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How the inflation spike is affecting American wallets

Johns Hopkins COVID-19
Axios Today
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Niala Boodhoo
the Maryland National Guard
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the White HouseThe White House

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Neil Irwin
Alissa Widman Neese
Jennifer Nuzzo
Sara Kehaulani Goo
Julia Redpath
Alexandra Botti
Nuria Marquez Martinez
Lydia McMullen-Laird
Sabeena Singhani
Alex Sugiura
Evan Viola
Niala Boodhoo
Felix Salmon
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Guests: Axios' Neil Irwin and Alissa Widman Neese; and Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Testing Insights InitiativeCredits: Axios Today is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. Plus, omicron and at-home COVID tests.But first, today’s One Big Thing: how the inflation spike is affecting American wallets.NIALA: Axios’ chief financial correspondent and friend of the podcast Felix Salmon told us last year not to worry about inflation, but new numbers show prices rose faster within 2021 than they have in the last 40 years. Hey Neil.NEIL IRWIN: Hi Niala, thanks for having me.NIALA: So, I want to start by asking you what I've been asking Felix, is it time for all of us to worry about inflation, now?NEIL: I think we're past time, the moment to worry, uh, if your wages have not been rising 7%, and I think a lot of people have not had that kind of raise. ALISSA WIDMAN NEESE: Hi, thanks for having me today.NIALA: How is this shortage playing out in Columbus?ALISSA: The bus driver situation is probably the most significant of the staffing situations for the Columbus school district. I think they were hoping it would be a start.NIALA: Alissa, this isn't just bus drivers that are facing shortages in terms of district staffing, is it?ALISSA: There is also a big concern about substitute teachers in Columbus. If you're not feeling well, or if you feel off, I think it's important to kind of stay home and isolate, for a few days until you can retest yourself.NIALA: But what about people who get positive test results and then don't have symptoms or get positive test results on the rapid and then get negative PCR, because I feel like I’ve heard a lot of that.JENNIFER: Yeah. That's why I think it's important to, you know, not disregard your symptoms, even if you get a negative, at-home test, and then try to up that test result a few days later, or particularly talk to a healthcare professional.NIALA: Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo teaches at Johns Hopkins university, where she's also an epidemiologist at the COVID-19 testing insights initiative.NIALA: One last thing before we got today. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.Go deeper:Photo: Courtesy of the White HouseThe White House is bracing for another bad report Wednesday on inflation — but now expects it to slow down by the end of the year, administration officials tell Axios.Why it matters: The Biden administration had been labeling price hikes as "transitory." By publicly warning the Consumer Price Index December reading shows inflation will linger through 2022, officials are trying to temper public expectations and minimize the bad-news blow.Consumer prices rose faster in 2021 than they had in any 12-month period since 1982, according to December numbers released Wednesday that showed the inflationary surge continued at the end of the year.

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