CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 12,546,670 and the nation’s death toll stands at 259,372, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams has joined federal and state officials who are pleading with Americans to stay at home over Thanksgiving. Yesterday, the U.S. set a recored with more than 86,000 hospitalizations. So far this month, 30 states have reported record numbers of patients.
BIDEN TO RECEIVE DAILY BRIEFS… The White House has given formal approval for President-elect Joe Biden to receive the President’s Daily Brief. The move brings President Trump a second step closer to turning over the presidency to President-elect Joe Biden after weeks of court challenges. The delay has prevented Biden from receiving an intelligence briefings and caused confusion inside the federal government.
TRUMP PARDONS TURKEY… President Trump and first lady Melania Trump handed out the traditional pardon for the National Thanksgiving Turkey yesterday. Trump chose to pardon Corn over its fellow turkey, Cob, based on the results of a Twitter poll. The pardon ceremony took place in the Rose Garden of the White House. After the ceremony, both turkeys were “retired” to their new home on the campus of Iowa State University.
PURDUE PHARMA PLEADS GUILTY… OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma, which has been blamed for starting the nationwide opioid epidemic, pleaded guilty to three criminal charges yesterday. In entering the plea, the company officially acknowledged its role in the crisis. Purdue admitted to impeding DEA officials in their efforts to combat addiction and paying off doctors to prescribe the drug. About 450,000 people nationwide died of opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Purdue’s owners, the Sackler family, have agreed to pay $225 million in fines but no Purdue executives are facing prison time. The company filed for bankruptcy last year.
DOW TOPS 30K… The Dow Jones Industrial Average topped the 30,000-point mark for the first time ever yesterday on word that the Trump administration was clearing the path to a presidential transition. The Dow rose 454.97 points, or 1.54 percent, closing the day at 30,046.24. The S&P 500 rose 1.62 percent and the Nasdaq increased 1.31 percent.
BEYONCÉ LEADS GRAMMY FIELD… Beyoncé picked up nine nominations to lead the field at the 2020 Grammy Awards. Her song “Black Parade” is nominated for song and record of the year. It’s also nominated for best R&B song and best R&B performance. Beyoncé’s “Black Is King” is up for best music film while “Brown Skin Girl” is nominated for best music video. The singer’s guest appearance on Megan Thee Stallion’s No. 1 hit “Savage,” increased her haul to include record of the year, best rap performance and best rap song. Winners will be announced at the live show on January 31.
HAL KETCHUM DIES… Country singer/songwriter Hal Ketchum, who had a string of hits in the 1990s and was a member of the Grand Ole Opry, died earlier this week from complications of dementia. He was 67. Ketchum’s 1991 album, “Past the Point of Rescue” included the hits “Small Town Saturday Night,” “I Know Where Love Lives” and “Past The Point Of Rescue.” His follow-up album the next year, “Sure Love,” included the top 10 songs “Sure Love,” “Hearts Are Gonna Roll” and “Mama Knows The Highway.” Ketchum began a public health battle in 1998, when he was diagnosed with acute transverse myelitis and was forced to learn how to walk and play guitar again. Ketchum also had acting credits in 1988 film “Heartbreak Hotel” and 1994’s “Maverick.”
MLB NEWS… The Atlanta Braves have signed Charlie Morton to a one-year, $15 million contract. The signing reunites the righthanded starter with the team that drafted him in 2002. The 37-year-old Morton is a two-time All-Star who won a World Series ring with Houston in 2017. He has gone 93-89 with a 4.08 ERA over his 13-year career.
NFL NEWS… The Baltimore Ravens are on the brink of a minor coronavirus outbreak after as many as four players tested positive yesterday. The team has recorded 10 positive tests among players, coaches and support personnel. Running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins will miss tomorrow night’s game against Pittsburgh. Defensive tackle Brandon Williams, quarterback Trace McSorley, outside linebacker Pernell McPhee, nose tackle Brandon Williams and cornerback Iman Marshall have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
ALABAMA TOPS COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS… Alabama tops the initial College Football Playoff rankings, followed by Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State. The CFP selection committee plans to release three more rankings before announcing the final selections on December 20. Conference championship games and other contests are set for the two previous days.