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COVID-19 Update
October 16, 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

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 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, 104,343 Iowans have tested positive, up 1,328 from our update yesterday morning, with a total of 885,637 tested. 11 additional deaths were reported since our last update, bringing the total to 1,516 deaths. Now 80,473 Iowans have recovered. The overall positivity rate is 11.8% and the total 14 day rolling average positivity rate is 9.2%. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here. There are currently 468 hospitalized patients.

School district statistics including positivity rates by county can be found here. According to guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Education, schools may petition to go to hybrid or online learning with less than 50 percent in-person instruction when the per county percentage positivity rates are above 15 percent in a county on average over the past 14 days (rolling average) AND 10% absenteeism among students is expected for in-person learning.

Currently 14 counties are above 15 percent positivity rate over the past 14 days:

Harrison 26.3%
Sioux 23.6%
Carroll 19.9%
Monroe 19.6%
Osceola 19.5%
Delaware 18.3%
Plymouth 18.2%
Emmet 17.7%
Lyon 16.9%
Fremont 16.5%
Taylor 16.4%
Crawford 16.3%
Decatur 16.0%
Woodbury 15.4%

The White House distributed a memo partially summarizing a bullet list of the federal assistance Iowa has received to combat the coronavirus.

LSA published a memo on the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program. Some key points are below.

October 2020 Update: FEMA and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) have informed Iowa that the LWA Program has ended. Iowans whose unemployment is the result of the pandemic and who are eligible for at least $100 in unemployment insurance (UI) benefits each week will qualify for up to $300 in additional weekly benefits for a maximum of six weeks.

On August 14, 2020, FEMA approved Iowa’s application to participate in the LWA. The Iowa Department of Workforce Development (IWD) submitted its application to FEMA on August 13, 2020. Iowans whose unemployment is the result of the pandemic and who are eligible for at least $100 in UI benefits per week qualified for an additional $300 in weekly benefits retroactive to the week ending August 1, 2020.

The last week of eligibility for the Program is the week ending September 5, 2020. Individuals eligible for LWA for any of the six weeks of the Program can still receive those payments as IWD works through issuing retroactive weeks. Since the Program has been administered, Iowa has paid a total of $151.0 million in LWA benefits. A total of $44.000 billion was originally allocated to LWA nationwide but was scheduled to be expended with the week ending September 5, 2020.

Federal Legislation
Supplemental IV
Timeline: A lot of discussions have happened in the past week, but none of the foundational dynamics have changed. Quickly after declaring negotiations dead, the President decided that he did want a deal with the Democrats. Secretary Mnuchin restarted negotiations with Speaker Pelosi on Friday, proposing a $1.8 trillion package, up $200 million from what had been previously offered. Conversations between Speaker Pelosi and Secretary Mnuchin have continued, though Mnuchin noted yesterday he was skeptical of getting something done before the election given the stances of the two sides and level of detail required to create a final product. McConnell has voiced similar concerns regarding timeline. An agreement could potentially come in lame duck, but that will depend on what happens in the election.
Process/Politics: While the White House and Democrats are speaking again after a short hiatus, the dynamics have not changed: Senate Republicans remain uninterested in passing anything over $500 billion and the White House and Speaker Pelosi remain billions of dollars apart on key issues. If McConnell brings the $500 billion skinny package to the floor next week, it’s likely meant to be a messaging opportunity for Republicans before the election, as House Democrats did in passing HEROES 2.
The Speaker remains committed to holding her position and seems to have her caucus united behind her. Though Pelosi has faced heat from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Congressional Progressive Caucus leader Ro Khanna, she seems to continue to have the support of her caucus. On a caucus call on Wednesday, Pelosi outlined her commitment to not go below $2.2 trillion and urged her members to stay strong. After HEROES 2 was passed, pressure from moderates seems to have abated. Last week, Trump publicly stated he wants a stimulus package higher than what Democrats have proposed, strengthening Pelosi’s position to hold firm.
After a Senate GOP Conference call over the weekend, in which broad opposition to the White House’s latest offer was made clear, Secretary Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Meadows sent a joint letter to Congress outlining the White House’s commitment to working on a larger package and asking for consideration of a bill addressing lapsed Small Business Paycheck Protection Program funds. Even if the two sides were to come together on a standalone bill addressing specific issues (which Democrats have been, until recently, adamantly opposed to), the window to pass it before the election is quickly closing. While it would be easy to pass in the House, the Senate would need significant floor time. Some of the limited floor time left before the election is reserved for Judge Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation to the Supreme Court. Additionally, multiple senators would likely call for a full vote on cloture and a final vote of a bill, both of which would require many additional hours.
Policy: Mnuchin and Pelosi made progress yesterday on language surrounding a national testing plan, which was the subject of negotiations over the weekend. However, the two sides remain far apart on many other issues. In a Dear Colleague last weekend, Pelosi outlined the following gaps:
  • $436 billion for state/local/tribal aid (Republicans have offered $300 billion, up from $250 billion);
  • $57 billion for child care (Republicans have offered $25 billion);
  • $600 per week for unemployment insurance (Republicans are at $400/week);
  • Enhanced worker safety regulations (Republicans have pushed back and are insistent on liability protections);
  • Expansion of EITC, CTC, DTC (Republicans have offered to double stimulus payments to families from $500 to $1,000 per child).
Wednesday, the Joint Committee on Taxation published scores from the revenue provisions of the recently House-passed HEROES 2 stimulus legislation (H.R. 925). The estimate includes only revenue provisions (so no CBO/appropriations/discretionary outlay figures) and nets to $308 billion in revenue reduction over ten years. That net number is made up of about $550 billion in revenue reductions and $240 billion in increases. Some of these items, particularly the approx. $43 billion in temporary enhancements to current law tax credits (EITC, CTC, DTC) have been consistently high on the Speaker’s list of policy disagreements with the administration over additional COVID stimulus. See below for non-exhaustive list of highlights:
HEROES 2: On Oct. 5, Democrats released an updated coronavirus package, HEROES 2.  Text here. One-pager here. Section-by-section summary is here. Additional information on the state and local relief provisions is here. Highlights include:
  • $436 billion for state, local, territorial and tribal governments aid ($238 billion to states, $179 billion for local governments, $9.5 billion to tribal governments, and $9.5 billion to territorial governments).
  • $225 billion for education, including $182 billion for grades K-12 and $39 billion for colleges and universities.
  • $600/week for unemployment insurance through January.
  • a second round of PPP.
  • $249 billion for HHS, including
    • $9.2 billion for HRSA,
    • $13.7 billion for CDC,
    • $4.7 billion for NIH,
    • $8.5 billion for SAMHSA,
    • $21 billion for BARDA,
    • $125 billion for provider relief fund.
  • $2.3 billion for the Indian Health Service.
  • A second round of direct payments ($1,200 for adults and $500 for dependents).
  • $120 billion for a restaurant stabilization fund.
  • $28 billion in airline payroll support.
  • Expanding the employee retention tax credit.
  • $57 billion to support childcare.
  • $4.5 billion for LIHEAP.
  • $1.7 billion for Head Start.
  • $50 billion for rental assistance.
  • $10 billion for SNAP and a 15 percent increase to maximum SNAP benefit.
  • $10 billion for Postal Service.
  • $3.6 billion for election grants to states.
  • $12 billion for broadband, including $200 million for telemedicine and $24 for broadband mapping.
Senate R Skinny Bill – In early September, Senate Republicans released and voted on another COVID proposal. While it did not pass the Senate, it can be seen as a marker for the priorities Republicans will focus on in negotiations. Text here. Summary here. The bill clocks in at $300 billion, after offsets. There were many similarities between the bill and the one Republicans released mid-August.  See below for the highlights.
  • Offsets from $204 billion from funding allocated to Federal Reserve programs in CARES, sets the 13(3) facilities to expire in January, rescinds $146 billion in unspent small business funding from CARES Act.
  • Liability protections for businesses and healthcare providers;
  • $300 per week in enhanced unemployment insurance through the end of the year;
  • Small Business policies including:
    • Allows small businesses to take out a second Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan if they have revenue loss of 35 percent or more (HEALS set the threshold at 50 percent or more);
    • Provides $257.7 billion for PPP, which includes $100 billion in unused funds;
    • Simplification of the loan process (Sen. Cramer’s Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act);
    • Additional reporting required for businesses receiving loan forgiveness;
    • Funding for audits.
  • $10 billion for the U.S. Postal Service – the bill would convert a $10 billion loan to the USPS into a grant if the USPS falls below $8 billion in cash on hand.
  • Education policies including:
    • Funding for scholarship-granting organizations for expenses like private school tuition and home-schooling expenses; Also, provides tax credits for two years dedicated for scholarship granting organizations (School Choice Now Act);
    • Allow students to use 529 plan funds for relevant expenses for two years (Student Empowerment Act);
    • Childcare program included in HEALS (see here for HEALS education text)
  • Health policies and funding, including:
    • Pandemic preparedness program (supply chain, SNS) in HEALS (see here for HEALS education text)
  • Extends when states/local/tribal governments must spend CARES Act funding until September 30, 2021 (extended from December 31, 2020).
  • Increases tax incentives for charity from $300 above-the-line deduction (as implemented in the CARES Act) to $600 for individuals and $1,200 for those filing a joint return.
  • Appropriations title, including:
    • $105 billion for Education Stabilization Fund (66 percent for K-12 and 29 percent for higher education and 5 percent to governors to use for either higher education or K-12);
    • $16 billion for testing/contact tracing;
    • $31 billion for vaccine and treatment development and distribution (the mid-August skinny bill allocated $29 billion for these purposes);
    • $20 billion for farm assistance,
    • $500 million for fisheries, and
    • $15 billion for child care ($5 billion for Child Care Development Block Grant and $10 billion for the program authorized above “Back to Work Child Care Grants”).
Members of Congress in Quarantine or Treatment (new additions in bold)
Tested Positive (2)Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL)
Currently Self-Quarantined (0):
Recovered (19): 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), Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC), Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-Puerto Rico at large), Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA), Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Completed Quarantine (48):  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. 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), Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX), Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA)
*Mark Meadows quarantined March 9 - 12 after coming in contact with a CPAC attendee who tested positive. On March 20, he resigned from his position in the House to become the White House Chief of Staff

Other Federal Actions
  • CMS announced new actions to pay for expedited coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) test results. Starting Jan. 1, 2021, Medicare will pay $100 only to laboratories that complete high throughput COVID-19 diagnostic tests within two calendar days of the specimen being collected.  Also effective Jan. 1, 2021, for laboratories that take longer than two days to complete these tests, Medicare will pay a rate of $75. CMS wants to ensure that patients who test positive for the virus are alerted quickly so they can self-isolate and receive medical treatment.
  • The FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for SARS-CoV-2 test developers on Oct. 21 at 12:15 PM. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2. A second Town Hall will be on Oct. 28 at 12:15 PM.
  • The FDA reissued the EUA for certain filtering face-piece respirators (FFRs) that are manufactured in China and are not approved by NIOSH. Under the June 6, 2020 version of this EUA, a respirator was authorized if it met any of three predetermined eligibility criteria. Effective immediately, the reissued EUA no longer includes the three eligibility criteria, meaning the FDA will no longer review requests nor add to the list of authorized respirators–known as Appendix A—of this EUA based on those criteria.
  • As of yesterday, 281 tests are authorized by FDA under EUAs; these include 219 molecular tests, 56 antibody tests, and 6 antigen tests.
  • The CDC has continued to publish and update COVID-19 materials and resources on their dashboard. Recently the CDC posted the following helpful pages:
  • Top U.S. health officials, including NIH's Tony Fauci and CDC's Robert Redfield have both noted this week that small household gatherings are driving the increase in COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and cautioned against large holiday gatherings in the coming months. 
  • OSHA has posted guidance for restaurants resuming in-person dining. 
  • Actions and comments by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin all indicate there will be no supplemental COVID-19 package before Election Day. 
  • Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) announced she would be suspending campaign travel after two of her close campaign staff tested positive for COVID-19. 
Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 7,894,768 total cases and 216,025 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. Some sources are now reporting that the U.S. has reached the 8 million case mark. 
  • The U.S. topped 61,000 new coronavirus cases yesterday, the highest daily count since reporting more than 66,000 cases on July 31.
  • Seventeen states are seeing surges unlike anything they experienced earlier in the pandemic. States including Alaska, Minnesota, Montana, and Wisconsin reported more new cases during the seven-day stretch that ended on Wednesday than in any other week since the virus arrived in the country.
  • Reports of new cases are trending upward in 41 states over the last two weeks, while nine states are holding case numbers roughly steady. No state in the country is seeing a sustained decline.
  • Officials in El Paso, Texas, announced new activity restrictions to slow the spread of the virus as new cases and hospitalizations rose to an all-time high.
  • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced the state of New Mexico will implement, and in some cases re-implement, several public health regulations later in the week to stem the alarming rise of COVID-19 illnesses statewide. The governor also reiterated her stark warnings from recent weeks – as COVID-19 infections have spread rapidly throughout all regions of the state, including an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations – that New Mexico may in the near future be compelled to re-enact even more stringent public health controls.
  • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) signed a 14th supplementary emergency proclamation that extends the COVID-19 emergency period through Nov. 30 and announced that the state has arranged nearly 200 contact tracers to aid DOH in tracing any travel-related infections.
  • Gov. Ige announced additional details of the pre-travel testing program, which is set to launch Thursday. All counties will be participating in the pre-travel testing program, which allows travelers to bypass the mandatory 14-day quarantine, though there will be different rules in different counties.
  • Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) has extended current COVID-19 public health orders through the end of October, according to an Oct. 14 press release.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced the expansion of the state’s saliva testing program, including the opening of new saliva testing sites and a pilot of the mail-order program. Gov. Walz also extended the state’s COVID-19 peacetime emergency.
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said yesterday that it is not the right time to lift the state's 10 PM last call rule at bars. On Thursday, more than 20 Ohio senators announced they are backing a new bill to eliminate the curfew and end disciplinary action against bars and restaurants found to have violated that rule.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed an EO permitting municipal authority to revert to the more restrictive pre-Oct. 8, 2020 size and capacity limitations and rules for certain businesses and gatherings.
  • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) announced during a news conference Tuesday afternoon he will extend the state’s emergency declaration for another 60 days.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an EO allowing the resumption of contact practices and competitions in indoor settings for organized sports defined as “medium risk” and “high risk” by the New Jersey Department of Health’s “Guidance for Sports Activities.”  
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) announced that the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services has partnered with a Minnesota-based supply company to launch an online order portal available to adult care homes across the state to procure PPE and infection control supplies during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York’s regional travel advisory was updated: Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia have been added to the list of impacted locations that meet the metrics to qualify, and no states or territories were removed from the list this week.
  • Missouri’s COVID-19 dashboard is back up and running after being down for several days. The Department of Health and Senior Services said on Wednesday evening it completed resolving a data extract issue in reporting of COVID-19 cases, tests, and deaths. It said an error in how data was being exported caused inaccurate reporting on Oct. 10.
  • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) is quarantining after a member of his executive security detail tested positive for COVID-19, the governor’s office said Wednesday.
  • Useful state data:
    • 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 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.
International Affairs
  • You can view the WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Update here and the Operational Update here
  • The weekly number of new coronavirus cases in Europe is now at its highest point since the start of the pandemic. The number of confirmed cases in Europe rose by a million to seven million in just 10 days.
  • As a thick quilt of smog wrapped itself around New Delhi on Thursday, signaling the start of the fall pollution season, doctors and scientists warned that the deteriorating air quality could make the city’s COVID-19 problems even worse. India currently ranks second in number of coronavirus cases globally, following the U.S.
  • Scientists in Chile are investigating a possible mutation of the coronavirus in southern Patagonia, where there has been an unusually contagious second wave of infections in recent weeks.
  • Mexico has confirmed its first case of a patient testing positive for both COVID-19 and the flu.
  • Young, healthy people should be prepared to wait more than a year to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, the WHO’s chief scientist said Wednesday.
  • Prime Minister Jean Castex of France extended to the entire country health restrictions that had so far been imposed only in areas hard-hit by the virus. Starting Saturday, all restaurants will have to follow a strict health protocol that includes keeping registers of customers for contact-tracing and keeping seating to no more than six per table. Private parties will be forbidden in public spaces, and rules to encourage social distancing, such as limiting the number of spectators or visitors in cultural venues or customers in shopping centers, will be enforced throughout the country.
  • The U.K. will impose tougher COVID-19 restrictions on London beginning at midnight on Friday. Household mixing indoors will be banned and public transport use discouraged, but businesses will remain open.
  • The Israeli government voted Thursday to lift some elements of its lockdown as the country’s number of new coronavirus cases continued to decline. The decision, which will go into effect on Sunday, will permit Israelis to go more than 1,000 meters beyond their homes without the need for a special reason, order takeout from restaurants, visit beaches, send their children to day care centers and kindergartens, and reopen some businesses. Other restrictions, including school closures and bans on the opening of bars, restaurants, malls, and event halls, will remain in place.
  • Spain will close bars and restaurants across Catalonia for the next 15 days following a surge in cases, as the country tackles one of the highest rates of infection in Europe. All bars and restaurants in the region will be limited to a takeaway and delivery service for two weeks from Thursday night. Shops and markets will operate at 30 percent capacity, gyms, cinemas, and theatres at 50 percent, and children’s play areas will close at 8 PM.
  • Portugal announced new virus restrictions on Thursday, including a five-person limit on public gatherings, after a rise in new cases.
  • The Czech Republic will start building capacity for COVID-19 patients outside of hospitals as the country faces the fastest rate of infections in Europe.
  • Officials in Singapore and Hong Kong said that they had reached a preliminary agreement to establish a travel bubble between the two Asian financial centers, allowing travelers of all kinds to bypass quarantine. Under the agreement, travelers must test negative for the virus and fly only on designated flights. Officials did not say when the bubble would begin.
  • In an interview Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country is committed to keeping the border closed until the U.S. gets control of COVID-19.
  • Eleven members of the Swiss Guard have tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting fears of an outbreak within the small corps charged with protecting the pope.
  • Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, went into quarantine for a second time in two weeks after being exposed to the virus.
  • Two officials in Qingdao, China, have been fired amid a new virus outbreak there, the city government said on Thursday. The director of the health commission and the president of the Qingdao Chest Hospital are under investigation after six confirmed infections and six asymptomatic cases were linked to the hospital.
  • Global Cases 38,988,886    Total Deaths 1,099,380
Lifestyle, Science, and Economy
  • University of Oxford scientists announced Thursday that they have developed a rapid antigen test for the coronavirus that they say can offer results in as few as five minutes and eventually could be used to screen people at airports and other crowded venues.
  • The CDC's MMWR also published multiple new scientific articles:
  • UC Santa Barbara researchers are studying how SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility changes as the weather cools. In addition to its ability to travel farther, the virus is particularly persistent in cooler temperatures, remaining "infectious from several minutes to longer than a day in various environments."
  • Pfizer has said it will test its coronavirus vaccine in children as young as 12 to see how safely it protects them against infection.
  • A new study in the Lancet suggests lockdowns initiated to curb the spread of the coronavirus in China and Europe at the beginning of the pandemic improved air quality, averting tens of thousands of deaths in regions where air pollution has a significant impact on mortality. From February to March, the study found an estimated 24,200 premature deaths associated with particulate matter were averted throughout China compared to 3,309 reported COVID-19 fatalities, and "improvements in air quality were widespread across China because of extended lockdown measures."
  • A study of more than 11,000 people sponsored by the WHO indicates that the drug remdesivir does not prevent deaths among patients. An NIH trial previously suggested that remdesivir modestly reduced the time to recovery in patients severely ill with COVID-19, but even that study did not show that the drug prevents deaths. The WHO Solidarity Therapeutics Trial also indicates that hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir, and interferon regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the in-hospital course of COVID-19 among hospitalized patients.
  • More than 2,000 scientists, researchers, and healthcare professionals have now signed the John Snow Memorandum, which denounces the idea of achieving herd immunity through more infections and fewer protections.
  • Economic studies are showing that, after the CARES Act stimulus package decreased helped fend off poverty in the U.S., the number of poor people has risen by between 6 and 8 million since May. 
  • The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level since late August (898,000), with fresh layoffs adding to other signs the economic recovery is losing steam as the pandemic continues. Some of the recent declines in continuing claims represent individuals who have exhausted the maximum duration of payments available through regular state programs, and are now collecting money through a federal program that provides an extra 13 weeks of benefits. About 2.8 million people were receiving aid through this extended-benefits program in the week ended Sept. 26.
  • Stock markets in the U.S. and globally are shaky as COVID-19 cases are increasing in the U.S. and Europe (anticipation of the Nov. 3 election doesn't seem to be helping).
  • SUNY Oneonta president Barbara Jean Morris resigned weeks after the school experienced the most severe coronavirus outbreak of any public university in the state. Last month, more than 700 students there tested positive for the virus, leading the college to shut down in-person classes.
  • 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. The New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here
  • BIO’s COVID-19 pipeline tracker is here.
  • The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has an extensive list of commercial and lab-developed tests. 
  • The NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis’s (OPA) expert-curated portfolio of COVID-19 publications and preprints 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.
Helpful Articles/Media

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

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