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COVID-19 Update
April 3, 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 Reynolds will hold a press conference today at 2:30 p.m. The press conference will be livestreamed and posted in full on Governor Reynolds’ Facebook Page and YouTube.
 
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been notified of 85 additional positive cases of Iowans with COVID-19, for a total of 699 positive cases. There have been a total of 8,764 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs. 
 
According to IDPH, the locations and age ranges of the 85 individuals include:
  • Allamakee County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Clayton County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Clinton County, 4 middle age adults (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Crawford County, 1 middle age adult (41-60), 2 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Dallas County, 2 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Dubuque County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Fayette County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Henry County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Jackson County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Jasper County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Jefferson County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Johnson County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years)
  • Linn County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 5 older adults (61-80 years), 6 elderly adults (81+)
  • Louisa County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Lyon County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Marshall County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Monona County, 1 elderly (81+)
  • Muscatine County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • O’Brien County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Plymouth County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Polk County, 6 adults (18-40 years), 6 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Pottawattamie County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Scott County, 4 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 2 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Shelby County, 1 older adult (61-80 years), 1 elderly adult (81+)
  • Sioux County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Story County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Tama County, 3 adults (18-40 years), 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Van Buren County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Warren County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Washington County, 2 adults (18-40 years), 3 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 2 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Woodbury County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
A status report of monitoring and testing of COVID19 in Iowa is provided by IDPH and can be found here. In addition, a public hotline has been established for Iowans with questions about COVID-19. The line is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431. The state of Iowa has started sharing the number of negative tests conducted at outside labs, and is providing additional information on the conditions of those infected with COVID-19. 
 
NOTE: There is not a positive case in Delaware County. After further investigation, the case is attributed to Linn County. Maps and other materials are updated. 
 
Yesterday, Governor Reynolds signed a new proclamation continuing the State Public Health Emergency Declaration. The proclamation orders the closure of schools until April 30th, waiving time requirements as long as school districts put in place a continuous learning plan. 
 
The proclamation also extends closures and limits placed on bars and restaurants, previously identified retail stores, prohibits social gatherings of more than ten people, and continues to ban nonessential and elective surgeries until April 30th. It extends and expands the previously granted regulatory relief and other measures until April 30th.
 
To coincide with the Governor’s announcement, House and Senate leadership announced that the suspension of the legislative session will be extended until at least April 30. The extension will be formalized when the Legislative Council meets next week.

Yesterday at her press conference, the Governor spoke first about the numbers, including reporting 11 deaths. Extend business closures, limits on gatherings, and school closures – extended through April 30. Has not made the decision to recommend closure for the remainder of the school year. The recommendation was not made lightly. They are providing continuous learning options either voluntary or required, where students would be required to participate, graded and credit given. Each district will have to report their decision to the state. The Governor’s office met yesterday with school leaders to discuss and answer questions they have.

Dr. Caitlin Pedati State Medical Director and Epidemiologist with IDPH covered the data they are using to assess what public health measures are needed across the state.

Latest on Fighting the Virus:
  • Iowa State University announced it is helping to advance the fight against COVID-19 in a unique way. ISU computer scientists have developed a data science infrastructure that will drastically improve research efficiencies for scientists who study the novel coronavirus. This first-of-its-kind infrastructure galvanizes sixty years of coronavirus research onto a single, searchable platform. In addition to saving time and reducing costs, this tool may lead to quicker research breakthroughs and also accelerate the time-to-market of effective antiviral therapies and life-saving vaccines.
  • A clinical trial for hydroxychloroquine, the drug used to treat malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, will begin this week to see if it is also effective in treating COVID-19. The trial is set to begin later this month and will have around 15,000 participants.
  • The FDA approved the first test for coronavirus antibodies for use in the U.S. While current tests can tell if a person is still infected, the Cellex antibody test is the first to receive authorization and can tell whether a patient has ever been exposed and if they might have some immunity.
    • A similar test, created by BioMedomics, has not been reviewed by the FDA but is permitted for distribution and use under the public health emergency guidance the agency issued on March 16th.
Federal Actions:
  • Members of Congress are now looking ahead to a fourth supplemental funding package. House Dems are expected to take the lead on a fourth package, and Speaker Pelosi has indicated that the infrastructure framework from January will be the starting point of whatever bill they introduce.
  • Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) is drafting legislation to establish a 9/11-style independent commission to review the country’s coronavirus response. The legislation is “very preliminary” and will likely not be released until the coronavirus crisis has subsided.
  • The FDA has published guidance to address the need for blood during the pandemic.
  • FEMA told the House Oversight Committee today that the 100,000 ventilators promised by President Trump will not be available until June. Following the release of this information, the President invoked the Defense Production Act, which directs General Electric Co., Hill-Rom Holdings Inc., Medtronic Public Limited Co., ResMed Inc., Royal Philips N.V., and Vyaire Medical Inc. to make ventilators. It also directs acting Homeland Security Sec. Chad Wolf and HHS Sec. Alex Azar to "use any and all authority available under the Act to facilitate the supply of materials" to these companies.
  • The Pentagon confirmed it is seeking 100,000 military-style body bags for potential civilian use as projections for U.S. deaths in the coronavirus outbreak lie between 100,000 to 240,000.
  • We can expect to see CDC guidance coming out soon recommending that everyone, not just health care workers, wear face coverings in public settings. Previously, the recommendation was that healthy individuals do not use face masks in an effort to save scarce supplies for health care workers. Now, however, individuals might end up being encouraged to cover up in places like pharmacies and grocery stores to avoid unwittingly spreading the virus. President Trump emphasized in his press briefing this evening that it would not be mandatory.
  • CMS has been hosting calls with a variety of clinicians, hospitals, and states to provide updates on their COVID-19 efforts. Recordings of the calls with transcripts can be found here.
  • CMS released a summary of recent actions taken in response to COVID-19 including the approval of additional state Medicaid waivers and an amended state disaster plan for Arizona.
  • The Transportation Department announced it will release $25 billion in emergency grant funding to help city and regional transit providers cope with economic pain from the coronavirus.
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi created a special select bipartisan committee to oversee all aspects of the government’s response to the virus, including how it distributes the newly allotted emergency funding. Majority Whip Jim Clyburn will chair the House committee. Although the Committee will have bipartisan membership, its creation lacks bipartisan support. President Trump referred to it as a “witch hunt,” and multiple other members of Congress have said it is redundant with the CARES Oversight Committee already in place.
  • Reps. Nydia Velasquez (D-NY), Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and Ben McAdams (D-UT) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) remain the only members of Congress to test positive (or be presumptive positive) for COVID-19. Twenty-eight other members are in self-quarantine and six members have completed a self-quarantine.
Updates from Other States:
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are total cases: 213,144  travel-related: 1,144 “close contact”: 3,245 The CDC now updates data Monday through Friday and data closes out the day before reporting.
    • The CDC is reporting 4,513 deaths in the U.S. related to COVID-19.
  • Hundreds of thousands of hoarded medical supplies, including 192,000 N95 respirator masks, are being sent to health care workers in New York and New Jersey. The supplies were located by the FBI on Monday and seized by HHS under the Defense Production Act.
    • New York State is particularly in need, as they face running out of masks in as few as six days.
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney issued an order limiting public gatherings to 10 people through May 15th.
  • Florida welcomed (begrudgingly) the Holland America cruise ships Zaandam and Rotterdam today at Port Everglades. 200 of the passengers are currently showing COVID-19 symptoms and four from the Zaandam had already died.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz have all told their residents to use some form of face covering when going out in public. In Laredo, residents will receive fines of up to $1,000 if they don't cover their noses and mouths with "some form of covering" when entering a building open to the public, using public transportation, or pumping gas.
  • The USNS Comfort, docked on the West Side of Manhattan, began treating patients on Wednesday. The ship is serving as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to land-based hospitals.
  • Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state extended the emergency stay-home order through the end of May 4th. The order  kept in place and strengthened earlier restrictions, temporarily banning sporting events, concerts and going to gyms, bars and nail salons.
  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced a shelter in place order that will begin tomorrow. Both the Governor and Speaker of the House are doing Facebook Live sessions to communicate important information to citizens.
    • 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 through may and can be broken down by state.
International Affairs
  • China has rejected the American intelligence community’s claim that Beijing concealed the extent of coronavirus, instead accusing the U.S. of seeking to shift the blame for its own handling of the outbreak.
  • After German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the coronavirus as the greatest challenge facing her country since the end of World War II, Germany’s parliament made it possible again to suspend patent rights. Germany’s law stipulates that patent holders must be indemnified, part of long-standing legislation allowing the government to use a patent for the “public good.” The association representing Germany’s biggest research-focused drug makers has argued that patent protection limits would be unnecessary as market forces are already a positive dynamic.
  • Russia sent a giant An-124 Russian military transport plane full of masks and ventilators to the U.S. The plane landed at Kennedy International Airport yesterday. Today, the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said that the U.S. and Russia had evenly split the cost of the medical goods and that Russia could depend on future COVID-19 aid from the U.S.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin extended the period for Russians to stay home from work until the end of the month.
  • French police said on Thursday that a hall at Rungis, the world’s largest wholesale food market, near Paris, would be turned into a temporary morgue. Nearly 5,400 people have died from COVID-19 in France, and an additional 6,000 or more are in intensive care. The morgue is expected to start operating on Friday.
  • Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte warned people they could be shot dead if they caused trouble over restrictions, saying the police and the military had the authority to shoot if their lives were in danger
  • Global Cases:  896,450    Total Deaths:  45,526
    • per the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University, the number of cases is now more than one million.
Lifestyle and Economy
  • In addition to equipment shortages, hospitals and pharmacies across the country are experiencing drug shortages. The most commonly reported shortages are drugs used to keep patients’ airways open, antibiotics, antivirals, and sedatives. Last month, orders for antibiotics like azithromycin and antiviral medicines like ribavirin nearly tripled.
  • More than 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment over the last week, more than twice the number from the previous week (which was four times higher than the previous record).
  • Banks are warning that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a $350 billion lending program for struggling small businesses authorized by the CARES Act, will not be ready for its planned launch Friday. Lenders responsible for providing forgivable loans to small businesses under the PPP say they have not been provided necessary guidelines and caution that there may be delays in assistance to small businesses. A Treasury Department fact-sheet on PPP can be found here.
  • The Democratic National Convention has been postponed until the week of August 17th, which is the week before the Republican convention.
  • The S&P 500 saw an increase today of about 2 percent despite the horrific week of job losses.
  • 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.
  • Wimbledon, regarded as the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament, has been cancelled for the first time since World War II. Again, not a cruel April fools joke (that we know of- but I’m holding out hope).
    • Lists of canceled conferences and events can be found here (music), here (tech), here (general), and here (sports/entertainment).
Featured Resources 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.


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