(NEW YORK) — Here are today’s In Crisis headlines:
Joe Biden to be sworn in as president today amid unprecedented Inauguration Day security
Former senator and vice president Joe Biden will be sworn in today at noon ET as the nation’s 46th president, after which Kamala Harris will take the vice presidential oath of office. The ceremony takes place amid unprecedented Inauguration Day security in the nation’s capital, in the wake of the January 6 violent insurrection at the Capitol building by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump, which resulted in five deaths. As of Tuesday night, there were more than 25,000 National Guardsmen on the ground in Washington, D.C., in what the Guard has dubbed Operation Capital Response. Each guardsman has been vetted by the FBI as they search for any potential insider threats, according to a defense official, with a reported dozen guardsmen already removed for varying reasons of concern. Physical security measures against potential threats include closed roads, vehicle and security checkpoints, concrete barricades, and a Capitol building surrounded by seven-foot fences topped with razor wire.
President-elect Biden began Inauguration Day by attending a church service accompanied by invited congressional leaders including outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, and incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Following his swearing in by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, President Biden’s reported first order of official policy business will take place at approximately 5:45, when he will sign executive orders and other presidential actions in the Oval Office, many of which are said to immediately rescind many of Trump’s policy decisions. Biden will also swear in his initial appointees in a virtual ceremony. Just over an hour before that, Vice President Harris will swear in Senator-elect Reverend Raphael Warnock and Senator-elect Jon Ossoff, both of Georgia, as well as Senator-elect Alex Padilla of California, who was appointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom to serve the remainder of Harris’ term. Immediately afterward, lawmakers will conduct the parliamentary business that will end with control of the Senate transferring from Republicans to Democrats. At 7:00, Biden press secretary Jen Psaki will hold the new administration’s first official press briefing.
Check ABCNews.com for minute-by-minute Inauguration Day coverage.
President Trump delivers farewell remarks and departs for Florida
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump departed the White House for a final time Wednesday morning at 8:12 a.m. ET and traveled to Joint Base Andrews via the Marine One presidential helicopter, to address a modest crowd of waiting supporters. Trump touted what he said were his accomplishments while in office – many statements of which were immediately called into question by fact-checking observers — declaring, “We left it all on the field,” and “You can’t work harder” than he and his administration did. Trump also said, “I wish the new administration great luck and great success.” After concluding his remarks, Trump, his wife and family boarded Air Force One, which departed for his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach at 9:00 a.m. Notably absent from attending Trump’s final remarks was Vice President Mike Pence. While Trump announced several days ago that he did not plan to attend the Biden/Harris inauguration, Pence at last word was scheduled to attend. Trump becomes only the fourth president in U.S. history not to attend their successor’s inauguration and the first to do so in 152 years: John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Johnson – who, like Trump, was impeached — preceded Trump in the decision. ABC News has confirmed the Trump left his successor a note in the Oval Office, per longstanding tradition.
Here’s the latest data on COVID-19 coronavirus infections and deaths.
Latest reported numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 96,275,383
Global deaths: 2,059,921. The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 401,777.
Number of countries/regions: at least 191
Total patients recovered globally: 53,172,886
Latest reported numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 24,254,737 reported cases in 50 states + the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. This is more than in any other country.
U.S. deaths: at least 401,777. New York State has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 41,368.
U.S. total people tested: 282,867,081
The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 3,055,568 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million. This ranks first in the world. England is second in the world, with 3,022,609 cases. Texas is third, with 2,157,912 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 29 million.
US COVID-19 hospitalizations decreasing; Biden/Harris honor pandemic victims
In some rare good news about the pandemic, the Covid Tracking Project reports that U.S. hospitalizations for COVID-19 decreased on 13 days in January, and increased on only six days. The seven-day average for daily hospitalizations currently stands at 126,395. Further, the latest internal Department of Health and Human Services numbers, obtained by ABC News, show new cases of COVID-19 are decreasing in week-to-week comparisons and new deaths are leveling off. The encouraging news is tempered by the fact that the U.S. on Tuesday afternoon exceeded 400,000 deaths from COVID-19, with 401,777 reported by Wednesday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Also Tuesday, Operation Warp Speed reported nearly 36 million doses of vaccine have been “distributed” in the U.S., including 5.5 million doses Tuesday, although it’s unclear whether “distributed” means designated for shipment or actually shipped and delivered.
Tuesday night, just hours before they were scheduled to be sworn into office, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris honored the more than 400,000 Americans who have died as a result of the pandemic with a tribute in front of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. Biden thanked the country’s nurses and also echoed the call for unity, declaring, “To heal we must remember, and it’s hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal.” The ceremony was the first of its kind from Washington, D.C. lawmakers in recognition of pandemic victims.
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