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Data: U.S. Small Business Administration; Table: Axios Visuals

As Congress pushes closer to extending a second round of relief payments to small businesses after its $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program ran out of funds in two weeks, banks are facing severe backlash over their handling of the program.

Driving the news: A class-action lawsuit on behalf of small business owners alleges JPMorgan, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and US Bank prioritized larger loan applications over small ones in order to collect larger processing fees.

Yes, but: While much of the program's total amount went to companies who were able to show their operations needed $1 million or more in assistance, suggesting they were hardly small businesses, nearly three-quarters of the total loans given out were for under $150,000.

  • Almost nine out of 10 PPP loans (87.5%) were for less than $350,000, reports from the Small Business Administration show, a number that grew steadily in the final days of the program.

What's next: Banks are warning their customers that even if Congress provides an additional $300 billion by this week, they may not be able to provide loans to small businesses. They say the program needs closer to $1 trillion to meet demand, according to Politico.

  • A survey from the National Federation of Independent Business found that only about 20% of small businesses that applied for a PPP loan had money deposited in their account as of April 17.

Go deeper: Shake Shack returning entire $10 million PPP loan

Go deeper

Updated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: The end of the Omicron wave is in sight — Transplants rebound from COVID lull — Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies— Government website for free COVID tests launches early
  4. World: WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older
  5. Variant tracker
Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Trump launches "Embers Strategy" in coronavirus hotspots

President Trump during a news conference on July 23. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Trump administration is sending increased personal protective equipment, coronavirus test kits and top health officials like Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx to coronavirus hotspots across the U.S. as part of a campaign called the “Embers Strategy," White House officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: The push is part of a larger effort to show that President Trump is taking the pandemic seriously, something White House officials describe as a "renewed focus."

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