Education Secretary extends student loan relief until January

In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is extending student loan forgiveness through Jan. 31, 2021, her office announced Friday.

Interest accumulation will also be suspended during this period. Federal student loan borrowers will still have the option to repay their debt if they wish and will enjoy a 0% interest charge.

“The coronavirus pandemic has presented challenges to many students and borrowers, and this temporary pause in payments will help those affected,” DeVos said in a statement. “The extra time also allows Congress to do its job and determine what action it deems necessary and appropriate. Congress, not the executive branch, is in charge of student loan policy.

Bay Area adheres to stay-at-home orders before state forces them

Five counties in California’s Bay Area announced Friday they would impose regional shutdown orders ahead of an expected state decision to do the same.

Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties and the city of Berkeley said the measures, including closing bars, wineries, hair salons and other non-essential businesses, will start on Sunday in most areas.

In Alameda County, the limitations will begin Monday and in Marin they will go into effect Tuesday, Bay Area officials said. Orders are expected to remain in place until January 4. They include the end of restaurants and a 20% capacity for essential retail stores.

Officials said the region’s critical care capacity has not yet fallen below 15%, the trigger for the state’s stricter stay-at-home orders announced Thursday by Governor Gavin Newsom. But Bay Area officials said in a statement that hitting the threshold was “inevitable.”

Mayor of San Francisco Race of London tweeted On Friday, “We are about to run out of hospital beds to care for patients on Boxing Day. We need to change that now.”

Los Angeles County rolls out rapid home test

Los Angeles County public health officials announced Friday that a rapid home test will be available by mail to qualified individuals.

The FDA-approved home test developed by Fulgent Genetics can be sent to residents within two days of a request. Once the test is done, it can be dropped off in a FedEx box and the results returned by email in two additional days, county officials said in a statement. The home test will be available until January 15.

“It is intended to help address the current surge in testing demand and reduce the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday season, when people may be at risk of exposure,” the county said.

Qualified individuals include those with symptoms of Covid-19, those who have recently had close contact with a coronavirus patient, or an elderly or disabled person who may have been exposed but cannot easily travel to a testing site.

The Ministry of Public Health recorded the highest daily number of new cases on Tuesday: 7,854.

Families on the brink fear what’s next as pandemic benefits expire

The pandemic pushed millions of Americans to the edge of the cliff, with the ground collapsing at the end of the year without further stimulus from Congress.

When emergency federal coronavirus protections expire, some as early as Boxing Day, 13 million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits. Many more are at risk of expulsion or will find that student debt has come due.

Nine months into the pandemic, the latest jobs report showed the economy in November gained a paltry 245,000 of the 10 million to be recovered, underscoring the need for a quick fix.

Relief cannot come soon enough for millions of families.

Kelly Ann Hotchkin of Hamilton, New Jersey, was out of work for 7 months and returned to work for a month and a half, only to be laid off again. Her husband is also unemployed. They have four children aged 2 to 13. She earns only $231 a week on unemployment.

“We’ve used up every penny of our savings, my husband is going through the unemployment appeal process now,” Hotchkin told NBC News in an online post. “I have no ability to give our children even a single Christmas present this year and apparently the government’s gift to us is to completely fuck us on Boxing Day.”

Baltimore families connect homes with holiday lights instead of in-person gatherings

A group of Baltimore families are using lights instead of in-person gatherings to connect with each other this holiday season.

Leabe Commisso said her bloc usually holds Christmas and New Year parties, but had to cancel that tradition this year due to the pandemic. Instead, families who live in the neighborhood have linked their homes by stringing together Christmas lights, with a sign in the street that reads, “Love Lives Here.”

A group of Baltimore families chained their Christmas lights together to symbolically connect during the pandemic.300 Block of Dunkirk

“You start out thinking you’re going to turn on lights across the street, and then everyone starts doing it,” Commisso told NBC News. “Then you find yourself spending an entire weekend watching all the people you live with and love designing the greatest experience ever. And then you realize you’re connected. Literally and figuratively . »

NJ Gov. Murphy Calls Florida Congressman ‘Crazy’, Bans Him From Garden State For Mask-Free Party

The governor of New Jersey called Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz ‘crazy’ and ‘putz’ for attending a New York Young Republicans Club rally in Jersey City where there appeared to be little mask-wearing or social distancing.

“It is inconceivable that anyone willfully endanger people in another state,” Murphy tweeted. “Jersey City law enforcement is investigating this matter.”

Murphy also tweeted that Gaetz, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, was no longer welcome in the Garden State.

Gaetz, who mocked the precautions his colleagues took while wearing a gas mask on the floor of Congress, fired back in a Tweet: “You’re gonna regret that tweet when you move to Florida like the rest of New Jersey. Gavin Wax, president of the Young Republicans, insisted in a tweet that their gala “took place in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations”.

Some 65 people took part in the rally on Thursday inside Liberty State Park Marine Park which appears to have been held in violation of the Garden State’s Covid-19 restrictions, The New York Times reported.

NFL still limits player access to facilities amid recent outbreaks

The NFL is still limiting player access to team facilities as it tries to improve safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a memo sent to the 32 clubs and obtained by The Associated Press, teams must close their facilities for two days after games, with some exceptions.

From Monday all teams playing on a Sunday must close these facilities for the next two days – with the exception of clubs playing the following Thursday. Only players requiring medical attention for injuries or rehabilitation programs may enter the team compound.

Coaches can access the facility but must work from their own offices and cannot host meetings except virtually.

Speaker Pelosi says there’s ‘momentum’ to strike Covid relief deal

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said Friday there was “momentum” on Capitol Hill to reach a deal on coronavirus relief, fresh optimism that the legislation could be approved before the end of the year.

“There’s momentum,” Pelosi told reporters. “I’m glad the tone of our conversation is one that signals the decision to do the job.”

The deal would provide for an increase in unemployment benefits through March, but would not send another round of checks to the nation.

Pelosi said she spoke to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Thursday about adding Covid-19 relief to the government’s funding bill. , which must be passed by December 11 to avoid a shutdown. It means lawmakers negotiating another round of aid are working to a tight deadline after months of stalled negotiations.

Learn more at NBCNews.com.

‘All on deck’ as North Carolina hospital prepares for vaccine distribution

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