Biden said the pandemic is over. What other help is available?

(NewsNation) — President Joe Biden said in an interview released Sunday that the “pandemic is over,” but neither the cases of COVID-19 nor the response to the pandemic have completely disappeared.

Biden made the remarks during an interview on “60 Minutes,” but as of Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still classified the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic.

The World Health Organization reports that the death rate from COVID-19 is the lowest since March 2020, and data from the CDC also shows that the death rate has decreased by 75%.

Despite the president’s declaration that the pandemic is over, the White House has sent an emergency request to Congress for $22 billion in COVID-19 aid ahead of a potential spike in cases in the fall.

Below is an overview of some of the relief efforts announced at the start of the pandemic and their current status.

Access testing

The federal free home testing program was suspended on September 2. Free antigen and PCR Tests for COVID-19 are still available at more than 20,000 sites nationwide, including for people without insurance.

Home tests may be available for sale at local stores and pharmacies.

Those with health insurance through their employer or the Marketplace can also be reimbursed for eight home tests per month for each plan member.

Vaccine availability

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, COVID-19 vaccines remain free for people 6 months of age and older in the US, regardless of immigration or insurance status.

About 67% of eligible Americans had been vaccinated as of Monday, and half of those had received at least one booster, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said during a seasonal COVID-19 update on Monday.

“Unfortunately for us, a difficult situation is difficult at best when it’s faced with a whole wave of misinformation, disinformation and conspiracy theories,” Fauci said. “Of course it’s confusing to the general public.”

The White House is urging Americans to get a second booster.

Vaccine locations can be found through the CDC website.

Child tax credit

America’s rescue plan increased the child tax credit and expanded its coverage to $3,600 per child under the age of 6 and $3,000 for children between the ages of 6 and 17.

That program expired last December, but Republican lawmakers have proposed resurrecting it as the Family Safety Act 2.0.

Under the proposed plan, families would receive $350 a month for each child under 5, a total of $4,200 a year, and $250 a month for children ages 6 to 17, a total of $3,000 a year. Benefits will be limited to six children each year, and families will need to earn $10,000 in the previous year to qualify for the full benefit.

Those who earn less than $10,000 a year will receive benefits proportional to their earnings. For example, a family earning $5,000 would receive 50% of the maximum child tax credit, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan research and policy institute.

Student loan repayment

Student loan payments were suspended at 0% interest during the pandemic and will resume after December 31st.

Forty-three million Americans are expected to have some or all of their federal student loans canceled by the Biden administration. announcement at the end of August.

Some borrowers will be eligible for up to $10,000 in forgiveness, and Pell Grant recipients can apply for twice that amount.

Most of the forgiveness is expected to benefit borrowers who are no longer in college and earn less than $75,000 a year.

The application will be available until the end of the student loan repayment pause on December 31.

Unemployment benefit

Aid, including the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program, ended in September 2021.

The temporary emergency measure provided an extra $300 a week to people already receiving certain types of unemployment benefits.

The CARES Act, a pandemic-era law, gave states the ability to extend unemployment compensation to independent contractors and other workers who would not normally be considered eligible for unemployment benefits. You can find contact information for your state’s unemployment insurance office here.

Source link