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5 things to know for December 29: Stimulus, coronavirus, military bill, Andre Hill, billionaire death

Hey, get your finger out of your nose! Nose-picking during a pandemic isn’t just gross — it’s dangerous. Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Stimulus

The House has passed a measure to increase the stimulus checks attached to the new coronavirus relief bill to a cool $2,000. That’s something President Donald Trump insisted upon when he signed the bill over the weekend, but the measure could face a tougher crowd in the Republican-led Senate. Still, Dems are hoping pressure to get relief rolling will force the hands of GOP holdouts. The new round of stimulus checks could start being distributed this week, but keep in mind it took months for the bulk of Americans to see the first $1,200 stimulus check. The new rollout will also be rough for the IRS, since the agency is already preparing for tax season.

2. Coronavirus

The US reported a record number of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 on Monday: 121,235 in all. With hospitalization rates this high, doctors warn hospitals will soon have to begin rationing care, essentially making life or death decisions about who gets the opportunity for treatment and who doesn’t. Some hospitals are already employing battlefield-level triage techniques to keep pace with the number of patients pouring in. As we close in on the one-year mark in the pandemic, new figures released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention reveal the infection rate in Wuhan, where the virus first started, could have been 10 times higher than the official figure. Meanwhile, cases of the Covid-19 variant discovered in the UK have been cropping up in other countries like South Korea and India.

3. Military bill

The House has voted to override President Donald Trump’s veto of the wide-ranging defense bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act. This has implications far outside of defense policy since the vote forced Republican lawmakers to choose between loyalty to a President that all but demands it, and a bill that previously passed both chambers with veto-proof majorities. In the end, more than 100 House Republicans voted for the override. Now, the Senate will have its own vote, setting up a new test for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The $740 billion bill includes pay raises for America’s soldiers, modernization for equipment and provisions to require more scrutiny before troops are withdrawn from Germany or Afghanistan.

4. Andre Hill

A Columbus, Ohio, police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Black man during a non-emergency call last week has been fired. Adam Coy shot Andre Hill within seconds of their encounter, as Hill walked toward Coy holding an illuminated cell phone in his left hand. Police Chief Thomas Quinlan recommended Coy’s firing because he said Coy shot Hill, didn’t activate his body-worn camera when he responded to the call, and failed to render aid. Coy turned his camera on after the shooting, and the camera’s look-back feature captured the 60 seconds prior to him turning it on. Hill’s family and their attorney have called for transparency as the investigation unfolds. The incident is even more painful because it comes on the heels of another fatal police shooting of a Black man in the Columbus area earlier this month. Casey Goodson Jr. was shot and killed by a Franklin County Sheriff’s Office deputy as he entered his apartment on December 4. That investigation is ongoing.

5.Billionaire death

Lin Qi, a 39-year-old billionaire Chinese gaming tycoon, passed away on Christmas Day, and now police are investigating whether he was poisoned. Lin’s company, Yoozoo, is one of China’s leading mobile game publishers, and is valued at about 6.8 billion yuan, or roughly $1 billion. Two days before his death, Yoozoo said in a statement that Lin had been admitted to the hospital due to “physical discomfort,” but was improving. A colleague of Lin’s has now been detained in Shanghai, with authorities saying in a statement that they were first alerted to a suspected poisoning on December 17. Police said the colleague was “suspected of committing a major crime.”


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