Congress releases $900 billion in new stimulus checks, Round #2 of the vaccines start today, and a new strain in London confirms the virus is mutating.
Congressional leaders agreed last night to $600 direct payments + a $300 per week unemployment compensation supplement through September 2021. US Airlines will receive $15 billion in new payroll assistance, and 32,000 furloughed workers will be back on the payrolls through spring. The deal will also include $1 billion for passenger railroad Amtrak, $14 billion for public transit systems, and $10 billion for interstate state highways.
Congress has authorized the emergency plan with a caveat.
The $2 Trillion CARES Act —which provided COVID-19 relief legislation to individuals, businesses, state and local governments— expires on December 31. A spokesman for Senators McConnell said, “the agreement with Senator Schumer includes; effectively ending the CARES Act lending facilities by December 31, 2020; preventing these facilities from being restarted or duplicated without congressional approval; and rescinding more than $429 billion in unused CARES Act funds."
Republicans argue the programs are an unnecessary government interference in private business which politicizes the Federal Reserve. They are concerned Democrats are seeking to extend them into 2021 as a backdoor approach to providing unchecked funds and bailouts for state and local governments.
Coronavirus Mutating In London.
U.S. health officials are monitoring the new strain of COVID-19 emerging in the United Kingdom,” U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday, adding “any mutation shows people must keep protecting themselves from the novel coronavirus while awaiting vaccination. Viruses mutate all the time.”
A new strain of the coronavirus may be responsible for the faster spread of the virus in London and south-east England, it has been announced. Called N501Y — this particular strain has been increasing in frequency since August.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lent his voice to the concern announcing yesterday “the variant, which officials say is up to 70% more transmissible than the original, has prompted concerns about a wider spread.” Tightening the COVID-19 restrictions in London and surrounding areas is disrupting Christmas holiday plans of millions of people.
Since COVID-19 was first diagnosed on December 8, 2019 over 77 million have been infected, 54 million have recovered, and 1.7 million have perished. While the idea of a mutating virus breaking out into new strains is disconcerting, those fears are not justified by science. Nelson Michael, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research at Walter Reed said, “It stands to reason that this mutation isn’t a threat.”
Viruses work through generations far faster than large organisms such as ourselves, and groups of small changes can cluster more quickly into significant differences. However, in the case of the newly identified variant in the south-east of England, there is no evidence as yet that this mutation makes the virus any more transmissible or harmful. In fact, it is proof positive that both the coronavirus and the British tabloids are both running their expected course and foregone conclusions.
The Vaccine’s Second Act
More than 128,000 people in the U.S. received a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine last week, but Moderna’s vaccine left warehouses yesterday for 37,000 healthcare facilities across the country.
They’ll be delivered first to 1) healthcare professionals, 2) long-term care facility residents, 3) populations over 65, and 4) people with pre-existing conditions. However, companies and industry groups are lobbying to get their U.S. workers classified as essential and next in line for the vaccine. Those making the most noise are meatpacking plants, the agriculture sector, and retail environments.
The first Moderna vaccine shot, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday, will be given on Monday morning. The U.S. government plans to deliver 8 million vaccines this week and remains on target to get 20 million Americans inoculated by years end.
The End of an Era
With 30 days left in his presidency, Donald Trump has been conspicuously absent from the White House Pandemic Response Team, the massive rollout of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and the $900 billion Coronavirus Relief Plan reached today that will spare millions from falling into poverty this Christmas and the nation into recession. We reflect upon 2020 with David Record’s rendering of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
"Twas the Night Before Christmas
by David Record
Twas the night before Christmas, And throughout the whole world Not a creature has stirred, Since the pandemic unfurled.
We’ve all Stayed at Home, Wore a mask, quarantined, Awaiting a cure for COVID-19.
The Donald assured us, Don’t worry, don’t fear When the weather is warm, It will just disappear.
He knew what was coming, He took little action Protecting his image, From the country’s reaction.
Bleach, he suggested, Will be the great cure Inject in your veins, This will rid it for sure.
With compassion for no one, (Except for himself) Tweeting lies & deception, Like a rogue little elf.
Watching his rallies, Was like chewing glass Watching him blow smoke, Right up his own ass.
The Trumpsters all flocked, To the rallies with glee Maskless they came, With a ridiculous plea;
Four more years, they droned, An implausible sight, These people, these jokers, They just aren’t quite right.
Crooked Hillary, Pocahontas, Take them down too But he wasn’t a match For Kamala the Shrew.
It was more than a sideshow Or disastrous year The Election, thank God, Was finally here.
The Donald, per chance, Was on his way out Crying FOUL crying FRAUD, With a signature pout.
A sigh of relief was Heard ‘round the world While lawsuits against The states unfurled.
Some 75 million had Flu like malaise While the rest of the world Got Pandemic Fatigue.
It’s been quite a year, We’ve been through a lot, Being careful, wearing masks, Hoping COVID’s not caught.
Police brutality wrought #Black Lives Matter, Orange elf, from his shelf, the Proud Boys he flattered.
The actions, the words, All seemed so bizarre, But what can you expect, From a reality star.
So here we all sit, Our Christmas tradition, Despite the direction, From a bad politician.
We’re tired, we’re anxious, We’re nearing the end We’re excited, we’re cautious; We’re ready to mend.
A night on the town Is what we desire Chatting and laughing, In our finest attire.
Let’s raise a glass, to four years of hell, The new year's upon us, A gold shining bell.
Restaurants, movies, and Concerts galore, The simple things, twenty twenty-one has in store.
But this Christmas eve has yet a new meaning We’re finally paroled, from self-quarantining.
The year ended high, The world got it’s wish A vaccine, new president, And sexy side dish.
Biden and Harris Have one lofty goal To save and redeem, America’s soul.
As we celebrate Christmas, And all its good cheer Looking forward with hope, To a much better year.
From this dark lonely tunnel, a light, at last Getting back to normal Can’t happen too fast.
The future, our world, so incredibly bright Merry Christmas to all, And to all a good night.
Make sense of the week's news. Charlatan reviews the world's show & message.
Finally, a word from the Father of the Nation… We citizens of America are, from this period, to be considered actors in a most conspicuous theater, which seems to be peculiarly designated by Providence for the display of human discourse, civility, and dignity. — George Washington, 1783