Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy Armando Galvan searches a commercial building as he carries out an eviction in Los Angeles, California. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Stock futures edged lower on tax concerns following President-elect Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would administer 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, reopen more schools by the spring and provide another round of aid to stabilize the economy. Some GOP critics warned that Biden was seeking to do “too much too fast.” 

In New York City, property tax revenues are projected to decline by $2.5 billion next year, marking the largest drop in three decades. The forecast comes amid a nosedive in the value of office buildings and hotel properties, which have largely emptied out since the pandemic began. 

The coronavirus vaccine has been rolled out unevenly in the U.S., but four states in the Deep South have seen particularly dismal inoculation rates. In Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina, less than 2% of the population had received its first dose of the vaccine. This gap comes from limited vaccine supplies, health care workers who refuse to get inoculated and bureaucratic systems that are not equipped to schedule the number of appointments being sought. In Mississippi, only 15% of vaccinations have gone to Black people, who make up 38% of the population.

Some civil rights leaders and Black sports icons are publicly taking COVID-19 vaccines to encourage other Black Americans who may distrust vaccines. The mistrust stems from a history of inadequate and discriminatory health care provided to the Black population. 

Brazil, hit by the third-most cases in the world, has watched as wealthier countries began vaccination campaigns, while it grapples with misinformation and vaccine hesitancy. The issues have only been exacerbated by the arrival of the vaccine produced by the Chinese company Sinovac. Initially, the vaccine was said to be 78% effective but clarified this week that its efficacy rate among all cases was only 50.4%. The news does not just impact Brazil but is a setback for countries everywhere that pinned their hopes on a vaccine that’s cheap, easily transported and ready for mass production. 

For the first time in five years, L.G.B.T.Q representation on television decreased, a new report found. The percentage of regular characters scheduled to appear on prime-time scripted broadcast television decreased to 9.1%, down from the previous year’s record of 10.2%. The discrepancy is attributed to the pandemic, which caused many networks and creators to pause production on several shows. 

When coronavirus caused nationwide shutdowns in March, many artists and entertainers saw their income evaporate, including one Atlanta group known for reinvention: drag queens. Virtual shows became the norm and queens said that audiences remained patient and supportive. As spring gave way to summer, outdoor shows and drive-in drag replaced computer screens. 

The annual consumer tech conference in Las Vegas was forced online in 2021, but the gathering featuring thousands of Zoom streams still gave way to hours of product presentations. The biggest announcements included a sizable WiFi update, smart masks and robot comfort cats.

NAVIGATING THE PANDEMIC

In Los Angeles, ambulances circle for hours and ICUs are full – STAT – 1/15/2021
The city’s early success may be one reason things are so bad right now. “What happened in New York is that people got very scared and they behaved,” said Karin Michels, who chairs the department of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. “We did so well, people started to relax, and they stopped following the rules.”

Melinda Gates: Why Women’s Voices Must Be at the Center of Rebuilding After COVID-19 – Time – 1/15/2021
“When it comes to gender equality, I’d once imagined the answer would be some shining moment of collective global aspiration—a call to action issued from the world stage, moving hearts, shifting perceptions, and leading to a new and more inclusive kind of policymaking. Now I think the breakthrough may be something else entirely. Maybe the thing that will finally succeed in cracking open the patterns of history is a global health crisis we never would have asked for.”

‘Let’s survive a pandemic together’: Roommates are struggling with realties of sharing space 24/7 – Digiday – 1/15/2021
“You’re used to doing whatever you want in your own personal space, so it’s more a matter of getting into the mindset that you’re conscious of being courteous to the other [roommates],” said Simpson. “Like coworkers in an office, “think, ‘would I be doing this if I had a coworker sitting right next to me?’”

Why Marriage And Divorce Rates Are Dropping During The Pandemic – Forbes – 1/15/2021
While divorce rates have been consistently low for college- educated couples, for those most likely to have lost their jobs during the current pandemic, current divorce rates may be artificially low, according to Professor Miller. Couples may wish to split up, but not be able to afford to do so right now.  

Why Israel is leading the world in vaccinating its population – Vox – 1/14/2021
Israel has a universal health care system: All Israeli citizensare enrolled in one of four health maintenance organizations (HMOs) for their care. The system is digitized, and everyone has an ID number, which allows for easy access to electronic records — and a simple way to find everyone who’s 60 or above, in the current vaccination priority group.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

James Rosen @JamesRosenTV 14 Jan VIDEO: President-elect @JoeBiden unveils his $1.9 trillion plan to defeat #coronavirus, help struggling families, stimulate the economy, and reopen schools. Will a #SecondImpeachment trial get in the way?

Mary Spicuzza @MSpicuzzaMJS 14 Jan Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Lightfoot pushing for Chicago bars and restaurants to reopen for indoor dining; city poised to open new COVID-19 vaccination sites, but needs more doses

news10nbc @news10nbc 15 Jan “I walked in, and I was like oh my gosh it feels like almost normal again, and now we have people in almost all the seats,” Warr added. “It’s so great.”

ABC Action News @abcactionnews 14 Jan Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks have been closed since last March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The parks are eligible to reopen in California’s yellow tier (minimal) with a capacity of 25% and numerous health and safety modifications.

Chicago Tribune @chicagotribune 14 Jan In the vein of great bar and restaurant promotions comes the 21st century pandemic update: get vaccinated, get a free beer.

CONTENT FACTS

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