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De Blasio urges cancellation of holiday travels

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Moses Kuwema 

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has said the COVID-19 spike that the city has seen can be directly traced back to Thanksgiving travel and has urged those with travel plans to cancel them.

"Have travel plans? Cancel them. Planning a large gathering? Cancel it. The Vaccine may have arrived but we're not out of the woods yet," tweeted Mayor De Blasio on Monday.

And in announcing the COVID-19 indicators on Monday at city hall, Mayor De Blasio said the city recorded 184 new hospitalizations, 2,802 new cases representing a 6.05 percent positivity rate during the seven-day average.

"We need to stick to what works as we wait for the vaccine to be wide spread-especially this week," mayor De Blasio said.

Meanwhile, Mayor De Blasio said a stimulus bill is supposed to stimulate the economy and that the bill that Congress is on the verge of passing does not cut it.

"Washington passed a short term survival bill. It's months late and billions of dollars short. It has no direct funding for the local governments fighting on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis," said Mayor De Blasio.

The Associated Press reports that after months of Washington gridlock, Congress is set to vote on a $900 billion pandemic relief package, finally delivering long-sought cash to businesses and individuals as well as resources to vaccinate a nation confronting a frightening surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Lawmakers tacked on thousands of pages of other end-of-session business in a burst of legislation as Capitol Hill is set to close down for the year.

The relief package, agreed to on Sunday and finally released in bill form Monday afternoon, remained on track for votes in Congress on Monday. It would establish a temporary $300 per week supplemental jobless benefit and a $600 direct stimulus payment to most Americans, along with a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses and money for schools, health care providers and renters facing eviction.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a key negotiator, said on CNBC Monday morning that the direct payments would begin arriving in bank accounts next week.

The 5,593-page legislation — the longest bill in memory and probably ever — came together Sunday after months of battling, posturing and post-election negotiating that reined in a number of Democratic demands as the end of the congressional session approached.

President-elect Joe Biden was eager for a deal to deliver long-awaited help to suffering people and a boost to the economy, even though it was less than half the size that Democrats wanted in the fall.

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