Health Officials Confront New Threat to Speed of Testing

Grind for March 9th
“Property is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty”. – John Adams




The Headline

Health Officials Confront New Threat to Speed of Testing

The Grind

Public health officials are warning that a massive ramp-up in the number of tests for the coronavirus coupled with disruptions to the global supply chain are creating new shortages of some of the chemicals needed to process those tests.

The result could be a catastrophe that would grind progress fighting the virus to a halt.

The chemicals, known as reagents, are used in different elements of different tests. They are substances or compounds added to a bodily sample, like a nasal or throat swab. If the virus is present, the reagent will create a chemical reaction that a diagnostic machine can detect.

The Details

Different tests use different chemicals to elicit those reactions, but no matter which chemicals they use, without reagents tests cannot be processed.

If the states and cities that are so rapidly increasing their capacity to test for the coronavirus run out of the reagents they need, the testing process would come to a complete halt.

“It’s like the water you add to your coffee pot. The test is the grounds, but the water you add in is what makes it all work. So if you don’t have these reagents, you can’t make the test work,” said Michael Osterholm, who directs the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy¬†at the University of Minnesota. “Every test uses reagents, some kind or another. They’re not all the same.” Read more…






Tax Cut

The Headline

Coronavirus Relief Package Contains 600 Billion in Tax Cuts

The coronavirus relief package going through Congress currently includes almost $600 billion in tax cuts over the next decade, according to a new analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation.

The JCT, a nonpartisan committee within Congress, showed in a report Thursday that the coronavirus legislation will cause a massive drop in tax receipts for the federal government this year of over $700 billion, or a 20% reduction. Receipts will fall another $254 billion in 2021 before rising again in 2022.


The Details

A majority of the $600 billion comes from tax breaks within the bill, such as one allowing companies to delay paying payroll taxes. JCT’s analysis showed businesses using this measure to delay paying $350 billion in payroll taxes over the next two years. Most of this will get paid back to the government in the coming years.

The most expensive tax item in the legislation is the provision to send millions of people a direct cash payment, worth $1,200 for every adult and $500 for each child. This will cost approximately $292 billion. A measure to give companies the payroll tax grant for keeping their workers employed would cost another $54.5 billion. Read more…





Did you know…The total weight of ants on earth once equaled the total weight of people.