The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Johns Hopkins University - US marks anniversary of COVID lockdowns


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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Today marks the anniversary of the COVID lockdowns | Biden gives primetime address | Third-degree murder charge reinstated for Derek Chauvin in George Floyd case | How the pandemic turbocharged inequality | Prince William’s first public appearance since Oprah interview | Says royals ‘not a racist family’ | Biden’s dogs ‘sit down’ with Oprah



It. Has. Been. A. FULL. Year.: 

On March 11, 2020, the COVID-19 lockdown began and the world as we knew it changed.

What happened on March 11 last yearAnthony FauciAnthony FauciTrump on what would prevent 2024 bid: 'I guess a bad call from a doctor' Overnight Health Care — Presented by Indivior — CDC panel approves boosters for some, but not based on jobs Fauci: 'Worst time' for a government shutdown is in middle of pandemic MORE, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert, testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and warned of the coronavirus.  

And within hours: “The NBA suspended its season after a player who had mocked the virus tested positive. The NCAA said its annual basketball tournament would take place without fans. The Dow Jones Industrial Average entered bear territory for the first time in more than a decade.”

This is a good point: The Hill’s Reid Wilson pointed out, “If, in the decades ahead, society decides to set aside a day to remember the year that followed, March 11 will be as appropriate a date as any. It will be a day of mourning for the 2.6 million who have already died around the globe, a fifth of whom died in the United States.” 

Read Wilson’s full bird’s eye view of the past year — it's worth your time 

It's weird talking about the start of the pandemic in the past because it all feels SO recent. Does anyone else feel that way?

My takeaway here: stay in bed in mid-March and hide under the covers:


Coronavirus stock numbers




President BidenJoe BidenHaiti prime minister warns inequality will cause migration to continue Pelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Erdoğan says Turkey plans to buy another Russian defense system MORE is giving his first primetime address of his presidency, marking the anniversary of the coronavirus lockdowns. What to expect

It’s Thursday. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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All but one living former president — let’s play, ‘guess who?!’:

Former Presidents Carter, Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama are appearing in ads encouraging Americans to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. 

You guessed it: Former President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE and former first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpFormer aide sees Melania Trump as 'the doomed French queen': book If another 9/11 happened in a divided 2021, could national unity be achieved again? Former Trump aide Stephanie Grisham planning book: report MORE did not appear in the ad. 

Watch the first, 61-second ad — also featuring former first ladies Rosalynn Carter, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE, Laura Bush and Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama looks to mobilize voters for midterms We must mount an all-country response to help our Afghan allies Obamas, Bushes and Clintons joining new effort to help Afghan refugees MORE  

Watch the second, 30-second ad

Another charge for Derek Chauvin:

Via The Hill’s Marty Johnson, “A third-degree murder charge has been reinstated in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who is charged with killing George Floyd last May.”

What other charges is Chauvin facing: Charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter

Earlier this week: “The question of whether the charge should be reinstated initially delayed the start of jury selection in the high-profile case from Monday to Tuesday.”

Passed this morning:

Via The Hill’s Juliegrace Brufke, “The House on Thursday approved legislation aimed at strengthening background checks on firearm sales and transfers, a leading priority for Democratic lawmakers.” 

The vote: “The bill passed by a 237-203 vote with eight Republicans backing the measure and one Democrat voting against.”

The chances of becoming law: “Both bills are backed by the Biden administration, but the legislation faces an uphill battle in the upper chamber, where it’s unlikely to garner enough GOP support to meet the 60-vote threshold for it to be signed into law.”


Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinCongress needs to gird the country for climate crisis Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Poll from liberal group shows more voters in key states back .5T bill MORE (D-W.Va.) cements himself as the key vote in the 50-50 Senate. The full story


I could cry reading this — ‘America's nightmarish year is finally ending’:

Via Axios’s Sam Baker, “One year after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the end of that pandemic is within reach.” 

Putting the projections into context: “Last March, even the sunniest optimists didn’t expect the U.S. to have a vaccine by now … They certainly didn’t anticipate that over 300 million shots would already be in arms worldwide, and they didn't think the eventual vaccines, whenever they arrived, would be anywhere near as effective as these shots turned out to be.” 

Axios’s conclusion: “The virus hasn’t been defeated, and may never fully go away. Getting back to ‘normal’ will be a moving target. Nothing’s over yet. But the end of the worst of it — the long, brutal nightmare of death and suffering — is getting close.” 

The full story — and the list of stats is worth checking out


Coronavirus cases around the globe: 118,176,526 

Global death toll: 2,622,469 

Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 29,156,467 

U.S. death toll: 529,302 

Breakdown of the numbers


Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 95.7 million shots have been given.

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 2.17 million doses

For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million.

Breakdown of the numbers:

‘How the pandemic turbocharged inequality’:

Via The Hill’s Niv Elis, “The income gap is widening at a frantic pace one year into the pandemic, raising tough questions for policymakers as the recovery starts to take hold.” 

For comparisonIn 2019: “The bottom 50 percent of U.S. households in 2019 accounted for just 1 percent of the country’s total wealth, while the top 10 percent owned 76 percent of assets.” In the past year: “The country’s 664 billionaires saw their wealth increase 44 percent, or $1.3 trillion, according to an analysis by Americans for Tax Fairness, a left-leaning advocacy group.” 

Meanwhile with the jobless rate: “Weekly jobless claims have exceeded their pre-pandemic record every single week since last spring. More than 18 million Americans are claiming unemployment benefits of some kind or another.” 

Breakdown by category


Via The Hill’s Alicia Cohn



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Prince William commented on the Oprah interview:


Prince William



Here is video of Prince William’s response



Tidbit — time for a photo opp!:


National Guard



Getting traction — I’ve seen this inspirational message make the rounds:


Taco Bell sign




The House and Senate are in. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington, D.C. 

9:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. EST: First and last votes in the House. The House’s full agenda today

11:30 a.m. EST: President Biden and Vice President Harris received the President’s Daily Brief.

Noon: A roll call vote in the Senate.

1:30 p.m. EST: Another roll call vote in the Senate. The Senate’s full agenda today

3:15 p.m. EST: President Biden and Vice President Harris receive a weekly economic briefing. 

5:15 p.m. EST: Vice President Harris ceremonially swears in Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandHouse passes bill to ensure abortion access in response to Texas law Delta pushes for national 'no fly' list of unruly passengers after banning 1,600 from flights Democrats demand more action from feds on unruly airline passengers MORE as attorney general.


This morning: Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Sunday shows preview: Pelosi announces date for infrastructure vote; administration defends immigration policies GOP should grab the chance to upend Pelosi's plan on reconciliation MORE (D-Calif.) held a press briefing. Livestream 

12:30 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden does not plan to shield Trump docs in Jan. 6 probe The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Arizona recount to show Trump's loss by even wider margin Watch live: Psaki, Homeland Secretary Mayorkas hold press briefing MORE holds a press briefing. Livestream: 

1:45 p.m. EST: Vice President Harris participates in a virtual meeting with Americans she met with during her first 50 days in office to discuss the COVID-19 relief package. Livestream

8:02 p.m. EST: President Biden addresses the nation on the anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdown. Livestream


Today is National Oatmeal Nut Waffles Day. That’s oddly specific ...

Well played:

"The Late Show with Stephen ColbertStephen Tyrone ColbertFox's Gutfeld mocks late night hosts for planned 'climate night' Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central unveil two new animated political satires Fox News dominates prime-time ratings during Afghanistan crisis MORE" edited Oprah WinfreyOprah Gail WinfreyCourt rules Prince Philip's will to remain sealed for 90 years Piers Morgan joining News Corp., will host new show on Fox Nation Royal family supports BLM movement, senior representative says MORE’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, to a sit-down with President Biden’s dogs, Major and Champ. It’s pretty funny — watch

And because you read this far, here’s a cat figuring out what a candle is: