President-elect Joe Biden’s US$1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan is designed to both pump money into the economy and contain the coronavirus pandemic.

The plan includes a wave of new spending, including more direct payments to households, an expansion of jobless benefits, more money for state and local governments and an expansion of vaccinations and virus-testing programs. The proposal also calls for a US$15 federal minimum wage and more eviction protections.

Biden’s “American Rescue Plan” comes as deaths from the coronavirus hit record levels and local governments expand lockdowns to stem the pandemic’s spread during the winter months. New unemployment claims surged in the latest weekly count by the most since March, and the economy lost 140,000 jobs in December.

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