Carbon Monitor, an international initiative that provides estimates of daily CO2 emissions, worldwide emissions from aviation fell by nearly 50 percent last year — to around 500 million metric tons of CO2, down from around 1 billion metric tons in 2019. (Those numbers are expected to rebound, though the timing will depend largely on how long corporate and international travel remain sidelined.)

All told, CO2 emissions from fossil fuels dropped by 2.6 billion metric tons in 2020, a 7 percent reduction from 2019, driven in large part by transportation declines.

outbreak aboard the Diamond Princess.

scathing rebuke of the industry issued in July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention blamed cruise companies for widespread transmission of the virus, pointing to 99 outbreaks aboard 123 cruise ships in U.S. waters alone.

While precise passenger data for 2020 is not yet available, the publicly disclosed revenues — which include ticket sales and onboard purchases — from three of the largest cruise lines offer a dramatic narrative: strong revenues in the early months of 2020, followed by a steep decline.

Third-quarter revenues for Carnival Corporation, the industry’s biggest player, showed a year-to-year decline of 99.5 percent — to $31 million in 2020, down from $6.5 billion in 2019.

The outlook remains bleak for the early months of 2021: For now, most cruise lines have canceled all sailings into May or June.

Arrivalist, a company that uses mobile location data to measure consumer road trips of 50 miles or more in all 50 U.S. states.

state and local restrictions fell into place, followed by a gradual rise to around 80 percent of 2019 levels.

43 percent.

Some national parks located near cities served as convenient recreational escapes throughout the pandemic. At Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 2020 numbers exceeded 2019 numbers from March through December. At Great Smoky Mountains National Park, numbers surged after a 46-day closure in the spring and partial closures through August; between June and December, the park saw one million additional visits compared to the same time period in 2019.

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How Bad Was 2020 for Tourism? Look at the Numbers.

Numbers alone cannot capture the scope of the losses that have mounted in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Data sets are crude tools for plumbing the depth of human suffering, or the immensity of our collective grief.

But numbers can help us comprehend the scale of certain losses — particularly in the travel industry, which in 2020 experienced a staggering collapse.

Around the world, international arrivals are estimated to have dropped to 381 million in 2020, down from 1.461 billion in 2019 — a 74 percent decline. In countries whose economies are heavily reliant on tourism, the precipitous drop in visitors was, and remains, devastating.

According to recent figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the decline in international travel in 2020 resulted in an estimated loss of $1.3 trillion in global export revenues. As the agency notes, this figure is more than 11 times the loss that occurred in 2009 as a result of the global economic crisis.

one out of every 10 jobs around the world. In many places, though, travel plays an even greater role in the local economy.

Consider the Maldives, where in recent years international tourism has accounted for around two-thirds of the country’s G.D.P., when considering direct and indirect contributions.

As lockdowns fell into place worldwide, international arrivals in the Maldives plunged; from April through September of 2020, they were down 97 percent compared to the same period in 2019. Throughout all of 2020, arrivals were down by more than 67 percent compared with 2019. (Arrival numbers slowly improved after the country reopened in July; the government, eager to promote tourism and mitigate losses, lured travelers with marketing campaigns and even courted influencers with paid junkets.)

more than 50 percent in 2020.

And the effects could be long-lasting; in some areas, travel is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.

fell by 65.9 percent as compared to 2019, the largest year-on-year decline in aviation history.

Carbon Monitor, an international initiative that provides estimates of daily CO2 emissions, worldwide emissions from aviation fell by nearly 50 percent last year — to around 500 million metric tons of CO2, down from around 1 billion metric tons in 2019. (Those numbers are expected to rebound, though the timing will depend largely on how long corporate and international travel remain sidelined.)

All told, CO2 emissions from fossil fuels dropped by 2.6 billion metric tons in 2020, a 7 percent reduction from 2019, driven in large part by transportation declines.

outbreak aboard the Diamond Princess.

scathing rebuke of the industry issued in July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention blamed cruise companies for widespread transmission of the virus, pointing to 99 outbreaks aboard 123 cruise ships in U.S. waters alone.

While precise passenger data for 2020 is not yet available, the publicly disclosed revenues — which include ticket sales and onboard purchases — from three of the largest cruise lines offer a dramatic narrative: strong revenues in the early months of 2020, followed by a steep decline.

Third-quarter revenues for Carnival Corporation, the industry’s biggest player, showed a year-to-year decline of 99.5 percent — to $31 million in 2020, down from $6.5 billion in 2019.

The outlook remains bleak for the early months of 2021: For now, most cruise lines have canceled all sailings into May or June.

Arrivalist, a company that uses mobile location data to measure consumer road trips of 50 miles or more in all 50 U.S. states.

state and local restrictions fell into place, followed by a gradual rise to around 80 percent of 2019 levels.

43 percent.

Some national parks located near cities served as convenient recreational escapes throughout the pandemic. At Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 2020 numbers exceeded 2019 numbers from March through December. At Great Smoky Mountains National Park, numbers surged after a 46-day closure in the spring and partial closures through August; between June and December, the park saw one million additional visits compared to the same time period in 2019.

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Oprah Winfrey, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Draw 17.1 Million to CBS

Since then, the rise of digital media and its infinite screen-time options have cut deeply into the might of the big broadcasters. As the viewing audience fractured, opportunities for must-see prime-time interviews became vanishingly rare. Even the biggest one-on-ones of recent years have lacked the drawing power of the specials from two decades ago and more. The audience of 17.1 million for Ms. Winfrey’s interview of Ms. Markle and Prince Harry matched the number of viewers who tuned in when Caitlyn Jenner revealed that she was transgender to Ms. Sawyer on a 2015 episode of ABC’s “20/20.”

The Sunday night special was unusual in that it was not overseen by a network news division. Ms. Winfrey’s company, Harpo Productions, produced it, and CBS paid at least $7 million to license the show, according to a person with knowledge of the arrangement. (The Wall Street Journal previously reported the figure.) The deal was also a gamble: It was taped after the network had bought the rights, according to two people with knowledge of how the show was made. During the interview, Ms. Winfrey said she had been trying to land the exclusive with the couple for about three years.

CBS emerged the winning bidder despite Ms. Winfrey’s rocky experience at “60 Minutes,” where she was a special contributor in 2017 and 2018. In a 2019 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ms. Winfrey revealed that the show’s producers had criticized her delivery, saying she had “too much emotion” in her voice, even when she said her own name. (Ms. Winfrey has maintained a connection to the network through her good friend Gayle King, an anchor of “CBS This Morning,” and she appeared on that show Monday.)

Further complicating CBS’s attempt to get the big get was the thicket of media companies surrounding Ms. Winfrey and the former royal couple. Ms. Winfrey has her own cable network, OWN, and is a major part of the streaming platform AppleTV+. Recent episodes of Apple’s “The Oprah Conversation” have featured her interviews of Barack Obama, Dolly Parton and Mariah Carey.

Ms. Markle and Prince Harry, for their part, signed a multiyear deal with Netflix last year to make documentaries and other shows. They also signed on to make podcasts for Spotify and released the first installment on Dec. 29. It included guest appearances by Elton John, Tyler Perry and other celebrities, as well as the first public utterance from their son, Archie.

The pact between CBS and Harpo Productions was largely focused on TV rights. The interview ran live on ViacomCBS’s newly rebranded streaming service, Paramount+; but at least for now it will not be available on Paramount+ for on-demand viewing. Instead, the special will be available on CBS.com and the CBS app for 30 days, a CBS spokesman said.

Originally slotted for 90 minutes, it ended up a two-hour show. Before the broadcast, CBS released teaser clips, and British tabloids that have been unfriendly to Ms. Markle shot back with anonymously sourced items on her apparent misdeeds.

The estimate of 17.1 million viewers will only grow after Nielsen tabulates some viewers who streamed the special, as well as out-of-home viewing.

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Covid-19 Conundrum in Rome: More Homeless on Streets as Shelters Shrink

ROME — On an icy evening last month, Akas Kazi, a 35-year-old originally from Bangladesh, huddled under a blanket in the portico of one of Rome’s main post offices, as Red Cross volunteers distributed hot meals of pasta and tea.

Working in a restaurant kitchen had barely paid the bills, but after the restaurant closed six months ago — yet another casualty of the pandemic — Mr. Kazi found himself living on the street. “No work, no money for rent,” he said.

Job searches had been fruitless: “There’s nothing,” he said. And even sleeping on friends’ couches was not an option. “Everyone has problems because of Covid.”

The winter has been especially hard: Since November, 12 homeless people have died on the streets of Rome, where a growing number of people have ended up because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rome branch of the Catholic charity Caritas.

Community of St. Egidio, a Catholic charity. Capacity there fell to 10 beds from 30, after wooden partitions were erected between the cots to ensure social distancing.

Caritas estimates that some 7,700 people are on the streets. Some social workers put the number at almost twice that. For City Hall, “those are absurd numbers” and don’t reflect reality, said Veronica Mammì, the municipal councilor in charge of social services, who estimated the number of homeless at closer to 3,000.

Daniele Archibugi of the Institute for Research on Population and Social Policies, Italian Research Council, who is studying the financial impact of the pandemic in Italy, noted that many Italians work in the country’s informal economy and are not recorded, “so one of the problems is to find and reach them.”

isolation shelter, repeatedly testing its guests, who must remain there for 10 days before they are sent to other refuges.

Of the 200 men who have passed through the shelter in the past month, only one tested positive. “It’s almost miraculous,” said Mr. Farneti. (There is some anecdotal evidence that the isolated lives of homeless people make them less vulnerable to the virus.)

Rome’s Red Cross. “And the homeless suffer because bars and restaurants are closed so it’s more difficult to find food.”

association that lobbies for the rights of the homeless.

Twice a week, and more often when it’s cold, the Red Cross team brings food and blankets, as well as face masks and hand sanitizer, to those whom Emiliano Loppa, a volunteer coordinator, described as Rome’s “most isolated people.” They live downtown in makeshift camps under the bridges along the Tiber River, under porticos and even in the nooks of ancient ruins.

died on the streets, including Modesta Valenti, who became something of an icon when she died in 1983 after an ambulance refused to transport her.

Over the past year, the number of homeless people has “clearly increased,” Mr. Signifredi said. with a housing crisis adding to the problem, even though the government made evictions illegal during the state of emergency. “We have said that the pandemic unleashed the poverty of the penultimate — those who barely made it to the end of the month and now can’t make it to the 10th, so they come to us or Caritas,” he said.

St. Egidio has opened several new dormitories and also drafted an agreement with a hotel whose rooms had been empty since the pandemic began. But it’s not enough. “We’ve asked authorities to react more quickly to emergencies,” because the emergency was not going away anytime soon, he said.

“The kind of poverty has changed,” said Claudio Campani, a coordinator of the Forum for Street Volunteers, an umbrella group for some 50 associations that assist Rome’s homeless. “Now you have the so-called ‘new poor’ who go to live in their cars before ending up on the street.” And while many homeless people are immigrants, “the number of Italians has increased,” he said.

For Mr. Pavani, the year has been one long cautionary tale.

“The thread that binds us to normality is so fine that it can take very little — loss of work, a weakness, a separation — for that thread to break and for us to fall and lose our life story and roots,” he said.

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For U.K., Meghan and Harry Interview Resurfaces Issues of Race

LONDON — Hours after an interview with Prince Harry and his wife Meghan was broadcast in the United States on Sunday, Britain was already grappling with the shock wave rippling out across the Atlantic, exposing a deep royal rift.

In the two-hour prime time interview with Oprah Winfrey — to be shown in Britain Monday night — Meghan and Harry spoke frankly about what drove them away from Britain last year, taking a sharp turn from the default silence of the royal family. They spoke of comments by one family member about the potential color of their son’s skin, racist coverage from the tabloid press and a general lack of support that Meghan said drove her to thoughts of suicide.

For many Black Britons, the interview offered a scathing assessment of the royal family and resurfaced barely submerged tensions over entrenched racism in the country at large.

“It’s very hard listening to the interview not to focus on some of the salacious details and the family drama,” said Marcus Ryder, a visiting professor of media diversity at Birmingham City University. “But what we’re talking about is a major part of the British state, it’s a major institution.”

a leak to The Times of London last week.

For others, the interview was a moment to reflect on the decidedly different public persona of Harry and Meghan as they broke with the dutiful silence expected of the royal family and brought a more American approach.

some noted, the tabloids would criticize her for doing almost the same things that earned Kate lavish compliments.

Not that Kate escaped criticism entirely. While her parents are highly successful professionals, the tabloids made much of the fact that her mother began her career as a flight attendant and is more likely to trace her lineage to a coal miner than an aristocrat.

Yet what cut particularly deeply, Meghan said, was the lack of support from other family members. And when she went in search of help for her increasingly desperate mental state, the palace’s human resources department said its hands were tied because she was not a staff member. She was further told, she said, that she could not go to a psychiatric facility because that would reflect poorly on the family.

Black Britons had been calling out the problematic portrayals of Meghan in the British press for years. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, a lawyer and activist, has frequently spoken out about the racism directed at Meghan. In a heated back-and-forth on “Good Morning Britain,” she took Piers Morgan, the presenter and a staunch critic of Meghan and Harry, to task.

He asked for a reaction to what he called the couple “spray-gunning his family on global television” while Prince Philip, Harry’s grandfather, is hospitalized with a heart ailment.

“You want to deny that the royal family has any racist undertones or actions against the first biracial person, simply because you are in love with the queen?” Dr. Mos-Shogbamimu responded, as Mr. Morgan accused her of “race baiting.”

, asked in a post on Twitter. “I won’t be holding my breath.”

Others agreed that the interview could have wide-ranging implications for the House of Windsor.

“I’ve always said that the royal family would come out at best looking out of date, out of touch, perhaps unwelcoming,” Katie Nicholls, the royals editor at Vanity Fair, said in an interview on Sky News shortly after the broadcast. “But this is so much worse than that.”

Stephen Castle contributed reporting.

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Oil Giants Prepare to Put Carbon Back in the Ground

During more than three decades in the oil and gas business, Andy Lane has managed the construction of enormous facilities for extracting and transporting natural gas, in places like Trinidad and Indonesia.

Now he is working in his native England, taking on a complex and expensive venture that essentially aims to reverse what he has spent much of his career doing.

Mr. Lane’s newest assignment is designed to collect carbon pollution from a group of chemical plants in northeast England and send it to a reservoir deep under the North Sea.

The multibillion-dollar project could be a breakthrough for a technology known as carbon capture and storage, a concept that has been around for at least a quarter-century to reduce the climate-damaging emissions from factories.

President Biden promoted carbon capture’s promise; last month, Exxon Mobil announced a $3 billion investment in low-carbon efforts, including carbon capture; and a week later, Elon Musk promised to put up $100 million for a contest seeking the best carbon-capture technology.

The project in England, in an area called Teesside along the River Tees, is led by the oil giant BP and expects to have size on its side: The area is home to one of the country’s largest clusters of polluting factories and refineries. By linking them together — collecting all their emissions by pipeline, and charging them a fee — BP hopes to achieve sufficient scale to make a profitable business of tackling their pollution.

Teesside “has quite a lot of the big industrial emissions sources in the U.K., and that is why this project makes sense,” Mr. Lane said.

It is also fast becoming a focal point of attention in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government, which is eager to cement support in the onetime Labour stronghold. The area’s turn toward Mr. Johnson’s Conservative Party helped it win big in the 2019 national election.

his budget presentation in Parliament that day, citing the carbon capture effort as he called Teesside “the future economy of this country.”

Mr. Lane and the area’s influential Conservative mayor, Ben Houchen — described by Mr. Sunak as “an inspiring local leader” — portray carbon capture as the means to rejuvenating run-down industrial regions like Teesside.

“It puts the region on the map and attracts additional investment,” Mr. Houchen said.

Teesside into a vast construction site, potentially employing 2,000 workers. BP and its partners propose to build a very large electric power station fueled by natural gas near a shuttered steel mill at the mouth of the river. The plant would help replace Britain’s aging fossil-fuel-burning power stations and provide essential backup electricity when the country’s growing fleet of offshore wind farms are becalmed. Equipment would remove the carbon dioxide from the power station’s exhaust.

Pipes would run through the area rounding up more carbon dioxide from a fertilizer plant and a factory that makes hydrogen, which is winning favor as a low-carbon fuel. BP also expects to connect other plants in the area. Pipes would take the carbon dioxide 90 miles out under the North Sea, where it would be pumped below the seabed into porous rocks.

Four other oil giants — Royal Dutch Shell, Norway’s Equinor, France’s Total and Italy’s Eni — are also investors in the plan, although the final go-ahead awaits a financial commitment from the British government. The price for the initial stage could approach $5 billion.

About two dozen carbon capture projects are operating globally, but the technology has struggled to overcome high costs and worries about liability if the carbon dioxide somehow escaped.

Oil companies are also under growing pressure to reduce the carbon content of the energy products they sell. They are investing in wind and solar power, which have proved to work, as well as in technologies, like carbon capture, that fit with their expertise and may not pay off until well into the next decade, if ever.

thriving offshore wind-turbine industry.

Late last year, Mr. Johnson’s government also said it would seed carbon capture investments with a fund of up to £1 billion. The government has proposed two carbon capture “clusters” like Teesside by the mid-2020s and two more by 2030. All the candidates are northern industrial areas, the region that helped assure the Conservative Party’s victory last election.

The investments would bolster Mr. Johnson’s pledge that Britain’s carbon emissions will reach net zero by 2050. The Climate Change Committee, Britain’s environmental watchdog, said in a recent study that carbon capture would be “essential to achieving” that goal at lowest cost.

If BP can put together a package including government support that provides sufficient profits for the company, the power plant could begin operating in around five years.

Mr. Lane’s goal, he said, is to create a regulatory and technology model that can be used many times, cutting costs like the wind and solar power industries.

“These things can be done, and they can be done repeatedly in many parts of the world,” he said. “But you have to start.”

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Paraguay’s President, Mario Abdo Benítez, Faces Unrest Over Covid Missteps

President Mario Abdo Benítez of Paraguay faced calls for his resignation and large street protests over the weekend as Paraguayans decried the dismal state of the public health system, under strain amid a record number of coronavirus infections.

Paraguay, one of the poorest countries in South America, has received just a few thousand doses of Covid-19 vaccine. Julio Mazzoleni, the health minister, resigned Friday as critical care units in hospitals became full and doctors ran out of basic drugs.

Hours after Mr. Mazzoleni stepped down, thousands took to the streets in downtown Asunción, the capital, to call for the resignation of Mr. Abdo Benítez, a conservative leader who assumed office in August 2018.

Protesters and opposition lawmakers said the country’s health crisis had been exacerbated by pervasive corruption at all levels of public procurement and spending.

“Paraguayans have already paid for drugs and vaccines that aren’t here,” said lawmaker Efraín Alegre, the head of the main opposition party, the Liberal Party. “It’s not the fault of Paraguayan people — it’s a serious corruption problem.”

As lawmakers called for his impeachment, Mr. Abdo Benítez on Saturday called on all his ministers to draft resignation letters. By the end of the day, he accepted the resignations of three ministers, including the minister of education.

The outcry began on Wednesday when medical professionals held a protest in Asunción to call attention to the scarcity of basic medical supplies. The health care workers said they had run out of drugs for chemotherapy treatment and sedatives for patients who needed to be intubated.

For now, Mr. Abdó Benítez appears to have enough support in Congress to avoid impeachment. But protesters across the country have said they intend to continue holding demonstrations until his government falls.

Paraguay shut down its borders and implemented strict measures early in the pandemic, which spared it initially from the large outbreaks seen in neighboring countries like Brazil and Argentina. But infections have surged in recent weeks, reaching a peak on March 4, when health officials reported 1,439 new cases.

The health ministers of three other countries in South America — Peru, Ecuador and Argentina — have stepped down in recent weeks amid scandals and criticism of the ways in which governments have handled vaccine distribution and other aspects of the response to the pandemic.

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Lessons From a Year of Pandemic Spending

“He was suffering,” she said. “But he wasn’t ready to die.”

Ms. Smith visited him every other day, sometimes bringing steak sandwiches, pizza and other favorite foods. And she often ate dinners and snacks provided by the nursing home — which didn’t cost her anything. She now prepares all her meals at home, spending roughly $60 per week on groceries, including the fish cakes she practically lives on. That’s about twice what she had been spending when she shared meals with Bruce.

She said she didn’t realize how much of her life revolved around those visits and the friends she made inside the nursing home, something she continues to work through with the help of several bereavement groups. “All of a sudden, I didn’t have it,” she said.

During the summer, she kept busy with gardening, growing her own vegetables in raised beds, including peppers, squash, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. That helped improve her bottom line: “I saved so much money on produce,” she said. “I hardly went to the grocery store.”

In a normal year, Ms. Smith would have spent about $2,000 traveling to Denver to attend mineral shows and to buy supplies for her jewelry business, while also taking a few vacation days to unwind. But the pandemic has forced Ms. Smith, who planned to work and save until she was at least 70, into semiretirement.

She stayed afloat for some time on enhanced unemployment benefits, but the extra federal benefit expired in the summer and her state benefits ran out in mid-December. The checks only started arriving again in early February, when the year-end stimulus bill kicked in for her. Ms. Smith began collecting Social Security a few months before she would have had full benefits, which reduced her payments by $16 per month, and started dippinginto her retirement savings.

“This is not what I planned,” she said. “I want to work.”

Ms. Smith’s home is paid off, but her annual property taxes of $5,000 — due in part at the end of May and August — are a looming expense. Her car, an 11-year-old Chevy Aveo, is still going strong, even if she just paid $1,500 to replace the clutch. Frugal by nature, she isn’t a big shopper. But she does get a thrill when she finds nearly-new items — be it a beautiful sweater or unworn leggings — at the flea market. One of the few services she treats herself to is hiring a landscaper to cut her grass in warm weather.

But she yearns for her life as it was. When the pandemic is over, Ms. Smith said, she will return to the dance classes she took at nearby Lehigh University, and she would like to go back to teaching yoga and selling jewelry. She is itching to travel again — like she did before her husband’s health declined — and hopes to visit Alaska.

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In Hawaii, Reimagining Tourism for a Post-Pandemic World

After the outbreak of the pandemic, Governor David Ige issued an executive order ceasing the disbursement of hotel and other transient accommodation taxes paid by visitors to the agency. Those funds have, since last year, been utilized to support other government operations.

Many are hopeful that John De Fries, who became the chief executive of the Tourism Authority in September, will be able to lead the islands into an era where tourism is more regenerative than extractive. Mr. De Fries is the first native Hawaiian to lead the organization and business owners who rely on tourism are counting on him to represent their interests as he thinks about how to market the islands in a post-pandemic world.

“We are at a time when our very survival is at stake,” Mr. De Fries said. “We understand that there are currencies other than cash that we have to reconcile. Some of those other currencies are the natural environment, a sense of well-being in the community. There’s currency in ensuring that Hawaiian cultural traditions are and should be protected.”

In January 2020, the tourism authority created a 2020-2025 strategic plan with four pillars or areas of focus — natural resources, Hawaiian culture, community and brand marketing — to manage tourism responsibly going forward. When the pandemic hit, the agency decided to continue working on the plan. In particular, it kept consulting with residents about how they feel about tourism.

Mr. De Fries, who grew up in Waikiki and has seen tourism turn to overtourism over the past three decades, said that his approach for moving forward will emphasize regenerative travel through the Hawaiian ancestral idea of malama which means “to nurture.” The four pillars, he said, will be a guiding force.

“Everyone I talk to — hotel owners, elders, even the people who don’t like tourism — agrees that we all want future generations to have a natural resource base that’s in better condition than it is now, so we have to care for it and anyone with any aloha for this place will understand that.”

It’s a lesson that other overtouristed destinations might learn from.


Paige McClanahan contributed reporting from Europe.

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Here’s how the stimulus bill could affect you.

stimulus payments would be $1,400 for most recipients. Those who are eligible would also receive an identical payment for each of their children.

To qualify for the full $1,400, a single person would need an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or below. For heads of household, adjusted gross income would need to be $112,500 or below, and for married couples filing jointly that number would need to be $150,000 or below.

To be eligible for a payment, a person must have a Social Security number.

Yes. But payments would phase out quickly as adjusted gross income rises.

For single filers, the checks decrease to zero at $80,000. For heads of household, the cutoff is $120,000. And for joint filers, the checks stop at $160,000.

Payments for children decrease in the same way.

College students whom qualifying taxpayers claim as dependents are eligible. (They weren’t for past payments.) The payment would go to the parent taxpayer, not the child.

Good news here, too. If claimed as dependents, these relatives are also eligible this time. The payment would go to the qualifying taxpayer, not the dependent adult.

The most recent year on record at the Internal Revenue Service. If you’ve already filed your taxes this year, it would be 2020. If not, it would be 2019.

During the last round of payments, the I.R.S. got the first payments out within a few days. As before, you would track the status of your payments via the I.R.S.’s Get My Payment tool. Be aware that the volume of users sometimes overwhelms the site.

If you were in fact eligible to receive it, you can try to recover it through the so-called Recovery Rebate Credit when filing your 2020 return. Make your claim on Line 30 of Form 1040 or 1040-SR.

Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment payments through multiple federal programs would be extended.
Credit…Alex Hecht for The New York Times

If you’re already receiving unemployment benefits, payments would generally be extended for another 25 weeks, until Sept. 6. The weekly supplemental benefit, which is provided on top of your regular benefit, will remain $300 but run through Sept. 6.

Although unemployment benefits are taxable, the new law would make the first $10,200 of benefits tax-free for people with income less than $150,000. This applies to 2020 only.

The extended payments would continue to be delivered through different federal programs, largely based on the type of work you did and for whom.

Benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which covers the self-employed, gig workers, part-timers and others who are typically ineligible for regular unemployment benefits, would be available for a total of 79 weeks, up from 50, and run through Sept. 6.

And benefits through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which essentially extends benefits for people who exhaust their regular state benefits, would be available for a total of 53 weeks, up from 24, also lasting through Sept. 6.

If you qualify for any benefits, you would also receive the full $300 supplemental payment for weeks ending after March 14 and through Sept. 6. Known as F.P.U.C., it’s called the federal pandemic unemployment compensation.

The bill would also extend an extra $100 weekly payment, called the mixed-earner supplement, through Sept. 6. This payment helps people who have a mix of income from both self-employment and wages paid by other employers, because they are often stuck with a lower state-issued benefit based on their (lower) wages.

The bill would also clarify that the $300 federal supplement would not be counted when calculating eligibility for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. But the mixed earner supplement would be counted.

If the bill becomes law, experts said, there may be a gap for beneficiaries in many states because it usually takes a couple of weeks for agencies to program any benefit extensions.

Health Insurance

Buying insurance through the government program known as COBRA would temporarily become a lot cheaper.

COBRA, for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, generally lets someone who loses a job buy coverage via the former employer. But it’s expensive: Under normal circumstances, a person may have to pay at least 102 percent of the cost of the premium.

Under the relief bill, the government would pay the entire COBRA premium from April 1 through Sept. 30.

A person who qualified for new, employer-based health insurance someplace else before Sept. 30 would lose eligibility for the no-cost coverage. And someone who left a job voluntarily would not be eligible, either.

The bill would lower the cost of health insurance in many instances for people who bought their own health insurance via a government exchange. And the premiums for those plans would cost no more than 8.5 percent of your modified adjusted gross income.

These changes would be effective immediately and last through the end of 2022; they would not require people to re-enroll to access the lower prices.

If you don’t already have health insurance but would want it if the price was right, an open enrollment period is already in effect through May 15. You can also switch plans to try to lower the price you’re paying already or get more generous coverage. The Kaiser Family Foundation maintains a calculator that estimates your premiums based on your income and any available government subsidies, and it will be updated once the bill passes.

None this time, though there were some in the last stimulus bill.

Taxes

This credit, which helps working families offset the cost of care for children under 13 and other dependents, would be significantly expanded for a single year. More people would be eligible, and many recipients would get a bigger break.

The bill would also make the credit fully refundable, which means you could collect the money as a refund even if your tax bill was zero. “That will be helpful to people at the lower end” of the income scale, said Mark Luscombe, principal federal tax analyst at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting.

The new bill would make the credit worth up to $4,000 for one qualifying individual or $8,000 for two or more. The credit would be calculated by taking up to 50 percent of the value of eligible expenses, up to certain limits, depending on your income. (The more you earn, the lower the percentage you can claim.)

Currently, the credit is generally worth between 20 and 35 percent of eligible expenses with a maximum value of $2,100 for two or more qualifying individuals.

The bill would also significantly increase the income level at which the credit begins to be reduced. Under current law, that starts at an adjusted gross income of $15,000, but the bill would make the full value of the credit available to households making up to $125,000.

Under current law, the credit is not further reduced below 20 percent, regardless of income, Mr. Luscombe said. But the proposed law would begin to reduce the credit below 20 percent for households with income of more than $400,000.

These changes would be effective for 2021 only.

The bill would make one big change. For 2021 — and only for 2021 — you could set aside $10,500 in a dependent care account instead of the normal $5,000. But employers would have to allow the change: You can’t adjust the withholdings from your paycheck yourself if your employer declines to provide the option.

The bill would make the credit more generous for 2021, particularly for low- and middle-income people.

Currently, the credit is worth up to $2,000 per eligible child. The bill would increase it to as much as $3,000 per child ($3,600 for ages 5 and under). It would also raise the age limit for qualifying children to 17, from 16.

Here’s where it gets interesting: You could receive some of the credit as an advance on your 2021 taxes.

The bill would make the credit fully refundable, which means you can receive money from it as a tax refund even if your tax bill is reduced to zero. And half of that money could be advanced to households over the next six months (based on their 2020 tax information, or 2019 if that was unavailable). It’s not clear how frequently payments would be made — perhaps monthly — but under the bill they would begin in July.

The changes are effective for 2021 only, though at least some Democrats would like to make it permanent.

Married couples who have modified adjusted gross income up to $150,000 (or heads of household up to $112,500 and single filers up to $75,000) would receive the full value of the new benefit.

But after that, the extra amount above the original $2,000 credit — either $1,000 or $1,600 per child — is reduced by $50 for every $1,000 in modified adjusted gross income that exceeds those levels. (For joint filers with one child age 6 to 17, the extra amount would be phased out at about $170,000.)

At that point, the tax credit levels out at $2,000, and is then subject to the current income limits. The $2,000 benefit begins to phase out when married filers have adjusted gross income of $400,000 ($200,000 for singles).

Should the bill become law, the advance payments would total up to half the value of the credit the household is eligible to receive. (The other half would be claimed on the 2021 return.) But exactly how often the payments would be sent out depends on what the Treasury Department decides is feasible.

Here’s how it might work for a couple earning $150,000 or less. With two children, ages 7 and 9, they would be eligible for a $6,000 credit ($3,000 times two). If the payments were made monthly, the family would receive $500 per month starting in July and lasting through the end of the year. The remaining $3,000 would be claimed in 2021 on their tax return.

For 2021 only, the bill would increase for childless households the size of the earned-income tax credit, which helps those at the lower end of the income scale, and make more taxpayers eligible.

The maximum credit amount for childless people would increase to $1,502, from $543.

The bill would also broaden the age range: People without children would be able to claim the credit beginning at age 19 instead of 25, with the exception of certain full-time students. The upper age limit, 65, would be eliminated.

Married but separated people could be treated as not married for the purpose of the credit if they don’t file a joint tax return.

This would apply only if the taxpayer lived with a qualifying child for more than half of the taxable year and didn’t have the same principal home as the spouse at least six months of the year. A separation decree or agreement would also suffice, as long as the individual didn’t live with the spouse by the end of the taxable year.

This change would be permanent.

Housing

The bill would provide assistance to people in danger of being evicted and to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.
Credit…Anna Watts for The New York Times

The bill would provide billions of dollars in rental and utility assistance to people who are struggling and in danger of being evicted from their homes.

About $27 billion would go toward emergency rental assistance. The vast majority of it would replenish the so-called Coronavirus Relief Fund, created by the CARES Act and distributed through state, local and tribal governments, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. That’s on top of the $25 billion in assistance provided by the relief package passed in December.

To receive financial assistance — which could be used for rent, utilities and other housing expenses — households would have to meet several conditions. Household income could not exceed 80 percent of the area median income, at least one household member must be at risk of homelessness or housing instability, and individuals would have to qualify for unemployment benefits or have experienced financial hardship (directly or indirectly) because of the pandemic.

Lower-income families that have been unemployed for three months or more would be given priority for assistance.

The bill would provide nearly $10 billion to help homeowners struggling with mortgage payments, utility bills and other housing costs.

Roughly $100 million would be dedicated to housing counseling.

About $5 billion would be allocated to help the homeless.

Student Loans

There would be a big one for people who already have debt.

You wouldn’t have to pay income taxes on forgiven debt if you qualify for loan forgiveness or cancellation — for example, if you’ve been in an income-driven repayment plan for the requisite number of years, if your school defrauded you or if Congress or the president wipes away $10,000 of debt for large numbers of people.

This would be the case for debt forgiven between Jan. 1, 2021, and the end of 2025.

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