Today’s In Crisis headlines


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

Electoral College certifies Biden-Harris presidential victory; Biden address the nation
With Hawaii officially casting its four electoral votes for the Biden-Harris ticket at 7:04 p.m. ET, the Electoral College on Monday officially certified President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ general election victory.  All 538 electors cast their ballots in their respective state legislatures, with Biden’s victory affirmed when California’s 55 electoral votes gave him more than the 270 needed to win.  In the end, all electors cast their votes as expected in a day of formal proceedings that resulted in few surprises, even amid the heightened scrutiny of the electoral process, particularly in battleground states. 

The Biden-Harris ticket earned 306 electoral votes to President Trump’s 232, a margin of victory President Trump repeatedly touted as a “landslide” when his campaign won in 2016 with 306 electoral votes while losing the popular vote, which Biden won.  Since this year’s November 3 general election, the Trump campaign and its surrogates have waged a non-stop assault on the results, pursuing unsuccessful legal challenges all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and applying unprecedented political pressure on state lawmakers to subvert the democratic process. 

Even as the Electoral College cast its votes Monday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected President Trump’s lawsuit there attempting to overturn his election loss in the battleground state, just one hour before the state’s electors cast Wisconsin’s 10 votes for Joe Biden.  In the 4-3 ruling, the court’s three liberal justices were joined by conservative swing Justice Brian Hagedorn in ruling three of Trump’s four claims were filed too late and the fourth was without merit. The ruling ends Trump’s legal challenges in state court. 

Following the Electoral College vote to affirm his victory, President-Elect Joe Biden addressed the nation Monday evening.  Biden condemned President Trump and a significant portion of the Republican Party’s efforts to undermine the vote, and declared that despite the threats and tests to American democracy, “our Constitution and the will of the American people prevailed.”  Biden added the fact that even with the pandemic there was record turnout at the polls, which should be “celebrated, not attacked,” and called this year’s vote “one of the most amazing demonstrations of civic duty” in the nation’s history. 

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: 72,957,238
Global deaths: 1,623,864.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 300,494.
Number of countries/regions: at least 191
Total patients recovered globally: 47,368,815

Latest reported numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 16,520,408 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 300,494.  New York State has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 35,427.
U.S. total patients recovered: 6,298,082 (no update available)
U.S. total people tested: 219,287,328

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 1,611,647 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million.  This ranks second in the world after Maharashtra, India, which has 1,883,365 reported cases.  England, which has 1,602,174 reported cases, ranks third in the world, while Texas is fourth, with 1,493,149 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 29 million.

FDA appears on track to authorize Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Thursday
The Food and Drug Administration appears to be on track to approve an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine when it meets Thursday to officially consider the request.  That’s according to briefing documents the FDA posted Tuesday morning, which do not identify any safety concerns or reasons to doubt the efficacy of Moderna’s mRNA vaccine.  One significant difference is that the Moderna vaccine has not been studied in children so until further notice it will only be authorized for people 18 and older.  

Government officials say if the Moderna vaccine EUA is granted, they will have just under six million doses ready to begin shipping out as soon as this weekend.  The Food and Drug Administration late Friday approved the EUA for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, one day after similarly meeting to consider it.  That vaccine is currently being administered nationwide.  After healthcare workers, first responders, the elderly and others at high risk are vaccinated, the general population will have access to both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.  Current estimates are that widespread inoculation could be underway by late spring 2021.

According to the Covid Tracking Project, there were 110,549 people in the U.S. hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Monday, a new single-day record.  The seven-day averages of daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths were also at all-time highs Tuesday, the same day COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. exceeded 300,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University

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