CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship, May 20, 2022


May 20, 2022

COVID-19 HardshipMay 20, 2022

The million deaths edition. This week, the United States surpassed one million officially recorded deaths from COVID-19. So many people died from COVID-19 that a disease that didn’t even exist three years ago has become the third leading cause of death in this country, behind heart disease and cancer. This toll does not take into account so much additional pain and hardship – isolation, depression, job loss, homelessness, drug or alcohol addiction, millions of kids falling behind in school or dropping out altogether. The list goes on and on and on. 

So where are we today? New cases are rising sharply, once again, and hospitalizations are up as well. The new daily case rate has climbed back above 100,000. But experts say Americans can assume infections in their communities are five to ten times higher than the official counts, according to the Washington Post. For example, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates only about 13 percent of new COVID-19 cases are being detected. “Any sort of look at the metrics on either a local, state, or national level is a severe undercount,” said Jessica Malaty Rivera, an epidemiologist at the Pandemic Prevention Institute housed at The Rockefeller Foundation. “Everyone knows someone getting Covid now.” 

Some have downplayed the rise in infections, thinking COVID cases are milder than in the past.  But it is worth noting that hospitalizations have risen 29 percent over the past two weeks. 

With Memorial Day weekend approaching and a spate of graduations and family gatherings, case rates are expected to continue to climb – and then get worse, potentially much worse, when fall and winter arrive. So one might assume Congress is acting expeditiously to prepare our nation for what is to come. 

Unfortunately, that is precisely not the case. As incredible as it sounds, Congress is taking its Memorial Day recess without acting – without passing a desperately needed emergency supplemental appropriations bill. That means we won’t have the money we need to pay for new vaccinations, to pay for treatment, for testing – all of the things that simple common sense tells us we need in the midst of an ongoing pandemic. 

We expect more from our elected officials. At the very least, we demand that members of Congress act to save the lives and protect the health of Americans. Write your Senators today. 



As of Wednesday, May 18, 103,231 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the U.S., a 57 percent increase over the previous 14 days. Hospitalizations were up 29 percent. But deaths were down 17 percent. Tweet this.


1.2 million

America’s public schools have lost at least 1.2 million students since 2020. Two causes: some parents frustrated with remote learning or mask mandates began home-schooling their children or sending them to private or parochial schools that largely remained open during the pandemic. Other families were thrown into such turmoil by pandemic-related job losses, homelessness, and school closures that their children simply dropped out. Tweet this.


1 in 3


Approximately one in three Americans 65 and older who completed their initial vaccination round still have not received a first booster shot. This is despite the fact that seniors who have completed an initial two-dose series of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or gotten one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine still face substantial risk of serious illness and even death if they do not get boosted. Tweet this.



Although fewer than 1 percent of Americans live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities, they represent more than 20 percent of COVID-19 deaths. But critics say the federal government has not prioritized booster shots for nursing home residents – far different from the federal government’s efforts to ensure that residents received their first round of vaccinations. Tweet this.


$1.7 trillion

The amount that America’s billionaires’ collective wealth ballooned between the time the pandemic began and May 2022, according to new research by the Institute for Policy Studies and Americans for Tax Fairness. Tweet this.




Half the people in the U.S. who died of COVID-19 since vaccines became available might have been saved, Axios reports. That’s 319,000 preventable deaths between January 2021 and April 2022. States where the most lives could have been saved on a per capita basis include West Virginia, Wyoming, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Oklahoma.


Less than half 

Under the American Rescue Plan, money remains available to reimburse families for funeral costs when a loved one dies of COVID-19 – up to $9,000, which is roughly the average cost of a funeral. But fewer than half of all eligible families have started applications to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which disburses the funds. Advocates say red tape and difficulty in applying in part may be to blame. In addition, family members may not know the funding is available.


1 million 

Experts warn that an anticipated wave of COVID-19 transmissions this coming fall and winter could result in one million new cases a day. That would resemble the number of daily cases the U.S. saw this past winter, as the omicron variant spread throughout the country.


Over 75% 

A groundbreaking study found that more than 75 percent of patients suffering from long Covid were not sick enough to require hospitalization when they first contracted COVID-19. The study of 78,252 long Covid patients is significant because it disproves assumptions that patients who become seriously ill from COVID-19 are more likely to develop long Covid.


1 in 17 

The 2020 Census missed 5.6% of Native Americans who live on the nation’s 325 reservations, an undercount that could lead to fewer federal dollars going to essential health, nutrition, and social programs in remote communities with high poverty rates and limited access to services. There were also high undercounts of Hispanics (5%), Blacks (3.3%), and young children (2.8%).