Today’s In Crisis headlines

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

Democrat Warnock projected to win in Georgia Senate race; Ossoff narrowly leads GOP’s Perdue
Democrats are one step closer to taking control of the U.S. Senate with Rev. Raphael Warnock’s projected victory over GOP incumbent Kelly Loeffler in Georgia’s runoff election.  Democrat Jon Ossoff’s lead over Republican David Perdue has grown to over 16,000 votes as of Monday morning, putting the difference between the candidates at 0.4%.  Any margin of 0.5% or less triggers an automatic machine recount of votes.  Both the Ossoff and Perdue campaigns released official statements declaring they believe they’ll win.  The votes remaining to be counted come from areas of Georgia that historically vote predominantly Democratic.  Warnock’s lead over Loeffler as of Monday morning was officially too great to trigger an automatic recount, or for Loeffler to request a recount.

If both Warnock and Ossoff win their races, the U.S. Senate will be evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, with incoming Vice President Kamala Harris the deciding vote in any legislative ties.  Warnock, pastor of Atlanta’s storied Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached, will make history as Georgia’s first Black U.S. senator.

Drama expected as Congress meets today to ratify presidential election
What is traditionally a ceremonial affair promises far more drama today as members of the House and Senate meet to officially ratify the Electoral College vote from November’s general election, confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s win.  Although their complaints are unlikely to change anything, over 100 House Republicans and about a dozen Senate Republicans have promised to challenge the election results on the House floor, again citing repeatedly disproven allegations of voter fraud.  Republican Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and Josh Hawley of Missouri are expected to co-sign written objections from House Republicans to the slate of electors from Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania, respectively.  That process could extend today’s session well into the night and even into Thursday morning.  President Trump continued to pressure Vice President Mike Pence as recently as Wednesday morning to overturn the election result, something Pence, in his position as Senate president, does not have the legal power to do.

No charges against Kenosha police officers who shot Jacob Blake
The Kenosha County, Wisconsin, district attorney has declined to bring criminal charges against any of the law enforcement officers involved in the August 23, 2020 shooting of Jacob Blake.  District Attorney Mike Graveley told Blake, 29, of his plan not to file charges prior to announcing it to the media Tuesday. During a news conference, Graveley said Officer Rusten Sheskey, the white officer who shot Blake, who is Black, seven times, was justified in his use of force because Blake was armed with a knife, refused orders to drop it and made a motion as if he was going to stab Sheskey.  Graveley also said the evidence shows Sheskey fired in self-defense.  Blake was left paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the shooting.

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: 86,545,316
Global deaths: 1,871,379.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 357,385.
Number of countries/regions: at least 191
Total patients recovered globally: 48,578,389

Latest reported numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 21,052,689 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 357,385.  New York State has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 38,743.
U.S. total people tested: 256,215,179

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 2,500,302 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 2,394,923 cases.  Maharashtra, India, which has 1,950,171 cases, ranks third, while Texas is fourth, with 1,861,286 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 29 million.

US reporting 21 million+ COVID-19 cases, 357K+ deaths; record hospitalization numbers continue
The number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has exceeded 21 million.  As of Wednesday morning, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University put the total number of reported infections at 21,052,689, which continues to be more than in any other country and represents just over 24% of the 86,545,316 global cases.  The U.S. also reported at least 357,385 COVID-19 deaths as of Wednesday morning, which is 19% of reported global fatalities.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently forecasting between 383,000 and 424,000 total COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. by the week ending January 23.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. continue to climb.  The Covid Tracking Project reports there were 131,195 reported hospitalizations Tuesday, yet another new single-day record.  That also bumps the current seven-day hospitalizations average into new record territory, at 126,316.  Regionally, hospitalizations in the South and West are now worse than they were in the Midwest at the virus’s peak there, with much of the South experiencing record hospitalizations today.  Hospitalizations in the Eastern U.S. are also showing an increase.  In Southern California, which continues to experience a record surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths, overwhelmed funeral services and homes are being forced to tell families they have no room for additional remains, and bodies must remain where the person died.   Funeral homes are advising families to place loved ones on ice until they can be picked up.

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