Predictions for the coming months are dire. In much of the country, the rate of COVID-19 infections is higher than it was last spring. Vaccines are already being administered in the U.K. and should soon begin to be administered in the U.S., but the pandemic is not over yet. Epidemiologists predict that by spring 2021, when it is likely a vaccine may become more widely available, another 200,000 to 300,000 Americans will die from the virus.
The No. 1 public-health goal between now and when vaccines can be widely distributed must be to prevent as many cases (and therefore as many deaths) as possible. Structuring a relief deal in the Senate to support unemployed people and allow those who are sick to take time off from work will do the most to prevent new cases and keep the economy afloat over the next few months.