Today’s In Crisis headlines


(NEW YORK) — Here are today’s In Crisis headlines:

President-elect Biden outlining priorities as ballot counting continues in remaining states
President-elect Biden is already said to be outlining priorities for when he takes office, with tackling the COVID-19 pandemic at the top of his list. Sources familiar with his plans say he’s also discussing signing a flurry of executive orders once he takes office to reverse some of President Trump’s policies over the past four years. There have been discussions about rejoining the Paris Climate Accords and the World Health Organization, as well as repealing the travel ban, sources said, emphasizing that executive action is only one vehicle to implement Biden’s agenda and the priority will be to work with Congress.

President Trump’s weekend tweets signal he won’t concede the election without a fight, including an all-caps tweet in which he declared, “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” Most Republican lawmakers haven’t publicly acknowledged the election results, or Biden’s apparent win. 

With 98% of the expected Arizona vote is in, Biden’s lead there is now up to 16,952 votes, with only half a percentage point separating him and Trump: 49.5% to Trump’s 49.0%.  Biden still leads in Georgia, where about 10,000 votes – under half a percent — separate him and Trump.  Georgia has already announced they intend to do a recount; the Trump campaign has announced that Rep. Doug Collins will lead their recount effort in that state.

Joe Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election Saturday when Pennsylvania was moved into his column.  He currently has 279 electoral votes, nine more than the number required to win the presidency, compared to Trump’s 214.

Check for the latest vote counts and other election updates.

COVID-19 numbers
Here’s the latest data on COVID-19 coronavirus infections and deaths.

Latest reported numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 50,517,420
Global deaths: 1,257,922.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 237,584.
Number of countries/regions: at least 190
Total patients recovered globally: 33,083,920

Latest reported numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 9,973,563 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 237,584.  New York State has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 33,694.
U.S. total patients recovered: 3,881,491
U.S. total people tested: 156,637,891

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in Texas, with 990,930 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million.  This ranks fourth in the world after Maharashtra, India, which has 1,719,858 reported cases; Sao Paulo, Brazil, which has 1,125,936 reported cases; and England, which has 1,015,672 reported cases.

World passes 50 million COVID-19 cases; US continues to post record numbers
There are now more than 50 million reported COVID-19 cases worldwide.  As of Monday morning, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows 50,517,420 global coronavirus cases.  Of those, 9,973,563 are in the U.S., accounting for just under 20% of the global total. 

The U.S. is on track to surpass 10 million reported COVID-19 cases as early as today as infections continue to soar nationwide.  According to Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. recorded four days with over 100,000 cases from Thursday through Sunday, with consecutive record numbers of infections posted Thursday through Saturday, when the number of new cases reported was 126,742.  This past week, the U.S. reported a total of 727,154 new coronavirus cases — a weekly record.  As of Sunday, the Covid Tracking Project reported there were 56,768 Americans hospitalized with COVID-19.

Pfizer claims COVID-19 vaccine is 90% effective; could seek emergency FDA approval this month
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced Monday morning that their COVID-19 vaccine has proven more than 90% effective in phase 3 clinical trials in protecting people against coronavirus infection, compared to a placebo injection.  Pfizer says the vaccine, developed with German company BioNTech [bee-ON-tek], “was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection in the first interim efficacy analysis.”  The study enrolled 43,538 participants, Pfizer says, and “no serious safety concerns have been observed,” though “Safety and additional efficacy data continue to be collected.”

If the vaccine passes the necessary safety checks, which Pfizer says they expect to happen as soon as next week, the company will apply to the Food and Drug Administration for an Emergency Use Authorization so they can begin distributing the vaccine in the U.S. to the highest-risk individuals, such as health care providers, first responders and the elderly.  If all safety protocols are met and the FDA grants approval, the vaccine could be available for widespread distribution and administration by spring of 2021.

Moderna is believed to not be far behind Pfizer in their COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial and may announce similar data later this month, while AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson could have similar data in early 2021.  According to The New York Times, there are currently 11 vaccines in large-scale phase 3 clinical trials.

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