Today’s In Crisis headlines


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

Congress hammers out $900 billion COVID-19 relief package; votes to come today
After months of failed negotiations and contentious partisan gridlock, congressional lawmakers on Sunday night announced they’d hammered out a roughly $900 billion stimulus package that, if passed, will provide $600 for individuals making up to $75,000 per year and $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000 per year, as well as a $600 payment for each dependent child.  That means a family of four would receive $2,400 in direct payments.  The bill also provides $300 per week in enhanced federal unemployment benefits through March 14, 2021.  Benefits passed in March under the CARES Act are set to expire December 26.  The final bill text of the bill is expected to be released today.

The $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill will be attached to a must-pass $1.4 omnibus spending bill that funds the government through September 2021. The total $2.3 trillion package will be one of the largest spending bills Congress has passed in U.S. history.  The House is expected to vote on the bill today, followed by the Senate.  Sunday night, the House also passed a one-day stopgap measure to fund the government.

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: 76,928,774
Global deaths: 1,695,307.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 317,684.
Number of countries/regions: at least 191
Total patients recovered globally: 43,383,434

Latest reported numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 17,848,395 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 317,684.  New York State has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 36,431.
U.S. total people tested: 230,118,657

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 1,886,558 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million.  This ranks second in the world after Maharashtra, India, which has 1,896,518 reported cases.  England, which has 1,743,893 reported cases, ranks third in the world, while Texas is fourth, with 1,593,838 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 29 million.

Moderna vaccine being distributed following FDA authorization; CDC updates vaccination advisory
Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is now being shipped nationwide, following last week’s Food and Drug Administration authorization of Moderna’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) request.  Moderna’s vaccine is the second to received FDA authorization, following last week’s Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine authorization. 

As of early Sunday afternoon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says at least 2,838,225 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed in the U.S. and 556,208 administered.  The CDC notes that the distributed doses numbers represent “cumulative counts of COVID-19 vaccine doses recorded as shipped in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vaccine Tracking System (VTrckS) since December 13, 2020.”  Total doses administered represents reporting to the CDC by “state, territorial, and local public health agencies and five federal entities (Bureau of Prisons, Veterans Administration, Department of Defense, Department of State, and Indian Health Services) since December 14, 2020.”  The CDC’s numbers will likely lag behind the actual numbers due to delays in data reporting. 

On the heels of the Moderna EUA news, the CDC on Sunday updated its advisory on who should next be vaccinated against COVID-19, following the front-line healthcare workers currently at the top of the list.  The CDC says people over age 75, as well as “front-line essential workers,” such as first-responders, teachers and those working at essential businesses, such as grocery stores, should next be vaccinated.  President-elect Biden plans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine today, according to his transition team.

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