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In an American milestone that typically goes unnoticed, yesterday the Electoral College voted, upholding the certified results from each state. Biden secured 306 votes to Trump’s 232 – a mirror image of the 2016 results where Trump won with 306 votes in the Electoral College. While the vote will not be formally counted until 6 January before Congress, yesterday’s conclusive results have now led Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to officially congratulate President-elect Biden for the first time. Later, Biden told reporters he had reached out to Senator McConnell to thank him for his congratulations, saying the pair had "always been straight with one another" and he was "looking forward to working with him". Biden's remarks are consistent with what United States Studies Centre (USSC) CEO Professor Simon Jackman called a long career they have both had in the Senate. In an interview on Channel 7 he noted, "he and McConnell do not get on well on TV and in public, but behind the scenes, they've been working with one another back when Biden was in the Senate and even when he was Obama's VP."
As one US focus for the year moves toward resolution, the COVID-19 pandemic is entering a heightened phase of crisis and hope in the United States. On one hand, more than 300,000 have died from the virus, including more deaths on 9 December in the United States than on the 9/11 attacks. On the other hand, the first vaccines have rolled out. An intensive care unit nurse in New York received the first jab. It is expected to take months to turn the tide on coronavirus, but with both a new vaccine and a new president about to take office, the one thing clear about 2021 is that it will bring significant change.