Everything jobless Americans need to know about the $300 unemployment benefit

President Donald Trump on Sunday backed off his veto threat and signed the $900 billion stimulus bill—a move that should immediately benefit millions of unemployed Americans, even if its $600 checks have been roundly criticized as insufficient relief for the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

For starters, the package will bring back weekly enhanced federal unemployment benefits for the more than 19 million Americans still on unemployment benefit rolls. These enhanced benefits will pay out $300 per week, on top of state benefits, for up to 11 weeks. That’s down from the $600 weekly payment that the CARES Act sent jobless Americans through late July.

The stimulus package will also extend pandemic unemployment benefits, which currently provide benefits to around 14 million jobless Americans. Those out-of-work Americans, covered by programs like Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), would have lost their benefits entirely had the stimulus bill not … Read the rest

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What to know about the CDC’s new COVID vaccine guidance for people with health conditions

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new guidance on Saturday on the COVID-19 vaccination process for people with underlying health conditions. The new guidelines follow reports of some health care workers and COVID vaccine recipients experiencing side effects.

In releasing this information, the CDC seeks to assuage the concerns of people with underlying medical conditions, including rare disorders and inflammatory diseases. And, as is also still the case with how the vaccine will affect broader demographics, there is still some real-world evidence left to parse.

COVID vaccines from Pfizer and partner BioNTech and competitor Moderna were developed in record time this year. But with that developmental urgency came an inevitable tradeoff: Clinical trials still need to encompass more people who may be at high-risk of contracting COVID-19 in order for the scientific community to understand how the vaccine may affect various demographics.

The CDC cites clinical research showing … Read the rest

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Apple device activation problems cause holiday disappointment

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If you received an Apple device for Christmas, you may have to wait a bit longer to enjoy it. Apple says its iCloud sign-in servers have been having issues since early Christmas morning, preventing some users from activating new Apple Watch, iPhone, HomePod, and other devices.

The issue, according to Apple’s services status page, began just before 5 a.m. on Christmas and is still impacting some users. A tweet from Apple’s support team on Friday suggested that the issue, which is ongoing as of Saturday afternoon, was related to increased holiday demand for the disrupted service.

Fortune has contacted Apple for comment and will update this article with any additional information.

Christmas-related demand might be particularly high because of an unusually late-in-the-year release of the iPhone 12 … Read the rest

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U.S. will now require COVID negative test for travelers departing from U.K.

The U.S. will require passengers flying from the U.K. to show proof of a negative test for coronavirus, amid rising concerns over a more-contagious COVID-19 strain that is spreading after first emerging in England.

Travelers arriving from the U.K. need to get a negative polymerase chain reaction or antigen test no more than 72 hours before leaving, according to a statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC said the order will be signed by President Donald Trump on Friday and come into effect Dec. 28.

Regions from Hong Kong to Canada have temporarily suspended travel from the U.K. as the new coronavirus variant alarmed scientists and governments around the world. Early analysis suggests it may be as much as 70% more transmissible than other circulating strains.

Passengers from the U.K. must provide written documentation of their test to their airline, according to the CDC statement. Carriers … Read the rest

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What could happen if people skip the second dose of the COVID vaccine

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Success for the huge COVID-19 U.S. vaccination program now underway hinges on people getting two doses, separated by three to four weeks. But a recent study suggests that many people may fail to get their second injection, which is necessary to build maximum immunity.

The research, published Dec. 14, focused on a vaccine to prevent the viral skin condition known as shingles. It found that one in four Medicare patients missed getting their second dose within six months of their initial one.

Recipients of the two COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use may be more likely to complete their immunizations than those in the study, for reasons including greater perceived health risk if they don’t. But the authors of the new study caution that many of the … Read the rest

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Crypto firm BitGo touts record assets as PayPal deal falls through

In October, rumors swirled that PayPal was poised to acquire BitGo, one of the country’s oldest cryptocurrency firms. That deal will not happen, according to multiple sources, and BitGo is now charting a new path.

In a recent interview with Fortune, BitGo CEO Mike Belshe noted that his company now holds over $16 billion worth of cryptocurrency assets for its customers and that it’s acquiring several significant clients every week.

While BitGo has been around since 2013, it has a lower profile than firms like Coinbase and Kraken, which offer exchanges for anyone to buy and sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. BitGo’s core offering is instead a custody service that securely stores crypto on behalf of institutions and other wealthy clients.

In the past year, BitGo has aggressively sought to redefine itself as a full-service crypto shop that offers other tax and lending services, as well as a means … Read the rest

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Elon Musk: Apple refused to discuss $60 billion Tesla acquisition

Apple CEO Tim Cook refused to take a meeting years ago to discuss acquiring Tesla, Elon Musk said on Twitter Tuesday.

Tesla CEO Musk said in a tweet that he reached out to Apple during the “darkest days” of development of his company’s Model 3 to talk about a possible a deal. Musk said he planned to discuss the possibility of selling Tesla to Apple for one-tenth of its current value, indicating a valuation of about $60 billion.

Production of the Model 3 began in 2017, around the same time Apple decided to shift from development of a full-fledged Tesla competitor to an underlying self-driving car system. In recent years, Apple has hired a number of ex-Tesla executives who specialize in drive train, car interior and self-driving technology, indicating that the company is once again considering entering the market.

An Apple spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a … Read the rest

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Peloton spins up its biggest acquisition ever

Peloton Interactive agreed to buy fitness-equipment company Precor for $420 million to gain U.S. manufacturing capabilities and new expansion opportunities.

The New York-based maker of pricey bikes and treadmills said the deal, its largest to date, is expected to close early next year. Peloton will gain 625,000 square feet of manufacturing capacity in Whitsett, North Carolina and Woodinville, Washington. That should help the company get its products to U.S. consumers faster, starting in late 2021. Peloton shares rose 2% in extended trading following the news.

Peloton sales have soared this year as the pandemic shut gyms and forced people to work out from home. However, the company struggled to keep up with demand. That led to long wait times and frustrated customers. By making fitness equipment closer to U.S. consumers, Peloton will be able to deliver products sooner. Existing manufacturing facilities overseas will continue operating, according to the company.… Read the rest

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Stimulus deal reached: leaders announce agreement on COVID-19 relief package, government funding bill

Top Capitol Hill negotiators sealed a deal Sunday on an almost $1 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package, finally delivering long-overdue help to businesses and individuals and providing money to deliver vaccines to a nation eager for them.

The agreement, announced by Senate leaders, would establish a temporary $300 per week supplemental jobless benefits and $600 direct stimulus payments to most Americans, along with a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses and money for schools, health care providers and renters facing eviction.

The House was expected to vote on the legislation very late Sunday or Monday and Senate action would follow. Lawmakers are eager to leave Washington and close out a tumultuous year.

A breakthrough came late Saturday in a fight over Federal Reserve emergency powers that was resolved by the Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer of New York, and conservative Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. That led to a … Read the rest

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COVID vaccine allergies are raising concerns. Most Americans should still get their shots

You may have read that the unprecedented COVID-19 vaccine rollouts in the U.K. and the U.S. have hit some early road bumps. In the slightly more than a week since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine an emergency authorization for certain groups at the highest risk of COVID, such as health workers and nursing home residents, there have already been issues with distribution and disparate, confusing policies on to whom exactly the first doses should go.

None of this is all that unexpected, given the highly complex nature of this project and the gamut of stakeholders who need to work together to make a vaccine campaign successful. But one thing that may be giving Americans pause as the effort rolls out is the wave of initial reports of side effects experienced by some of the first people in the U.K. and the U.S. to Read the rest

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