As states combat surge in COVID cases with new restrictions, pressure mounts for more federal assistance.

The recent surge in virus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have led state and local officials to impose another round of restrictions on social and business activity. The Associated Press reports,

From California to Pennsylvania, governors and mayors across the U.S. are ratcheting up COVID-19 restrictions amid the record-shattering resurgence of the virus that is all but certain to get worse because of holiday travel and family gatherings over Thanksgiving.

Leaders are closing businesses or curtailing hours and other operations, and they are ordering or imploring people to stay home and keep their distance from others to help stem a rising tide of infections that threatens to overwhelm the health care system.

AP reports the grim toll:

A record-breaking nearly 70,000 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus in the U.S. as of Sunday, 13,000 more than a week earlier, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Deaths in the U.S. are running at more than 1,100 per day on average, an increase of over 50% from early October.

The virus is blamed for more than 246,000 deaths and over 11 million confirmed infections in the the U.S.

In our state, the governor has ordered new restrictions and intends to mitigate some of the economic damage with $50 million in business assistance. He acknowledges more is required. In Oregon, business owners also worry about their survival without economic assistance.

The Seattle Times editorial board writes,

Despite tremendous progress toward vaccines for COVID-19, the United States must proceed with a massive federal aid package.

This is urgently needed to help the nation get through a fall and winter with surging infections, widespread shutdowns and financial devastation for many.

Only the federal government can provide the scale of aid needed to help millions of workers and employers.

The editorial cites the obstacles through a divided Congress, including Seattle’s unfortunate “knack for generating national talking points” that suggest additional aid is unnecessary. The writers conclude,

Another relief package cannot wait for the next administration. Further delay mean more people suffering, with many going hungry and losing homes as winter and holidays approach.