July 23, 2021
New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising nationally, locally and statewide as the more contagious delta variant helps drive surging cases among unvaccinated populations. The delta variant is up to three and four times as transmissible as the strain that sent the world into lockdown last year, but health officials say what's really contributing to rising cases is the failure to get vaccinations to all the people who could benefit them.
The state unemployment office has flagged $350 million in overpaid unemployment, to 117,000 people, since the pandemic began, Division of Employment Security officials said this week. That's a little less than 3 percent of the $12.6 billion in claims the state paid over that period. Most of the overpayments – about $258 million – were identified this year. About half of those went to people that the state says failed to submit documentation the federal government requires to get Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
Among the many shortages that have been reported around the United States since the start of the pandemic, from gasoline to ammo to lumber to coins, there is now another: BOOZE. It hasn’t been national but some areas of the country, especially North Carolina and Vermont, have experienced shortages of liquor in recent weeks. North Carolina has seen a shortage, in part because of the way the alcohol industry is structured, with the “sale, distribution, and prices of liquor” run by 170 Alcohol Beverage Control Boards. South Carolina, which does not have such a system, has not experienced a similar shortage.
NOTE: Due to a limited schedule for the NC General Assembly next week, there will be no Old North State Report published.
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