Today’s In Crisis headlines


(NEW YORK) — Here are today’s In Crisis headlines:

GDP up in 4th quarter, down overall for 2020; 847,000 new unemployment claims last week
Not that we needed further confirmation but the pandemic seriously battered the U.S. economy in 2020, making it the worst year of economic growth since World War 2.  Figures released Thursday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis show that while the Gross Domestic Product grew at an annual rate of 4% in the final quarter of 2020, the GDP was down 3.5% overall for the year.  By comparison, the GDP grew by 2.2% in 2019.  Economists do, however, expect a rebound in 2021, when additional stimulus from Congress and a wider availability of COVID-19 vaccines are expected to have a positive impact on the economy.

Unemployment claims continue to be filed at record levels, with 847,000 applications filed in the week ending January 23, according to the U.S. Labor Department.  This is about what was expected for this week and is a decrease from the previous week’s claims total, which was itself revised up by 14,000, to 914,000.  The number of new claims continues to represent historically high levels, fueled by the continuing pandemic.  There are currently 18,282,090 people filing for unemployment through different government programs.

Emmett Till’s former home declared a landmark
The Chicago City Council has declared the boyhood home of Emmett Till a landmark.  Till was 14 years old when he was brutally killed by a white mob while visiting relatives in Mississippi in August 1955 after Till, who was Black, was accused of whistling at a white woman.  Till was kidnapped, brutally beaten and then shot by two white men and his body dumped in a river in one of the most notorious instances of racial violence in U.S. history, for which no one was ever convicted.  Till’s murder helped spark the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.  Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, lived in the house for several more years following her son’s murder.  Landmark status will keep the now-vacant historic home from being demolished. There are plans to turn it into a museum.

COVID-19 numbers
Here’s the latest data on COVID-19 coronavirus infections and deaths.

Latest reported numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 100,977,927
Global deaths: 2,177,418.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 429,178.
Number of countries/regions: at least 192
Total patients recovered globally: 55,857,465

Latest reported numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 25,599,961 reported cases in 50 states + the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.  This is more than in any other country.
U.S. deaths: at least 429,178.  New York State has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 42,887.
U.S. total people tested: 296,970,597

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 3,250,649 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million.  This ranks first in the world.  England is second in the world, with 3,248,215 cases.  Texas is third, with 2,309,220 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 29 million.

January now the deadliest pandemic month as new cases, hospitalizations continue to decline
Trend data from the Covid Tracking Project shows January 2021 is now the deadliest month of the pandemic, with three more days to go before the month’s over.  As of Wednesday, there were a total 78,755 reported U.S. coronavirus fatalities in January, compared to 77,112 in December 2020.  The U.S. is currently averaging more than 3,302 reported deaths a day, a near record high and an average that in the last month has surged by 48.4%.  Since November 30, there hasn’t been a single day with fewer than 1,000 COVID-19-related deaths reported.

Even as COVID-19 deaths increase, the number of hospitalizations for the virus continues to trend downward nationwide, as does the number of reported new cases.  The Covid Tracking Project reports the seven-day average for COVID-19 cases as of Thursday morning is 159,740.  That’s the lowest since November 30 and represents a decrease of more than 30% from peak hospitalization numbers on January 12. 

Biden administration buys more COVID-19 vaccines, re-opens ACA enrollment
During its first briefing on Wednesday, the Biden administration’s COVID-19 Advisory Board announced the White House is ramping up the vaccine effort with plans to purchase an additional 100 million doses of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, bringing the total available doses to 600 million.  That’s enough to vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of this summer.  Board members acknowledged that Congress must agree to the allocation of funds for additional doses and vaccination sites.  President Biden today will also sign an executive order to open a special three-month enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act from February 15 to May 15, 2021 on, allowing more Americans to sign up for healthcare amid the pandemic.

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