American Oversight’s Covid-19 Oversight Hub provides news and policy resources to help you keep track of investigations into the government’s pandemic response. The project brings together a public documents database, an oversight tracker of important ongoing investigations and litigation, regular news updates, and deeper dives into key issues.
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150 Million Vaccinated
More than 150 million Americans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, still short of the Biden administration’s goal of vaccinating 70 percent of all adults by July 4. A recent analysis by the Associated Press found that since May, nearly all Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. were among unvaccinated people, with fully vaccinated people accounting for only 0.1 percent of hospitalizations. With the spread of the more contagious Delta variant posing an additional risk to unvaccinated people, the administration is recruiting celebrities and community organizers across the country to persuade Americans to get their shot.
The Pandemic’s Toll in Nursing Homes
A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general found that deaths in nursing homes increased by 32 percent last year. According to the findings, about 4 in 10 Medicare recipients in nursing homes had or likely had Covid-19 in 2020. Deaths jumped by nearly 170,000 from 2019, with the two largest spikes occurring in April and December 2020.
Renters and Homeowners in the Pandemic
Last week, the Biden administration extended the nationwide eviction and foreclosure bans until July 31, amid concerns that millions of renters would be left struggling when the bans expired at the end of June. According to a recent survey by the Census Bureau, more than 6 million renter households are behind on rent.
The extension came as a new report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies highlighted the millions of homeowners and renters who face potential eviction or foreclosure. In early 2021, 14 percent of all renter households were behind on their rent. The report also noted racial disparities: 29 percent of Black renters, 21 percent of Hispanic renters, and 18 percent of Asian renters were behind on rent, as compared with 11 percent of white renters.
In the Documents
Since March 2020, more than 90,000 workers in the meat- and food-processing industry have tested positive for Covid-19. Meatpacking workers handle meat at a fast pace, forcing them to stand close together and putting them at higher risk for contracting the virus. American Oversight has obtained documents that contain an initial report from the Trump administration’s Food Supply Chain Task Force from March 27, 2020. The task force analyzed the impact of limited supplies of personal protective equipment, noting that PPE shortages could result in food supply chain disruptions of milk, produce, poultry, and dry goods. Previously, American Oversight published documents showing that the meat industry used its high level of influence within the Trump administration to push for plants to quickly reopen last spring, as well as for the lifting of certain safety regulations in poultry plants.
Congress Expands Investigation
The House Oversight Committee and the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis expanded their investigation into Emergent BioSolutions, the operator of a Maryland vaccine-making plant that ruined millions of Covid-19 vaccine doses. The committees wrote to the CEOs of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, both of which had manufacturing contracts with Emergent even though multiple audits and inspections had identified deficiencies at the Baltimore facility. Initial findings from the committees’ investigation have shown that Emergent officials were aware of quality issues at the plant prior to vaccine production.
Part of Investigation: