Our mission is to bring you down the middle explanations of events taking place worldwide. And one of themtaking placeright now in the United States is the arrival of new stimulus payments in the bank accounts and mailboxes of residents.
The cash is meant to help stimulate the economy when people spend it and to help those who've lost income because of the coronavirus pandemic. It's part of a massive economic relief bill that President Donald Trump signed in late December.
Individuals who earned less than $75,000 in 2019 will receive payments of $600. Married couples who earned less than $150,000 will receive payments of $1,200. There was a push by the president and some members of Congress to increase these payments but critics saidgiving outmore cash wasn't the best way to help the economyrecover fromthe pandemic.
The latest stimulus package cost the U.S. government $900 billion. It's the second largest one ever behind the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed last March. In addition to direct payments, the new spending bill includes more government benefits for people who've lost their jobs, more money and available loans to small businesses, more grant money to help theaters and concert venues that have lost money without live events and more money to provide COVID vaccines free of charge to those in need, and to get those vaccines distributed across America.
Currently, vaccines from two different makers have been approved for emergency use. One comes from the companies Pfizer and BioNTech. The other is from the drug maker Moderna.
Millions of shots have been given to Americans so far with healthcare workers and nursing home residents getting priority for the first available injections. There have been some side effects. Several people in the United States and Britain have had dangerous allergic reactions to a coronavirus vaccine.
And polls have shown that a significant number of people don't plan on getting one because of concerns that the shots aren't safe or necessary as the vast majority of people who get infected with coronavirus survive it. But many government and healthcare workers are hopeful that the vaccines will bring the world a step closer togetting back tonormal after last year's pandemic.