CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 14,756,914 and the nation’s death toll stands at 282,268, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There were 173,861 new cases and 1,076 deaths yesterday. A record 101,487 Covid-19 patients were hospitalized, according to the Covid Tracking Project… Roughly 33 million Californians are in new stay-at-home orders that took effect last night in regions where intensive care unit capacity dropped below 15 percent. Businesses like bars, hair salons, museums, movie theaters and indoor recreational facilities will be forced to close. Restaurants will be limited to takeout and delivery service while retail businesses can continue to operate at 20 percent capacity.
XAVIER BECERRA TO HEAD HHS… The New York Times reported yesterday that President-elect Joe Biden will nominate California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. The 62-year-old Becerra served 24 years in Congress representing downtown Los Angeles in Congress for 24 years before becoming California’s top prosecutor. Many expected him to be considered for U.S. attorney general.
GIULIANI HOSPITALIZED WITH COVID… President Trump announced yesterday that his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has tested positive for Covid-19. Giuliani was admitted to Georgetown University Hospital and later he tweeted that he was doing fine. News of the positive test prompted the Arizona state legislature to close for the next week after at least 15 current or future Republican legislators may have been directly exposed after meeting with Giuliani.
BIDEN TO RECEIVE INTELLIGENCE BRIEFINGS… Department of Defense officials have confirmed that members of the Biden transition team will begin receiving briefings from the Pentagon’s intelligence agencies at meetings today and tomorrow. The DoD plans 47 interviews with the Biden transition team, including with Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist and the chiefs of the military services. Other briefings have already taken place, including briefings on policy and international security affairs.
‘MOST PLAUSIBLE’ CAUSE OF MYSTERIOUS ILLNESS.. A radio frequency pulse is the “most plausible” cause of the mysterious illness that plagued diplomats and their families in Cuba and China, according to a report from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. After reviewing the illnesses’ symptoms and possible causes, the committee appointed to review the cases determined that what was observed was “consistent with the effects of directed pulsed radio frequency energy,” the report states. While the committee, made up of mostly medical experts, determined a radio frequency pulse was the most likely cause, they also said that there could have been other causes contributing to the illness and producing additional signs and symptoms. At least 26 Americans who worked at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba have reported symptoms since 2016. More recently, Americans working at the U.S. Embassy in China began experiencing similar symptoms.
NETFLIX WON’T ADD DISCLAIMER TO ‘THE CROWN’… Netflix has announced that it won’t be adding a disclaimer to “The Crown” to clarify that the show is fiction. The statement comes after controversy over in Season four of the hit show has been criticized for made-up storylines and invented scenes, particularly with regard to the marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana. U.K. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has called the show “a beautifully produced work of fiction” and has corresponded with Netflix on the matter.
BAD BUNNY TOPS ALBUM CHART… Bad Bunny’S “El Ultimo Tour del Mundo” sold 116,000 copies to top the Billboard 200 chart and become the first all-Spanish-language album to reach No. 1 in the 64-year history of the all-genre chart. Miley Cyrus’ “Plastic Hearts” debuted at No. 2 with 60,000 units sold. Last week’s champ, BTS’ “Be,” dropped to third place after selling 55,000 copies. Ariana Grande’s “Positions” sold 53,000 units to finish fourth. Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” capped the top five with 48,000 copies sold.
New Orleans 21 – ATLANTA 16… The Saints (10-2) made it nine straight wins with their defeat of the Falcons (4-8). Taysom Hill threw first-half touchdown passes to Tre’Quan Smith and Jared Cook. Michael Thomas had nine catches for 105 yards.
Detroit 34 – CHICAGO 30… The Lions (5-7) scored two touchdowns two plays apart in the final 2:18 to stun the Bears (5-7). Adrian Peterson ran five yards for the go-head score with 1:37 remaining. The play was set up by Romeo Okwara’s strip-sack of Chicago quarterback Mitchell Trubisky deep in Chicago territory. Matt Stafford passed for 402 yards and three touchdowns.
Cleveland 41 – TENNESSEE 35… The Browns (9-3) built a 38-7 halftime lead and held on to outscore the Titans (8-4). Baker Mayfield passed for 334 yards and hit four different receivers with touchdown passes.
MIAMI 19 – Cincinnati 7… The Dolphins (8-4) rode their defense to a win over the Bengals (2-9-1). Tua Tagovailoa found Mike Gesicki with a third-quarter touchdown pass. Jason Sanders kicked four field goals to 48 yards.
MINNESOTA 27 – Jacksonville 24 (OT)… Dan Bailey’s 23-yard field goal with 1:49 remaining lifted the Vikings (6-6) over the Jaguars (1-11). Bailey missed two extra points and a 51-yard field goal attempt with 13 seconds left in regulation. Kirk Cousins passed for 305 yards and a touchdown.
LAS VEGAS 31 – N.Y. Jets 28… Derek Carr connected with Henry Ruggs III on a 46-yard touchdown pass with 5 seconds remaining to send the Raiders (7-5) past the Jets (0-12). Darren Waller had 13 receptions for 200 yards and two scores.
Indianapolis 26 – HOUSTON 20… Philip Rivers threw two scoring tosses in the first half and the Colts (8-4) clamped down defensively in the second half to top the Texans (4-8). T.Y. Hilton had eight catches for 110 yards and a touchdown.
L.A. Rams 38 – ARIZONA 28… The Rams (8-4) rolled past the Cardinals (6-6) to move into a first-place tie with Seattle in the NFC West. Jared Goff threw for 351 yards and a touchdown. Darrell Henderson Jr. ran 38 yards for a fourth-quarter TD and Troy Hill added a 35-yard interception return for a score.
N.Y. Giants 17 – SEATTLE 12… The Giants (5-7) smothered the Seahawks (8-4) defensively in pulling off an upset win. Alfred Morris ran for a third-quarter touchdown and caught a 7-yard Colt McCoy pass for another. Wayne Gallman rushed for 135 yards on 16 carries.
GREEN BAY 30 – Philadelphia 16… Aaron Jones ran 77 yards for the game-clinching touchdown with 2:36 left as the Packers (9-3) downed the Eagles (3-8-1). Aaron Rodgers hit Davante Adams with two of his three scoring strikes and became just the seventh player with 400 career touchdown passes.
New England 45 – L.A. CHARGERS 0… Cam Newton rushed for two touchdowns and the Patriots (6-6) got a pair of TDs from their special teams in the rout of the Chargers (3-9).
KANSAS CITY 22 – Denver 16… The Chiefs (11-1) overcame some missed opportunities to fight of the Broncos (4-8) and clinch a playoff spot. Patrick Mahomes passed or 318 yards and a touchdown. Travis Kelce had eight receptions for 136 yards and a score.
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL..
Washington (4-7) is at Pittsburgh (11-0)…
San Francisco (5-6) hosts Buffalo (8-3) in Glendale, Arizona
TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES…
No. 8 MICHIGAN STATE 79, Western Michigan 61…
No. 11 West Virginia 80, GEORGETOWN 71…
No. 12 Villanova 68, No. 17 TEXAS 64…
No. 17 (tie) TEXAS TECH 81, Grambling 40…
GEORGIA TECH 79, No. 20 Kentucky 62
NCAA MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS… Top-ranked Gonzaga is cancelling four more games due to COVID-19 protocols. The announcement came a day after a player and another member of the team’s traveling party forced the postponement of Saturday’s highly anticipated matchup against No. 2 Baylor in Indianapolis. Gonzaga is scheduled to face No. 3 Iowa on December 19 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCORE…
No. 20 USC 38, Washington State 13