The Rundown for January 18, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 23,932,551 and the nation’s death toll stands at 397,561, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said yesterday that President-elect Joe Biden’s goal of delivering 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine within the first 100 days of his presidency “is absolutely a doable thing.” During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Fauci said two new vaccines under development by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson could “very soon” head to U.S. regulators for approval, which would speed up vaccinations… The incoming director of the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention yesterday presented a grim forecast for the next month’s death toll. Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he expects another 100,000 dead by the end of February, which is 25 percent of the current total.

TRUMP CAMPAIGN MEMBERS PLANNED RALLY BEFORE CAPITOL ATTACK… The Associated Press reported yesterday that several members of President Trump’s campaign staff helped plan the January 6 rally that led to an attack on the Capitol building. The Trump campaign has denied involvement and blamed the deadly riots on left-wing activists. However, an AP investigation found that those involved in both the Trump campaign and the rally planning include Maggie Mulvaney, niece of former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and Megan Powers, the Trump campaign’s former director of operations.

PLAN PROTESTS FADE UNDER HEAVY SECURITY… It was a quiet day on state capitol grounds yesterday, as beefed up security appears to have doused violent threats by right-wing extremists. More than a dozen states activated National Guard troops to help secure their capitol buildings following an FBI warning of armed demonstrations. Members of the anti-government “boogaloo boys” movement last month announced plans to hold rallies in all 50 states but events drew only small gatherings of demonstrators.

MORE TRUMP PARDONS COMING… The New York Times reported yesterday that President Trump’s allies and associates have collected tens of thousands of dollars in fees from people seeking presidential pardons. Citing documents and interviews with more than three dozen lobbyists and lawyers, the report claimed that the demand intensified once it became clear that Joe Biden would be inaugurated as the next president. Three White House insiders told CNN that Trump is preparing to issue around 100 pardons and commutations tomorrow on his final full day in office.

KAMALA HARRIS TO RESIGN FROM SENATE TODAY… Kamala Harris will resign as U.S Senator from California today, just two days before she is set to make history as the first female, first Black and first South Asian vice president. California Governor Gavin Newsom has picked California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill the rest of Harris’ term, which could include President Trump’s second impeachment trial. Officials haven’t clarified when Padilla will be seated.

ENTERTAINMENT
PHIL SPECTOR DIES
… Authorities confirmed yesterday that legendary music producer and convicted murderer Phil Spector died of natural causes Saturday night. The California Health Care Facility in Stockton, California, where Spector was an inmate, listed his age as 80. Spector was found guilty of second-degree murder in 2009 in the 2003 fatal shooting of actress and club hostess Lana Clarkson. Spector used his “wall of sound” technique to produce some of the biggest hit songs of the 1960s and ’70s, including the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” and The Beatles’ final album, “Let It Be.”

MORGAN WALLEN TOPS ALBUM CHART… Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album” sold 265,000 copies to debuts atop the Billboard 200 albums chart. Taylor Swift’s “Evermore” slipped into second place after selling 55,000 units. Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” remained in third place on sales of 47,000 copies. Jazmine Sullivan’s “Heaux Tales” opened at No. 4 on sales of 43,000 units. Lil Durk’s “The Voice” sold 42,000 copies to cap the top five.

SPORTS
NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF SCORES

KANSAS CITY 22 – Cleveland 17… The Chiefs fought off the Browns despite losing quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the third quarter to a concussion. Mahomes scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter and hit Travis Kelce with a 20-yard scoring toss early in the second quarter. Kansas City hosts Buffalo in the AFC title game next Sunday.

Tampa Bay 30 – NEW ORLEANS 20… The Buccaneers converted three turnovers into touchdowns and put away the Saints. Tom Brady threw for a pair of touchdowns and ran for another. Defensively, Tampa Bay intercepted Drew Brees three times. The Buccaneers are at Green Bay in next Sunday’s NFC championship.

NFL NEWS… The Los Angeles Chargers announced last night that they plan to hire Brandon Staley as their next head coach. The team will formally introduce him at a news conference on Thursday. Staley served the past season as the Los Angeles Rams’ defensive coordinator. He replaces coach Anthony Lynn, who was fired after four seasons and a 33-31 record. The Chargers went 7-9 in 2020 and finished third in the AFC West.

NBA SCOREBOARD
New York 105 – BOSTON 75… Julius Randle scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Knicks in their rout of the Celtics. RJ Barrett added 19 points and 11 boards.

Chicago 117 – DALLAS 101… The Bulls took control with a big second quarter and cruised past the Mavericks to snap a four-game skid. Garrett Temple scored 15 of his 21 points to key the run. Lauri Markkanen had 29 points and 10 rebounds. Luka Doncic’s 34 points, 16 boards and 15 assists weren’t enough for Dallas.

Utah 109 – DENVER 105… The Jazz came up big in the second half to down the Nuggets for their fourth straight win. Jordan Clarkson came off the bench to score 23 points.

New Orleans 128 – SACRAMENTO 123… The Pelicans overcame a 43-points effort by the Kings De’Aaron Fox to escape with the victory. Zion Williamson pumped in 31 points. Brandon Ingram added 22 points and Eric Bledsoe tossed in 21. Steven Adams pulled down 15 rebounds to go with his 12 points.

L.A. CLIPPERS 129 – Indiana 96… Seven players scored in double figures as the Clippers thrashed the Pacers. Paul George, Marcus Morris and Luke Kennard scored 20 points apiece.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Orlando is at New York…
Atlanta hosts Minnesota…
Detroit is at Miami…
San Antonio is at Portland…
Memphis hosts Phoenix…
Milwaukee is at Brooklyn…
Toronto hosts Dallas…
Houston is at Chicago…
the L.A. Lakers host Golden State

NHL SCOREBOARD
PITTSBURGH 4 – Washington 3
(SO)… Jake Guentzel scored the lone goal in the shootout to send the Penguins past the Capitals. Marcus Pettersson netted a tying goal in the second period.

FLORIDA 5 – Chicago 2… The Panthers recovered to beat the Blackhawks after blowing an early two-goal lead. They closed with three straight goals in the third period. Jonathan Huberdeau scored a goal and assisted on two others. Eetu Luostarinen had a goal and an assist.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Columbus is at Detroit…
the N.Y. Islanders host Boston…
Winnipeg is at Toronto…
Philadelphia hosts Buffalo…
San Jose is at St. Louis…
Nashville hosts Carolina…
Vancouver is at Calgary…
Edmonton hosts Montreal…
Minnesota is at Anaheim…
Vegas hosts Arizona

TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
NO. 5 Iowa 96, NORTHWESTERN 73…
No. 11 HOUSTON 75, Central Florida 58…
No. 20 Virginia Tech, WAKE FOREST 60

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