Mask Mandates... As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Colorado, several counties have announced new mask requirements, including Adams County. You can find the TCHD order here. You can also learn more about mask mandates from The Denver Post here and Fox31 here.
Nationwide COVID-19...More than 47 million people in the U.S. have had confirmed coronavirus infections and more than 770,000 have died of COVID-19. Thousands of new cases are reported daily nationwide. In the graphics found via the link, you can explore the trends in Colorado and across the country. You can view the data via a heat map, curve charts, a table of state-by-state trends over four weeks, or a map of total cases and deaths. You can learn more from NPR here.
Colorado COVID-19...Coronavirus cases in children dropped slightly last week, but Colorado public health officials warned Wednesday that the state could still see infections rise in the coming weeks as families gather for the holidays. Just over 4,720 children and teens tested positive for COVID-19 during the week between Nov. 14 and Nov. 21, a 6.6% decrease from the 5,061 cases in the previous week, according to the latest data from state health department.Coloradans ages 5 to 11 accounted for 2,461 of those cases. It’s too early to know if the decrease reflects an overall downward trend given the number of cases among children and teens remains high — infections rose by 40% from about a month ago when the state recorded 3,361 cases among those under the age of 18. You can read more from The Denver Post here.
Inflation...US price surges eased in the third quarter of the year. But they climbed to a more than 30-year high in October — showing the pandemic price hikes are clearly not behind us yet. A deluge of economic data ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday highlights how the pandemic economy is still very much in flux. A key measure of inflation stood at 5% over the 12-month period ended in October, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Wednesday. That was the highest level since November 1990. Stripping out food and energy costs, which tend to be more volatile, prices rose 4.1% over the period, the most since January 1991. You can read more from CNN here.
Jobless Claims...The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits plummeted last week to the lowest level in more than half a century, another sign that the U.S. job market is rebounding rapidly from last year’s coronavirus recession. Jobless claims dropped by 71,000 to 199,000, the lowest since mid-November 1969. The drop was much bigger than economists expected. The four-week average of claims, which smooths out weekly ups and downs, also dropped — by 21,000 to just over 252,000, the lowest since mid-March 2020 when the pandemic slammed the economy. You can read more from Politico here.
Congress...President Joe Biden's safety net and climate change package passed the House on Friday last week and goes to the Senate next, where it is likely to be changed before it can become law. Some provisions of the $1.68 trillion bill may be removed or revised to win the support of all 50 Democratic-caucusing senators, from blue state progressives like Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to red state moderates like Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. Other policies could be thwarted by Senate rules. You can read more from NBC News here.
The White House & COVID-19...The Biden administration will begin requiring essential travelers crossing U.S. borders to be fully vaccinated starting Jan. 22, a White House spokesperson told Axios Wednesday. The move comes after the U.S. opened land borders with Canada and Mexico to non-essential travel in November, but only to those fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. The new mandate will apply to non-U.S. citizens who are classified as essential travelers, such as truck drivers, government workers and emergency responders. American citizens and permanent residents will still be allowed into the country if they are not vaccinated but will face strict testing requirements. You can read more from Axios here.
The White House & Climate Change...The White House is set to create a new division of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) that will coordinate federal climate change policy. The Biden administration will appoint Sally Benson, a professor of energy engineering at Stanford University, to head the newly created division, according to The Washington Post, which was the first to report the news. The Hill has confirmed the creation of the division. In an announcement Wednesday, the White House said the OSTP Energy Division will be focused on planning the transition to renewable energy and ensuring the U.S. meets its target of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. You can read more from The Hill here.