- On Saturday, several news outlets called the 2020 election, declaring former Vice President Joe Biden the victor.
- Former Presidents Obama and Bush both sent their well wishes to Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Other global leaders reached out as well, saying they were ready to work with the new administration.
- People also celebrated across the country, throwing dance parties in the street, honking horns, and popping champagne on sidewalks.
- However, President Donald Trump has not conceded the election and is instead pushing false claims of voter fraud. He and his legal team are vowing to bring the matter to court but others in his circle are reportedly trying to figure out how to convince Trump that it really is over for him.
World Celebrates Biden’s Win
After it was announced Saturday that Joe Biden won the 2020 election and would become the 46th president of the United States, people all over the country and the globe celebrated the victory.
Former President Barack Obama congratulated Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on the win.
“In this election, under circumstances never experienced, Americans turned out in numbers never seen,” Obama said in a statement. “And once every vote is counted, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris will have won a historic and decisive victory.”
Former President George W. Bush also extended his well wishes.
“Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country,” Bush wrote.
“The fact that so many of our fellow citizens participated in this election is a positive sign of the health of our democracy and a reminder to the world of its strength. No matter how you voted, your vote counted,” he added.
Across the country, people also celebrated by dancing, cheering, and popping champagne bottles in city streets. In New York City and Washington D.C., crowds broke out into song during festivities.
In Los Angeles, parades of honking cars took to the streets while people clapped and danced along the sidewalks. At one point, singer John Legend and model Chrissy Teigen were spotted in West Hollywood celebrating with the crowds.
Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA,” as well as YG and Nipsey Hussle’s “Fuck Donald Trump” re-entered the charts as people found them to be apt songs to play during these gatherings.
However, Americans were not the only ones celebrating. In London, people set off fireworks. In Paris, people began ringing church bells.
World leaders also sent their congratulations, as is often customary when a new U.S. President is elected. Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, said, “Welcome back America.”
Speeches From Biden and Harris
On Saturday night, Biden and Harris both spoke in Delaware to accept their win. Harris went first, embracing the electoral process and thanking the country in her remarks.
“Protecting our democracy takes struggle, it takes sacrifice, but there is joy in it and there is progress, because we, the people, have the power to build a better future,” Harris said. “When our very democracy was on the ballot in this election, with the very soul of America at stake, and the world watching, you ushered in a new day for America.”
Harris, who is Black and Indian, will be the first woman and woman of color in the role. She touched on what this groundbreaking moment meant for her, her family, and women across the country.
“I am thinking about [my mother] and about the generations of women, Black women, Asian, white, Latina, Native American women who, throughout our nation’s history, have paved the way for this moment tonight. Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all,” she said.
“But while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
During his speech, Biden echoed the ideas he had been sending throughout his campaign, and especially in the last week as the results of the election were a pending uncertainty. He promised to bring the country together and to lead for every American, regardless of how they voted.
“I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify, who doesn’t see red states and blue states, only sees the United States, and work with all my heart, with the confidence of the whole people, to win the confidence of all of you,” Biden said. “For that is what America, I believe, is about. It’s about people. And that’s what our administration will be all about.”
“Now this campaign is over, what is the will of people? What is our mandate?” Biden later asked. “I believe it’s this: American have called upon us to marshal the forces of decency, the forces of fairness, to marshal the forces of science and the forces of hope in the great battles of our time, the battle to control the virus, the battle to build prosperity, the battle to secure your family’s healthcare, the battle to achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country.”
“Folks, I’m a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president. I’ll work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as those who did. Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now.”
Trump Refuses to Concede
But confetti was not flying everywhere. President Donald Trump has spent this weekend sending tweets riddled with misinformation, alleging unfounded claims of voter fraud, and refusing to concede the election.
It has long been expected that should Trump lose, he would not go down without a fight. In fact, just one hour before the election was officially called for Biden, Trump tweeted that he himself was the winner, a false claim he has been making since election day.
He later bragged about how many “legal” votes he got, implying the votes Biden got were illegal, but providing no evidence.
“The simple fact is this election is far from over,” Trump later said in a statement after the election for all intents and purposes, was over.
“Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated,” he said. “The American People are entitled to an honest election: that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots.”
While Trump can try to make a court game out of this, experts do not believe it will change anything. ABC News spoke to sources within Trump’s White House circle who believe the lawsuits are “pointless and meritless.” Alberto Gonzales, who served as the U.S. Attorney General under George W. Bush, told NPR that they will likely go nowhere.
“I think most experts and certainly all that I have heard that are experts in the election field believe that that would be sort of a fruitless effort,” he said. “But obviously, he’s entitled to do what he thinks is right.”
During a Saturday press briefing at Four Seasons Total Landscaping in Pennsylvania (not the hotel) Trump’s legal team continued to spout unbacked claims of voter fraud. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Guiliani, claimed that voting my mail is inherently fraudulent and that Trump is “not going to concede when at least 600,000 are in question.” Currently, ballots in several states remain uncounted, but their legitimacy is not in question.
Still, Trump thinks that these legal battles are the best course of action for him. According to Vanity Fair : “While Trump has apparently admitted to some people that he knows the electoral math has no chance of working out in his favor, he has ‘maintained that a prolonged court battle and corrosive rhetoric about election fraud would sow enough doubt to allow him to refuse to accept the results.”
Even so, those in his circle are allegedly trying to find a way to sit him down and tell him it’s over.
“The delicate matter of a loss — and a potential post-presidential life — was not discussed widely among his team and was not raised often with the President, who believed adamantly he would win,” CNN reported. “Now, people around Trump are working to identify who might be able to communicate to him the stark reality.
See what others are saying: (CNN) (Vanity Fair) (NPR)
Inmates Sue Jail for Giving Them Ivermectin to Treat COVID-19 Without Consent
Four detainees who filed the suit allege that the jail’s doctor gave them “incredibly high doses” of the anti-parasite in a “cocktail of drugs” that he said were “‘vitamins’, ‘antibiotics,’ and/or ‘steroids.’”
Washington County Detention Center Lawsuit
Four inmates at an Arkansas jail have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that they were unknowingly given the anti-parasite drug ivermectin without their consent by the detention center’s doctor after contracting COVID-19.
The Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and countless other medical experts have said that ivermectin — commonly used for livestock — can be dangerous and should not be used to treat the coronavirus.
According to the lawsuit, after testing positive for COVID in August, the four men at the Washington County Detention Center (WCDC) were given a “cocktail of drugs” twice a day by the facility’s doctor, Robert Karas.
The inmates claim that Dr. Karas did not tell them that he was giving them ivermectin, but instead said the drugs consisted of “‘vitamins’, ‘antibiotics,’ and/or ‘steroids.’”
The complaint also alleges that the detainees were given “incredibly high doses” of the drug, causing some to experience “vision issues, diarrhea, bloody stools, and/or stomach cramps.”
Use on Other Inmates
The four plaintiffs were far from the only people to whom Karas gave ivermectin.
According to the lawsuit, the doctor began using the drug to treat COVID starting in November of 2020. In August, the Washington County sheriff confirmed at a local finance and budget committee meeting that the doctor had been prescribing the drug to inmates, prompting the Arkansas Medical Board to launch an investigation.
In response, Karas informed a Medical Board investigator in a letter from his attorney that 254 inmates at the facility had been treated with ivermectin.
In the letter, he confirmed that whether or not detainees were given information about ivermectin was dependent on who administered it, but paramedics were not required to discuss the drug with them.
He also admitted that after the practice got media coverage, he “adopted a more robust informed consent form to assuage any concern that any detainees were being misled or coerced into taking the medications, even though they weren’t.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, which filed the suit on behalf of the inmates, also claimed in a statement that after questions were raised about the practice, the jail attempted to make detainees sign forms saying that they retroactively agreed to the treatments.
The WCDC has not issued a public response to the lawsuits, but Dr. Karas appeared to address the situation in a Facebook post where he defended his actions.
“Guess we made the news again this week; still with best record in the world at the jail with the same protocols,” he wrote. “Inmates aren’t dumb and I suspect in the future other inmates around the country will be suiing their facilities requesting same treatment we’re using at WCDC-including the Ivermectin.”
See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (CBS News) (NBC News)
Medical Workers Sign Letter Urging Spotify to Combat Misinformation, Citing Joe Rogan
The letter accused Spotify of “enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research.”
Doctors and Medical Professionals Sign Letter to Spotify
A group of 270 doctors, scientists, and other medical workers signed an open letter to Spotify this week urging the audio platform to implement a misinformation policy, specifically citing false claims made on the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast.
Rogan has faced no shortage of backlash over the last year for promoting vaccine misinformation on his show, which airs exclusively on Spotify. Most recently, he invited Dr. Robert Malone on a Dec. 31 episode that has since been widely criticized by health experts.
Dr. Malone was banned from Twitter for promoting COVID-19 misinformation. According to the medical experts who signed the letter, he “used the JRE platform to further promote numerous baseless claims, including several falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines and an unfounded theory that societal leaders have ‘hypnotized’ the public.”
“Notably, Dr. Malone is one of two recent JRE guests who has compared pandemic policies to the Holocaust,” the letter continued. “These actions are not only objectionable and offensive, but also medically and culturally dangerous.”
Joe Rogan’s History of COVID-19 Misinformation
Rogan sparked swift criticism himself in the spring of 2021 when he discouraged young people from taking the COVID-19 vaccine. He also falsely equated mRNA vaccines to “gene therapy” and incorrectly stated that vaccines cause super mutations of the virus. He took ivermectin after testing positive for the virus in September, despite the fact that the drug is not approved as a treatment for COVID.
“By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals,” the doctors and medical workers wrote.
“We are calling on Spotify to take action against the mass-misinformation events which continue to occur on its platform,” they continued. “With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence. Though Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, the company presently has no misinformation policy.”
Rolling Stone was the first outlet to report on the letter from the medical professionals. Dr. Katrine Wallace, an epidemiologist at the University of Illinois Chicago, was among the signees. She told the magazine that Rogan is “a menace to public health.”
“These are fringe ideas not backed in science, and having it on a huge platform makes it seem there are two sides to this issue,” she said. “And there are really not.”
Spotify had not responded to the letter as of Thursday.
See what others are saying: (Rolling Stone) (Deadline) (Insider)
Data Shows Omicron May be Peaking in the U.S.
In some cities that were first hit by the surge, new cases are starting to flatten and decline.
New Cases Flattening
After weeks of recording-breaking cases driven by the highly infectious omicron variant, public health officials say that new COVID infections seem to be slowing in the parts of the country that were hit the hardest earlier on.
Following a more than twentyfold rise in December, cases in New York City have flattened out in recent days.
New infections have even begun to fall slightly in some states, like Maryland and New Jersey. In Boston, the levels of COVID in wastewater — which has been a top indicator of case trends in the past — have dropped by nearly 40% since the first of the year.
Overall, federal data has shown a steep decline in COVID-related emergency room visits in the Northeast, and the rest of the country appears to be following a similar track.
Data from other countries signals the potential for a steep decline in cases following the swift and unprecedented surge.
According to figures from South Africa, where the variant was first detected, cases rose at an incredibly shocking rate for about a month but peaked quickly in mid-December. Since then, new infections have plummeted by around 70%.
In the U.K., which has typically been a map for how U.S. cases will trend, infections are also beginning to fall after peaking around New Year’s and then flattening for about a week.
Despite these recent trends, experts say it is still too early to say if cases in the U.S. will decline as rapidly as they did in South Africa and the parts of the U.K. that were first hit.
While new infections may seem to be peaking in the cities that saw the first surges, caseloads continue to climb in most parts of the country.
Meanwhile, hospitals are overwhelmed and health resources are still strained because of the high volume of cases hitting all at once.