People walk past a newly placed sign on Eel Brook Common as EU countries impose a travel ban from the UK amid alarm about a rapidly spreading strain of coronavirus, in Fulham, London, Britain, December 21, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Just in case you haven’t yet felt that daily jolt of anxiety to go with your morning coffee, a new coronavirus strain is moving through the UK. But here’s some cream and sugar: Help is on the way. 

The new strain may (or may not) spread faster, but there’s no evidence it is deadlier or causes more severe symptoms. Virus experts also said the new vaccines should still work, which bolstered the news that Europe will start vaccinating with Pfizer next week after it was authorized for conditional use. And Moderna’s vaccine should begin going into arms as soon as Monday as widespread distribution began Sunday night. Even so, news of the mutation caused a small panic among investors as the Dow Jones fell 1 percent at the opening bell. 

However, the planets have literally aligned, as help arrives before the new year in a $900 billion stimulus package that includes enhanced unemployment benefits, money for vaccine distribution and stimulus checks that could arrive next week. Individuals making up to $75,000 will receive a $600 check on top of $600 for dependents under the age of 17, meaning a family of four could get as much as $2,400 in payments. Small businesses also got some relief, including independent music venues, movie theaters and other cultural institutions that are expected to receive $15 billion in federal aid. 

Legislators are expected to approve the relief package Monday. 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of articles showing different viewpoints on the topic.

You Can Get Through This Dark Pandemic Winter, Using Tips From Disaster Psychology – Scientific American – 12/21/2020
It keeps coming at people month after month as loved ones get sick or die, as jobs are lost, and as the actions taken to avoid infection—such as isolation from family—cause intense emotional pain and stress. 

Dr. Fauci explains when kids will get vaccinated – CNN Video – CNN – 12/21/2020
During CNN’s Sesame Street ABC’s of Covid-19 town hall, Dr. Anthony Fauci answered questions from kids who wanted to know when they can expect to get the coronavirus vaccine.

Here’s what’s in the new $900 billion stimulus package – Washington Post – 12/20/2020
The bill would extend aid to millions of struggling households through stimulus checks, enhanced federal unemployment benefits and money for small businesses, schools and child care, as well as for vaccine distribution.

Why you shouldn’t panic about the UK’s mutant coronavirus strain – CNET – 12/21/2020
The variant, first identified in September, is being closely monitored by scientists and researchers, in an effort to understand if it’s more infectious or transmissible than previous variants.

CDC panel recommends older Americans and frontline workers be next in line for COVID-19 vaccineCBS News – 12/20/2020
A Centers for Disease Control advisory panel recommended on Sunday that the next two groups of Americans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine should be those 75 and older and frontline workers — including police, firefighters, teachers and grocery workers.

Congress Strikes Long-Sought Stimulus Deal to Provide $900 Billion in Aid – New York Times – 12/20/2020
The deal would deliver the first significant infusion of federal dollars into the economy since April, as negotiators broke through months of partisan gridlock that had scuttled earlier talks, leaving millions of Americans and businesses without federal help as the pandemic raged.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of tweets showing different viewpoints on the topic.

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