7 Things: Stimulus passes, Ivey and Bentley get the vaccine, Brooks meets with Trump on election challenge and more …
7. Coronavirus vaccine should cover other variants
- Assistant Secretary for Health Administration Brett Giroir recently spoke about the new strain of coronavirus found in the United Kingdom, and said that they “have every reason to believe that the vaccine will be effective against any variant that we’ve seen, including the new variant in the U.K.”
- So far, scientists don’t believe the coronavirus mutates as drastically as the flu does, so there shouldn’t be a need for a new vaccine to be developed every year. Giroir also said that he doesn’t “think there should be any reason for alarm right now.”
6. More details on Huntsville City School ransomware attack
- The Huntsville City School system has announced that some personal information, including Social Security numbers could have been exposed during the ransomware attack on the system, but Superintendent Christie Finley said they haven’t “uncovered any information that the district’s information was stolen or leaked.”
- The school system also announced that no payment has been requested during the attack, nor have they paid anything. They are “treating all information that was locked down as having been taken by the attacker,” and they’re working with an abundance of caution.
5. Cullman ICU is at 150%
- The Cullman Regional Medical Center has said that their Intensive Care Unit is at 150% of their usual capacity, and there are 18 people on ventilators. Extra patients have been put in a medical surgery unit that’s been changed into an ICU.
- At the hospital, there are 145 beds, and currently, 139 of them are occupied. Of those occupied, 79 are coronavirus patients. Medical director Dr. William Smith said, “[W]e’re getting close to overflowing.”
4. No need for a special counsel?
- Attorney General William Barr has said that there’s currently no plan or intention to appoint a special counsel to investigate President-elect Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and his financial dealings. Hunter Biden is currently being investigated by the FBI and IRS.
- Barr also clarified that there are currently no plans to bring in a special counsel to investigate the 2020 general election. Barr said, “If I thought a special counsel at this stage was a right tool and was appropriate, I would name one, but I haven’t and I’m not going to.”
3. Mo Brooks meets with Trump about election challenge
- On Monday, U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) and other conservative congressmen met with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at the White House to discuss an election challenge that could see six battleground states challenged. There is almost no chance of success that would lead to a Trump reelection.
- Brooks is now saying, “I believe we have multiple senators and the question is not if but how many,” which is a definite change in public tone that has gone from hopeful that a U.S. Senator would join him to seemingly confident.
2. Ivey receives the vaccine
- Governor Kay Ivey, State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris and State Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mary McIntyre have all received the first dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. Ivey said she “wanted to send a clear message to all Alabamians that you can have confidence in this vaccine.”
- Harris has said that so far, there’s enough vaccine for about 10% of the health care workers in the state. In the first round of vaccinations, about 330,000 Alabamians will be eligible to receive the vaccine as health care providers and nursing home residents. Former Governor Robert Bentley, a practicing dermatologist, got the vaccine as well.
1. Stimulus bill passes, and it is loaded with pork
- After a long delay, both chambers of Congress have finally passed legislation that includes $900 billion in coronavirus relief and $1.4 trillion to fund the government through Sept. 30.
- The bill passed includes $600 for most Americans, jobless benefits, money for small business loans and funds to streamline the critical distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, but Congress also provided $135 million to Burma, $85.5 million to Cambodia, $1.4 billion for “Asia Reassurance Initiative Act,” $130 million to Nepal and $453 million for Ukraine.