Good morning, NBC News readers.
This morning we're taking a look at another awful side effect for many Covid-19 survivors: Staggering medical debts. Plus, how Republicans tasked with winning back the House and Senate are navigating the booby traps left by former President Trump. And SpaceX takes recycling to a whole new level.
Here's what we're watching this Friday morning.
An ‘ungodly’ debt: Sky-high medical expenses for Covid patients puts their futures in doubt
Andréa Ceresa said she may have to declare bankruptcy soon. She has paid off about $23,000 in medical bills so far, but she faces $133,000 more for a nine-day hospital stay in November.
Since she tested positive for Covid-19 a year ago, Ceresa has joined the ranks of those who still struggle with various manifestations of the coronavirus. She's also one of a growing number of Americans who can't afford their medical bills.
Medical debt has grown at a faster clip during the past year as the country faces a never-before-seen economic and labor crisis, experts say. When millions of people lost their jobs, they lost their employee-sponsored health insurance, too.
"The choices were that I either lived or died," says Ceresa. "I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it. I just can't believe it's come to this."
Friday's top stories
Trump-McConnell power struggle creates landmines in GOP quest to retake Congress
Most presidents — particularly a defeated one-termer — slip quietly away. Not Donald Trump. For congressional Republican leaders responsible for winning back the House and the Senate, the post-Trump landscape is becoming a treacherous minefield to navigate. Meantime, Trump may have left D.C., but his House allies are carrying on his beefs with the FBI and CIA. By Alex Moe, Leigh Ann Caldwell and Sahil Kapur | Read more
Divine intervention: Pastors tapped to help get skeptical churchgoers vaccinated
The thrust of a new campaign to persuade mostly white born-again and evangelical Christians who have been unwilling to get Covid-19 vaccinations is a variation on the Golden Rule — do it for others if you won't do it for yourself. By Corky Siemaszko | Read more
In India's world-worst Covid crisis, one family's traumatic quest for help
More than 187,000 people have died from the virus that is ravaging India, according to official figures, as the country grapples with the deluge of deaths and collapsing health care systems. The surge has brought pain, fear and anxiety to millions of families across the country as they desperately try to navigate the crisis. By Rhea Mogul | Read more
INTO AMERICA PODCAST: A verdict
During this week's Into America podcast, host Trymaine Lee discusses the Derek Chauvin trial and verdict with NBC News' Shaquille Brewster and what activists hope to see next. By Trymaine Lee | Listen here
BETTER: What is the planetary diet? And can it really help?
A nutritionist and the scientist behind the planetary diet share how making changes to what we eat can help save the planet. By Erica Chayes Wida | Read more
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Also in the news ...
- George Floyd mural in Houston defaced with racial slur
- Biden may seek to raise taxes on rich to bankroll latest legislative relief effort
- 'I genuinely do love you and your community': Andrew Yang, running for NYC mayor, loses endorsement of LGBTQ group over 'tokenizing' remarks
- New probe confirms Trump officials blocked Puerto Rico from receiving hurricane aid
- Hospital employee paid almost $650,000 but 'never went to work,' police in Italy say
- Couple planned wedding at Florida mansion. But no one told the owner.
One fun thing
A day after Earth Day, Elon Musk's SpaceX company took recycling to new heights.
SpaceX launched four astronauts toward orbit Friday using a recycled rocket and capsule, the third crew flight in less than a year for the rapidly expanding company.
The astronauts from the U.S., Japan and France should reach the International Space Station early Saturday morning, following a 23-hour ride in the same Dragon capsule used by SpaceX’s debut crew last May.
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