California proposes $600 state stimulus checks; Mexico reports record surge in COVID-19 cases; US deaths top 360K


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In the headlines:

► California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday proposed to extend a moratorium on evictions and $600 state stimulus checks for millions of low-income residents, including undocumented immigrants who file taxes with the state, under a budget proposal. “Californians who have been impacted by this pandemic will get help to provide for their families and keep a roof over their heads,” Newsom said in a statement. The Golden State has reported more than 2.4 million confirmed cases and 27,400 deaths, according to state data.

► New Orleans is tightening current coronavirus restrictions on public gatherings as coronavirus infections surge. Indoor special events will be limited to 75 people and outdoor events to 150. Businesses are restricted to 25% capacity. The new restrictions will go into effect Friday at 6 a.m.

► Both CVS and Walgreens said they expect to finish delivering the first round of the COVID-19 vaccine doses at nursing homes on schedule by Jan. 25. As of Tuesday, CVS has administered 351,231 vaccines in nursing homes, including nearly 30,000 in big states like California and Florida.

► Mexico reported 13,345 new coronavirus infections Wednesday, a record for the daily increase in cases. As Mexico experiences a surge in cases, an increasing number of Americans are flocking to Mexico City, the current epicenter of the country’s pandemic, to “escape” strict coronavirus restrictions in the U.S., the New York Times reported.

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► Tommy John, the former baseball pitching great, is hospitalized with COVID-19 near his home in Indio, California. John is not currently on oxygen, he said, but did receive oxygen when he had a bout of pneumonia. He rebutted reports that he is a COVID-19 denier, saying, “I’m not a denier. I’ve had it, baby.”

► Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said he will eliminate a Sunday lockdown, shorten a curfew that has been in place since the pandemic began and reopen beaches, marinas and pools. The new curfew will run from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. and will be in effect for 30 days starting Thursday.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 21.2 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 361,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 87.1 million cases and 1.88 million deaths.

A health worker conducts a rapid detection test for COVID-19 at a temporary tent set at the Iztapalapa neighborhood in Mexico City on Wednesday.Death of Florida doctor after receiving COVID vaccine under investigation

A Florida doctor has died several weeks after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, although it’s not yet clear whether his death Monday was related to the shot he received on Dec. 18. Dr. Gregory Michael, 56, an OB-GYN at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, died after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke apparently resulting from a lack of platelets.

Miami medical examiners are investigating his death, according to CNN. In a Facebook post, his wife, Heidi Neckelmann, said he sought emergency care three days after the shot because he had dots on his skin that indicated internal bleeding.

Pfizer, which along with its partner BioNTech made the vaccine the man received, said in a statement it is aware of the death. “We are actively investigating this case, but we don’t believe at this time that there is any direct connection to the vaccine,” the statement said.

– Karen Weintraub

IRS: Some stimulus payments won’t arrive before tax time

The anger that has been building up among some taxpayers who want to know when they’ll receive their second stimulus payment drove the Internal Revenue Service to release more guidance late Tuesday. The bottom line: Some taxpayers won’t see their second round of stimulus payments soon and they could have to wait to fix the problem when they file their 2020 tax returns.

The IRS has taken a beating this year at the handling of the rollout of stimulus payments. After a lengthy guessing game, President Donald Trump signed into law the second stimulus package addressing the COVID-19 crisis on Dec. 27.

The IRS began sending out some checks Dec. 30 and money arrived in some bank accounts as of Jan. 4. But many taxpayers began complaining online and wondering why they didn’t get their money. Here are some answers for frustrated taxpayers, according to the IRS.

– Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press

Carnival Cruise Line cancels US cruises until May

Princess Cruises has announced it will cancel all cruises from U.S. ports through May 14 — more than a year after the industry came to a standstill in the middle of March last year. Princess itself was impacted by the pandemic early on: two of its ships, the Diamond Princess and the Grand Princess, were among the first vessels to quarantine passengers because of coronavirus infections.

Previously, Princess Cruises had canceled all itineraries through March 31. The additional cancellations come as the cruise line works on restart plans that will meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Framework For Conditional Sailing” announced in October.

The further suspension also applies to European cruises scheduled prior to May 15, Negin Kamali, spokesperson for Princess Cruises, told USA TODAY.

– Morgan Hines

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID news: California proposes $600 stimulus; Tommy John hospitalized


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