Obamacare enrollment reopens amid COVID-19 pandemic
The Department of Health and Human Services will reopen insurance enrollment on HealthCare.gov beginning Monday through May 15, giving a new coverage opportunity to Americans who lost their jobs and employer-based insurance during the pandemic. The annual open enrollment for the plans ended in December in most states. Nearly 9 million uninsured Americans could get free or subsidized health insurance through the special enrollment period, according to the nonpartisan health research organization Kaiser Family Foundation.Former President Donald Trump had resisted calls for a special enrollment period for people who became uninsured during the pandemic and repeatedly sought to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration’s signature health care reform law.
Millions brace for more brutal weather
Near-record cold temperatures will continue to cause brutal weather conditions for millions of Americans Monday. The winter storms blanketing the country can be blamed in part on the polar vortex, a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding both of the Earth’s poles that has sagged down into the U.S. The National Weather Service said early Monday that snow was falling across much of the Central and Southern Plains and in parts of the Mississippi Valley, with heavy snow and freezing rain forecast to spread northeastward through Monday. Snow and ice blanketed large swaths of the U.S. on Sunday, prompting canceled flights, making driving perilous and reaching into areas as far south as Texas’ Gulf Coast, where snow and sleet were expected overnight. Marc Chenard, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said significant ice and up to 12 inches of snow were expected across parts of the southern Plains into Monday. Winter weather conditions are affecting large portions of the U.S., but it is rare for them to extend so far south, he said.
Cicely Tyson to lie in repose at her church in Harlem
Admirers of Hollywood icon Cicely Tyson, who died Jan. 28 at the age of 96, will get a chance to say goodbye to her on Monday at the church where she worshiped in New York City. The public is invited by Tyson’s family to a public viewing of the award-winning actress and trailblazing role model at the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, where she will lie in repose. For those planning to take part in the walk-by event, COVID-19 protocols will be in place, with masks and social distancing required. Tyson’s long and illustrious acting career included three Emmys, a Tony award, an Oscar nomination for 1972’s “Sounder” and an honorary Academy Award bestowed 45 years later. Her memoir, “Just As I Am,” was released just days before her death.
Nevada easing capacity limits on Las Vegas casinos
More people will be allowed to gamble in The Strip’s casinos starting on Monday. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has announced he’s easing back on COVID-19 restrictions set in November that limited casino capacity to 25%. The capacity limit will roll back out in phases, starting with increasing the capacity limit to 35% at casinos along with gyms, places of worship and bowling alleys. Libraries, museums, art galleries, aquariums and zoos will move to 50% capacity. Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases continue to mount, with Nevada having seen 288,000 confirmed cases and more than 4,700 deaths due to the virus. The U.S. has more than 27.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 485,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Stock market closed in recognition of Presidents Day
U.S. financial markets are closed on Monday in observance of Presidents Day, which is a federal bank holiday. The New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq will resume normal trading hours Tuesday after a three-day holiday weekend to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. The U.S. bond market will also be closed Monday, as recommended by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. All three major stock averages had notched all-time highs Friday, buoyed by solid corporate earnings and optimism that Congress will pass more stimulus aid for the U.S. economy.