In Today's Issue: Catastrophic COVID Crisis in India Brings Worldwide Aid

The following story appeared in the [post_published] issue of The Daily Juice. The text is from the 9th-10th grade version. To access the other grade levels, interactive vocabulary (words in bold), quiz questions, and more, sign up for The Juice.

A world-record surge in COVID-19 cases is ravaging India and leading to severe shortages of hospital beds and life-saving oxygen. Now, emergency medical aid from nations across the globe is heading to the world’s second-most populous country.

India’s crisis is dire. Patients are suffocating in Indian hospitals and even dying in the streets. The unprecedented crush of bodies has even forced mass cremations. An official in Bhopal said, “The virus is swallowing our people like a monster.”

India reported 352,991 new cases Monday. That broke the world record for the most cases ever for the fifth straight day, driven by the spread of a newer, more contagious variant. The country also saw 2,812 die from the virus. India’s COVID cases have now exceeded 17 million, second only to the US. 

The US, the United Kingdom, Germany, Turkey, and Pakistan have pledged to provide critical supplies, including ventilators and oxygen to help control the raging pandemic. The World Health Organization is providing emergency equipment and mobile field hospitals. The White House also pledged to share as many as 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine with other countries, including India. 

Efforts to control the surge are not merely altruistic. Unvaccinated people allow the virus to keep spreading and mutating. That could prevent the world from reaching herd immunity. It could also enable COVID to infect even those who are vaccinated.

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US Politics (Grades 11-12)

Biden Executive Orders Will Reverse Trump Policies

President-elect Joe Biden plans to sign a flurry of executive orders soon after his inauguration tomorrow. He plans to address what he’s calling the four crises facing the country. They are COVID-19, the economic downturn, racial injustice, and climate change.

An executive order is a written directive from the president carrying powers similar to a federal law. Presidents have historically used these orders to push policies forward quickly because they do not require approval from Congress. The downside of executive orders is that they are easily overturned by any new president. That is not true for federal laws.

Among other moves overturning Trump administration policies, Biden’s orders will return the US to the Paris Climate Accord and to the Iran nuclear deal.

Related to the pandemic, Biden will require face masks on federal properties and during interstate travel. Other orders will be aimed at safely reopening schools and businesses.

On immigration, Biden will order agencies to determine how to reunite children separated from their families after crossing the US-Mexico border. Another order will end travel restrictions targeting majority-Muslim countries.

Other orders will address “equity and support communities of color,” criminal justice reform, and access to healthcare.

Photo from Reuters.

Bold words are interactive vocab words in The Juice.

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