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COVID-19 Update
June 3, 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, 20,017 Iowans have tested positive, up 66 from our update yesterday morning, with a total of 164,139 Iowans tested.  8 more deaths were reported since our update yesterday, bringing the total to 564 deaths.  Now 11,890 Iowans have recovered. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here.

The Iowa Legislative session resumes this morning. Look for updates on the progress of the session and our IowaBio legislative priorities in our Bill Tracker Newsletter, issued on Fridays during session. To listen to floor debate which is slated to begin today, you can click here and select the House or Senate chamber live video feed.

Yesterday at her press conference, Governor Reynolds said 1 in 19 Iowans have been tested. The largest test day was May 30th when the State Hygienic Lab processed well over 5,000 tests. Overall, the number of positive cases continue to trend down, she said. One in four have been tested in Buena Vista county, where a Test Iowa site has been established. One in 9 have been tested in Crawford county.

Six regional PPE stockpiles are being built in partnership with the Emergency Management Association, with 30 days of PPE for each county in the region, to increase preparedness.

Sarah Reisetter, Deputy Director of IDPH, said there are no other outbreaks to report in businesses. They are working on their processes to be able to more consistently report business outbreaks.

Governor Reynolds spoke about the legislative session, which resumes today, and said she has been meeting with legislative leaders over the last couple of weeks and again yesterday. The REC predicted $65 million less in revenue for FY2021, but Iowa is in a solid position because of full cash reserves, she said. Workforce development, behavioral health services and rural broadband will be important to focus on, she said. She said her plan to revamp sales tax in Iowa and fund her priorities will not move forward this session, because circumstances have changed.

She said voting would not be impacted by COVID-19 curfews as voters go out on primary day (yesterday) to polling places.

Federal Actions
  • NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said in a blog post that warmer weather is unlikely to stop the spread of COVID-19. Dr. Collins emphasized that, while some lab experiments have suggested that increased heat and humidity might reduce the visibility of the virus in a similar way to other coronaviruses, COVID-19 is different. 
  • The CDC posted updated information for parents about Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19. 
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the CDC issued guidance for recommended actions to protect agriculture workers from COVID-19 exposure. The guidance includes screening workers for virus symptoms, installing plastic barriers when distances of six feet between individuals are not possible, and encouraging workers to use cloth face coverings in certain circumstances.
  • FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Deputy Commissioner for Food and Policy Response Frank Yiannas published a piece in "FDA Voices" about food safety post-COVID. 
  • The FDA is hosting a virtual Town Hall today at 12:15 PM for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for COVID-19. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for COVID-19. 
  • The CDC dashboard continues to post updated guidance daily. 
  • The CDC and ASPR have developed five COVID-19 Pandemic Planning Scenarios that are designed to help inform decisions by modelers and public health officials who utilize mathematical modeling. The planning scenarios are being used by the Federal government. Models developed using the data provided in the planning scenarios can help evaluate the potential effects of different community mitigation strategies (e.g., social distancing). The planning scenarios may also be useful to hospital administrators in assessing resource needs and can be used in conjunction with the COVID-19Surge Tool.
  • There are multiple COVID-19 hearings set for this week. **memo available upon request:
  • Republicans have started putting together their priorities for the next COVID-19 supplemental appropriations bill. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said it is unlikely that the Senate will move for another recovery package in June and will probably wait for July to act. 
Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 1,802,470 total cases and 105,157 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. 
  • The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced that visitors, workers, and residents will have to prove a negative test result to be able to enter the state without quarantining for two weeks. The new rule will be enforced starting June 5th. 
  • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) announced the state will lift the 14-day quarantine requirement for inter-island travelers starting June 16th. 
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed an EO that will allow the state to enter phase two of reopening on Friday, excluding Northern Virginia and Richmond. Under phase two, the maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase from 10 to 50 people. In addition, restaurant and beverage establishments may offer indoor dining at 50 percent occupancy. Fitness centers may also open indoor areas at 30 percent occupancy, and certain recreation and entertainment venues without shared equipment may open with restrictions.
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed an EO rescinding her Safer at Home order and moving the entire state to phase four of the MI Safe Start Plan
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) extended the state's Safer at Home order for an additional month. 
  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced the approval of a comprehensive community-based testing, laboratory analysis, and contact tracing plan to support local, statewide, and tribal efforts to reopen and keep open the Nevada economy.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said today that new COVID-19 cases are at an all-time low in his state. 
  • The Oklahoma State Department of Health announced Monday it will no longer release specific information about COVID-19 infections and deaths in nursing homes, cities, or by zip code.
  • 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
  • South Korea has reported steadily increasing incidence since early May. The Korean CDC has identified 270 cases linked to nightclubs (including 96 cases believed to have been exposed at the clubs) and 112 cases associated with a logistics warehouse (including 74 workers) as well as multiple clusters associated with churches and other faith-based activities.
  • Indonesia, home to more Muslims than any country in the world, is canceling this year's hajj pilgrimage to holy sites in Saudi Arabia, saying the health and safety of travelers would be at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Brazil registered a record 1,262 deaths from COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide death toll to 31,199.
    • A Brazilian study by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) projects that Brazil could reach 1 million cases and 50,000 deaths by June 20th.
  • Italy has introduced mandatory temperature checks for rail passengers in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Civil Protection Agency volunteers will also manage the flow of travelers inside the stations until June 15th.
  • New Zealand is set to ease coronavirus restrictions as early as next week after nearly two weeks with no new reported cases. 
  • According to the Ministry of Health, Iran recorded more than 3,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the highest in two months.
  • Global Cases:  6,405,532       Total Deaths:  380,773
Lifestyle, Science, and Economy
  • NIAID Director Dr. Tony Fauci said the U.S. should have 100 million doses of one COVID-19 vaccine candidate by the end of the year. The first vaccine candidate, made by biotech company Moderna in partnership with NIAID, should go into a final stage of trials in volunteers, known in the industry as Phase III, by mid-summer.
  • Gilead Sciences Inc is developing easier-to-administer versions of its antiviral treatment remdesivir for COVID-19 that could be used outside of hospitals, including ones that can be inhaled, after trials showed moderate effectiveness for the drug given by infusion.
  • A recently published study of COVID-19 patients undergoing a variety of surgical procedures during the pandemic found elevated mortality and rates of pulmonary complications.
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly commenced early-stage human trials of antibody therapeutics for COVID-19, marking the first trial of a treatment developed specifically for COVID-19. The Phase 1 clinical trial of LY-CoV555, an antibody treatment created from a blood sample of early US COVID-19 survivors, will test the drug’s safety in 32 patients who are currently hospitalized for COVID-19. 
  • According to a study conducted by the WHO, 120 countries reported that health services for preventing or treating noncommunicable diseases had been partially or completely disrupted due to the pandemic, with disruption of services increasing with increased community transmission. 
  • The U.S. CDC published findings on the timeline of COVID-19 transmission in the U.S., which showed that limited community transmission of COVID-19 may have begun as early as January. 
  • 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.
  • As non-essential retail begins to reopen, stores like Kohl’s, T.J. Maxx, JCPenney and HomeGoods have established dedicated shopping times for vulnerable populations, including the elderly and immunocompromised. This follows the practice used by supermarkets and other essential businesses during the peak of the pandemic. 
  • The College Board announced they are no longer preparing an at-home SAT test for this year. The time and technology required for the test would not be available to every student needing to take the test. 
  • Visa said U.S. payment volumes fell by only 5 percent in May compared to 18 percent in April, reflecting the start of a recovery in consumer spending.
  • Over 20 co-working firms, including Convene and IWG, plan to release a playbook this week detailing guidelines to make workplaces safer. 
  • Starbucks said they plan to further reduce worker hours in response to pared-back service. The company is giving employees about a week to decide whether to continue working or take unpaid leave.
  • 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 Biotech Association, All rights reserved.


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