Wednesday morning news – January 6, 2020

Democrats lead, but Ga. Senate elections too close to call » Control of the U.S. Senate is still undecided. 

As of very early this morning, with 97 percent of the votes tallied, at least one of the two races in Georgia’s double Senate runoff was too close to call. 

The Associated Press called one of those races at 2 a.m. this morning—declaring Democrat Raphael Warnock the winner in his race against GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler.  

WARNOCK: And so Georgia, I am honored by the faith that you have shown in me. And I promise you this tonight: I am going to the Senate to work for all of Georgia. 

Warnock led incumbent GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler this morning by about 36,000 votes—out of about 4.3 million counted.  

But Loeffler told her supporters, she’s not giving up. 

LOEFFLER: It’s worth it for this election to last into tomorrow. We’re going to make sure every vote is counted. 

The margin in the other Senate race is even tighter. Republican Sen. David Perdue trails his Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff by just a few thousand votes. 

But Democrats are confident that the ballots yet to be counted will favor Ossoff and Warnock. 

If they’re correct, Democrats and Republicans will have a 50/50 split in the Senate. But soon-to-be Vice President Kamala Harris would break the tie, giving Democrats a razor thin majority in the upper chamber.

Vaccine rollout more slowly than hoped » Nearly 5 million Americans have now rolled up their sleeves for coronavirus vaccine shots. That’s good news for the most vulnerable, but it’s not happening as quickly as many officials expected—or at least hoped.

New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters…

CUOMO: We are in a foot race right now between the vaccine implementation vs the infection rate and hospitalization capacity. That’s the foot race. 

Long lines of cars are forming around the country for coronavirus vaccine shots. 

In Daytona Beach, Florida, a thousand people slept in their cars near a distribution center Monday night. 

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has broadened vaccine access to all Floridians age 65 or older—not just nursing home residents and healthcare workers.

In California, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom says the pace of the vaccine rollout is “not good enough.” Distribution and logistical problems there have slowed the effort. According to a New York Times tally, so far, the state has only used about 22 percent of the doses it’s received. 

Several countries introduce or extend lockdowns » Several countries are tightening or extending coronavirus restrictions as infections surge. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown has more. 

ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that her country will keep its lockdown in place for at least three more weeks. She said the move was “absolutely necessary,” especially with a more infectious strain now running rampant in England.

The U.K. began a new 6-week lockdown on Tuesday. 

Merkel said “We must reach a point where we can once again follow the chains of infection.” She said “Otherwise, we will just keep going back into a lockdown after a short relaxation.”

Columbia is also tightening restrictions once again. Several Columbian cities, including the capital of Bogota are imposing curfews and stay at home measures that had not been implemented for months.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown. 

WHO ‘disappointed’ at Chinese delays letting experts in » The head of the World Health Organization issued a rare critique of China on Tuesday for slow-walking a UN-led investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.  

WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said he learned yesterday that China still had not granted final permission for a team of scientists to enter the country. 

GHEBREYESUS: I’m very disappointed with this news, given that two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute. 

Tedros said he “made it clear” that the mission was a priority for the WHO and that he was “assured that China is speeding up” its internal process.

The experts drawn from around the world are expected to visit the city of Wuhan, the original epicenter of the pandemic.

The U.S. and several other nations have harshly criticized the UN health body for deference to China and its excessive praise for Beijing’s handling of the initial outbreak.

Venezuela’s socialists seize control of once-defiant congress » Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro has tightened his grip on power as the ruling socialist party took control of a once-defiant congress on Tuesday. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The Venezuelan congress was the last institution that the socialist party did not already control.

Maduro’s allies swept legislative elections last month as the opposition boycotted the vote. They denounced the election as a sham. And many foreign governments agree, including those of the United States and the European Union.

The U.S. government recognizes the opposition leader, 37-year-old Juan Guaidó as the country’s rightful acting president, but Maduro has not relinquished power. 

GUIADO: [Speaking in Spanish]

Guaidó addressed the Venezuelan people on Friday. He said Maduro and his allies use words like “dialogue’ and ‘reconciliation.’” But he said those “are empty words” when they hold “more than 300 political prisoners” and “when they are sanctioned for crimes against humanity.”

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

(Eric Shelton/The Clarion-Ledger via AP) Cardiologist Dr. Malcolm Taylor receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination at Phillips Medical Services in Jackson, Miss., on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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