Do any states still offer financial support for the pandemic?
The economic support that remains is quickly drying up as the White House seeks to pivot away from pandemic troubles.
New covid-19 cases have fallen off rapidly in recent weeks, as the worst of the Omicron case wave seems to have passed. However, deaths have only just reached a peak, and more than 3,000 a day is a serious number. President Biden famously declared on July 4, 2021, "We're closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus." Now, more people have died of covid-19 under Biden's watch than his predecessor; a serious stain on a dirty shirt that is likely to cause problems come the midterms.
So the pandemic continues, but the economic support does not. That independence day speech is important as there has been no extra federal covid-19 support offered since. The impetus of further support has been left with the states, who have been largely reluctant to dig into coffers already strained by two years of a sluggish economy.
One month into 2022 and what little economic scraps remain are quickly dwindling. They mainly involve some form of tax refund when you file your tax return.
What is on offer?
On the back of an additional round of $1,000 stimulus checks for around 170,000 teachers and principals during 2021, as a ‘thank you’ for their work throughout the pandemic, Florida's 2022 budget includes a $1,000 bonus for teaching staff.
Indiana's residents will receive a state-funded tax refund worth an estimated $125 each, when they file their 2021 tax returns after the state recorded a budgetary surplus on the previous fiscal year.
“Despite a pandemic, Indiana exceeded all expectations and closed the state fiscal year with an unprecedented amount in reserves,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a statement.
Undocumented workers in New York can access a $2.1 billion stimulus check fund, allowing those unable to claim the initial two stimulus checks to receive some support. You must simply be a state resident who earned less than $26,000 in 2020, and have missed out on the previous stimulus checks.
What is the president's strategy for 2022?
No further covid-19 support is to be passed by the federal government this year as President Biden prepares for an election that will be fought on the economic plight of the US.
With pandemic fatigue causing electoral angst, moves are underway to move the US out of pandemic life, despite the high death rate still putting pressure on Americans.
“We are working on that guidance,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a White House teleconference Wednesday. “As we’ve been encouraged by the current trends, we are not there yet.”
Rather than send more support to families struggling, usually cautious governors have began to reopne their states. New York is the latest of said states to open up without waiting for guidance by the CDC by announcing the end of indoor mask wearing.