The Morning Dispatch: Omicron Won’t Mean Return to March 2020, According to Biden

Happy Wednesday! First the plummeting Turkish lira caused a Nutella shortage, then supply chain issues forced some McDonald’s restaurants to ration french fries? What’s Declan supposed to eat now?

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • In light of ongoing labor shortages, the Department of Homeland Security announced this week it will make an additional 20,000 H-2B visas available to U.S. employers looking to hire temporary workers for the winter season. 

  • The Census Bureau released an estimate yesterday showing the U.S. population grew just 0.1 percent in 2021, the lowest rate in the country’s history. “Population growth has been slowing for years because of lower birth rates and decreasing net international migration, all while mortality rates are rising due to the aging of the nation’s population,” said Kristie Wilder, one of the Census’ demographers. “Now, with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this combination has resulted in a historically slow pace of growth.”

  • The U.S. Secret Service announced Tuesday that nearly $100 billion in federal pandemic relief has been stolen or fraudulently obtained over the past two years, chiefly through the CARES Act’s expanded unemployment insurance and Small Business Administration loan and grant programs. Law enforcement officials claim to have clawed back about $2.3 billion thus far.

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