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COVID-19 Update
October 27, 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, 117,445 Iowans have tested positive, up 1,095 from our update yesterday morning, with a total of 943,448 tested. 22 additional deaths were reported since our last update, bringing the total to 1,657 deaths. Now 89,404 Iowans have recovered. The overall positivity rate is 12.4% and the total 14 day rolling average positivity rate is 10.5%. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here. There are currently 564 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 15 counties are above 15 percent positivity rate over the past 14 days:

Osceola 21.2%
Delaware 21.0%
Cass 20.8%
Harrison 20.4%
O’Brien 19.9%
Plymouth 19.6%
Winnebago 19.1%
Jackson 18.9%
Sioux 18.0%
Carroll 17.4%
Adams 16.8%
Woodbury 15.3%
Lyon 15.3%
Van Buren 15.2%
Dubuque 15.1%

Federal Actions
  • The FDA consolidated existing resources for stakeholders to easily access information about drug and biologics development and manufacturing, including for products to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat or prevent COVID-19 and for other critically needed products to treat symptoms of COVID-19 or to provide supportive care to those with COVID-19. Manufacturers, applicants and sponsors, including those working under U.S. government contracts, can use these resources to find information on the applicable laws and regulations that govern drug development and manufacturing to protect the public health, including during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The FDA issued an updated FDA COVID-19 Response At-A-Glance Summary which provides a quick look at facts, figures and highlights of the agency's response efforts.
  • The FDA updated the Antigen Template for Test Developers. This template provides the FDA’s current recommendations concerning data and information that should be submitted to the FDA in support of an EUA request for a SARS-CoV-2 antigen test. Yesterday’s update adds recommendations regarding studies to support claims for screening asymptomatic individuals and multiplexed antigen tests.
  • As of yesterday, 284 tests are authorized by FDA under EUAs; these include 221 molecular tests, 56 antibody tests, and 7 antigen tests.
  • Here is the most recent COVIDView from CDC, a weekly summary and interpretation of key indicators that have been adapted to track the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.
  • And here is the most recent COVID-19 Science Update from the CDC. 
  • The CDC has published and updated a significant number of COVID-19 materials and resources on their dashboard. To point to just a few:
  • On Saturday, Senate HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) made a statement urging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to “stop second guessing” analysis by scientists on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines after the governors announced the creation of their own independent review boards. The statement comes after Newsom announced last week that California is planning to review federally approved coronavirus vaccines independently before distributing them to residents. 
  • Two of Vice President Pence's senior aides, Marc Short and Marty Obst, have tested positive for COVID-19. VP Pence said he does not plan to suspend campaign engagements. 
Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 8,617,022 total cases and 224,601 deaths. The CDC data closes out the day before reporting.
  • The U.S. hit a record number of daily new COVID-19 cases on Friday, reporting nearly 84,000. More than 41,000 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 across the country, a 40 percent rise in the past month.
  • Some hospitals across the U.S. are in a state of duress. Medical centers in Kansas City, Mo., have turned away ambulances recently because they had no room for more patients. Outside Milwaukee, a new emergency field hospital set up on the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds admitted its first virus patient this week. And a hospital in Idaho reached 99 percent capacity, warning that it may have to transfer COVID-19 patients to hospitals in Seattle, Wa. or Portland, Ore.
  • In Utah, the state hospital association warned that if current trends hold, it will soon have to ask the governor to invoke “crisis standards of care” — a triage system that, for example, favors younger patients. Gov. Gary Herbert (R) plans to open a field hospital for overflow patients if hospitals in Salt Lake City become overrun.
  • States with low-density populations, such as Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, North Dakota and South Dakota, now report some of the nation’s highest per capita caseloads. Even Alaska is recording unprecedented increases, including in rural villages.
  • As Midwestern states face a surge in cases, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called Monday for a unified, regional approach to addressing the pandemic.
  • Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) emphasized the importance of wearing face masks on Sunday after the state broke several daily case count records last week.
  • In the face of a surge in COVID-19 cases in the El Paso metropolitan area, local officials are taking drastic action, imposing a two-week stay-at-home order and a 10 PM to 5 AM curfew that took effect Sunday night. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the city has more than tripled over the past three weeks.
  • Newark, New Jersey’s largest city, announced an 8 PM daily closing time for all nonessential businesses citywide, beginning Tuesday.
  • Just over a quarter of New York City’s public school students have attended in-person classes since the city’s school system reopened last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday. More than 500,000 of the 1.1 million children in the system, the nation’s largest, elected to start the year last month with online classes only.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has launched a statewide COVID-19 exposure notification system, in partnership with Google and Apple. Coloradans received a notice on their Android and Apple phones with instructions about how to opt-in.
  • California’s San Francisco and Alameda counties have severed ties with COVID-19 testing sites established by Verily, Google’s health-focused sister company, amid concerns about patients’ data privacy and complaints that funding intended to boost testing in low-income Black and Latino neighborhoods instead was benefiting higher-income residents in other communities.
  • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) announced the public can now notify health officials of violations of COVID-19 directives by using the Consumer Complaint Form used to report foodborne illnesses and other public health and safety issues.
  • Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed an EO extending the state of emergency due to COVID-19 that has been in place since Mar. 15.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an EO extending the Public Health Emergency. Gov. Murphy said at a news conference on Monday afternoon that the state was ramping up testing and contact tracing in Newark, and helping the city enforce public health regulations.
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced that Multnomah County has been added to the County Watch List.
  • 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
  • Here is the most recent (10/20) edition of the WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Update and here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Operational Update.
  • The WHO chief warned against “vaccine nationalism,” calling for global solidarity in the rollout of any future coronavirus vaccine. 
  • COVID-19 cases are rising at alarming rates in nearly every European country. Officials across Europe are ringing the alarm about demand for hospital beds as the surge in cases leads to new hospitalizations. 
  • Officials said Belgium’s maximum capacity of intensive care unit beds may be reached in just two weeks. Some Swiss hospitals have reported that they are running out of beds. In the Czech capital, Prague, a new military hospital is being installed with 500 beds.
  • Spain and Italy both extended restrictions this weekend to avoid second lockdowns, with Spain entering a new state of emergency and Italy again tightening limits on bars, restaurants, and gyms. 
  • The Czech government has ordered a 9 PM curfew and will limit retail sales on Sundays, beginning Wednesday, as part of tighter measures adopted to stem a surge in COVID-19 infections. 
  • Britain has announced wider coronavirus measures which will increase the number of people under England’s highest category of restrictions to nearly 8 million. People from different households are no longer allowed to socialize outdoors, and pubs and bars that do not serve food must remain closed. 
  • Wales has shut all non-essential retailers, pubs and restaurants in a 17-day lockdown which began on Friday. 
  • Slovakia may be able to avoid harsher COVID-19 measures because of plans for nationwide testing scheduled to start this weekend, Prime Minister Igor Matovič said. 
  • Norway will impose tougher measures to following a recent rise in the number of infections, including stricter rules on private gatherings. 
  • Lockdown restrictions have been extended in Tehran and across Iran, where two-thirds of provinces are now on a coronavirus red alert. Hospitals in many Iranian provinces are running out of capacity to handle COVID-19 cases, health authorities say. 
  • A partial lockdown on Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding state of Selangor has been extended for a further two weeks as Malaysia recorded its biggest increase in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic. 
  • All 4.7 million residents of a city in China's northwest Xinjiang region are being tested for COVID-19 after a single asymptomatic case was detected on Saturday. Testing of the entire city is expected to be completed by Tuesday. Meanwhile, lockdown measures have been imposed and all schools in the region are closed until Friday. 
  • Mexico’s true death toll from the coronavirus probably includes tens of thousands of fatalities not in the official count, authorities said Sunday. 
  • British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Monday that the government was gearing up to roll out a vaccine in early 2021, amid reports that an experimental candidate developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca triggered a promising immune response in elderly people. 
  • On Sunday, about 2,000 protesters gathered in Berlin to demonstrate against restrictions imposed by the government to keep infections at bay. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with her governors at the end of the week to assess whether Germany will impose new rules. 
  • Italians have converged on squares across the country to protest COVID-19 measures that include the 6 PM closure of bars and restaurants and the complete closure of gyms, swimming pools, and movie theaters. 
  • Melbourne, Australia, will end a strict lockdown of more than three months after the city recorded no new coronavirus cases for the first time since June. Starting Wednesday, restaurants, cafes and bars will be able to reopen, with some social-distancing restrictions and all retail locations will be able to reopen. 
  • Pope Francis will have to forgo meeting Catholics at the annual Advent and Christmas masses in the Vatican due to the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Global Cases: 43,571,756  Total Deaths: 1,160,421 
Lifestyle, Science, and Economy
  • MMWR published the following two studies: the first examined safe COVID-19 practices at polling locations and determined that enhanced attention to reducing congregation, correct mask use, and enabling safe voting options are critical to minimize risks for voters and poll workers. The second analyzed COVID-19 hospitalization data for U.S. health care personnel (HCP) and found that HCP can have severe COVID-19-associated illness, highlighting the need for continued infection prevention and control in health care settings. 
  • The drug maker Eli Lilly said that its antibody treatment was ineffective on patients hospitalized with advanced COVID-19 and that a government-sponsored trial would not administer the drug to new participants.
  • AstraZeneca announced that their COVID-19 vaccine being developed with the University of Oxford produces a similar immune response in both older and younger adults, and adverse responses were lower among the elderly. The preliminary findings are particularly exciting as older individuals are more at-risk of dying from COVID-19. 
  • The Rockefeller Foundation announced on Monday that it will allocate $1 billion over the next three years to address the pandemic and its aftermath.
  • A program of universal face shields for healthcare personnel (HCP) at a Texas hospital was tied to fewer COVID-19 infections and fewer hospital-associated infections (HAI). In the pre-intervention period, from April 17-Jul, 5, HCP infection rate increased from 0-12.9 percent, but it declined to 2.3 percent during the intervention period, July 6-July 26.
  • Israel will begin its first clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine next month.
  • A new study by economists at the University of Kansas has found that counties in the state where residents are obliged to wear masks in public have seen about half as many new coronavirus infections as counties that do not have a mask mandate in force.
  • As pharmaceutical companies conduct phase 3 vaccine trials, air cargo transporters are cautious about the logistics involved in the mass distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine. A recent survey found that less than 30 percent of air cargo companies felt prepared for future vaccine distribution efforts.
  • Do you have questions about vaccines? Try this article
  • 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 coronavirus pipeline tracker for vaccines, antivirals, and treatments 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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