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AOC says ‘we need to pay people to stay home’ as Vermont implements orders by giving out hazard pay

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Rep Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) suggested that the federal government should be sending a paycheck to Americans to get them to stay home and help stop the spread of the coronavirus.  

‘To get the virus under control, we need to pay people to stay home,’ she tweeted on Thursday.

Republicans are mad at this when they literally just voted to do just this in March,’ Ocasio-Cortez added, in reference to the sole $1,200 stimulus check Congress authorized in the early days of the pandemic.   

‘The reason they’re opposed to it now is because last time they got a Wall Street bailout and this time all that’s left is helping working people, the disabled, the poor, etc.’ 

Meanwhile, in Vermont, a state that has mostly succeeding in keeping people socially distancing, the governor has recommended $1,000 stipends for residents who have been asked to self-isolate.  

But hard-hit states like North Dakota and South Dakota have implemented few measures, saying social distancing and masks are a ‘personal responsibility.’ 

Rep Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) tweeted that the government should be paying Americans to stay home to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Pictured: Ocasio-Cortez speaks outside the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC, November 19

‘To get the virus under control, we need to pay people to stay home,’ Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Thursday (above)

Rep Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tweeted a similar message on Thursday (above) saying: ‘We need to send every American a check until this crisis is over’

2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, whose signature policy was issuing Americans $1,000 a month, expressed alike sentiments (above)

Ocasio-Cortez is not the only lawmaker who has suggested that Americans receive stimulus checks.

Rep Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who along with Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the four-person ‘Squad’ in Congress, tweeted a similar message.

‘We need to send every American a check until this crisis is over,’ she wrote on Thursday.

Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang, whose signature policy was the so-called Freedom Dividend, a universal basic income of $1,000 per month to every American adult, expressed the same idea.

‘If we ask you to stay home we should also send you money so you can can do so,’ Yang tweeted on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Congress has been in a virtual deadlock with members of both parties unable to come to an agreement on federal relief.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion package in October, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said he will not support any legislation that exceeds $500 billion

State are meanwhile grappling to handle rising cases and hospitalizations as a second eave of the pandemic sweeps the country.

Researchers say lockdowns that encourage social distancing often affect groups that don’t have the luxury of doing so due to socioeconomic reasons.

So in Vermont, officials focused on helping high-risk groups avoid contracting the virus, leading to one of the lowest seven-day average of cases per million.

In addition to implementing stay-at-home orders, shutting down schools, and issuing curfews, the state’s response directed sources to at-risk communities. 

This includes mobile food pantries, pop-up testing in the communities at the highest risk, state-subsidized motel rooms to reduce crowding in homeless shelters and even hazard pay. 

Vermont is currently experiencing one of the lowest seven-day average coronavirus rates in the country with 151 per million while North Dakota is experiencing the highest at 1,769 cases per million

In May, the Vermont Senate approved a bill that gave essential workers making less than $25 per hour during the pandemic hazard pay of up to $1,000 per month.

In addition, the state’s Republican governor, Phil Scott, has proposed small stipends of up to $1,000 for residents asked to self-quarantine. 

‘I think it’s designed to provide them with the financial stability so that if they can’t go to work over that quarantine period, they are still receiving funds to support their livelihood,’ Sarah Clark, of the Agency of Human Services, told VPR

According to the COVID Tracking Project, Vermont has one of the lowest rates in the country with 151 COVID-19 cases per million people.

Similarly, New Hampshire Gov Chris Sununu (D) announced this week mask mandate for the entire state through January 15.

Despite state hospitalizations doubling from two weeks ago, New Hampshire also has one of the lowest rates at 178 cases per million.

Vermont has kept cases and hospitalizations low by issuing hazard pay to essential workers and Governor Phil Scott recommended up to $1,000 for people forced to isolate

Despite state hospitalizations doubling from two weeks ago, New Hampshire also has one of the lowest rates at 178 cases per million, with a mask mandate ordered through January 15

Virginia, which has also implemented lockdowns and mask mandates, has managed to keep new cases and hospitalizations steady

By comparison, other states with similar size populations are experiencing far worse outbreaks. 

North Dakota has a seven-day average of 1,769 cases per million and South Dakota has an average of 1,611 cases per million, making them the worst and second-worst, respectively, in the  country.

In North Dakota, 60 nurses from the US Air Force have been deployed to help relieve hospitals that are short-staffed.

According to figures from the Department of Health, there are just seven available intensive care beds and 187 regular inpatient beds in the whole state.

Although Gov Dog Burgum (R) has imposed some restrictions, he has chosen to focus on ‘personal responsibility.’

‘This increase in COVID-19 cases underscores the importance of exercising personal responsibility and following the CDC and White House recommendations for social distancing,’ he said .

South Dakota’s Governor Kristi Noem (R) has refused to implement any shutdowns or a statewide mask mandate.  

Meanwhile, in the last two months, number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals in the state has quadrupled. 

South Dakota also has a positivity rate of nearly 60 percent – meaning almost six out of every 10 people who are tested for the virus receive positive results.

Despite surging cases and hospitalizations in North Dakota, with  just seven available intensive care beds and 187 regular inpatient beds in the whole state, the governor has said social distancing is a ‘personal responsibility’

South Dakota has an average of 1,611 cases per million, the second-worst in the country but Governor Kristi Noem (R) has refused to implement any shutdowns or a statewide mask mandate.

Gov Tony Evers (D) has been trying to implement several measures with pushback from state Republicans on mask mandates, leading to spikes in cases and hospitalizations

However, Noem’s attitude remains the same.

‘Business lockdowns have not slowed down infection spreads and increases in positive cases,’ she said.

‘And even mask mandates [have] not slowed down the spread or prevented other states from becoming hotspots.’

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, another state being ravaged by the virus, there are just 11 percent of hospital beds available for new patients. 

Officials with the state’s Department of Health said every county aside from one in has a ‘critically high’ activity level for disease spread.

Gov Tony Evers (D) has been trying to implement several measures with pushback from state Republicans.

For instance, the state Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in a case challenging the governor’s statewide mask mandate.

‘The idea of saying somehow we’re going to shut down businesses and we’re going to go through this whole rigmarole that we did in the spring, that did not work,’ Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said earlier this week.

‘We need more voluntary compliance.’  

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