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Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
► Health experts continue to warn that we could be nearing another surge in the COVID-19 pandemic. As CNN explains:
The highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant has fueled an alarming rise in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in parts of Europe. And experts worry the US could be next if Americans don’t double down on safety measures until more people are vaccinated.
What’s worse, experts say, is that the variant is changing the pandemic’s playbook and could spell trouble for younger groups that haven’t yet been vaccinated.
As The Washington Post reports, an increase in infections is particularly worrisome in India:
India on Sunday reported more than 100,000 new cases of the coronavirus, a grim measure achieved by only the United States and briefly Brazil, and a sign that the infections in the nation of 1.3 billion could be spinning out of control.
India, which has one of the world’s largest vaccine-manufacturing capacities, is immunizing citizens at a rate of 2 million a day but has not made significant headway, with just 5 percent of the population having received a first dose. India is also slowing down its vaccine exports in the face of domestic demand, with potentially dire consequences for other countries.
Experts believe that changes in behavior, waning immunity from prior infections and the spread of new variants are all contributing to the dramatic rise in cases.
Here in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis extended a statewide mask order for another month at the request of local health officials.
On the subject of COVID-19 vaccinations, we still don’t know if Republican members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation have received their vaccines.
► The Denver Post reports on an influx of federal money coming to Colorado:
Over the next 13 months, nearly $2 billion will move from the federal treasury to the bank accounts of Colorado’s counties, cities and towns — a redistribution of tax dollars that experts and officials say is without parallel in modern American history.
“The sheer amount of money that is flowing is unprecedented,” said John Swartout, the executive director of Colorado Counties Inc., a membership association for city and county officials. “There’s been nothing like it.”
For Colorado’s local governments, the money represents an opportunity they have never had and may not get again soon. It’s a chance to fill holes in budgets and bridges, to address decades-long addictions and afflictions, to build up and better their towns.
The money comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, the $1.9 trillion stimulus and COVID-19 relief package that passed Congress last month without a single Republican vote and was signed into law by President Joe Biden.
► Let’s get some updates on the State Legislature, which will begin to tackle “The Long Bill” (the state budget) this week…
Lawmakers are looking for ways to expand access to birth control via Medicaid.
Police accountability will be a hot topic in the next few weeks.
As Colorado Public Radio reports, some gun owners want lawmakers to know that they oppose an Assault Weapons Ban that doesn’t exist.
The Pueblo Chieftain reports on legislative efforts to address a shortage of child care options in Colorado.
The Colorado Sun reports on a proposal to pay school board members for their time.
Here’s more from The Denver Post on the plastic bag ban discussion.
More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…