WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 500,000 on Sunday, a milestone that is greater than the number of American battlefield casualties in World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined. Still, COVID-19 hospitalizations have dipped to their lowest level since November and the Biden administration said Sunday that vaccine shipments have nearly caught up after winter storm delays last week backlogged the delivery of 6 million doses. Public health experts are pushing for faster inoculations in a race against the more transmissible virus variants, which they say could prolong the duration of the pandemic.
Fewer than 250 children in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, but more than 75% of them were children of color. Similar to adults, children were more likely to develop severe illness with the virus if they had underlying conditions such as asthma, obesity, or cardiac issues.
Congress is preparing for its first votes this week on Democrats’ $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, putting to the test the divisive provision that would boost the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour over five years. The House Budget Committee plans to approve the 591-page package, which includes up to $1,400 in stimulus checks and $400 weekly federal unemployment benefits, on Monday. A House vote is expected by the week’s end.
China’s success with “vaccine diplomacy” will rely heavily on how effectively the country can inoculate its own population. The country has assembled a supply chain to deliver its vaccine to the developing world in efforts to win power and influence among low-income countries, but some policy analysts say that those efforts could backfire without sufficient domestic supply. India’s vaccine maker, which is manufacturing the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford, has been directed to prioritize domestic needs, meaning that foreign governments could face order delays from the company as it places India’s needs ahead of others.
Britain will unveil plans on Monday to reopen after a two-month lockdown and one of the world’s fastest vaccine rollouts. The phased reopening will include students’ return to the classroom and eased restrictions on gatherings. High infection rates are hampering efforts to ease restrictions in France and Germany, where hotspots continue to emerge.
Americans are turning to tiny DIY dollhouses as they continue to find new ways to spend their extra free time at home. One manufacturer has seen a 650% increase in sales of kits to create miniature coffee houses, ice cream shops, and greenhouses. But when faced with the challenge of assembling the tiny kits, some builders say their frustrating experience can be summed up by one Amazon review that reads, “Holy cow, I had no idea what I was getting into.”
On the Post-Pandemic Horizon, Could That Be … a Boom? – The New York Times – New York Times – 2/22/2021
Forecasters have always expected the pandemic to be followed by a period of strong growth as businesses reopen and Americans resume their normal activities. But in recent weeks, economists have begun to talk of something stronger: a supercharged rebound that brings down unemployment, drives up wages and may foster years of stronger growth.
Think about your life this time last year, just before Covid hit. What do you miss? – The Guardian – 2/22/2021
As we approach one year together I’ve been reflecting on life with the worst companion ever, Covid-19. Ideally we would never have met, but this pandemic has now been with us for longer than it takes for a whole new human being to form and be born and get lots of bulky and expensive gifts! A silly analogy considering the pandemic is the opposite of cute new life, causing as it does so much death, illness and all manner of destruction.
For truckers, pandemic has highlighted a big need: Parking – Roll Call – 2/22/2021
While airlines, Amtrak and transit have struggled to stay solvent during the coronavirus pandemic, truckers face a different crisis: There simply aren’t enough places to park. They had hoped to get money to expand parking in the upcoming $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, but that path seems blocked. Now, their hopes may lie in the infrastructure bill Congress is expected to pass later this year.
The Pandemic Will End—but Covid-19 May Be Here to Stay – Wired – 2/22/2021
FOR ALL THE chaos of vaccine distribution and appointment-making, Covid-19 vaccination in the United States is going better than it initially seemed. As of Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine tracker showed almost 58 million doses had been given out. Last Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced that his administration may arrive early at its goal of giving 100 million shots in 100 days.
Sniffing Out COVID for the Miami Heat – The New Yorker – 2/22/2021
Ticket holders were unfazed; the vibe was more outside-a-night-club than T.S.A.-checkpoint, although there wasn’t any music, and a sixty-pound German shepherd named Abby paced up and down the queue. Her leash was held by Adam Davila, who spent fourteen years as an Army Ranger before training as a bomb-sniffing-dog handler. A guy wearing orange tie-dyed pants and Gucci loafers hollered to a woman ahead of him who had on a purple hoodie: “You look like a supermodel! This is like Chanel’s Presentation 2022!”
WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING
The New Yorker @NewYorker 22 Feb Nearly a year into the pandemic, solving the economic crisis means defeating the virus.
NBC News @NBCNews 22 Feb President Biden to announce changes to the Paycheck Protection Program aimed at ensuring that more small and minority-owned business are able to qualify for federal assistance as a result of the economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
James Melville @JamesMelville 21 Feb 3 million workers have received nothing from the government during the Coronavirus crisis. Small business owners, freelancers, self employed and employees have endured an entire year of economic hardship. I will always fight for those who need help the most and need a voice.
Robert Wolf @robertwolf32 21 Feb Our Strategic Worldviews economic platform w @Scaramucci hosted @TomBossert last March. He unbelievably forecasted 500k deaths in 1 year due to lack of a national, cohesive protocols & strategy coming out of Trump White House- so sad to see he was right.
Hanad M. Mohamud @HanadMohamudsc 21 Feb Black owned businesses in the United States decline by 41% as a result of the pandemic according to a recent study.
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