Daily VideoJanuary 3, 2021
News Roundup: As new year begins, a new vaccine and new government on horizon
Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. Have students record what they found most significant in the summaries and ask them what they’d like to learn more about. For a transcript of the video, click here.
Summary of the top news: Out of many stories that shaped the country in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic is the shared event that touched everyone’s life. Since the first reported case of COVID-19 a little more than a year ago, the pandemic has taken a devastating toll in the U.S. — far worse than in many other developed countries.
- The cumulative death toll from COVID-19 in the U.S. by January 1, 2021, had exceeded the total population of cities (ca. 350,000) like Pittsburgh or St. Louis.
- Vaccines from multiple manufacturers were approved and distributed by the end 2020, offering some hope for a return to normal for many in the coming year.
- Vaccine doses for COVID-19 were distributed across the United States, mostly to high priority recipients like health care workers and those in long-term care facilities. Though early plans by the federal government targeted at least 20 million doses of vaccine administered before the new year, only a small fraction of that number was reached by January 1, 2021. Experts believe the speed of vaccine administration will have to improve to achieve needed coverage in the coming year.
Also in the news:
- Congress passed a $900 billion bill that provides extended unemployment insurance, $600 relief checks to U.S. citizens and other forms of relief, and President Trump signed the bill on December 28, after signaling he may veto it. Some members of Congress including Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders and Republican Sen. Josh Hawley along with Trump pushed for a $2,000 relief check but failed to get support by Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell. Take a look at how the bill affects K-12 education.
- A new Congress was sworn in on Sunday, January 3, and Congress is expected to formally certify Joe Biden as winner of the 2020 election on January 6, despite opposition from President Trump and some allies. Biden will take office on January 20.
- As the year came to a close unemployment claims fell slightly, but unemployment is still four times as high as it was before the pandemic began, and businesses continue to struggle with lower demand and shutdowns.
Warm up questions:
- Who is first in line to get a COVID-19 vaccine?
- What are some of the problems with early vaccine distribution?
- Where and When is the vaccine being distributed
- Why will it take so long for the vaccine to become available to everyone?
- How might people stay safe while waiting for a vaccine?
- Do you think federal, state or local governments should have the most control over vaccine distribution? Why do you think so?
- What do you think would be the most fair system for deciding who gets access to vaccines first?
Media literacy: What news do you think was most important from this summary? What important news are you aware of that was left out?
If there is time, you may want to watch some or all of the following video with your students, which recap major stories from 2020, including the COVID-19 epidemic, school closures, a consequential national election and police and civil rights protests. You can also check out NewsHour EXTRA’s archives for lessons and daily news stories on these topics and more:
PBS NewsHour education stories newsletter
Updates for EXTRA’s Super Civics 2020 election teaching resources doc
Tooltip of related stories
Tooltip of more video block
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