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.
Currently, IDPH has reported on the state’s coronavirus dashboard, 39,403 Iowans have tested positive, up 569 from our update yesterday morning, with a total of 422,693 tested. 5 additional deaths were reported since our last update, bringing the total to 798 deaths. Now 28,278 Iowans have recovered. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here.
A new Test Iowa clinic site opened yesterday in Plymouth County in conjunction with Floyd Valley Healthcare and will be located at 714 Lincoln Street NE in LeMars. Testing will be done from 1-5 p.m. Monday through Friday this week.
Individuals who wish to get tested at any site must first complete the online assessment at testiowa.com. They will then be directed to schedule an appointment. Test Iowa is a statewide initiative to expand COVID-19 testing. Locations and hours of operation for all test sites can be found at testiowa.com or coronavirus.iowa.gov.
Clinic sites are partnerships between the State of Iowa and local health care providers to increase access to testing in their communities. Clinics operate and staff the test sites. The state provides testing supplies and processes the samples through the State Hygienic Lab.
Over the weekend, the FDA reissued an EUA to Quest Diagnostics to authorize its Quest SARS-CoV-2 rRT-PCR test for use with pooled samples containing up to four individual swab specimens collected under observation. The Quest test is the first COVID-19 diagnostic test to be authorized for use with pooled samples. Read more about the announcement and sample pooling here.
Today, July 21st, at 12 PM, the FDA, along with the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), will host a webinar on Respirators for Health Care Personnel Use during the COVID-19 Pandemic. During this webinar, representatives from the FDA, the CDC, and OSHA will answer questions from webinar attendees in an open question and answer format.
On July 22nd at 12:15 PM, the FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2.
Yesterday, the FDA implemented and issued a guidance intended to help expand the availability of transport media used to transport certain clinical specimens for testing during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The FDA also posted answers to frequently asked questions relating to the development and use of transport media during the pandemic.
The CDC continues to update its dashboard with new guidance documents and details. A few of the most recent additions include:
Daily White House coronavirus briefings are expected to return this evening.
Republican leadership in Congress is preparing to release their version of the next piece of COVID-19 legislation, which has been characterized as an "opening bid."
House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) sent a letter to HHS Sec. Alex Azar expressing concerns regarding the Trump Administration’s attacks on public health officials and the CDC during the COVID-19 response.
The following are COVID-19-related hearings in Congress this week:
Tuesday (7/21) 9 AM House Oversight Coronavirus Subcommittee, Hybrid Hearing on “The Urgent Need for a National Plan to Contain the Coronavirus.”
Tuesday (7/21) 9:30 AM Senate Aging, "Hearings to examine the COVID-19 pandemic and seniors, focusing on racial health disparities."
Tuesday (7/21) 10 AM House VA, "Getting Veterans Back to Work After COVID-19."
Tuesday (7/21) 10 AM House Energy and Commerce, "Pathway to a Vaccine: Efforts to Develop a Safe, Effective and Accessible COVID-19 Vaccine."
Tuesday (7/21) 2:30 PM Senate Commerce, "Hearings to examine protecting Americans from COVID-19 scams."
Thursday (7/23) 10 AM Senate Energy and Natural Resources, "Hearings to examine the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on users of public lands, forests, and national parks."
Thursday (7/23) 10:15 AM House Education and Labor, “Underfunded & Unprepared: Examining How to Overcome Obstacles to Safely Reopen Public Schools.”
Thursday (7/23) 10:30 AM House Financial Services, "The Heroes Act: Providing for a Strong Economic Recovery from COVID-19."
Updates from the States
Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 3,761,362 total cases and140,157 deathsThe CDC data closes out the day before reporting.
Multiple states, including Kansas, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Alaska, reported single-day highs for cases.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said the state’s plan for reopening schools will give parents the option to choose an entirely online option if they’re concerned about COVID-19.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that hair salons and barbershops in 33 counties may now reopen outside under new guidance from the state.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) limited social gatherings to 10 people.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) reported COVID-19 outbreaks in seven churches across the state.
ICU bed capacity in Florida's Miami-Dade County is at 130 percent.
Minnesota reported its first COVID-19-related death of a child under the age of five.
Chicago, Illinois is rolling back some of the original reopening rules. Starting Friday, Chicago bars will once again be banned from serving alcohol indoors; services like shaves and facials that require people to take off their masks will be banned; indoor fitness classes will be limited to 10 people; and property managers will be asked to limit guests to five per unit to prevent parties.
Gwinnett County Public Schools, the largest school district in Georgia, said that classes will begin on August 12th with online-only instruction.
In Florida, COVID-19 has breached one of the biggest retirement communities in the country. The Villages spans three ZIP codes, and is home to 12 golf courses and multiple libraries and movie theaters. One part of The Villages has reported 270 cases.
Useful state data:
NPR tracks where coronavirus cases are on the rise.
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.
India recorded at least 40,000 cases on Monday, its highest single-day total.
The number of new COVID-19 cases reported to the WHO rose by 259,848 in 24 hours over the weekend. This is the largest single-day increase since the pandemic began.
The Australian state of Victoria is making mask-wearing mandatory, as cases there spike. The state premier said, "We are going to be wearing masks in Victoria, and potentially in other parts of the country for a very long time."
Cuba moved into the final phase of reopening after there were no new domestic cases reported on Sunday for the first time in 130 days.
Hong Kong reported 73 new cases, mostly local transmissions, as new restrictions took effect.
France has made face masks compulsory in all enclosed public spaces amid new COVID-19 outbreaks.
The U.S. border closures with Canada and Mexico have been extended into late August as COVID-19 cases surge in America.
North Korea says it's joining the coronavirus vaccine race, even though it has not publicly reported any infections inside the country.
The Bahamas will ban commercial flights or vessels from the U.S. starting this week. The ban does not include commercial flights from Canada or the E.U. or private planes.
Global Cases: 14,729,037 Total Deaths: 610,565
Lifestyle, Science, and Economy
More than six million people signed up for food stamps in the first three months of the pandemic. The program grew by 17 percent between February and May of this year.
Teachers unions sued Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) over his administration’s emergency order pushing schools to fully reopen next month even as cases of COVID-19 continue to surge in the state. The American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s largest teachers union, and its local affiliate, the Florida Education Association, accused Gov. DeSantis of violating a Florida law requiring that schools be “safe” and “secure.” The unions, along with parent and teacher plaintiffs, asked a state court in Miami to block the governor’s reopening order and allow local school superintendents and health departments to have full control over reopening decisions.
A large new study from South Korea found that children between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as well as adults do, suggesting that middle and high schools in particular may seed new clusters of infection. Children younger than 10 transmit to others much less often, which is consistent with what many other studies have reported.
On Saturday, 1,400 high school students were unhappy to find their ACT testing sites shut down upon arrival due to COVID-19. ACT Inc., the nonprofit organization that administers the test, noted that more than 88,000 students at some 1,100 sites successfully took the exam on Saturday. Test takers had been warned to check the ACT website for updates, but not all the cancellations made it onto the site.
Warner Bros. announced yesterday that it was abandoning its August 12th release date for Christopher Nolan’s film “Tenet," the one-time marker for when Hollywood hoped moviegoing would return in earnest.
The Smithsonian announced the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. will reopen on Friday. Masks will be required for visitors ages six and older.
Delta Air Lines said passengers who are unable to wear face masks because of health conditions must undergo a medical clearance at the airport before boarding. Alternatively, the airline said passengers should “reconsider travel” altogether.
The Canadian government has prohibited the Toronto Blue Jays, the only Major League Baseball team outside the U.S., from hosting home games.
Two potential COVID-19 vaccines from Oxford University and the Chinese company CanSino have triggered immune responses in hundreds of humans without dangerous side effects, according to two studies published on Monday in The Lancet. A third potential vaccine, from the American biotechnology company Moderna, has also elicited immune responses in 45 people who have received it, according to a study released last week.
The New York Times has created a new tracker to follow vaccine development. It contains a list of 19 of the most-talked-about treatments for COVID-19.
BIO is tracking progress on all vaccines, treatments and antivirals in the pipeline to fight COVID-19. You can find it here.
Continue to look at 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.
MMWR Weekly COVID-19 Briefing is a weekly podcast to update readers on the latest scientific information from CDC’s COVID-19 response. In each episode, MMWR’s Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Charlotte Kent provides an overview of the latest scientific information published in MMWR. New episodes are posted every Monday. Listen to episodes here.
Here is last week’s COVIDView from CDC, a weekly summary and interpretation of key indicators that have been adapted to track the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.