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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The Vaccinated Get Back to Normal
As Memorial Day weekend kicked off last Friday, nearly 2 million Americans traveled in airports — a record high number since the coronavirus pandemic began last spring. The week prior to the holiday, the Biden administration announced that half of all American adults are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, and the U.S. Covid-19 case rate dropped to its lowest in the past 11 months.
On June 1, Moderna filed for full FDA approval of its Covid-19 vaccine, becoming the second drugmaker to do so after Pfizer. Last week, Moderna announced that its coronavirus vaccine is effective in those aged 12 and up, and that it planned to apply for FDA authorization to expand the vaccine’s availability to adolescents. (The FDA expanded the use of Pfizer’s vaccine to include adolescents over the age of 12 early last month.) In a new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 41 percent of parents of children between 12 and 17 years old said their child had already gotten at least one dose or would be getting one soon.
But Hospitalization Rates Remain Unchanged for the Unvaccinated
Of course, the coronavirus continues to spread among those who are unvaccinated. The Washington Post adjusted recent data to determine the virus’ toll among those who are unvaccinated, and found that in this group, the death and hospitalization rates have remained stable for the last few months, while they’re dropping for the rest of the country.
Lack of vaccination is impacting some of the most vulnerable segments of the population. Last week, nearly 1,500 migrants held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers tested positive for Covid-19, with critics pointing to limited vaccine access for those in detention. Economic concerns may also be holding some back: According to the recent Kaiser survey, about one-third of unvaccinated adults, especially those who are Black or Hispanic, are concerned that they might need to pay for the vaccine.
An Inside Look at Fauci’s Emails
The Washington Post obtained hundreds of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s emails from March and April 2020, during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. The emails include exchanges between Fauci and George Gao, a top Chinese health official, and show Fauci handling a flood of requests and suggestions during these months, including from the Walt Disney Company and the NFL Players Association.
Biden Administration Seeks Information On Covid-19 Origins
Last week, President Joe Biden ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to “redouble their efforts” to investigate the origins of Covid-19, and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra called for a follow-up investigation into the issue at a World Health Organization meeting. Other top U.S. officials, including Fauci, have said that a deeper investigation is needed into whether the virus naturally jumped from an animal host into humans or escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China. A team of scientists convened by the WHO concluded in late March that a lab accident was extremely unlikely, but American officials have suggested that the team may not have had complete access to data and are calling for greater transparency.
Oversight of Economic Impact Payments
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) assessed the Internal Revenue Service’s Economic Impact Payment program, which disbursed individual coronavirus stimulus payments. TIGTA found that as of July 16, 2020, the IRS had issued more than 4.4 million EIPs, totaling nearly $5.5 billion, to potentially ineligible individuals. These included payments made to deceased individuals, individuals in U.S. territories who also received payments from the territories, and individuals with filing status changes.
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