Worst is yet to come

Evening Briefing

Earlier this week, the news on a potential coronavirus vaccine was incredibly good. But on Friday, the news on the pandemic's toll was incredibly bad. Like clockwork, the third surge of U.S. infections and hospitalizations—this time encompassing the entire country—is beginning to drive up deaths. The seven-day average of Covid-19 fatalities in America was 1,052 on Thursday, with the daily pace soon likely to rise by 200. The uncontrolled spread of infections has now hit 49 states, with some of the most alarming momentum in New York, where more than 30,000 died in the first wave. But as bad as today's numbers are, the rising death toll is a lagging indicator of infections from September and early October. The worst may be yet to come. —David E. Rovella

Bloomberg is mapping the pandemic globally and across America. For the latest news, sign up for our Covid-19 podcast and daily newsletter.

Here are today's top stories

Russia and North Korea have been targeting seven "prominent" companies working on Covid-19 vaccine and treatment research.

The U.K. recovery is trailing well behind other industrialized nations. The coronavirus is sapping demand for temporary workers in Europe and squelching consumer sentiment in the U.S. While economists' forecasts show a less severe recession in Japan, this year's downturns in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia are deepening. Bloomberg has tracked the state of play across the entire global economy.

President Donald Trump reportedly asked his aides whether Republican legislators in key states could simply ignore the popular vote in favor of President-elect Joe Biden, and instead make Trump president again. On Friday, the remaining states were called by major networks, with Georgia going to Biden and North Carolina to Trump. With 270 electoral votes needed to win, the final count as of Friday is projected to be 306 to 232 in favor of Biden.

Biden urged the Trump administration to undertake an immediate federal response as Covid-19 surges across the country, and called on Americans to step up their vigilance in guarding against the virus. Meanwhile, former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara may be in the running to lead the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which is likely to be bad news for Wall Street high-flyers, given his reputation for bringing the hammer down on alleged fraudsters.

Preet Bharara 

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The Trump administration, while blocking any effort to assist the transition to a Biden administration, is trying to rush through the sales of oil leases in an untouched wilderness in Alaska before Biden takes office.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, an appointee of Republican President George W. Bush, delivered an extraordinary speech for a sitting justice to the Federalist Society, a right-wing group that's helped Trump fill judicial vacancies. Alito said the pandemic is exacerbating what he considers an assault on religious freedoms and free speech, addressing issues currently before the court.

Samuel Alito Jr.

Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg

Ethiopia pulled back thousands of troops who've been helping Somalia's government fight an Islamist insurgency, raising concerns of a security vacuum in the war-torn nation.

What you'll need to know tomorrow

What you'll want to read in Bloomberg Pursuits

Battered Bali Sees a Flicker of Covid Recovery

Bali, the hardest-hit economy among Indonesia's provinces last quarter, is seeing a pick-up in activity as its governor considers when and how the island can fully reopen to international travelers. The signs of a turnaround for the exotic destination are growing.

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