donald Trump is attempting to push through before the end of his term. The proposed changes were first reported by ProPublica.

Where do stimulus bill talks stand right now? 

Holiday season has thrown a spanner in the works as the need for economic relief in the US gets more and more urgent and existing support nears expiry.

Read the full story:

SC

US Supreme Court weighs up Trump bid to bar illegal immigrants from census totals

On Monday, the Supreme Court is set to take up President Donald Trump's unprecedented and contentious effort to exclude illegal immigrants from the population totals used to allocate US House of Representatives districts to states.

The challengers to Trump's July directive include various states led by New York, cities, counties and immigrant rights groups. They have argued that the Republican president's move could leave several million people uncounted and cause California, Texas and New Jersey to lose House seats, which are based on a state's population count in the decennial census.

The court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority including three justices appointed by Trump, is scheduled to hear an 80-minute oral argument by teleconference. Trump lost his bid for re-election on 3 November. This case focuses on one of several policy moves his administration is rushing to complete before Democratic President-elect Joe Biden takes office on 20 January. The census in mandated by the US Constitution.

Constitutional challenge

The challengers argued that Trump is prohibited by the Constitution's text from excluding illegal immigrants from the population count. The Constitution requires that the apportionment of House seats be based upon the 'whole number of persons in each state.' The challengers said Trump's plan, undertaken as part of the government's responsibility to administer the 2020 census, also violates a federal law called the Census Act that outlines how a census must be conducted.

They said Trump's plan would weaken the political power of states with larger numbers of illegal immigrants, including heavily Democratic California, by undercounting their true populations and depriving them of House seats. If California loses House districts, that likely would mean Democrats lose House seats, benefiting Trump's fellow Republicans.

Plastic fantastic? Maybe not

"If there's no airflow and it's such a small enclosed space, the risk of transmission from you and someone else in that igloo is extremely high."

D.C. has issued some guidance on plastic domes. The city's Streatery Winter Guidestates that plastic domes can't have more than six guests and must be cleaned and sanitized between parties. They also qualify as indoor dining and, therefore, are required to have five air changes per hour. Mayor Muriel Bowser also recently issued a 10 p.m. cut off for alcohol sales at restaurants.

Restaurants, meanwhile, say that they're taking all the necessary precautions to make their bubbles safe.

Trump's fantasy and failure

The Post reviews the last three weeks since the election, a period in which Donald Trump and his devoted followers have continued to make baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and conspiracies galore.

And despite the courts continuing to assess evidence provided and toss it out, often with disdain, the blinkers remain tightly in place for millions.

DR

UK at risk of third wave

Britain is at risk of suffering a third wave of coronavirus infections if it does not get the approach to lockdown restrictions right in the coming weeks, foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Sunday. 'There's a risk of that (if) we don't get the balance right,' Raab told the BBC when asked about a possible 'third wave' resurgence of cases in January and February.

He said the government was doing everything it could to avoid another national lockdown.

Workspace matters

From industrial, through landscape, cubicle and start-up, to the open plan, this is an interesting glance at how the workplace has, and continues to change.

Post-covid, how will your environment look?

White women and the movement that never materialised

On 21 January 2017, hundreds of thousands of women flooded Washington and other cities across the United States for what has been called the largest single-day protest in American history. In pink “pussyhats,” they protested the inauguration of a president accused of sexual assault whose misogyny had become a feature of his campaign.

This was the rage of women — a force that, we were told, would be a cleansing power in US politics. Hillary Clinton’s loss would be the catalyst for a new era of empowered womanhood. Americans were promised a “pink wave” of self-proclaimed “nasty women” who would reshape the Democratic Party and play a bigger role in government. Indeed, in 2018, a record number of women — notably including Black women and other women of color — were elected to local and federal offices. This, prognosticators said, was the beginning of the revolution.

But what actually happened? 

Lyz Lenz gives her take on the surprising trend.

Global view: South Korea bans parties

South Korean authorities announced a ban on year-end parties and some music lessons on Sunday and said public saunas and some cafes must also close after coronavirus infections surged at their fastest pace since the early days of the pandemic.

South Korea has been one of the world's coronavirus mitigation success stories but spikes in infections have reappeared relentlessly, triggering alarm in Asia's four-largest economy. Authorities reported 450 new infections on Sunday after more than 500 cases were recorded for three days in a row, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.

What authorities are calling a third wave of infections is spreading at the fastest rate in nearly nine months, driven by outbreaks at military facilities, a sauna, a high school and churches. Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said restrictions would be tightened on gatherings and activities seen as prone to virus transmission, especially in the capital Seoul and surrounding urban areas.

Basketball hero Jordan to give money to assist food banks

​​​​​​Tis the season to be...kind, thoughtful, considerate, generous...

NBA superstar Michael Jordan proudly pledged a portion of proceeds from his hit ESPN documentary series, "The Last Dance," to food banks in North Carolina and Chicago to help feed hungry families and individuals in need this holiday season.

49ers may need new venue for December home games

The San Francisco 49ers may have to find a stadium to host their upcoming home games in December after the Santa Clara County on Saturday announced new regulations to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Santa Clara County, which houses the 49ers' Levi's Stadium, said all recreational activities, including contact sports, will be prohibited until 21 December in response to a spike in covid-19 cases in the area. The 49ers are scheduled to host the Buffalo Bills on 7 December and Washington Football Team on 13 December. The team may also have to find a new place to train as their current facility is located in Santa Clara.

'We are aware of the Santa Clara County Public Health Department's emergency directive,' the 49ers said in a statement. 'We are working with the NFL and our partners on operational plans and will share details as they are confirmed.'

Trump's deflection tactics

It's not a new game, but it's one that often works.

This report looks at how the Donald Trump campaign is telling people to 'look over there!" while they undertake various actions that otherwise may raise American eyebrows.

Watch this video and make up your own mind over whose interests the MAGA team has front and centre. It's worrying.

Trump still tweeting about election fraud

You may be asking yourself why Donald Trump continues to batter home the question marks over US democracy.

Could it be that he wants you to focus on this and not other things that he's doing?

NBA confirm pre-season games from 11-19 December

49 pre-season games will be played by all NBA sides in a eight day window with the regular season set to commence on 22 December.

LA lockdown

The California county becomes the latest to impose new covid-19 rules to address the rise in case numbers after a busy Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Los Angeles County to impose new covid-19 restrictions

Nearly all social gatherings of individuals from more than a single household will be banned in Los Angeles County for at least three weeks starting Monday under new restrictions local health officials unveiled on Friday, citing a continued surge in covid-19 infections.

The public health order specifically exempts religious services and protests under constitutionally protected rights in an apparent nod to Wednesday's US Supreme Court decision striking down a New York state order that had restricted the size of religious gatherings.

The Los Angeles County measures, affecting some 20 million people living in and around the nation's second-largest city, go beyond a curfew imposed last week by California Governor Gavin Newsom barring social gatherings and other non-essential activities across most of the state between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

UK police arrest over 60 in anti-lockdown protests

Police in London said on Saturday that they had made over 60 arrests and expected that figure to rise, as they tried to break up anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine protests.

The police said that the arrests had been made for different offences including breaching coronavirus restrictions. England's current lockdown ends on Dec. 2.

Earlier police lined up in a number of streets in central London's West End shopping district and confronted crowds of protesters in St James's Park, near Westminster. The anti-lockdown protesters were joined by groups who oppose the covid-19 vaccine.

One police officer estimated the protesters, who held up signs saying "Defend Freedom, Defend Humanity", numbered between 300 and 400.

The Biden Cabinet: President-elect begins to build a team

Democratic President-elect Joe Biden has begun nominating the members of his Cabinet and White House, working to fulfill his promise to build an administration that reflects the nation's diversity.

Biden named members of his foreign policy and national security team this week, appointing experienced figures aligned with his pledge to restore the United States' global ties and standing as a world leader.

He is expected to announce members of his economic policy team next week, led by former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary.

Serum Institute CEO sees AstraZeneca's covid-19 vaccine as 'very good' candidate

Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine producer, sees AstraZeneca Plc's covid-19 vaccine candidate as a 'very good' option, giving it a major vote of confidence after some experts raised questions around its trial data.

Serum Institute of India (SII), which has partnered with the British drugmaker to conduct trials on its COVISHIELD vaccine in India and produce the vaccine candidate if it secures approval, plans to apply for an emergency use licence for the vaccine in the next two weeks, said SII's Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla.

"This vaccine is a very good one," said Poonawalla, via a virtual press briefing following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to SII's campus on Saturday.

"What we found with COVISHIELD in its global trial is there were zero hospitalisations, which means even if you do get infected you're not going to have a severe attack and secondly even those who got the disease were not infecting others," he said.

US election and coronavirus: latest news

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

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.

The incumbent has, however, instructed the General Services Administration to start the transition process. 

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