Good morning, NBC News readers.
Covid-19 cases in the U.S. surpassed 11 million as the nation’s top infectious disease expert warned that a delayed transition was a public health issue. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is looking to pass a slew of new regulations that will be challenging for President-elect Joe Biden to undo.
Here is what we're watching this Monday morning.
How the Trump administration's 'midnight rule-making' could leave a big mark on government
As President Donald Trump’s time in office winds down, his administration is beginning to press forward to cement new regulations and other policy changes before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The rules under development include policies that the incoming Biden administration would probably oppose, such as new caps on the length of foreign student visas; restrictions on the Environmental Protection Agency’s use of scientific research; limits on the EPA’s consideration of the benefits of regulating air pollutants; and a change that would make it easier for companies to treat workers as independent contractors, rather than employees with more robust wage protections.
“They need to finish under deadline, but also make sure they cross their t’s and dot their i’s, so they can survive any legal challenges,” said Nicolas Loris, an economist who focuses on energy and the environment at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
Meanwhile, new diversity data obtained by NBC News show that women make up the majority of staffers on Biden's transition team, and people of color are more than 40 percent of the total transition workforce. Biden has promised that his administration will “look like America,” as well as the broad coalition of voters who boosted him into the White House.
As Biden gets busy with the transition despite the Trump administration's delay to the formal process, organized labor is pinning its hopes on his administration to help fight the long decline in union membership and influence.
"Joe's a blue-collar guy. He comes from a blue-collar background, and he never forgot where he comes from," said Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, the massive federation of unions that represent more than 14 million workers.
On Sunday, Trump's insistence that he won the election seemed to crack when he suggested that Biden had "won" while saying that the election was rigged — a claim that has been widely debunked.
But a few minutes after the tweet, Trump appeared to rush back to Twitter to make it clear that he was not conceding.
See the full map of the U.S. presidential election results and dig into the state by state data.
U.S. surpasses more than 11 million Covid-19 infections
The U.S. surpassed more than 11 million Covid-19 infections on Sunday, recording more than 1 million new cases this past week alone.
More than 60,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with the virus, which former CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden predicts will rise to at least 100,000 in the next month.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's leading infectious disease expert, said Sunday that it is "obvious" that from a public health perspective delaying the presidential transition is not good.
"I have been through multiple transitions now, having served six presidents for 36 years," Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN's "State of the Union." "And it's very clear that that transition process that we go through, that time period of measured in several weeks to months, is really important in a smooth handing over of the information."
It was a message echoed by Biden's incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain, who urged the Trump administration Sunday to begin working on a presidential transition so "nothing drops in this change of power" that would jeopardize the new administration's ability to distribute a coronavirus vaccine.
In Wyoming, this has been a particularly tough time for many residents. When oil prices plummeted in April, the state’s economy went with it. Now, the spread of coronavirus is out of control, like it is in much of the interior West.
Meanwhile, one factory in India appears ready to play a global role in the production of Covid-19 vaccines, once they are developed, because few manufacturers can match the scale of its facilities.
As a leading supplier to the developing world, it is also in the forefront of efforts to combat “vaccine nationalism,” where wealthy countries such as the United States pay to secure a massive number of doses to help their citizens first, while poor countries wait at the back of the line.
After Trump, American allies ask: Can we trust the Americans?
America's partners around the world are mostly relieved that the end of President Trump's presidency is near, but they harbor lingering doubts about Washington's reliability and are wary of the country's polarized politics even under new leadership, former foreign and U.S. diplomats say.
"There's a feeling that if it can happen once, it can happen again," said James Bindenagel, a retired career U.S. diplomat who is a senior professor at Bonn University in Germany.
Doubts about America's staying power predate Trump. Foreign ministries now see protectionist, populist currents as permanent features of the U.S. political landscape, with Americans increasingly questioning alliance arrangements, troop commitments and the benefits of global trade.
Meanwhile, a week after the result of the U.S. election was projected, the leaders of Russia, Brazil and Mexico have held off congratulating the president-elect. According to experts, these leaders may feel that there is no upside to offering quick congratulations to Biden.
“They recognize Trump will wield influence with the Republican Party, and they know he is quick to anger and carries a grudge,” said Michael Miller, an associate professor at Central European University.
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THINK about it
Trump's using bogus election claims to fundraise and these lawsuits could explain why, writes Republican strategist Susan Del Percio in an opinion piece.
Here's how you can tell your family you're not coming home for Thanksgiving and let them down with love.
If you’re looking to mix up your isolation routine this winter, board games might be a great way to cope.
One inspiring thing
Robert Carter, one of nine children, knows what it feels like to be in foster care and separated from his siblings. He went into care when he was 12 and didn’t see his younger brother for 14 years.
Two years ago, Carter took in three boys. Months later, he found out they had two sisters. He found a way to arrange a visit and that's when he knew he had to take in all five.
“I couldn’t let them go through the same pain that I went through,” said Carter, 29.
Last month, the adoption became official.
“It’s a lot louder than I am used to but it’s joyful noise,” he said.
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