National News: Pandemic relief bill, 2020 Tokyo Olympics postponed

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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin steps out of a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, as the Senate works to pass a coronavirus relief bill.  Photo by Patrick Semansky/AP

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin steps out of a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, as the Senate works to pass a coronavirus relief bill. Photo by Patrick Semansky/AP

2020 Olympics

The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games have been postponed to 2021 due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, according to ESPN. The Olympics have only been rescheduled or canceled three times in modern history: In 1916, 1940 and 1944 due to the world wars. Last weekend, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee sent out a survey to thousands of team U.S.A. hopefuls, and seven out of 10 of those respondents said they would not be comfortable attending the games if the events were still held beginning in July of this year. Several other countries ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic also called on the Japanese government to postpone the games because of fears dealing with the pandemic. “The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present,” the International Olympic Committee said in a statement about the decision.

Liberty University

President Jerry Falwell Jr. of Liberty University in Virginia welcomed students back to campus Monday post-spring break amid the COVID-19 pandemic and demands to close, according to ABC 13 News. “Our thinking was, ‘Let’s get them back as soon as we can — the ones who want to come back,” Falwell said in defense of his decision. The university has moved most of its classes online with the exception of a few particular labs and programs. Tents have been set up around campus for students to receive their meals, and the police department is stationed at these locations to ensure people are following the 10-person gathering limit imposed by the CDC. Several students and Lynchburg’s town government expressed disapproval in Falwell’s decision despite most students choosing not to return to campus. “Liberty University is an important part of this community; however, I believe it was a reckless decision to bring students back on campus at this time,” Lynchburg Mayor Treney Tweedy said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that President Falwell chose to not keep his word to us and to this community.”

Pandemic Relief Bill

Democrats and Republicans in the Senate agreed to an economic stimulus bill on Wednesday that, if passed and later signed into law by President Trump, would provide economic relief to families and industries across the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the shutting down of jobs and businesses, according to ABC News. Most American taxpayers would see direct payments, including payments of up to $1,200 if an individual’s income is less than $75,000 and up to $2,400 for married couples earning up to $150,000. In addition, the bill would expand unemployment insurance and allow workers to receive up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits. The bill also offers large loans to small businesses and cash to larger industries like airlines. Hospitals will also receive parts of a $100 billion relief package to help combat the crisis.

Darien COVID-19 Testing

The town of Darien, Connecticut closed a COVID-19 drive-thru testing location at the town hall after nearby residents complained, according to the Stamford Advocate. Immediately after the announcement was posted on the Darien Times Facebook page, residents cited concerns about children who lived on the street in front of and near the town hall as well as leaders not letting citizens know ahead of time that a site would be set up there. The cancelation gained significant traction on Twitter, with one user writing, “Darien is the worst town in America, change my mind.” Several hours later, however, other Darien residents took to the internet to show their support for the original location. “I don’t understand how someone could react negatively to this. Pearl clutching and tantrums are counterproductive. Is the issue that residents don’t want it in their backyard? I’d happily volunteer my home and property to get this done,” one resident wrote. 

Man Arrested for Licking Walmart Items

A Missouri man was arrested after he posted a video on social media depicting him licking bottles of deodorant in a Warrenton Walmart and mocking coronavirus fears, according to NBC News. 26-year-old Cody Lee Pfister was arrested Monday amid complaints about the video from local residents as well as several other reports from people overseas in the Netherlands and Ireland. As he licked the bottles of deodorant he asked, “Who’s scared of coronavirus?” Pfister has since been charged with terrorist threats and is due back in court in May. “We take this incident very seriously especially with this infectious disease and the state that the country is in,” Lt. Justin Unger told NBC News. “We take these things seriously to protect our community.”


Taylor Harton is the associate news editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at taylor.harton@uconn.edu.

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