/Stimulus checks, coronavirus bill, UK approves 2nd vaccine: 5 things to know Wednesday – USA TODAY

Stimulus checks, coronavirus bill, UK approves 2nd vaccine: 5 things to know Wednesday – USA TODAY

You could receive your $600 stimulus check, Treasury says

Stimulus money could be coming to your bank account on Wednesday. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin tweeted on Tuesday evening the department “has delivered a payment file to the Federal Reserve for Americans’ Economic Impact Payments.” His tweet continued: “These payments may begin to arrive in some accounts by direct deposit as early as tonight and will continue into next week.” Americans who have direct deposit set up through the Internal Revenue Service could be receiving their stimulus payment as early as Tuesday night. Paper checks will begin to be mailed Wednesday, according to a press release from the Treasury Department. Mnuchin also tweeted that you can check your payment’s status later this week at http://IRS.gov/GetMyPayment.

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Fate of coronavirus bill still in doubt

The Senate continues to negotiate on a COVID-19 stimulus bill Wednesday, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked Democrats’ initial attempt to approve increased payments of $2,000 on Tuesday. The Kentucky Republican then introduced a bill that includes demands by President Donald Trump. McConnell’s proposal could hinder any chances of passing increased aid checks as Democrats and Republicans differ on the issues of big tech immunity and election integrity. The measure McConnell introduced hasn’t been scheduled for a vote. 

UK approves use of 2nd COVID-19 vaccine with easier storage

Britain on Wednesday authorized emergency use of a second COVID-19 vaccine, becoming the first country to greenlight an easy-to-handle shot that its developers hope will become the “vaccine for the world.” The Department of Health said it had accepted a recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to authorize the vaccine developed by Oxford University and U.K.-based drugmaker AstraZeneca. Britain has bought 100 million doses of the vaccine, and plans to begin injections within days. Hundreds of thousands of people in the U.K. have already received a different vaccine, made by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and German firm BioNTech. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be relied on in many countries because of its low cost, availability and ease of use. It can be kept in refrigerators rather than the ultra-cold storage some other vaccines require. The company has said it will sell it for $2.50 a dose and plans to make up to 3 billion doses by the end of 2021. 

Subpoena deadline for investigation into political meddling at CDC

Wednesday is the deadline for two top health officials in the Trump administration to produce a full set of records as part of a probe by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Director Robert Redfield and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar were subpoenaed last Monday after a congressional investigation found political meddling at the CDC over the coronavirus crisis was “far more extensive and dangerous than previously known.” Documents revealed that over a four-month period, HHS and White House officials tried to block or water down at least 13 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWRs), altering at least two. Changes included removing mentions of schools and colleges from an abstract about virus transmission and downplaying evidence of early spread in January in the title of another paper. 

First known U.S. case of new COVID-19 strain being monitored

Public officials in Colorado on Wednesday will provide updates to their investigation into the first-known case in the U.S. of a new coronavirus strain. The patient is a man in his 20s who is recovering in isolation in Elbert County, outside Denver. He has no travel history and no close contacts. “Today we discovered Colorado’s first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the U.K.,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said on Twitter Tuesday afternoon. “The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely.” The Colorado state laboratory confirmed the case and notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the governor’s office said in a statement. Scientists in the United Kingdom believe the variant strain to be more contagious than previously identified strains but not more severe. According to models, it has an increased transmission rate of 70% compared with other variants in the U.K.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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