Joe Biden, Coronavirus Surge, Thanksgiving: Your Weekend Briefing


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Here are the week’s top stories, and a look ahead

1. President-elect Joe Biden.

Mr. Biden was declared the 46th president of the U.S. on Saturday, offering the promise of national unity and healing to confront raging health and economic crises. This makes Donald J. Trump a one-term president after a tumultuous four years, and the first president in more than a quarter-century to lose re-election.

“Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now,” Mr. Biden said to a drive-in audience in Wilmington, Del., adding, “I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but unify.” Read his full speech.

After several tense days of vote-counting in a handful of battleground states, Mr. Biden clinched his victory with Pennsylvania midmorning on Saturday, and was later declared the winner in Nevada, reaching a total of 279 Electoral College votes to Mr. Trump’s 214.

Mr. Biden also won the popular vote with a record-breaking 74 million votes. Mr. Trump received more than 70 million votes, the second-highest tally on record.

The result provided a history-making moment for Senator Kamala Harris, who became the first woman — and woman of color — to be elected vice president. Ms. Harris, the daughter of an Indian mother and Jamaican father, has risen higher in the country’s leadership than any woman before her. In her victory speech, Ms. Harris thanked the women who shaped her.

Mr. Biden’s win is the culmination of a career that began in the Nixon era and spanned a half-century of political and social upheaval. Now, in his successful third attempt at the presidency, Mr. Biden will confront the ultimate test of his principal theory of governance: that compromise is good and modest progress is still progress.

2. There are no signs of a traditional concession speech by Mr. Trump.

Aides told our White House reporters that the president, who received the news of his loss while heading for a round of golf, was not surprised. In a statement issued while he was still on the course at Trump National Golf Club, Mr. Trump said Mr. Biden was trying to “falsely pose” as the winner. Many Republican lawmakers remained silent on the outcome.

Mr. Trump did not change his plans to go ahead with legal challenges to the election results that several of his own advisers warned him were long shots at best. His daunting odds for a change in the election result appeared to be dimming even further in key states in the ongoing vote counting.

Here’s what happens when election results are contested.

Mr. Biden campaigned as a sober and conventional presence, concerned about the “soul of the country.” In the end, he correctly judged the character of the country and benefited from Mr. Trump’s missteps. Here’s how Mr. Biden won.


3. Shouting from windows, ringing cowbells, blasting car horns: Scenes of jubilation and relief spread around the world.

Impromptu celebrations, some with fireworks, broke out on street corners from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia, below, and New York, where crowds flooded Times Square. And in Ballina, Ireland, above, Mr. Biden’s distant cousins celebrated in his ancestral village.

“It feels good to know that I’m not the only one,” one Biden supporter said in Chicago. “And we haven’t had a chance to be happy together for so long.”

But like the race itself, reaction in America was divided. Crowds of Trump supporters gathered with vows to continue fighting the results, and tense scenes unfolded at competing events. In Lansing, Mich., Trump supporters chanted, “Whose streets? Our streets?” and repeated Mr. Trump’s false contention that he had won the election.

We were with a passionate Trump follower in the Democratic bastion of Massachusetts as he slowly realized it wasn’t going his way.

5. The president-elect’s first order of business: the coronavirus.

U.S. infections are breaking records day after day, and deaths are rising in more than half the country. The nation recorded more than 100,000 new cases for the third straight day — including 132,797 on Friday — and more than 1,000 deaths for the fourth straight day, according to a Times database. Above, Columbus, Ohio.

The Biden campaign has assembled an internal group of roughly two dozen health and technology experts to look at the development and delivery of a vaccine, improving health data and securing supply chains, among other issues. Here’s how President-elect Biden’s transition team is preparing to tackle the pandemic.

And there are fears that another outbreak is sweeping the White House after six aides, including Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday.


6. Across the Atlantic, Europe’s hospital crunch has grown more dire.

New data for 21 nations shows that there are more Covid-19 patients now than in the spring’s worst days, threatening to overwhelm stretched hospitals and exhausted medical workers. More than twice as many people in Europe are hospitalized with Covid-19 as in the U.S., adjusted for population.

By one count — from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control — total cases in Europe have reached over 11.8 million.

7. The work-from-home revolution suggested that anyone could become a digital nomad and work through the pandemic from an exotic locale. It has not gone so smoothly.

Tax trouble, breakups and Covid guilt are setting in, the kinds of things one might gloss over when making a quarantine-addled decision to pack up an apartment and book a one-way ticket to paradise.

Since Hawaii, above in Honolulu, welcomed tourists back in mid-October — as long as they had a negative coronavirus test — more than 100,000 people have rushed to the islands from mainland states. The travel industry and the islands’ authorities say it may be a model for reopening international travel. But some locals object to being part of the experiment.


8. The go-go dancers, aerialists and fire eaters may be furloughed, but Brooklyn’s wildest party isn’t dead yet.

House of Yes was a revolution in New York nightlife when it opened: a space at once wild and safe, challenging and inclusive. Glitter, neon and booming disco were always a given. But the club, like others, shut down when the pandemic hit in March, putting its future at risk.

Today, the performers are keeping the club’s energy alive as they paint their faces and spin on poles from home. It’s unclear when the club will be able to operate at full capacity again and how live performances will fit in. But one thing is for sure, one of its employee’s said: “The symbol of House of Yes as a place of radical expression and acceptance is going to endure.”


9. The whole point of Thanksgiving is to go big. That probably won’t be the case this year.

The holiday is still weeks away, but our Food desk has been busy coming up with alternatives for your holiday table. Tiny is the new big, and making a small meal can be just as festive as a feast — and a whole lot easier. It’s simply a matter of scaling the proportions way down.

Follow Melissa Clark’s menu, which delivers all of the traditional flavors in a smaller package. She shared tips for shrinking beloved dishes. No matter what, you will need this apple pie, which Genevieve Ko calls “the dessert equivalent of work-from-home sweatpants.” The key: Use as many apple varieties as possible.

Join our Food team on Tuesday for a live discussion about how to cook Thanksgiving during a pandemic.


10. And finally, great weekend reads.

The 20th anniversary of the International Space Station. Geopolitical soup wars. Picturing yourself with the painter Bob Ross. Take a break from the news with these stories and more in The Weekender.

Our editors also suggest these nine new books, a new astronaut comedy and other TV shows, and new music from Burna Boy and more. Here’s our recap from last night’s “Saturday Night Live,” hosted by Dave Chappelle.

Have you been keeping up with the headlines? Test your knowledge with our news quiz. Here’s the Sunday Review from Opinion and our crossword puzzles.

Have an easy week.


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