CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship March 12, 2021


March 12, 2021

COVID-19 HardshipMarch 12, 2021

The victory lap edition. Help is on the way. Yesterday President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan. The plan is bold enough to meet the twin problems of pandemic and recession; The New York Times calls it “virtually without precedent in recent American politics.” 

CHN supporters and allies helped make this happen. You sent more than 350,000 letters to members of the House and Senate demanding they take action. And act they did – the new plan will speed vaccines across the nation. It will reduce the number of people in poverty by over 13 million, including 5.7 million children. Families with low incomes will benefit from expanded tax credits, increased nutrition aid, and housing and utilities assistance. Jobless workers will receive extended UI benefits, and the $1,400 payment headed toward most Americans’ bank accounts will inject needed stimulus into our economy. State and local governments, including territories and tribal jurisdictions, will benefit. Rebuilding our child care industry will allow more women to return to work, and many more Americans will have access to affordable health care. The Brookings-Urban Institute Tax Policy Center tells us that provisions in the American Rescue Plan are refreshingly well-targeted, boosting incomes substantially for the lowest fifth, with no tax breaks for millionaires. That’s in notable contrast to the Trump tax cuts of 2017 (also costing $1.9 trillion), which in 2018 gave the bottom fifth $60, while the top 0.1 percent raked in an average $193,380 each. 

Implementation will not be easy and will require due diligence. As the Washington Post notes, “Over the coming weeks, the Biden administration must send another round of one-time checks to millions of families, rethink vast portions of the U.S. tax code, and dole out much-needed sums to help cash-strapped Americans, seeking to swiftly blunt an economic crisis that has left millions without jobs and falling further behind financially.” 

And the pandemic is far from over. We continue to see declines in daily infection rates, hospitalizations, and deaths, but experts warn of a possible new surge in cases due to highly infectious variants spreading through the U.S. Super-spreader events are possible – from the college party in Boulder that nearly turned into a riot to the unsanctioned NBA All-Star events in Atlanta. In Florida, hundreds of thousands of students from more than 200 colleges and universities are expected to descend on Miami Beach during Spring Break, which runs from late February to mid-April. States such as Texas and Mississippi are lifting COVID-19 restrictions entirely. 

Still. Take a victory lap. You deserve it. Bold crises demand bold action. This time, we met the challenge.  



10 percent of Americans are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, a number that for the first time exceeds the country’s total number of confirmed cases. As of Thursday, March 11nearly 34 million Americans had been fully vaccinated, while more than 64 million have received the first shot. Tweet this. 


More than 1 in 3

More than 80 million adults in the U.S., or about 35 percent, said their households found it very or somewhat difficult to pay regular bills in the previous week. For adults with children in their households, it was 41 percent. Half or more of Latinx and Blacks reported such hardships. (For whites, it was 27 percent; for Asian-Americans, 30 percent.) Tweet this. 


+ $2,960 / – $970


After-tax income would go up $2,960 for tax filers with incomes less than $25,500 (the bottom fifth) because of provisions in the American Rescue Plan, a gain of more than 21%, but would fall $970 for millionaires (the top 0.1%). Tweet this.


+ $60 / + $193k  

In contrast, the Trump tax cuts in 2018 gave $60 to the bottom fifth, but provided $193,380 on average to each in the top 0.1%. Tweet this. 



In April 2020, as COVID-19 accelerated its rapid spread, excess mortality increased with age and was largest among the oldest age group, new data released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau show. Individuals aged 85 and older represent only 3 percent of the total U.S. population ages 25 years and older but accounted for 34 percent of the excess mortality in the U.S. Tweet this. 


About half


On the other hand, employment displacement decreased with age. It was the largest among the younger age group (ages 25 through 44). These individuals make up only 39 percent of the U.S. population ages 25 and older but accounted for about half of the people 25 and older who lost their jobs nationwide.


2 million/$240 billion/110,000


In the past year, the restaurant industry has shed 2 million jobs, lost an estimated $240 billion in revenue, and seen 110,000 establishments closed. The American Rescue Plan provides $28.6 billion for the beleaguered industry.




In a survey of therapists for the American Psychological Association published last fall, 74 percent of therapists saw an increase in demand for anxiety disorder treatment since the start of the pandemic, while 60 percent saw a rise in depression disorder treatment. And 41 percent of therapists reported feeling burned out.


More than 2/3 


68 percent of Americans believe the federal government should step in and directly provide aid to help struggling families keep their homes, put food on the table and otherwise make ends meet, according to a new poll. This includes 84 percent of Democrats, 64 percent of independents, and 53 percent of Republicans.



The percent of Americans who say they favor the American Rescue Plan, according to a Pew Research poll released Wednesday, March 10. 41 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they support the measure, along with 94 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.





COVID-19 Watch