Copy
View this email in your browser
COVID-19 Update
April 21, 2020

IowaBio wants to provide our members useful information during the COVID-19 public health emergency. 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

Governor Kim Reynolds will hold a press conference today from the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Johnston, IA at 11:00 a.m. to provide an update to the state of Iowa on COVID-19. That press conference will be livestreamed and posted in full on Governor Reynolds’ Facebook Page and on YouTube.
 
Yesterday, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) was notified of 257 additional positive cases for a total of 3,159 positive cases. There have been an additional 1,013 negative tests for a total of 22,661 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs. Of these new cases, IDPH states 27 can be attributed to Tyson employees and 19 to National Beef employees.  According to IDPH, an additional 4 deaths were also reported bringing the total deaths in Iowa to 79. 214 Iowans are currently hospitalized, and 1,235 Iowans have recovered. 
 
The state of Iowa has released an updated dashboard on coronavirus.iowa.gov that will be updated daily to include comprehensive tracking of COVID-19 in Iowa. The new dashboard includes cases, deaths, and tests conducted in each county. The state is now providing demographic information that was not previously provided as well as Iowa’s epidemiological curve. 
 
LSA published a document outlining the legal basis for state of disaster emergencies in Iowa and covering the powers of the governor and the Department of Public Health during such an emergency.
 
At the Governor’s press conference yesterday, she announced another outbreak at a long-term care facility, and highlighted additional surveillance testing at meat processing facilities.  46 of yesterday’s 257 new positive cases are part of surveillance testing for meat processing facilities. Iowa has been experiencing outbreaks in both settings. She emphasized that these are essential businesses and an essential workforce. Without them people’s lives and food supply will be impacted. IDPH is working with long term care facilities and meat processing plants to help create safe environments and slow the spread.

An inmate has tested positive in a correctional facility, and there are two positive staff members. Director Beth Skinner provided an overview of mitigation measures in correctional facilities. Wearing masks is now mandatory, and all visiting has been suspended. The Department is updating any statistics on prisoners and staff on its website. They have been expecting positive cases and planning for months. Following guidance on exposure. Prison Industries has manufactured 62,378 masks to distribute to staff and inmates. They have also manufactured gowns and face shields, as well as hand sanitizer.

Sarah Reisetter, Deputy Director of IDPH, highlighted surveillance testing, contact tracing and guidance for businesses. IDPH through contact tracing tries to identify and contact those who may have been exposed, to keep them home. They continue to look for the most efficient way to conduct contact tracing needs, and have employed multilingual contact tracers. They have developed long term care strike teams and are developing ones for businesses.

Legislation

Supplemental 3.5 – Interim Emergency Coronavirus Relief

Timeline:  Once a deal is reached, the hope is passage by UC in the Senate today with a vote in the House later this week.  The bill will likely be voted on shortly after text is revealed If a deal is reached last night, the earliest the House could vote would be Wednesday morning. If no deal was reached last night, the House would likely move to Thursday. Leader McCarthy has signaled that Republicans are likely to call a roll call vote. House Rules is slated to meet at 5:00 today on the rule(s) for the PPP package, Chairman McGovern's remote voting recommendations, and Whip Clyburn's Rural Broadband Taskforce, though it’s unclear whether the latter items stay on the agenda. 

Process/Policy: While a deal has yet to solidify, negotiators have moved passed the “stalled” phase and have a limited number of issues to wrap up before moving forward. See below for a few major highlights of the widely reported, but still-developing package so far. The biggest open issue appears to be hospital allocations. Topline is around $500 billion.
  • SBA programs;
    • $250 billion for SBA PPP (still talking to Secretary Mnuchin about transparency/protection language on how and to who the money will be given out),
    • $60 billion for PPP to small lenders and community banks,
    • $30 billion for CDFIS,
    • $60 billion for SBA disaster programs ($50 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loan [EIDL] program and $10 billion for an economic injury grant program);
  • $75 billion for hospitals (unclear whether just for hospitals or broader health providers);
    • Dems are still pushing for money for rural hospitals that accept Medicaid, hoping to get money for this on top of the $75 billion for hospitals;
  • $25 billion for testing (still working out language. Administration does not want this to be a “national” testing program);
    • It is unclear how much of what Senate Democrats released last week is included in this deal, but it’s worth a look for an idea of what policies/programs may have ended up in the deal. See here for the report. See here for the white paper. See here a one pager;
  • Still working out flexibility language for lost revenue language from CARES;
  • Still negotiating for a higher FEMA match.
What’s left out of this package that may be in later bills:
  • No state/local government relief for now – there is a consensus that state/local governments will need additional funding, but the question still being debated is when;
  • No money for SNAP.
Supplemental IV – CARES 2.0.

Timeline/Process: Presumption is the sooner Congress can pass 3.5, the sooner we can move to the next package. Discussions will begin again once 3.5 is done. Timing is still very up in the air. It’s unclear whether the scope of the interim package—like whether additional funding for hospitals and state and local governments is included—will affect the timing and scope of the next package. If the SBA program continues to burn through funding at the same rate, the interim funding from 3.5 will run out by early May. The thinking is that Speaker Pelosi will take the lead on crafting the CARES 2.0./Phase 4 bill.

Policy: While the next package will likely stay within the outline of CARES, including plus ups for programs funded and created under the bill, the increasingly grave impacts of coronavirus may push lawmakers to consider the inclusion of other provisions and the creation of new programs. The bill Speaker Pelosi introduced while CARES was being negotiated included multiple provisions and funding increases that did not make it into the final bill. Some of those provisions and increases are being considered for the next package.

Supplemental V – Economic Stimulus

While Chairman DeFazio (T&I) has said he aims to introduce an infrastructure bill by May, that timeline is looking increasingly optimistic. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is moving forward with that timeline and is aiming to have the bill be as comprehensive as possible as a starting place. A large package like this needs to be legislated in regular order, so moving forward while remote is a challenge. WRDA may be included in the package but is moving through an appropriations-like process already, with requests coming in from various offices.

Passed Legislation

Supplemental III – Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

After a unanimous vote by the Senate, the House passed the bill on March 27 and the President signed the bill into law shortly after. Final text here. Democratic summary here. Republican section by section here.

New information and guidance:
  • Treasury updated the FAQ on the Paycheck Protection Program here
  • SAMHSA has begun awarding Emergency COVID-19 grants that were funded in CARES. The law provides $110 million for Emergency Grants to Address Mental and Substance Use Disorders During COVID-19 (Short Title: Emergency COVID-19). SAMHSA will provide up to $2 million for successful state applicants and up to $500,000 for successful territory and tribal applicants for 16 months. Press release here. Grant information here.
Title I – Small Business Loans
  • The Treasury Department has released affiliation guidelines for the small business loan program. 
  • The Treasury Department released an interim final rule last week on the small business provisions in the bill. Treasury and the SBA announced that the Paycheck Protection Program ran out of funding. Press release here.
    • Note: “By law, the SBA will not be able to issue new loan approvals once the programs experience a lapse in appropriations.”
  • See here for a memo Cornerstone put together on the interim final rule. See here for a report from SBA on approvals through 4/13.
  • Clarification regarding loan forgiveness: the forgiveness period triggers on day of loan closing. Forgiveness on the loan is available for the 8 weeks after the loan closes. Businesses can use the funds to pay payroll prior to that 8 week period, but it won’t qualify for forgiveness.
  • Treasury FAQs on the Paycheck Protection Program
    • Top-line overview of the program here
    • Lender information here, Borrower information here, borrower application here
    • Updated (as of 4/17) FAQ here
Title II – Individual and Business Tax Relief
  • IRS guidance on deferral of payroll taxes here
  • House Ways and Means factsheet on Economic Impact Rebate portal here
  • IRS has indicated that the those who will receive their relief through paper checks could take as long at 20 weeks to receive payment.
  • IRS’s FAQ page on individual economic relief here.
  • Treasury Guidance on Employee Retention Tax Credit here
  • Treasury FAQ on Employee Retention Tax Credit here
Title III – Public Health Systems, Education, and Healthcare
  • 4/10 - HHS issued guidance, announcing the formula and mechanism in which hospitals will receive the first $30 billion in relief funding. The money does not have to be repaid and can be used for a variety of uses. The first tranche went to hospitals based on their Medicare FFS reimbursements in 2019. As total FFS payments were approx. $484 billion in 2019, a provider can estimate their payment by dividing their 2019 Medicare FFS (not including Medicare Advantage) payments they received by 484 and multiply that ratio by 30. If the providers total 2019 Medicare FFS payments were Y, then (Y ÷ 484) x 30 = amount of relief. State by state breakdown of first payment here.
    • HHS is working on developing a plan for how to disburse another $30 billion for Medicaid-heavy providers and potentially a focus on pumping money to providers in hotspots.
  • Factsheet on accelerated and advance payments for providers/suppliers here
  • 4/9 – Secretary DeVos indicated that she would be moving to "immediately distribute" the $6 billion in CARES for emergency financial aid grants to college students. The grants can be used by college students for technology, course materials, food, housing, and healthcare. DeVos distributed the funding to colleges, which are meant to then distribute the aid among students. The Department did not issue guidance on how colleges are to structure the program, but colleges will be required to sign a form certifying that the funds were used in accordance with the law. See here for the specific allocations for each college.
Title IV – Economic Stabilization
  • 3/30 – The Treasury Department released guidance on payroll support to airline industry employees, and on loans to the airline industry and businesses critical to national security. Guidance for payroll support here. Guidance on procedures and minimum requirements for loans here. Treasury press release here.
  • 4/10 – Treasury Q&A on Loans to Air Carriers and Eligible Businesses and National Security Businesses here. Loan application here.
Division B – Appropriations
  • 4/8 – Last week the FCC announced a two-part, $200 million COVID-19 telehealth program. The press release may be found here; and the FCC order approved on Wednesday (4/8) can be found here.
  • 4/13 – Treasury officially launched its web portal for payments to state, local, and tribal governments. Treasury announced that eligible government entities must provide required information by Friday, April 17 to receive payment within the 30-day window allowed under CARES and those that miss that deadline may not receive funding. Submission page here. Some highlights from the announcement below:
    • Funds are only allowed to be used for expenses which:
      • Are necessary expenses during the coronavirus emergency;
      • Were not accounted in the most recent budget (as of March 27, 2020);
      • Were incurred between 3/1/2020 – 12/30/2020.
    • Eligible local governments are those below the state level (county, municipality etc.) with a population higher than 500,000. See here for data sources and the distribution methodology.  See here for a list of eligible local government units.
    • Amounts paid to governments will be based on population and the amounts allocated to states will be reduced by the total amount provided to local governments in the state. 
    • Payments to Tribal Governments will be determined by the Treasury Secretary in consultation with the Interior Secretary and Tribes. Consultation has not yet been completed.
Congress

Appropriations/NDAA: Subcommittee markups have officially been postponed. While timing continues to be unclear, House Appropriations Committee (HAC) will likely stick to the original subcommittee order of markups, just shifting everything back by 2-3 weeks. The House may try to hold markups soon after whenever the next package is passed, when members have returned D.C. The Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) has floated two different allocations to subcommittee clerks, the differentiating factor between the two allocations being how VA Choice is treated. SAC has given subcommittees direction to stick with the original plan of marking up all of the bills in June.

This year’s NDAA markup has been “indefinitely postponed”. Reps. Adam Smith and Thornberry (HASC Chair and RM) sent a letter to the committee members saying that they will schedule the date of the markup once the House schedule for the next few months becomes clear. SASC Chairman Inhofe has said he aims to writing the FY21 NDAA by the end of May but is flexible considering the circumstances.
 
Remote voting: Speaker Pelosi and Leader McConnell have both voiced opposition to members’ voting remotely, but as the pandemic makes travel more treacherous, in-person voting has become more difficult. Remote voting is being discussed to some extent in both chambers. House Rules is slated to meet at 5:00pm today on the rule(s) for the PPP package and possibly Chairman McGovern's remote voting recommendations. The McGovern proposal currently lacks bipartisan consensus and Republican members of the House have expressed significant opposition to remote and/or proxy voting. The House Committee on Rules Majority released a staff report on voting options. The report discusses unanimous consent, proxy voting, as well as the logistics (and security concerns) of remote voting. Additionally, the House Sergeant at Arms and the Attending Physician released guidance for voting in-person, including procedures for voting in shifts for roll call votes. Leader McConnell, as of right now, is not supportive of any form of remote voting. 

Other Floor Action: The House issued guidance last week indicated that Floor materials are to be submitted through a secure email address instead of dropped off at the Speaker’s Lobby or Cloakrooms. Members are still allowed to drop off materials in person. Speaker’s Dear Colleague on the guidance here

Hearings and Meetings: While most hearings and markups for the next week or so have been cancelled, some committee staff are working to see whether holding hearings virtually is possible. The Senate Rules Committee Democrats released a one-pager guidance on “paper hearings”, which stated “paper hearings” are not official hearings. The Senate Sergeant at Arms is exploring technology that would allow for remote hearings, though Leader McConnell remains opposed to any form of remote voting. Under current rules, the House does not allow virtual hearings. Chairman McGovern has been contemplating changing the rules on this and could issue guidance soon. The House Administration Committee is working on a report on best tools to be able to do virtual meetings. The Senate has advised offices to avoid using the video conferencing app Zoom over data security concerns. The Senate has not yet officially banned the application though.

Members of Congress in Quarantine or Treatment (new additions in bold)

Tested Positive (1): Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL)

Currently Self-Quarantined (0):

Recovered (6): Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)

Completed Quarantine (37): Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS), Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA), Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Vincente Gonzalez (D-TX), Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY), Rep. David Price (D-NC), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ), Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX), Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ)

Other Federal Actions
  • President Trump tweeted yesterday that he would issue an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States. Details of this order or its legality are still unclear.
  • The Department of Homeland Security through CISA issued advisory guidance on identifying critical workers which include “Workers conducting research critical to COVID-19 response” and “Workers, including lab personnel who perform critical biomedical research, development, and testing, needed for COVID-19 response or other diseases”.
  • FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Dr. Peter Marks, and Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Dr. Janet Woodcock wrote an article for the FDA’s Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP).
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue announced today that Arizona and Illinois have been approved to operate Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), a new program authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which provides assistance to families of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals dealing with school closures.
  • HHS announced an ongoing partnership with Oracle, including Oracle's donation to HHS of the Therapeutic Learning System, an online platform designed to collect real-time medical data related to COVID-19. The Therapeutic Learning System is a safe, secure web portal designed to gather crowd-sourced, real-time information from doctors and other clinicians about how patients are responding to possible therapeutics to treat COVID-19. The data will not be owned by Oracle or any other private entity.
  • SAMHSA has begun to release emergency grants to strengthen access to treatments for substance use disorders and serious mental illnesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an announcement this afternoon.
  • Senate Democrats, including Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) sent a letter today to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging the Administration to reconsider its treatment of the World Health Organization (WHO) during the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The senators raised concerns about the consequences of further withdrawing the U.S. from multilateral cooperation to confront COVID-19.
  • Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer urging the Trump Administration to provide tariff exclusions for American manufacturers making much-needed medical and personal protective equipment for hospitals and health care professionals on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, the Senators call for immediate suspension of Section 301 tariffs on components and machinery identified by American manufacturers as necessary to produce critical medical supplies.
  • The CDC has posted multiple new guidance documents on its COVID-19 dashboard, including information about support for states, tribes, localities, and territories, and key concepts and resources for addressing contact tracing.
  • President Trump said during yesterday’s press briefing that the Administration is preparing to use the Defense Production Act to compel an unspecified U.S. facility to increase production of test swabs by over 20 million per month. According to researchers, there are currently only about 150,000 diagnostic tests conducted each day. To safely ease restrictions, scientists have said the U.S. needs to at least triple that pace of testing.
  • There are multiple upcoming CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) calls and webinars. Registration is not required. View the schedule here.
  • FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn issued a statement about serological test validation and education efforts.
Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are total cases: 746,625 and 39,083 deaths  The CDC data closes out the day before reporting.
  • A state prison in Ohio is now the largest reported COVID-19 hotspot in the U.S. State officials have said that at least 1,828 inmates — almost three-quarters of the prison population —tested positive at the Marion Correctional Institution, which is a minimum- and medium-security prison north of Columbus. 
  • Significant workplace-based clusters have been recorded in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee and other states, which indicates that COVID-19 is only just beginning to hit some communities.
  • USC and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health released preliminary results from a collaborative scientific study that suggests COVID-19 infections are far more widespread in L.A. County than previously thought, and the fatality rate is much lower.
  • Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson announced today that the Maryland General Assembly will not reconvene in May for a special session as previously decided.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said at his daily press briefing today that 478 more people had died in New York, which is the lowest single-day total in over two weeks. The state’s death toll from COVID-19 is now 14,347. Gov. Cuomo, however, said he continues to be frustrated by the lack of federal funding for testing. New York today started an ambitious effort to test for antibodies among a sample of 3,000 people who had been randomly selected. This effort, combined with more testing, is what Gov. Cuomo says will be required to help inform decisions about easing restrictions.
  • Lockdown protests have continued in state capitals across the country, with the most recent taking place in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Republican state lawmakers who addressed the crowd called on Gov. Tom Wolf (D) to relax the restrictions, with one stating, “We can have a normal where we aren’t locked in our homes like prisoners.” Gov. Wolf extended the state’s shutdown restrictions through May 8th and announced “small steps” aimed at a gradual economic reopening.
  • Reopening Updates:
    • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced that gyms, fitness centers, barber shops, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo studios, and massage therapy practices will be allowed to reopen on Friday, and elective surgeries will be allowed to resume. Starting next Monday, restaurants will be allowed to reopen for dine-in and movie theaters can reopen as can private clubs.
    • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) says the statewide stay-at-home order will end next week. He will allow a gradual reopening of nonessential businesses and permit surgical procedures and other activity suspended by the coronavirus fight as long as strict social distancing and other individual protective measures continue. Gov. Polis cited widespread compliance with the orders for an apparent leveling off of COVID-19 hospitalizations, allowing the most severe restrictions imposed last month to expire on April 27th.
    • Multiple other states have said they will be dropping stay-at-home restrictions May 1st. We will begin to more closely monitor state announcements and record timelines as governors make decisions about easing restrictions. For now, please view a list of state timelines here.
  • Useful state data:
    • 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.
    • 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
  • In Germany, smaller stores were allowed to open for the first time in nearly a month, under initial measures to ease restrictions imposed back in March. Individuals still must stay at least five feet from one another at all times until the end of this month.
  • Norway, the Czech Republic, and Denmark each also lifted some social distancing restrictions today.
  • Singapore’s COVID-19 cases have more than doubled in the last few days, totaling more than 8,000 as of today. The majority of new infections have come from crowded dormitories where low-paid migrant laborers from South Asia and China live.
  • Turkey has surpassed China in its number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, with the tally passing 90,000 today. The death total is now at least 2,140 but, as is the case with most countries’ data at this point, the true death toll may be much higher.
  • The Iraqi government decided today to loosen a curfew that has been in place for almost five weeks. Lifting the curfew will allow some government employees to return to work, as well as some private sector workers, including those working in clothing stores and on construction sites. Iraqis will be allowed to leave their home and neighborhoods from 6 am to 7 pm for work, buying food, going to pharmacies, or attending medical appointments.
  • Several Israeli hospitals have begun to break bans and allow deathbed visits by family members of COVID-19 patients. Proponents say that one or two relatives making short bedside visits in full protective gear is manageable for hospital workers, and that the benefits outweigh the costs.
  • Spain has seen some positive indicators lately, such as an increase in recoveries and an increase in the number of hospital discharges. However, Spain’s central bank has still warned that the country’s economy could decrease by up to 13.6 percent this year, and unemployment could get as high as 22 percent. While Spain’s lockdown will continue into next month, some restrictions have been lifted to allow the reopening of construction sites and factories.
  • India recorded its biggest single-day spike in coronavirus cases today as the government eased one of the world’s strictest lockdowns to allow some manufacturing and agricultural activity to resume. Epidemiologists predict the peak may not be reached before June.
  • Global Cases:  2,314,621               Total Deaths:  157,847
Lifestyle and Economy
  • Analyses have shown that four of the 10 largest sources of new infections in the U.S. are prisons or jails. Additionally, nearly one in 10 nursing homes in the U.S. have publicly reported cases of COVID-19.
  • NIH’s Dr. Tony Fauci has suggested that a vaccine for COVID-19 could be about 18 months away, and some scientists think even that estimate is optimistic. In the meantime, experts are encouraging countries to ramp up infrastructure to deliver and distribute the vaccine when it becomes available.
  • Roche has announced it will ramp up and sell an antibody test by early May, which could play a key role in understanding the true scope of the pandemic. Read more here.
  • New data shows accommodation and food service firms received less than 9 percent of the money from the SBA’s PPP program, about $30.5 billion, though they have suffered the largest job losses of any industry during this recession. Construction firms received the largest share, at just over 13 percent, or about $45 billion.
  • The National Restaurant Association sent a letter to Congress asking them to create a recovery fund for the restaurant industry. In the letter, the trade association cited that 8 million restaurant employees had been laid off or furloughed because of COVID-19, and that the industry had lost $30 billion since March, with another $50 billion expected to disappear by the end of this month.
  • Oil prices plunged today, with the U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), dropping below zero (which means some sellers would be willing to pay people to take their oil). The global demand for oil has just disintegrated with lock down measures in place.
  • The S&P 500 also took a tumble today, dropping nearly 2 percent.
  • Shake Shack said yesterday that they would be returning a $10 million loan from a federal program to help small businesses amid mounting criticism that large chains had been favored over smaller operators in the program’s rollout to the restaurant industry.
  • Recent polls show that the majority of Americans are more concerned about the public health dangers of lifting social distancing restrictions than they are about consequential economic damage.
  • Facebook said today that it had removed some posts on the social network promoting protests calling for the easing of restrictions, after determining that the posts violated state guidelines on social distancing efforts in California, New Jersey, and Nebraska.
  • Facebook also created a $100 million small business grant program to provide small businesses with resources they need during COVID-19.
  • Roughly 33,000 workers at news companies in the U.S. have been laid off, furloughed, or had their pay reduced. Some publications that rely on ads have shut down. The New York Times is tracking media layoffs.
  • Americans can track the status of their stimulus payments and provide their bank-account information to get their money faster via direct deposit on a new IRS website.
  • Forbes is keeping a running list of all major international airline COVID-19-related change and cancellation policies.
  • The New York Times has started its own tracker of cases in the U.S. to fill in the gaps left by agency data.
  • Lists of canceled conferences and events can be found here (music), here (tech), here (general), and here (sports/entertainment).
Featured Resources

PhRMA is sponsoring:

VIRTUAL: COVID-19 and the Impact on Communities of Color 

Thursday, April 23, 2020
2:00 to 3:30 p.m. ET 

While the novel coronavirus is impacting everyone living in the United States, it is not impacting all communities equally. Social determinants of health, as well as inequities in health care access and treatment are leading to increased rates of disease infection and death within communities of color. We all have a unique role to play in calling out these inequities and helping to identify solutions.

Please join us as we hear from a panel of experts on what is causing this disparity and what policy solutions are needed to address these inequities.  

Webex information will be shared with those who RSVP on Wednesday, April 22nd.

Please click here to RSVP to the event.

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 Biotech Association, All rights reserved.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp