Michigan, which not long ago had one of the country’s lowest COVID-19 infection rates, is confronting an alarming spike that some experts worry could be a harbinger nationally, according to the Associated Press. Over the past two weeks, Michigan’s seven-day average of new cases per day has increased 122% — the largest change in the U.S. — rising to 3,753 from 1,687, the biggest jump in raw figures, too. Nationwide, COVID-19 has killed more than 545,000 people. With the vaccine rollout hitting its stride, deaths have plummeted to fewer than 1,000 a day on average, down from a peak of more than 3,400 in mid-January. New cases have plunged as well but are running at a still-worrisome average of more than 57,000 per day.
Flush with rebounding tax collections and a windfall in federal aid, Washington Senate Democrats on Thursday released a new budget plan that funds public health amid COVID-19, provides relief for immigrants and renters, gives new aid for businesses, child care programs and funds a tax exemption for low-income families. The new, proposed $59.2 billion state operating budget for 2021-23 includes an additional roughly $7 billion from the federal government’s COVID-19 relief package on programs.