As leaders in government prepare to craft the fifth Covid-19 $1 trillion aid bill, Democrats in the Senate make plans to provide relief to African Americans and other people of color during the pandemic and beyond.
Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York said moving $350 billion of the untapped $500 billion previously approved for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would make immediate and long-term changes to address systemic racism.
The announcement comes at a time when reparations to atone for the economic damage caused by slavery on the descendants of African and Native Americans is becoming a reality.
“Long before the pandemic, long before this recession, long before this year’s protests, structural inequalities have persisted in health care and housing, the economy and education,” Schumer said in a statement. “COVID-19 has only magnified these injustices.”
Schumer’s proposal would provide $135 billion for the childcare and health care needs of people of color during the pandemic. The plan would also allocate $215 billion over five years into investments to help communities of color over the long-term, including a housing down payment program, Medicaid expansion and other services.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
Another 1.3 million Americans filed first-time unemployment claims last week in the U.S., down 10,000 from the previous week. 17.3 million people continue to collect unemployment. These claims peaked in May at nearly 25 million.
At least 39 states reported an increase in the number of new cases from the prior week. Health officials are closely watching the infection rates in hotspots – California, Florida, Arizona and Texas – as surging cases have led to a shortage of hospital beds and morgues filled to capacity.
A day after the Trump administration decided to reroute coronavirus hospital data first to the administration, traditionally sent first to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some data was removed from the CDC.gov website. Deleted data includes current inpatient and ICU bed occupancy, staff counts, and personal protective equipment supply inventory and availability.
Before the end of the day on Thursday, the information was back on the website. In a statement released by the Department of Health and Human Services said the agency is re-establishing the coronavirus dashboards that it made private on Wednesday to remain transparent. However, the CDC said on its website that this data will not be updated after July 14.
Despite a mandate put into place by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and leaders in Savannah, Athens and Augusta, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is overruling all local government mandates, making masks optional in public spaces.
Almost 128,000 people in Georgia have tested positive for the coronavirus and more than 3,000 have died since the pandemic began. Half of all new cases are being reported in Atlanta.
As reality sets in for the GOP, the Republican National Committee announced Thursday that it is limiting attendance on three of the four nights of its convention in Jacksonville, Florida, next month. In recent weeks, Florida has set daily record highs in confirmed cases. Jacksonville has implemented a face-covering mandate and the state is limiting gatherings to 50% of a venue’s capacity.
This year’s Democratic convention will be held almost entirely online August 17-20 in Milwaukee, with live broadcasts and online streaming.
Retailers across the country do their part to help stop the spread of the coronavirus and Target and CVS are the latest retailers to announce they will require customers to wear masks or face coverings while shopping in their stores. On Wednesday, Walmart, Kroger and Kohl’s made similar announcements.
Target’s requirement, which excludes young children and those with underlying medical conditions, will start Aug. 1. CVS will start requiring masks Monday, July 20.
The National Football League Players Association’s database reveals that 72 NFL players had tested positive for Covid-19 as of July 10. The database, used to keep players and staff in-the-know about the spread of the virus around the league, does not indicate how many players were tested.
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