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First Thing: Trump team hits turbulence as Giuliani admitted to hospital

Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has said he is “feeling good” after news broke that he had contracted coronavirus. Giuliani, 76, is perhaps the biggest proponent of Trump’s baseless election fraud claims, other than the president himself. The attorney said that he was “recovering quickly and keeping up with everything”. Giuliani was admitted to Georgetown University medical center in Washington, according to multiple reports.

The news caused Arizona to close its legislative chambers after a visit from Giuliani last week, but officials in Michigan and Georgia might also have cause for concern – Giuliani appeared indoors without a mask in both states last week.

  • A psychiatrist who called Trump “dangerous” and “destructive” has died of coronavirus aged 89. Jerrold M Post was a pioneer in his field, whose assessments of Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi and Kim Jong-il helped guide presidents.

Did Trump’s press secretary just admit a Biden victory?

The White House press secretary appeared to admit that Trump had lost the election on Sunday. In an interview on Fox News, Kayleigh McEnany said if the Republicans lost both the Senate seats, Kamala Harris would cast “the deciding vote in this country” – seemingly a tacit admission that the Democrats would be governing from January.

But Georgia’s Republican senator, Kelly Loeffler, is still sticking to her guns, refusing to concede Joe Biden’s win three times this weekend. Her denial came during a tense debate before crucial runoff races in Georgia in January that will decide which party takes control of the Senate.

On Sunday, the Republican sitting senator David Perdue declined to attend his pre-election debate, amid accusations of corruption in connection to his stock market trading during the pandemic. This led the Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff to debate with an empty podium.

Lower wage earners and racial minorities should be included in early vaccinations, a top vaccine adviser said

Dr José Romero, the chair of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) vaccine advisory panel, has said lower wage earners and those from minority backgrounds should be included in the early coronavirus vaccinations. The panel has recommended healthcare workers and long-term care residents as the earliest priority group, but Romero said the healthcare personnel also included the administrative and logistical roles in hospitals.

Meanwhile, the US health secretary insisted the Trump administration had a plan to distribute coronavirus vaccines, after Biden said he had not seen a detailed blueprint. Alex Azar said the distribution programme was being run by the military and private sector and would use retail pharmacies, public health departments and community health centers.

As California went back into lockdown last night, new coronavirus cases remained above 200,000 on Saturday and the state recorded more than 2,000 deaths. The measures mean more than 23 million people are under strict new restrictions.

Biden has reportedly chosen California’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, as his health secretary. Becerra, an advocate of the Affordable Care Act, would oversee the Biden administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. If confirmed he would be the first Latino in the role. But if the Republicans win the Senate and decide to stonewall Biden’s cabinet picks, the president-elect may decide to take a leaf out of Trump’s presidential playbook, giving cabinet officials “acting” monikers to sidestep them having to be confirmed.

According to Nesrine Malik, Biden’s drive for diversity is not all that it seems. She argues that the picks do not offer any meaningful change, instead they are designed to make the government appear progressive without altering its behaviour

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