Harpoon Brewery hosting decorating event in Boston

Harpoon Brewery hosting decorating event in Boston to support 25 local charitable organizations. Harpoon Brewery will host its annual Harpoon Helps Spread Holiday Cheer event on Dec. 4, offering wreath-making, sugar cookie decorating, ornament decorating and a make-your-own hot cocoa bar.

The event, which will last from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Boston, gives people an opportunity to participate in an afternoon of decoration for local organizations in need, the brewery said in a press release.

Tickets are available for purchase online and the proceeds will be split between 25 different soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and other charitable organizations in the local community.

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, who represents Boston and surrounding communities, called on President Joe Biden to cancel student loans in a tweet on Tuesday.

“Another fiscal cliff we can avoid with the flick of a pen. @POTUS must #CancelStudentDebt & deliver for the people,” she wrote.

The congresswoman quote-tweeted a post from the Student Debt Crisis Center which read, “Student loan payments resume in 70 days. @POTUS must #CancelStudentDebt before February 1.”

This comes soon after Sen. Elizabeth Warren made the same request from the president on the podcast, “Pod Save America,” stressing that the action would support racial equality as well as the economy.

In the interview, the senator cited a study which suggested that statistically, 20 years out of college, white people owe on average about 6% of what they borrowed.

“Part of me wants to say, ‘damn 20 years and you’re still paying on this stuff’, but end is in sight,” she said.

But if you’re Black, Warren explained, you owe 95% of what you borrowed when you were in school 20 years out.

“This is the single best opportunity for the president of the United States to help close the Black/white wealth gap for people who have student loan debt,” Warren said.

When asked why Biden hasn’t made a mass cancelation, Warren said she hopes that it’s just that he hasn’t had the time.

During his presidential campaign, Biden said he would support $10,000 in student loan forgiveness, which, according to Forbes, would eliminate debt for up to 15 million borrowers. However, there are no clear plans from the Biden Administration to broadly cancel student debt at the moment.

Meanwhile, federal student loans are scheduled to resume when the payment moratorium ends on January 31, 2022.

Massachusetts and Connecticut top the 14 states with the highest increases in new COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks, according to the latest data tracked by The New York Times.

Connecticut’s average daily new case total has risen 120% in two weeks, while Massachusetts’ latest average of about 2,800 cases per day amounts to an 81% bump over the same period. The states can tout nearly the highest vaccination rates in the U.S. — more than 70% of the population is fully vaccinated in both — but they’re still part of a wave of increasing cases and hospitalizations across the country, and count themselves among the 14 states where new cases have risen by at least 40% since early November, the Times reported Wednesday.

The U.S. overall has seen a 25% increase in new cases over the last two weeks.

The latest increases in New England — Rhode Island and New Hampshire report rises of 69% and 52%, respectively — come as local, state and federal public health officials brace for an anticipated surge in cases following the holiday season, when more people gather indoors. But unlike last year’s winter surge, the public is better protected by both vaccines and booster shots.

“If you’re vaccinated — and hopefully you’ll be boosted too — and your family is, you can enjoy a typical Thanksgiving meal, Thanksgiving holiday with your family,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told ABC News earlier this week. “The thing we’re concerned about is the people who are not vaccinated, because what they’re doing is, they’re the major source of the dynamics of infection in the community, and the higher the level of dynamics of infection, the more everyone is at risk.”

Overall hospitalizations for COVID-19 rose again in Massachusetts on Tuesday, with the state Department of Public Health reporting 740 patients were in the hospital just a day after the state reached 700 for the first time since April.

National data tracked by the Times shows that Massachusetts’ latest daily average of 629 COVID-19 hospitalizations is a 47% increase compared to just two weeks ago — the second-highest increase in the nation, behind New Hampshire’s 58%.

But Massachusetts and Connecticut are still fairing better than national averages and other states with 40%-plus case increases when it comes to hospitalizations per 100,000 people. Massachusetts is averaging nine hospitalizations per 100,000, and Connecticut is at just eight, compared to Michigan’s 37, Pennsylvania’s 28 and New Hampshire’s 25. The national average is 15 per 100,000, according to the Times.

Vaccinated individuals are far less likely to be hospitalized or die from the virus; as of Tuesday, just 0.05% of fully vaccinated people in Massachusetts have been hospitalized and about 0.01% have died.

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