The Wider World

Annual death toll nears record

OVER 300,000 Americans died from coronavirus this year, contributing to a new U.S. record of fatalities (Shutterstock).

The Year of COVID-19 will likely go down as the deadliest in the nation’s history with the coronavirus pandemic contributing strongly to a mortality tally of over 3 million people.

According to the calculations of the Associated Press, there will be an estimated 3.2 million deaths this year, a 15 percent increase over 2019. The Johns Hopkins University’s compilation of fatalities in the U.S. related to the pandemic is 322,218 as of early afternoon today (Tuesday). The worldwide total is 1.7 million.

In other COVID news, Great Britain is undergoing a strict lockdown in reaction to a new strain of the virus. The new “bug” is not more dangerous than the original version, nor more resistant to the vaccine, but is up to 70 percent more contagious, reports The New York Times.

The News: California will have a new senator

  • Alex Padilla, California’s secretary of state, will become a U.S. Senator, replacing Kamala Harris who will be sworn in as vice president on Jan. 20. Padilla was appointed to the post by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
  • Rita Hart (D-Iowa) will ask the U.S. House of Representatives to investigate the election in which she lost by six votes, arguing that 22 ballots were wrongly excluded. Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks has been declared the winner.
  • Walmart was sued Tuesday by the U.S. Justice Department for allegedly putting pressure on its pharmacies to fill prescriptions for powerful painkillers, according to the Associated Press.
  • Influenced by worries about the coronavirus and doubts about the effectiveness of the $900 billion stimulus bill passed by Congress late Monday night, two of three major stock indexes fell on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Average declined 200.94 points and the S&P 500 retreated by 7.66 points. Nasdaq showed a 65.40 increase.

The Weather: The (windy) Red Flag is up

A “red flag warning” will be in effect in Orange County because of windy conditions on Wednesday and Thursday. Highs on Wednesday in the West Orange County area will be around 73 (49 overnight) with patchy fog and winds gusting up to 20 miles an hour.  The wind should calm by Thursday with a high of 70 (overnight low of 46). Christmas Day should be sunny and 70, with a low of 47 at night. Saturday will see a dip to 66 degrees during the day. In the Huntington Beach area, daytime highs will be four to five degrees cooler during the day.

The Sports: Season starts with rivalry game

The 2020-21 NBA season starts tonight with the Lakers and Clippers meeting at Staples Center in a non-fan setting. We’ll have the results tonight.

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