Today’s In Crisis headlines


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

No apparent movement on COVID-19 relief as unemployment benefits near expiration
Two days after President Trump demanded Congress increase benefit payments from $600 to $2,000, there has been no apparent movement on COVID-19 relief.  And with many lawmakers having already left Washington, D.C. for the holidays, it appears increasingly unlikely there will be any congressional action any time soon.  Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have declared they’re prepared to support the increased payments.  So far, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has remained silent.  Many Republican lawmakers balked at the $600 relief amount, making approval of an increase a tremendous challenge.

Both the House and Senate passed the coronavirus relief bill Monday night after months of contentious stop-and-start negotiations, as part of a larger sending bill that funds the government for another year.  The president must sign that bill into law no later than midnight Monday, December 28, which is when a seven-day provision to temporarily fund the government, passed Monday, December 21, expires, which in turn will trigger a federal government shutdown.

The COVID-19 relief bill includes payments of $600 to qualifying Americans, with additional payments based on marital and dependent status.  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 Saturday.

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: 78,837,181
Global deaths: 1,733,347.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 326,242.
Number of countries/regions: at least 191
Total patients recovered globally: 44,449,571

Latest reported numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 18,467,131 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 326,242.  New York State has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 36,876.
U.S. total people tested: 235,621,573

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 2,010,157 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million.  This ranks first in the world.  Maharashtra, India, is second, with 1,906,371 reported cases.  England, which has 1,839,170 reported cases, ranks third in the world, while Texas is fourth, with 1,648,919 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 29 million.

December now the deadliest month of the pandemic; California exceeds two million cases
December is now the deadliest month in the U.S. since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with eight days remaining.  That’s according to the Covid Tracking Project, which reports that as of Wednesday, 57,638 Americans died from the virus in December.  April is now the second deadliest month of the year, with 55,267 fatalities, according to the Covid Tracking Project.  Wednesday also saw yet another new daily record for hospitalizations, with 119,463 Americans hospitalized with the coronavirus.  The seven-day average for hospitalizations also set a new record, with 115,503 reported.

A Department of Health and Human Services memo, obtained by ABC News, reports there were 18,742 COVID-19 deaths recorded during the period of December 17-23, marking a 6.2% increase in new deaths compared with the previous week.  Twenty-nine states and territories are reported to be in an upward trajectory of new cases, with one jurisdictions at a plateau and 26 decreasing.  Twenty-four percent of hospitalized Americans have COVID-19, according to the memo, matching the all-time peak in April.

California remains the state experiencing the greatest increase in cases, with 2,010,157 reported as of Thursday morning, according to data reported by Johns Hopkins University.  California is now the first state to report that many cases, which account for just under 11% of the 18,467,131 total reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S.  California now reports more coronavirus cases than any single region on the globe, with Los Angeles County reporting more cases than any other county in the U.S., with 665,036.

CDC updates COVID-19 fatalities forecast
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now forecasting that the U.S. will see between 378,000 to 419,000 COVID-19 deaths by the week ending January 16.  The CDC’s previous forecast estimated there would be from 303,000 to 329,000 COVID-19 deaths reported in the U.S. by the week ending December 26.  As of Thursday, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows 326,242 reported COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.  With the current average daily fatality rate of 2,649, according to the Covid Tracking Project, the U.S. will likely pass 330,000 reported deaths before the weekend is over.

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