News Headlines 3/12/21

BIDEN SAYS WILL MAKE ALL ADULTS ELIGIBLE FOR COVID VACCINES BY MAY 1ST: President Biden said in a prime-time address last night (March 11th), delivered on the one-year anniversary of the coronavirus being declared a pandemic, that he will make all states allow all adults to be eligible for a coronavirus vaccine by May 1st. However, he warned that actually administering all those vaccines will take time. He also said the administration is planning to launch a nationwide website to help people find vaccinations, addressing the frustrations Americans have been having in trying to get appointments.

In his 24-minute remarks from the White House East Room, Biden reflected back on the losses of life, businesses, financial security, and what he called “the details of life” as we remained separated from each other over the past year. He also looked forward to coming out from the shadow of the virus, telling Americans, “I need you to do your part,” in getting vaccinated and urging friends and family members to do the same. He also urged that people continue to follow the guidelines of wearing masks and distancing so our progress is maintained. Biden offered hope that if Americans pull together, we will be able to gather with friends and family for Fourth of July celebrations, saying it would make this Independence Day also begin to, quote, “mark our independence from this virus.”

Hours earlier, Biden signed his $1.9 trillion relief package into law, which he also spoke about during his address. It happened one day before had been expected, since the bill arrived at the White House earlier than anticipated. The White House said some people may begin getting direct deposits of their $1,400 direct payments this weekend.

[“My fellow Americans, you’re owed nothing less than the truth. And for all of you asking when things will get back to normal, here is the truth: The only way to get our lives back, to get our economy back on track is to beat the virus.”] SOUNDCUE (:20 OC . . . beat the virus.)

[“Tonight, I’m announcing that I will direct all states, tribes and territories to make all adults, people 18 and over, eligible to be vaccinated no later than May 1.”] SOUNDCUE (:13 OC . . . than May 1.)

[“I will not relent until we beat this virus, but I need you, the American people, I need you. I need every American to do their part. **EDIT** I need you to get vaccinated when it’s your turn and when you can find an opportunity and to help your family, your friends, your neighbors get vaccinated as well.”] SOUNDCUE (:21 OC . . . vaccinated as well.)

[“If we do this together, by July the 4th there’s a good chance you, your families and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout, a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day. **EDIT** [W]here we not only mark our independence as a nation but we begin to mark our independence from this virus.”] SOUNDCUE (“21 OC . . . from this virus.)

[“A mask, the easiest thing to do to save lives, sometimes it divides us. States pitted against one another instead of working with each other. Vicious hate crimes against Asian-Americans who’ve been attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated. **EDIT** It’s wrong, it’s un-American, and it must stop.”] SOUNDCUE (:25 OC . . . it must stop.)

THIRD-DEGREE MURDER CHARGE ADDED IN TRIAL OF EX-OFFICER ACCUSED IN GEORGE FLOYD’S KILLING: The judge in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd last May restored a third-degree murder charge yesterday (March 11th). An appellate court ruling in an unrelated case established new grounds to allow the third-degree charge. Chauvin is already facing charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter. A sixth juror was also added yesterday as jury selection in the case continued for a third day.

IMPEACHMENT PROBE LAUNCHED AGAINST CUOMO, MORE LAWMAKERS CALL FOR RESIGNATION: New York state Democrats launched an impeachment investigation against Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday (March 11th) and a majority of state legislators are now calling for his resignation. The heightened actions came one day after a Times Union report that an unidentified aide claimed Cuomo reached under her shirt and fondled her at the governor’s mansion last year, the most serious of sexual harassment claims that have been made by several women in recent weeks. A lawyer for Cuomo said the state had reported the allegation to the Albany Police Department after the woman involved declined to do so herself. Cuomo has denied the accusation. Cuomo is also facing allegations that his administration hid how many nursing home residents died of Covid-19. In addition to the impeachment probe, a separate investigation of the sexual harassment allegations is being conducted by state Attorney General Letitia James.

UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS LOWEST SINCE EARLY NOVEMBER: Labor Department data out yesterday (March 11th) showed that the number of Americans filing first-time unemployment claims fell to 712,000 last week, the lowest number since early November. That indicates fewer employers are cutting jobs amid a decline in coronavirus cases and an improving economy as business restrictions are eased. But while the first-time claims number is the lowest in months, it still remains historically high.