New York Times: As Hospitals Fill, Travel Nurses Race to Virus Hot Spots by Julie Bosman
As the coronavirus cut a devastating path around the country, Laura Liffiton, 32, found herself racing along behind.
She arrived in New York City in April, on one of the worst days of the pandemic, for a stint as a nurse in the overrun intensive-care unit of a crowded hospital. After her contract there ended, she flew in July to another hot spot with an urgent need for nurses: a hospital in Arizona where four of her patients died of the coronavirus on her first day. In October, Ms. Liffiton traveled on, to Green Bay, Wis., just as the virus was surging uncontrollably throughout the Midwest.
“When the pandemic began, I thought, ‘I’m going to go help, I can do some good, I can make some good money,’” she said. But on the first day of treating coronavirus patients, Ms. Liffiton remembered, “I was like Dorothy landing in Oz. I was totally unprepared for the reality.”
As the coronavirus has spiked across the country, leaving more than 100,000 Americans hospitalized on Wednesday — more than on any other day during the crisis — travel nurses, who work on temporary contracts for higher fees and move from city to city, have become more urgently needed than ever.
Chicago Sun-Times: Illinois weed sales on pace to top $1 billion in 2020, expert says by Tom Schuba
November sales of recreational weed surpassed $75 million for a second straight month, and one researcher believes total sales of legal marijuana — including medical cannabis — could surpass $1 billion by the time 2020 is over.
The recreational total for last month, $75.19 million, was only slightly lower than the record set in October, $75.28 million.
Since marijuana was fully legalized at the start of this year, dispensaries across the state have now sold more than $580 million worth of recreational pot, according to data maintained by the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation.
While state officials haven’t released November’s medical cannabis sales figures, dispensaries have already unloaded over $300 million in medical weed over the first 10 months of this year.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Groups sue Georgia over voter purges by David Wickert
Voting rights groups filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday that accuses the Georgia secretary of state’s office of improperly removing nearly 200,000 people from the state’s voter registration list last year.
The lawsuit says the state removed tens of thousands of voters from the list because it believed they had moved away when, in fact, they had not. It also challenges a “use it or lose it” provision in state law that allows Georgia to purge voters who do not cast ballots for many years. That allowed the state to remove tens of thousands more voters, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta by the Black Voters Matter Fund, the Transformative Justice Coalition and the Rainbow Push Coalition.
St. Louis Post Dispatch: Investigation details state’s ‘failure to recognize the outbreak’ in Missouri veterans homes by Jack Suntrup
JEFFERSON CITY — A state-commissioned investigation has found officials did not recognize the severity of early COVID-19 cases within Missouri veterans homes, failing to aggressively correct course to fight an outbreak that has killed more than 100 veterans housed in state nursing homes since September.
The 53-page report, prepared by the St. Louis law firm Armstrong Teasdale and released Wednesday, says Missouri Veterans Commission officials did not contact external partners for assistance, and that problems with testing, cross contamination and staffing helped fuel an “inadequate” response.
The report said the veterans commission, which operates seven homes statewide, failed to prepare for a “severe and prolonged” outbreak.
“The lack of a comprehensive outbreak plan led to confusion and inefficiencies, and it almost certainly contributed to the inability to contain the spread of COVID-19 once it was introduced into the Homes,” the report said.
Washington Post: Trump escalates baseless attacks on election with 46-minute video rant by Philip Rucker
Escalating his attack on democracy from within the White House, President Trump on Wednesday distributed an astonishing 46-minute video rant filled with baseless allegations of voter fraud and outright falsehoods in which he declared the nation’s election system “under coordinated assault and siege” and argued that it was “statistically impossible” for him to have lost to President-elect Joe Biden.
Standing behind the presidential lectern in the Diplomatic Reception Room and flanked by the flags of his office and of the country whose Constitution he swore an oath to uphold, Trump tried to leverage the power of the presidency to subvert the vote and overturn the election results.
The rambling and bellicose monologue — which Trump said “may be the most important speech I’ve ever made” and was delivered direct-to-camera with no audience — underscored his desperation to reverse the outcome of his election loss after a month of failed legal challenges and as some key states already have certified Biden’s victory.
Reuters: Biden promises help to U.S. workers hit by pandemic, Trump hints at 2024 run by Jarrett Renshaw and Steve Holland
WILMINGTON, Del./WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday promised a group of workers hit by the raging COVID-19 pandemic that more aid would be on the way, while President Donald Trump hinted he may be ready to begin planning another run for the White House in 2024.
Biden, who has pledged to act quickly to provide more resources to fight the health crisis after he is inaugurated on Jan. 20, told a group of workers and business owners that any emergency aid approved by Congress before he takes office would be only a “down payment.”
Republicans and Democrats are trying to resolve a months-long standoff in Congress over a stimulus package for businesses affected by coronavirus shutdowns as well as the millions who have lost jobs.
“My transition team is already working on what I will put forward to the next Congress to address the multiple crises we’re facing, especially the economic crisis and COVID,” Biden told the workers at a roundtable in his home state of Delaware.
BBC News: Brexit: It's nearly now or never for UK-EU trade deal by Laura Kuenssberg
Whether they were double pepperonis, Hawaiians, or even just basic cheese and tomato, there was a tell-tale suggestion tonight that the Brexit negotiating teams were hard at it.
They don't work late into the night if there is nothing to talk about, and if there is no pressure.
So a delivery of boxes and boxes of pizza arriving at the venue where the talks are taking place in central London suggest, at least, they believe there is stuff that's worth chewing over (sorry) and that needs to be concluded urgently.
And while I have every sympathy if you read this and just feel you have seen it all before, there is more than just the takeaway that tells us it's nearly now or never.
After months and months, and yes, months of talks, several sources have told me on Wednesday that the process is likely to be concluded in the next few days.
One ambassador told me there was a hope the agreement could be finalised on Friday, with another diplomatic source confirming a deal at the end of this week is a possibility - suggesting the agreement is basically done, even though "it could all still fall apart".
DW: Israel approaching 4th election in 2 years as coalition crumbles?
Israel's Blue and White party, partners in a rather fractious national unity government since May, sided with the Knesset's opposition on Wednesday in a vote to dissolve parliament, although the bill still needs to go through further deliberations to become law.
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz had accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud party of failing to submit a budget as promised in their original coalition deal to share power and alternate the premiership.
The dissolution bill next heads to a parliamentary committee, giving Gantz and Netanyahu a week or two to try to salvage their troubled alliance.
During debate on Wednesday, Yair Lapid, whose opposition Yesh Atid party pushed for dissolution, accused Israel's current center-right government of gross mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic fallout.
Everyone have a good night!