Morning Briefing March 8, 2021: COVID vaccine plan expands to 50+ with certain conditions, a stimulus check update, weather outlook, more

Here are this morning’s top stories

Michigan’s COVID-19 vaccine plan expands to 50+ with certain conditions

Michigan will expand its COVID-19 vaccination plan to include all Michigan residents aged 50 and up by the end of March.

Key points of the expansion:

  • Starting Monday (March 8), any Michigan residents age 50 and up with pre-existing medical conditions or disabilities will be eligible to make an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine. Caregiver family members and guardians who care for children with special health care needs will also be eligible to receive the vaccine.
  • On March 22, all Michiganders age 50 and up will become eligible.

More info: Michigan COVID-19 vaccinations: How to find appointments, info on phases

Stimulus check update

The Senate approved a sweeping pandemic relief package over Republican opposition on Saturday, moving President Joe Biden closer to a milestone political victory that would provide $1,400 checks for most Americans and direct billions of dollars to schools, state and local governments, and businesses.

The bill cleared by a party-line vote of 50-49 after a marathon overnight voting session and now heads back to the House for final passage.

Who is eligible for $1,400 stimulus payment?

The legislation provides a direct payment of $1,400 for a single taxpayer, or $2,800 for a married couple that files jointly, plus $1,400 per dependent. Individuals earning up to $75,000 would get the full amount, as would married couples with incomes up to $150,000.

The size of the check would shrink for those making slightly more, with a hard cut-off at $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for married couples.

Most Americans will be getting the full amount. The median household income was $68,703 in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Income is based on your 2020 tax filing, or if you haven’t filed yet, your 2019 taxes. (AGI)

When could Americans start seeing payments?

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had stated a goal of getting the legislation to Joe Biden’s desk by March 14. The bill now heads back to the House for a vote expected on Tuesday, and then it’ll be sent to Biden’s desk, where he could sign by the end of the week.

Based on the IRS timeframe from the last round of payments, payments could begin within a few days of passage. So if the bill were signed by the end of next week (March 12), payments should begin by March 15 or so. The IRS has not confirmed a timeline and won’t until the legislation is signed into law.

Read more here.

Weather: Stretch of 60-degree days begins today

Coronavirus in Michigan 💉

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 596,054 as of Saturday, including 15,666 deaths, state officials report.

Saturday’s update includes a total of 1,289 new cases and 56 additional deaths -- including 48 deaths that were identified during a review of records, meaning they did not occur between Friday and Saturday. On Friday, the state reported 594,765 confirmed cases, including 15,610 deaths.

The state reported a total of 549,881 recoveries from the virus on Saturday.

The state no longer provides coronavirus data updates on Sundays; the next update is expected Monday afternoon.

Testing has slowed in the last week, dropping to about 35,000 diagnostic tests reported per day on average, with the 7-day positive rate down below 4.0% as of Friday. Hospitalizations have plateaued over the last two weeks.

Michigan’s 7-day moving average for daily cases was 1,210 on Saturday -- which is up slightly from last week. The 7-day death average was 27 on Saturday. The state’s fatality rate is 2.6%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 30,500 on Saturday.

Michigan has reported more than 2.5 million doses of the COVID-19 administered, as of Thursday.

New: Here are the highlights of the $1.9T COVID bill nearing final passage in the US

According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 28.9 million cases have been reported in the U.S., with more than 523,000 deaths reported from the virus.

Here’s a look at more of the data:

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