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COVID-19 Update
June 17, 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

Currently, IDPH has reported on the state’s coronavirus dashboard,  24,263 Iowans have tested positive, up 138 from our update yesterday morning, with a total of 232,558 tested.  9 more deaths were reported since our update yesterday, bringing the total to 670 deaths. Now 15,118 Iowans have recovered. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here.
 
Federal Actions
  • HHS published a new fact sheet to help explain Operation Warp Speed. The goal, according to the sheet, is to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 by January 2021, as part of a broader strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics (collectively known as countermeasures). 
  • The Administration for Community Living posted updates to their COVID-19 resources dashboard, which includes guidance for grantees and tools for hospital visits. 
  • The CDC continues to update its dashboard with new guidance documents and details. Yesterday, the agency updated information about how the virus spreads, added additional resources to guide decisions about errands and going out, and revised the contact tracing page to incorporate COVIDTracer: A spreadsheet-based tool that allows state- and local-level public health officials and policy makers to compare between three different contact tracing/monitoring strategies.
  • In an emailed statement yesterday, the FDA said they are not currently aware of any evidence to suggest that food produced in the U.S. or imported from countries affected by COVID-19 can transmit the virus. 
  • The FDA revoked the EUA of the Chembio Diagnostic System, Inc. (Chembio) DPP COVID-19 IgM/IgG System, a SARS-CoV-2 antibody test, due to performance concerns with the accuracy of the test. Antibody tests, a type of serological test, can help provide information on a person’s and population’s exposure to COVID-19.
  • Yesterday, HUD awarded nearly $40 million in housing counseling grants to help over one million individuals and families access HUD-approved housing counseling to help them avoid foreclosure and make more informed homebuying and rental choices. According to Acting Federal Housing Commissioner Len Wolfson, “In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, HUD-approved counselors are there to assist millions of homeowners and renters nationwide and help them keep a roof over their heads.”
  • The House committee overseeing the federal response to the coronavirus crisis is launching a sweeping investigation into the country's five largest for-profit nursing home companies, demanding details about their structure, executive compensation, and preparedness for COVID-19.
  • The Navy has mobilized 1,600 reservists to work at the service’s four public shipyards as COVID-19 has forced 25 percent of the Navy’s shipyard workers to take leave. The reserve call-up is the largest in the Navy’s history and could last up to a year.
  • Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) has tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • The following COVID-19 hearings are slated to place in Congress this week:
    • Tuesday (6/16) 10 AM Senate Energy and Natural Resources, "Hearings to examine the impacts of COVID-19 on the energy industry."
    • Tuesday (6/16) 12 PM House Financial Services, "Cybercriminals and Fraudsters: How Bad Actors Are Exploiting the Financial System During the COVID-19 Pandemic."
    • Tuesday (6/16) 12 PM House Energy and Commerce, “Reviving our Economy: COVID-19’s Impact on the Energy Sector.”
    • Wednesday (6/17) 10 AM Senate HELP, "Hearings to examine telehealth, focusing on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic."
    • Wednesday (6/17) 11:30 AM House Energy and Commerce, "Health Care Inequality: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in COVID-19 and the Health Care System."
    • Thursday (6/18) 9:30 AM Senate Foreign Relations, "COVID-19 and U.S. International Pandemic Preparedness, Prevention, and Response."
    • Thursday (6/18) 4 PM House Homeland Security, "Climbing Again: Stakeholder Views on Resuming Air Travel in the COVID-19 Era.”
Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 2,104,346 total cases and 116,140 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. 
  • While all 50 states have reopened in some capacity, Tennessee and Oregon remain the two states in a regional reopening. 
  • State officials in Arizona, Florida, and Texas all reported their largest one-day increases in new cases to date. Florida reported 2,783 new cases, Texas reported 2,622, and Arizona reported 2,392.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis dismissed the idea that the recent infections stemmed from the reopening of businesses including bars and restaurants and said the state would not shutter activity again.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said hospitals across the state can now allow visitors and group homes can allow visitors starting on Friday. Gov. Cuomo also said the U.S. Open will be held without fans from August 31st to September 13th.
  • The University of Maryland is planning to reduce the number of students living together in dorm rooms as part of its framework for reopening the campus this Fall.
  • Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) said restrictions on businesses would be eased next week, and officials have plans to safely reopen long-term care facilities, which have been hot zones. The number of cases and hospitalizations has gone down in recent weeks across the state.
  • 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
  • New Zealand has confirmed two new cases of COVID-19, ending a 24-day run of no new infections in the country. 
  • Britain's reported COVID-19 death toll of more than 41,800 as of yesterday makes it the third-highest in the world.
  • Thailand's cabinet approved a domestic tourism package worth 22.4 billion baht ($722.35 million) to revitalize a key sector hit by the pandemic. The package will offer incentives for medical personnel and health volunteers as well as the general public to travel in the country. 
  • Britain’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, said National Health Service doctors would begin treating COVID-19 patients with Dexamethasone yesterday afternoon. Scientists at the University of Oxford said today that they have identified what they called the first drug proven to reduce coronavirus-related deaths, after a 6,000-patient trial of the drug in Britain showed that a low-cost steroid could reduce deaths significantly for hospitalized patients. 
  • In France, health care workers protested yesterday for improvements in their working environment amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Similarly, in Italy, hundreds of nurses protested in more than 30 cities, demanding better pay and greater recognition for their professional skills in a country where they say they are not valued. 
  • Australia's foreign minister said that the country will take a more activist role in reshaping global bodies such as the WHO after COVID-19 dealt an unexpected blow to international stability.
  • The U.S. and China will each allow four weekly flights between the two countries, easing a standoff on travel restrictions meant to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Hungary’s parliament yestrday revoked special powers granted to Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government to tackle the coronavirus pandemic as the number of cases dwindles and the focus shifts to reviving the economy.
  • Chinese authorities locked down a third neighborhood in Beijing yesterday as they rushed to prevent the spread of a new COVID-19 outbreak that has infected more than 100 people. 
  • Brazil’s COVID-19 cases and deaths have surged to make it the second highest hot spot in the world. 
  • The Mexican labor ministry said yesterday that Mexico will stop sending temporary workers to Canadian farms that have been hit by the virus and do not have proper worker protections.
  • Global Cases: 8,196,735        Total Deaths:  444,249
Lifestyle, Science, and Economy
  • Virus cases in jails and prisons are on the rise, with the five largest known clusters of the virus inside correctional facilities. The number of inmates known to be infected across the country has doubled during the past month, to more than 68,000.
  • Amazon introduced a “Distance Assistant” technology in several buildings to provide workers with real-time feedback on social distancing. The company plans to make the software open-source.
  • The NYSE will allow a number of market makers to return to the trading floor tomorrow, adding to the 25 percent who returned on May 26th. Verbal bids and offers will still not be allowed.
  • Sanofi announced plans to build a €610 million ($690 million) vaccine manufacturing facility and research center in France. 
  • A Xerox survey among 600 IT leaders showed that 56 percent of companies will increase their technology budgets to prepare for a more flexible working environment after the pandemic.
  • The San Francisco Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, two of the nation’s premier opera companies, both announced that their fall seasons will be canceled. The Metropolitan Opera already announced that it was canceling its fall season.
  • The Eiffel Tower will reopen on June 25th after being shut for three months, its longest closure since World War II. Visitors would have to take the stairs at first, and wear masks if they are over 11 years old.
  • Moderna Inc.'s CEO Stephane Bancel said efficacy data for its COVID-19 vaccine could be available by as soon as Thanksgiving if everything goes right.
  • The WHO keeps a running list of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, which you can view here. They are now reporting 133 potential vaccines, 10 of which are in clinical trials in the U.S., U.K., and China. 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.
  • 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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