Biden & Health Experts Warn the Delta Covid-19 Variant Could Be Dangerous

Just as we thought we were nearing the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, a new variant of the virus has been detected in the U.S., causing more panic and infecting more people. The Delta Covid-19 variant is very worrisome to health experts, who fear that it could be more dangerous for younger people who are waiting to get vaccinated, or who will not get vaccinated at all. The arrival of this deadly new variant could mean more spikes in cases this fall, unless more Americans get vaccinated.

The Delta Covid-19 Variant

person sneezing with red viruses spreading out
Studies suggest that the Delta variant is 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky expects the Delta variant, which was first identified in India, to eventually become the dominant variant in the United States, because studies suggest it is around 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant, the variant first identified in the United Kingdom. Within the last two weeks, the Delta variant has represented more than 20% of Covid-19 infections in the U.S., which is double what it was when the CDC last reported on its prevalence.

“Is the virus different? It is different, the Delta variant is much more likely to infect younger people…The fact that it catches all those people that aren’t vaccinated and it’s more likely to put them in the hospital, is a concern. We are paying more attention because the older folks are more highly vaccinated and we are seeing more of what there is of the disease occurring in the younger population.” said Kristiana McLarty, a third-year medical student at Morehouse School of Medicine.

Because of the seriousness of the Delta variant, the Biden Administration is urging more Americans to get vaccinated; while the White House acknowledges that they will not meet their goal of vaccinating 70% of all American adults by July 4, they are still hoping people will step up to fight this new variant.

“The Delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the U.S. to our attempt to eliminate Covid-19. We seem to be following the pattern with the Delta variant, with a doubling time of about two weeks,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said at a White House briefing on the virus. “Good news: Our vaccines are effective against the Delta variant.”

What To Expect This Fallgraph with a line moving upwards with red viruses in the background

Currently, infections and deaths from Covid-19 are at their lowest rates since the start of the pandemic, averaging roughly 11,000 new infections and fewer than 300 deaths per day. The falling numbers have meant more states opening up and lifting mask mandates, but this could all change come fall if more people do not get vaccinated. As it is, experts are currently expecting a surge in cases this winter, since data shows that the rate of vaccination greatly slowed down after vaccines became more available. Some states, including Arizona and Missouri, are already witnessing a spike in Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths, largely among people who are not vaccinated. 

According to Ali Mokdad, MD, professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington, 80-85% of Americans will have to be vaccinated by the end of the year to prevent a surge in cases, but that level of vaccination does not seem likely. As of now, only 16 states have reached the Biden administration’s goal of 70% of adults receiving at least one dose by July 4, and only around 50% of the total adult  population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to CDC data.

Tempting Incentives to Get the Covid-19 Vaccine

When Covid-19 vaccines began to roll out last year, it seemed to many people like we would never have enough to go around. Now, though, with almost 62.8% of American adults having received at least one dose of the shot, and 133.6 million fully vaccinated, the problem is no longer a shortage of supply, but a shortage of people taking the remaining doses. In order to help meet President Biden’s goal of having at least 70% of U.S. adults vaccinated by July 4, state politicians, restaurants, health insurance companies, and more are giving away freebies and other incentives to entice people to get the shot. Some of these incentives are very tempting reasons to get vaccinated, including a chance to get free gift cards, food, scholarships, alcohol, and even free money! 

Yummy Foodone glazed donut

In March 2021, Krispy Kreme set off the wave of vaccine incentives in the food industry by announcing they would offer a free glazed donut to vaccinated customers every day for the entirety of 2021!! Other companies with delicious treats followed suit:

  • Shake Shack– Anyone who gets their shot specifically at a mobile vaccination site in NYC will get a voucher for a Shake Shack burger, and as of June 12, anyone who shows their vaccination card at one of their locations will get free crinkle fries with a burger or chicken sandwich order.
  • Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs is giving away a free hot dog at its Coney Island location in NY to customers on the day of their vaccination.
  • Ledo Pizza in Annapolis, Maryland is offering one free 8-inch cheese pizza through June 30 to people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
  • Jose Andres Restaurants are giving $50 gift cards to restaurant patrons in Washington D.C. who show proof of vaccination. 

Free Alcohol!

Want some free drinks? Well, here’s what’s on offer if you’re vaccinated:

big glass of beer

  • Anheuser-Busch– on June 2, this major brewery announced that they will buy a round of beer for Americans 21 and older once the country has reached the 70% goal. 
  • The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce is running a “Shots for Shots” promotion: anyone who gets the vaccine at the walk-up site on 17th Street and Convention Center will be given a coupon for a free drink. 
  • The Louisiana Restaurant Association is also sponsoring a “Shots for Shots” promotion in the state that began at the beginning of June. The association plans to partially reimburse free drinks offered by bars and restaurants to fully vaccinated patrons. 
  • The Governor Of Illinois will allow businesses that sell alcohol to offer customers a free drink if they provide proof of vaccination. 

Free Weedtwo marijuana joints and buds

Washington State has announced their “Joints for Jabs” promotion, which will allow fully vaccinated people who are 21 or older to claim free marijuana joints or bags of marijuana. The promotion is taking place in several cities, as well as in other states across America, and will end July 12. 

Free Money

Vaccinated individuals who are 18 and older can also enter a lottery for cash prizes in the following states:

  • New York–  The “Vax and Scratch” promotion is offering free lottery scratch-off tickets with a grand prize of $5 million.
  • California- The “Vax for the Win” promotion will announce 10 winners of $1.5 million cash prizes each.
  • Ohio– This state is offering a $1 million jackpot to 5 vaccinated adults.
  • Maryland– This state is offering $2 million in lottery cash prizes ending July 3.
  • Kentucky– Vaccinated adults will get a free Cash Ball 225 ticket, which has a cash prize of $225,000.
  • Oregon- Adults can win a grand prize of $1 million or one of 36 $10,000 prizes. Vaccinated adults will only be eligible if they receive the shot by midnight on June 27. 
  • New Mexico- Those who have had at least 1 shot will be entered in weekly drawings to take home $250,000; those who are fully vaccinated could win the grand prize of $5 million dollars.
  • West Virginia– Officials are offering $100 savings bonds to all 16-35 year olds who get the vaccine.
  • Colorado- The “Colorado Comeback Cash” program will choose one vaccinated resident a week to win a $1 million jackpot.
  • Washington- This state’s lottery includes 4 weekly drawings for a $250,000 cash prize and one final drawing of $1 million.

Free Tickets

the yankee stadium with a game taking place
The Yankees and other MLB teams are giving away tickets to those who get vaccinated in their stadiums.

Now that things are finally opening back up, and people can go outside and enjoy life again, some amusement parks and sports teams are offering freebies and other incentives to those who get vaccinated. For example:

  • In Illinois, Six Flags Great America is donating 50,000 tickets for entrance to two of its amusement parks for people who are vaccinated.
  • Major League Baseball teams Yankees and Mets are offering vaccinations at their stadiums and a free ticket voucher for a 2021 or 2022 regular home game through June. 
  • The NFL have announced they will be giving away 50 tickets to Super Bowl LVI to vaccinated people who share why it’s important to get vaccinated.


Some states are trying get more young people on board with vaccination by offering a chance to win a free education: 

  • Ohio is offering 5 full-ride scholarships to any in-state college or university for residents between the ages of 12-17 who get the vaccine as part of the state’s lottery.
  • New York is including a full-ride scholarship to one of the state’s public universities for 12-17 year-olds who’ve gotten their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine as part of their state lottery. 
  • Delaware is including a full-ride scholarship to a public, in-state university to residents between the ages of 12-17 who receive a vaccine in their raffle. 

Employer Incentives

blue card with the words "gift card" on it
Some employers are offering gift cards, money, and paid time off to employees who get vaccinated.

In an attempt to get employees vaccinated, some companies are offering their employees extra forms of compensation. Employees who work in the following stores, and have received the vaccine, can expect the following incentives:

  • Grocery chain Aldi is offering up to 4 hours of paid time off for hourly workers
  • Dollar General is offering a stipend worth 4 work hours
  • Publix is handing out $125 gift cards
  • Apple and AT&T are offering paid time off
  • Kroger employees will be entered in a weekly sweepstakes to win $1 million, and 50 employees will get free groceries for a year.
  • Wawa is giving employees $300 

Other Freebies

  • Health insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield will put $50 on eligible members’ MyBlue Wellness Card after getting vaccinated. Members can use the money to purchase qualified medical expenses. 
  • The White House has partnered with Uber and Lyft to provide free transportation to vaccination sites and back.
  • NYC will give a free 7-day unlimited MetroCard, or 2 one-way commuter rail tickets, to people who get vaccinated at pop-up stops inside a subway or rail station.
  • For those who need someone to watch their children while they get vaccinated, KinderCare, Learning Care Group, and YMCA locations are offering free drop-in appointments.
  • Maine is giving away 5,000 fishing licenses and 5,000 hunting licenses for people 18 and older who are vaccinated. 
  • Places like the  NYC Aquarium, NY Botanic Garden, Bronx Zoo, Lincoln Center, and more in New York are offering free and discounted tickets to those who get vaccinated.

Coronavirus Update

The coronavirus pandemic rages on, with cases of the disease at an all time high. On Friday, January 8, the U.S. reported 283,204 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 21,862,773 cases. This is compounded by the fact that a new, highly contagious strain of the coronavirus from the U.K. has been detected in several states in the U.S., raising concerns that it will spread throughout our country. Fortunately, the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines that are currently being slowly distributed have been shown to be effective on the new strain. The bigger issue is the slowness of the distribution of the vaccines; experts are warning that herd immunity could now take almost 3 years instead of one. President-elect Biden, though, intends to release available vaccines quickly once he is inaugurated on January 20. 

Record Number of Deaths Reported

Data provided by Johns Hopkins University has shown that the U.S. has now had a single day during which more than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths were reported, the most deaths ever reported in one day from the illness. California and Texas are both experiencing high levels of hospitalizations; Los Angeles County had reports of ambulance crews waiting outside hospitals for hours, and Texas for the 5th day in a row experienced high hospitalization numbers.

white figures of people with a shot in front of them with the word "herd immunity" on the shot
Because the vaccine has not been utilized as much as it was expected to be, herd immunity can take almost 3 years to go into effect.

U.S. Could Take 3 Years To Reach Herd Immunity

The coronavirus vaccine is not being administered as quickly as it was projected to be. More than 22 million doses have been distributed, and only 6.7 million people have received their first dose of a vaccine. Federal officials had projected that 20 million people were going to receive their first dose by the beginning of the year; at this current rate, it could take almost 3 years to reach herd immunity. 

President-elect Biden has announced that he plans to release all available doses when he gets into office. The goal is to allow more people access to a first dose. “The President-elect believes we must accelerate distribution of the vaccine while continuing to ensure the Americans who need it most get it as soon as possible. He supports releasing available doses immediately, and believes the government should stop holding back vaccine supply so we can get more shots in Americans’ arms now,” said TJ Ducklo, a spokesman for Biden’s transition team.

Giving the first dose to everyone instead of holding back available supplies for second doses could help reduce the number of new cases. However, releasing all available vaccines could be an issue. Vaccine manufacturing has not ramped up enough to be able to provide a large number of vaccines, which would limit availability of second doses. 

President-Elect Biden Calls For Increased Stimulus Amount

The IRS is currently sending out $600 payments to Americans, but Biden has said he believes that more should be provided. On Friday, January 8, Biden called for increasing the most recent stimulus payments to $2,000, which he suggested should be part of the next coronavirus stimulus bill. hundred dollar bills stacked in front of each other.

“We need more direct relief flowing to families and small businesses, including finishing the job and getting people $2,000 in relief,” Biden said in Delaware. “$600 is simply not enough when you have to choose between paying rent or putting food on the table and keeping the lights on.”

However, one Democrat is not in support of the idea. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said that he would only support sending the money to those who really need it. “If they can direct money and they say, ‘This will help stimulate the economy,’ hell yeah I’m for it,” Manchin told the newspaper. “But basically right now, you better get them vaccinated.”

New U.K. Covid-19 Strain In Several States

A new strain of the virus found in the U.K. has been identified in the U.S. The CDC has identified at least 52 cases of the B.1.1.7 mutation in the U.S. in the following states:

  • California
  • Florida
  • New York
  • Colorado
  • Georgia

Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Texas also announced cases of the new strain on Thursday, January 7. Governors worry that the new strain could lead to another shutdown because of the virulence of the strain. Fortunately, the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech appears to be effective against the new variants identified in the U.K. and South Africa. 

No New U.S. Variants

viruses in different shades of red.
There have been new variants of the coronavirus from the U.K. and South Africa that reached America, but no findings of a new U.S. variant.

The White House coronavirus task force has suggested that there could be a new variant of the virus that evolved in the U.S. and is spreading. This new strain, which is different from the U.K. variant, is spreading in communities and may be 50% more transmissible than the current strain, according to the task force. However, the CDC has said that it has not seen the spreading of a highly contagious new U.S. variant. 

“It is highly likely there are many variants evolving simultaneously across the globe,” Jason McDonald, a spokesman for the CDC, said in an email to CNBC. He added that there’s a “strong possibility” there are variants in the U.S., but it could be weeks or months before officials identify a particular variant that is “fueling the surge in the United States similar to the surge in the United Kingdom.”

“Researchers have been monitoring U.S. strains since the pandemic began, including 5,700 samples collected in November and December,” he said. “To date, neither researchers nor analysts at CDC have seen the emergence of a particular variant in the United States as has been seen with the emergence of B.1.1.7 in the United Kingdom or B.1.351 in South Africa.”

Coronavirus Update

Ten months into the coronavirus pandemic and we are still in the thick of things, although there is now some light at the end of the tunnel. Many states, as well as other countries, are seeing a sharp rise in cases and hospitalizations, and the U.S. has now officially surpassed 300,000 deaths from the virus. This wave of the pandemic has led to some states enforcing tighter restrictions, such as mandating a 10-day quarantine for those who travel out of state and closing down indoor dining and gyms. Fortunately, though, less than a year after the pandemic began, there are now 2 vaccines authorized for emergency use, which will hopefully be distributed to the general public soon. 

Coronavirus Cases & Deaths Hit New Recordsvirus in the background with a blue arrow trending upwards

The US recorded 247,403 new coronavirus cases on December 16, a record for one day. On Thursday, December 17, The U.S. reported that 114,237 people were hospitalized, which is the highest number since the pandemic began. It is also the 6th consecutive day that the U.S. remained above 100,000 hospitalizations. The daily numbers of hospitalizations in the country for the last week were as follows:

  • Dec. 17: 114,237
  • Dec. 16: 113,090
  • Dec. 15: 112,814
  • Dec. 14: 110,549
  • Dec. 13: 109,298 

The nation averaged 2,569 deaths per day last week, which is the highest average we have seen to date. The total number of deaths reported on December 16 was 3,656, a one-day high. California shattered the record for highest number of COVID-19 deaths in a day in one state with 379 deaths.

COVID-19 Death Rate 3x That of the Flu

Research published last week suggested that the coronavirus causes more severe symptoms than does the flu. The study also shows that the rate of death is three times higher for COVID-19 than the death rate for hospitalized flu patients. 

“Our study is the largest to date to compare the two diseases and confirms that COVID-19 is far more serious than the flu,” said Catherine Quantin from the French research institute INSERM. “The finding that the COVID-19 death rate was three times higher than for seasonal influenza is particularly striking when reminded that the 2018/2019 flu season had been the worst in the past five years in France in terms of number of deaths.”

hands squeezing someone's arm while putting a shot in the arm
2 vaccines have been approved for emergency use. The first to get the Covid-19 vaccine are healthcare workers and nursing home residents.

Coronavirus Vaccines Rolling Out Across U.S.

The first doses of FDA-authorized Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered to all 50 states, less than a year after the disease was first spotted in the U.S. This vaccine was the first to be authorized in the U.S. for emergency use, with healthcare workers and residents in long-term care facilities slated to be the first to get the shot. And, on Monday, December 14, the nation watched as the first doses were injected into healthcare workers. Each person who receives the vaccine will need 2 doses approximately 21 days apart.

Then, on Friday, December 18, a week after the Pfizer vaccine got the green light for distribution, the FDA granted emergency use authorization to the Moderna coronavirus vaccine. The difference between the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines is that Moderna’s does not need to be stored at extremely low temperatures. 

FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn released a statement saying, “With the availability of two vaccines now for the prevention of COVID-19, the FDA has taken another crucial step in the fight against this global pandemic that is causing vast numbers of hospitalizations and deaths in the United States each day.”

Having two vaccines soon to be available to the wider public is great news, but as Dr. Peter Marks, the chief vaccine regulator at the FDA’s Center for Biologics Research and Evaluation, told a news briefing.“Our work evaluating the vaccine does not end with the authorization. And we’ve made clear we expect vaccine manufacturers to continue to study their vaccines and to move toward licensure.” 

Between the two vaccines, we will have 40 million doses available for 20 million people by the end of December.  

FDA Investigates COVID-19 Vaccine For Allergens 

There have been some reported cases of allergic reactions in people who have received the Pfizer vaccine. Dr. Peter Marks, who heads the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, is investigating what compound may be responsible for these reactions. caucasian woman with brown hair and a mask on grabbing her chest

At least three cases of anaphylaxis — a severe allergic reaction — have been reported in the first week of the rollout of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the US, as well as two cases in Britain. The healthcare workers who experienced the reactions were quickly treated. Dr Marks said, “It is known that one of the components that is present in both of the vaccines, polyethylene glycol, can be associated uncommonly with allergic reactions.” 

All administration sites that provide the vaccine must keep treatments, such as epi-pens, on hand for any allergic reactions.

Trial Designs Underway To Assess If Vaccine Can Prevent Carrying Of COVID-19

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have both been proven to reduce the risk of the disease. Moderna has stated that data suggests their vaccine can prevent asymptomatic as well as symptomatic infection.

Dr. Francis Collins, director of National Institutes of Health said that a trial is underway assessing whether the coronavirus vaccines can prevent people from carrying and spreading the virus. “There is a trial getting designed right now about how we will assess whether the vaccines actually prevent people from having any virus in their airway, because you want to know that,” Collins told CNN.

black calculator on top of different amounts of money bills.
A second round of stimulus checks of $600 has been approved and set to be sent out as early as next week.

Second Round Of Stimulus Checks

Lawmakers have come to a finalization on the second round of stimulus checks. Individuals earning up to $75,000 and couples earning $150,000 in 2019 will receive a $600 check, half the value of the first round of checks issued under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Stability, or CARES, Act. Taxpayers will also receive an additional $600 for each child under age 17. If individuals make between $75,000 and $95,000 annually, then they may be getting a portion, but not the entire $600.

According to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, checks might be rolling out as soon as next week.

Is A Coronavirus Vaccine On The Way?

The fastest a vaccine has ever been developed and made available for distribution is 4 years, but scientists are currently trying to develop one for the coronavirus in under a year. Scientists in dozens of countries around the world have been working hard since January, after scientists in China began posting online about a novel virus that was causing pneumonia. Billions of dollars have been allocated for creating and testing vaccines on animals and humans, and some are already headed to crucial Phase 3 trials. Some health officials are hopeful that one will be successful and will be available for distribution by the fall. Not all experts agree that a vaccine will be ready – and there are many Americans who say they will not take the approved vaccine at all. 

lab flasks in a tray with an syringe on top of the tray,

The Different Phases

As of August 18, there were 200 experimental vaccines in different phases of the development process. These phases are:

  • Pre-clinical Phase – tested on animals in laboratory studies There are currently over 140 vaccines in this phase.

    persons arm getting a shot of clear liquid into their arm from a hand with a clear glove on it
    Some vaccines are in the phase of being tested out on humans.
  • Phase 1 – tested on small numbers of young, healthy people to establish the correct dosage. 21 vaccines are in this phase.
  • Phase 2 – tested on a larger group of people, including those at a higher risk of illness. 13 vaccines are in this phase.
  • Phase 3 – tested on thousands of people to check effectiveness and safety. Currently 8 vaccines are in this phase.
  • Approved – Currently there are 2 vaccines approved for early or limited use. Each country’s regulators will review the results of trials, and decide whether to approve the vaccine. 

Operation Warp Speed, the White House-led public-private partnership for developing a vaccine, is pushing partners to start the vaccine distribution process by November 1st. To calm American’s fears, government officials have promised that no phases will be skipped, and any vaccine candidates that do not go through each phase will not be considered for approval in the U.S. Other countries may not be using the same standards, however. Russia is claiming that they have made a breakthrough and has begun manufacturing their vaccine, Sputnik V. The Russian government approved manufacturing of Sputnik V on August 18, before the beginning of Phase 3 trials. In addition, China has already authorized a vaccine for members of its military.

Around the world, there are currently 32 vaccines in human trials. In the U.S., there are currently 13,194 participants in Phase 3 trial testing for a vaccine developed by drug company Moderna Inc. About 18% of participants are Black, Latino, Native American, or Alaskan Native. The University of Maryland, Baltimore is looking for more older adults and minorities to participate in trials. The goal is to get about 30,000 volunteers nationwide to take the vaccine. 

CDC Begins Making Distribution Plans

illustration of a woman pointing at a poster with green circles connected
The CDC is collaborating with officials in 4 different states and one city in order to come up with a distribution plan.

The CDC is collaborating with officials in 4 different states and one city in order to come up with a distribution plan for the coronavirus vaccine. The 4 states are: California, Minnesota, Florida, and North Dakota. The city of Philadelphia will also be working with the CDC to come up with a distribution plan. 

The plans include details about:

  • How to transport the vaccine
  • How and where to store the vaccine (it may require very cold storage)
  • Who will receive priority access to the initial limited doses
  • How to track recipients who might need additional doses

The states and city will need to prepare mass vaccination clinics, including pharmacies, hospitals, and doctor’s offices. The government will distribute the vaccine, needles, syringes, and face protectors directly to these clinics for free. Population density, demographics, and other factors will determine how many vaccines will be provided to each area.

Information will be shared with other states so that they can create their own plans for distribution. “We need states to have draft plans even if the draft plans aren’t perfect,” said Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “But frankly, we’re sort of running out of time.”

red hand over the word no in white
Many people in the age groups that are most affected by the virus have said that they will not get a vaccine.

Some Will Refuse To Get Coronavirus Vaccine

Surprisingly, many people in the age groups that are most affected by the virus have said that they will not get a vaccine when one becomes available. Some Generation Xers ( those aged 40-55), and Baby Boomers (those aged 56-74) have said that they are not necessarily anti-vaccine in general, but they are worried about their underlying health issues and possible side effects or long-term effects of the vaccine. 

Neil Johnson, a physicist at George Washington University, told CNN that the 4 most common things that people question about vaccines are: their safety; their necessity; the trustworthiness of the establishment and pharmaceutical companies creating them; and the perceived certainty of the science behind them. Polls have shown that people of color are less likely to get vaccinated: 67% of white Americans have said they would get the vaccine compared to 59% of nonwhite Americans. 

Will The Public Be Required To Get The Vaccine?jail cell in black and white

While some may be wondering whether they should take the vaccine, others are worried that there will be a public mandate to take it. Rumors are swirling that people who refuse to take it will be hit with a fine or even jailed. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview, “I don’t think you’ll ever see a mandating of a vaccine, particularly for the general public. They have the right to refuse a vaccine. I don’t think you need a contingency plan. If someone refuses the vaccine in the general public, then there’s nothing you can do about that. You cannot force someone to take a vaccine.”\

There are also rumors that people who refuse the vaccine could be barred from workplaces and schools. As of now, we can only wait and see when there will be an approved vaccine that can be widely distributed in the U.S. President Trump is pushing for a miracle by election day, but health officials say we should set our sights on early 2021.

Coronavirus Update: Week 17

The debate over the economic stimulus package continues, despite the fact that Congress is in recess. President Trump has been saying that he would step in if there was no agreement reached, and he has now signed executive orders related to stimulating the economy. It is still unclear what will happen with the House’s trillion dollar package, as well as what will happen to the U.S. Postal Service. In the meantime, the struggling economy is not the only thing our country is dealing with. While Americans wait for financial help, the coronavirus continues to rampage throughout the country. Testing doesn’t seem to be high on the government’s priority list, so there has been a decrease in testing numbers.

CDC Projects Nearly 189,000 Deaths By Sept. 5

The U.S. has reached more than 5.2 million coronavirus cases and a death toll of over 167,000. On Thursday, August 13, the CDC published its projection that over 188,982 deaths are possible by September. “State- and territory-level ensemble forecasts predict that the number of reported new deaths per week may increase over the next four weeks in Colorado and may decrease in Arizona, the Northern Mariana Islands, Vermont, and Wyoming,” the CDC said on its forecasting website.

U.S. Testing Numbers Falling In Recent Weeks graph going downawards

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, officials have been working to expand testing in the U.S. in order to help slow the spread of the virus. But for the last 2 weeks, the country has fallen short on testing. Testing numbers have been averaging about 733,000 people per day, but the recent seven-day average dropped to 709,000, which is the lowest in nearly a month. 

CDC Advises Those Recovered To Not Quarantine

In recently updated guidance, the CDC has said that those who have recovered from the virus do not need to quarantine or get tested for 3 months after recovering. Instead, they should just continue to socially distance and wear masks around others. 

people's hands putting a sheet of paper in a ballot box
Trump is hoping to block funding in order to stop people from voting by mail, a voting method that he sees as a threat to his reelection

Trump Opposes Election Aid For States & Postal Bailout

On Thursday, August 13, President Trump said that he opposes much-needed funding for the U.S. Postal Service. He is hoping to block funding in order to stop people from voting by mail, a voting method that he sees as a threat to his reelection. He also said that if the USPS does not receive the additional $25 billion in funding that Democrats have requested, then he believes that the Post Office will not be able to handle the influx of mail-in ballots.

“They want three and a half billion dollars for something that’ll turn out to be fraudulent, that’s election money basically. They want three and a half billion dollars for the mail-in votes. Universal mail-in ballots. They want $25 billion, billion, for the Post Office. Now they need that money in order to make the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said, repeating his false claims that mail-in voting would be “fraudulent.”

“But if they don’t get those two items that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it,” Trump added.

The Debate On The Stimulus Checks

The Senate recently adjourned for recess until September, leaving the stimulus bill up in the air. In the meantime, President Trump has signed a series of executive orders, which included $400 in weekly unemployment benefits, but it is unclear whether these executive orders will be put into effect. . 

After both sides of the aisle blamed each other for the stalemate on the stimulus package, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to her Democratc colleagues criticizing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on his unwillingness to put the package to the Senate for a vote, and on Republicans’ refusal to help keep the USPS afloat. Pelosi wrote,”In the time of pandemic, the Postal System is Election Central. All patriots, Democrats, Independents or Republicans, should reject the President’s assault on the Postal System in this election season.”

Obesity Raises Risk Of Death In Men

doctors hands wrapping a measuring tape around a mans belly.
A new study shows that obesity is an independent risk factor of dying from coronavirus among adults aged 60 and younger.

A new study shows that obesity is an independent risk factor of dying from coronavirus among adults aged 60 and younger. Obesity causes restricted breathing, which can further complicate the respiratory symptoms of Covid-19. The risk seems to be much higher for men than for women.

“Body mass index is a really important, strong independent risk factor for death among those who are diagnosed with Covid-19,” said Sara Tartof, the study’s first author, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente of Southern California. But “the impact is not uniform across the population,” she added. “You don’t really see it for the older ages, and we didn’t see it as an important risk for females at any age.”

Mitt Romney Criticizes Trump On Handling Of Coronavirus

Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has offered his disdain regarding Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, saying that Trump left it to spiral out of control. 

“Short term, I think it’s fair to say we really have not distinguished ourselves in a positive way by how we responded to the crisis when it was upon us,” Romney said in a video interview with the Sutherland Institute. “And the proof of the pudding of that is simply that we have 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of the world’s deaths due to covid-19.”