CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 20,817,140 and the nation’s death toll stands at 353,483, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The nearly 78,000 deaths in December made it the deadliest month of the pandemic so far. Health officials warned that even more people will likely die in January despite the rollout of vaccines… A Reuters analysis found that Arizona, Tennessee and South Carolina reported the most new cases per capita last week. Kansas, Wyoming and New Mexico were the hardest hit states in terms of deaths per capita… Health officials in New York have confirmed the state’s first case of the coronavirus variant that was initially discovered in the United Kingdom. The strain has also been found in California, Florida and Colorado.
GEORGIA SENATE RACES… Voters in Georgia will be heading to the polls today to cast their vote in a pair of U.S. Senate runoff races that will determine which party carries the majority. President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence visited the state yesterday to campaign for Republican candidates David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. President-elect Joe Biden hosted a rally for Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and David Warnock in Atlanta.
DEMS SEEK INVESTIGATION OF TRUMP GEORGIA CALL… Two House Democrats have asked FBI Director Christopher Wray to open a criminal investigation into President Trump’s leaked phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. The hour-long recording released on Sunday captures Trump begging Raffensperger to overturn Georgia’s results from the 2020 presidential election based on unfounded claims. Trump asks Raffensperger “to find” enough votes for him to erase his deficit in the state and warns of criminal liability if he fails to do so. In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting the probe, California Congressman Ted Lieu and New York Congresswoman Kathleen Rice claim, “The evidence of election fraud by Mr. Trump is now in broad daylight,” citing U.S. and Georgia codes prohibiting criminal solicitation to commit election fraud and refusing to count accurate votes.
PROUD BOYS LEADER ARRESTED… Washington, D.C., police yesterday arrested the leader of the white nationalist Proud Boys organization on charges of destruction of property and illegally possessing high capacity magazines. The arrest of 36-year-old Enrique Tarrio came in advance of a pro-Trump demonstration scheduled for tomorrow in the nation’s capital. Tarrio has admitted to stealing and burning a “Black Lives Matter” banner hanging outside the historic Asbury United Methodist Church during an anti-BLM rally last month. He says he intends to plead guilty.
OFFICIALS PREPARE FOR TROUBLE IN KENOSHA… Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has mobilized 500 National Guard members to help officials in Kenosha prepare for potential unrest. Tensions are running high in the city as prosecutors decide whether Officer Rusten Sheskey will face charges in the shooting of Jacob Blake last August. An announcement on the decision is imminent. Blake, who is Black, was shot several times in the back by a white Kenosha officer who was responding to a domestic dispute. The shooting was captured on video and sparked three nights of violent protests.
ACTRESS TANYA ROBERTS IS NOT DEAD… Former James Bond girl and “That 70s Show” star Tanya Roberts is reported to be in dire condition but not dead, as was widely reported on Sunday. The exaggerated claim of her passing stemmed by a press release issued by Roberts’ spokesperson. The press release quoted Roberts’ husband in announcing her death at age 65. Roberts, who starred alongside Roger Moore in the 1985 Bond film “A View to a Kill,” remains in intensive care at a Los Angeles hospital after collapsing at her home on Christmas Eve.
IRS WANTS MORE TAXES FROM PRINCE ESTATE… The IRS believes Prince’s estate owes another $32.4 million in federal taxes after an investigation showed that executors of the rock star’s estate undervalued it by 50 percent, or about $80 million. Investigators determined that Prince’s estate is worth $163.2 million, compared with the $82.3 million valuation submitted by the estate administrator, Comerica Bank & Trust. The discrepancy primarily involves Prince’s music publishing and recording interests, according to court documents. Prince died on April 21, 2016 of a fentanyl overdose.
ORLANDO 103 – Cleveland 83… The Magic bombed the Cavaliers 38-28 in the third to take control for good. Aaron “Gordon scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Nikola Vucevic added 23 points.
PHILADELPHIA 118 – Charlotte 101… All five starters scored in double figures as the 76ers cruised past the Hornets. Tobias Harris led the way with 22 points.
New York 113 – ATLANTA 108… The Knicks came on strong in the fourth quarter to put away the Hawks. Julius Randle scored 28 points and brought down 17 boards. R.J. Barrett added 26 points and 11 rebounds.
MIAMI 118 – Oklahoma City 90… The Heat scored 20 straight points in the second quarter and blew away the Thunder. Bam Adebayo scored 20 points to lead a balanced scoring attack.
Boston 126 – TORONTO 114… The Celtics shook off a slow start to roll past the Raptors. Jayson Tatum poured in 40 points.
Dallas 113 – ATLANTA 100… The Mavericks used a fourth-quarter spurt to put away the Hawks. Luca Doncic racked up 33 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists.
MILWAUKEE 128 – Detroit 115… Giannis Antetokounmpo erupted to score 43 points in leading the Bucks past the Pistons. Five other players scored in double figures for Milwaukee.
Indiana 118 – NEW ORLEANS 116 (OT)… Malcolm Brogdon scored a go-ahead basket with 1.7 seconds left and finished with 21 points and 11 assists as the Pacers outlasted the Pelicans. Victor Oladipo led Indiana with 25 points.
GOLDEN STATE 137 – Sacramento 106… The Warriors built a big lead early and never looked back in their thrashing of the Kings. Stephen Curry scored a game-high 30 points.
TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE…
New Orleans is at Brooklyn…
Memphis hosts the L.A. Lakers…
Minnesota is at Denver…
the L.A. Clippers host San Antonio…
Chicago is at Portland
TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORE…
No. 14 West Virginia 87, OKLAHOMA STATE 84