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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Bloomberg has a big feature that includes the story of Constance Else, who has been posting flyers across her New Jersey town offering to help older Americans who are struggling to book vaccination appointments online.

The big picture: It's part of an all-too-familiar American story of individuals having to do heroic work to make up for a systemic shortfall, akin to 7-year-olds setting up lemonade stands to help pay medical bills or employees banding together to donate sick time to a seriously ill colleague.

  • A huge chunk of GoFundMe is this phenomenon writ large, as people turn to crowdsourcing to pay medical bills for those who lack sufficient insurance coverage.

My thought bubble: While Else is rightly being praised, it should never have come to this.

And the problem, as the Bloomberg report details, is that there are more seniors struggling to get appointments than there have been heroes like Else to help them.

Be smart: Other countries aren’t leaving individual citizens to fend for themselves.

Go deeper

Jan 31, 2021 - Health

While US hospitalizations are falling, COVID-19 variants concern experts

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. this week dropped below 100,000 for the first time since December, with sharp declines happening in almost all states, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

Why it matters: CNN reports that while the decrease in hospitalizations is promising, experts are concerned that new variants of the virus will increase case rates to record heights if the national vaccine rollout faces challenges.

10 Senate Republicans propose compromise on COVID relief package

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A group of 10 Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), sent a letter to President Biden Sunday requesting a meeting, saying they have developed a counterproposal to the president's COVID-19 relief plan.

The big picture: The proposal includes $160 billion in spending for vaccines, testing and tracing, treatment and medical equipment. The senators said the plan "could be approved quickly by Congress with bipartisan support," if it gained Biden's support.

Biden to meet with 10 GOP senators for coronavirus relief talks

Combination images of President Biden and Republican Sen. Susan Collins. Photos: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images, Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden will on Monday meet at the White House with a group of 10 Republican senators who are seeking a bipartisan deal on coronavirus relief.

Driving the news: White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that after receiving a letter earlier Sunday from the Republicans, led by Sen. Susan Collins, Biden spoke with the Maine senator and invited them to the White House "for a full exchange of views."