US Election & covid-19: news summary for 6 December 2020

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

News summary:

US coronavirus cases: 14.58 million
US coronavirus deaths: 281,206 (Source: JHU

Electoral college votes (270 needed to win) 

Joe Biden: 306
Donald Trump: 232

- US registers 213,875 new coronavirus cases and 2,254 covid-19 deaths on Saturday, according to JHU

- Fourth consecutive day that US has seen more than 200,000 fresh infections

Trump and Pence appear in Georgia ahead of the Senate runoff election in January

- Trump uses speech in Valdosta, Georgia, to falsely claim he was "cheated" in presidential election and that he won the state

- Bureau of Labor Statistics: at current rate US job market will not return to pre-pandemic levels until March 2024

- The CDC pushes for a universal indoors mask mandate in US

Browse some of our latest related stories:

Over 30,000 covid cases in California Sunday

More than 30,000 new covid-19 cases were reported in California Sunday, the highest number of new daily cases ever recorded in the state. 

The 30,075 new cases reported Sunday bring the statewide total to 1,341,700 cases since the pandemic began, according to the California Public Health Department Covid-19 dashboard.

The state also reported 85 new deaths Sunday for a total of 19,876 deaths. 

Hospitalizations are also at an all time high, with 10,624 Covid-19 patients, which is an increase of 338 patients since yesterday, the website showed.

There are 1,567 intensive care unit beds that remain available, according to the website. 

Several regions have reported low ICU bed availability, with the San Joaquin Valley region only having 6.6% of beds available and the Southern California region having 10.3% available, the state's stay at home order website said.

At least 7 care home covid-19 patients die reported after staff attended wedding

Seven Washington state nursing home residents with covid-19 died after staff members attended a 300-person wedding that violated the governor's coronavirus restrictions.

The deaths were at three nursing home facilities in Grant County, health officials said Thursday. They were men in their 70s, 80s, and 90s who had underlying health conditions, according to a press release by the Grant County Health District.

Four additional deaths are pending death certificate reviews.

The health department said it is looking into whether the deaths are linked to a Nov. 7 wedding in Ritzville, about 59 miles southwest of Spokane, but an investigation found that some staff members at the facilities had tested positive after attending the event.

Pentagon spy agencies to meet with Biden transition team

Pentagon spy agencies to meet with Biden transition team

Pentagon officials said Saturday that leaders of the military’s intelligence services will begin meeting with members of President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team Monday, ending what some current and former officials said was an impasse that undermined the transfer of control.

Officials said that advisers to the incoming Biden administration are scheduled to meet with officials at the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and other spy services at their headquarters.

The Defense Department and acting defense secretary Christopher Miller issued statements Saturday denying that the Pentagon had resisted giving the Biden team access to the agencies or information about their operations and budgets.

“The accusation by anonymous sources that [the Defense Department] has not been fulfilling its commitment” to the transition “is demonstrably false and patently insulting,” the department said.

Rudy Giuliani tests positive for coronavirus

According to a tweet by Donald Trump in which he also references Giuliani's highly embarrassing attempts at standing up baseless claims of voter fraud in various states, Trump claims that his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani has now tested positive for covid-19. 

When Donald Trump spoke in Valdosta, Georgia yesterday, barely a true word passed his lips.

Is Trump winning the election?

No he isn't. When Donald Trump spoke in Valdosta, Georgia yesterday, barely a true word passed his lips.

AP have done a comprehensive fact check, including the following.

AP Fact Check

TRUMP on the now-settled presidential contest: “We’re winning this election.”

THE FACTS:

No, it’s over and Biden defeated him.

When California certified its presidential election Friday, that put Biden over the top in the Electoral College, pushing his certified electoral-vote total past the threshold of 270 needed to become president. He reached 279 electoral votes and is on track to finish with 306 to Trump’s 232 once more states certify their results.

The electors will meet Dec. 14 in their states to make the national result formal.

When Donald Trump spoke in Valdosta, Georgia yesterday, barely a true word passed his lips.

Did Trump win Georgia?

No, of course not. When Donald Trump spoke in Valdosta, Georgia yesterday, barely a true word passed his lips.

AP have done a comprehensive fact check, including the following.

AP Fact Check

TRUMP: “We won Georgia, just so you understand.”

THE FACTS:

No he didn’t.

Trump lost Georgia in an election the state has certified for Biden. Republican election officials have affirmed the election was conducted and counted fairly. No credible claims of fraud or systemic errors have been made.

An audit was initiated by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, and that triggered a full hand recount that confirmed Biden’s victory in Georgia. Gov. Brian Kemp, also a Republican, refused Trump’s request Saturday to call a special legislative session to try to subvert the outcome.

Were ballots found out of nowhere?

Were ballots found out of nowhere?

Of course they weren't. When Donald Trump spoke in Valdosta, Georgia yesterday, barely a true word passed his lips.

AP have done a comprehensive fact check, including the following.

AP Fact Check

TRUMP, suggesting ballots were found in nefarious places: “When the numbers come out of ceilings and come out of leather bags you start to say what’s going on.?”

THE FACTS: 

Nothing out of the ordinary was going on. This remark was the latest iteration of a false claim he has spread around about ballot-stuffed suitcases found under a cloth-covered table and tallied without supervision.

A video distributed on social media and shared by Trump featured surveillance footage of ballot processing on election night in Atlanta. It showed regular ballot containers on wheels — not suitcases — and both a state investigator and an independent monitor observed counting of those ballots until the job was done for the night, state and county officials said.

Courts and election officials in battleground states across the country have systematically shot down Trump’s persistent accusations that the election was rife with fraud.

Trump floods rally with audacious falsehoods Georgia election 2020

Trump floods rally with audacious falsehoods

When Donald Trump spoke in Valdosta, Georgia yesterday, barely a true word passed his lips.

AP have done a comprehensive fact check, including the following.

AP Fact Check

TRUMP, trying to cast suspicion on the more than 80 million votes recorded for President-elect Joe Biden: “When he made a Thanksgiving Day speech on the internet, they say he had less than a thousand people. ... How do you have 80 million votes if you have less than a thousand people?”

THE FACTS:

This is a grossly false tally and one example among many of Trump grasping at the thinnest of straws. Millions of people watched Biden’s Thanksgiving remarks.

The bogus claim that fewer than 1,000 watched appears to have grown from a screenshot someone posted on Twitter showing the number of viewers at one point tuned into a single live stream of the speech. But Biden’s Thanksgiving address a day before the holiday streamed live on multiple major media sites — each with its own viewer count — and netted more than 1 million online views over the first few days, as measured by just a sampling of sites.

Health officials warn Americans not to let their guard down

With a covid-19 vaccine perhaps just days away in the U.S., most of California headed into another lockdown Sunday because of the surging outbreak and top health officials warned Americans that this is no time to let their guard down.

“The vaccine’s critical,” Dr. Deborah Birx the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said on NBC's “Meet the Press.” “But it’s not going to save us from this current surge. Only we can save us from this current surge.”

Donald Trump confused on dates

Trump urged Republicans to vote on 5 June, five months after the actual date of the Georgia runoff election on 5 January.

US states scramble to curb Covid-19 without national leadership

Individual US states scrambled on Sunday to impose lockdowns to stem coronavirus spikes amid a lack of national leadership on how to curb infections until vaccines are widely available in the spring.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator, expressed frustration on Sunday over the mixed messages coming from the Trump administration that are reflected in some Americans' perception about masks, social distancing and superspreader events. "Right now, across the Sun Belt, we have governors and mayors who have cases equivalent to what they had in the summertime yet aren't putting in the same policies and mitigations that they put in the summer, that they know changed the course of this pandemic across the South," she said on NBC's Meet the Press. "So it is frustrating because not only do we know what works, governors and mayors used those tools to stem the tide in the spring and the summer".

Only about half of the 50 US states have enacted new restrictions in the last month as cases, deaths and hospitalizations hit record levels nationwide. Fourteen states do not mandate masks. President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat who defeated Donald Trump in the November election, has said that upon taking office on 20 January he will enact mask mandates where he has authority, such as federal buildings and for interstate travel. While many businesses are shutting down, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, says schools should reopen before bars do and after health experts in Europe and Britain have found that children may have lower infectivity than adults.

In New York City, some public schools in the nation's largest school district prepared to reopen for daily in-person classes on Monday after a citywide campus shutdown. An estimated 190,000 children in programs geared for early childhood, elementary and special needs students will be eligible to return to classrooms, the city said. New York girds to reopen schools while across the Hudson River neighboring New Jersey over the weekend halted indoor youth sports after at least 28 outbreaks affected 170 people. Governor Phil Murphy's ban targets sports like basketball, ice hockey and swimming, including practice and games, until at least 2 January.

In the nation's most populous state, California at 11:59 p.m. Sunday is shutting down bars, hair salons and barbershops, and allowing restaurants to remain open only for takeout and delivery service in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley. The San Francisco Bay Area will also go into lockdown starting at 10 p.m. on Sunday night, under a different set of orders. While individual states are rushing in often seemingly different directions, the nation as a whole is the grim leader in global infections and deaths. The United States is now reporting nearly 190,000 new infections on average each day and accounts for one in every 20 deaths reported worldwide each day.

Fauci says the US is facing "surge upon surge" of new Covid-19 cases

Hospitalisations for Covid-19 continue to rise in the United States and could get worse according to Dr. Anthony Fauci following the family get-togethers for Thanksgiving. The number of patients being treated for Covid in the US stands at 101,190 with 2,245 deaths recorded on Saturday which takes the overall number of fatalities to 281,234.

Jill Biden to advocate for debt-free community college

Jill Biden, has plans to set up debt-free community college once she moves into the White House with her husband and  President-elect Joe Biden next month, The Hill reports. Dr. Martha Kanter told Yahoo News that Jill Biden is also proposing to make all public college and universities tuition-free for students whose families earn less than $125,000. “That is what she would like to see. We have often talked about community colleges as the unsung heroes,” Kanter said, adding that Biden has strived “to really help people understand the value proposition and the return on investment and why it’s important.”

Trump tells Georgia "to go out and vote"

During Saturday's visit to Georgia, President Donald Trump  encouraged his supporters to vote for Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue ahead of next month’s Senate runoff races."There's never been a case where a state has had this prominence on Senate races. Never together, and this is something that's very important and you have to get out and you have to vote. If you don't vote, the socialists and the communists win," Trump said at the rally. 

Biden to meet with US vaccine adviser Slaoui this week

The chief adviser for US efforts on coronavirus vaccines said on Sunday he planned to meet with President-elect Joe Biden this week to discuss coronavirus vaccines as they are expected to be rolled out to the first Americans later this month.

Moncef Slaoui, Operation Warp Speed chief adviser, said he has not yet met with Biden, who has criticized the Trump administration's vaccine distribution plan. "We really look forward to it because actually things have been really very appropriately planned," Slaoui said in an interview with CBS' 'Face the Nation.'

Biden said on Friday his team had not seen a detailed plan from the Trump administration to distribute vaccine to various states. "There is no detailed plan that we've seen, anyway, as to how you get the vaccine out of a container, into an injection syringe, into somebody's arm," Biden said. He said the distribution process for the vaccines, which need to be stored at very low temperatures, is difficult and expensive. "There's a lot more that has to be done."

Slaoui said part of the confusion may be that the government's plan relies on state health agencies to deliver the vaccine "But there are videos, there are explanations exactly how to go about it. We plan to have all the ancillary materials the syringes, the needles, the swabs," Slaoui said. "I think the plans are there and I feel confident that once we will explain it, everything in detail. I hope the new transition team will understand that things are well planned."

Obama: "The United States is deeply divided"

Barack Obama gave an exclusive interview to La Vanguardia which was published today. The former president says that the country is more divided  that when he took office 12 years ago. "I don't think there is any doubt that right now, the country is deeply divided. When I remember back to the time I was first elected president in 2008, the country did't seem so divided or fractured. At the moment, there is a combination of political, cultural, ideological and in some cases, religious and geographical differences which seem more insurmountable that the differences of opinion in terms of the politics which contribute most to the growth of the country.

"I think a lot of it down to the changes which have happened and the way that people inform themselves. The perception of reality of those who follow Fox News will be very different to that of those who read the New York Times. In the past, those differences wouldn't be so accentuated because a lot of people who read local newspapers and there were not as many sources of information as there are now".

Masks are "critical" in controlling spread of coronavirus

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged Americans to wear face masks which will help curb the spread of coronavirus as cases continue to rise i the country. "Consistent and correct use of face masks is a public health strategy critical to reducing respiratory transmission of SARS-CoV-2, particularly in light of estimates that approximately one half of new infections are transmitted by persons who have no symptoms," a CDC statement read. As of Sunday, the total number of Covid-19 cases in the US stood at 14,584,233 while the number of deaths due to the virus has rise to 281,196 - the highest figures in the world.

jab

Britain gets ready for roll-out of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine this week

Britain is preparing to become the first country to roll out the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine this week, initially making the shot available at hospitals before distributing stocks to doctors' clinics, the government said on Sunday. The first doses are set to be administered on Tuesday, with the National Health Service (NHS) giving top priority to vaccinating the over-80s, frontline healthcare workers and care home staff and residents.

Britain gave emergency use approval for the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech last week - jumping ahead in the global race to begin the most crucial mass inoculation programme in history. In total, Britain has ordered 40 million doses. As each person requires two doses, that is enough to vaccinate 20 million people in the country of 67 million. About 800,000 doses are expected to be available within the first week. Initial doses that have arrived from Belgium are being stored in secure locations across the country, where they will be quality checked, the health ministry said.

The rollout coincides with a crucial and perilous moment in negotiations between Britain and the European Union on a post-Brexit trade agreement. A status quo transition period will end on 31 December and a no-deal scenario would lead to major disruptions in the movement of goods between Britain and EU countries such as Belgium. The Observer newspaper reported on Sunday that, under UK government contingency plans, tens of millions of vaccine doses could be flown to Britain by military aircraft to avoid delays at ports caused by Brexit. The head of the medicines regulatory agency that approved the vaccine, June Raine, was asked whether she was concerned that a no-deal risked disrupting the rollout. 'We've practised, we are ready, we are fully prepared for any possible outcome,' Raine said in an interview on BBC television.

Most of California to be under stay-at-home orders as covid-19 surges

California's two most densely inhabited regions and its agricultural breadbasket will be under stay-at-home orders by Sunday night as the covid-19 pandemic strains hospitals in the most populous US state, officials said on Saturday.

Designed to kick in when intensive care units in any of five regions have little remaining capacity, the order affecting Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley will close bars, hair salons and barbershops, and allows restaurants to remain open only for takeout and delivery service.

The shutdowns, which go into effect at 11:59 pm Sunday, are triggered by an order announced Wednesday by Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat.

The San Francisco Bay Area will also go into lockdown on Sunday night, under a different set of orders announced Friday by officials there.

We know that people are tired of the stringent measures, but they are the only weapons we have to combat the virus,” said Dr. Maggie Park, public health officer in San Joaquin County, in the state’s hard-hit farming region.

(Reuters)

Second stimulus check: how could a new stimulus affect unemployment benefits?

Two new stimulus bills are competing to be voted on before the end of the year as Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chair Jerome Powell push for a resolution.

Full story:

Second stimulus check for getting covid-19 vaccine?

A former House representative says Americans should be paid to receive a coronavirus vaccine, in a bid to encourage more people in the US to get the shot.

Full story:

US covid-19

Battling to prevent hunger in US amid economic crisis

People carry food donated by volunteers from the Baltimore Hunger Project outside of Padonia International Elementary school on Friday in Cockeysville, Maryland.

More and more children are going hungry in the US as it weathers the world's worst coronavirus outbreak, which has killed around 280,000 people and caused a once-in-a-generation economic crisis.

Nearly 12% of adults said they did not not have enough to eat 'sometimes' or 'often' last month, according to the Commerce Department, while 10% of mothers reported their children under the age of five went hungry to some degree in October and November, a Brookings Institution survey found.

(Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)

Trump Georgia

Trump uses Georgia speech to again baselessly claim he was "cheated" in election

In the photo above, President Donald Trump campaigns for Republican candidates David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in Valdosta, Georgia, on Saturday, ahead of a crucial Senate runoff vote on 5 January.

Trump used his speech to again offer baseless allegations that he was “cheated” out of November’s presidential election, claiming that he in fact won in Georgia.

He also cast doubt on the integrity of the upcoming Senate votes in the state.

"They cheated and they rigged our presidential election," Trump told the rally, “but we will still win it. And they’re going to try and right his election too.”

(Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

"JUST WEAR THE MASK"

Amid surging coronavirus case numbers in the US, the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has pleaded with Americans to take measures to avoid spreading the virus, tweeting the block-capitals message: "JUST WEAR THE MASK".

On Friday, the CDC issued its strongest recommendation so far on mask-use in the US, urging state and local agencies to introduce "universal" measures making it mandatory to wear a face covering both indoors and outdoors in public spaces.

US latest news live feed: welcome

Hello and welcome to our daily rolling feed bringing you the latest news on the coronavirus pandemic and the political situation in the US, where current President Donald Trump continues to refuse to concede to President-elect Joe Biden.

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