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TULSA, Okla. — On Tuesday, January 19th, on the final full day of the Trump presidency, America reaches a grim milestone that felt unimaginable just a year ago:
Four hundred thousand lives have been lost to COVID-19 in this country.
The same virus that the soon-to-be former president once promised would ‘disappear like a miracle’ has now claimed the number of lives equivalent to the population of cities like Minneapolis, Tulsa or Oakland.
Today, Oklahoma is also poised to reach a somber milestone as it crosses 3,000 COVID deaths, an increase of 1,000 deaths in just the last five weeks.
Still, President Trump ended an executive order limiting international travel from highly-infected areas on Monday.
In Oklahoma, Governor Kevin Stitt continues to pressure schools back to in-person learning despite making little effort to slow the virus’s spread.
This tragic and escalating loss of life comes on the eve of the Biden-Harris inauguration and against a backdrop of a nation still reeling from the terroristic coup earlier this month.
Joe Biden, who will be sworn in as president at noon on Wednesday, has already promised to implement a mask mandate at all federal buildings and in all interstate travel.
President-elect Biden also plans to send to Congress a $1.9 Trillion relief and recovery bill which will include, among other things, increased funding for vaccine and test distribution, a $1,400 stimulus check to qualifying Americans, a $400 bonus in unemployment insurance and a 15% increase in SNAP benefits through September and an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, among other things.
As the toll of the pandemic continues to grow in the hardest-hit nation on the planet, former Fed Chair and Treasury Secretary-designate Janet Yellen said in a statement “neither the president-elect nor I, propose this relief package without an appreciation for the country’s debt burden. But right now… the smartest thing we can do is act big”.
Biden has promised to get 100 million vaccines “into arms” across this country by the end of his first 100 days in office (Friday, April 30th), an ambitious effort that requires enhanced resources in cities and states across the nation to come to fruition.
Tonight, at the reflecting pool on the national mall, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris will hold a vigil to honor the 400,000 lives lost in this nation in just the past ten months.
We continue to encourage all of our readers to wear a mask, wash your hands, and avoid closed, close and crowded spaces to protect those around you.