Pandemic wipes out poverty gains

Escalating coronavirus crisis could reverse decades of gains in the fight against poverty in the U.S. Low-income adults were the most affected by job losses and pay cuts from the pandemic.


National News

November 30, 2020 - 9:36 AM

Meals are prepared and placed on an outdoor table for people to receive at the Thessalonica Christian Church in the Bronx during a distribution in New York City on October 22, 2020. Photo by (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON — The escalating coronavirus pandemic could reverse decades of gains in the fight against poverty, as U.S. government aid for the vulnerable dries up.

In the early months of the crisis, the federal Cares Act, which gave an extra $600 a week in unemployment assistance and $1,200 stimulus checks, helped prevent poverty from dramatically deepening. But that lifeline for low-income earners is being cut off.

Unemployment benefits are set to expire for millions of workers in late December and talks over a new stimulus package have stalled — just as some states reimpose job-hammering lockdowns to halt a surge in cases.

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