CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship, July 23, 2021


July 23, 2021

COVID-19 Hardship

July 23, 2021 

The Pandemic of the Unvaccinated edition. New COVID-19 infections are on the rise in all 50 states, in some cases sharply. The Delta variant is flourishing, racing through the bodies of the unvaccinated, particularly in Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana, where most people have not received their shots, and in Florida, which critics say opened up too fully and too quickly. In Arkansas, where only 44.5 percent are fully vaccinated, there are 38 new cases per 100,000 residents. Contrast that with Vermont, with its 77.3 percent vaccination rate and just two cases per 100,000 residents. 

“We are either going to get vaccinated and end the virus. Or we are going to accept death,” a Louisiana doctor told CBS Evening News. 

There is some good news. This week, more Republican leaders began urging their constituents to get vaccinated. This included Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), the second-ranking House Republican. He got his vaccination last weekend and urged his followers to do the same. And it included Fox host Sean Hannity who said this week, “I believe in the science of vaccination.” 

Meanwhile, the CDC this week released new, startling statistics showing that Americans’ life expectancy took a nosedive between 2019 and 2020. But again, like everything related to the pandemic, all was not equal. Latinx people experienced the greatest drop in life expectancy – three years – and Blacks saw a decrease of 2.9 years. Whites experienced the smallest decline, of 1.2 years. “American society has become far more unequal than it used to be, and the recent increases in mortality are concentrated among working-class Americans, especially those without a four-year college degree,” the New York Times wrote. 

Just as we will not defeat the pandemic by declining vaccinations and engaging in unsafe practices, we also will not reverse the decline in life expectancy by allowing inequality, poverty, and lack of opportunity to continue or worsen. 

That is why the work in Congress is so important. It is why we must tell our Senators and Representatives that we need infrastructure – both the human and the physical kind. It is why we must address housing and nutrition assistance and home care and affordable child care – and so much more. 

This week, please remind Congress that child care and early childhood education are essential parts of our infrastructure




As of July 21, new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. were up 171 percent from two weeks previously. Hospitalizations were up 49 percent and deaths were up 42 percent. Tweet this.


– 18 months 

Life expectancy declined from 78.8 to 77.3 years from 2019 to 2020, in large part due to the pandemic. It was the worst decline since 1943, in the middle of WWII. COVID’s disparate toll: Latinx people lost 3 full years; Blacks lost 2.9 years; whites lost 1.2 years. Tweet this.




Of adults living in households not current on rent or mortgage, 35.8 percent report eviction or foreclosure in the next two months is somewhat or very likely.  The CDC-mandated eviction moratorium will expire at the end of July. Tweet this.




Just 6.5 percent of $46 billion in rental assistance approved by Congress has reached tenants or landlords, the Treasury Department said this week. The pace of distribution of the funds has picked up, reaching 290,519 households in June, up from 156,943 in May. Tweet this.


$140 billion 


New research published this week shows collection agencies held $140 billion in unpaid medical bills last year – much more than previously thought. In 2020, Americans living in states that did not expand Medicaid owed an average of $375 more than those who lived in states that participated in the program. Tweet this.


Half – or one-third


Half (50%) of 19-64 year-old adults who were uninsured had medical bill debt or problems in the past year; even for the insured, 36% had medical debt or bill problems.




The rapidly spreading delta variant is thought to be 225 percent more transmissible than earlier strains of COVID-19, causing some experts to recommend indoor mask-wearing, even for the fully vaccinated. 


Nearly 3 in 4 

74 percent of registered voters support reinstating mask mandates in their area if there is a spike in COVID-19 cases, according to a new poll. This includes a strong majority of Republicans.


35 million/ 

60 million 

On Thursday, July 15, the Treasury Department and the IRS began sending monthly Child Tax Credit payments to roughly 35 million families with almost 60 million children. The payments totaled about $15 billion.


40 million


The number of Americans over age 55 who have no money saved and risk heading into poverty. That’s nearly half of people in this age group.