It is all too easy to get sucked up into the drama of the presidential election, but the COVID-19 pandemic is still surging throughout the United States, and the devastation is accelerating.
On Wednesday, new infections soared past 101,000, and nearly 1,200 Americans had lost their lives. The total number of deaths from coronavirus in the United States is just shy of 240,000, according to live coronavirus data taken from Worldometer.info.
Some models project that another 200,000 could die by the end of the year if the deadly virus is permitted to spread unchecked.
On Election Day, the US posted its second-highest daily case count ever, with 91,530 new infections reported as Americans headed to the polls.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who won reelection to a 7th term Tuesday night, said Wednesday that he intends on passing a new economic stimulus package to boost the economy, which has been battered by the pandemic.
“We need another rescue package,” McConnell said at a press conference. “Hopefully the partisan passions that prevented us from doing another rescue package will subside with the election and I think we need to do it and I think we need to do it before the end of the year.”
McConnell said that he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who also won reelection and whose party maintained its majority, have agreed to work on passing an omnibus spending bill in December to fund the government.
“It’s a basic function of government that we haven’t handled very well in recent years and we need to do that,” he said. “So we have two big things to do before the end of the year.”
Democrats and Republicans have butted heads over how funds will be allocated in any additional financial relief legislation. Setting aside the partisan rifts over the price tag, aid for state and local governments remains one of the most contentious items standing in the way of a deal.
But McConnell conceded that the GOP may need to bite the bullet if Congress hopes to put money into the pockets of struggling American workers and businesses.
“This is a big item for Democrats as you can imagine and they’re still going to control the House but we’ll have to reach some kind of agreement … it’s not something that my side is very fond of,” McConnell said. “I’d like to see it done a little more skillfully than simply providing borrowed money for everyone regardless of their need.”
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.