By JOSH RESNEK
It is a time when we watch on television as the president does a candle lighting for the 500,000 dead from COVID-19 and memorializes the nation’s dismal, third- world country response to it.
Another 100,000 Americans from all walks of life are expected to die in the next three months – so it is obvious the virus remains deadly as our response to it finally ramps up.
Many millions more will come down with the virus but will likely survive.
Here in Everett, infections are dramatically down. Hospitalizations have dropped. The use of masks and social distancing efforts have worked – and now comes the advantages that begin to be felt with mass vaccinations.
Everett’s designation as a hot red zone for the virus has been changed to yellow this week by the Department of Public Health – a sure sign the virus trend is apparently heading in the right direction.
Epidemiologists like Dr. Anthony Fauci, however, warn that residents should not let down their guard be- cause the virus lingers. It remains invisible and potentially deadly at the same time.
The economy remains paralyzed. Harsh, anti-business restrictions in Everett are the same all over the Commonwealth and the nation, with the exception of Florida.
Unemployment is higher here than expected.
Many rent payers across the city are experiencing difficulty meeting their obligations.
Some homeowners are technically in a state of foreclosure.
Food lines at the city’s distribution centers have never been longer.
The next Stimulus package is expected to pass the House of Representatives in Washington this week.
The Senate will likely pass it as well. The president will sign the bill.
It will provide added unemployment until the end of August for those out of work and will increase the federal subsidy from $300 per week to $400 and will also add more aid for rent and housing needs to avoid evictions and foreclosures.
Also, additional $1400 payments to individuals making $75,000 or less or for couples making $150,000 of less will be provided and smaller amounts for dependents.
GIG workers will be protected as well by the extension of their state benefits in addition to the added federal stipend.
The short-term health and economic outlook remain clouded.
Restrictions are not going to be lifted for quite some time.
Vaccinations have not reached levels of safety for the greater population. The ramp-up in vaccinations will likely take until the summer months, according to the CDC.
For now, masks, social distancing, restrictions, and added vaccinations will begin to contribute to a return to the new normal.
No one knows what exactly that is going to look like.