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Joe Biden To Be Inaugurated As 46th President Of The United States Of America

Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President on the West Front of the US Capitol, about two weeks after insurrectionists incited by Donald Trump stormed the building.

Trump Attempts To Lift Covid-19 Travel Restrictions, Biden Moves To Block The Order 

President Donald Trump on Monday lifted Covid-19 travel restrictions for a majority of Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Brazil, which would become effective on January 26th. President-elect Joe Biden immediately responded to this order by claiming that he would be blocking it immediately once inaugurated on January 20th. 

The CDC recently announced that the US should expect to hit 500,000 Covid-19 deaths by the middle of February, so Biden’s announcement that he would be blocking this order has a lot of Americans taking a big sigh of relief after a treacherous and deadly past year. 

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Trump claimed that he had been advised to lift the restrictions on incoming travelers to the US from 26 European countries in the Schengen Zone, the UK, and Brazil. Trump explained that he agreed with “the Secretary that this action is the best way to continue protecting Americans from Covid-19 while enabling travel to resume safely,” which immediately raised some red flags for Americans watching the news everyday and seeing case numbers rise exponentially. 

Biden’s incoming press secretary, Jen Psaki, is already hard at work ensuring the public that the Biden administration would not be lifting these restrictions. Psaki tweeted out to the public this week that “with the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel.”

Psaki continued that based “on the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

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Last month the CDC released new guidelines in terms of traveling in the US. All air passengers coming into America are required to have a negative Covid-19 test, and get tested within three days before their flight. Passengers must also provide written documentation of their lab results, or documentation that they recently recovered from Covid-19 and were therefore more likely to be immune. 

The potential lifting of the travel restrictions in Europe were thought to be a response to these new measures, however, the current administration is struggling greatly to get its country vaccinated; healthcare experts promised 20 million Americans would receive their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by the end of 2020 and as of last week about 6 million Americans had received their initial dose. 

Biden’s incoming administration has a task force of healthcare experts and scientists who are all sworn to lead the pandemic response without any political bias and strictly based on the data provided by the nation’s leading healthcare workers.

The White House Podium

How Trump Plans To Hand Off The ‘Nuclear Football’ To Biden 

President Donald Trump will not be in attendance for President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration this Wednesday, which has many Americans wondering how certain transitional proceedings that traditionally occur on inauguration day will move forward; the handing off of the “nuclear football” being the most discussed proceeding that needs to occur. 

The “football” is obviously not a real ball, and contains the equipment that Trump would use to authenticate his orders to launch a nuclear strike. This “football” is carried by a military aide who accompanies the president at all times up until his term officially ends on January 20th. Traditionally, the aide would hand off the football to another military aide as the next president-elect takes his oath of office. 

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Trump is currently projected to head to Florida before inauguration day even begins, which means the nuclear football will likely travel with him, presenting some difficulty in transferring that authority smoothly. While that process may have to look a little different this year, there are a multitude of constitutional safeguards put in place to ensure a seamless transition of nuclear control from one president to the next, regardless of the circumstance; which includes the double-impeached president heading to Florida to play some golf. 

Stephen Schwartz, a senior fellow at the Bulletin of the Atomic scientists, recently discussed how regardless of where Trump is on inauguration day, the nuclear football will be passed off to Biden and Trump’s reign as president will come to an official close. 

“There are at least three to four identical ‘footballs’: one follows the president, one follows the vice president, and one traditionally is set aside for the designated survivor at events like inaugurations and State of the Union addresses.”

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“On January 20, the extra footballs will be out of town somewhere with their designees, leaving just Vice President Mike Pence’s briefcase unless the White House Military Office has prepared (or already has on hand) another backup for Biden,” he told the press, adding that the president is required to carry a plastic card on them at all times known as the “biscuit,” which contains codes used to positively identify the president. 

“Under the 20th Amendment — and absent any invocation of the 25th Amendment that would make Mike Pence the acting president — Donald Trump is president through 11:59:59 am on January 20. Up to that point in time, he has the sole, legal authority to authorize the use of any or all of the US nuclear arsenal,” Schwartz explained, adding that “if an aide with the football accompanies Trump on Air Force One to Florida, that aide will remove himself or herself from Trump’s presence at noon and return to Washington, DC, with the briefcase.”

After that point Trump will no longer have the authority to launch a nuclear strike and all nuclear codes that he carries will be deactivated permanently. Biden will automatically inherit the power to launch a nuclear strike at that same moment of deactivation; as in that moment his personal codes will be officially activated.

Stressed Out Nurse

CDC Warns That US Is Expected To Have 500,000 Covid-19 Deaths By February

The US is about to hit 400,000 Covid-19 related deaths as it endures the worst phase of the pandemic yet. With the rollout of multiple vaccines and a new administration entering the White House, who’s promising that future coronavirus protocols will be based on science and have nothing to do with politics, many Americans are hopeful, however the CDC is warning that the damage has been done, and the nation should expect to hit half a million deaths within the next month. 

“By the middle of February, we expect half a million coronavirus deaths in America.” 

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UCLA epidemiologist Dr. Anne Rimoin recently spoke with the media about the news of a new Covid-19 variant discovered in Los Angeles that is thought to be much more transmissible than the already extremely contagious Covid-19 virus that we’ve been battling for the past ten months. California currently leads the entire world in coronavirus cases with over 3 million residents currently infected. 

Rimoin discussed how she suspects there are more variants active throughout the population, and compared searching for these variants to “shining a flashlight in the dark, because you’re going to see something if you start to look, we just haven’t been looking.” It’s expected that with the Biden administration promising to lead future Covid procedures based on the panel of healthcare experts and scientists – who are being sworn to lead without any political bias – that these variants will be easier to find, which will help lead to containment efforts. 

Nationwide rollouts of the vaccine’s have led to some major confusion as well. Initially the US wanted to have 20 million people vaccinated with their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by the end of 2020, and as of five days ago the CDC reported only 6 million Americans have received their first dose so far.

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Florida, which is another US hot spot for Covid-19 due to a complete lack of enforcement of policy in regard to keeping bars and restaurants open, has been struggling greatly in terms of vaccine rollouts. According to immunocompromised Palm Beach resident Elizabeth Johnson, “you can’t get an appointment, you can’t buy an appointment, it’s all very unclear so what are we supposed to do?”

That level of confusion has been relatively common throughout the US in terms of vaccinations. Florida’s department of health has claims that more than 40,000 individuals are already overdue to receive their second dose of the vaccine. The timing of this new science-led administrative response to the pandemic couldn’t have come at a better time for this country. In LA County current data shows that one person is dying every six minutes; meanwhile all malls and gyms in LA remain open. 

Coroner office’s are so overwhelmed by the influx of bodies that LA County has eased up on their air pollution and quality rules to allow for more cremations to occur, and they’re not alone. Metropolitan hospitals all throughout the US are overwhelmed to a degree that is so much exponentially worse than where we were at even a few months ago. Only time will tell how much this new administration is able to get this pandemic finally under control.

Money

Billionaires Add $1 Trillion To Their Net Worth As Millions Of Their Workers Struggle For Survival 

Throughout the timeline of the pandemic alone, billionaires in the US have collectively increased their net worth by more than $1 trillion. Many of these billionaire’s US workers, on the other hand, have been struggling to deal with unsafe working conditions that leave them susceptible to potential infection, and without hazard pay or any increase in compensation for working in a pandemic, many have been struggling for survival. 

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO and founder, added more than $70 billion to his new worth during the coronavirus pandemic, bringing his total net worth up to $185 billion. Workers at Amazon and Amazon-owned grocery chain Whole Foods have spent a majority of the pandemic protesting against the unsafe working conditions they’re being forced to work in, and the endless pressures from management to keep up with the overwhelming demand. 

Several workers who have participated or led protests at Amazon over working conditions specifically have alleged that they were fired as a result of their efforts to receive basic level safety. Profits and stockholder shares for the company have increased by billions of dollars throughout 2020, however, Amazon only provided a small fraction of those extra earnings in hazard pay and bonuses for workers on the frontline actually risking their lives everyday to further fill Bezos’ pockets. 

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In fact, Amazon ended all hazard pay back in June 2020, and instead has provided workers with sporadic one-time bonuses. On average workers have seen about a 99 cent increase in their paycheck during the pandemic, for comparison, Bezos earns about $11.7 million every single hour. 

“It’s infuriating that we live in fear every day because of minimal efforts to protect us, while executives take in tons of money while sitting safely at home.”

An anonymous employee working for Amazon recently spoke with the media about the conditions, and chose to keep their identity a secret out of fear that they would be left unemployed and with no source of income. “What they considered hazard pay was just for show. We couldn’t see a difference unless we were willing to work almost 60 hours a week. Several of us had no choice because we’re the breadwinners of our family.”

Jessica Oneto was a Whole Foods employee in California who quit in October 2020 partially due to the working conditions management was forcing upon its employees throughout the pandemic. 

“They gave us hazard pay for maybe a couple months. It was only $2 and they literally took it away as the pandemic got worse. One of the biggest companies couldn’t afford to keep it up?”

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Elon Musk, owner of Tesla Motors, earned an additional $140 billion throughout the pandemic, making him the wealthiest person in the world with a total net worth of $195 billion. Workers for Tesla have been subject to multiple factory Covid outbreaks, and unsafe conditions brought on by Musk himself, who defied local shutdown orders by reopening his plants and resuming factory production. 

Musk even went as far as to threaten his employees if they didn’t also defy the state lockdown orders by sending out an email that implied they would lose unemployment benefits if they didn’t show up to work and risk infection. At least two workers were fired for not showing up due to the fact that they were immunocompromised and worried about getting sick. 

“While people in cubicles stay home to work, we can’t do that and we don’t get any hazard pay/ Nothing has changed. Musk can afford to do so much more and he doesn’t. I find it sickening to see how much Elon Musk’s wealth has grown while we take all the risks. All we get is a ‘thank you so much’ email,” said a Tesla employee at the Fremont plant who also asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. 

Another Fremont employee cited ongoing mistreatment toward Black workers at Tesla specifically: “Musk has not once addressed this issue in his workplace or supported Black Lives Matter. No hazard pay or bonus. They gave all regular workers their regular raise, but being that I’m maxed out at my position I didn’t get anything.”

As the old saying goes the rich get richer while the poor get poorer, and this global health crisis has truly exemplified that. The only positive that workers have seen come out of these obscene billionaire wealth increases is how much more it’s being discussed now. The power of social media has created a large conversation over how America specifically runs, and why it allows this handful of white men to hoard so much wealth while millions of Americans are on the brink of complete homelessness.

Capitol in DC

Capitol Rioters Wanted To ‘Capture And Assassinate’ Lawmakers, Prosecutors Claim

Federal law enforcement officers have been working non-stop since last Wednesday to get a greater understanding over what exactly transpired that allowed the riot at the Capitol to get so out of hand, and what was the actual plan for this mob should they have interacted with any US lawmakers or government officials. 

Officials are now claiming that they have found clues and evidence that points to one of the mob’s most distinctive figures, Jacob Anthony Chansley; the shirtless, tattooed man who many online have been referring to as “QAnon Shaman,” who stormed around the Capitol wearing a headdress made of coyote skin and buffalo horns. 

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Federal prosecutors in Phoenix, Arizona submitted a court filing this Thursday that wrote that “strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government.” 

The entire filing was 18-pages long, and included a request to the judge to keep Chansley detained before his trial. One of the biggest pieces of evidence working against Chansley right now is the fact that he left a note for Vice President Pence at his desk in the Senate chamber which read: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”

Chansley himself has personally called on President Donald Trump to pardon him for his crimes after his lawyer, Albert Watkins, claimed that Chansley acted in a “peaceful and compliant fashion” towards the law enforcement officials who have been running the investigation, and besides, Chansley only stormed the Capitol after Trump invited him and the rest of the mob to; according to Watkins. 

“He took seriously the countless messages of President Trump. He believed in President Trump. Like tens of millions of other Americans, Chansley felt — for the first time in his life — as though his voice was being heard.”

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Law enforcement officials have warned that it’s likely there were multiple motives among the mob of those who stormed the Capitol, and an FBI investigation is currently in the works to determine whether some intended to do more than just disrupt the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. 

One man who was arrested was carrying a pistol and others were wearing tactical gear and were holding zip ties. Another individual was arrested after his truck was spotted near the Capitol building with 11 molotov cocktails inside. 

Trump has so far pardoned Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, and Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County sheriff, before they were both sentenced. Within the past month the most action the president has done in terms of political policy has been a slew of pardons for his allies, friends, family, and fellow republicans. 

Prosecutors have pointed out that Chansley brought a weapon in the Capitol building, a spear, so the charges being presented aren’t to be taken lightly and his request to be pardoned should sound ridiculous to law enforcement. However, Chansley and every other Trump supporter present that day have forced America to have a much larger conversation over if Chansley was a person of color slinging a giant spear around the Capitol building, if the response would’ve been different.

The Capitol Building

US Olympic Champion Swimmer Klete Keller Identified At Capitol Riot

Klete Keller, the American Olympic swimmer who one two gold medals as a relay teammate of Michael Phelps, was identified as one of the Trump supporters who was inside the Capitol last week during the riot that occurred during the Electoral College vote proceedings. 

Popular swimming news website SwimSwam posted a report this week that alleged at least a dozen professional swimmers identified Keller due to the fact that he was wearing his US Olympic team jacket. The swimmers identified him after being sent a multitude of screenshots and videos from the riot.

Official USA Swimming did not respond when they were asked to confirm if the images from inside the Capitol were in fact Keller, but the images seemed relatively clear. Keller himself was recently reached out too by the press in order to get a confirmation or denial from the Olympic athlete but he has still yet to respond.

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Keller currently works at a Colorado and Ohio-based real estate agency that was recently also contacted for a comment, however, the woman who answered the phone claimed that they “are not commenting on anything right now,” before hanging up. 

One of the videos circulating online, that was taken by a conservative news reporter, shows the man who has been identified as Keller in a crowd of individuals that police officers were attempting to push towards any of the Capitol exits. 

Keller has previously made headlines for more Olympic related reasons; such as when he held off Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe on the anchor leg of the 4×200 meter freestyle relay at the 2004 Athens Games, securing him and the US with a gold medal. He’s a five-time Olympic medalist in general and at the height of his career was one of the swimmers to watch at the Games. 

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SwimmingWorld is another professional swimmer news site that confirmed with sources that Keller was seen inside the US Capitol during the riot last week. The sources also claim that the videos where Keller is seen don’t show him acting violently in any way, however, the fact that he was present among a crowd of domestic terrorists who stormed one of the most historic government buildings in the US is incredibly disheartening for Olympic fans who believe that these athletes are meant to be upholding the sanctity of the US and its democracy, not actively trying to destroy it. 

According to the New York Times Keller has deleted all of his social media accounts following the riot last week and the exposure of his involvement. In recent years Keller’s social media has apparently been saturated with pro-Trump rhetoric as well. 

As most Americans have already seen last week Trump exhorted thousands of his supporters who were at the Capitol, not wearing masks or socially distancing, which prompted them to erupt in a riot of violence, vandalism, and domestic terror. Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died as a result of the rampage, and the FBI and Department of Justice is currently investigating and making dozens of arrests in relation to last weeks dark day.

Congress in Capitol

House Voting On Resolution Calling On Pence To Invoke 25th Amendment 

The House is gearing up to vote on a resolution this Tuesday that would call on current Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Donald Trump from office following last week’s riot at the Capitol building that the current standing president helped insurrect. 

The measure that the House is introducing claims that Pence should convene and mobilize Trump’s Cabinet to activate the 25th Amendment and declare the president “incapable of executing the duties of his office and to immediately exercise powers as acting president.” The resolution itself is sponsored by Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin. 

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A mob of hundreds of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol building last week after Trump made a speech further emphasizing his belief that Biden won the 2020 election illegally and that this was one of the most “fraudulent elections in US history.” The crowd of angry rioters then stormed the Capitol building after Trump ended his speech claiming that they would be walking to the Capitol to make their voices heard; the president was nowhere to be found once the riot began though. 

The six-page resolution stated that the mob of rioters “threatened the safety and lives of the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, and the President pro tempore of the Senate, the first three individuals in the line of succession to the presidency, as the rioters were recorded chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence’ and ‘Where’s Nancy’ when Trump tweeted to his supporters that ‘Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country.’”

The measure also lays out a slew of evidence that Trump incited his supporters to commit acts of violence at the Capitol building, as the president has “demonstrated repeatedly, continuously and spectacularly his absolute inability to discharge the most basic and fundamental powers and duties of his office.” 

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Trump’s disrespect over the 2020 election and democratic process within the past two months is also mentioned quite a bit in the measure, as his complete disinterest in participating in a peaceful transition of power has only further motivated his supporters to “take back the White House” and give it to Trump, as that’s who they believe rightfully won the election. 

Pence is unlikely to remove Trump from office, especially considering House Democrats have also introduced articles of impeachment against the president that could likely be passed before inauguration. Sources close to Pence also claim that at this point he’s just trying to make it to January 20th “in one piece.” 

According to senior White House officials Pence and Trump met in the Oval Office on Monday morning in which they discussed the past four years and the attacks on the Capitol building. They apparently both said that those who broke the law and stormed the building “don’t represent America.” 

The House is projected to vote this Wednesday on an article of impeachment that would charge Trump with “incitement of insurrection” in motivating his supporters to storm the Capitol last week and fight. If passed the Senate will then hold a trial to determine whether or not Trump should be convicted and will potentially eliminate his ability to run for office again. 

Delta Airplane

Delta And United Airlines Will Permanently Remove International Change Fees 

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the travel industry in the US in more ways than one. Many major airline companies have begun implementing new policies to help cushion the economic blow that the tourism sector has suffered from within the past ten months of the pandemic. Most recently, Delta and United airlines have announced that they will be permanently eliminating change fees for flights across the globe. 

Throughout the entire pandemic airlines throughout the world and nation have recognized that there would be a major decline in travel, so they began eliminating fees that are typically charged to travelers who change their international flights or cancel them all together. Initially this was just a temporary move so that travelers wouldn’t have to worry about paying more money in the middle of a global health and economic crisis, however, Delta and United realized the elimination of these fees is actually a great thing for consumers and the airlines all together. 

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For Delta specifically, the airline will waive its $200 international change fee for any flight that “originates in the US or between the US, Mexico and the Caribbean going forward, including code-share flights,” according to the company’s announcement. Basic economic fares are excluded and according to Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian this elimination has proven to be extremely valuable.

“Our approach has always been to put people first, which is why we’re extending our current change fee waiver and making lasting changes to our practices, so customers have the trust and confidence they need long after the pandemic ends.”  

Delta is going to continue to charge $75 for same-day standby, but the airline is extending its Covid-19 policy waivers which removes change fees for all domestic and international tickets purchased through March 30th of this year. 

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United Airlines also recently announced that they would be eliminating change fees for international flights moving forward. For domestic flights, change fees will also be eliminated but only for flights booked before or on March 31st of this year. The airline wrote a statement in which they claimed that the decision was “made recognizing that flexibility is more important to our customers than ever.” 

United initially implemented the no-change fee policy back in August for all domestic flights which inspired a slew of other airlines in America to waive their flight change fees as well. American Airlines became the first US airline to get rid of change fees completely for all flights from North or South America and the airline has also eliminated their fee for domestic same-day standby.

American Airlines Chief Revenue Officer, Vasu Raja, recently released a statement regarding the choice, stating that the company is “committed to making travel easier for customers who fly on American.” 

It’s expected that other modes of transportation that make up the tourism sector for the US’s economy will also begin to implement policies and waivers of fees like these airlines at least in the beginning of the post-pandemic reopening of the country as a means of rebuilding what was lost within the past ten months.

US Covid Vaccine

Covid-19 Vaccine Delays And Lack Of Federal Action Putting US In Deadly Position 

For the past 40 days, the US has surpassed 100,000 hospitalizations relating to the Covid-19 pandemic. While health officials across the country are doing their best to speed up vaccine distribution so that average Americans can begin receiving their dosages, a lack of federal action and planning is once again hindering the nation’s ability to heal from this pandemic. 

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, spoke with the media recently about how America “really needs to get this vaccine out more quickly, because this really is our only tool for beating this pandemic.” Experts have been saying from the beginning that universal mask wearing, social distancing, and widespread vaccination is the only way this pandemic will fully reach its end. However, after ten months of nearly no enforcement of these procedures on a federal level, over 22 million Americans have been infected, and over 370,000 have died.

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So far 22.1 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine has been distributed, and 6.7 million people have actually received their first dose, however, the initial plan was to get 20 million people vaccinated with their first dose by the end of 2020. Due to a complete lack of interest from the current president and his administration within the past two months, hundreds of thousands of Americans have continued to suffer while their government watched and made daily claims of a fraudulent and unfair election. The only new aide that the government has provided is a $600 stimulus check to every American, after nearly nine months of no other economic assistance.

The US hit a new record last week and surpassed 4,000 Covid-19 deaths in a single day. California alone is thought to be a major epicenter for the virus, after they added almost 50,000 new cases on Sunday alone, bringing the state total up to more than 2.6 million. 

According to Johns Hopkins University, which has been recording data regarding this pandemic in America since March, within the first 11 days of 2021, 28,400 new Covid-19 deaths have been reported. At this current rate, more individuals could die from Covid-19 in January than any other month of this pandemic due to an extreme influx in holiday travel and lack of policy. 

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“We should expect to set new records for cases, hospitalizations, and deaths over the coming weeks. Policy action is urgently needed to mitigate the worst possible outcome.”

Joe Gerald, an associate professor at the University of Arizona, recently expressed great concern about the “inevitable arrival of the more transmissible” strain of Covid-19 that has appeared in the UK, and is thought to have been in the US since September. “If it gathers a foothold it will accelerate, lengthen, and deepen the outbreaks in Arizona and other states like it.” 

The recent riot at the US Capitol will also likely lead to a “surge event” of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths due to the fact that a majority of Trump’s supporters are anti-mask, and the footage from the violent event clearly showed a crowd of hundreds of individuals not wearing a mask, mobbed together in a giant crowd. 

Medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen recently shared a statement to the press about this reckless riot that will lead to even more death and infection: “It’s very likely they’re engaging in other risky behaviors there and potentially seeding coronavirus all around the country, wherever they came from. I hope that everyone who participated in those events will go back and quarantine and get tested.”

Many of the rioters who have been identified from images online but have yet to be arrested are being placed on No Fly lists, and local authorities for individuals who came from out of state to participate in the riot have been notified of their citizens involvement in the act of domestic terror that took place last week.