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COVID-19 Update
August 25, 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, 57,049 Iowans have tested positive, up 608 from our update yesterday morning, with a total of 601,441 tested.  10 additional deaths were reported since our last update, bringing the total to 1047 deaths. Now 44,301 Iowans have recovered. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here.

On Sunday, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported Iowa's first child death due to COVID-19 complication. The child, who died in June, was under the age of 5 and had "significant underlying health conditions," according to a news release.

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.

Yesterday Governor Reynolds’ office announced, a new Test Iowa clinic site is scheduled to open in Story County on Monday, August 31, 2020. 
The Story County Drive-thru Test Clinic will be located at the Iowa State University Research Center, 2503 South Loop Drive in Ames, and operated by Mary Greeley Medical Center. The site will be open for testing weekly on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 12:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 
Individuals who wish to be tested at the site must first complete an online assessment at, and then call 800-866-3492 to schedule an appointment. 

Federal Legislation
Supplemental IV
Timeline: While formal negotiations remain stalled, the House convened for a rare Saturday session this weekend to consider the Delivering for America Act (H.R. 8015), a bill to provide $25B in emergency funding to the U.S. Postal Service and to roll back recent policy changes and operating procedures.  The bill passed the House by a vote of 257-150, with 26 Republicans voting in favor despite GOP leadership’s efforts to whip against the legislation. Leader McConnell indicated even prior to passage of the House bill that the Senate would not take up the standalone measure.
In a sign of continued interest in exploring a path towards a deal, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows visited the Capitol on Saturday, reportedly to meet with members to build support for a “skinny bill”.  Meadows also attempted to have an impromptu meeting with Speaker Pelosi, though she was unavailable and later reiterated to the press that Democrats will be ready to talk when the White House is willing to increase its topline funding level. 

Following passage of the Postal Service bill, the House adjourned and both chambers are expected to remain in recess, with the Senate conducting only pro forma sessions, until after Labor Day. Members in both bodies have been told they will be given 24-hours’ notice in advance of votes if there are any changes to the schedule.  With the Republican convention taking place this week, it is unlikely that any talks between the two sides will resume imminently, however by next week the spotlight will return to Capitol Hill for any signs of progress.
Process/Politics: Dynamics of the negotiations around the overall size of a potential package are largely unchanged from where the two sides left things following the last formal discussions on August 7, with Republicans seeking to keep the topline number closer to $1T and Democrats insisting they meet in the middle at roughly $2T (after having offered to come down from the initial $3.4T price tag of the HEROES Act).  And despite having acted on a standalone postal bill, Democrats continue to resist any suggestion of taking a piecemeal approach and are continuing to push for a comprehensive relief package. 
While the release of a leaked version of an updated draft by Senate Republicans circulated last week certainly reflects Leader McConnell’s desire to unify his conference around a set of policy priorities, it remains unclear how many GOP Senators would support the new “skinny bill” if put up for a vote.  In a sign of continued Republican reticence, it is likely telling that McConnell hasn’t yet formally unveiled the updated legislation.    

With the expiration of the expanded unemployment insurance provision continuing to cause economic pain for constituents, rents being due at the end of the month, and the continued turmoil and delays at USPS, the pressure for both sides to work towards a deal is unlikely to subside and therefore the expectation remains that talks will resume at some point early in September. 
As the end of the fiscal year looms, it seems that leaders will need to either 1) come to an agreement in early September on the next COVID-19 bill and then later in the month pass a continuing resolution (CR) before fiscal year 2020 funding runs out on September 30, or 2) combine the CR and COVID-19 bill into one large package and pass it later in September. If they do not pass a CR by September 30, the government will shut down.
Policy: On Saturday, the House passed the Delivering for America Act (H.R. 8015) by a vote of 257-150. Text here. Highlights include:
  • Prohibition of any changes to policies and operating procedures – revert to the policies that existed on January 1, 2020.
  • Prohibition of the closing of Post Offices, other facilities, and “Blue Boxes”.
  • Disallow the prohibition of overtime.
  • Mandate that all elections mail is treated as First Class.
  • $25 billion for emergency funding to ensure the above provisions are executed.
As previously mentioned, a sizable group of moderate and vulnerable House Democrats expressed a desire to vote on additional relief measures while the House was back in session on Saturday, thought leadership ultimately decided to stay the course in pursuit of a comprehensive package. The text of Rep. Beyer’s bill tying unemployment insurance to economic indicators, the Worker Relief and Security Act, is here. Summary here. Press Release here.

Senate Republicans released a pared down COVID recovery bill last Tuesday, which would include funding for unemployment insurance through the end of the year, funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, liability protections, and health and education funding. It does not include individual stimulus payments, the non-Labor HHS appropriations included in HEALS, and tax incentives. Notably, there is no inclusion of Democratic priorities like funding for state/local/tribal governments and childcare (among other things). Text of the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act here. Highlights include:
  • Provides liability protections to businesses and healthcare providers;
  • Provides $300 per week in enhanced unemployment insurance through the end of the year;
  • 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;
  • $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);
  • $29 billion for vaccine and treatment development and distribution;
  • $16 billion for testing/contact tracing; and,
  • $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.
On Saturday, the House will be voting on the Delivering for America Act (H.R. 8015) and some additional policies to the bill. Text here. Highlights include:
  • Prohibition of any changes to policies and operating procedures – revert to the policies that existed on January 1, 2020.
  • Prohibition of the closing of Post Offices, other facilities, and “Blue Boxes”.
  • Disallow the prohibition of overtime.
  • Mandate that all elections mail is treated as First Class.
  • $25 billion for emergency funding to ensure the above provisions are executed.
The House passed the Democrats’ opening bid for the next bill, the Heroes Act, on May 15. While it’s been over two months since House passage of the bill and the contours of the debate and which issues are most pressing have shifted slightly, it can still serve as a marker of what Senate Republicans will be responding to in their bill. 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.
Members of Congress in Quarantine or Treatment (new additions in bold)
Tested Positive (1): Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
Currently Self-Quarantined (1):
Recovered (12): 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)
Completed Quarantine (45): 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), Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX), Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA)
*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
  • The FDA has issued an EUA for investigational convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to fight COVID-19. Based on available scientific evidence, the FDA concluded this product may be effective in treating COVID-19 and that the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product. The agency also published this decision memorandum.
    • The agency's decision has raised doubts among some experts who believe the therapy has not been adequately tested.
  • The FDA issued a letter to health care providers (HCP) and health care facilities alerting them of the potential that passive protective barriers (those without negative pressure) pose an increased health risk to patients and HCPs when treating patients who are known or suspected to have Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
  • The FDA issued an EUA to NovaSterilis, Inc. for its Nova2200, which can be used to decontaminate compatible N95 respirators for single-user reuse by HCP to prevent exposure to pathogenic biological airborne particulates when there are insufficient supplies of face-filtering respirators (FFRs) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The FDA posted a new webpage that provides an overview of available resources related to SARS-CoV-2 screening testing and testing using pooled samples.
  • The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the FDA have developed a checklist for human and animal food manufacturers to consider when continuing, resuming, or reevaluating operations due to the coronavirus pandemic. The checklist is useful for persons growing, harvesting, packing, manufacturing, processing or holding human and animal food regulated by FDA.
  • The Administration for Community Living updated their COVID-19 resources page, which you can view here
  • Here is last week’s 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.
  • BIO’s COVID-19 pipeline tracker is here.
  • The CDC continues to update its dashboard with new guidance documents and details, and the newest toolkits. A few of the most recent additions include:
  • You can listen to the most recent CDC COVID-19 media telebriefing here
  • The CDC published their COVID-19 Response Health Equity Strategy: Accelerating Progress Towards Reducing COVID-19 Disparities and Achieving Health Equity. The guiding principles are: Reduce health disparities. Use data-driven approaches. Foster meaningful engagement with community institutions and diverse leaders. Lead culturally responsive outreach. Reduce stigma, including stigma associated with race and ethnicity.
  • The CDC announced the creation of MMWR Weekly COVID-19 Briefing, a weekly podcast to update readers on the latest scientific information from CDC’s COVID-19 response. In each episode, MMWR Editor-in-Chief Dr. Charlotte Kent provides an overview of the latest scientific information published in MMWR. New episodes are posted every Monday. You can subscribe here
  • Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s nonvoting delegate to Congress, and Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA) have tested positive for COVID-19.
Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 5,682,491 total cases and 176,223 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. 
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that school principals can apply by this Friday to create outdoor classes in their schoolyards. The city’s public school system, the nation’s largest, is scheduled to reopen in just under three weeks in a hybrid model, not leaving much time to move classroom infrastructure outdoors.
  • Residents in Danbury, Connecticut are being urged to stay home when possible and limit gatherings after new cases jumped sharply there in the first 20 days of August.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said new COVID-19 testing sites will be set up at LaGuardia and Kennedy airports for many out-of-state travelers.
  • Gov. Cuomo also said today that school-sponsored sports that are considered “lower risk,” such as tennis, soccer, cross country, field hockey, and swimming, can practice and play with limits starting September 21.
  • Louisiana has had to shut down testing sites as they brace for multiple tropical storms. 
  • A judge in Florida has blocked the state-wide mandate that said schools who do not offer in-person instruction would not receive government funding. 
  • Cases in both Florida and Texas have passed 600,000, a milestone previously only reached by California.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) unveiled the state’s new enhanced online data tool.
  • Connecticut's Department of Aging and Disability Services released a document providing guidance for senior centers that will allow for the safe reopening of their facilities. The guidance was developed in partnership with senior centers, municipalities, and state and local health representatives. It is intended to provide senior centers with the discretion to expand the virtual programs and services that they have been providing during the pandemic beginning September 1.
  • A wedding reception in Maine led to at least 53 people being infected with COVID-19, officials with the Maine CDC reported over the weekend.
  • Useful state data:
    • NPR tracks where coronavirus cases are on the rise. 
    • 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
  • Europe is bracing for a barrage of job cuts as companies prepare to majorly downsize in an effort to offset COVID-related financial losses. Government-backed furlough programs that have helped keep about a third of Europe’s work force financially secure are set to unwind in the coming months.
  • Millions of people in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region in western China, have been unable to leave their homes for 40 days because of a sweeping lockdown to fight a virus resurgence. With the outbreak seemingly under control, but the restrictions still largely in place, many residents say they are being confined to their homes unnecessarily and denied access to critical services like health care.
  • Bali, Indonesia’s leading tourist destination, nixed plans to allow foreign tourists starting September 11, and will wait at least until the end of the year before opening to them. Bali’s economy contracted 11 percent during the second quarter, with about 2,700 tourism workers laid off and another 74,000 on unpaid leave.
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand extended Auckland's lockdown until Sunday night. The restrictions were originally set to expire on Wednesday, but PM Ardern said the extra time was necessary to ensure that a virus cluster had been brought under control. Eight new confirmed or probable cases were announced on Monday, bringing the total to 101.
  • Today, a "made in Italy" vaccine was administered to the first volunteer. The vaccine is produced by ReiThera, a biotechnology company based near Rome but headquartered in Switzerland.
  • French health officials said an outbreak of COVID-19 at a nudist camp in the southern resort town of Le Cap d’Agde was “very worrying.” More than 140 people have tested positive in the town and 310 more are awaiting results.
  • Authorities in the Gaza Strip announced the first reported community spread of COVID-19, raising concerns that the pandemic could spread widely in the densely populated area.
  • The WHO announced that 172 economies are now engaged in discussions to potentially participate in COVAX, a global initiative aimed at working with vaccine manufacturers to provide countries worldwide equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, once they are licensed and approved. COVAX currently has the world’s largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio - including nine candidate vaccines, with a further nine under evaluation and conversations underway with other major producers. The goal of COVAX is to bring the pandemic under control via equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. Read more here
  • Italy recorded more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases in a day for the first time since early May.
  • In Germany, several thousand volunteers attended a pop-up concert as part of an experiment to understand how COVID-19 spreads in large-scale stadium events — and how to prevent it. All participants were required to test negative for the virus 48 hours before the event and wear masks throughout the experiment.
  • Global Cases: 23,677,221      Total Deaths: 813,802
Lifestyle, Science, and Economy
  • There has been a 90 percent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among children in the U.S. over the last four weeks, according to recent data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association. The information will be updated weekly and is publicly available.
  • report published by the CDC suggests child-care centers may reopen safely in areas where the virus is low.
  • The WHO released a document titled Advice on the use of masks for children in the community in the context of COVID-19. The document includes a Q&A about children and masks.
  • Researchers in Hong Kong have produced study results that indicate reinfection of COVID-19 may be possible in rare cases. The study is set to be published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
  • More than 730 American colleges and universities have announced at least one case on campus among students, faculty, or staff since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Research from the University of Notre Dame estimates that more than 100,000 people were already infected with COVID-19 by early March—when only 1,514 cases and 39 deaths had been officially reported and before a national emergency was declared. The study provides insight into how limited testing and gaps in surveillance during the initial phase of the epidemic resulted in so many cases going undetected. 
  • No­vavax is going ahead with the Phase II por­tion of a Phase I/II tri­al for its vac­cine in the U.S and Aus­tralia but will be focusing on old­er pa­tients this time. According to the company, about half of par­tic­i­pants en­rolled in the Phase II por­tion are be­tween the ages of 60 to 84. Recently released data show that the can­di­date pro­tect­ed macaques from in­fec­tion dur­ing a chal­lenge tri­al.
  • recent report from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy warned that a lack of data on how COVID-19 is affecting minority groups is limiting the U.S. response to the disease. More than half of COVID-19 cases reported to the federal government by states through the end of May did not include the patient’s race or ethnicity. Additionally, a study published last month found evidence that socioeconomic bias is ingrained into the primary federal surveillance program for flu-like illness, ILINet, which has been used to help track COVID-19, which often includes flu-like symptoms.
  • American Airlines will begin deploying a disinfecting surface coating that kills COVID-19 for up to seven days. SurfaceWise2, manufactured by Allied BioScience, creates an invisible layer that kills pathogens on high-touch surfaces within two hours.
  • According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, if mask use increases from 53 percent to 95 percent it could save almost 70,000 lives.
  • A Zoom outage yesterday highlighted how dependent many U.S. schools and companies have become on the videoconferencing platform. 
  • The Ohio State University has suspended 228 students who either hosted or attended parties/large gatherings and said they must leave campus while their disciplinary cases are pending. Schools across the country are having to deal with disciplining students who disobey COVID-19 codes of conduct. 
  • KFC has suspended its 64-year-old “Finger Lickin’ Good” ad campaign for markets outside the U.S. because of the coronavirus pandemic. The company said it would pause the use of “the most inappropriate slogan of 2020” in its advertising for now, given hygiene messaging and preventive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
  • 11 NFL teams were told over the weekend that a total of 77 people, including players and staff members, had tested positive for COVID-19. It turned out, however, that the tests had yielded false positive results. 
  • 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.
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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