Student Loan Breaks Continue
The U.S. Department of Education announced a final extension on the pause of federal student payments and collections. The program will continue through the end of January 2022.
The pause includes the following:
- Suspension of all federal loan payments
- 0% interest rate
- Suspension of collections on defaulted loans
Whether this is the opening salvo on a broader student-loan forgiveness plan coming out of the Biden White House remains a focus of intrigue.
For borrowers who have already been making payments, the COVID-19 Emergency Relief program offers an opportunity to receive a refund on any payments made on Direct Loans owned by the Department of Education since the COVID-19 forbearance period officially began March 13, 2020.
Yes, if you need the money back, you can get a refund on student loan payments during COVID-19, and its actually pretty easy. All you need to do is call the lender servicing your student loan and give them this information:
- The dates you made payments
- The amount of each payment
- How many of the payments you want refunded
Ask the loan servicing agent for the date you should expect a refund, then check your account that day to make sure the plan went through as approved.
Donate To Volunteer At Your Local Food Bank
Due to panic surrounding the virus, donations to many local food banks are down significantly. This is the case in Washington state, where dozens have already died from the virus, and states like Ohio, where food banks have seen volunteers cancel shifts. Supermarket chain Harris Teeter on Friday said that key items in its stores may be out of stock due to high customer demand, and some food banks in Washington state have reported that people have come to their facilities for the first time because their regular grocery stores dont have what theyre looking for.
Aaron Pallas, a professor of sociology and education at Columbia Universitys Teachers College, suggested donating to food pantries and other locations designed to provide emergency access to families with food insecurity.
Organizations like Feeding America allow you to search for food banks in your area. Many food banks across the U.S. are now putting their resources toward dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak directly. In Tennessee, for example, the Mid-South Food bank is assembling boxes of nonperishable food for those in quarantine, and others will accept donations online.
Opportunities To Continue In Prayer
- Explore more of our prayer guides: Prayer is one of the most powerful weapons God has given us. You can pray for your government leaders, peace on Earth, or pray Scripture using Matthew 25, among other topics.
- Receive prayer: Call us at 888.858.PRAY between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. to receive prayer from a member of our staff.
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Looking After Yourself At Home
As with other viruses such as colds and flu, taking it easy and looking after yourself are crucial to your recovery. You should:
- Drink plenty of fluids. Drink enough water so that your pee is a pale, clear colour.
- Avoid alcohol as this will make you more dehydrated. There is also evidence that people with COVID-19 infection are prone to liver damage, which can be worsened by drinking alcohol.
- Get plenty of rest. You should isolate yourself at home if you have any symptoms of coronavirus, and avoid any strenuous activity whilst you are unwell.
- Use over-the-counter medicines to treat some of your symptoms.
COVID-19: how to treat coronavirus at home
Calls Video Chats Texts Window Visits
Even a text hello goes a long way.
A lot of people were hesitant to reach out to me because they didnt want to bother me, but even if I couldnt respond to texts or talk for long, it meant a lot to me, Downs said.
At first, Sol didnt want people to say too many nice things because it would cause her to burst into tears. Once she felt less emotional, the kind words helped her as she recovered.
Hearing them tell me that they were proud of me it really makes you think, ‘Yeah, I can do this,’ Sol said.
People visited Peace and her daughter Alivia and stood outside the window to see them. Just a few minutes of face-to-face time invigorated her.
The window visits helped a lot just to see people in real life and not on a screen. It was just a relief to be near people you love and see their faces. It is exciting to see each other, she said via text.
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I Learned What Kinds Of Assistance I Really Neededand What Kind I Didnt
Leslie Yazel with her husband, Jeremy Egner, as he continues his recovery from Covid-19 at their home north of New York City.
Who owns a shower cap in 2020? I tapped into a group chat with friends.
It was one of the many exasperated pleas for help I had to make in March, when my husband came down with what we eventually learned was coronavirus-related pneumonia.
A doctor had told me I should wear a shower cap when I entered my husbands quarantined bedroom. But I didnt think I had even seen a shower cap in years. Was it enough for him to wear a mask, as another doctor said, or did I need to put one on, too? And would anyone ever agree to give my husband an actual Covid-19 test?
I pondered all of this while also helping our 9-year-old daughter use Google Classroom for her remote schooling and Zoom for her virtual violin lessons, and struggling to keep her away from her dad, whom she desperately wanted to hug.
Because I am organized in my job and day-to-day life, I took on my husbands care thinking I would have it all quickly in hand. But things didnt turn out that way. Specialized caregiving, I quickly discovered, required more than I could do on my own. I needed help.
Now, after four weeks of illness, including seven days in the hospital, my husband is on the mend. Maybe you have a friend or relative going through a similar caregiving ordeal? Heres what Ive learned about the best ways to help those who are caring for someone with coronavirus.
Why Is It So Difficult To Develop Treatments For Viral Illnesses
An antiviral drug must be able to target the specific part of a virus’s life cycle that is necessary for it to reproduce. In addition, an antiviral drug must be able to kill a virus without killing the human cell it occupies. And viruses are highly adaptive. Because they reproduce so rapidly, they have plenty of opportunity to mutate with each new generation, potentially developing resistance to whatever drugs or vaccines we develop.
In June 2021, the US government announced that it will invest more than $3 billion to develop antiviral medications to treat COVID-19 and to prepare for future pandemic threats. The money will be used to speed up the development and testing of antiviral drugs that are already in clinical trials, and for additional drug discovery with a focus on medications that can be taken by mouth. While COVID-19 vaccines remain central to protection, antiviral medications may be important for people whose bodies do not mount a strong response to the vaccine, who experience breakthrough infections, and for those who are unvaccinated.
Support For Mental Health Problems During Coronavirus
If you’re experiencing mental health problems during the coronavirus pandemic, you may find the advice on these pages helpful:
- Coping with mental health problems during coronavirus. This includes tips and support if you experience mental health problems such as obsessive-compulsive disorder , post-traumatic stress disorder or bipolar disorder.
- Accessing mental health treatment and support during coronavirus. This has advice on getting medication, tips for online therapy and using care services, and other ways to access treatment and support for your mental health.
Loans And Credit Card Relief For Covid
One thing isnt changing right away. Renters who can demonstrate theyve been economically hurt by coronavirus still cant be forced out of their homes.
Citing studies that indicate evictions lead to crowded living conditions, spreading COVID-19 and virus-linked deaths, the Centers for Disease Control extended its ban on evictions until October 3rd welcome relief to the eight million households the Census Bureau says are behind on their rent.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a historic threat to the nations public health, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. Keeping people in their homes and out of crowded or congregate settings like homeless shelters by preventing evictions is a key step in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Theres welcome news for the 10 million-plus homeowners behind in their mortgage payments: Homeowners behind on their mortgage payments were granted relief through June 30 when the White House directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Department of Agriculture to expand and extend forbearance and foreclosure relief programs for those with federally backed mortgages.
Additionally, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac extended foreclosure moratoriums for an additional three months for borrowers approaching the end of their forbearance period.
An estimated 20% of homeowners missed at least one mortgage payment in 2020 and nearly half missed at least three payments since March 2020.
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Consider Finding A Better Messenger
When faced with disaster, many of us will tend to cling to our identity groups for a sense of safety and support. Unfortunately, that can lead to groupthink, where people discredit information from someone outside of their groupeven if its truehelping to spread vaccine hesitancy within groups.
In the United States, larger percentages of Republicans, white evangelical Christians, and people of color remain unvaccinated, in part because of group distrust of government or scienceor because they lack concern about the virulence of COVID-19. If you are not a member of one of these groups, and youre trying to convince people who are to take the vaccine, you might be doing them a disservice trying to convey pro-vaccine messages.
For example, one recent study found that Republicans who were hesitant about vaccinations were more willing to change their minds if they heard pro-vaccine messaging from Republican figuresand were less willing if the message came from Democrats. Large-scale surveys of Black and Latino communities suggest it may be better to point people of color to pro-vaccine messengers within their social-identity groupsa trusted doctor, pastor, or public figure within that community, who likely understands their worldview and has some clout.
Can I Visit A Friend Or Relative Whos Receiving Care In An Aged Care Facility
To reduce the chances of transmitting COVID-19 to residents:
- Visitors must have had an influenza vaccination.
- Visits should be short, with only one visit per day. No more than 2 family members, close friends, or supporting professionals should visit at a time.
- Visits should be in a residents room or outdoors rather than in communal areas.
- No large group visits or gatherings, including social activities, should be organised for the moment.
- Visitors should practise physical distancing where possible, including staying 1.5 metres apart.
Please note that the states and territories are enforcing the rules differently, and many private aged care facilities have their own COVID-19 policy which visitors and staff must follow. In addition, if a Public Health Unit or Local Health District deems a particular aged care facility to be a high-risk location, they may place further restrictions on visitation.
Phone, video call, apps and other ways to communicate remotely are good because they prevent transmission of COVID-19 to or from the aged care facility.
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What Therapies Might Help People With Severe Covid
In November 2020, the FDA granted emergency use authorization to two monoclonal antibody treatments . Both treatments have been approved for non-hospitalized adults and children over age 12 with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms who are at risk for developing severe COVID-19 or being hospitalized for it. In these patients, the approved treatments can reduce the risk of hospitalization and emergency room visits. These therapies must be given intravenously soon after developing symptoms.
If you are recovering at home, these measures can help reduce symptoms:
- While you don’t need to stay in bed, you should get plenty of rest.
- Stay well hydrated.
- To reduce fever and ease aches and pains, take acetaminophen. Be sure to follow directions. If you are taking any combination cold or flu medicine, keep track of all the ingredients and the doses. For acetaminophen, the total daily dose from all products should not exceed 3,000 milligrams.
Listen To Their Concernsand Empathize
While our first inclination to vaccine resistors may be to chastise them or come at them with an arsenal of facts, thats likely to be ineffective. Instead, we should first listen to peoples concerns without judgment, so we can better address their needs, says Heidi Larson, founding director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
If you make a lot of assumptions about what people are thinking, then people get annoyed, because your intervention is not relevant to them, she says. Its important to really listen and understand, because maybe somebody has a very reasonable concern and just needs some clear information.
Research in health care settings suggests that showing empathy can help encourage vaccine adherence, because it increases trust in the messenger. In Larsons recent book, Stuck: Why Vaccine Rumors Start and Why They Wont Go Away, she advises a more understanding view around vaccine hesitancy. Approach people with respect and dignity, even if you disagree with them.
To express empathy, you might say something like this: Its understandable that you would have questions about the vaccines. Theres a lot of conflicting information out there. What have you heard? Making people feel like their concerns matter and are not being dismissed can lower their defenses and help them to listen better themselves.
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Stay Informedbut Dont Obsessively Check The News
Its vital to stay informed, particularly about whats happening in your community, so you can follow advised safety precautions and do your part to slow the spread of coronavirus. But theres a lot of misinformation going around, as well as sensationalistic coverage that only feeds into fear. Its important to be discerning about what you read and watch.
- Stick to trustworthy sources such as the CDC, the World Health Organization, and your local public health authorities.
- Limit how often you check for updates. Constant monitoring of news and social media feeds can quickly turn compulsive and counterproductivefueling anxiety rather than easing it. The limit is different for everyone, so pay attention to how youre feeling and adjust accordingly.
- Step away from media if you start feeling overwhelmed. If anxiety is an ongoing issue, consider limiting your media consumption to a specific time frame and time of day .
- Ask someone reliable to share important updates. If youd feel better avoiding media entirely, ask someone you trust to pass along any major updates you need to know about.
- Be careful what you share. Do your best to verify information before passing it on. Snopes Coronavirus Collection is one place to start. We all need to do our part to avoid spreading rumors and creating unnecessary panic.
Plan For What You Can
Its natural to be concerned about what may happen if your workplace closes, your children have to stay home from school, you or someone you love gets sick, or you have to self-quarantine. While these possibilities can be scary to think about, being proactive can help relieve at least some of the anxiety.
- Write down specific worries you have about how coronavirus may disrupt your life. If you start feeling overwhelmed, take a break.
- Make a list of all the possible solutions you can think of. Try not to get too hung up on perfect options. Include whatever comes to mind that could help you get by.
- Focus on concrete things you can problem solve or change, rather than circumstances beyond your control.
- After youve evaluated your options, draw up a plan of action. When youre done, set it aside and resist the urge to go back to it until you need it or your circumstances significantly change.
How to stop what-ifs from spiraling
Relinquishing our desire for certainty and control is easier said than done. If you feel yourself start to spin out into negativity or panic, grounding yourself in the present moment can stop the negative spiral and allow your rational brain to come back online.
For audio meditations that can help you relieve anxiety and regain inner calm, .
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Financial Assistance For Individuals
Congress passed several bills to address the financial fallout of the COVID-19 crisis. The first one was the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, passed in March 2020 and signed by President Donald Trump. This law included a direct $1,200 payment for qualifying individuals.
An additional direct stimulus payment of $600 was included in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, which was signed into law by President Trump in December 2020.
A third stimulus check of $1,400 to qualifying adults and each of their dependents was authorized through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021.
The act also included an extension of unemployment benefits and a continuance of eviction and foreclosure moratoriums through July 31, 2021. President Biden also extended payment deferments on most federal student loans through at least Sept. 30, 2021. The deadline for student loan payments, interest, and collection activity was extended by the Department of Education until Jan. 31, 2022.
You can check on the status of your stimulus check through the IRS’ Get My Payment portal.