Today’s In Crisis headlines

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(NEW YORK) — Here are today’s In Crisis headlines:

Atlanta spa shooting suspect blames killings on alleged sex addiction, not racism
The Asian American community is on high alert after Tuesday’s shooting deaths at Atlanta-area spas, where the victims were predominately Asian women.  Robert Aaron Long, a 21-year-old white male, was arrested and charged with killing eight people.  Authorities say Long blamed his alleged actions on a sex addiction and not racism.  Regardless, the Asian American community is alarmed, given the recent increase in anti-Asian violence seen across the country.  Long was set to make his first court appearance today but it was canceled.

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is scheduled to hold a hearing today on “Discrimination and Violence Against Asian Americans.”  Prominent Asian American lawmakers, scholars and advocates, including actor and producer Daniel Dae Kim, are scheduled to testify.

IRS extends tax filing deadline to May 17
As it did last year, the Internal Revenue Service has extended the deadline for Americans to file their state and federal income taxes.  The deadline this year is May 17, rather than April 15, giving taxpayers more time to prepare their filings amid pandemic-related tax changes.  The filing deadline will take effect automatically, and taxpayers do not need to file any forms or contact the IRS, the agency said in a statement.  Last year, the deadline for filing 2019 taxes was extended to July 15, again for pandemic-related reasons.  ABC News has obtained documents provided by the IRS to the House Ways and Means committee that show there’s a backlog of 24 million returns still waiting to be processed since the 2019 tax year. 

New unemployment applications higher than expected
Some 770,000 unemployment applications filed in the week ending March 6, according to numbers released Thursday morning by the U.S. Department of Labor.  That number is higher than expected and an increase of 45,000 from the previous week’s number, which was revised up from 712,000 to 725,000 applications.  The number of new weekly unemployment applications remains higher than at any time prior to the pandemic.  According to today’s numbers, there are 18,216,463 people claiming unemployment through all government programs.  Today’s report is another indication that while an overall economic recovery is underway, the job market is lagging behind. 

COVID-19 numbers
Here’s the latest data on COVID-19 coronavirus infections, deaths and vaccinations.

Latest reported COVID-19 numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 121,319,246
Global deaths: 2,682,660.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 538,093.
Number of countries/regions: at least 192
Total patients recovered globally: 68,791,811

Latest reported COVID-19 numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 29,608,162 reported cases in 50 states + the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.  This is more than in any other country.
U.S. deaths: at least 538,093.  California has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 56,987.
U.S. total people tested: 376,517,296

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 3,631,320 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million.  This ranks second in the world after England, which has 3,744,067 cases.  Texas is third, with 2,742,409 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 29 million.

Latest reported COVID-19 vaccination numbers in the United States
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a total of 147,590,615 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S.  Of those, 113,037,627 doses have been administered, with 73,669,956 people receiving at least one dose and 39,989,196 people fully vaccinated, representing 28.5% and 15.5% of the total U.S. population, respectively. The Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines each require two doses to be effective.  The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires a single dose to be effective.

Biden administration to spend $10 billion to expand COVID-19 testing to schools
As states and local districts wrestle with when and how to reopen schools for in-person learning amid the pandemic, the Biden administration on Wednesday announced $10 billion in funding for states to expand COVID-19 testing in schools, as part of its push to get more schools open five days a week before the end of the school year.  The announcement was paired with a state-by-state breakdown from the Education Department of how the $122 billion for K-12 schools will be divided.  President Biden this afternoon will “deliver remarks on the state of vaccinations” in the U.S., according to the White House.

The money for schools comes as part of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package Congress passed last week.  While testing is a vital part of containing the pandemic, it has been uneven in the U.S., particularly among children, and the latest figures show the volume of testing in the U.S. overall has been declining.

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