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COVID-19 Update
June 2, 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

The Governor Announced at her press conference Friday that on Monday her administration will be returning to the capitol in light of the legislative session resuming. They will stop working from the state emergency operations center. She will continue to hold regular press conferences to provide two live broadcasts per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting this week, instead of daily press conferences. This newsletter will reflect that change.

Currently, IDPH has reported on the state’s coronavirus dashboard, 19,951 Iowans have tested positive, up 282 from our update yesterday morning, with a total of 159,287 Iowans tested.  21 more deaths were reported since our update yesterday, bringing the total to 558 deaths.  Now 11,540 Iowans have recovered. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here.

After a hiatus caused by COVID-19, the Iowa legislature resumes session tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.. We anticipate about a two-week session to ensue, focused on key policy legislation and passing a state budget for FY21, which begins July 1. IowaBio will continue to provide full updates on progress of the session and our legislative priorities in our Friday Bill Tracker Newsletter. This COVID-19 Update will contain information on COVID-19 related legislation the Iowa legislature passes.

Federal Legislation
Supplemental IV – The Heroes Act (HR 6800)
Timeline/Process/Politics: Republicans continue to assert they want to take more time before taking up another coronavirus supplemental. Internal Republican conversations are ongoing, but bipartisan negotiations have yet to begin. The timing of the next supplemental could be sped up with pressure from PPP exhausting funds, rising unemployment, finding agreement on liability protection, and other economic data. A final bill could come in June, July, or even as late as August, depending on how negotiations go.
 
Policy: Republicans remain adamant that liability protections must be included in the next supplemental. Language has yet to be shared but has been drafted. Liability protection provisions could be a window (2019-2024) that covers all employers, though it will likely not be universal.
 
As mentioned previously, Senate Republicans are increasingly concerned about the expanded unemployment insurance becoming a disincentive for employees to return to work. Sen. Portman and others have been working on ideas to prevent and mitigate that disincentives. Disincentive mitigation may end up in the tax space or unemployment insurance space.
 
The Heroes Act passed the House on May 15 and can serve as an outline of Democratic priorities (to a certain extent). Heroes Act text (as of 5/12/2020) here. Section by section here. One pager here. State and Local one pager here. NCAI’s summary on tribal provisions here. Manager’s amendment here. House Rules Committee report here.
 
Legislation to Watch
Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act: Last week, the House passed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (HR 7010) 417-1. additional funding for the program is included in the bill – its focus is to make the program more flexible. Senate Republicans have voiced concern that the bill disincentives rehiring workers and taking out loans. Senator Rubio has talked about hotlining the House-passed bill this week. There have been conversations with Treasury on clarifying some parts of the House bill and seeing if some fixes can be made administratively. The Senate may not be able to hotline the bill as-is.
 
Text here. Highlights below.
  • Allow loan forgiveness for expenses beyond the 8-week covered period.  
  • Lowers the limitation that restricts non-payroll expenses (rent, utilities) to 40% of the loan. 
  • Eliminate limitations that restrict loan terms to 2 years. 
  • Allow businesses that take PPP loans to be eligible for payroll tax deferment.  
  • Extend the rehiring deadline to align with the enhanced Unemployment Insurance to offset its effects. 
  • Clarify safe harbor language, specifically that an “inability to return to the same level of business activity,” refers to compliance with HHS, CDC, OSHA standards or any other worker/customer safety requirement related to COVID-19.
  • Allows borrowers to defer payments until SBA has made forgiveness determination.
Infrastructure: On Wednesday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee plans to propose their piece of a surface transportation reauthorization bill. The proposal will likely include almost $500 billion in funding. Expected highlights below:
  • Temporary limits on local match requirements (due to pandemic)
  • Climate and Safety:
    • $6.25 billion for states to prepare for and respond to climate change impacts
    • $1.75 billion for EV charging
    • $6.25 billion for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure
    • Investments in materials that assist with carbon reduction
    • Carbon pollution reduction program aimed at flexibility for eligible expenses
  • $311 billion for highways (42% increase):
    • $28 billion for bridge investments
    • Gridlock reduction program
    • New discretionary gran programs with strict evaluation criteria
    • Large increases for tribal programs/federal lands/territories
  • $105 billion for transit (57% increase):
    • Changes to the urban formula fund
    • Give transit agencies flexibility to spend funding on mobility services
    • Buy America provisions
    • Priority to agencies with oldest buses
    • Program for zero emission buses
    • Direct funding to focus on low-income users
    • New office in FTA to aid governments with coordinating housing and transit planning
  •  $60 billion for rail:
    • New grant program for expansion of passenger rail
    • CRISI program would receive $7 billion over 5 years
    • New grant program for grade separation projects ($2.5 billion over 5 years)
    • Rail safety awareness grant program ($5 million every year).
Passed Legislation
Moving forward, this section will only include new information and guidance. For past information and guidance and passed legislation, please refer to the archives.
 
New Implementation Information and Guidance
  • None
Congress
Hearings/Floor Activity: The Senate will be in session this week and will be in session until the July 4 recess. The Senate’s focus will be nominations, hearings and committee business, Paycheck Protection Program technical changes, COVID-19 supplemental(s), NDAA, surface transportation reauthorization, WRDA, FISA, appropriations, and legislation relating to China.
 
Leader Hoyer released an updated House calendar last week (calendar here) – it shows no voting days until June 30. In the Dear Colleague accompanying the calendar, Leader Hoyer explained that committee work will be the primary focus, outlining NDAA, appropriations, surface transportation reauthorization, WRDA, and expansion of the ACA as “must-pass” legislation. Leader Hoyer also noted that should additional votes be necessary for COVID-19 related legislation, members will be given 72 hours’ notice before votes.
 
Appropriations: The Senate Appropriations Committee has released its 302(b) allocations to the subcommittee clerks. SAC plans to markup bills June 15-19, though it may slip to July. SAC will likely not markup the Homeland Security and MilCon/VA bills. Subcommittees may poll their member rather than meet in person and save the in-person markups for full committee, to minimize the number of times that committee members have to gather.
 
The House Appropriations Committee aims to begin its FY21 markups after July 4 recess, with subcommittees marking up on July 6-7. Full committee will markup later that week or the next. From there, the committee is aiming to push all the bills to the House floor during the last two weeks of July. Majority Leader Hoyer has said he wants to pass all the appropriations bills before the August recess.
 
House, Senate, and the White House have settled on an agreement for Veterans Affairs funding to exempt the Veteran’s Choice health care program from the budget caps and categorize it as emergency spending. This would save $11-$12 billion on the discretionary side and increase the odds of producing bipartisan bills.
 
NDAA: SASC is set to markup subcommittees next week (June 8-9) and hold the full committee markup June 10. MLAs have received their books and will be briefed tomorrow. Amendments are due 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 4.
 
The HASC markup is tentatively scheduled for the end of June. Subcommittees will likely go on the week of June 22-26 and full committee will markup the last week of June or the week after. Markups will likely take place in a larger hearing room than normal. Aim is to pass the bill before August recess.
 
Remote voting/virtual protocols: Last week was the first week the House allowed proxy voting and remote hearings and markups. There were no noticeable glitches for proxy voting, but no House Republicans voted by proxy. Last week, House Republicans sued House officials in attempt to block remote voting. The Senate has not moved forward with any proxy voting or remote procedures.
 
Members of Congress in Quarantine or Treatment (new additions in bold)
Tested Positive (0):
Currently Self-Quarantined (0):
Recovered (7): 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), Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL)
Completed Quarantine (38): 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), Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

Other Federal Actions Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 1,787,680 total cases and 104,396 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. 
  • Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner declared Monday a day of mourning for all those who have lost their lives to COVID-19.
  • Washington, D.C., reported a spike of COVID-19 cases, pushing back the timetable for moving to the second phase of reopening additional businesses and public spaces. D.C. would need to record a 14-day decline in cases of community spread in order to complete phase one and move on to phase two. 
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that his state is on track to move to stage two in the reopening process June 15th. Outdoor dining and nonessential retail will be permitted to open with limited capacity at that time. Personal care businesses like salons will be allowed to open June 22nd, and Gov. Murphy said he hopes fitness centers will be permitted to open in some capacity shortly after that. He stressed citizens should continue social distancing and wearing face coverings.
  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said that the state can move to phase two of reopening on Friday. Under phase two, bars and spas will be able to reopen, and restaurants and businesses that have been operating at 25 percent capacity will be able to move to a 50 percent occupancy.
    • New Orleans will stay in phase one per orders from Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an EO to extend the hazard pay for the city’s COVID-19 front line employees.
  • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed an EO continuing but relaxing Maine’s “Stay Safer at Home” Order, which has Maine people stay-at-home with exceptions, allowing people to visit more businesses and participate in more activities as they reopen under the Restarting Maine’s Economy Plan.
  • Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) announced that all four regions of Illinois can move to Phase 3 of the “Restore Illinois” plan to reopen the economy. The city of Chicago will delay its reopening until June 3rd.
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced the expansion of Safe Start — Washington’s Phased Reopening plan. The expansion comes as the current Stay Home, Stay Healthy order ended midnight Sunday. The expansion moves Washington through the phased reopening on a county-by-county basis. With this new approach, counties will have more flexibility to demonstrate they can safely allow additional economic activity based on targeted metrics.
  • 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
  • Italy has launched a voluntary contact tracing app after being approved by the national body that regulates privacy. According to the Health Ministry, the app, called Immuni, "respects the Italian and European privacy norms,” and can be downloaded for free from the Apple and Google stores. 
  • Numbers of new reported cases in Italy have steadily decreased and some museums are starting to open. 
  • The city of Rio de Janeiro will begin opening some nonessential businesses and activities tomorrow. The gradual reopening will involve six phases. In the first phase, churches, car shops, and furniture stores will be allowed to reopen. People will also be allowed to exercise on Rio’s beach-side promenade and swim in the ocean.
  • Mexico has surpassed 10,000 coronavirus-related deaths.
  • The WHO and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) are warning about possible HIV-related deaths as a result of COVID-19. The international groups say interruptions in health services and supplies during the pandemic could lead to 500,000 additional deaths in sub-Saharan Africa from AIDS-related illnesses, including from tuberculosis. That number would double the expected number of HIV-related mortalities.
  • The Hong Kong police have stopped plans for a vigil on Thursday in memory of the people who died during the 1989 crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests, citing the need to enforce social-distancing rules.
  • Grade schools in the U.K. began a staged reopening today, welcoming back the first wave of students since closing in late March to all but vulnerable children and children of essential workers.
  • Global Cases:  6,294,222       Total Deaths:  375,994
Lifestyle, Science, and Economy
  • The CBO wrote a letter addressed to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) yesterday stating that COVID-19 is projected to reduce the U.S.’s cumulative nominal GDP by $15.7 trillion from 2020 to 2030. The difference constitutes a 5.3 percent reduction in cumulative nominal GDP over the decade compared with economic projections in January, before the virus spread to the U.S. The virus’s economic effects are projected to continue to drag on productivity at least slightly into 2030.
  • CMS and CDC data show that nearly 26,000 nursing home residents have died from COVID-19 and more than 60,000 have fallen ill. These figures do not account for all nursing homes across the country. According to CMS, about 80 percent of nursing homes nationwide reported data to the CDC as is now required. The remaining 20 percent could face fines if they don't comply.
  • The Metropolitan Opera said it is canceling its fall season. 
  • The International Air Transport Association has laid out what it called a road map for restarting aviation. But it rejected blocking off airplanes’ middle seats.
  • A new analysis of 172 studies, funded by the WHO found that N95 and other respirator masks are far superior to surgical or cloth masks in protecting essential medical workers against COVID-19.
  • The WHO keeps a running list of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, which you can view here. STAT News also has a resource tracking COVID-19 drugs and vaccines
  • 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.
  • 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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