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COVID-19 Update
May 22, 2020

IowaBio wants to provide our members useful information during the COVID-19 public health emergency. 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

Governor Reynolds will hold a press conference today from the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Johnston, IA at 11:00 a.m. to provide an update to the state of Iowa on COVID-19. That press conference will be livestreamed and posted in full on Governor Reynolds’ Facebook Page

Currently, IDPH has reported on the state’s coronavirus dashboard, 16,344 Iowans have tested positive, up 454 from our update yesterday morning, with a total of 118,850 Iowans tested.  18 more deaths were reported since our update yesterday, bringing the total to 418 deaths.  Now 8,794 Iowans have recovered. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here.

Yesterday at her press conference Governor Reynolds said the highest test rate for Test Iowa was Thursday, with 4,636 tests done yesterday. The Governor announced they are further expanding the criteria so anyone who thinks they should be tested can be tested. Iowans who want to be tested can take the online assessment at and then get tested. The change was effective by the end of the day yesterday. Data collected from Test Iowa helps inform where strike teams and Test Iowa sites should be used.

She gave more information about school activities resuming. Director of the Department of Ann Lebo Summer school and academic enrichment activities can resume. High school baseball and softball may also resume, as announced earlier this week. She outlined guidance for districts for resuming school activities. She said resuming school activities is a local decision.

Federal Actions
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue announced that the Department is making available up to $1 billion in loan guarantees to help rural businesses meet their working capital needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, agricultural producers that are not eligible for USDA Farm Service Agency loans may receive funding under USDA Business & Industry (B&I) CARES Act Program provisions included in the CARES Act.
  • FDA posted a list of antibody tests that are being removed from the “notification list” of tests being offered under the Policy for Coronavirus Disease-2019 Tests During the Public Health Emergency. Antibody tests on this new removal list include those voluntarily withdrawn from the notification list by the test’s commercial manufacturer and those for which there is not a pending EUA request or issued EUA. The FDA expects that the tests on the removal list will not be marketed or distributed. Antibody tests offered by commercial manufacturers as outlined under the policy, which was issued on March 16th and updated on May 4th, continue to be located on the notification list pending review of their EUA request.
  • The FDA issued the guidance “Supplements for Approved Premarket Approval (PMA) or Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) Submissions During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency” to help foster the continued availability of medical. Per the guidance, the FDA does not intend to object to limited modifications to the design and manufacturing of devices approved through either a PMA or HDE without prior submission of a PMA or HDE supplement or 30-day notice for the duration of the public health emergency. The policy set forth in the guidance does not apply to design or manufacturing changes made for reasons other than addressing manufacturing limitations or supply chain issues resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency or to any proposed changes described in a regulatory submission already received by the FDA.
  • HHS announced that, under Operation Warp Speed, HHS and AstraZeneca are collaborating to make at least 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine (called AZD1222) with the first doses delivered as early as October 2020. The agreement between AstraZeneca and BARDA will accelerate the development and manufacturing of the company’s investigational vaccine to begin Phase 3 clinical studies this summer with approximately 30,000 volunteers in the U.S. To clarify, this does not mean a vaccine will be widely available by October 2020. Top U.S. health officials still say 2021 at the earliest for when a vaccine will be available to the American public. 
  • The CDC continues to update and publish new COVID-19 documents to its dashboard. Today, the CDC posted answers to frequently asked questions for administrators, teachers, and parents of K-12 schools and child care programs, updated considerations for institutes of higher education, and a revised list of key strategies to prepare for COVID-19 in long-term care facilities (among other resources). 
  • Republicans and Democrats remain divided over a few key issues including liability protections (both for employers and colleges), unemployment insurance, and funding for state and local governments, which will need to be addressed before the Senate will consider further COVID-19 legislation. Yesterday, Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin said, "I think there is a strong likelihood we will need another bill."
Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 1,551,095 total cases and 93,061 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. 
  • New York State is now looking into 157 cases of MIS-C, the severe inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19 that is affecting children. CDC's informational page about MIS-C is linked here
  • House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) sent a letter to the Chair and Vice Chair of the National Governors Association, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), following up on his previous request that they direct the leaders of all fifty states, D.C., and U.S. territories to collect demographic data on racial disparities and COVID-19. His request follows reports that states are not reporting comprehensive demographic data. Of the 1.1 million COVID-19 cases reported to the CDC, race is not known in more than half of them. 
  • More than 10,000 individuals across the U.S. have been trained in COVID-19 contact tracing thanks to the free ASTHO and NCSD introductory training course. You can register for the course here.
  • Gov. Cuomo announced that religious gatherings limited to 10 people were allowed to resume today in New York. Drive-in and parking lot services will also be resuming.
  • Gov. JB Pritzker (D) announced updates to Phase 3 of the state's Restore Illinois plan. Bars and restaurants can open for outdoor seating, and all state parks can reopen.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced the phases in his Stay Safe plan, including allowing limited outdoor dining at restaurants and bars starting June 1st. Salons and barbershops will be allowed to open June 1st at 25 percent capacity.
  • Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced that North Carolina will move into Safer At Home Phase 2 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions tomorrow. After two weeks in Phase 1, the state’s overall key indicators remain stable but the continued increases in daily case count signal a need to take a more modest step forward in Phase 2 than originally envisioned.
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced that Marion and Polk counties can begin entering Phase I of reopening tomorrow under her framework for building a safe and strong Oregon.
  • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced that houses of worship, when they begin reopening the weekend of May 30th, will be limited to 25 percent of their overall capacity.
  • Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed an EO allowing all registered voters in Connecticut to vote absentee in the August 11th primary elections.
  • Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed an EO allowing the operation of alternate care sites in Colorado in the event that a COVID-19 infection surge threatens to overwhelm the state’s healthcare resources.
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's (R) recent EO permits campgrounds to reopen and allows indoor dining at restaurants and bars to resume some restrictions. 
  • 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
  • As COVID-19 cases in South American countries continue to rise, strict “lockdowns” and associated job losses have disproportionately affected migrant workers from Venezuela. About 40,000 migrant Venezuelan workers have been repatriated home, and Venezuela is currently prioritizing bringing homeless migrant workers home from Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. 
  • Sweden's Public Health Authority released preliminary results from a serological study tracking levels of COVID-19 antibodies in different regions across the country. 
  • International aid confederation Oxfam will withdraw from 18 countries stating that its finances have been “seriously impacted” by COVID-19, and that its affiliates had been canceling fund-raising events, closing shops, ordering furloughs, and curbing travel. Oxfam’s footprint will shrink to 48 countries, and will exit additional programs over time in countries that include Afghanistan, Cuba, Haiti, Liberia, Pakistan, Paraguay, Rwanda, and Thailand.
  • UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said today that around 5 percent of antibody tests in the UK have come back positive. Around 17 percent of people in London alone have tested positive for the coronavirus antibodies.  
  • Latin America has reported more new cases of COVID-19 than either the U.S. or Europe for three days in a row, driven by high numbers in Brazil, Peru, and Mexico.
  • The U.S. Embassy in Moscow said today that a U.S. humanitarian aid delivery containing 50 ventilators has made it to Russia. 
  • Wuhan’s Municipal Health Commission says it has conducted more than 3 million COVID-19 tests since May 12th. The National Health Commission reported no new cases in Wuhan yesterday. 
  • Findings from a study out of the Milan Polyclinic Hospital suggest that the virus was spreading in Italy for at least two weeks before it was first officially detected. 
  • Global Cases:  5,125,612 Total Deaths:  333,382
Lifestyle, Science, and Economy
  • An additional 2.4 million individuals filed for unemployment last week, bringing the nine-week total to 38.6 million. 
  • Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said today that the COVID-19 pandemic poses the most serious threat “in our lifetimes” to the Federal Reserve’s goals of maintaining strong employment and stable prices.
  • Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are anticipating a busy hurricane season for the Atlantic. As has happened in India and Bangladesh, COVID-19 is expected to be a barrier in recovery efforts. For example, FEMA can currently only deploy 38 percent of staff. There are other concerns about the virus spreading in shelters and how to deal with evacuations.  
  • A Columbia University modeling study found that implementing widespread social distancing measures in the U.S. one week earlier than most stay-at-home orders were issued could have reduced the cumulative COVID-19 incidence and mortality through May 3rd by more than 60 percent and 50 percent, respectively, saving nearly 36,000 lives. A graph depicting these findings is included below. 
  • The iOS Coronavirus Update for iPhones will speed up facial recognition unlocking for users wearing protective masks. As you swipe up on the lock screen, the instant the software detects that your face is blocked by a mask, it pops up the passcode screen. 
  • Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook will shift toward a substantially remote workforce over the next 10 years thanks to COVID-19. Zuckerberg anticipates as many as half of Facebook’s employees (of whom there are currently more than 45,000) will work from home within the decade. 
  • 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.
  • 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.


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

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