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.
The overall number of vaccines administered is 348,032 an increase of 6,109 since yesterday, with 166,952 receiving their first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and 90,540 receiving their second dose. To find vaccine providers in your county, click here or scroll to the bottom of the vaccine dashboard.
Currently, IDPH has reported on the state’s coronavirus dashboard, 325,375 Iowans have tested positive, up 706 from our update yesterday morning, with a total of 1,498,118 tested. 2 additional deaths were reported since our last update, bringing the total to 5,110 deaths. Now 296,445 Iowans have recovered. The total 14 day rolling average positivity rate is 8.5% the past 7-day average is 6.1%. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here. There are currently 327 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. School district waiver requests and whether they are granted or denied are listed here.
Currently 0 (of 99) counties are at or above a 15 percent positivity rate over the past 14 days. Click here to search county data for today.
Timeline/Process/Politics: While President Biden has indicated he is still open to continuing bipartisan negotiations, the reconciliation process is in full swing. It's likely bipartisan conversations do not continue or are rendered irrelevant as Democrats march through reconciliation. After the House and Senate passed budget resolutions and the budget last week, House committees are marking up their sections of the bill this week, with the aim of floor votes the first week of March and final passage before unemployment insurance expires on March 14.
Policy: We’ve started to see some committees release their portions of the bill ahead of markups. See below for committee text and summaries. Initial Biden proposal here. The topline is around $1.9 trillion.
Ways and Means: press release here (with links to text and section by section summaries), Joint Committee on Taxation summary here
$1,400 stimulus checks, with same income phase out as the most recent package ($75 per year for single filers, $150,000 per year for married couples) (Subtitle G);
$400/week federal unemployment insurance through August 29, 2021 (Subtitle A);
Expands eligibility and increases credit for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit (CTC) to $3,000 per child, and allows families to claim up to half their child care expenses in the Child and Dependent Tax Credit (CDCTC) (Subtitle G);
Extension of the employee retention credit (Subtitle G);
Exempts EIDL grants and Restaurant Revitalization Grants from tax (Subtitle G); and,
Increases ACA subsidies and caps premiums at 8.5 percent of income, temporary subsidy of COBRA continuation coverage for those who have lost their job-based insurance (Subtitle F).
Education and Labor: press release here, fact sheet here, section by section here, text here
$128.5 billion in grants for elementary and secondary school reopening and stabilization;
$39.6 billion for higher education emergency relief fund;
Increases the federal minimum wage to $15/hr by 2025, phases out the tipped minimum wage by 2027, phases out and eliminated sub-minimum wage;
$150 million for worker protection ($75 million for OSHA);
$14.9 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDGB) program;
Extends the 15 percent increase in monthly SNAP benefits.
Assistance for funeral-related expenses to individuals and households affected;
$30 billion for targeted support of public transit agencies;
$8 billion for airport assistance;
$3 billion for airline payroll support, with certain requirements for airlines to receive funding;
Financial Services: committee print here, text here
$10 billion for the Defense Production Act;
At least $19 billion for emergency rental assistance, $5 billion for emergency assistance to those at risk or experiencing homelessness; and,
Almost $10 billion for Homeowner Assistance Fund, which includes emergency utility assistance.
Energy and Commerce: no public text yet, but more details specific to health response funding are here. Agriculture: no public text yet Veterans Affairs: no public text yet Oversight and Reform: no public text yet
Along with the policies listed above, we expect to see the following reflected in committee text that will be released.
$350 billion for state, local, and territorial governments.
$20 billion for vaccination distribution, $50 billion for testing expansion.
$20 billion for tribal governments to help them respond to the pandemic in Indian Country.
Over $10 billion for cybersecurity and information technology improvements, including $9 billion for the Technology Modernization Fund.
Members of Congress in Quarantine or Treatment
New additions in bold. As of January 15, the below list only includes members of the 117th Congress and thus is not cumulative across Congresses.
Tested Positive (2): Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA)
Died from COVID-19 (1):Rep. Ron Wright (R-TX)
Recovered from COVID-19 (66): Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Rep. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), 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), Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA), Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-Puerto Rico at large), Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL), Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Rep. Brian Steil (R-WI), Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-TX), Rep. Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV), Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA), Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC), Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Rep. Ken Calvert R-CA), Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Maria Salazar (R-FL), Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA), Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Rep. Jake LaTurner (R-KS), Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL), Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA), Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA)
Currently Self-Quarantined (2): Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
Completed Quarantine (50): Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA), Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Vincente Gonzalez (D-TX), 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), 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), Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX), Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA),
Rep. Ron Wright (R-TX) passed away on Sunday due to complications from COVID-19. Rep. Wright's office said in a statement, “Congressman Wright will be remembered as a constitutional conservative. He was a statesman, not an ideologue.” He is the first sitting member of Congress to die from COVID-19. Read more about Rep. Wright's life here.
Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin announced that 1,110 active duty service members will support five FEMA vaccination centers. Each team will include service members from across the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, and will be composed of: 15 service members for command and control; 80 for administering vaccinations; 15 registered nurses; 57 clinical staff; and 55 general purpose personnel.
A transcript from yesterday's press briefing by the White House COVID-19 Response Team and Public Health Officials is available here.
During Friday's press briefing, Tim Manning, Nation Supply Chain Coordinator, announced three ways the Administration is using the DPA:
To provide Pfizer with more equipment and supplies to enable them to ramp-up production of vaccines.
To help deliver more than 60 million point-of-care/at-home tests by this summer.
To produce more surgical gloves and other PPE in the U.S.
HHS and the White House COVID-19 response team have released the weekly state profile snapshot. The purpose of this report is to develop a shared understanding of the current status of the pandemic at the national, regional, state, and local levels.
The FDA is alerting health care professionals and compounders of potential risks associated with compounding remdesivir drug products. The FDA cautions against compounding remdesivir drug products. The agency recommends health care providers utilize the FDA-approved drug for patients who are prescribed remdesivir. Compounded drugs are not FDA-approved. This means the FDA does not verify the safety, effectiveness, or quality of compounded drugs. Compounded drugs should only be used in patients whose medical needs cannot be met by an FDA-approved drug.
322 tests and sample collection devices are authorized by the FDA under EUA. These include 239 molecular tests and sample collection devices, 69 antibody tests, and 14 antigen tests. There are 35 molecular authorizations that can be used with home-collected samples. There is one molecular prescription at-home test, one antigen prescription at-home test, and one over-the-counter (OTC) at-home antigen test.
The CDC has published and updated a number of COVID-19 and vaccine materials and resources on its dashboard, and you can keep track of vaccinations here. Please continue to check these for information on things like recommended quarantine periods and return-to-work guidance. To highlight a few of the recent updates:
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.
The NIH announced the beginning of an international randomized, controlled Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of an investigational long-acting antibody combination for treating people hospitalized with COVID-19.
Sailors assigned to the Navy's USS Ronald Reagan began receiving the second shot of the COVID-19 vaccination on Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan on Feb. 2.
Updates from the States
Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 26,852,809 total cases and 462,037 deaths.The CDC data closes out the day before reporting.
Fewer than half as many cases are emerging each day than at the country’s peak a month ago. Death rates, however, remain extremely high.
Hawaii, North Dakota, and Washington State are adding new cases at the lowest rates in the country. South Carolina, Arkansas, and Oklahoma are identifying infections at the highest rates.
The New York Department of Education announced that New York City's public middle schools will reopen this month following winter break.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that restaurants in New York City can begin serving customers indoors on Friday, two days earlier than previously planned.
Gov. Cuomo also announced that four additional New York companies, and one company that has previously received state support, will be awarded nearly $2 million in state support to produce needed supplies to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) issued an emergency proclamation that ends the requirement for Iowans to wear masks in public buildings, lifts previous restrictions on the number of people allowed at social gatherings, and rolls back social distancing for bars, restaurants, casinos, fitness centers, and other establishments. Gov. Reynolds also encouraged Iowans, businesses, and organizations to take reasonable public health measures consistent with guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) signed an EO and emergency order establishing a statewide public health emergency and requiring face coverings in public places to protect the health and safety of Wisconsinites. He also announced a new partnership with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare to help expand vaccine accessibility.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the Biden-Harris Administration announced a pilot project to establish community vaccination sites in Oakland and Los Angeles. The sites will be co-run by FEMA and the State of California through the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) issued a modification to his Omnibus State of Emergency Declaration, requiring Delaware vaccination providers to report complete demographic information into the Delaware Immunization Information System within 24 hours of administering a vaccine. The modification requires health care providers, pharmacies, and other entities that provide vaccinations to offer the shots free of charge, though insurance information may be collected.
Illinois has added 80 new locations to the list of COVID-19 vaccination locations open to the public for a current total of 390 locations. The new sites include 78 additional Walgreens locations for a total of 170 stores across the state, as well as two Illinois National Guard-supported locations in Cook and St. Clair counties.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced four new regional COVID-19 vaccination sites, in Bowling Green, Covington, Glasgow, and Murray.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced that Louisiana will begin vaccinating people between the ages of 65 and 69 today, Feb. 8, expanding eligibility to more than 275,000 additional Louisianans. Some Unified Command Group members, state COVID-19 emergency response personnel, local emergency response personnel, law enforcement, first responders, and elections workers for the upcoming March and April elections will also be eligible.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced a new Equity and Fairness Initiative aimed at ensuring vaccines are distributed to Nevadans equally, specifically in Clark County. Under this initiative, the state will work with Clark County Emergency Management and Southern Nevada Health District to clarify prioritization lanes, support fair access to vaccines through site selection, and equitable allocation across communities.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed an EO that eliminates the numerical cap on the size of religious gatherings and maintains the capacity limit for these gatherings at 50 percent, effective immediately. The EO also permits all voters in any special election or municipal primary held prior to April 20, 2021, to vote using an absentee ballot.
Connecticut’s Department of Public Health announced plans to expand availability and access to COVID-19 vaccine scheduling through an appointment hotline. Beginning today, the hotline will have expanded hours, from 8 AM to 8 PM, seven days per week.
Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services updated its current epidemic order to allow contact sports to resume as of Monday, Feb. 8, provided masks are worn during practices and competition.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) extended an EO directing individuals in Colorado to wear a medical or non-medical face-covering.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) called on all K-12 school divisions in the Commonwealth to make in-person learning options available by March 15, 2021, in accordance with the health guidance the Northam Administration put forward in January and new research from the CDC. The governor also encouraged school divisions to offer classroom instruction during the summer months for those who choose.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced that the covidvaccine.oregon.gov site will now include a new tool—Get Vaccinated Oregon— to help people determine eligibility and to sign up for email alerts and text notifications when they become eligible.
Georgia health officials suspended the Medical Center of Elberton from the state’s vaccine program for six months for starting to vaccinate teachers before they officially became eligible under state guidelines.
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. NPR's map can also be used to monitor your state's heat wave.
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.
More than 59.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed across the U.S., and more than 32.3 million people have received their first dose, according to CDC data.
Dr. Tony Fauci said he believes that vaccine supplies will improve by March, with increased doses of approved vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna and a new vaccine candidate from Johnson & Johnson.
CDC released an MMWR on the observed face mask use at six universities in the U.S. from September to November 2020. During September–November 2020, mask use was directly observed at six universities with mask mandates. Among persons observed indoors, 91.7 percent wore masks correctly, varying by mask type, from 96.8 percent for N95-type masks and 92.2 percent for cloth masks to 78.9 percent for bandanas, scarves, and similar face coverings. Institutions of higher education can use this feedback to tailor training and messaging for correct mask use.
CDC also released an MMWR on the decline in COVID-19 hospitalization growth rates associated with statewide mask mandates in 10 states from March to October 2020. During March 22–Oct. 17, 2020, 10 sites participating in the COVID-19–Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network in states with statewide mask mandates reported a decline in weekly COVID-19–associated hospitalization growth rates by up to 5.5 percentage points for adults aged 18–64 years after mandate implementation, compared with growth rates during the 4 weeks preceding implementation of the mandate. Mask-wearing is a component of a multipronged strategy to decrease exposure to and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and reduce strain on the health care system, with likely direct effects on COVID-19 morbidity and associated mortality.
Hospitals across the country have reported dramatic increases in alcohol-related admissions for critical diseases such as alcoholic hepatitis and liver failure. Alcoholism-related liver disease was a growing problem even before the pandemic, but the pandemic has dramatically added to the toll. Leading liver disease specialists and psychiatrists believe the isolation, unemployment and hopelessness associated with COVID-19 are driving the explosion in cases.
A new University of Michigan poll suggests that nearly one in five older adults don't have the ability to isolate after exposure to someone with COVID-19 - and that those who are Hispanic or Black, or who have lower incomes or poor health to begin with, are more likely to lack a safe isolation place in their home.
South Africa has suspended use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine after a researcher's report “minimal” protection against the COVID-19 variant. It will now instead offer vaccines developed by Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer in the coming weeks.
Leisure and hospitality remains by far the worst hit industry, having lost 61,000 jobs in January on top of a downwardly revised 536,000 jobs in December, for a total of almost 4 million jobs lost since February 2020. This industry alone accounts for around 40 percent of jobs lost during the pandemic.
A mosque in England has been turned into a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination center to help ease vaccine hesitancy in the Muslim community.
Researchers at Oxford University have expressed that herd immunity can no longer be the goal for COVID-19 vaccines following the news that the AstraZeneca vaccine does not stop people with the South African variant from becoming mildly or moderately ill.
The Australian Open began in Melbourne on Monday, after a three-week delay because of confirmed COVID-19 cases among staff and players. The number of spectators has been capped at 30,000 per day, about half the usual attendance.
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.
Here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Update and here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Operational Update.
COVAX released a statement on the new Coronavirus variants.
On Feb. 7 Denmark lifted the ban on flights coming from the U.A.E.
The Australian state of Victoria has recorded another day without any locally acquired cases, after nearly 15,000 tests were conducted.
The U.A.E. will temporarily only vaccinate residents and citizens who are elderly or who have certain health conditions, following a spike in infections in recent weeks.
The U.K.’s vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, said there are no plans to introduce vaccine passports, because such a measure would be discriminatory.
Austria has tightened border controls to all neighboring countries, saying non-essential travel should be prevented during the pandemic.
Israel and Jordan have relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, with barbershops and some other businesses opening in Israel and pupils returning to school in Jordan.
Afghanistan received its first batch of AstraZeneca’s vaccines from India’s Serum Institute on Sunday.
Hungary has approved Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V, with 40,000 doses ready to be rolled out.
China on Monday reported zero locally transmitted COVID-19 cases for the first time since mid-December.
South Korea reported the lowest daily number of new COVID-19 cases since late November as the government slightly eased social distancing restrictions in the face of growing criticism from businesses impacted by the rules.
Beginning yesterday, all staff and pupils at French schools must wear only category 1 face masks under a tightening of health rules at education establishments. This means no more home-made masks, which are less effective against the spread of new COVID-19 variants.
Migrants living in Britain will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines regardless of whether they have the legal right to live and work in the country, and getting vaccinated will not trigger immigration checks.
The armies of Pakistan and Cambodia have both received donations of COVID-19 vaccines from China, the first foreign militaries to do so.
COVID-19 case rates for the U.K. have dropped to their lowest level since before Christmas, with some regions of England recording rates last seen in early December.
Argentina has detected the first cases of two Brazilian COVID-19 variants in travelers from the neighboring nation.
The Dutch government will extend its 9 PM night-time curfew to Mar. 2.
A stay-at-home order for Toronto will be extended by another two weeks.
Indonesia began inoculating people 60 and older on Monday after health officials concluded that the Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccine they were using was safe for that age group.
The public health commission in Spain has said the country’s vaccination program will not make use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in older people, making it the latest European country to do so.