Ohioans on Tuesday began signing up for the Vax-a-Million lottery and having the option to claim million dollar cash prizes or college scholarships if they can prove that they have received at least one vaccine against COVID-19.
The raffles, designed to combat vaccine reluctance, are scheduled to take place five consecutive Wednesdays starting May 26 on live television.
“We’ve heard that local health departments and pharmacies are seeing more and more people getting vaccinated,” Governor Mike DeWine said. “This is great news!”
The plan initially called for using voter registration records to choose cash prize winners, but state officials opted for online registration or a toll-free number instead. By entering, winners will agree to have their immunization records verified and publicly announced, state officials said. Ohio residents 18 years of age or older, who have received at least one dose of vaccine and entered into the raffle are eligible for cash prizes. Five winners will be chosen to receive $ 1 million each.
Ohio teens aged 12 to 17 who have received a dose of the vaccine and registered are eligible for the scholarships, which will cover tuition, accommodation and books for four years at a college or public university in the ‘Ohio.
– Laura A. Bischoff, The Columbus Dispatch
Also in the news:
►Stats released on Tuesday will show new infections are down in all 50 states, President Joe Biden said. New infections nationwide are half as many as a month ago.
►World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is calling on some of the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to speed up their schedule of delivering doses to countries in need.
►Poland-based molecular diagnostics company Genomtec said it had registered a pioneering, high-reliability COVID-19 test from saliva for use in the European Union.
📈 The numbers of the day: The United States has more than 32.9 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and 586,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: over 163.7 million cases and 3.39 million deaths. More than 344.5 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed in the United States and 274.4 million have been administered, according to the CDC. Almost 123.8 million Americans have been fully immunized – 37.4% of the population.
📘 What we read: The CDC can say that fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear face masks, but the conflict between masks in stores is not going away.
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Retailers facing mask issues could face vaccination controversy
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may say that fully immunized Americans no longer need to wear face masks, but conflict in stores isn’t just going to go away. Retailers who ditched mask-for-vaccinated rules said they didn’t plan to interview anyone or ask for their vaccination cards at the door and would instead rely on the honor system.
“Retail workers should never have been the mask police, and they can’t be the vaccine police,” said Brian Dodge, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association. “Companies are looking at these orders and trying to figure out what they can do in the right way to comply and keep everyone safe in their stores.”
– Kelly tyko
Tennessee Governor Lee rejects incentives to encourage vaccinations
While some Republican governors have adopted cash and other incentives to encourage hesitant people to get vaccinated, Gov. Bill Lee says he has no plans to offer similar programs in Tennessee. West Virginia is offering $ 100 for anyone between the ages of 16 and 35 who has received the vaccine. Maryland is offering $ 100 to all state employees who take it. Ohio has its million dollar lotteries. Tennessee continues to face vaccine hesitation in rural parts of the state, where many conservative and religious residents have so far refused the vaccine.
“We have considered it our primary goal to make the vaccine available to everyone in all corners of this state, and this is the part that we believe is the state’s obligation,” Lee said. “So we have no incentive plan.”
– Natalie Allison, Nashville Tennessean
Homicides rise in California amid closures of schools and youth programs
Amid a pandemic that has left law enforcement agencies stretched with thin, forced shutdowns that left young men with little to do, California saw a devastating 2020 homicide spike that particularly hit black and Latin communities.
The number of homicide victims in California jumped 27% from 2019 to 2020, to around 2,300, marking the largest year-over-year increase in three decades, according to preliminary data from the department’s death certificate of California Public Health.
The increase in deadly violence has taken place across large swathes of the state, urban and rural, and has been keenly felt in the San Francisco Bay Area. Among the 10 most populous counties in California, the largest increases were reported in Alameda County, where homicides rose 57%, followed by Fresno (44%), Sacramento (36%) and Los Angeles. (32%).
– Winston Gieseke, USA TODAY Network
US to send 80 million doses to other countries
The United States will send at least 80 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine to other countries by the end of June, President Joe Biden said on Monday.
Twenty million doses come from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, Biden said. He had previously agreed to share up to 60 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which has not been cleared for emergency use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration.
“We are taking another step to help the world,” Biden said. “It’s the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do.”
The announcements come as the United States and other developed countries are increasingly criticized for monopolizing vaccines as developing countries struggle. Demand in the United States has stagnated in recent weeks, and vaccine “hesitation” has been blamed for a steady decline in shots.
Biden said Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus coordinator, will lead the global vaccination effort. The United States will work with COVAX, a global initiative for equitable access to coronavirus vaccines.
Child tax credit payments to begin rolling out July 15
The Treasury Department said Monday that 39 million families are expected to receive monthly childrens payments as of July 15. Almost 88% of children are expected to receive the allowance without their parents having to take any further action.
The department and the Internal Revenue Service will begin sending monthly installments of $ 250 or $ 300 to low- and middle-income families as part of the newly expanded child tax credit on a monthly basis until December.
Most eligible families will receive them by direct deposit, senior administration officials said on Sunday. Families who do not have direct deposit will receive payment in the form of a paper check or debit card.
The monthly child tax credit advance payments are the result of Biden’s US bailout, a $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that Congress passed in March.
Tax credits are expected to tackle child poverty. The number of poor children is expected to climb to around 1.2 billion in 2020 due to the pandemic, according to UNICEF.
Meanwhile, an additional $ 5 billion would be allocated to keep families off the streets, Housing Secretary Marcia Fudge said. This is in addition to the $ 5 billion in homelessness prevention funds previously announced as part of the US bailout.
Despite a wave of public support and a nationwide moratorium on evictions, Fudge said out of 580,000 people, a large number were homeless amid the pandemic.
– Michael Collins
Contribute: The Associated Press