In 2 decisions, CDC signals the pandemic still has months to go
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We are in a weird spot in this pandemic right now. It feels like things are getting better, more and more people getting vaccinated, more businesses opening, but we’re not entirely out of the woods.
People are still getting sick and dying of COVID-19. That puts health officials and policymakers in a tough spot.
To illustrate: two recent pieces of news from the Centers for Disease Control.
Item 1: The CDC is extending its tenant eviction moratorium to June 30.
Item 2: The cruise industry didn’t get what it wanted — restrictions on sailing from U.S. ports will stay in place until November.
Very different issues with different stakes, but both point to the fact that the CDC thinks we still have a ways to go before the pandemic is over, according to Dr. Philip Landrigan, who used to work at the CDC and now teaches at Boston College.
“They have to decide which sectors of the economy absolutely have to be controlled in, which can be let go, and they have to balance economics and humanitarian considerations,” he said.
And that is an exercise in risk management, said Dr. Bill Lang of WorldClinic, who specializes in analyzing health risks. He said if COVID-19 were a disease that killed almost everyone who got it, very few people would question continued restrictions. “But if it is a disease where the risk is now increasingly managed by vaccine and also by the better treatment methods, then you’re allowed to take more risks.”
But that desire to take more risks had CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky saying this at a press conference Monday: “Right now, I’m scared.”
She said there is reason for hope and optimism, but there are also new variants of the virus to deal with. “Just please hold on a little while longer. I so badly want to be done. I know you all so badly want to be done.”
We’re almost there, she said — but not quite yet.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?
As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.
Give me a snapshot of the labor market in the U.S.
U.S. job openings in February increased more than expected, according to the Labor Department. Also, the economy added over 900,000 jobs in March. For all of the good jobs news recently, there are still nearly 10 million people who are out of work, and more than 4 million of them have been unemployed for six months or longer. “So we still have a very long way to go until we get a full recovery,” said Elise Gould with the Economic Policy Institute. She said the industries that have the furthest to go are the ones you’d expect: “leisure and hospitality, accommodations, food services, restaurants” and the public sector, especially in education.
What do I need to know about tax season this year?
Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.
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