January 20, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump promised an "unbelievable, perhaps record-setting turnout" for his inauguration, but perhaps no one needs to count in order to verify those claims. Here's a look at Trump's inauguration crowd, compared to President Barack Obama's crowd at his first inauguration, in 2009:

Fusion does note that the crowd had filled out the lawn by 11:50 a.m., minutes before Trump's swearing-in:

Earlier reports found that while 200 buses had reserved space for Trump's inauguration, 1,200 were reserved for anti-Trump protests on Saturday. Jeva Lange

7:09 p.m.

On Thursday, the United States recorded 88,979 new coronavirus cases, the highest single-day count since the pandemic started.

The previous record was set on Saturday, when 83,734 cases were reported. Most regions are seeing a huge spike in cases, with Iowa, Illinois, and Ohio among the nine states shattering their records for new infections on Thursday. South Dakota and Wyoming also reported new highs for their seven-day average of deaths counted daily.

As of Thursday, there are more than 44,500 people hospitalized with the virus in the United States, an increase of 14,000 since the beginning of October, The Washington Post reports. In Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert (R) tweeted that the state is "in a very serious situation. COVID-19 is the most devastating when hospitals are overwhelmed and unable to provide good care to everyone who needs it. We have seen this in Italy. We have seen this in New York. We could see this in Utah if things do not change."

Nearly nine million COVID-19 infections have been reported in the United States since January, with about 228,300 Americans dying from the virus. Catherine Garcia

4:58 p.m.

United Airlines is trying out a plan to offer free COVID-19 tests to passengers heading abroad.

From Nov. 16 to Dec. 11, United will start offering rapid coronavirus tests to people boarding flights from the airline's Newark, New Jersey, hub to London's Heathrow airport. The Abbott ID Now rapid tests will be available for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday flights, and passengers will have to show up three hours early and schedule an appointment to be tested in United's lounge.

Passengers who refuse a test will be moved to other flights to "guarantee that essentially everyone on board just tested negative for COVID-19," a United spokesperson told CNN. Still, travelers arriving in the U.K. will have to quarantine for 14 days when they arrive, as COVID-19 cases are sharply rising both there and in the U.S. once again.

The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the airline industry, and without a government intervention, airlines are trying whatever they can get passengers back on board. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:25 p.m.

The U.K.'s Labour Party suspended its former leader Jeremy Corbyn after a watchdog found "serious failings" with how Corbyn dealt with anti-Semitism within the party.

Britain's Equality and Human Rights Commission found political interference in complaints of anti-Semitism, failure to train people to handle complaints, and harassment, CNN reports. Current Labour Leader Keir Starmer accepted the report's consequences, saying "we have failed Jewish people," but "never again will we fail to tackle anti-Semitism and never again will we lose your trust."

In response to the allegations under his leadership, Corbyn condemned anti-Semitism, but contended the problem was "dramatically overstated for political reasons." Corbyn's "failure to retract" those comments led to his suspension, a Labour spokesperson said. Corbyn then promised to "strongly contest" the party's "political intervention to suspend me."

Corbyn was the Labour Party's leader until earlier this year, when he stepped down after British voters re-elected a Conservative government. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:32 p.m.

President Trump has received a dose of good polling news days ahead of the election — but it may not be enough to turn the tide.

In polls wrapping just a week before Election Day, Democratic nominee Joe Biden has posted no new gains in the swing states of Florida, Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, a Quinnipiac University survey out Thursday reveals. Meanwhile Trump's support has grown in Florida, Iowa, and Pennsylvania — and enough so in Florida and Iowa to be well in contention of winning.

In Florida, Biden has 46 percent to Trump's 42 percent, the poll of likely voters showed. That's a 6-point loss for Biden and a 2-point gain for Trump from Quinnipiac's poll earlier this month, in which Biden posted a massive 11-point lead. Biden also lost 4 points in Iowa as Trump gained 2, enough to give the incumbent a narrow 47-46 lead. Biden meanwhile maintains a solid 51-44 point lead in Pennsylvania and a 48-43 lead in Ohio, where Trump slid 4 points since earlier this month.

Analysts say a loss in Florida for Trump will likely cost him the whole election, but Biden has enough support in the Midwest to override a Florida slump. A CNN poll out late Wednesday — its last before election day — gives Biden a 12-point lead over Trump nationally, also a gain of 4 points for Trump from CNN's previous poll.

Quinnipiac surveyed between 1,186 to 1,324 likely voters from Oct. 23–27 in each of the states, with margins of error between 2.7 and 2.9 percentage points. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:11 p.m.

At least one swing state may be spared the political controversy of a late absentee ballot count seemingly changing its 2020 election results.

Every U.S. state is receiving a boatload more mail-in ballots than it usually does during a typical election year, and four of them — Alabama, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — won't even be able to open those ballots until Election Day. This almost guarantees a delayed result from those four states, but Wisconsin is confident it'll have everything set by the morning after the election, local election officials tell NBC News affiliate WTMJ Milwaukee.

Wisconsin's electoral votes will be critical in determining the winner of the 2020 election, as the previously Democratic state went for President Trump in 2016. County clerks all say they'll count ballots nonstop until they're finished, and expect results at 9:30 p.m. at the earliest. Waukesha County, the third most populous in the state, says its count will wrap around 3 a.m. And Milwaukee County, home to nearly a million people, expects to be done by 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) is preparing for a long haul, including pushback from Republicans. The state accepts all absentee ballots that were mailed before Election Day even if they arrive later, meaning a count to finalize the swing state's results could take days. Shapiro fears Republicans may use these late ballots "as a hook to challenge all mail-in ballots," and a court may then halt the count of all absentee ballots while the challenge is considered, he told The Washington Post. So to prepare, Pennsylvania officials will separate late-arriving ballots in hopes of avoiding a total counting shutdown.

Find when every state expects to count its absentee ballots at The New York Times. Kathryn Krawczyk

12:26 p.m.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's top coronavirus expert, said Wednesday he believes the Trump administration needs to instate a nationwide mask mandate. "If we don't get one, then I would hope that the governors and the mayors do it locally, if it's not done nationally," Fauci told CNBC's Shepard Smith on his Wednesday evening show.

But Smith was confused by Fauci's "hope," asking if he was "still in the president's ear." "I haven't spoken to the president in quite a while about the situation with regard to the outbreak," Fauci said, again saying the U.S. needs, "mandate or not," to wear masks.

Fauci's recommendation comes as COVID-19 hospitalizations hit record highs in 13 states. The U.S. also recorded 80,662 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, close to a new high as well. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:27 a.m.

America just posted its biggest annualized and single-quarter GDP growth of all time. It isn't that impressive.

The U.S. GDP jumped at a 33.1 percent annualized rate in the third quarter, a growth of 7.4 percent from Q2, Commerce Department records released Thursday reveal. But as Gregory Daco, the chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, put it in a tweet, that growth is both "record-breaking and meaningless at the same time."

It's true that the 7.4 percent GDP rise from Q2 to Q3 is a record. But it also comes after a record contraction from Q1 to Q2, and a total loss of 10.3 percent throughout 2020, so it doesn't even come close to making up what was lost amid the pandemic. In fact, the 3.5 percent total GDP shrinkage during 2020 "means we are still down almost as much as we were during the height of the Great Recession," tweets Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton.

Economist Justin Wolfers meanwhile debunked the 33.1 percent growth rate the entire Trump family was touting Thursday morning. Looking at annualized growth reveals how much bigger the economy would be if it "grew at this rate for the next three quarters," Wolfers tweeted. "But there's no chance that will happen, so the annualized rate answers a question no one is asking." And if that wasn't convincing enough, Wolfers had another way of looking at it. Kathryn Krawczyk

Kathryn Krawczyk

See More Speed Reads