Darkest days ahead


Rare words from an incoming president: “Our darkest days in the battle against COVID are ahead of us, not behind us,” President-elect Biden warned this afternoon during remarks in Wilmington.

Why it matters: Biden is promising to tell America the truth, which includes the reality of many more horrific months, no matter who is in charge.

  • If we’re lucky, vaccinations will provide enough herd immunity to allow some normality by this summer or fall.

Another blunt reality: Most of the benefits in the $900 billion coronavirus rescue package expire months before America has any hope of being back to normal.

  • The $300 boost for unemployment benefits expires in March.
  • The new $284 billion round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is meant to last 3 months.
  • There’s no new funding earmarked for state and local governments.

The other side: There’s funding for schools and childcare and mass transit and vaccination distribution, which helps bail out the above from those obligations.

  • The entertainment sector got $15 billion, helping out theaters and museums and live entertainment venues.
  • $600 checks will start showing up next week for individuals making under $75,000 (phases out for incomes above that), with an extra $600 per child.

The bottom line: Georgia’s Jan. 5 Senate runoffs could be the difference between a big stimulus under Biden, or more trouble for parts of the U.S. hospitality sector.

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