Best and worst of this week’s headlines

As coronavirus-related deaths reach record highs, President Donald Trump made the brazen move to demand that the U.S. Senate pass $2,000 stimulus checks for Americans – giving hope to millions of Americans.

Here’s the best and worst of this week’s headlines:

Thumbs Up

GOP senators signed off on $600 stimulus checks last week for struggling Americans, sparking outrage from millions who want and need more financial assistance. Trump became a surprising advocate for a larger stimulus check and urged Republicans to consider giving Americans more aid.

While I disagree strongly with mostly everything the president has done during his tenure in office, this final show of solidarity with the American people is a net positive, albeit a confounding one.

The American people need help, and if Trump is going to end up being the one to bring aid to millions, he should be applauded for it. Americans are still struggling to make ends meet, even if the economy is doing relatively well.

Businesses have been shuttered, many cities and states are entering strict lockdowns for the holiday season and thousands remain unemployed. $2,000 stimulus checks would not pull everyone out of their financial graves, but it would cover much more than a laughable $600. People could actually pay for the essentials, like rent, insurance and food.

Thumbs Down:

Heading into the holiday season, Americans were warned that post-Thanksgiving parties and holiday travel would contribute to an increase in COVID-19 cases. These warnings have come true – December marks the deadliest month of this pandemic.

About 63,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 in December alone, despite countless advisories against holiday travel and get-togethers. It can also be expected that the number of deaths may increase in the new year after data comes back for Christmas and New Year’s gatherings.

While people want everything to go back to normal, December shows us what happens when we try to rush. Until there is mass immunization, we must recognize the cost of ignoring public health guidelines. Family is important and being away from them during the holiday season is devastating. But what’s more devastating is the hundreds of thousands of lives we cost because we selfishly wanted a party.

Hannah Thacker, a junior majoring in political communication, is the opinions editor.

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