The U.S. is poised to pass half a million confirmed COVID-19 deaths, by far the highest death toll in the world. The numbers of new cases and daily deaths continue to decline, though experts warn against the relaxing of mitigation efforts — including mask wearing and physical distancing — as the threat of highly transmissible coronavirus variants remains high.
In news from Washington, D.C., the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill later this week. The package includes direct payments of $1,400 for people making up to $75,000 a year; an extension of unemployment benefits; assistance for small businesses; and money for schools, vaccine distribution and state and local governments. It also includes a $15-an-hour minimum wage increase, though Politico is reporting President Biden told a group of mayors and governors the minimum wage hike was unlikely to make it into the final bill.