Coronavirus: The Hill and the Headlines, May 2021 # 8

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Your guide to the latest Hill developments, news narratives, and media headlines from Hogan Lovells Government Relations and Public Affairs practice.

In Washington:

  • The House on Tuesday passed legislation aimed at combating the sharp rise in hate crimes against Asian-Americans that have occurred during the coronavirus pandemic. President Biden is expected to sign the bill into law. The Senate approved the measure last month. The legislation would create a Justice Department position to expedite review of COVID-19-related hate crimes, provide grants for states to train law enforcement to prevent hate crimes and for hate crime reporting hotlines, and direct federal agencies to raise awareness about hate crimes.
  • At least 600,000 kids in the United States ages 12 to 15 have already received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine almost a week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech shot for the age group. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky shared the latest numbers during a press briefing Tuesday, saying a total of about 3.5 million people younger than 18 are already vaccinated, according to agency data. 
  • The House on Wednesday rejected Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) attempt to force a vote on a resolution dropping requirements for mask-wearing on the House floor. Republicans pointed to new CDC guidance stating that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 don't have to wear face coverings in most settings. The Capitol physician, Brian Monahan, said the House’s mask rules will remain until all members and floor staff are fully vaccinated. The resolution failed along party-line vote.
  • According to the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee meeting on April 27-28, the Federal Reserve might soon begin developing a plan for removing some of the central bank’s support for the economy, but only if the U.S. continues to have a strong recovery,
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci and other virologists are pushing for a deeper investigation into China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology as they try to piece together the origins of the coronavirus.

In the news:

  • On Tuesday the U.S. recorded almost 28,000 new COVID-19 cases and 860 deaths from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University data. According to the CDC, 48 percent of all Americans have received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose, and 37.5 percent are full-vaccinated. Those figures are 60 percent and 48 percent, respectively, for American adults.
  • The EU is reportedly ready to reopen its borders to vaccinated travelers. An EU spokesperson confirmed the organization's plans to The Washington Post but gave no timetable for the move. The EU's health officials would have to approve the move first. Under the proposed reopening, fully vaccinated individuals would be able to travel to and from EU countries. 
  • A new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine found health care providers may be overcounting the number of kids hospitalized for COVID-19 leading to an overestimation of the small impact the disease has on children.   
  • More stores including Target, Home Depot announced this week they are easing their mask requirements, joining a growing number of top chains changing their policies now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's updated its guidance on masks.
  • Many states--including Texas, Arizona, Minnesota, and Massachusetts--reported zero COVID deaths for the first time in months. COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. fell to their lowest in nearly 14 months.

[View source.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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