The Rundown for December 2, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 13,715,635 and the nation’s death toll stands at 270,532, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The U.S. set a record high with 98,691 hospitalized patients yesterday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. That’s twice the number of hospitalizations reported a month ago and more than triple the number of hospitalizations reported on October 1… A White House document obtained by CNN indicates the first shipments of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine will be delivered on December 15 and estimates the first shipment of Moderna’s vaccine to be delivered a week later. An advisory committee to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention urged yesterday that healthcare workers along with workers and residents at nursing homes should be the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available. The first group of recipients will be known as Phase 1a and will include some 23 million Americans.

SENATORS INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN RELIEF BILL… A bipartisan group of senators yesterday unveiled a $908 billion emergency coronavirus relief plan. The “COVID Emergency Relief Framework” legislation would extend unemployment insurance, restart Paycheck Protection Program and fund vaccine distribution. Senators behind the bill include Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia and Republican Mitt Romney of Utah. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s sticking with the Republicans’ scaled-back relief bill with the goal of passing a significant downpayment during the lame-duck session and then revisiting the topic next year.

AG BARR SAYS NO EVIDENCE OF WIDESPREAD VOTER FRAUD… Attorney General William Barr yesterday told the Associated Press that the Department of Justice has not uncovered any evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the presidential election. His disclosure contradicted President Trump’s unfounded claims that the results of the 2020 presidential election were rigged. Barr said federal prosecutors and the FBI have been investigating several complaints of mass voter fraud to no avail. Last month, Barr directed federal prosecutors to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities.

DOJ INVESTIGATING PARDON SCHEME… Court documents unsealed yesterday indicate that the Department of Justice is investigating a potentially criminal scheme involving paying a bribe to people either in or affiliated with the White House in exchange for an unknown person receiving a presidential pardon. Two people, whose names are redacted, are being investigated for improperly acting as lobbyists to secure the pardon for a person whose name is also redacted. The plot involved the person offering “a substantial political contribution in exchange for a presidential pardon or reprieve of sentence.”

MANSLAUGHTER CHARGES IN DEADLY BOAT FIRE… Prosecutors yesterday filed manslaughter charges in the deaths of 33 passengers and a crew member aboard a scuba diving boat that caught fire and sank off the coast of California last year. The captain of the boat, 67-year-old Jerry Boylan, was indicted on 34 counts of seaman’s manslaughter for “misconduct, negligence and inattention” by failing to train his crew, conduct fire drills and have a roving night watchman aboard the “Conception” when it caught fire on the night of September 2, 2019. The victims perished in the bunkroom and all died of smoke inhalation, according to coroner’s reports.

… The actor formerly known as Ellen Page has come out as transgender. Elliot Page previously came out as gay in 2014 and married dancer Emma Portner in January 2018. Page starred in the 2007 film “Juno” and plays Vanya Hargreeves in the Netflix series “The Umbrella Academy.” The actor went on social media to express appreciation for support, as well as concern for discrimination and violence.

BILL COSBY APPEAL UNDERWAY… Pennsylvania’s supreme court heard arguments yesterday in Bill Cosby’s appeal of his sexual assault conviction. Justices questioned prosecutors over their treatment of Cosby, who was convicted of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand. Specifically, the judges wanted to know why five additional witnesses were called in apparent effort to establish that Cosby had a pattern of intoxicating and sexually assaulting young women. Cosby has served more than two years of his three- to 10-year prison sentence.

… The NFL contest between the Baltimore Ravens (6-4) and Pittsburgh Steelers (10-0) remains on schedule for late this afternoon despite two more members of the Baltimore organization testing positive yesterday. ESPN reported that the positive tests belong to safety Geno Stone and an equipment manager. If Ravens players test negative again today, tonight’s game is on.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS… The top seven teams in the College Football Playoff rankings remained unchanged in the poll released yesterday. Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State retain their hold on the top four spots. Texas A&M, Florida, Cincinnati, Georgia, Iowa State and Miami (Fla.) finish out the top 10.

No. 4 WISCONSIN 82, Green Bay 42…
No. 7 Kansas 65, No. 20 Kentucky 62 (Champions Classic, Indianapolis)…
No. 8 Michigan State 75, No. 6 Duke 69 (Champions Classic, Indianapolis)…
No. 9 CREIGHTON 94, Omaha 67…
No. 12 Villanova 87, Hartford 53 (Bubbleville, Uncasville, Connecticut)…
No. 15 VIRGINIA 76, St. Francis (PA) 51…
No. 14 North Carolina 67, Stanford 63 (Maui Invitational)…
No. 17 Texas 66, Indiana 44 (Maui Invitational)…

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