In the Capitol:
The U.S. Capitol was engulfed in chaos on Wednesday, as supporters of President Trump, responding to his call to head there, breached the complex, resulting in violence in the seat of America's federal government. The surreal and dangerous scene interrupted proceedings in the House and Senate, as members of Congress were tallying President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory.
Violent protesters were seen smashing windows, occupying the House and Senate floors, and vandalizing various offices. Police were seen with guns drawn in the House chamber, pointing their firearms at windows that were smashed. People inside the building were told to shelter in place, and members of Congress were told that tear gas was being used in the Capitol rotunda and that they should get ready to put on masks. Eventually, Capitol Police, law enforcement, the National Guard, and Secret Service were able to safely evacuate the Vice President, members of Congress, staff, and reporters to secure locations.
Police were able to deescalate the situation and eventually clear the mob from the Capitol complex as D.C. and neighboring cities went into a 6 p.m. curfew. By 8 p.m. Congress reconvened with more eagerness to move forward with the Electoral College proceedings, proving that such acts of lawlessness would not prevent them from doing their duties as members of Congress.
Elsewhere in Washington:
- Democrats achieved an effective Senate majority on Tuesday as Rev. Raphael Warnock defeated Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) and Jon Ossoff defeated Sen. David Perdue (R). Neither Perdue nor Loeffler have conceded. A Democratic victory in both seats would create a 50-50 partisan split in the Senate, effectively a Democratic majority with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote.
- On Wednesday, President-elect Joe Biden renewed calls for new coronavirus relief legislation at the start of his administration following the Georgia Senate runoff races Tuesday. The president-elect now faces the possibility of having unified Democratic control of Congress. Biden has long called the recently-passed $900 billion relief measure a “down payment” on a future, broader package.
- Of the nearly 2 million people who were vaccinated against COVID-19 during a 10-day period in December, only 21 people experienced severe allergic reactions, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Wednesday. Most of those people had a history of allergies or allergic reactions, and for the 20 people the CDC followed up with, all had recovered and been sent home. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, called allergic reactions “exceedingly rare.”
- The Trump administration says it is accelerating a plan to get vaccines into pharmacies after facing a slow rate of immunizations. Operation Warp Speed officials hope that this will make vaccines more readily available to all citizens. An estimated 3,000 to 6,000 pharmacies could begin administering Covid-19 shots within the next two weeks. Eventually, nearly 40,000 pharmacies will be involved with the program.
- Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee and Kay Granger (R-TX) have tested positive for COVID-19.
In the News:
- The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) is pressuring Beijing to allow an international team to investigate the origins of the coronavirus in China after he said they are being blocked from entering the country. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing on Tuesday that he was “very disappointed” with the block and that he has contacted Chinese officials and has "been assured that China is speeding up the internal procedure for the earliest possible deployment.”
- CVS is on track to finish giving the first of three rounds of COVID-19 shots in nursing homes across the country by January 25, the company said Wednesday. The Trump administration is partnering with CVS and Walgreens to inoculate nursing home residents and staff nationwide. CVS expects to vaccinate up to 4 million residents and staff. CVS said initial uptake among staff is low, partly due to a desire to stagger vaccinations in case of adverse reactions among staff, and partly because many staff are reluctant to get vaccinated.
Authored by Ivan Zapien