CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship April 2, 2021


April 2, 2021

COVID-19 HardshipMarch 19, 2021

The fourth surge fears edition. “Impending doom.” Those off-script words were issued this week by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky who warned of spring spikes in COVID-19 cases across the country. Already we are seeing rising caseloads in many states, particularly in the Northeast and Upper Midwest. Overall, daily infection rates in the U.S. are much higher than they were two weeks ago – although, thankfully, not nearly as high as they were in January, which witnessed the largest death toll so far in the pandemic. 

The reasons why public health experts such as Dr. Walensky think a fourth surge either has arrived or is imminent are varied. A more contagious variant of COVID-19 (the one first identified in Britain, called B.1.1.7) is spreading. Local officials and governors are lifting restrictions and mask rules. Many Americans are behaving less cautiously. On Thursday, the Opening Day of Major League Baseball, the Texas Rangers planned to allow full attendance at their ballpark. Although every American 16 years and older will soon be eligible to receive a vaccination, the roll-out right now has not occurred in sufficient numbers to arrest the pandemic’s spread – so far, just over one in three Americans has received at least the first dose, far short of what is needed to achieve herd immunity. 

Meanwhile, a new CDC report issued Wednesday, March 31 reveals that COVID-19 was the third underlying cause of death in 2020, after heart disease and cancer. Approximately 375,000 COVID-19-related deaths were reported in 2020 in the U.S., and death rates were generally twice as high among American Indian and Alaskan Native persons, Latinx, Blacks, and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander persons than among whites. 

On a happier note, President Biden this week began unveiling his economic recovery plan. We’ll be writing more about that in future editions of COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship. But for now, suffice it to say, Biden’s plan will build upon the American Rescue Plan to put our nation back to work. Rebuilding both our human and physical infrastructure is the best way to create jobs and get the economy moving. Done right, it can also address racial and income inequality, and create a more fair economy, with opportunity for more Americans. 



The average number of nationwide COVID-19 cases per day for the 7-day period ending Thursday, April1. That’s a 20 percent increase from the average two weeks earlier. Tweet this. 


More than 2,300 

The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Michigan as of Thursday, April 1. That’s more than double since the beginning of March. Tweet this.



The number of Americans satisfied with the vaccine roll-out in March, according to a new Gallup poll. That’s up 24 percentage points since February and 34 percentage points since January. And 74 percent of Americans now say they are willing to be vaccinated, an all-time high since the pandemic began. Tweet this.



The unemployment rate in February among workers who had been in the bottom 25 percent of wage earners, compared to an overall rate of 6.2 percent, according to a speech last week delivered by Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard. Tweet this.


3.1 million 

The number of leisure and hospitality jobs lost from March 2020 to March 2021 , nearly 15%. (But over the past month, 280,000 jobs were added in this sector, so progress is starting.) Tweet this.




New U.S. Census data released this week demonstrate a direct correlation between income levels and the ability to telework. 73.1 percent of households earning $200,000 or more reported that at least one member of the household was able to work from home. For households earning $50,000-$75,000, it was 32.1 percent; for households under $25,000, it was only 12.7 percent.


10 million 

The number of U.S. mothers living with their school-aged children who were not working in January. That’s 1.4 million more than in January 2020.


Nearly 200 

The number of businesses that signed a letter in late March calling on Congress to pass paid and more expansive family leave as part of the upcoming economic recovery package.


-23.6 million

The number of people unemployed, underemployed, or out of the labor force because of the pandemic downturn, as calculated by the Economic Policy Institute. 



The percent of American adults who report the likelihood of eviction or foreclosure in the next two months is somewhat or very high, according to the same data. The Biden Administration has extended a CDC moratorium on evictions, but landlords may still initiate eviction proceedings in court in many places.




COVID-19 Watch