Here are some significant developments:
- Congress approved a sweeping $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Wednesday, which includes $1,400 for most Americans, extends enhanced unemployment benefits and offers relief for low-income families. Biden is expected to sign the bill Friday.
- New global coronavirus cases rose for the second week in a row due to climbing infections in the Middle East and Africa, the World Health Organization said even as the surges appeared to subside in Asia and Americas.
- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) threatened a lawsuit against the city of Austin and Travis County for ordering businesses to continue requiring customers to wear masks after the state itself remove its mandate.
- Federal health officials expanded guidelines for nursing homes, allowing residents to meet with visitors indoors.
- The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus has plummeted across the United States as the nation’s vaccination effort continues ramping up.
- More than 528,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the United States but the weekly average of new case has fallen 11.5 percent while daily reported deaths have fallen 23.4 percent.