Happy Lunar New Year!
Hot Topics | February 12th, 2021
Today is the start of the Lunar New Year, and to mark the occasion we are opening today’s newsletter with a few fun facts about one of Washington D.C.’s most dynamic neighborhoods: Chinatown!
- Washington D.C.’s first Chinatown was established in the 1880’s along the south side of Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 4 ½ Street NW and 7th Street NW. When city planners designated the area for redevelopment in the 1920’s, neighborhood aid organizations helped acquire land and relocate the community to the present Chinatown along H Street NW.
- The Chinese Community Church at 500 I Street NW has been a fixture in the Chinatown community for nearly 90 years. The church building was designed by Thomas Ustick Walter, who also designed the dome of the U.S. Capitol.
- The Friendship Archway at H Street NW and 7th Street NW is the largest single-span archway of its type in the world.
We wish all our readers a happy and prosperous new year!
Guide to new CDC guidance
- This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a wave of new guidance for the public:
- On Masks: Wearing a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask can significantly decrease the spread of COVID-19. (The Hill)
- On Quarantine: Individuals who have been fully vaccinated no longer need to quarantine if they are exposed to someone infected with COVID-19. (The Hill)
- School Reopening: The CDC is expected to issue guidance for the reopening of schools later today (Friday, February 12). (The Hill)
Industry agreement on ACA changes
- Healthcare industry groups including America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the American Hospital Association (AHA), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lined up to support changes to the Affordable Care Act proposed by House Democrats. (The Hill) These changes would include subsidized coverage for Americans earning up to 150% of the federal poverty line and those on unemployment insurance, as well as ending the “subsidy cliff” for individuals earnings upwards of 400% of the federal poverty level. (POLITICO, Axios)
Driving back disparities
- As the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines continues, disparities in access are becoming more stark with CDC data showing over 60% of vaccine doses in a number of states have been administered to white Americans. (Roll Call) Several efforts are actively underway to reduce these disparities, including a White House push to distribute vaccines directly to community health centers (The Hill, POLITICO) and an Uber/Walgreens partnership to offer free rides to COVID-19 vaccination sites. (The Hill)
Vaccine rollout full steam ahead
- On Thursday, President Biden announced the purchase of an additional 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. With this purchase, the United States secured enough doses to vaccinate every American by July. (The Hill) Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci estimated April will mark the start of “open season” for vaccinations, when any American who wants a shot will be able to get one. (The Hill)
- Read more: The United States could pay a cost for its efforts to rapidly vaccinate its own population. Experts argue life in the US will not return to normal until COVID-19 is tamed in all corners of the world, a feat that will be difficult to achieve as long as wealthier countries continue to secure the majority of the world’s vaccine supply. (The Hill)
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