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Biden eager to move on as he warns lives at stake over transition delays

Dr. Anthony Fauci called the Modena Covid-19 vaccine trial results announced Monday "truly striking."
Image: President-elect Joe Biden delivers a remarks on the economic recovery at the Queen in Wilmington, Del.
President-elect Joe Biden warned that the biggest threat to the country by President Donald Trump's refusal to concede the election and begin the transition process is that "more people may die, if we don't coordinate."Salwan Georges/The Washington Post / Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

President-elect Joe Biden is wary of opening old wounds once he finally reaches the White House, Americans grapple with more restrictions as Covid-19 cases surge and charges in another college cheating scheme.

Here is what we're watching this Tuesday morning.

President-elect Biden is wary of Trump-focused investigations, sources say

President-elect Joe Biden has privately told advisers that he doesn't want his presidency to be consumed by investigations of President Donald Trump, according to five people familiar with the discussions.

Biden has raised concerns that investigations would further divide a country he is trying to unite and risk making every day of his presidency about Trump, said the sources, who spoke on background to offer details of private conversations.

"His overarching view is that we need to move the country forward," an adviser said. "But the most important thing on this is that he will not interfere with his Justice Department and not politicize his Justice Department."

It will be difficult for Biden to avoid the issue altogether, given the expected calls for investigations into an array of issues involving Trump — from his administration's child separation policy to his taxes.

The issue could set Biden on a collision course with some of his own supporters, who are eager for a wholesale examination of the Trump presidency.

Meantime, Biden's team has started tapping recently departed Justice Department officials as part of an effort to prepare for the transition of power without cooperation from the Trump administration.

The move comes as Trump's national security adviser Robert O'Brien said that it looks like Biden has won the election and that the National Security Council is preparing for "a very professional transition."

O'Brien's comments, which aired Monday, stood in stark contrast to those of the president, who tweeted falsely just before midnight Sunday, "I WON THE ELECTION," as he continued to make baseless claims of widespread fraud.

Cities and states impose new lockdowns, restriction as Covid-19 cases continue to surge across the country

The wave of Covid-19 infections sweeping across the United States was followed Monday by a spate of new lockdowns and calls to reimpose restrictions after a week when more than a million new cases were reported.

With Covid-19 case numbers on the rise Monday in 49 states and Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam, mayors and governors are taking matters into their own hands and not waiting on federal guidance.

On a positive note, drug giant Moderna announced Monday that its latest trials show that its Covid-19 vaccine candidate is 94.5 percent effective at preventing the illness.

"The results of this trial are truly striking," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday.

Moderna's news comes a week after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said early analysis showed its vaccine candidate was more than 90 percent effective.

While Fauci lauded the progress on vaccines, he emphasized the continued importance of wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

"We should not let the accomplishment of an effective vaccine have us feel we can let our guard down," Fauci said. Only the "synergy between a vaccine and public health measures will get us out of this very difficult situation.

'Rejected, anxious, afraid:' Months of unemployment add to pandemic-induced stress

As Covid-19 cases surge, experts say, the mental health of millions of unemployed Americans is at risk.

Even in normal recessions, experts say, prolonged job loss is an under-the-radar mental health crisis that can sap people's confidence and sense of identity. The stress and anxiety of the coronavirus pandemic on top of joblessness is adding up to the perfect storm for many.

"To put an unemployment crisis on top of an already difficult, stressful time — I think it's pushing the edge of what people are able to handle," said Ofer Sharone, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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Amazon is offering early Black Friday sales on tech, home goods, appliances and (much) more.

One fun thing

When 6-year-old Sam White recites the alphabet there is a beat and a message about possibilities.

He and his dad, Robert White Jr., created an alphabetical roadmap of careers, dreams and aspirations from A to Z to inspire other young kids to dream about their bright futures.

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Thanks, Petra