What is Coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus causing the World Health Organization (WHO) to classify this outbreak as a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Anyone experiencing emergency signs such as difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or bluish lips or face should immediately seek medical attention.

For the latest updates and more information go to:

What You Should Know

Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person and the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The CDC urges citizens to monitor your health and practice social distancing. Social distancing means staying out of crowded places, avoiding group gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible.

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Recent 2021 2020

Dr. Fauci: ‘We Very Well may Need to get Booster Shots’ for COVID — Here’s When
CNBC  |  April 15, 2021

White House chief advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said people may need to get booster shots for the COVID vaccines in a year. Recent data suggests that Pfizer and Moderna’s Covid vaccines provide protection for at least six months, he said.

Daily U.S. Covid Cases Remain Above 70,000 Amid Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause
CNBC  |  April 15, 2021

The rate of new U.S. coronavirus cases remains elevated as the country tries to ramp up its vaccination campaign following the distribution halt of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. The country is reporting about 71,200 new COVID cases per day, based on a seven-day average of data from Johns Hopkins University.

As Vaccination Drive Continues, Office Landlords Bet on Virus Testing to Speed Up Office Returns
Wealth Management Real Estate  |  April 9, 2021

More companies are announcing they will be returning to the office. On-site COVID-19 testing might be another inducement.

Americans Prefer Investing in Homes Over Stocks
MarketWatch  |  April 9, 2021

A new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York examined consumer preferences toward being a homeowner and how their attitudes have changed over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Average Office Utilization Rate Shrinks Dramatically over Pandemic’s Course
Mortgage Professional America  |  April 9, 2021

While on average 30% of office spaces were utilized in January 2020, data from VergeSense found that the economic impact of COVID-19 led to that rate shrinking to a scant 7.9% in January.

The Paycheck Protection Program Has a Problem. It Will Likely Run Out of Money Before May 31 Deadline
CNBC  |  April 8, 2021

Small businesses are realizing they might not have much time to tap the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as they thought. That’s because the money is running out. As of April 5, the Small Business Administration, which oversees the program, has approved nearly 4 million PPP loans worth about $224 billion, according to the agency. That means about $68 billion is left.

Why PPP Loan Applications are Getting Stuck and How to Keep Yours Moving
Forbes  |  April 8, 2021

By now, we know the latest round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is moving much slower than the first rounds did. As of this writing, only 74% of the $284 billion in PPP funds have been approved. There are a few critical stages in the process where applications are getting held up. This article discusses the common problems and what you can do to keep your application moving forward to funding.

Mortgage Servicers are Stepping up During COVID
HousingWire  |  April 8, 2021

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently released to Congress the 2020 Consumer Response report. While overall complaints were up 54% year-over-year, complaints against mortgage companies were up just 7.5%, and complaints against mortgage servicers were actually down, by 3.5%.

Fauci Says New Covid-19 Cases are at a Disturbing Level as the U.S. is Primed for a Surge
CNN  |  April 8, 2021

The number of new COVID-19 cases has plateaued at a "disturbingly high level," and the U.S. is at risk from a new surge, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned. While lower than the peak earlier this year, there were still more than 61,000 new cases reported on Wednesday. "It's almost a race between getting people vaccinated and this surge that seems to want to increase," Fauci said. 

There's a Lot of Debate About Vaccine Passports Right Now. What are They, and How Would They Work?
CNN  |  April 8, 2021

With millions of Americans being vaccinated against COVID-19 every day, a heated debate is underway -- do these people need proof of immunization in the form of a vaccine passport? Just like a national passport, a vaccine passport could allow the bearer entrance to a venue, like a crowded concert, or a foreign country that demands proof of vaccination in addition to a visa and valid national passport.

CDC: Coronavirus Variant First Found in U.K. Now Dominant Strain in U.S.
U.S. News & World Report  |  April 8, 2021

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that the highly transmissible coronavirus variant first detected in the U.K. has become the dominant strain circulating in the U.S. According to CDC data, over 16,000 cases of the variant have been documented in the U.S., though experts warn that is likely an undercount. Studies have suggested that the variant is more transmissible and likely more deadly.

Coronavirus Cases Hold Steady at 65,000 Per Day
Axios  |  April 8, 2021

Coronavirus cases are holding steady across the U.S. as vaccinations increase and states continue to loosen their safety measures. The U.S. averaged about 65,000 new cases per day over the past week, essentially unchanged from the week before. Daily case counts increased in 13 states and declined in nine.

Some People See Side Effects After First Dose of COVID-19 vaccine — and This May be Why
WSB-TV/Atlanta  |  April 8, 2021

We are learning more about how our bodies respond to the COVID-19 vaccine. While the majority of people have little reaction to their first shot, a select few get pretty sick. And now we may know why. The reason could be that your body is already familiar with this virus.

State Update: Researchers identify Cases of ‘Double Mutant’ COVID Variant in CA, NY Creates $2B Fund to Provide Illegal Immigrants with Relief, CO Vaccination Site Closes After Reactions to Vaccine
April 8, 2021

Stanford University researchers have identified five new cases of a “double mutant” COVID-19 strain that was recently discovered in the San Francisco Bay Area. Doctors suspect it could be more contagious and may be resistant to existing vaccines. Mutations in the variant have been shown to make the virus more transmissible. There is also evidence that antibodies don’t recognize one of the mutations, which has been found in other strains to reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.

New York lawmakers struck a deal this week to establish a $2.1 billion coronavirus relief fund for undocumented immigrants and other unemployed workers who were ineligible for federal aid during the pandemic. The fund, which was announced as part of a broader $212 billion state budget agreement, will offer one-time payments of up to $15,600 to undocumented immigrants who lost their jobs during the virus-induced crisis.

A vaccination site in Colorado closed early Wednesday after a "limited number" of people began having adverse reactions to the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, resulting in hundreds of people who waited in line for hours being sent home without receiving a shot. More than 1,700 people received vaccine shots at the site Wednesday.

You're Vaccinated Now, so Can You go to a Restaurant? What You Should Know
CNN  |  April 8, 2021
As the vaccinated percentage of the population increases, you may be wondering whether now is finally the time to enjoy a meal that isn't homemade or takeout. Indoor dining and drinking at restaurants and bars is riskier, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Not only are people from different households gathering in the same space, but you have to take your mask off to eat and drink.
After Covid, Should You Keep Working From Home? Here’s How to Decide.
The Wall Street Journal  |  April 8, 2021

Only 11% of employers in a recent Conference Board survey report that they expect to require all their workers to return to the office over the long term—although 27% of respondents said their plans were unknown—and about a third say that 40% or more of their workforce will be primarily remote.

‘We Can’t Compete With All Cash’: The Struggle is Real to Buy a Home During COVID-19
MarketWatch  |  April 2, 2021

The homeownership rate across the country has never fully recovered since the Great Recession. And Americans looking to become homeowners face major hurdles on the path toward that goal.

State Roundup: Arizona Moves Closer to Ending Mask Mandate; Nevada, NC Extend Eviction Mortatoriums
April 2, 2021

The Arizona Senate voted to end the state’s mandatory mask policy.

Meanwhile, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced an extension to the state’s eviction moratorium and Gov. Roy Cooper extended North Carolina’s statewide residential eviction moratorium through June 30.

Doctors Advise Against Traveling Immediately After Your Vaccination. Here’s Why.
The Washington Post  |  April 2, 2021

While vaccines are welcome news for those who want to get away after being grounded for a year, experts say to wait at least two weeks before traveling so the vaccine can do its job.

Study: Pfizer Vaccine Effective in Adolescents
The New York Times  |  April 2, 2021

Pfizer said that a clinical trial shows its vaccine to be extremely effective among kids 12 to 15 with no serious side effects—potentially speeding a return to normal for millions of families. Vaccinations for high school and middle school students could begin ahead of the next academic year. Even as more Americans get vaccinated, infection rates are nearing the height of the July 2020 surge. Experts attribute the increase to several factors, including pandemic fatigue, restriction rollbacks, and more contagious variants.

CDC: COVID-19 Was 3rd-Leading Cause Of Death In 2020, People Of Color Hit Hardest
NPR  |  April 2, 2021

New CDC data show that the virus was the third-highest underlying cause of death last year, behind heart disease and cancer. The 375,000 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. disproportionately affected communities of color, according to the CDC.

Study: Vaccine Effective in Adolescents
April 2, 2021
  • Pfizer said that a clinical trial shows its vaccine to be extremely effective among kids 12 to 15 with no serious side effects—potentially speeding a return to normal for millions of families. Vaccinations for high school and middle school students could begin ahead of the next academic year. Even as more Americans get vaccinated, infection rates are nearing the height of the July 2020 surge. Experts attribute the increase to several factors, including pandemic fatigue, restriction rollbacks, and more contagious variants.
Opinion: Post-COVID Equity Must Include Closing Racial Gaps in Housing
The Hill  |  April 2, 2021

Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Pamela Hughes Patenaude, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, write that a dedicated focus on reducing the racial disparities that exist in housing can make a significant contribution as America recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

CFPB Reverses Pandemic Flexibilities, Vowing Enforcement of Dodd-Frank
HousingWire  |  April 2, 2021

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Wednesday it is rescinding seven of its temporary policies put in place to protect consumers during the pandemic. The seven rescissions will be effective Thursday, April 1, with the government agency noting that it intends to exercise the full scope of its supervisory and enforcement authority provided under the Dodd-Frank Act.

Mortgage Firms Warned to Prepare for a ‘Tidal Wave’ of Distress
Yahoo! Finance  |  April 2, 2021

Mortgage companies could face penalties if they don’t take steps to prevent a deluge of foreclosures that threatens to hit the housing market later this year, a U.S. regulator said Thursday. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau warning is tied to forbearance relief that’s allowed million of borrowers to delay their mortgage payments due to the pandemic.

Senate Extends Pandemic Assistance for Small Businesses for 2 Months
CNBC  |  March 26, 2021

Senators voted 92 to 7 to pass the PPP Extension Act of 2021, which extends the program to May 31 instead of the current March 31 deadline and gives the SBA another 30 days to process loans.  

Senate Overwhelmingly Votes to Extend Small Business Rescue
Politico  |  March 25, 2021

Congress on Thursday agreed to keep the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) alive for another two months, giving the nation's small businesses more time to borrow billions of dollars in government-backed loans to stay afloat. The Senate voted 92-7 in favor of legislation that would delay the PPP's loan application deadline to May 31 from March 31, sending the bill to President Joe Biden for his signature following House passage last week.

The CDC is Tracking a Recent Uptick in COVID-19 Cases. Its Chief Says Spring Breakers and Eased Restrictions Concern Her
CNN  |  March 25, 2021
Not enough Americans are fully vaccinated yet to suppress the spread of the virus -- and eased restrictions across the country coupled with spring break crowds could spell trouble, one expert said. "What concerns me is the footage of what's happening in spring breakers, in people who are not continuing to implement prevention strategies while we get fully scaled up," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.
Unemployment Claims Sink to Coronavirus Pandemic Low of 684,000
FOX Business  |  March 25, 2021

The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell to the lowest number since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Labor Department. Data released Thursday showed 684,000 Americans filed first-time jobless claims in the week ended March 20. Analysts were expecting 730,000 filings. 

30 Million People may Receive $1,400 Stimulus Checks After Social Security Administration Provides Payment Information to IRS
CNBC  |  March 25, 2021

The Social Security Administration has sent information to the IRS that will help clear the way for almost 30 million people to receive their $1,400 stimulus checks, lawmakers said. The development comes after Democratic leaders on the House Ways and Means Committee gave the agency 24 hours to turn over the payment information so the IRS could process the payments.

Federal Update: Biden Doubles Vaccine Goal for First 100 Days, Biden’s New Testing Strategy Could Help End COVID, Researcher Says Botched U.S. Response More Than Doubled Death Toll
March 25, 2021

President Joe Biden said his administration is aiming to distribute 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in its first 100 days, doubling the original goal after easily surpassing it last week. Biden framed the more ambitious target as the best and fastest way to contain the virus, which he said is his most important mission. “I know it’s ambitious, twice our original goal, but no other country in the world has come close … to what we are doing,” Biden said.

The Biden administration is trying to transform the United States’ COVID-19 testing system — shifting focus from diagnosing people who suspect they're infected to regularly screening millions of Americans at school or work. The White House announced last week that it would spend $10 billion on screening programs for K-12 students as part of a broader national effort to return kids to classrooms. The administration has also inked deals with several manufacturers of rapid tests designed for at-home use. 

The U.S. coronavirus death toll could have stayed under 300,000 if by last May the nation had adopted firm mask, social distancing, and testing protocols while waiting for vaccines to vanquish the crisis, a University of California, Los Angeles economics professor estimates. The U.S. death toll exceeds 540,000 and is continuing to rise. UCLA Professor Andrew Atkeson projects a final fatality level of around 672,000.

State Update: Billions from Relief Bill Heading to States and Health Centers, Amazon Launches COVID-19 Vaccinations at Some Warehouses, Michigan Sees ‘Alarming Increase’ in COVID-19 Hospitalizations
March 25, 2021

Community health centers will receive more than $6 billion from the federal government to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, testing and treatment for vulnerable populations, the administration announced. An additional $3 billion will be distributed to states, territories and some large cities for initiatives intended to increase vaccine access, acceptance and uptake. Another $330 million will go directly to support community health workers.

Some Amazon warehouse workers will soon be able to get vaccinated against Covid-19 at their workplace. Amazon announced it’s setting up on-site vaccination clinics at fulfillment centers in Missouri, followed by Nevada and Kansas in the coming weeks. At the clinics, which are expected to run for about five days, vaccines will be administered to employees by licensed health care providers. The company said it expects to launch vaccination clinics at additional warehouses across the country as more vaccine supply becomes available.

Michigan is seeing an “alarming increase” in hospitalizations among younger adults who are less likely to be vaccinated, says the Michigan Health & Hospital Association. In the past three weeks, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has more than doubled, from about 824 on March 1 compared to 1,687 reported March 23. The increases are being driven by younger adults.

Pfizer Begins COVID Vaccine Trial on Infants and Young Kids
CNBC  |  March 25, 2021

Pfizer said it has started a clinical trial testing its COVID-19 vaccine on healthy 6-month to 11-year old children, a crucial step in obtaining federal regulatory clearance to start vaccinating young kids and controlling the pandemic. 

Black Workers, Hammered by Pandemic, now Being Left Behind in Recovery
Politico  |  March 25, 2021

Black Americans, who were among the hardest hit by coronavirus layoffs, are now recovering at the slowest rate, a one-two punch that threatens to worsen the United States' already stark wealth and income disparities long after the pandemic recedes.

Study says COVID-19 Vaccines Provide Protection for Pregnant and Lactating Women and Their Newborns
CNN Health  |  March 25, 2021

The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are effective in pregnant and lactating women, who can pass protective antibodies to newborns, according to research published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

'Brain Fog' and Other Neurologic Symptoms can Last for Months After COVID
NBC News  |  March 25, 2021

Ongoing, and in some cases debilitating, problems with thinking affect a large majority of COVID-19 patients who were never sick enough to be hospitalized, according to a new study. After the acute infection cleared, 85 percent reported at least four lasting neurological problems that have affected their daily lives.

To Shave or Not to Shave? How Beards may Affect COVID-19 Risk
CNN  |  March 25, 2021

For some, choosing to forego shaving could impact one crucial method for ending the pandemic. Depending on a beard's length and thickness, experts have said it may reduce the effectiveness of mask-wearing by creating more space between your face and the mask.

The House Voted to Extend PPP for Two Months. Here’s What Happens Next
CNBC  |  March 19, 2021

Small businesses got some good news on this week, when the House of Representatives voted to extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for two months. The bill, the PPP Extension Act of 2021, passed the House on a 415-3 vote. It would extend the program to May 31, instead of the current date of March 31, and give the Small Business Administration an additional 30 days to process loans.

Feds Mistakenly Gave Away $692M in Duplicate PPP Loans
FOX Business  |  March 19, 2021

The Small Business Administration mistakenly paid close to $692 million in duplicate Paycheck Protection Program loans to thousands of small businesses, even as others struggled to secure enough financing to stay afloat during the pandemic, according to a new report published by the agency's in-house watchdog.

Here's What Experts Say is Needed for US to Return to Normal. But These Barriers Stand in the Way
CNN  |  March 19, 2021

States are pushing ahead with expanding COVID-19 vaccine access and rolling back restrictions on businesses and large gatherings as America seeks a return to normalcy. But experts say two barriers stand in the way of reaching herd immunity and getting back to life as we knew it -- COVID-19 variants and vaccine hesitancy.

COVID Masks Still Needed for Now, Says Dr. Scott Gottlieb
CNBC  |  March 19, 2021

Americans should continue wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus transmission at this point in the pandemic, Dr. Scott Gottlieb said. “We need to be careful this month. I don’t think that this is the time to start lifting ... the simpler mitigations like wearing masks, things like that,” the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner said.

Updated CDC Guidance Says 3 Feet of Physical Distancing is Safe in Schools
CNN  |  March 19, 2021

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday is updating its physical distancing guidelines for children in schools from 6 feet to 3 feet. The CDC has previously said schools should try to maintain at least 6 ft of distance between children, but in light of new data, the agency is now recommending most students maintain at least 3 ft of distance.

Federal Update: Fed Allows COVID-19 Capital Requirement Exemption to Lapse, Administration Scrambles to Avert COVID Outbreaks at the Southern Border, Start of Child Tax Credit Payments may be Delayed
March 19, 2021

The Federal Reserve announced it will allow a temporary reduction in capital requirements for major banks to expire but will consider future changes to prevent dysfunction in financial markets. The Fed said that after March 31, banks will be required to hold a certain amount of capital to cover their holdings of Treasury bonds and deposits at reserve banks after it had exempted those assets from the Supplementary Leverage Ratio (SLR) in April.

The federal government does not have a centralized system for tracking or responding to COVID-19 cases among the surge of migrants crossing the United States’ southern border. The Biden administration has outsourced most COVID-19 testing and quarantining for migrants to local health agencies and nongovernmental organizations. But it’s unclear how many have been tested for the virus, how many have tested positive and where infected people are being isolated along the border.

The head of the Internal Revenue Service warned that it may not be able to start sending child tax credit payments in July, as called for by the $1.9 trillion relief law. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig told a House subcommittee that the agency is struggling to juggle the traditional tax season, the $1,400 stimulus payments and the other demands that the Democrats' massive new relief package has placed on it.

State Update: 15 States See COVID Cases Rise, States are Finding More Unreported COVID-19 Deaths, U.S. COVID-19 Travel Restrictions State by State
March 19, 2021

Soaring numbers of COVID-19 cases have been recorded in more than a dozen states — as experts warn that the U.S. could see a resurgence if Americans let their guard down with more lax public health rules. Though the national case tally has fallen by 32.5% over the last month, there are 15 states that have seen their numbers increase by at least 10%. Those states are:  Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon and West Virginia.

While COVID-19 deaths head lower, raising hopes that the U.S. is turning a corner as vaccinations continue, states around the country are steadily finding previously unreported deaths that are causing data confusion. The issues largely involve systems that states are using to try to report COVID-19 data in near real time, and not deaths reported more slowly through death certificates.

Although some states continue to enforce travel restrictions and quarantines, in general more states have been moving toward looser restrictions or none at all in recent weeks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still warns against nonessential travel at this time. If you do decide to travel to another state, it is vital you stay updated on the latest statewide regulations. This article includes a list with links to state websites that have important details you should read before you cross state lines.

US Likely Needs to Include Vaccinating Children to Reach Herd Immunity, Fauci Says
CNN  |  March 19, 2021

The nation's top infectious disease expert said we might need to inoculate children to reach herd immunity. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci said people are too focused on the thought of herd immunity -- the point at which enough people are protected against the virus to suppress spread -- for this novel coronavirus.

First Baby in U.S. Born With Antibodies Against COVID-19
CBS News  |  March 19, 2021

At 36 weeks pregnant, a South Florida frontline health care worker received her first shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. She gave birth three weeks later to a healthy baby girl — with COVID-19 antibodies. Doctors believe the newborn marks the first known case of a baby born with coronavirus antibodies in the U.S. 

Johnson & Johnson Plans Next Generation COVID-19 Vaccine
FOX News  |  March 19, 2021

Johnson & Johnson is forging plans to create a second-generation coronavirus vaccine. The efforts come in parallel as the company works to boost manufacturing power to supply its existing coronavirus vaccine around the world.

$1.8 Billion Lost Due to Business Email Compromise in 2020
March 18, 2021

According to the FBI’s 2020 Internet Crime Report, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 791,790, complaints with reported losses exceeding $4.2 billion last year. Business email compromise (BEC) schemes continued to be the costliest, with 19,369 complaints resulting in losses of $1.8 billion. In regard to real estate, there were 13,638 fraud victims with $213,196,082 in reported losses. 

U.S. Job Openings Rise in January, Layoffs Decrease
Reuters  |  March 11, 2021

U.S. job openings increased in January and layoffs fell, offering more evidence the labor market was regaining its footing after wobbling late in 2020. Job openings, a measure of labor demand, rose to 6.9 million on the last day of January from 6.8 million in December, the Labor Department said.

House Lawmakers Strike Bipartisan Deal to Extend Small Business Loan Program
Politico  |  March 11, 2021

The leaders of the House Small Business Committee have reached a bipartisan agreement to extend the Paycheck Protection Program for two months amid growing concern that its March 31 expiration would deprive many employers of aid. The deal struck would delay the PPP's loan application deadline to May 31.

Looming Deadline and Last-Minute Changes Hinder PPP Loans
The New York Times  |  March 11, 2021

The latest revision of the Paycheck Protection Program appeared to be a victory for the most vulnerable small businesses, offering more generous relief to companies like solo ventures that were eligible for only tiny loans — or none at all. If only they could take advantage of the changes.

Money for Colleges, Libraries and Clubs: 10 Things You Might Not Know are in Biden's COVID-19 Relief Package
USA Today  |  March 11, 2021

President Joe Biden's COVID-19 relief bill is loaded with other less-discussed spending measures, helping make it the federal government's most robust infusion of aid to the poor and American workers in recent history. This article discusses 10 components you might not know about, each set to happen now that the bill passed.

How the Pandemic has Changed Your Taxes
The New York Times  |  March 11, 2021

Besides affecting the health, jobs, home lives and psyches of millions of Americans, the pandemic may also have consequences for your tax bill. Not surprisingly, taxpayers are confused. This article discussed some of the most significant changes.

U.S. COVID-19 Numbers are Way Too High to Relax Just Yet, CDC Director Warns
CNN  |  March 11, 2021
The country is at a pivotal point. Case numbers, after plateauing at high levels, may be beginning to decline again, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. "While these trends are starting to head in the right direction, the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths still remain too high and are somber reminders that we must remain vigilant as we work to scale up our vaccination efforts across this country," she said.
Five Charts Show how COVID-19 Stopped the U.S. Economy in its Tracks
CNBC  |  March 11, 2021

The first thing to go was transportation. As the United States began to shut down last March to stop the spread of COVID-19, people simply stopped going anywhere. In the months to come, unemployment would rise from 4.4% in March to 14.7% in April. First-quarter U.S. GDP would decline 4.8%; the next quarter, it would drop 31.4%.

One Year Into COVID: A Comprehensive Guide to Vaccinations, Mask-wearing, Self-care, Productivity and More
CNBC  |  March 11, 2021

It’s been a year since the World Health Organization officially declared COVID a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Questions still remain about how the pandemic will end and what living in a post-pandemic world looks like. This article discusses what you need to know to move forward.

Virus Drove Record U.S. Death Rate in 2020, CDC Finds
Politico  |  March 11, 2021

The U.S. death rate increased by 15 percent last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, making it the deadliest year in recorded U.S. history, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention will announce. The agency will summarize its findings in an upcoming report. COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer, the report found.

Federal Update: Biden Signs $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill, Biden: States to Make All Adults Eligible for Vaccine by May 1, Federal Judge in Ohio Rules CDC Exceeded Authority with Eviction Ban
March 11, 2021

President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill, hours before he planned to address the nation to begin an extensive outreach campaign explaining the massive spending package. The measure includes direct payments of up to $1,400 for individuals, billions to help schools and colleges reopen and funding for vaccine distribution – along with many other measures aimed at helping America recover from the pandemic. direct payments could start showing up in people's bank accounts as early as this weekend.

President Biden set a goal of July 4 to "get closer to normal" in reopening the country in his first prime-time address on Thursday night. To reach that goal, Biden said he would be directing all states to make all American adults eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1. As greater numbers of people are fully vaccinated, Biden said the Centers for Disease Control would update its guidance on activities like travel and attending church worship services. 

A federal judge in Ohio has ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overstepped its authority when it banned evictions nationwide. U.S. District Judge J. Philip Calabrese sided with a group of property owners that had argued in October that the CDC lacked the power to ban them from evicting their tenants. Landlords applauded the ruling.

State Update: States Lift COVID Restrictions Despite Warnings, Alaska First to Open Vaccine Access to Everyone, People Flying Into New York Will no Longer Have to Quarantine
March 11, 2021

More states are moving to significantly reopen their economies and terminate their mask mandates despite pleas from top U.S. officials to tread carefully until more Americans are vaccinated againstCOVID-19. Maryland became the latest state to allow restaurants, retailers and other businesses to reopen without capacity restrictions beginning Friday. Governors in Texas, Maryland, Mississippi, Connecticut, Arizona, West Virginia and Wyoming have announced similar plans in recent days.

Everyone aged 16 and older living or working in Alaska is now eligible to receive the vaccine, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said, making it the first state to allow all of its residents access to the vaccine. Alaska has fully vaccinated 16 percent of its population, the highest rate in the country. The pace of vaccinations in the United States has continued to accelerate, with about 2.15 million doses being given daily.

Domestic travelers will no longer be required to quarantine after entering New York from another state or U.S. territory beginning April 1, according to a press release from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. International travelers are still mandated to quarantine.

For Better or Worse, Working From Home is Here to Stay
CNBC  |  March 11, 2021

Vaccinated or not, more than half of employees said that, given the option, they would want to keep working from home even after the coronavirus crisis subsides, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. For those who can work from home for the first time, the new policies offer a reprieve from long commutes and lost time with family. 

The Coronavirus Pandemic has Eroded Women’s Bargaining Power at Work. What They Can do to Change That
CNBC  |  March 11, 2021

COVID has been hard on women – they’ve lost more jobs than men, have been overrepresented in higher-risk industries and some have had to juggle work and childcare amid a pandemic. That’s had a negative impact on how women perceive their bargaining power in the labor market.

Meet Gen C, the COVID Generation
CNN  |  March 11, 2021
It's no longer a question of if this pandemic will shape an entire generation. But how. Some experts have started to use a new term to talk about changes they're seeing that could cause ripple effects in children's lives far into the future. They've given a new name to the world's newest generation: Gen C, or Generation COVID.
A Year of Virtual Meetings and Hugs: What Do You Miss From Pre-pandemic Life?
March 11, 2021

It was one year ago today that the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Two days later, the United States declared a national emergency and the country started shutting down. While stay-at-home orders affected millions of workers, the title and settlement services industry pressed on as “essential businesses” and helped facilitate closings for a record-breaking $4.3 trillion in mortgages during 2020. But what do you miss most from your pre-pandemic life? According to responses on ALTA’s social media channels, the overwhelming majority miss travel, friends and hugs.

A Year Into COVID-19
March 11, 2021

A year into one of the most difficult years for public health in modern history, we’ve struggled, adapted and persevered. One positive thing from the crisis, however, is that it showed the country how the title and settlement services industry gets things done. We’d like to hear how COVID-19 has changed your life.

What the $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Bill Means for Title Professionals
March 9, 2021

President Biden on March 11 signed into law the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress. Read on for a summary of provisions of the American Rescue Plan that could impact title professionals, including another round of stimulus checks, money for the Paycheck Protection Program, as well as funds that could affect the commercial market.

Mortgage Rates Tick up Over 3 Percent, Dealing Battered Homebuyers Another Blow
Realtor.com  |  March 4, 2021

For the better part of a year, one bright spot for homebuyers in this hypercompetitive market of record-high prices and a record-low number of homes for sale has been mortgage interest rates, which dropped to unheard-of lows. Now it looks like the era of cheap loans may be coming to an end. Mortgages rates crossed the 3% threshold for the first time since July 2020, according to Freddie Mac.

SBA Substantially Increases PPP Loan Amount Eligibility for new Schedule C Borrowers
Forbes  |  March 4, 2021

If you’re a sole proprietor or owner of a very small business, how you calculate the amount you can borrow through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) just got a lot better. The SBA has released additional guidance on the PPP revamp. Now, an Interim Final Rule (IFR) clarifies that Schedule C filers can use gross income rather than net, as previously specified. This article has a closer look at what’s new.

Here's What we Know About the Senate Stimulus Plan
CNN  |  March 4, 2021

The Senate is negotiating how much to adjust the Democrats' massive coronavirus relief package that passed the House last week. While the final Senate bill has not been released yet, lawmakers are expected to make two major changes -- narrowing eligibility for the stimulus checks and nixing an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. This article discusses what's we know so far about what's in the Senate bill.

Millions of Americans are Moving to the Suburbs. Here’s How Much you Need to Earn to Buy a House
CNBC  |  March 4, 2021

As the country went underlockdown, Americans were on the move. Over the last year, 1 in 20 adults moved from where they were living either permanently or temporarily due to thecoronavirus outbreak, according to a recent report. But the pandemic-induced run on housing has fueled an affordability problem for many would-be buyers, despite record-low mortgage rates.

Federal Update: Senate Braces for Brutal Debate on Biden’s COVID Aid Bill, CDC Delays Guidelines for Vaccinated People, Biden Accelerates Vaccination Timeline After Manufacturing Deal
March 4, 2021

Senate Democrats are confident they can pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill well before the official March 14 deadline. But Republicans are setting up a grueling debate that appears likely to carry the partisan battle into the weekend. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed that the Senate would stay in session this week until the bill is passed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will not be releasing its guidance for vaccinated Americans on Thursday as originally planned, according to two senior administration officials with knowledge of the situation. After a series of meetings and calls with senior officials on the White House’s COVID-19 task force and the Department of Health and Human Services over the last two days, the CDC was told to “hold off on releasing” the recommendations, one of those sources said.

Merck will manufacture doses of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine under an agreement that will move up the timeline for offering shots to most Americans by nearly two months, President Joe Biden announced. The combination of two of the United States' largest pharmaceutical companies could help the Biden administration make good on its goal to produce at least 100 million shots by this summer and would see J&J increase its pace to around-the-clock production.

State Update: Five States are Rolling Back Mask Mandates. Here's What it Means, How Much Money Will Your State Get if Relief Bill Passes, Administration Taking COVID Variant in New York ‘Seriously’
March 4, 2021

Five states have announced rolling back mask mandates in major recalls of COVID-19 safety measures over the last month – leaving many to wonder whether additional states will join the tide and alter how the country is dealing with COVID-19 at a crucial moment in the fight against the disease. Cities, businesses and families are often making their own choices of whether to wear masks or go to restaurants, despite governors in Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Montana and Iowa urging their residents to go back to a virus carefree life.

California, Texas and New York would receive 29% of the $350 billion in direct aid that President Joe Biden has proposed for states and cities in his COVID-19 relief bill, according to an analysis of the projected allocations. That's slightly more than the three states' share of the U.S. population – 27%. The minor discrepancy is the result of a formula used in Biden’s American Rescue Plan that largely relies on the number of unemployed citizens in each state at the end of 2020, not overall population, to determine the funding amount for each state.

The Biden administration is taking the emergence of a new coronavirus strain in New York “very seriously,” White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said. The new strain is rapidly spreading in New York City and carries a mutation that could weaken the effectiveness of vaccines. The variant first appeared in November and now accounts for about 1-in-4 viral sequences.

A Complicating Factor in Combating COVID Hot Spots: Heat
Politico  |  March 4, 2021

If you overlaid a map of the country’s coronavirus hot spots with its actual hot spots — that is, neighborhoods with the highest levels of extreme heat — the maps would be virtually the same. These hot spots, better known as “heat islands,” are hotter than other neighborhoods because they often have large expanses of concrete, less greenery, higher density housing, lower average incomes and poorer health status than more affluent neighborhoods. The same factors have contributed to skyrocketing COVID-19 caseloads in those neighborhoods.

When Will Children be Able to Get COVID-19 Vaccines?
Associated Press  |  March 4, 2021

When will children be able to get COVID-19 vaccines? It depends on the child’s age, but some teenagers could be rolling up their sleeves before too long. Children develop serious illness or die from COVID-19 at much lower rates than adults, but can still spread the virus.

Why Kids are Hitting the Pandemic Wall
CNN  |  March 4, 2021

Across time zones, age groups and socioeconomic lines, young people appear to be hitting a breaking point that developmental psychologists are calling the "pandemic wall." It doesn't matter how dramatically kids' lives have changed, experts say. The fact that disruption has become normalized is traumatizing enough.

House to Vote Today on Biden's $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief Bill With $1,400 Checks
NBC  |  February 26, 2021

The Democratic-controlled House is expected to pass the sweeping bill, which includes $1,400 direct payments, a $400-a-week federal unemployment bonus, a per-child allowance of up to $3,600 for one year and billions of dollars to distribute thecoronavirus vaccines and to assist schools and local governments. The House bill also includes a federal minimum wage hike from $7.25 to $15 per hour, phased in over four years. The provision, a top progressive priority, is all but doomed in the Senate after a ruling Thursday evening by the in-house referee that it violates the chamber's rules for legislation that can pass with a simple majority.

FHFA Extends Forbearance Period to 18 Months
HousingWire  |  February 26, 2021

With the new extension set in motion, some borrowers may now be in forbearance through Aug. 31, 2022.

U.S. Jobless Claims Fall to 730,000 but Layoffs Remain High
Politico  |  February 25, 2021

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell sharply last week but remained high by historical standards. Applications for benefits declined 111,000 from the previous week to a seasonally adjusted 730,000, the Labor Department said. It is the lowest figure since late November.

The Smallest Businesses are Getting Extra PPP Help. What to Know Before you Apply
CNBC  |  February 25, 2021

The smallest businesses that have had the most trouble accessing forgivable loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will soon get extra help. The Biden administration has announced changes for the pandemic aid program focused on helping small and minority owned firms as well as sole proprietors. For two weeks, the Small Business Administration will only accept applications for PPP loans from firms with fewer than 20 employees.

Tracking COVID-19 Vaccines in the U.S.
CNN  |  February 25, 2021

Since the Food and Drug Administration issued emergency use authorization of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in December, the federal government has deferred to states and territories on how, when and to whom they administer these two-dose shots. This article shows how many doses have been administered in each state and who is being left out.

New Tool Aims to Show Where COVID-19 Shots are Available
CBS/WBNS  |  February 25, 2021

A CDC-backed tool previously used to help Americans find flu vaccines has been repurposed to show where COVID-19 vaccines are available by zip code. The goal of VaccineFinder.org is to make it easier for the public to find information about locations that carry vaccines in their communities. The website also gives vaccine providers an outlet to report if they are still stocked with the coronavirus vaccine.

Despite U.S. COVID-19 Cases Dropping, Infections are Still Staggeringly High. Here's What has Experts Worried
CNN  |  February 25, 2021

A new forecast published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the daily COVID-19 death rate will slow in the coming weeks. But now is no time to let up on safety measures according to experts. COVID-19 numbers across the U.S. remain staggeringly high, and experts have warned another case surge is likely on its way.

Drawing Down Savings, Relying on Food Banks: Americans Take Emergency Actions Amid the Pandemic
CNBC  |  February 25, 2021

As many as 40% of Americans have taken emergency financial measures amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a recent survey. For many, emergency financial actions meant either drawing down savings or asking for help. Thirteen percent tapped a savings account, 12% borrowed money from a family member or a friend and 11% used a food bank.

Federal Update: White House Planning to Forecast Vaccine Shipments Months in Advance, Fraud Fears and Messy Data Stall FEMA Program for COVID Victims, Coronavirus Sparks Debate Over Paid Leave
February 25, 2021

The Biden administration is planning to provide states with estimates of their expected vaccine shipments likely months ahead of time rather than weeks, according to multiple sources with knowledge. The longer planning window, which is expected to start as soon as next week, could address concerns from governors who had complained that limited shipment forecasts affect their ability to plan vaccination clinics and figure out where to steer doses. 

The federal government wants to help Americans pay for their families’ COVID-19-related funerals — if it can figure out how to keep the scam artists at bay. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is planning a $2 billion pandemic funeral assistance program, using money set aside in the $2.3 trillion spending package that former President Donald Trump signed in December. But progress has stalled over concerns within the agency that the program is vulnerable to widespread fraud.

Democrats, Republicans and corporate America are coalescing behind a federal paid leave policy for the first time in the U.S., one of few rich nations where workers aren’t automatically provided the benefit. But as they hammer out the details, fracture lines are already emerging that could derail the decades-long effort once again. The policy has garnered more bipartisan support than ever. But there is already a wide gap between what Biden campaigned on, what Republicans are amenable to and what employers think could be workable. 

State Update: States Pass Their Own Virus Aid, A New Coronavirus Variant is Spreading in New York, Texas to Deploy National deploy National Guard to Help Vaccinate Seniors
February 25, 2021

Not waiting for more federal help, states have been approving their own coronavirus aid packages, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to help residents and business owners devastated by the the pandemic’s economic fallout. Maryland and California recently moved forward with help for the poor, the jobless, small businesses and those needing child care. New Mexico and Pennsylvania are funneling grants directly to cash-starved businesses. 

A new form of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly in New York City, and it carries a worrisome mutation that may weaken the effectiveness of vaccines, two teams of researchers have found. The new variant, called B.1.526, first appeared in samples collected in the city in November. By the middle of this month, it accounted for about one in four viral sequences appearing in a database shared by scientists.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he’ll authorize the deployment of more than 1,100 National Guardsman as part of a statewide initiative to vaccinate homebound seniors against COVID-19.

You Asked, We’re Answering: Your Top Questions About COVID-19 and Vaccines
CNN  |  February 25, 2021

People from around the world have asked more than 130,000 questions (and counting) about coronavirus. CNN is reading as many as we can and answering some of the most popular questions. Search by topic or keyword to find answers to your questions. 

Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Flu has Disappeared in the U.S.
Associated Press  |  February 25, 2021

February is usually the peak of flu season, with doctors’ offices and hospitals packed with suffering patients. But not this year. Flu has virtually disappeared from the U.S., with reports coming in at far lower levels than anything seen in decades.

Biden Administration To Deliver 25 Million Masks To Health Centers And Food Banks
NPR  |  February 25, 2021

The federal government will distribute some 25 million masks to more than 1,300 community health centers and 60,000 food pantries and soup kitchens across the country.

Pfizer-BioNTech are Testing a Booster Shot of Their COVID Vaccine in a New Trial
CNBC  |  February 25, 2021

Pfizer and BioNTech are testing a third dose of their COVID-19 vaccine to better understand the immune response against new variants of the virus. They are also in talks with regulatory authorities about testing a vaccine modified to protect specifically against the highly transmissible new variant found in South Africa and elsewhere.

How to Sign Up for a COVID-19 Vaccine in Your State
NPR  |  February 18, 2021

The COVID-19 vaccines are here, but if it's your turn to get vaccinated, how are you supposed to sign up? The answers vary by place, so NPR created a tool to help you understand how things work in your state and connect you with local resources. NPR also is sharing guiding principles and advice for navigating the process. Search for your state and find the information you need.

COVID-19 Variants Could Fuel Another Surge. Fauci Says we Have Two Powerful Tools Against Them
CNN  |  February 18, 2021

COVID-19 variants are threatening to cause another surge of infections, health officials warned, and it's now more important than ever for Americans to continue practicing safety measures that work against the spread of the virus. But the U.S. has two powerful tools that can help against its spread and move the country further out of the pandemic's tunnel, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

COVID-19 Vaccines Will be Available for all Americans by July, but Vaccination Process Will Take Longer
CNN  |  February 18, 2021

Even though the United States will have enough COVID-19 vaccines for all Americans by at least the end of July, it may take an additional couple of months to get everyone vaccinated, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci. "How long it will take to vaccinate people will really depend upon the efficiency with which you get doses into people's arms," he said.

Vaccinated or Not, Many Workers Want to Remain Remote
CNBC  |  February 18, 2021

As vaccine distribution slowly gains steam, employers are starting to plan a return to normal — and the office — just as many workers are settling in at home. Vaccinated or not, more than half of employees said that, given the option, they would want to keep working from home even after the pandemic abates, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.

Federal Update: New $1,400 Stimulus Checks Could be Coming, COVID Advisor Says Christmas is ‘Reasonable’ for Getting Back to Normal, Congress Could Axe Measures Meant to Keep Sick People Home
February 18, 2021

As Congress works to hammer out a deal for a new coronavirus relief bill, that could mean new stimulus checks for millions of Americans. New $1,400 direct payments are among the aid expected to be included in the package. The legislation is expected to become final around early to mid-March. At that point, the IRS will be deep into tax-filing season, which could make it more challenging for the tax agency to process both payments and incoming returns.

President Joe Biden’s prediction that the United States could return to some semblance of normalcy by Christmas is “a reasonable answer,” a senior advisor said. White House COVID Advisor Andy Slavitt said he’s reluctant to give a timeline for when things could return to normal, warning there are still plenty of unknowns. The biggest issues that could undermine efforts to contain the virus are new, emerging variants as well as vaccine hesitancy in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Policies aimed at helping American workers stay home when they have the coronavirus have been scaled back in the COVID relief bill now moving through Congress and could be narrowed further, reviving a heated debate over how to balance fixing the economy with sound public health measures. Costly provisions such as paid federal sick leave, a higher minimum wage and insurance subsidies for laid-off workers are facing Republican resistance as negotiators try to cut down the size of the nearly $2 trillion package. 

State Updates: 9 States Getting it Right, States Find Hidden Stashes of Vaccine in Their own Backyards, These are the Safest States During the COVID-19 Pandemic
February 18, 2021

This winter’s wave of COVID-19 outbreaks was the worst and deadliest in the year-long pandemic, but some states managed it better than others. One way to compare every state's pandemic response is to examine which have kept their death tolls low and which are getting vaccines into arms quickest. Check out this article to see where your state lands. 

Millions of doses of coronavirus vaccine are still sitting in freezers, allocated in excess to nursing homes or stockpiled for later use. Now states are claiming them. In New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has pushed the Biden administration to allow him to claw back 100,000 excess doses that were allocated to the federal program for long-term-care facilities. In Michigan, Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun, the chief medical executive, is raiding nursing home doses that she said had been locked in a “piggy bank” controlled by CVS and Walgreens, the two pharmacy chains in charge of the federal initiative.

A WalletHub study has revealed its rankings of the five safest states to live in using recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The COVID Tracking Project, and epiforecasts.io. In the number one spot with a score of 86.52 is Alaska, which has counted just 288 deaths to is 56,968 confirmed cases, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

New Standards Will Take the Guesswork out of Choosing the Most Effective Face Masks
CNN  |  February 18, 2021

Americans may soon be able to choose between two clearly labeled levels of face mask protection while browsing store shelves. The new national mask standard outlines minimum fit, design, performance and testing requirements for face masks and would require user instructions, package labeling and a permanent tag on the product.

CDC’s Classroom Guidance Would Keep 90% of Schools at Least Partially Closed
CNBC  |  February 18, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s long-awaited guidance on how to safely reopen schools during the pandemic could end up keeping kids out of the classroom longer than necessary. However, doctors are saying it would keep more than 90% of schools, including in almost all of the 50 largest counties in the country, from fully reopening.

COVID-19 Cases are Dropping Fast. Why?
The Atlantic  |  February 18, 2021

COVID-19 is in retreat in America. New daily cases have plunged, and hospitalizations are down almost 50 percent in the past month. This is not an artifact of infrequent testing, since the share of regional daily tests that are coming back positive has declined even more than the number of cases. Some pandemic statistics are foggy, but the current decline of COVID-19 is crystal clear.

U.S. Life Expectancy Drops a Year Due to Pandemic, Most Since WWII
CNBC  |  February 18, 2021

Life expectancy in the United States dropped a staggering one year during the first half of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic caused its first wave of deaths, health officials report. Minorities suffered the biggest impact, with Black Americans losing nearly three years and Hispanics, nearly two years.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Rollout Now Expected to be Slower Due to Miscommunication
CNN  |  February 18, 2021

Once it is authorized, the rollout of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be slower than federal health officials initially anticipated. Due to a miscommunication over the production timeline, government officials thought that number would ramp up to between 20 or 30 million doses by April. They are now expecting fewer than 20 million Johnson and Johnson doses in April, an administration official said.

How COVID-19 Could Make Americans Healthier
Politico  |  February 18, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic, now in its second year, has rampaged across the country in part because our disease defense system — the discipline known as “public health” — has been so starved of resources for so long that it had been effectively dismantled before the coronavirus arrived. The good news is that officials know a lot about how to fix it.

Gilead's COVID-19 Drug to be Studied in Pregnant Women
MarketWatch  |  February 18, 2021

The federal government on Wednesday said it will study Gilead Sciences' COVID-19 drug, Veklury, in pregnant women. The drug, which is also referred to as remdesivir, was the first authorized and then approved treatment for patients with COVID-19 who are at least 12 years old. 

House Panel Advances Partial COVID-19 Relief Bill Including $1,400 Stimulus Checks
FOX Business  |  February 12, 2021

The House Ways and Means Committee advanced key portions of President Biden's coronavirus relief bill, including the third round of $1,400 payments and a major expansion of the Child Tax Credit. The panel on Thursday evening approved its $940 billion piece of Biden's proposal on a 25-18 party-line vote. A dozen House Committees, including the Ways and Means Committee, are working on writing Biden's nearly $2 trillion aid package.

Biden Buys Enough COVID Vaccine Doses to Immunize Almost Every American
Forbes  |  February 12, 2021

The federal government has inked deals to buy an extra 200 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna’s coronavirus vaccines, President Joe Biden said Thursday, boosting its orders by 50% and securing enough doses to immunize almost every American — but this latest round of shots will not reach Americans’ arms until mid-summer.

Pelosi Expects COVID Relief Will be Signed Into Law Before Unemployment Programs Expire
CNBC  |  February 11, 2021

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expects Democrats will pass their next coronavirus relief package before programs buoying jobless Americans lapse next month, she said. The House hopes to approve its $1.9 trillion aid plan “by the end of February so we can send it to the president’s desk before unemployment benefits expire” on March 14, the California Democrat told reporters.

COVID-19 Vaccines Could be Available to the General Public in April in the United States, Fauci Says
CNN  |  February 11, 2021

The United States could start letting the general public have access to COVID-19 vaccines in April, and the country may be able to inoculate most Americans by the middle or end of the summer, Dr. Anthony Fauci said. He said he believes the pace of vaccination will pick up going into March and April. 

CDC Director Warns COVID Variants Could Reverse the Recent Drop in Cases and Hospitalizations
CNBC  |  February 11, 2021

New, highly contagious variants of the coronavirus are a “threat” to the United States and could reverse the recent drop in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned. The U.S. reported a seven-day average of 119,900 new COVID-19 cases a day last week, down nearly 20% from the prior week but still “dramatically higher” than the peak seen during the summer.

How CVS and Other Retailers Will Dole Out Any Surplus COVID Vaccine Doses
CNBC  |  February 11, 2021

Major retailers and pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens are starting their rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. In order to avoid wasting any vaccine doses, some will use a waitlist strategy or consider vaccinating employees who qualify when there is surplus. 

62.9 Million Doses of COVID-19 Vaccines Delivered, 43.2 Million Administered: U.S. CDC
Reuters  |  February 11, 2021

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had administered 43,206,190 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Tuesday morning and delivered 62,898,775 doses. The tally of vaccine doses are for both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, the agency said.

Federal Update: Biden Backs Stricter Income Limits for Stimulus Checks, What to Know About the Proposed $400 Unemployment Boost, White House Considers Testing Domestic Travelers for COVID
February 11, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden said he agreed with a proposal by Democratic lawmakers that would limit or phase out stimulus payments to higher-income individuals as part of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill. Asked at the beginning of a meeting with business leaders whether he supported the proposal, which would send $1,400 stimulus checks to Americans earning up to $75,000 in income and households making up to $150,000, Biden said, “Yes.”

House Democrats unveiled their latest stimulus recovery package this week, which proposes boosting federal unemployment benefits by $400 per week and extending emergency jobless programs through Aug. 29. Under current legislation passed in December 2020, enhanced benefits include an additional $300 per week on top of state aid through March 14, and federal programs phase out completely by April 11.

The White House is holding a meeting with major airline executives on Friday amid industry uproar over the possibility of testing domestic travelers for coronavirus. The virtual meeting is among the first the new administration has held with airlines, financially crippled by the pandemic and wary of new travel restrictions that could wreak further havoc. Confusion over potential restrictions has shifted into high gear in recent days, as rumors spread about measures under consideration for domestic travel -- as well as how they might affect particular states whose economies depend on travel and tourism.

State Update: LA Shutting Down Vaccination Sites Amid Stripped Supply, Feared South African COVID-19 Mutant Discovered In California, Ohio Curfew Lifted as COVID-19 Hospitalizations Declin
February 11, 2021

Los Angeles is temporarily shutting down several city vaccination sites in the coming days after it burned through its limited allocation of first doses for Moderna’s vaccine. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti noted that the city distributed 98% of all doses received. "This week we only received 16,000 new doses. 16,000," Garcetti said during the briefing. "That’s about the number of doses we give out every single day. That is unacceptable."

Governor Gavin Newsom has confirmed the first cases in California of the COVID-19 variant first discovered in South Africa. He said on Wednesday, “as of a few hours ago, two cases have been reported… one in Alameda County and one in Santa Clara county.” The CDC says the South African variant — also known as B.1.351 — seems to be more transmissible. One study also indicated it might be resistant to at least one vaccine.

The statewide curfew was lifted after COVID-19 hospitalizations in Ohio fell below 2,500 hospitalizations for the tenth straight day. Gov. Mike DeWine said the curfew could be reimplemented if case numbers rise again. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Ohio did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 5,122 new cases per day on Jan. 27 to 3,129 new cases per day on Feb. 10.

Coronavirus Infections are Plummeting
Axios  |  February 11, 2021

Getting the virus' spread under control is the key to saving lives and reopening schools and businesses. And the tools to achieve that — masks, social distancing and vaccines — are also the most effective weapons against the more contagious variants that could threaten the U.S.' progress.

A Return to the Office for Workers may be Coming as Vaccinations Increase
CNBC  |  February 11, 2021

Roughly 40% of employers that shifted to remote work at the start of the coronavirus pandemic are planning to have their workers return to the office as early as March, according to a report from The Conference Board. Many companies, however, also said that reversing remote work after a year will be difficult.

Senate Approves Budget Resolution as Democrats Rush to Pass COVID Relief Bill
CNBC  |  February 5, 2021

The Senate passed a budget resolution early Friday, moving toward passing a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill after a marathon of votes on dozens of amendments. Democrats passed it 51-50 in the evenly split Senate, as Vice President Kamala Harris had to cast her first tiebreaking vote.

Most Small Firms Below Pre-pandemic Levels, Fed Survey Finds
The Wall Street Journal  |  February 5, 2021

America’s small businesses remain under stress from coronavirus pandemic disruptions, and many of them say continued government support is crucial to their survival, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve’s 12 regional banks. Just under 90% of companies surveyed by the Fed banks said business had not returned to pre-pandemic levels almost a year after the crisis began. Of those that lost ground, 30% said that without more government aid, their companies might not survive, the report said.

U.S. Pharmacies Could Administer up to 100 Million Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine a Month
CNN  |  February 5, 2021

Shipments of COVID-19 vaccines will be headed to pharmacies next week under a federal program that aims to get more people vaccinated quickly. Twenty-one "national pharmacy partners and networks of independent pharmacies representing over 40,000 pharmacy locations nationwide" are taking part in the program.

This Age Group is Most Responsible for COVID-19 Spread, Study Says
FOX 8  |  February 4, 2021

People ages 20 to 49 are most responsible for the 2020 COVID-19 resurgences, according to a study published in Science Magazine. After schools re-opened in October 2020, the study says adults in the 20 to 49 range accounted for 72.2% of infections across the U.S. locations they studied. More specifically, the 20-34 age range contributed to 34% of infections and the 35-49 segment contributed to 38.2% of infections.

Federal Update: Fewer People may Qualify for the $1,400 Stimulus Payments, Student Loan Forgiveness Plan Would Make 36 Million Borrowers Debt-free, Labor Unions Push for Third Round of Federal Aid
February 4, 2021

After promising another round of stimulus payments worth $1,400 to many Americans, President Joe Biden has reportedly signaled that he is open to restricting the number of people who would receive them, based on their income. Democrats are reportedly considering sending the $1,400 payments to individuals earning up to $50,000, and $2,800 to married couples earning up to $100,000 (plus $1,400 per child).

The Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer of New York, along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and other Democrats on Thursday put forward a resolution calling on President Joe Biden to forgive $50,000 in student debt for all borrowers. The plan would cancel all of the debt for 80% of federal student loan borrowers. Women and people of color would be among the biggest winners.

Some airline executives and labor unions are seeking a third round of billions in federal aid as tens of thousands of workers again face furloughs with travel demand still depressed in the COVID pandemic. The current round of aid, $15 billion, expires on April 1, and American Airlines and United Airlines over the past week have warned they could cut a combined 27,000 jobs then.

State Update: Some States Begin Easing Restrictions, Coronavirus Variant on Track to Become Dominant in Florida and California, ‘Vaccine Hunters’ Cross State Lines in Search of Shots
February 4, 2021

There is some encouraging news in the fight against COVID-19 as several states announced they will ease certain coronavirus restrictions amid decreasing case levels and hospitalizations, but despite the promising developments experts insist Americans need to remain cautious, especially with the arrival of differing variants in the United States. States easing restrictions include Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Jersey and, if the positivity rate continues to decline, New York will be close behind.

A more contagious coronavirus variant is on the rise in the United States and could become dominant in hot spots like Florida and Southern California "within a few weeks," according to a testing company that has helped identify the largest share of variant cases in the U.S. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month said modeling showed this variant could become the U.S.' predominant strain in March and could worsen the spread of the disease.

With overwhelming demand in the early months of the vaccine rollout, thousands of Americans are crossing state lines on quests for doses. The scramble to get inoculated has turned attention to the patchwork of vaccination rules devised by states, given a lack of national, standardized protocols. “Vaccine hunter” groups, which scour the country for places where people qualify for the vaccine, have sprung into action on social media.

'Just Cruel': Digital Race For COVID-19 Vaccines Leaves Many Seniors Behind
NPR  |  February 4, 2021

The efforts to vaccinate people who are 65 and older have strained under the enormous demand that has overwhelmed cumbersome, inconsistent scheduling systems. In most places, elderly people are pitted against each other competing on an unstable technological playing field for limited shots.

CDC Director Says Schools can Safely Reopen Without Vaccinating Teachers
CNBC  |  February 4, 2021

Teachers do not need to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before schools can safely reopen, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. “There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.

Airlines Adjust Mask Policies to Meet Latest CDC Guidelines
FOX News  |  February 4, 2021

Airlines are adjusting their mask policies to align with a recent government mandate — but in some cases, those policies might be becoming less strict. The Centers for Disease Control recently issued an order that went into effect on Monday, requiring all travelers to wear masks while flying and while at major transportation hubs.

How COVID-19 Ended Flu Season Before it Started
FiveThirtyEight  |  February 4, 2021

In the third week of 2021, clinical laboratories nationwide tested 23,549 specimens for influenza. Of those, just 0.3 percent (65 tests) turned up positive — a number that is, to put it mildly, absolutely wild. This time of year, influenca tests typically run 20 to 30 percent positive, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 Enhancing Title Efficiencies Has Never Been More Important Than Now
February 2, 2021

The increase in origination volume will continue to put significant pressure on production capacity, and with default-oriented volumes anticipated to jump start in early 2021, it will cause ongoing stress to title and settlement operations. Reducing this tension will require title and settlement providers to place a laser focus on production capacity while managing operating costs. More specifically, it will require ongoing innovation to drive as much efficiency in their title and settlement operations as possible. The question is how.

Stimulus Checks Won't be Taxed, but Unemployment Benefits Will be
CNN  |  January 28, 2021

The federal government has sent billions of dollars directly to Americans to help them cope with the economic fallout of the pandemic, but now that tax season is approaching, some people could find they owe some of the money back. 

Biden Signs Executive Order to Reopen Affordable Care Act Enrollment
CNN  |  January 28, 2021

President Joe Biden is reopening enrollment on the federal Affordable Care Act exchanges as part of two health care executive actions that he signed Thursday, taking a step to help uninsured Americans. it comes as more Americans could be facing the loss of coverage because of the pandemic-fueled economic downturn.

How is the COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign Going in Your State?
NPR  |  January 28, 2021

The U.S. is working to vaccinate a high percentage of its population against COVID-19 as soon as possible to stop the spread of the disease and end the outbreak in the country. The U.S. is currently administering around 1 million shots a day. However, strategies for distribution vary from state to state.

Federal Update: Biden Seeking Bipartisan COVID-19 Relief Package Despite Stalemate, Lawmakers Urge Biden to Include Recurring Stimulus Checks, Pelosi Says House Will Take First Step to Pass Relief
January 28, 2021

President Joe Biden is continuing to chase a bipartisan deal over his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal, but White House officials privately acknowledge the bill will need to be pared down to secure Republican support after GOP lawmakers balked at the price tag. It's not clear how much the White House will be willing to lower the price tag and whether that will be enough to secure Republican support. 

As the Biden administration works to drum up bipartisan support for the president’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, a group of more than 50 progressives in the House is urging President Biden to include recurring direct payments in the legislation, though they did not specify the amount. The lawmakers, led by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), argue that “one more check is not enough” to see struggling families through the pandemic. 

The House will forge ahead next week with the process that would allow Democrats to pass a coronavirus relief bill without Republican support, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. The California Democrat said her chamber will move to pass a budget resolution, the first step toward approving legislation through reconciliation. The process would enable Senate Democrats to approve an aid measure without GOP votes.

State Update: NY Undercounted Nursing Home COVID Deaths by 50%, SC Detects First US Cases of Coronavirus Strain First Seen in South Africa, States Pushing to Limit Governors’ Pandemic Responsibity
January 28, 2021

New York Attorney General Letitia James said the state Department of Health underreported COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50%, according to a report released Thursday. The report holds New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's feet to the fire for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the early months of 2020, after he directed nursing homes in the Empire State to accept patients who had or were suspected of having COVID-19.

South Carolina officials have announced the United States' first two confirmed cases of a more contagious coronavirus strain first spotted in South Africa. There is no known travel history or connection between the cases, both adults, according to a release from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was aware of the cases, noting "we have no evidence that infections by this variant cause more severe disease."

Legislators from Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, Kentucky, Indiana and Pennsylvania are moving to curb the authority of governors to impose emergency restrictions such as mask rules and business shutdowns. Lawmakers from more than half of U.S. states have filed bills to minimize their governor’s powers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

 Dr. Fauci: Getting Vaccine Doesn't Mean You Have Free Pass to Travel
CNN  |  January 28, 2021

People all over the United States are ready to start traveling. Dr. Anthony Fauci answers the question: Once someone has taken the vaccine, when can they travel?

Why it’s Hard to Make Vaccines and Boost Supplies
AP News  |  January 28, 2021

With demand for COVID-19 vaccines outpacing the world’s supplies, a frustrated public and policymakers want to know: How can we get more? A lot more. Right away.

Double Masking for COVID-19 Protection: A Trend With a Purpose
CNN  |  January 28, 2021

Layering your face is in -- but not as a fashion statement. It may just save a life. Public health officials are suggesting double masking as a way to increase the level of protection from the coronavirus and its multiple, more contagious variants.

Should Fewer Americans get a $1,400 Stimulus Check?
CBS News  |  January 28, 2021

As Congress debates issuing a third round of federal "stimulus checks" to millions of Americans, economists are trying to assess just how effective such payments are in helping nurse the economy through the coronavirus pandemic. The results have been mixed, new research finds.

The Pandemic Could Devastate Mass Transit in the U.S.
Politico  |  January 28, 2021

Mass transit might eventually rebound from the worst economic trauma of the coronavirus pandemic. But it still may never be the same, due to the vast changes the outbreak is triggering in the way Americans live and work.

Are You Eligible for a Second PPP Loan?
January 26, 2021

The new funding through the Paycheck Protection Program is available to both first-time applicants and returning borrowers. The rules are more strict for those seeking a second loan.

Here are the 10 Executive Orders Biden’s Signing to Combat the COVID Pandemic
CNBC  |  January 22, 2021

On his first full day in office, President Joe Biden announced 10 executive orders to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, mandating masks on public transportation and directing agencies to use wartime powers to require U.S. companies to make N95 masks, swabs and other equipment. This article reviews the executive orders Biden plans to sign in his first two days in office to tackle the pandemic.

Study Finds 60% of Americans Don't Know Where or When to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine
CNN  |  January 22, 2021

About six in 10 Americans don't know when or where to get a coronavirus vaccine, according a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The report suggests Americans are experiencing a range of emotions from the vaccine rollout. Half of the people surveyed said they are "frustrated," a third said they felt "confused" and nearly a quarter are "angry."

Almost 3 Million People Fell Off the Unemployment Benefits Cliff
CNBC  |  January 22, 2021

Nearly 3 million Americans appear to have fallen off the unemployment benefits cliff after Christmas, a scenario many had feared amid delays in pushing through another COVID relief bill. Legislators passed a $900 billion package on Dec. 21, but former President Donald Trump delayed signing the bill until Dec. 27, after the deadline had passed to avert a cliff. U.S. Labor Department data issued Thursday provides the first glimpse of how delays from Congress and the president affected benefits.

A COVID-19 Peak? Variants Muddy Forecasts for Coming Months
NBC News  |  January 22, 2021

As new, potentially more contagious variants of the virus circulate, coronavirus modelers warn that the U.S. is by no means out of the woods yet. The emergence of new variants isn't altogether surprising, but experts say that without a better understanding of how these strains affect things like transmissibility and the effectiveness of existing vaccines, it's difficult to know how the pandemic may play out.

Dr. Fauci Says COVID Vaccines Appear to be Less Effective Against Some New Strains
CNBC  |  January 22, 2021

New data shows that the COVID-19 vaccines currently on the market may not be as effective in guarding against new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci said. While it’s no surprise the virus is mutating, researchers are quickly trying to determine what the changes might mean for recently developed lifesaving vaccines and therapeutics against the disease.

U.S. Will Remain in WHO, Fauci Announces, as Biden Reverses Trump Move
NPR  |  January 22, 2021

"I am honored to announce that the United States will remain a member of the World Health Organization," Dr. Anthony Fauci said, informing the WHO's executive board that President Joe Biden has reversed former President Donald Trump's move to leave the U.N.'s health agency. The U.S. will also fulfill its financial obligations to the WHO, Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president, said, as well as cease a drawdown of U.S. staff who work with the organization.

Federal Update: Biden Already Facing Pressure to Scale Back $1.9T Relief Plan, Third Stimulus Check: When Could You Get $1,400?, Biden Inheriting Nonexistent Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution Plan
January 22, 2021

President Joe Biden’s first COVID-19 package is already facing hurdles in Congress that threaten to force the fledgling administration to curb some of its more progressive aims just one week after the proposal’s debut. While criticisms from the GOP were expected, odds the the bill would pass unedited grew longer after a report quoted Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia disparaging the size of the latest round of proposed stimulus checks.

Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan proposes a third round of stimulus checks of $1,400 for most Americans. Yet while that could extend a helping hand to millions of households still suffering from the pandemic's economic fallout, it could be months until the payments arrive, analysts say. The price tag of the relief package is likely to face pushback from Republican lawmakers, but most analysts think lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will back the $1,400 direct payments, which economists view as a lifeline for many cash-strapped workers who lost their jobs or seen their income plummet during the pandemic.

Biden and his advisers are inheriting no coronavirus vaccine distribution plan to speak of from the Trump administration, posing a significant challenge for the new White House. In the immediate hours following Biden being sworn into office, sources with direct knowledge of the new administration's COVID-related work said one of the biggest shocks that the Biden team had to digest during the transition period was what they saw as a complete lack of a vaccine distribution strategy under former President Donald Trump, even weeks after multiple vaccines were approved for use in the United States.

State Update: States Appeal for More Coronavirus Vaccine Doses, Consumers may be Slow to Snap Back to Old Habits, Florida Issues new Rules to cut Down on 'Vaccine Tourism'
January 22, 2021

State leaders are clamoring for more COVID-19 vaccine doses. Some state officials say they aren't seeing as many doses as the federal government reports distributing and the demand for the vaccine is outpacing the supply. Georgia, for example, reports adequate staff, volunteers and infrastructure but not enough doses.

Americans and consumers across the globe will be slow to revert to pre-pandemic habits like flying internationally, commuting by public transit and eating at restaurants, even when COVID-19 vaccines are widely available, according to a new survey from Nielsen. Only 40% of U.S. respondents said they have confidence in using public transportation, even when they know they can receive a COVID vaccine. That sentiment could be a major challenge for retailers and restaurants that rely on commuters and heavier foot traffic in cities and commercial hubs.

Florida issued new health guidelines in an attempt to cut down on "vaccine tourism," requiring that COVID-19 vaccines be given only to permanent and seasonal residents. Gov. Ron DeSantis said the shots should be reserved for part-time or full-time residents of the Sunshine State. "Now we do have part-time residents who are here all winter," he said. "What we don't want is tourists, foreigners. We want to put seniors first, but we obviously want to put people that live here first in line."

A Year Into the COVID Crisis, Scientists Explain What we Learned — and What we got Wrong
CNBC  |  January 22, 2021

Public health experts, doctors, scientists and leaders from industry and government say the past year has taught us a lot about the virus — and how those lessons can be applied to try to slow the pandemic now. In this article, those same experts provide their takeaways, from findings about the virus itself to reflections on the public's behavior.

Current, Deadly U.S. Coronavirus Surge has Peaked, Researchers Say
NPR  |  January 22, 2021

The devastating fall and winter wave of coronavirus infections appears to have finally peaked, according to researchers. While another surge remains possible, especially with new, more infectious variants on the horizon, the number of new daily infections in the current wave appears to have hit a high in the past week or two and has been steadily declining in most states since.

Hopes High for Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine if Authorized
NorthJersey.com  |  January 22, 2021

A COVID vaccine being developed by Johnson & Johnson could dramatically speed up the fight against the pandemic because, unlike the two vaccines already in use, it would require only one dose and would not need to be stored at super-cold temperatures. Results from clinical trials of the new vaccine are expected by the end of this month.

 When Can Title Professionals Get COVID-19 Vaccine?
January 21, 2021

Guided by evolving federal recommendations and limited vaccine supplies, states continue to refine distribution plans that prioritize when specific workforce members and populations receive the COVID-19 vaccine. States are choosing who gets the vaccine and in what order based on various phases. Considered essential workers by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, title and settlement professionals fall into the last tier of phase one in most states. Read on for more information.

More Businesses Will be Able to Apply for PPP Loans Next Week
The New York Times  |  January 15, 2021

After giving small lenders a head start, the Paycheck Protection Program will open for all applicants on Tuesday, the Treasury Department said. Borrowers seeking a second loan will need to demonstrate a 25 percent drop in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. Second loans will also be limited to companies with 300 or fewer workers, and the amounts will be capped at $2 million.

America is Tuning Out the Coronavirus at the Peak of its Destruction
Axios  |  January 15, 2021

The U.S. is now averaging nearly 250,000 new coronavirus cases per day — a crisis of staggering proportions, even though many Americans have tuned it out. It's not even sufficient to say the pandemic is “still going on,” as if it’s a fire that hasn’t finished burning out. The pandemic is raging. Its deadliest and most dangerous days are happening right now. And it keeps getting worse.

Still Going to the Grocery Store? With New Virus Variants Spreading, it’s Probably Time to Stop
Vox  |  January 15, 2021

Recent developments in the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed a grim reality: If we keep doing what we’re doing now to prevent infections, we’re screwed. Health experts say you should avoid optional trips whenever you can. You probably need a better mask, too.

More Than 90,000 Americans Could Die of COVID-19 in Next Three Weeks, CDC Forecast Shows
CNN  |  January 15, 2021

More than 38,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 in the first two weeks of the new year. Another 92,000 are projected to die from the virus over roughly the next three weeks, according to an ensemble forecast published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the end is in sight -- with the help of ongoing COVID-19 vaccinations -- the nation is still facing challenging times ahead.

What We Know About the Spread of COVID Among Children — and Whether Shutting Schools Reduces the Risk
CNBC  |  January 15, 2021

The science around the link between children and the spread of the coronavirus is still evolving, but a growing body of evidence suggests that kids attending school do play an important role in community transmission.

Federal Update: Biden Calls for More Direct Cash to Americans in New Stimulus, U.S. to Change Vaccine Allocation to Favor States that Quickly Administer Shots, Unemployment Claims Jump to 965,000
January 14, 2021

President-elect Joe Biden detailed his proposals for additional stimulus measures on Thursday, which included plans to dole out more direct aid to American households. The Biden administration plans to give eligible Americans an additional $1,400 – topping their total second round payments off at $2,000, an amount supported by Democrats and outgoing President Donald Trump. Biden’s overall package, which also includes expanded unemployment benefits, an aggressive vaccination plan and a federal minimum wage hike, is expected to cost around $1.9 trillion.

The federal government is changing the way it allocates coronavirus vaccine doses, now basing it on how quickly states can administer shots and the size of their elderly population. States will be given two weeks to prepare for the change. That should give states enough time to improve their data reporting to the government and ensure all vaccinations are being “promptly” documented.

The number of people seeking unemployment aid soared last week to 965,000, the most since late August and evidence that the resurgent virus has caused a spike in layoffs. The latest figures for jobless claims, issued Thursday by the Labor Department, remain at levels never seen until the virus struck. 

State Updates: These States Have Done Best—and Worst—at Vaccinating Residents, New York Says COVID Vaccine Appointments are Booked 14 Weeks Out, How L.A. Became Nation's Largest Coronavirus Hot Spot
January 14, 2021

One month into the vaccination effort — the largest inoculation drive in American history — some states are moving quickly to vaccinate their populations. Other parts of the country are lagging badly. Many states are struggling to get their vaccination efforts off the ground. In all, less than a third of all doses that have been distributed across the country (and to U.S. territories), or 10.3 million out of nearly 30 million, have been given to people. 

The New York State Department of Health says appointments to get the COVID-19 vaccine are booked for the next 3½ months, quickly filling up after the state expanded eligibility criteria to adopt new federal guidelines. Local officials across the U.S. are struggling to ramp up vaccine distribution as millions clamor for a few thousand open slots to get the first inoculations.

In Los Angeles County, 10 people on average test positive for the coronavirus every minute. Every six minutes, someone dies from Covid-19, according to county public health data. The startling figures come as California’s most populous county rapidly approaches 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic started last year.

For Many Seniors, Whether They get a COVID-19 Vaccine may Depend on Their Families
U.S. News  |  January 14, 2021

As seniors begin to get offered COVID-19 vaccines, some families are finding the burden of getting one into the arm of an elderly loved one is falling entirely on them. There's no nationwide response specifically targeted at creating access for seniors, and state-by-state programs vary with much of the vaccination distribution happening on a county-level.

Smart Watches Can Help Detect COVID-19 Symptoms Days Before They Show
CBS News  |  January 14, 2021

Smart watches and other wearable devices that continuously measure users' heart rates, skin temperature and other physiological markers can help spot coronavirus infections days before an individual is diagnosed.

Coronavirus Survivors' Lungs Worse Than Those of a Smoker, Surgeon Says
FOX News  |  January 14, 2021

The scarring on some coronavirus survivors’ lungs is worse than in those who smoke, a trauma surgeon in Texas recently said when speaking to just one of the possible long-term effects this novel disease can have on its victims. 

Target for New COVID Scam: Small Business Owners
Federal Trade Commission  |  January 13, 2021

There’s a new coronavirus-related scam making the rounds, but this time the crooks are targeting small businesses. It starts with an email that claims to come from the “Small Business Administration Office of Disaster Assistance.” It says you’re eligible for a loan of up to $250,000 and asks for personal information like birth date and Social Security number.

Don't Miss Out on the Next Round of PPP Funding
Inc.  |  January 8, 2021

The Paycheck Protection Progrram left some business owners out in the cold--minority-owned businesses chief among them. Following are five tips to avoid that fate in round two.

U.S. Reports More Than 4,000 COVID Deaths for First Time as Outbreak Grows Worse Than Ever
CNBC  |  January 8, 2021

More than 4,000 people died of COVID-19 in the United States in one day for the first time on Thursday as the country reports record-high numbers and the outbreak grows more severe by the day. The U.S. has reported a record-high daily death toll on five of the past 10 days, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

How Will the National Guard Help With COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution?
Military Times  |  January 8, 2021

In 2021, the National Guard will be assisting with coronavirus  vaccine distribution in at least 26 states, according to senior Guard officials. Of those 26 states, 11 plan to exclusively assist with the administrative and logistics processes necessary to push the vaccine to healthcare providers. Ohio’s National Guard, for example, is only unloading and repackaging vaccine shipments for transport to inoculation sites.

Here's How the U.S. can Jump Start its Sluggish COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout
NPR  |  January 8, 2021

The vaccination campaign has gotten off to a sluggish start in the U.S. Instead of 20 million people vaccinated by the end of 2020 — a frequent promise of the Trump administration — only around 6 million people have gotten their first dose so far. How can the U.S. jump-start the COVID-19 vaccination campaign? 

Yes, You Can Still Get Infected With COVID-19 After Being Vaccinated. Here's Why
CNN  |  January 8, 2021

On Dec. 18, a San Diego emergency room nurse was given a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. A week later, he tested positive for the virus, a CNN affiliate reported. Stories like this will become more common as millions of Americans are administered the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines over the coming months. Over time, many who are vaccinated will still get infected with the novel coronavirus. During trials, the vaccines were shown to be about 95% effective — which means some vaccinated people were still infected.

Federal Update: HHS Hopes to Replace Potentially Faulty COVID Tests Used by Congress, Hospitals Press Administration for Fed Help with Vaccine Distribution, Stimulus Debit Cards to be Mailed This Week
January 8, 2021

The federal health department is working to provide alternative COVID testing for Congress after the Food and Drug Administration warned the test lawmakers have relied on is prone to false results, HHS testing czar Brett Giroir said. FDA earlier this week raised concern about the performance of a lab-based coronavirus test made by Curative and used by several major cities as well as Congress, saying it carries a “risk of false results, particularly false negative results.”

The American Hospital Association pressed Health Secretary Alex Azar to provide more federal support and coordination for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, saying the slow rollout has raised questions about how fast they can inoculate the public. The group, which represents nearly 5,000 hospitals and health systems across the country, said the rollout “has led to concern about whether the task of vaccinating all who are able to take the vaccine will happen as quickly as federal leaders have suggested it would."

The Treasury Department announced Thursday that approximately 8 million second stimulus payments will be mailed out starting this week in the form of prepaid debit cards. The debit cards, called Economic Impact Payment (EIP) cards, are issued by MetaBank, N.A., and will arrive in a white envelope that “prominently displays the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal.”

States Update: States Say Feds 'Overpromised and Underdelivered' on Vaccines, Californians Told to Stay Within 120 Miles of Home, 800 Georgia National Guardsmen have Tested Positive for COVID-19
January 8, 2021

The federal government "overpromised and underdelivered"on coronavirus vaccine expectations, leaving states understaffed and without enough money to immunize their residents quickly, state health officials said. "We overpromised and underdelivered as a nation," Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, said. "We only got a third of what we thought we were going to get based on the initial modeling."

Set forth by the California Department of Public Health,  a newly issued California Travel Advisory seeks to restrict residents’ movements further. What’s more it includes the idea that, “non-essential travelers from other states or countries are strongly discouraged from entering California." The advisory is called a “recommendation,” and replaces the previous, less-stringent order issued in November.

The total number of Georgia National Guardsmen who have tested positive for COVID-19 has more than doubled to 800 since last summer, when hundreds were dispatched to help fight the spread of the disease and boost security amid the protests for racial justice. They represent nearly 6% of the 13,791 guardsmen who have tested positive nationwide. Five guardsmen from California, Hawaii, New Jersey, North Dakota and Texas are among the 15 U.S. servicemembers who have died from COVID-19.

WHO Calls for More Intensified Measures to Fight UK Coronavirus Variant
CNN  |  January 8, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on European countries to intensify coronavirus measures as the region deals with a new variant that was first detected in the UK. WHO Europe director Hans Kluge said further measures were needed to "flatten the steep vertical line" of rising cases in some countries. In the UK, health workers are struggling with a steep rise in cases and deaths. The country recorded a total of 1,041 further deaths on Wednesday, as well as 62,322 new cases.

UK-bound Travelers Must Show Negative COVID-19 Test at Border
FOX News  |  January 8, 2021

All international travelers landing in the U.K. will be mandated to show a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival. The new regulations require all passengers traveling into the U.K. to show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken 72 hours prior to departure. Passengers who are unable to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test will be fined $678 (500 pounds), the U.K. Department of Transport announced Friday. 

Viral Mutations may Cause Another ‘Very, Very Bad’ COVID-19 Wave, Scientists Warn
Science  |  January 8, 2021

As in early 2020, the world is anxiously watching a virus spread in one country and trying to parse the risk for everyone else. One concern is that the COVID-19 variant will become the dominant global variant with its higher transmission and will drive "another very, very bad wave,” says an infectious disease expert. Whereas the pandemic’s trajectory in 2020 was fairly predictable, the expert thinks "we’re going into an unpredictable phase now,” as a result of the virus’ evolution.

How COVID-19 Attacks the Brain and may Cause Lasting Damage
NPR  |  January 8, 2021

Early in the pandemic, people with COVID-19 began reporting an odd symptom: the loss of smell and taste. That worried neurologists. Their fears proved well-founded — though the damage may come from the body and brain's response to the virus rather than the virus itself. Many patients who are hospitalized for COVID-19 are discharged with symptoms such as those associated with a brain injury. 

Tokyo Declares State of Emergency While London Declares Major Incident
January 8, 2021

After days of record coronavirus counts and a rapidly rising death toll, Japan declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures on Thursday, the country’s first such declaration since April. The announcement by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga came five days after governors from the affected prefectures had pleaded with the central government to act, and after his own coronavirus expert panel had recommended the emergency declaration. Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a major incident because the National Health Service is on the cusp of being overwhelmed by the rapid spread of COVID. “One in 30 Londoners now has COVID-19. If we do not take immediate action now, our NHS could be overwhelmed and more people will die,” Khan said via Twitter.