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COVID-19 Update
June 5, 2020

IowaBio wants to provide our members useful information during the COVID-19 pandemic. This newsletter compiles information on state, federal and industry action to combat the virus and its impacts.

If your company is helping respond to COVID-19, IowaBio wants to know about it. Please, send any information about what your biotechnology company or organization is doing to help, to Jessica Hyland at Jessica@iowabio.org.

If IowaBio can assist you in getting information out, connecting with public officials, or support your company in another way, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Past IowaBio COVID-19 Update newsletters are now available at www.iowabio.org/COVID19 and can be found under the Industry News tab on the IowaBio website.

Iowa Update

Currently, IDPH has reported on the state’s coronavirus dashboard, 21,022 Iowans have tested positive, up 448 from our update yesterday morning, with a total of 179, 808 tested.  11 more deaths were reported since our update yesterday, bringing the total to 589 deaths.  Now 12,436 Iowans have recovered. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here.

Yesterday at her press conference, Governor Reynolds said the isolation of those in long-term care facilities has been very difficult for patients and their families, and her administration and IDPH have been reviewing the reopening of visitation in long-term care facilities. Dr. Caitlin Pedati, the state’s Epidemiologist, gave an overview of the guidance for visitation at long-term care facilities to protect residents, staff and families, after the CDC released guidance. An understanding of local virus activity will help inform three phases of the guidance. They will continue screening and PPE use. They will provide guidance on continuing testing to do baseline testing assessments and prioritize symptomatic staff and resident testing and facility wide testing when a case is detected, and repeat weekly testing to help manage clusters. They will also work similarly with hospitals and clinics similar to they work with flu.

Governor Reynolds spoke about the initial shortage of testing supplies, and how they expanded testing capacity by leveraging federal and state resources and public-private partnerships. The total number of tests conducted in Iowa is 198,000, with a positivity rate of 11.1 percent. More than 19,000 tests have been processed at the State Hygienic Lab. She said Test Iowa is generating more tests than any testing option. The capacity of Test Iowa is 3,000 tests per day, though they have not yet hit that mark in a single day.

The Governor also said there was a 50 percent decrease on initial unemployment claims last week, and more Iowans are getting back to work. The economy is showing a high level of resilience, she said.

The Governor fielded a question about the coronavirus liability protection legislation working its way through the Iowa Legislature. She said she wants to see the bill in its final form, and did not say at the press whether she will support the legislation. She also fielded a question about Representative Jeff Shipley’s statements at an anti-vaccine rally Wednesday outside the capitol where he said no one was dying from COVID-19 and that a safe vaccine cannot be developed. She said words matter, and we need to be thoughtful and careful about what we say.

The Legislative Services Agency (LSA) has put out two very useful budget documents with COVID-19 impacts on Iowa. The latest is here, which comprehensively covers COVID-19 federal funding to the state. LSA’s report that came out May 1, prior to the REC meeting which outlined projected budget shortfalls across state revenue streams, and that tax deferrals would also affect the budget. That document is here.

Federal Actions
  • HHS announced new guidance that specifies what additional data must be reported to HHS by laboratories along with COVID-19 test results. The guidance standardizes reporting to ensure that public health officials have access to comprehensive and nearly real-time data to inform decision making in their response to COVID-19. The requirements including reporting based on race, ethnicity, age, and sex of individuals tested for the virus. The announcement acknowledges that, as the country begins to reopen, access to clear and accurate data is essential to communities and leadership for making decisions critical to a phased reopening. 
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue yesterday announced the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has approved more than $545 million in payments to producers who have applied for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. FSA began taking applications May 26th, and the agency has received over 86,000 applications for the program. 
  • CMS posted the first set of underlying COVID-19 nursing home data. On April 19th, the agency announced the requirement that nursing homes must inform residents, their families, and their representatives of COVID-19 cases in their facilities. Also, nursing homes are required to report COVID-19 cases and deaths directly to the CDC. Yesterday CMS made this data publicly available. As part of yesterday’s announcement, CMS is also posting the results from the targeted inspections announced on March 4th to allow inspectors to focus on the most serious health and safety threats like infectious diseases and abuse during the pandemic. Links to all of the data can be found in the agency's announcement
  • NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and the director of NIH's National Cancer Institute, Dr. Ned Sharpless, recently had a discussion about the importance of reliable antibody testing for COVID-19. A condensed transcript, which was published in the NIH Director's Blog, is available here
  • A new U.S. GAO report analyzes how federal agencies use infectious disease modeling to help guide decisions to fight outbreaks and how these models can be improved. The report was requested by Energy and Commerce Committee leaders in 2017 after learning about challenges with infectious disease modeling during the Zika outbreak at a hearing.
  • The CDC dashboard posts updated guidance daily. Yesterday, the agency posted multiple updates to their contact tracing resources page. In the House Appropriations Committee hearing this morning, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said that the U.S. needs to increase its number of contact tracers to at least 100,000. 
  • There are multiple COVID-19 hearings slated to place in Congress next week:
    • Tuesday (6/9) 10 AM Senate Homeland Security: Hearings to examine the Federal government's procurement and distribution strategies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Tuesday (6/9) 12 PM House Energy and Commerce: Pollution and Pandemics: COVID-19’s Disproportionate Impact on Environmental Justice Communities.
    • Tuesday (6/9) 2:30 PM Senate Finance: Hearings to examine unemployment insurance during COVID-19, focusing on The CARES Act and the roles of unemployment insurance during the pandemic.
    • Wednesday (6/10) 10 AM Senate HELP: Hearings to examine COVID-19, focusing on going back to school safely.
    • Wednesday (6/10) 12 PM House Financial Services: The Rent Is Still Due: America's Renters, COVID-19 and an Unprecedented Eviction Crisis.
    • Wednesday (6/10) 12 PM House Oversight: No Worker Left Behind: Supporting Essential Workers.
    • Thursday (6/11) 1 PM House Administration: The Impact of COVID-19 on Voting Rights and Election Administration: Ensuring Safe and Fair Elections.
    • Thursday (6/11) 1 PM House Appropriations: Indian Health Service Covid-19 Response.
    • Thursday (6/11) 2 PM House VA: Assessing VA's Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: 90 Days Later.
  • President Trump ultimately signed the PPP bill that was passed out of the Senate Wednesday night. The Senate, however, does not plan to bring another COVID supplemental to the floor until at least mid-July.
Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 1,842,101 total cases and 107,029 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. 
  • Washington, D.C. has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases that occurred on May 30th due to a backlog in testing results.
  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) allowed casinos and gaming to resume per reopening plans. He also released positive progress on COVID-19 showing a downward trend in cases.
  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that he would allow the amended stay-at-home order to expire at midnight tonight. The-stay at-home requirements were only in effect for counties in the red phase.
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said today that zoos, museums, movie theaters, playgrounds, tourist attractions, and entertainment venues will be allowed to reopen on June 10th.
  • Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced additional business reopenings under Maine’s rural reopening plan. Under the update, in 13 counties, tasting rooms and bars may open for outside service and gyms and fitness centers, nail salons, and tattoo and piercing parlors may open with added health and safety precautions beginning on Friday, June 12th. These establishments may reopen everywhere in all counties except for York, Cumberland, and Androscoggin counties.
  • Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced details about phase two of her framework for building a safe and strong Oregon. She also approved 26 counties to move to phase two of reopening on June 5th, 6th, and 8th.
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced outdoor dining at restaurants will be permitted in phase two of reopening. Restaurants in the seven regions that have already entered phase two can reopen for outdoor dining beginning today. Outdoor tables must be spaced six feet apart, all staff must wear face coverings, and customers must also wear face coverings when not seated.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced that school districts will be permitted to hold in-person graduation ceremonies beginning July 6th, following certain guidelines including a requirement that they are held outdoors, limited to a maximum of 150 people in attendance (including graduates), and proper social distancing protocols must be followed.
  • Useful state data:
    • The NYT is tracking which states are reopening and which are still shut down.
    • These charts show cumulative coronavirus cases and deaths for metropolitan areas over time.
    • Use Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 U.S. map as a resource for media, policymakers, and communities to view a collection of critical public health data in one online destination and better understand and track the COVID-19 pandemic in populations both large and small across the country.
    • NASHP has developed a COVID-19 State Action Center which serves as a state-level policy dashboard. Governing is also keeping a running tally of coronavirus news and impacts at the intersection of the health and economic crises in the states and localities.
    • This site from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides state-level information on cases/deaths, social distancing measures, health policy actions, and more.
    • This resource from Bloomberg Law is a database of State Quarantine and Public Health Laws related to the COVID-19 response.
    • This series of maps shows how states are responding to COVID-19, and this tracker, created and maintained by MultiState Associates, has an up-to-date list of executive orders and various travel restrictions.
    • Finally, this site offers COVID-19 projections assuming full social distancing and can be broken down by state.
International Affairs
  • Peru reported 137 new COVID-19-related deaths today, which brings the national death toll to 5,031. The number of cases is up to 183,198, an increase of 4,284 from yesterday. Peru now has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in Latin America behind Brazil.
  • An ongoing government study in Spain so far suggests that more than 5 percent of the population has coronavirus antibodies. 
  • France will replace its traditional Bastille Day parade down the Champs-Élysées in Paris with a smaller military ceremony due to COVID-19. The July 14th ceremony will be a scaled down celebration and will include a tribute to health care workers.
  • Sweden will ease its travel restrictions starting June 13th to allow those who do not have any symptoms to move around the country.
  • The Global Vaccine Summit, hosted by the U.K. government, has raised $8.8 billion for vaccine research. 
  • Face coverings will be mandatory on all public transport in England starting June 15th. Exceptions will be made for children, the elderly, and those with respiratory problems. British transport police will be able to enforce the mandate. 
  • Lebanon has extended its countrywide restrictions – known as “General Mobilization” measures - from June 8th through July 5th.
  • The European Central Bank announced further stimulus measures to help Europe’s economy and counter the economic impact of COVID-19. The bank said it will expand its bond buying program by another 600 billion euros ($675 billion), which brings the total pandemic emergency purchase program to 1.35 trillion euros ($1.52 trillion).
  • Weeks after resuming domestic flights, Indonesian airline Lion Air has canceled them again, citing issues with passengers failing to follow COVID-19 regulations.
  • Thousands of Hong Kong protesters joined a rally remembering the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, despite the government outlawing the event for the first time in three decades in the wake of the pandemic.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany announced a package of tax cuts, aid to small business, cash payments to parents, and other measures worth €130 billion. Merkel called the package a “bold response” to the pandemic downturn. The plan also includes €5.3 billion for the social security system, €10 billion to help municipalities cover housing and other costs, and €1.9 billion for cultural institutions and nonprofits.
  • Global Cases:  6,664,908       Total Deaths:  391,656
Lifestyle, Science, and Economy
  • The Department of Labor reported that another 1.9 million workers filed for unemployment aid last week. 
  • U.S. exports and imports both posted their largest monthly decreases on record amid coronavirus-related shutdowns around the world. The Commerce Department said today that imports fell 13.7 percent in April from March, and exports dropped 20.5 percent, the largest declines since record-keeping began in 1992. The trade deficit expanded 16.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted $49.41 billion.
  • The authors of a paper published last month that reported concerning findings about the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients have retracted their report after the data that it was based on was called into question. The paper originally led to the suspension of some clinical trials of the medications, including by the WHO, though some of those have since resumed. More on this can be found in an article linked below, "The pandemic's first major research scandal erupts."
  • A recent study indicates the actual mortality rate of adults with critical illness from COVID-19 is less than what was previously reported. Compared to earlier reports of a 50 percent mortality rate, the study finds that the mortality rate of critically ill patients who required mechanical ventilation was only 35.7 percent.
  • AstraZeneca said today that it has struck a deal with a vaccine manufacturing giant, Serum Institute of India, to produce a billion doses of a potential virus vaccine for distribution to low and middle income countries.
  • The authors of a study say asymptomatic individuals seem to account for approximately 40-45 percent of COVID-19 infections, and they can transmit the virus to others for an extended period, potentially even longer than the previously thought 14 days.
  • NIAID Director Dr. Tony Fauci said today that a restaurant should shut down if it is facing a COVID-19 outbreak among its employees.
  • The NBA's Board of Governors has voted to restart the suspended 2019-2020 season with 22 of the league’s 30 teams taking part. The decision will now be considered by the players union who need to approve the plan. The new schedule will see training camps open the first half of July with a tentative resumption of the regular season on July 31st.
  • Japan could “simplify” the Olympics and Paralympics Games, which were pushed back to 2021 due to the pandemic, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said. She did not give details of what that might mean.
  • The WHO keeps a running list of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, which you can view here. They are now reporting 133 potential vaccines, 10 of which are in clinical trials in the U.S., U.K., and China. STAT News also has a resource tracking COVID-19 drugs and vaccines
  • Here is the NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis’s (OPA) expert-curated portfolio of COVID-19 publications and preprints. The portfolio includes peer-reviewed articles from PubMed and preprints from medRxiv, bioRxiv, ChemRxiv, and arXiv. It is updated daily with the latest available data and enables users to explore and analyze the rapidly growing set of advances in COVID-19 research.
  • Forbes is keeping a running list of all major international airline COVID-19-related change and cancellation policies.
  • RetailDive tracks store reopenings in the U.S. 
Helpful Articles/Media
Please contact me directly with any questions and I would be happy to assist.

Sincerely,
Jessica

Jessica Hyland, J.D.
Executive Director
Iowa Biotechnology Association
Cell: (515) 822-1315
Office: (515) 327-9156
Fax: (515) 327-1407
jessica@iowabio.org
www.iowabio.org
Copyright © 2020 Iowa Biotechnology Association, All rights reserved.


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