CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship, January 15, 2021


January 15, 2021

COVID-19 Hardship

January 15, 2021

The it’s-always-darkest-before-the-dawn edition. On Thursday, January 14, 238,390 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed – up 27 percent from two weeks prior. An additional 3,973 deaths were reported – up 39 percent from two weeks ago (but down from 4,400 reported on Tuesday, January 12). The national COVID-19 death toll is approaching 400,000. Cases in Arizona and California continue to surge; in Los Angeles County earlier this week, a person died from COVID-19 every eight minutes. Washington, D.C. on Monday, January 11 reported its highest daily infection rate yet — only to break that record two days later. Early in the pandemic, cities bore the brunt of the pandemic, but now it is everywhere – deaths are spiking in rural areas such as Butler County, Kansas; Sevier County, Tennessee; and Etowah County, Alabama. And the economy continues to tank – new unemployment claims announced Thursday, Jan. 14 were up sharply. 

Still, hope is on the horizon in two forms. First, President-elect Biden Thursday evening announced robust proposal to corral COVID-19 and resurrect our sputtering economy. His American Rescue Plan includes $1,400 stimulus checks, expanded jobless benefits and rental assistance, money to re-open schools safely, a paid sick-leave program to encourage people to stay at home when they are ill, and funds to accelerate vaccines. The plan funds 100,000 public health workers to carry out vaccine outreach and contact tracing. The plan also includes a significant and historic expansion of the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, nutrition assistance, aid for state and local governments, small businesses, and mass transit systems on the brink. And it raises the minimum wage to $15.  

Also: after a sluggish rollout, reports suggest that the number of vaccines administered daily is on the rise. As of late this week, 28 states plus D.C. were offering the vaccine to Americans 65 years of age and older. 


More than 1.2m 

More than 1.2 million new unemployment claims were filed the week ending January 9. That includes 965,000 regular state UI claims (seasonally adjusted) as well as 284,000 claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Tweet this.



The number of women who lost their jobs in December. Men gained 16,000 jobs that same month. The economy shed 140,000 jobs overall, meaning that the net number of jobs lost were held entirely by women. They were overwhelmingly women of color. Tweet this.



The Biden American Rescue Plan is expected to cut the number of children in poverty in America in half within a year, by dramatically increasing the Child Tax Credit, providing $1,400 more in cash aid, and increasing jobless benefits and SNAP. Tweet this.





The number of child care workers who lost their jobs early in the pandemic. That’s one in four child care workers in the U.S. Tweet this.


17.5 million 

The number of workers, 11 percent of the workforce, who take care of their kids on their own. Many of these workers are unlikely to be able to work full-time until schools and day care centers fully reopen. Tweet this.



29 percent of Latinx households with children and 31% of Black households with children are experiencing three or more co-occurring economic and health-related hardships as a result of the pandemic. That’s nearly twice the rate of Asian and white households (13% and 16%, respectively).


1 in 3 

One out of every three families in the U.S. is struggling with paying their home energy bills. That’s true for 50 percent of Black households, 40 percent of Latinx households, and 60 percent of Native American households.



The number of leisure and hospitality jobs lost in December alone. Three-fourths of those jobs were restaurant and bar workers.



The percent of leisure and hospitality jobs lost since the pandemic began – outpacing every other industry.



The number of restaurants and bars that have closed since the pandemic began. That’s more than one in six across the country.