CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship November 5, 2021


November 5, 2021

COVID-19 HardshipNovember 5, 2021 

The Build Back Better, Please! edition. Covid-19 laid bare a host of vulnerabilities that have been holding our nation back for a long time. We saw shocking disparities in sickness and death by race and ethnicity. We saw billionaires pile up more than $2.1 trillion in new wealth during the pandemic, while unemployment and hardship spiked for millions of Americans – again, disproportionately Black, brown, Indigenous, poor. Our institutions are far more fragile than we thought. Amid lockdowns, schools did not serve the poorest children adequately. Health facilities were overburdened. Too many of our aging lost their lives in nursing homes; there was not enough home care for those who wanted to live in the community.  

The American Rescue Plan and previous relief did a lot to lessen the worst of the hardships endured by millions. The Child Tax Credit reduced child poverty by about 40 percent. After the first CTC payment, there was a 30% drop in reports of sometimes/often not having enough to eat in the previous week, and a 43% drop among those under $35,000 income. But as recently as last month, 29% of us were still saying they were finding it somewhat or very difficult to pay regular bills; that was true of 38% Hispanics/Latinx and 44% of Blacks. And now, as Covid deaths have exceeded 750,000 in the U.S., we need to Build Back Better. 

As we write, President Biden’s Build Back Better plan is before the House of Representatives, and the outcome is still in doubt. Build Back Better will achieve historic gains in so many areas, some described below – health care, child care, housing, and home care for the aging and those with disabilities, just to name a few.  But only if the House takes the first step and passes it.

There is a growing sense of urgency among human needs advocates – a sense that unless Congress gets it done soon, it won’t be done at all. And that would be yet another tragedy, on top of the tragedy of the pandemic that we have suffered through for roughly 20 months now.

So please tell Congress: get it done. Please call your Representative today –1-888-516-5820.


39 million 

The number of households with children who will receive $3,000 – $3,600 per child from the Child Tax Credit; 90% of all families with children, due to Build Back Better.

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Under 75% of SMI = $0 

In the first 3 years of the Build Back Better child care expansion, eligible families with incomes under 75% of State Median Income will pay nothing for child care. SMI ranges from a low of about $45k in Mississippi to $85k in Maryland. No family will pay more than 7% of its income on child care. Over time, families at up to 250% of SMI will be entitled to a subsidy.

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9 million 

The number of people whose Affordable Care Act marketplace insurance premiums would decline under Build Back Better – with average savings of $600 per person per year.

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2 – 4 million 

The number of uninsured adults below the poverty line who would gain health insurance through the ACA marketplace, paying $0 for premiums. These people, 60% of whom are people of color, have been closed out of coverage because they live in the states that have not expanded their Medicaid programs.

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The number of people now on waiting lists for Home and Community Based Services under Medicaid. (3.7m people get those home care services.) The $150b increase in BBB will serve many more of the aging and people with disabilities.

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Average annual pay for home care workers ($12.12 per hour).  The BBB increase is expected to increase pay and result in more workers hired, to reduce the waiting list above and improve care.


5.7 million 


An estimated 5.7 million adult renters living with children were behind on rent, with nearly half of these renters reporting eviction is at least somewhat likely in the next two months. That’s according to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ analysis of the latest U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey data. Some 21 percent of renters living with children reported being in a household behind on rent from early August to late September, compared to 12 percent of renters living without children in their household. Twenty-nine percent of Black renters living with children reported being behind on rent, compared to 24 percent of Asian renters, 22 percent of Latinx renters, and 15 percent of White renters.



Additional households that would receive rental housing vouchers under Build Back Better, which includes $150 billion in affordable housing investments. 700,000 people will benefit from the vouchers, including about 274,000 children, 138,000 people with disabilities, and 76,000 seniors.


29 million 

The number of children who would eat more nutritious summer meals by BBB’s expansion of the Summer EBT program; the program provides $65 per month per child.


17 million 

The number of workers without dependent children who will see an increase in their Earned Income Tax Credit under BBB. The maximum credit for these workers will rise from about $540 to $1,500.  The credit would expand to cover 19-24 year-olds and those 65 and older.