CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship, December 17, 2021


December 17, 2021

COVID-19 Hardship

December 17, 2021 

 The 61.2 million children get coal edition. This week, the U.S. marked two sad milestones. More than 50 million COVID-19 cases have now been confirmed since the pandemic began, and more than 800,000 people have died. The highly contagious omicron variant is here in the U.S. and is ricocheting through Britain and parts of Europe; on Thursday alone, Britain reported 88,376 new infections – the highest number since the pandemic began. “Omicron is spreading at a rate we have not seen with any previous variant,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing. 

In the U.S., which often trails Britain and Europe in terms of COVID-19’s evolution, delta remains by far the dominant variant, and it continues to wreak havoc, particularly in Arizona, Colorado, and parts of the Midwest and Northeast. But that could be changing quickly. Top health officials warned in a briefing this week that omicron is spreading rapidly here and could peak in a massive wave of infections as soon as January. The prevalence of omicron in the U.S. jumped seven-fold in a single week, according to the CDC. The U.S. is not in lockdown mode, but COVID-19 is closing some schools, colleges and universities early, and hospitals are nearing capacity yet again in some areas.  We know the booster shot is an important protection, but only 28.1 percent of those fully vaccinated in the U.S. have received it. 

Also cancelled? The hope that the Senate will act on President Biden’s Build Back Better plan by Christmas. So we must fight on in January. The stakes are so high for all of us – including the 61.2 million children in 36 million families who have seen their final expanded Child Tax Credit monthly payment unless Congress takes action. You can call your Senators today: 1-888-738-3058 (thanks to NETWORK for the use of the number).  



The daily average of new COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. reported on Thursday, December 16. That’s a 31 percent increase in cases and a 23 percent increase in deaths compared to two weeks ago. Tweet this




61.2 million children in 36 million families received the latest expanded Child Tax Credit payment, distributed on Wednesday, December 15, according to the Treasury Department. The average payment to each family was $444. This will be the final monthly payment unless Congress extends the CTC expansion. Tweet this



For the week ending December 12, only 54.7 percent of fully vaccinated nursing home residents had received a COVID-19 booster shot. This is most disturbing for several reasons. First, the elderly are more at risk of dying from COVID-19 than other age groups, nursing home residents even more so. Second, the new, incredibly infectious omicron variant is infecting many fully vaccinated people but appears to struggle to infect people who have received their boosters.  COVID cases are rising among unvaccinated nursing home residents, but not among those with booster shots. Tweet this




Three-fourths of the roughly 800,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19 were 65 or older. One in 100 older Americans have died from the virus, compared to one in 1,400 Americans under 65. Tweet this



At least 75 members of the House and Senate held shares of Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or Pfizer during 2020, according to a new investigative report. Congress appropriated billions to help companies develop vaccines. In early January 2020, a share of Moderna traded below $20. Moderna peaked in September 2021 at more than $455 a share. Tweet this


1 in less than 7 

The number of Americans who have had confirmed cases of COVID-19. One in 420 Americans have died from the coronavirus; in Mississippi, the hardest-hit state with large Black and Native American populations, that number is one in 290.




The percentage of Americans who say they know someone who has died of or been hospitalized with COVID-19, according to a Pew Research Poll from September. A YouGov poll released in October found one-third of all Americans had a family member or close friend die of the virus.


About 61% 

Only about 61 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated. Around two million doses are being administered each day, a figure that includes booster shots.


6x; 14x 

Unvaccinated people are nearly 6 times more likely to contract COVID than are fully vaccinated people (not counting the booster) and 14 times more likely to die from COVID, according to the CDC (data from September 2021).



10,000 people turn 65 every day in the U.S., and we face an acute shortage of caregivers. The Build Back Better Act would create and support 390,000 new care work jobs each year over 10 years, nearly 300,000 of which would be living wage care jobs. It would also add an estimated $4 billion in additional income for current workers and their families each year.