U.S. Deficit 60.7 Percent Higher Than This Time Last Year

The federal deficit in the first three months of the budget year is 60.7 percent higher than over the same time period as last year, a record-breaking $572.9 billion.

The deficit surged as a result of Congressional spending of $3.5 trillion in 2020 in response to the coronavirus, although critics note that spending on pork barrel programs that had nothing to do with the virus increased and also drove the deficit. At the same time, revenue declined because of ongoing state lockdowns.

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Steve Bannon Presents ‘War Room: Pandemic’

An all new LIVE STREAM of War Room: Pandemic starts at 9 a.m. Central Time on Saturday.

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon began the daily War Room: Pandemic radio show and podcast on January 25, when news of the virus was just beginning to leak out of China around the Lunar New Year. Bannon and co-hosts bring listeners exclusive analysis and breaking updates from top medical, public health, economic, national security, supply chain and geopolitical experts weekdays from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon ET.

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US Economy Lost 140,000 Jobs in December, Economists Expected a Modest Gain

The U.S. economy reported a decrease of 140,000 jobs in December while unemployment stayed unchanged at 6.7%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.

Total non-farm payroll employment declined by 140,000 in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, and the number of unemployed persons stayed stagnant at 10.7 million. The number marked the first time since April, the U.S. reported negative job growth.

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Pfizer Vaccine Effective Against Contagious Coronavirus Strain, Study Shows

The vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech protects against a highly contagious strain of coronavirus that originated in South Africa and the U.K., according to a study published Thursday.

The study, which was commissioned by Pfizer, is likely to alleviate some fears that the virus variant would evade protections offered by the vaccine.

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Minnesota Gov. Walz Asks Legislature to Enact COVID-19 Orders to Prepare for End of Emergency Powers

On Thursday, Gov. Tim Walz asked the legislature to enact into law some of his executive orders to prepare for the end of his 11-month reign in a declared COVID-19 state of emergency.

Walz said they needed to work together to keep Minnesotans safe.

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New Jobless Claims Come in at 787,000, Economists Expected 815,000

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims stayed at 787,000 last week as the economy continued to suffer the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) figure released Thursday represented no change in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending Jan. 2, in which there were also 787,000 new jobless claims reported. Roughly 19.2 million Americans continue to collect unemployment benefits, according to the BLS report Thursday.

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Rollout Leaves More Than 70 Percent of COVID-19 Vaccines Unused

More than 70 percent of COVID-19 vaccines have gone unused, still sitting in freezers US health officials said on Monday.

In Daytona Beach, hundreds of senior citizens camped out in their vehicles in chilly overnight temperatures in the low 40s to secure a place in a vaccination line Tuesday morning, a day after seniors jammed the roads to the vaccination site,  NBC Miami reported.

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Apple CEO’s Pay Increased by Nearly 30 Percent During Pandemic

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook’s annual compensation increased by 28% in 2020 even as the coronavirus pandemic sparked a recession, according to filings.

Tim Cook’s 2020 compensation totaled $14.7 million, which was mainly comprised of performance-based pay, according to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings released Tuesday, Business Insider reported. While the coronavirus pandemic sparked a recession in the spring, Apple consistently reported positive financial figures including increased revenue and growth throughout 2020.

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Minnesota Gov. Walz to Loosen COVID-19 Restrictions; Gazelka Previews 2021 Session Priorities

Lawmakers kicked off the 2021 legislative session at noon on Tuesday, one day before Gov. Tim Walz is expected to announce loosening restrictions on indoor dining and other settings after an improvement in the state’s number of COVID-19 cases.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, told The Center Square in a phone interview one priority is to craft a new two-year state budget without raising taxes on gas, sales, or income. 

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75 Percent of Voters Say Stimulus Check Is ‘Too Little’: Poll

A Hill-Harris X poll found 75% of voters said the $600 stimulus checks were “too little,” the Hill reported Monday.

The poll was done from Dec. 30 until Jan. 3 and 15% said the checks were the right amount while eight percent said the amount was excessive, according to The Hill. Most from political parties were in agreement that the $600 wasn’t enough, with 77% of Democrats and independents and 71% of Republicans in agreement.

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More Than 1.5B COVID Face Masks Will Pollute the Oceans: Study

An estimated 1.5 billion disposable face masks will end up in the oceans this year according to a Hong Kong-based conservation organization.

OceansAsia based its estimate on 52 billion masks being manufactured in 2020 to meet the demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Their report also says that a “conservative” calculation means at least 3 percent of them will be washed out to sea.

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Treasury Sending Out $600 Stimulus Checks This Week

A second round of stimulus checks, this time in the amount of $600, is being sent out this week, the U.S. Treasury Department said Wednesday.

Referred to as economic impact payments, the $600 check individuals will receive is part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, a bill President Donald Trump signed Sunday.

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L.A. Sheriff: 235 Arrests Enforcing COVID-19 Restrictions

As of Wednesday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department had made 235 arrests over this month in an effort to enforce coronavirus restrictions as the region continues to see a surge in COVID-19 cases, officials said Wednesday.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said his agency has patrolled and targeted underground parties.

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Millions of COVID-19 Vaccines Have Yet to Be Used Since First U.S. Distribution

Over 9 million COVID-19 vaccines have yet to be administered in the U.S. since they were initially distributed on Dec. 13, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of the 12,409,050 doses of the vaccines that have been distributed, only 2,794,588 have been administered as of Wednesday morning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Commentary: Lockdowns Are Killing Young Adults

On Dec. 16 the top-ranked Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a headline-grabbing article about the risks that Covid poses to young people. The article and an accompanying New York Times piece by its authors strongly implied that people under the age of 45 face a high risk from the disease and, furthermore, this risk is understated by official statistics.

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Commentary: 2020’s Never Before (and Never Again?) Milestones

We’ve all been deluged with lists of 2020 winners, losers, and reasons why everyone is saying good riddance to this challenging, tragic, chaotic, and unusual year.

This one has a different slant: Five “never before and never again” phenomena unique to 2020. (Yes, I know that one must “never say never,” but the following qualify as two-headed freaks of politics and economics.)

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ER Nurse Tests Positive for COVID-19 After Receiving Pfizer Vaccine

An emergency room nurse tested positive for COVID-19 over a week after getting the Pfizer vaccine, an ABC affiliate reported Monday.

A 45-year-old ER nurse identified as Matthew W., works for two hospitals San Diego, California, tested positive for COVID-19 eight days after receiving the vaccine, though experts say he could have been exposed prior to receiving the vaccine, 10 News reported.

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Commentary: Heroes, Villains, and Victims of the 2020 Horror Show

The year began with so much optimism.

Record low unemployment, rising wages, and a strong stock market buoyed the outlook for business owners and consumers alike. The president earned all-time high approval ratings following the Democrats’ impeachment farce. In February 2020, Republicans enjoyed a seven-point lead over Democrats in party affiliation, an advantage the GOP hadn’t seen in at least 15 years. The Democratic presidential primary field was a clown show; party elders publicly worried that none of the candidates could prevail over President Trump in November.

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Commentary: New COVID Checks Could Lead to End of Work as We Know It

The House has voted to expand direct payments to the American people from $600 per adult and $600 per child in the year-end Covid relief legislation signed into law by President Donald Trump, to $2,000 per adult and $600 per child, a move the President supports.

Under the newly signed law, an average family of four will be receiving a $2,400 check via direct deposit from the U.S. Treasury, coming atop the $3,400 they received in the CARES Act in the spring — a combined $5,800 in 2020 alone.

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Minnesota Department of Health Guidance Says Masks Will be Required at All Times for Youth Sports

The Minnesota Department of Health released guidance for youth and adult sports Dec. 28, announcing that games and scrimmages will be able to take place starting on Jan. 14, in addition to practices being allowed beginning on Jan. 4.

Masks will be required at all times for players during both practices and games, with very few exceptions. According to the guidelines, “People are not permitted to remove their face coverings during activities that involve a high level of exertion.”

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State Representative-Elect Mortensen Introduces Proposal to Suspend Gov. Walz’s Pay

State Rep.-elect Erik Mortensen (R-Shakopee) has promoted a “bill” calling for the suspension of Gov. Tim Walz’s pay until Minnesotans are back to work.

Mortensen, who was elected in November to the Minnesota House, posted a “bill” on Facebook calling for the suspension of Gov. Walz’s pay. The bill calls for Walz’s pay to be suspended until his COVID-19 emergency orders restricting businesses are revoked.

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CDC Says More Than a Million Americans Have Been Vaccinated for COVID-19

More than a million Americans have received the first round of vaccinations for the coronavirus as of Wednesday at 9 a.m., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced.

Over nine million coronavirus doses have been distributed and 1,008,025 doses have been administered, according to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker.

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44 Percent of People Say They’re Not Doing Christmas in Person Due to Coronavirus

A study found 44% of Americans said they’re not gathering for Christmas with their loved ones, a Civic Science infographic said.

More respondents in December reported canceling in-person Christmas than in October, the study’s infographic said. In October, 36% responded that they still planned in-person gatherings, but that number dropped to 30% just before the holiday.

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Federal Court Blocks California Church’s Bid for in-Person Worship On Christmas

A federal appeals court has denied a California church’s bid to hold in-person services for Christmas.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit declined to lift California’s coronavirus restrictions for the Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California in the Wednesday ruling. Under the restrictions issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom, churches in the state are not allowed to hold in-person services amid the pandemic.

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Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Keith Ellison Shut Down More Restaurants and Bars

Three Minnesota restaurants are facing liquor license suspensions after opening for on-premises dining against the governor’s executive orders.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division has let Cornerstone Café in Monticello, The Interchange in Albert Lea and The Pour House in Clarks Grove know of its intention to revoke their liquor licenses for 60 days for violating Gov. Tim Walz’s Executive Order 20-99. Last week, agents of the DPS saw patrons in each of these establishments consuming alcohol indoors.

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Pfizer, U.S. Reach Deal for 100 Million Additional Coronavirus Vaccine Doses

The Trump Administration has purchased an additional 100 million doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, the drugmaker announced Wednesday.

The new agreement means that Pfizer will supply 200 million doses to the United States, according to the company’s statement, which will be distributed through July 2021. Also included in the deal is the option to purchase an additional 400 million doses.

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BioNTech CEO ‘Confident’ That Coronavirus Vaccine Is Effective Against New European Strain

The CEO of BioNTech, the German drug maker who partnered with Pfizer in developing the world’s first approved coronavirus vaccine, said that he was “confident” it will be effective against a mutated strain of the virus found in the United Kingdom.

“The likelihood that our vaccine works… is relatively high,” Uğur Şahin told reporters during a Tuesday press conference, explaining that the mutated strain still shares approximately 99% of the original strain’s spike protein.

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Coronavirus Vaccines Can Guard Against New, More Contagious UK Strain, Experts Say

The two coronavirus vaccines that have been approved for emergency use authorization in the U.S. will be able to combat a new, more contagious strain of the virus in the U.K., experts said Monday.

Vaccines made by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna will be effective against the new strain, which is “very similar” to previous strains at the genetic level, University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation affiliate assistant professor Vin Gupta told CNBC. The Food and Drug Administration has approved both vaccines for emergency use authorization after large-scale human trials showed efficacy of more than 90%.

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Pelosi Claims ‘Faith-Oriented’ Lawmakers Say They ‘Don’t Believe in Science’

Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Monday that “faith-oriented” people in Congress have told her they “don’t believe in science.”

The California Democrat spoke Monday on the house floor where she discussed coronavirus relief and the recently approved vaccines, accusing the White House of spreading “quackery” notions of herd immunity.

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Tennessee Nurse Who Fainted After Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine Says It Was Due to Underlying Condition

The nurse who appeared to faint after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in a viral video has recovered, according to a statement issued by her employer. Tiffany Dover, a nurse at CHI Memorial Hospital, reportedly came close to passing out due to a medical condition unrelated to the vaccination.

The hospital also cited information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website, which stated that fainting sometimes occurs after all types of vaccinations.

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Commentary: Medical Ethicists Legitimize ‘Woke’ Science, Death Panels

Since March, the Left has proclaimed itself the guardian of science in dealing with the COVID-19 epidemic. Its champions are the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Dr. Fauci. All in the past have rendered valuable service to the public, and often life-saving aid.

Yet the mixture of COVID-19, the first national quarantine, and Trump Derangement Syndrome have combined to give us reason to question their judgment. These authorities variously have issued conflicting recommendations to wear, then not to wear, and finally to wear masks. Or they have both criticized and then advised travel bans.

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Minnesota Attorney General Sues Two More Restaurants Open for Dine-In Service

Keith Ellison

Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office yesterday filed lawsuits against two restaurants that have been open for dine-in despite the governor’s executive orders. Cornerstone Café in Monticello and Cork in Anoka are Ellison’s latest projects.

Ellison’s office issued a statement that says these restaurants have been running in “open violation” of Gov. Tim Walz’ orders, putting the “community at risk by violating ban on on-premises dining intended to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

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Southern California Runs Out of ICU Beds

Southern California has intensive care unit bed capacity reached 0% amid a surge of coronavirus cases, according to a Thursday report from the Los Angeles Times.

The area, which encompasses Los Angeles County, has begun moving patients out of intensive care units (ICU) and local hospitals are keeping certain patients in the emergency room for longer than normal, the Times reported. However, the situation is set to boil over if hospital capacity exceeds 20%, the local outlet wrote.

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Steve Bannon Presents ‘War Room: Pandemic’

An all new LIVE STREAM of War Room: Pandemic starts at 9 a.m. Central Time on Saturday.

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon began the daily War Room: Pandemic radio show and podcast on January 25, when news of the virus was just beginning to leak out of China around the Lunar New Year. Bannon and co-hosts bring listeners exclusive analysis and breaking updates from top medical, public health, economic, national security, supply chain and geopolitical experts weekdays from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon ET.

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Pfizer Vaccine Vials Contain More Doses Than Expected, FDA Says

Some vials containing Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine contain more doses than expected, potentially expanding the country’s supply by up to 40%, public health officials said late Wednesday.

The FDA advised that the extra doses were acceptable to use and that it was collaborating with Pfizer over the issue.

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Minnesota Unemployment Claims Continue to Decline Despite Lockdown Measures

Minnesota’s new unemployment claims last week dropped by 9,254 from the week ending Dec. 5, according to Department of Labor statistics released Thursday morning.

Unemployment claims in the state continue to drop despite the ongoing prohibitions of indoor gatherings imposed by Gov. Tim Walz to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus. On Wednesday, Walz announced he was extending his lockdown orders through the holiday season.

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Chamber: Most Small Businesses Say More Federal Aid Necessary for Success

Some two-thirds of small business owners say more federal relief funds are needed for them to be successful in the coming year during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to the fourth quarter Small Business Index survey from the United States Chamber of Commerce.

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FDA Authorizes First Over-the-Counter Home Coronavirus Test

The Food and Drug Administration approved the first over-the-counter, at-home coronavirus test Tuesday.

The test, developed by the Australian company Ellume Limited, is a rapid antigen test that can deliver results in approximately 20 minutes, and works on any patient older than two years of age, the FDA said in its announcement.

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US Wants to Double COVID-19 Vaccine Order from Pfizer

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on CNN Monday that the U.S. is seeking to double its COVID-19 vaccine order.

“So far, we have an agreement with the U.S. Government to provide them 100 million doses and this is a fixed order and we will provide those 100 million doses starting from now by the end of the first quarter and we will honor this commitment,” Bourla told CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta on “New Day With Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.”

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Defiant: Minnesota Businesses Plan Mass Reopening

by Anthony Gockowski   More than 150 businesses plan to reopen this week in defiance of Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s coronavirus shutdown. The businesses have organized as the Reopen Minnesota Coalition. This group has created a Facebook page and GoFundMe to raise awareness and money for business owners who will likely face legal consequences…

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Steve Bannon Presents ‘War Room: Pandemic’

An all new LIVE STREAM of War Room: Pandemic starts at 9 a.m. Central Time on Saturday.

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon began the daily War Room: Pandemic radio show and podcast on January 25, when news of the virus was just beginning to leak out of China around the Lunar New Year. Bannon and co-hosts bring listeners exclusive analysis and breaking updates from top medical, public health, economic, national security, supply chain and geopolitical experts weekdays from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon ET.

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Coronavirus Vaccinations Could Begin Monday, Reach 50 Million Americans by February, HHS Secretary Says

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that the first coronavirus vaccinations outside a clinical trial could begin as early as Monday.

Azar’s announcement follows a key FDA panel’s vote of confidence Thursday for Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, clearing the way for the agency to issue an emergency use authorization. The FDA said that authorization would be announced later Friday, and that it was communicating with the CDC and Operation Warp Speed to ensure the most efficient distribution possible.

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Commentary: Why Politicians Are Incentivized to Embrace COVID-19 Restrictions—Even If They Don’t Work

Over the weekend Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, took to Twitter to criticize Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker for not taking more assertive government action to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“Massachusetts has more new COVID cases per capita than Georgia, Florida, or Texas,” observed Jha, who also serves as the Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. “Our hospitalizations, deaths are up 100% in [the] last 3 weeks. But our casinos and tanning salons are still open.”

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