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.
Currently, IDPH has reported on the state’s coronavirus dashboard, 31,763 Iowans have tested positive, up 152 from our update yesterday morning, with a total of 336,998 tested. 4 additional deaths were reported since our last update, bringing the total to 725 deaths. Now 25,403 Iowans have recovered. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here.
Federal Legislation Supplemental IV Timeline/Process/Politics: Both the House and Senate are out for the next two weeks, so negotiations may begin once Congress returns. It’s unclear exactly when negotiations will begin as we have yet to see a Republican response to the House-passed Heroes Act, but there’s an understanding between parties that the next bill must be passed before the August recess. Negotiations on the next, and presumably final, supplemental package will likely be the most contentious we’ve seen. And even then, the most recent supplemental, which only focused on the Paycheck Protection Program and its funding, took multiple weeks to negotiate.
Policy: Last week Senate Democrats highlighted various priorities that they’ll likely push for once negotiations begin. Senate Democrats continued their calls for additional assistance to state, local, and tribal governments, highlighting the recent letter from the National Governors Association. They also continued to call for election security measures and funding for education and nursing homes.
Additionally, Democratic Minority Leader Schumer and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden released a new proposal that would tie additional unemployment benefits to unemployment rates. The bill can be seen as the Democratic solution to the issues with employment incentives in reopening states. Republicans Sen. Portman and Rep. Brady have both presented proposals that would offer bonuses to workers returning to work. Press release here. Summary here. Highlights below:
The proposal, titled the American Workforce Rescue Act, would extend the federal boost to weekly UI benefits until a state’s unemployment rate (an average over three months) reaches 11 percent, and then would gradually reduce the benefit in increments of $100 until the average rate reaches 6 percent.
The bill would also extend the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which was created by the CARES Act. The program would be extended to March 27, 2021, after which it will remain available until a state’s unemployment rate falls below 5.5 percent. The number of weeks available of PEUC will be correlated to the state’s unemployment rate.
The bill would also extend other CARES Act provisions related to unemployment insurance until March 27, 2021, after which they will be available until a state’s unemployment rate falls below 5.5 percent.
While the Heroes Act will not be taken up by the Senate (as Sen. McConnell has indicated), it can serve as a marker of what the Senate will be responding to. 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.
Legislation to Watch Paycheck Protection Program Extension Bill (S. 4116)
Last week, the day before the Paycheck Protection Program was about to expire, Senate Small Business Committee Ranking Member Cardin (D-MD) introduced a bill that would extend the Paycheck Protection Program for another five weeks. It was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate later that day and passed by the House the following day. President Trump signed the bill into law on July 4. The Paycheck Protection Program was set to end July 1, but the new law extends it to August 8. Bill text here.
Passed Legislation New Implementation Information and Guidance
7/6 – The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration released data on loans funded through the Paycheck Protection Program. As previously reported, the data includes businesses’ names, zip codes, demographics, non-profit status, lender name, jobs, and loan amount (in ranges). Press release here. Report on PPP through 6/30 here. Loan level data located on this web page – you can download data by state or download the entire dataset on a CSV file.
7/2 – The Treasury Department announced it had reached agreements with five airlines on the terms of extending the loans outlined in Title IV of the CARES Act. Airlines have already received grants from the Treasury Department for payroll purposes, as outlined in the CARES Act. These are the first airlines to receive loans under this program, for which the CARES Act allocated $25 billion. The five airlines that agreed to Treasury’s terms were the following: American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Sky West Airlines, and Spirit Airlines. Treasury press release here.
Members of Congress in Quarantine or Treatment (new additions in bold) Tested Positive (0): Currently Self-Quarantined (0): Recovered (8): 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) Completed Quarantine (39): 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)
Other Federal Actions
Last week, the U.S. Surgeon General and HHS released a PSA ahead of the Fourth of July weekend imploring Americans to take action and to remember: COVID Stops With Me. The PSA from Surgeon General Jerome Adams reminds everyone to do their part to stay healthy by following a few simple instructions that will in turn, help prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The FDA issued an EUA for a COVID-19 antigen diagnostic test, the BD (Becton Dickinson) Veritor System for Rapid Detection of SARS-CoV-2. This is the second antigen test the FDA has authorized for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 antigens. This test is authorized for use in laboratories certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) for high, moderate, or waived complexity testing, meaning it can be used in patient care settings operating under a CLIA Certificate of Waiver, Certificate of Compliance, or Certificate of Accreditation. Emergency use of this test is limited to authorized laboratories using the BD Veritor Plus Analyzer Instrument.
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.
Fifty-seven former government scientists and public health officials of both parties called on Monday for a science-based approach to the coronavirus pandemic and criticized the Trump administration for marginalizing science and expertise in its response. The statement is signed by officials from the Trump, Obama, and George W. Bush administrations. The statement also calls on Congress to conduct more rigorous oversight of the pandemic response, and states that inspectors general must be able to do their jobs without fear of retaliation, that data collection methods from federal agencies must be more transparent and easily accessible to outside experts, and that federal employees who speak about interference in science must be better protected.
NIH Director Francis Collins and top infectious disease expert Dr. Tony Fauci live streamed a conversation today about progress on vaccine research and other issues surrounding COVID-19. As cases in some U.S. states have doubled in the last two weeks, Dr. Fauci reiterated that this is not a second wave we are seeing but a resurgence of the initial wave.
Federal health officials at BARDA have spoken with the American Red Cross and blood organizations about ramping up the collection of blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients, in a large-scale effort to build supplies of the promising experimental treatment.
The Departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, and HHS issued joint guidance for the air travel industry to better protect passengers, crew, and other airport workers from COVID-19 as the economy reopens.
The following COVID-19 hearings are slated to place in Congress this week:
Tuesday (7/7) 12 PM House Education and Labor, “A Major Test: Examining the Impact of COVID-19 on the Future of Higher Education.”
Tuesday (7/7) 12 PM House Financial Services, "Paycheck Security: Economic Perspectives on Alternative Approaches to Protecting Workers’ Pay During COVID-19."
Wednesday (7/8) 12 PM House Homeland, "Examining the National Response to the Worsening Coronavirus Pandemic."
Friday (7/10) 12 PM House Homeland, “Pandemic Response: Confronting the Unequal Impacts of COVID-19.”
Updates from the States
Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 2,886,267 total cases and129,811 deathsThe CDC data closes out the day before reporting.
Texas and Florida both surpassed 200,000 total cases over the weekend.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) directed Texans in all counties with 20 or more COVID-19 cases to wear face masks in public places. Sheriffs of Gillespie and Montgomery Counties have sad they do not intend to comply or enforce the order.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said the state is pausing its move to phase three of their reopening plan. Bars will remain closed and restaurants can only open at 50 percent capacity.
Florida's Miami-Dade County will shut down restaurants and gyms starting Wednesday.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) signed an EO requiring adults and children over nine years to wear a face covering in places where social distancing is not possible.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued a brief extension of the Safe Start proclamation until July 9th.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said yesterday that the state will be cracking down on businesses that violate virus-related restrictions. Authorities inspected nearly 6,000 businesses over the holiday weekend and than 50 were cited.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) released the latest COVID-19 Re-Opening Response Plan that reviews COVID-19 case data amid businesses reopening.
New York City entered phase three of its reopening plan but indoor dining is still not allowed.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) announced that he will be isolating while he awaits test results after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta said on Monday that she tested positive for COVID-19 without any symptoms.
Useful state data:
The NYT is tracking which states are reopening and which are still shut down.
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.
The Iranian government, for first time since the pandemic began, ordered citizens to cover their faces in public.
The Australian state of Victoria has locked down nine public housing towers in Melbourne, telling about 3,000 residents that they must not leave their homes for any reason for at least five days.
A record number of new COVID-19 cases was reported globally Saturday, with the U.S., Brazil, and India showing the biggest increases.
Britain is putting 8.4 million pounds ($10.49 million) into a new study to examine the long-term effects of COVID-19 on patients.
Mexican officials said they will install health checkpoints at various entry points along the northern border this weekend.
The Israeli government has tightened restrictions, closing bars, gyms, and public swimming pools, curtailing gatherings in restaurants, synagogues, and buses, and canceling summer camps for all but the youngest children.
About 270,000 people in Spain have re-entered lockdown after the country officially ended its state of emergency on June 21st.
Four top Bolivian government officials, including the health minister, have tested positive for COVID-19.
Spanish officials announced results from a nationwide antibody study which found that 5 percent of the country's population had been exposed to the coronavirus.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a phased reopening, lifting restrictions on travel in and out of the capital Nairobi and allowing air travel to resume.
Puerto Rico will reopen for in-bound tourism on July 15th, with new and adjusted health and safety mandates for visitors and residents also taking effect.
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has reportedly been showing symptoms of COVID-19 and had a lung scan.
Officials in India postponed the reopening of the Taj Mahal this week. The number of cases in the country started to rapidly rise several weeks ago after the government began lifting a lockdown imposed in March, and some cities have already reinstated tough rules to keep their caseloads down.
Global Cases: 11,647,399 Total Deaths: 538,796
Lifestyle, Science, and Economy
Researchers are working on the next generation of COVID-19 tests that give answers in less than an hour, without onerous equipment or highly trained personnel. Some of the tests in development swap swabs for tubes in which you spit. Others would dunk patient samples into chemical mixtures that light up if they detect coronavirus genes. Another type of test identifies virus proteins in minutes and is cheap to produce.
Pregnant women infected with COVID-19 are more likely to be hospitalized, admitted to an intensive care unit, and put on a ventilator than are infected women who are not pregnant, according to a CDC analysis. The report includes information on 8,207 pregnant women between ages 15 to 44, who were compared to 83,205 women in the same age bracket who were not pregnant. More than 31 percent of the pregnant women were hospitalized, compared with about 6 percent of women who were not pregnant.
The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report recently published multiple new articles:
Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 during and after a college spring break trip (March 14–19) led to 64 cases, including 60 among 183 vacation travelers, one among 13 household contacts, and three among 35 community contacts. Prompt epidemiologic investigation, with effective contact tracing and cooperation between a university and a public health department, contributed to outbreak control. This suggests that a coordinated response with contact tracing and testing of all contacts, including those who are asymptomatic, is important in controlling future COVID-19 outbreaks that might occur as schools and universities consider reopening.
One article argues symptom-based screening in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) is inadequate to detect SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Repeated point prevalence surveys can identify asymptomatic cases during outbreaks. Repeated point prevalence surveys at 26 Detroit SNFs identified an attack rate of 44 percent; within 21 days of diagnosis, 37 percent of infected patients were hospitalized and 24 percent died. Among 12 facilities participating in a second survey and receiving on-site infection prevention and control (IPC) support, the percentage of newly identified cases decreased from 35 percent to 18 percent.
According to a new Pew Research Center survey, 3 percent of U.S. adults moved permanently or temporarily due to the pandemic, and 6 percent had someone move into their household because of it.
Harvard University announced that only up to 40 percent of its undergraduates would be allowed on campus at a time during the next academic year, but that tuition and fees would remain the same.
Uber has purchased Postmates as fewer people are requesting rides but more people are ordering food for delivery.
The National Hockey League and its players union announced today that the two groups reached a pivotal agreement that paves the way for hockey to resume play amid the pandemic. As part of the deal, the sides set dates for the so-called Phase 3 and 4 of a return to play protocol.
FC Dallas pulled out of Major League Soccer’s tournament in Florida after 10 players and a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.
The PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament, scheduled for next week in central Ohio, will no longer have fans at the tournament.
The British government will spend nearly $2 billion to help rescue the nation's theater, museum and arts sectors. The rescue package will include grants and loans that theaters, museums, live music organizations, and others can use to pay salaries and maintenance costs as they try to survive the COVID-19 recession.
BIO Pipeline Tracker today shows 626 Unique compounds in development including 165 vaccines, 186 antivirals and 275 treatments
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.