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Chauvin verdict ends a painful chapter of 2020, but huge challenges remain

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Image: BESTPIX - Minneapolis Braces For Verdict In Derek Chauvin Trial
People react after the verdict was read in the Derek Chauvin trial on April 20, 2021 In Minneapolis.Stephen Maturen / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — One way to view yesterday’s guilty verdict in the murder trial of George Floyd is to see it as the last major unresolved moment of 2020.

The outcome of the presidential election was decided, although it took days to determine that Joe Biden won the contest.

The economic recession appears to be in the rearview mirror.

And the nation’s coronavirus challenge, while still killing hundreds of Americans a day, is drawing closer and closer to a conclusion with mass vaccinations.

But it wasn’t until yesterday that we learned how the story of George Floyd’s murder — and the protests across the country that followed it — would finally play out.

A jury found officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter, and he now faces up to 75 years in prison.

But while the trial’s outcome resolved the individual case into George Floyd’s death, the larger challenge on policing and race remains.

In fact, here’s another story from Tuesday: “A Columbus, Ohio, police officer fatally shot a teen girl Tuesday afternoon while responding to a call about someone armed with a knife, officials said.”

And here was President Biden in his own remarks from yesterday: “In order to deliver real change and reform, we can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this will ever happen and occur again; to ensure that Black and brown people or anyone — so they don’t fear the interactions with law enforcement, that they don’t have to wake up knowing that they can lose their very life in the course of just living their life,” Biden said.

The case into George Floyd’s murder is finally over.

But the larger challenge isn’t.

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Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

Up to 75: How many years Derek Chauvin could face in prison after being found guilty of three charges in the murder of George Floyd.

8 weeks from now: When’s Chauvin’s sentencing is expected to take place.

46 percent: The share of Americans in a recent Monmouth poll (taken before the verdict) who said that a guilty verdict would not have a significant effect on race relations in America.

37 percent: The share who said a guilty verdict would have a positive effect.

216-210: The party-line House vote yesterday to table a resolution censuring Maxine Waters for her comments before the Chauvin verdict.

11.7 percent: The estimated poverty rate last month, even as the unemployment rate fell.

$1.3 billion: How much the Trump administration awarded a firm for Covid vaccine syringes — which remain unapproved by federal regulators.

572,560: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 823 more than yesterday morning.)

213,388,238: Number of vaccine doses administered in the U.S.

23.6 percent: The share of Americans who are fully vaccinated.

8: The number of days left for Biden to reach his 100-day vaccination goal.

What Trump commented on yesterday — and what he didn’t

Former President Donald Trump yesterday responded to a poll that John Bolton’s PAC released (which found that Trump’s grip on the GOP might not be as strong as the conventional wisdom suggests).

Here was the release from Trump’s Save America PAC under his pollster’s name: “John Bolton’s failed warmonger views are completely out of touch with today’s Republican Party and the majority of Americans. President Trump’s successful America First policies kept us safe. This is a big reason why Republicans want him to run again.”

But guess what Trump did not comment on yesterday: Derek Chauvin being found guilty of murder.

Biden to deliver remarks on the coronavirus

At 1:15 p.m. ET today from the White House, President Biden will give a speech on the United States’ vaccination drive in fighting the coronavirus.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Here’s what U.S. lawmakers are saying about the Chauvin verdict.

Republicans criticized Stacey Abrams and some blue state voting rules in a high-profile Senate hearing yesterday.

Some prominent Georgia religious leaders are calling for a boycott of Home Depot after the company declined to weigh in on voting issues.

GOP state lawmakers around the country are enacting harsher penalties for protestors.

The New York Times looks at what happened behind the scenes as the Biden administration broke its promise on refugee admissions — and then swiftly backtracked.