5 things to know for November 18: Covid-19, election, stimulus, US troops, Ethiopia

CNN's Chris Cuomo breaks down President Donald Trump's firing of Chris Krebs, a Department of Homeland Security official who had rejected Trump's claims of widespread voter fraud, as well as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's comments on the transition of power from one presidential administration to the next.

Posted: Nov 18, 2020 8:41 PM
Updated: Nov 18, 2020 8:41 PM

For Thanksgiving Day, Zoom is lifting the time limit for free meetings -- so your virtual family get-togethers won't be cut short.

Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Coronavirus

The FDA has issued an emergency authorization for the first rapid coronavirus test that can be used at home and deliver results within minutes. The new test uses nasal swab samples and is authorized for ages 14 and older. It'll help people skip long lines as coronavirus cases skyrocket nationwide and comes days after more positive news on vaccine trials: Moderna announced a 94.5% effective rate, while Pfizer/BioNTech said final analysis shows its coronavirus vaccine is 95% effective with no safety concerns and Pfizer's CEO says the company plans to file for emergency use authorization for it soon. The US continues to set grim records, with about 76,830 people hospitalized nationwide, the highest number since the start of the pandemic. This is likely the "last big surge" before a vaccine offers help, said Dr. Mark McClellan, a former FDA commissioner. "The months ahead are going to look better than the weeks ahead," he added.

2. Election 2020

President Trump has fired the head of a federal cybersecurity agency who debunked his election conspiracy theories. Christopher Krebs was director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the Homeland Security Department. His agency recently launched an online rumor control blog rebutting claims of election fraud spread by Trump and his supporters. Krebs also posted on social media -- often with blaring red siren emojis -- fact checks of the baseless claims. In a tweet announcing the ouster, the President called Krebs' characterization of the election "highly inaccurate." Krebs fired back with a tweet of his own: "Honored to serve. We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomorrow (sic)." Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden announced nine key members of his White House senior staff.

3. Stimulus

The fate of a federal stimulus package is looking bleak. Lawmakers are getting less confident a deal can be reached in the lame duck session -- with the focus instead turning to a government spending negotiation that must be finished by December 11. Aides on both sides say serious conversations about the stimulus have tapered off, even as US coronavirus cases have soared past 11 million. "The men and women throughout our country -- they're suffering because of Covid and we're not doing a damn thing to help them," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat. The divide between Republicans and Democrats continues to simmer over how much money each side is willing to spend. Democrats -- including Biden -- have urged Senate Republicans to pass House Democrats' Heroes Act, which totals more than $2 trillion. Republicans, meanwhile, have made it clear they are not willing to spend much north of $1 trillion.

4. US troops

With two months left in office, President Trump is rushing to bring more US troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq. The withdrawal of thousands of troops would be completed by January 15 (just ahead of Biden's inauguration), leaving Afghanistan and Iraq with 2,500 troops each -- down from about 4,500 and 3,000, respectively, the acting defense secretary said. A senior defense official said the move is consistent with Trump's promise to the American people. But it also suggests the President may fall short of fulfilling one of his core pledges to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan before he leaves office -- something he pledged as recently as October.

5. Ethiopia

A deadly humanitarian crisis is developing in Ethiopia, where thousands of people are fleeing violence in the Tigray region. About 4,000 have crossed the border into eastern Sudan every day over the past week, and that number is growing, the United Nations warned. The crisis started on November 4 after the Ethiopian Prime Minister and Nobel laureate Abiy Ahmed launched a military offensive in the region after accusing forces loyal to local leaders of attacking federal troops deployed there. The federal forces have since bombed targets in Tigray, leading to intense clashes with local forces. Pleas from neighboring nations to deescalate have fallen on deaf ears.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Twitter's growing up

The social media platform's introducing a bunch of new features, including disappearing tweets and audio. No edit button, though.

Travel tradition with a twist 

National Geographic unveiled its best travel destinations for 2021 -- but with options that reflect the times we're in.

Persistence does pay

After playing the same set of lottery numbers for 26 years, one North Carolina couple is now $366,000 richer.

Hello, better sleep 

Students designed a series of innovative solutions, including a pillow that forces people off their phones by blocking nearby wireless access.

It was just a matter of time

Amazon's making a leap into the health care industry with the launch of a new digital drugstore that'll have special perks for Prime members.

TODAY'S NUMBER

$1.5 million

The value in bribes a Maryland CEO paid to get his sons accepted to Harvard University, according to federal officials

TODAY'S QUOTE

"You hear about the deaths, but you don't ever really hear about the people left behind, and in this instance, it's a 4-year-old."

Margie Bryant, great-aunt of a Texas boy who lost both parents to coronavirus

TODAY'S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Patience in action

Ever seen a science project with 250,000 falling dominoes? We haven't either, so here goes. Try not to think about the cleanup. (Click here to view.)

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1114524

Reported Deaths: 18726
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3645207438
San Bernardino845311129
Riverside806761400
San Diego71648968
Orange696941554
Kern38316445
Fresno35973471
Sacramento33133546
Santa Clara30676463
Alameda27485499
San Joaquin24649503
Contra Costa22412258
Stanislaus20370416
Tulare19752303
Ventura18040174
Imperial15053353
San Francisco14445158
Monterey13886113
San Mateo13203169
Sonoma11428155
Merced10986176
Santa Barbara10922133
Kings1003886
Solano934980
Marin7518128
Placer577867
Madera571480
San Luis Obispo561835
Yolo419975
Shasta409542
Santa Cruz389827
Butte366459
Napa275717
Sutter263813
El Dorado19304
San Benito174115
Yuba173210
Lassen14803
Tehama143523
Mendocino138522
Nevada10189
Lake83218
Glenn8296
Humboldt7309
Tuolumne7088
Colusa6426
Mono4993
Siskiyou4951
Amador45016
Calaveras43421
Inyo28316
Del Norte2731
Plumas1770
Trinity1130
Modoc1110
Mariposa1042
Alpine420
Sierra170
Unassigned00
Chico
Scattered Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 63°
Oroville
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 62°
Paradise
Scattered Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 63°
Chester
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 39°
Red Bluff
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 66°
Willows
Scattered Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 63°
Mostly sunny & dry weather is ahead for your Monday. The potential for showers will return to mostly mountain areas late Tuesday night through Wednesday .We'll be drying back out for Thanksgiving.
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