1/ The U.S. recorded 2,249 COVID-19 deaths on average over the last seven days – breaking the previous mark of 2,232 set on April 17. Coronavirus cases per day, meanwhile, have surpassed 200,000 on average for the first time – an increase of 15% from the average two weeks earlier. (Associated Press / New York Times)

  • 😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~68,693,000; deaths: ~1,566,000

  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~15,330,000; deaths: ~289,000

  • Source: Johns Hopkins University

  • Live Blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / CNN / ABC News

  • Canada became the third country to authorize use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA is expected to authorize use of the vaccine as early as this weekend. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)

  • At least 31 countries have reserved more COVID-19 vaccine per capita than the U.S. It is behind the 27 European Union countries, and sandwiched between Chile and Japan in 31st and 33rd, respectively. (Bloomberg)

  • U.S. emergency stockpile of COVID-19 personal protective equipment is short of targets. In May, the Trump administration said it would increase its supply of N95 respirator masks to 300 million. By mid-November, the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile and the Federal Emergency Management Agency held 142 million N95 masks. (Wall Street Journal)

2/ More than a third of Americans are living in areas where hospitals have fewer than 15% of intensive care beds available, according to data released by the Department of Health and Human Services. One in 10 Americans in the Midwest, South, and Southwest live in areas where intensive care beds are either full, or fewer than 5% of beds are available. (New York Times)

  • Rudy Giuliani’s “star” witness alleging voter fraud in Michigan will not self-quarantine and will not get tested despite Jenna Ellis and Giuliani’s positive coronavirus tests. Mellissa Carone said she’s “not concerned at all” about COVID-19. Health officials, however, ordered anyone who had been in contact with Giuliani at close range and for more than 15 minutes to self-quarantine. (Washington Post / Daily Beast)

3/ Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer rejected the Trump administration’s $916 billion coronavirus relief proposal. The Trump-backed plan offered pared-down unemployment benefits in exchange for $600 stimulus checks. A moderate, bipartisan group of lawmakers, meanwhile, have proposed a $908 billion framework that includes about $180 billion in new federal unemployment benefits – enough to fund $300 per week in federal supplementary unemployment benefits – and extends various unemployment programs set to expire at the end of the year. The framework, however, did not include another round of stimulus payments. Instead, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin proposed that lawmakers approve another stimulus check worth $600 per person and $600 per child, and provide about $40 billion in new funding for federal unemployment benefits. While Mnuchin’s plan would extend expiring benefits, it does not include any supplementary federal benefit. (Washington Post / NBC News / New York Times)

4/ The House passed a $741 billion defense authorization bill by a veto-proof margin. Trump, however, has threatened to veto the bill because it doesn’t repeal Section 230 – a law that shields internet companies from being liable for what’s posted on their platforms – and contains provisions that limit how much money he can allocate for his border wall, and the requirement that Confederate names be stripped from American military bases. The National Defense Authorization Act now heads to the Senate, where it’s also expected to pass with bipartisan support. It’s unclear, however, if it will similarly reach a veto-proof majority in the chamber. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN)

5/ Biden named Gen. Lloyd Austin, a retired four-star Army general, as his choice to lead the Department of Defense. Senate Democrats, however, are uneasy about granting a rarely invoked waiver from a law requiring a defense secretary to have been retired from active duty for at least seven years. In 2017, Jim Mattis received the waiver and was confirmed as secretary. If confirmed, the retired general would become the first Black defense secretary. (New York Times / NPR / CNN / Politico / The Guardian / Wall Street Journal / NBC News)

  • Trump-Biden Transition Live Blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / The Guardian / ABC News / CNN

  • Biden ­selected Rep. Marcia Fudge as his Housing and Urban Development secretary, making her the second Black person to be chosen as a department head in his Cabinet. Fudge, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, and her allies in the Congressional Black Caucus, however, had lobbied openly for agriculture secretary. (Politico / Washington Post)

  • Biden plans to name Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary, which would return him to the job he held for eight years during the Obama administration. The Department of Agriculture funds the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and school meals. The USDA estimates that 1 in 4 Americans use at least one of these food programs during a typical year. (NPR / Politico / CNN / Reuters)

  • A special purpose acquisition company with ties to at least two people selected by Biden for his Cabinet pitched unique access and insight into the federal government to investors. Since the initial pitch, Pine Island Acquisition Corp. has raised over $218 million from Wall Street. Pine Island’s team includes Tony Blinken – Biden’s choice to be secretary of State – and Ret. Gen. Lloyd Austin – his nominee for Defense secretary. (CNBC)

  • Seventeen states told the Supreme Court they support the effort by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to sue to reverse Biden’s projected win in the Electoral College. The filing came a day after Paxton asked the Supreme Court for permission to sue Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – all of which Biden won – over their voting processes. (CNBC)

poll/ 24% of Republicans accept the results of the 2020 election. Overall, 61% of Americans trust the results of the election. (NPR)

poll/ 47% of Americans plan to get a vaccinated against COVID-19, while 27% aren’t sure and 26% say they definitely will not get vaccinated. Experts estimate at least 70% of the U.S. population needs to be vaccinated to keep the virus held in check. (Associated Press)

✏️ Notables.

  1. Federal officials in Delaware – working with the IRS Criminal Investigation agency and the FBI – are investigating Hunter Biden’s taxes and business dealings. The criminal investigation that included tax issues began in 2018, and had been largely been dormant in recent months due to Justice Department guidelines prohibiting overt actions that could affect an election. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware advised Biden’s lawyers of the investigation for the first time on Tuesday. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Politico / NBC News / CNN)

  2. The Federal Trade Commission and 48 attorneys general filed an antitrust lawsuits to break up Facebook, seeking to force the sell-off of assets such as Instagram and WhatsApp as independent businesses. The lawsuit accused Facebook of anti-competitive tactics to buy, bully or kill its rivals and illegally squash competition. (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / NPR / Politico / NBC News / CNN)

  3. Melania Trump “just wants to go home,” according source familiar with Melania’s state of mind. When asked how Melania feels about rumors that Trump might announce a 2024 bid, the source added: “That might not go over well.” (CNN)