CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship October 16, 2020


October 16, 2020

COVID-19 Hardship

October 16, 2020

The over the cliff edition. President Trump and Senate Republicans, exuberant over a certain Supreme Court vacancy but considerably less so when it comes to helping Americans to eat or pay rent, are prepared to push millions over the cliff. More than 13.4 million people currently receiving unemployment benefits stand to lose assistance come Dec. 31. Three out of every four states have run out of money to pay for Trump’s Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program. New poverty data shows the number of poor people in this country increasing dramatically since May. And, as always, not everyone is being tossed over the cliff equally. Black people and Latinx are more than twice as likely as white people to be poor. Both groups disproportionately work in industries hard-hit by the recession and may face barriers to aid – if it even exists. Families already struggling to eat and to keep a roof over their head continue to face a double whammy in the form of closed schools and unaffordable, inaccessible child care – school closings have forced many women, who are more likely to be primary caregivers for young children, to reduce their work hours or leave their jobs altogether, which can result in loss of health coverage. And now, with various unemployment benefits lapsing or set to lapse in exactly a month and a half, many more Americans will be brought to the cliff’s precipice. The resulting shock to states and workers could set off a downward spiral as Americans stop buying goods and are unable to pay rent or other bills. 

Prospects for passage of robust COVID-19 relief grow increasingly dim, either before the election or even by the end of the year. But it is not too late to tell Senators to do the right thing. Senators particularly in the states of Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, and South Carolina need to hear from you! Scroll down to see sample tweets that you can send to these senators.


8.0 million/ 218,000


The number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. (7.98m cases, 217,700 deaths as of 10/16 a.m.).




The number of people of color who would be alive as of 10/13 if their death rates from COVID-19 were the same as for white Americans. (Blacks, 21,800 still alive; Latinx, 11,400; Indigenous, 750; Pacific Islander, 65.)




The number of new regular unemployment claims last week, up more than 50,000 from the previous week. Before the pandemic began, the one-week record was 695,000. But note: when adding in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for gig/self-employed workers, the total is 1.27m claims.  PUA will expire by 12/31.


13.4 million+


The number of Americans currently receiving unemployment benefits who could be completely cut off by Dec. 31.




The number of states that have run out of money under President Trump’s Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. This program had generally provided an additional $300 in weekly benefits to some unemployed workers after the $600 emergency weekly benefits expired in late July.




Of 40 million unemployment claims filed nationally, 40% have not been paid out due to various bureaucratic snafus, including outdated computer software meant to identify fraud. In reality, fewer than 1% of unemployment claims involve fraud.


8 million


The number of poor people has grown by 8 million since May, after falling by four million at the pandemic’s start as a result of the $2 trillion CARES Act.


2.5 million


The number of additional children falling below the poverty line since May. Research shows that even short stays in poverty can cause children lasting harm.


More than 5 million


The shortage of Chromebooks and other laptop devices facing U.S. school’s by year’s end. Worldwide demand for these devices is up more than 40% from a year ago due to online learning.


20 million+


The number of Americans who could lose health care coverage if the Affordable Care Act is overturned. That figure is roughly double the pre-pandemic estimate of 10 million, as many people have lost their jobs, and with them, their employer-based coverage.





Tweet to key Senators: it’s very important that Senators hear our concern, click links below to tweet.

Example tweet message to Senator Collins of Maine:
.@SenatorCollins, #DoYourJob and pass a robust #COVIDRelief package before leaving DC. The people of Maine cannot wait any longer. 63,000 adults are not having enough to eat- that’s 7% of all ME adults.

Click the link below to send a similar tweet to:

AZ: Senator McSally

CO: Senator Gardner

GA: Senator Perdue, Senator Loeffler

IA: Senator Ernst, Senator Grassley

KE: Senator McConnell

ME: Senator Collins

MT: Senator Daines

MO: Senator Blunt, Senator Hawley

NC: Senator Tillis

SC: Senator Graham