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Covid-19 Omicron Variant Reaches U.S. As First Case Identified In California

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Covid-19 Omicron Variant Reaches U.S. As First Case Identified In California

The coronavirus variant that the world is deeply concerned about has unfortunately reached the United States soil as the first case of this Omicron strain has been identified in the state of California.  

Omicron is in the U.S.  

This was revealed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci in a recent news briefing inside the White House. He stated that it was detected in an individual who traveled from South Africa on November 22 and was later on tested positive with the said variant of the virus on November 29, CNN reports 

Fauci added that the individual is as of late doing a self-quarantine and thankfully, the close contacts have tested negative for Covid-19.  

Experiencing mild symptoms  

It was also learned that the said individual was fully jabbed and has been enduring mild symptoms which according to Fauci “are improving at this point.” When asked as to whether that individual was vaccinated with a booster shot, Fauci replied that the person hasn’t taken it to his knowledge.  

How Omicron was ID’d  

Meanwhile, both the public health departments of San Francisco and California have asserted that it was indeed the Omicron strain via genomic sequencing being done at the University of California at San Francisco. Further confirmation of the sequence in question was done by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

In an official statement, Color Health stated that it sent back the positive test result through a Covid-19 testing program in San Francisco. Further, the Omicron variant was pinpointed in just less than 30 hours from the time the sample was collected to the identification and confirmation of the strain.  

The new Omicron variant of Covid-19 has been deemed a variant of concern by the World Health Organization. Moreover, WHO highlighted in a technical brief that was published this week that the latest coronavirus variant poses a very high global risk. For the uninitiated, the Omicron variant was detected by South African scientists and has been spotted in several countries.  

With that in mind, scientists are now looking as to how contagious this Omicron variant is including how sick people can get from it and the efficacy of the current Covid-19 vaccines that are in circulation right now.

California News

California Reportedly Considering Proposal to Double its Taxes

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Lawmakers are unveiling a new bill in California in 2022 that would enable a single-payer healthcare system funded by doubling the existing tax system. Fox Business News reports that this ambitious plan will burden the taxpayers who are already paying a steep tax price.

The New proposal

When a non-partisan group evaluated, they found that the new proposed amendment would elevate the taxes to a new high of $12,250 to every household in the state. Yahoo News reports that the proposal was for funding the first of its kind health care system and raising the taxes would help allocate $163 billion each year, which would be a huge amount raised ever, even before the pandemic struck the state.

The three main revenue raisers included the wealthy Americans, the payroll tax on specified employees’ wages who worked in large companies, and finally, the new gross receipts tax will enable the collection of funds for the new proposal.

How The Collection Will Take Place

In order to collect the proposed tax, the authorities may put together an 18-bracket system in place to collect taxes from individuals whose earnings exceeded $149,509. The highest rate bracket would be for those who earned more than $242,484,121. The top marginal rate on wage income would rise from the previous 12.3% to 18.05%.

The state has also thought about expanding its payroll tax limit on employees whose earnings exceeded $49,990 per annum in a company that employs more than 50 workers. Tax experts have opined that this could adversely impact smaller businesses from expanding because of these tax restrictions. So an additional employee for a small business would make the cough out extra money on tax to the tune of $90,000 or more.

A new margin of 2.3% on gross receipts on qualified businesses would be deducted from the initial $2 million annual GRT at a rate more than three times compared to the Country’s current highest GRT.

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California News

Californians Still Waiting Anxiously For $600 Checks As The Last Batch Ships

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Californians received the final round of stimulus checks this week, bringing an end to a program. The program has offered billions of dollars in relief to the Golden State’s eligible individuals and households.

On Tuesday, Jan. 11, the final round of $600 payments was issued. According to the California Franchise Tax Board, this round comprised nearly 180,000 payments amounting to $127 million.

Golden State Stimulus II Program

Over the last few months, the Golden State Stimulus II program has distributed over 8.2 million checks and direct transfers amounting to over $5.9 billion. The program is an initiative of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s pandemic recovery plan, which is unique from government stimulus programs aimed at assisting families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

California people earning less than $75,000 in adjusted gross income received the majority of the $600 payments. In addition, eligible families received an additional $500 for dependents.

Residents who submitted their 2020 taxes online and had a bank account received the majority of the early payments via direct deposit. However, some of the eligible receivers never received their direct payments.

Who Are Eligible And Who Aren’t?

The Franchise Tax Board “continues to work through a relatively small number of tax returns” that require further processing to guarantee eligibility, according to the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat. To be qualified for the stimulus payouts, an unknown percentage of Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) filers must file their state taxes by February 15, 2022. According to the board, these filers did not have an ITIN before the Oct. 15, 2021 tax filing deadline, but applied for one before that date.

The California stimulus payments were not available to everyone. Residents who depend largely on benefits such as State Supplementary Payments, Supplemental Security Income, the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants, CalWorks, Social Security, state disability insurance (SDI), unemployment benefits, and VA disabilities are not eligible.

 

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Americans Will Benefit From the Golden State Stimulus II in 2022 Also: Details Inside

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Receive New Checks Before 2021 End For Irs Plus-up Payments- Important Dates

 California residents received enormous benefits under the Golden State Stimulus II in 2021. Over 800,000 citizens benefited from the scheme. The government has issued $575 million payments that included checks worth $1,100.

'Stimulus' payments

‘Stimulus’ payments

Marca reports that the spokesperson of the California Franchise Tax Board said that the subsequent batch of the payments would be in the form of mailed checks. The state deposited the amount directly in the accounts of over 9,000 beneficiaries. The total amount issued was $6 million.

California Residents Might Continue To Benefit From The Program In 2022

The December payments are the last in the benefits scheme. However, the state will decide upon the extension of benefits in 2022. The residents will have a financial cushion amidst the pandemic’s challenging times. The residents will likely receive the payments next year if they fulfill the eligibility criteria. The state of California will introduce several benefits schemes to boost the residents’ living standards. The residents need to check with the authorities to get details on the future dates of the benefits and the suggestions to maximize the amount.

Last Round Of Payment Is Underway

The beneficiaries also received the amount in the form of paper checks. Marca reports that around 794,000 beneficiaries received $568 million through paper checks. The payments started on December 18 and will continue until 2021. The spokesperson says that the residents will receive $5.8 billion; more than 8 million payments will be made. The state of California announced the benefits for aid the finances of the sufferers of the pandemic.

Marca quoted Betty T. Yee, the State Controller, and Franchise Tax Board chair. He said, “The Golden State Stimulus will provide a measure of relief to California taxpayers deeply affected by the pandemic; this stimulus, combined with the California Earned Income Tax Credit, will provide hundreds or even thousands of dollars to many individuals and families in need.”  The state will issue the last batch of payments between December 27 and January 11. The beneficiaries will receive the benefits based on their area zip code. The residents will the zip code ending with 928-999 will get the last round of payments.

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