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COVID-19 Update
April 14, 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 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

Governor Kim 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 and on YouTube.

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been notified of 123 additional positive cases for a total of 1,710 positive cases and one new county for a total of 82 of 99 counties having positive cases. There have been an additional 981 negative tests for a total of 16,986 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs. Another two people with COVID-19 in Iowa have died bringing the statewide total to 43. According to IDPH, 741 Iowans have recovered. A full status report of monitoring and testing of COVID19 in Iowa is provided by IDPH and can be found here.

At her press conference yesterday, the Governor said later this week the Governor’ office will share additional information about our curve and onset of illness statistics. She said Iowa’s peak will occur later this month, and that we cannot curtail mitigation measures yet. She said existing models don’t take into account mitigation measures. She said modeling to this point has been wildly off. IDPH reached out to the University of Iowa and are in a contract develop a model and to take into account Iowa’s mitigation measures and fold it into an Iowa-specific model, based on Iowa data.

53 percent of deaths have occurred to residents of long-term care facilities. Abbott rapid testing will be put to work at long term care facilities. The Governor said they will work to train people on the testing supplies and get out front of it to identify who has been exposed and get them home. Those rapid testing machines have also been deployed to two meat-packing facilities that have experienced outbreaks.

By the end of this week, she will let schools know what her office’s recommendation to schools will be about reopening or remaining closed.

Featured Resources
  • “The Road to a Vaccine”:  Since the first case of the novel coronavirus emerged late last year, scientists and researchers around the world – including within IowaBio member Johnson & Johnson – have worked tirelessly to develop a safe and effective vaccine.

    Join Johnson & Johnson and journalist Lisa Ling as they explore the scientific community’s response to the pandemic and global work being done to create a vaccine during the premier of their new live, online series “The Road to a Vaccine.” Watch via JNJ.com, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter on Tuesday, April 14 at 12 PM EDT.

    Can’t catch it live? After the episodes air, they will be available for viewing anytime at JNJ.com/roadtoavaccine and archived for viewing across all platforms above.
     
  • Johns Hopkins University launched its newest 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.
Federal Legislation

Supplemental 3.5 – Interim Emergency Coronavirus Relief

Timeline: Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi appeared to begin negotiations with Secretary Mnuchin on Friday, with Schumer and Pelosi both issuing positive statements after the call. However, over the weekend, it seemed Republican and Democratic leadership remained at an impasse. Leader McConnell and Leader McCarthy released a statement on Saturday calling on Democrats to drop their insistence on including additional funding for other programs. This morning, Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer issued a statement calling for changes to the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program and asserting the importance of increasing funding for hospitals, states and local governments, testing and PPE, and SNAP beneficiaries. There’s increasing pressure on Congress to pass additional funding for the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, as funding for the program will likely be exhausted by Friday.
 
Policy: Republicans have supported simply adding more funding to the SBA program, while Democrats have advocated for the inclusion of funding for hospitals and state and local governments among other things. Republican bill (as of 4/9) here. Democratic bill (as of 4/9) here. Summary of the Democratic bill (as of 4/9) here. Speaker Pelosi and Leaders Schumer outlined the following to be included in the bill:
  • $100 billion for hospitals, community health centers, and health systems, as well as production and distribution of testing and personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • $150 billion for state and local governments for management of the crisis as well as to make up for lost revenue;
  • A 15% increase to the maximum SNAP benefit;
  • Removing obstacles to voting.
Something else to watch: Reps. Chris Pappas and Brian Fitzpatrick will be leading a letter to House and Senate leadership requesting the inclusion of language in the next coronavirus relief bill that would make 501(c)(6)s eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and the Paycheck Protection Program. They sent out a Dear Colleague requesting co-signers last week.

Supplemental IV – CARES 2.0.

Timeline/Process: The work on the bill continues and committees/members are pressing forward, with new requests from offices still coming in. Timing is still very up in the air. The House announced yesterday that the House will now reconvene May 4, instead of April 21, as was originally intended. There’s an awareness that timing may coincide with when D.C. may reach the peak, so floor schedules are could shift further.

Policy: While the next package will likely stay within the outline of CARES, including plus ups for programs funded and created under the bill, the increasingly grave impacts of coronavirus may push lawmakers to consider the inclusion of other provisions and the creation of new programs. The bill Speaker Pelosi introduced while CARES was being negotiated included multiple provisions and funding increases that did not make it into the final bill. Some of those provisions and increases are being considered for the next package.

Supplemental V – Economic Stimulus

While Chairman DeFazio (T&I) has said he aims to introduce an infrastructure bill by May, that timeline is looking increasingly optimistic. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is moving forward with that timeline and is aiming to have the bill be as comprehensive as possible, as a starting place. A large package like this needs to be legislated in regular order, so moving forward while remote is a challenge. WRDA may be included in the package but is moving through an appropriations-like process already, with requests coming in from various offices.

Passed Legislation

Supplemental III – Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

After a unanimous vote by the Senate, the House passed the bill on March 27 and the President signed the bill into law shortly after. Final text here. Democratic summary here. Republican section by section here.

Today, Treasury officially launched its web portal for payments to state, local, and tribal governments. Treasury announced that eligible government entities must provide required information by Friday, April 17 to receive payment within the 30-day window allowed under CARES and those that miss that deadline may not receive funding. Submission page here. Some highlights from the announcement below:
  • Funds are only allowed to be used for expenses which:
    • Are necessary expenses during the coronavirus emergency;
    • Were not accounted in the most recent budget (as of March 27, 2020);
    • Were incurred between 3/1/2020 – 12/30/2020.
  • Eligible local governments are those below the state level (county, municipality etc.) with a population higher than 500,000. See here for data sources and the distribution methodology.  See here for a list of eligible local government units.
  • Amounts paid to governments will be based on population and the amounts allocated to states will be reduced by the total amount provided to local governments in the state. 
  • Payments to Tribal Governments will be determined by the Treasury Secretary in consultation with the Interior Secretary and Tribes. Consultation has not yet been completed.
Title I – Small Business Loans
  • The Treasury Department has released affiliation guidelines for the small business loan program. 
  • The Treasury Department released an interim final rule last week on the small business provisions in the bill. With such high demand, it’s likely that funding will be exhausted by Friday (April 17). SBA has been approving approx. $40 billion/day. See here for a memo Cornerstone put together on the interim final rule.
  • Treasury FAQs on the Paycheck Protection Program
    • Top-line overview of the program here
    • Lender information here, Borrower information here, borrower application here
    • April 8 FAQ here
Title II – Individual and Business Tax Relief
  • IRS guidance on deferral of payroll taxes here
  • House Ways and Means factsheet on Economic Impact Rebate portal here
  • IRS has indicated that the earliest Americans could receive relief payments from CARES is this week. Those who will receive their relief through paper checks could take as long at 20 weeks to receive payment.
  • IRS’s FAQ page on individual economic relief here.
  • Treasury Guidance on Employee Retention Tax Credit here
  • Treasury FAQ on Employee Retention Tax Credit here
Title III – Public Health Systems, Education, and Healthcare
  • HHS issued guidance last Friday announcing the formula and mechanism in which hospitals will receive the first $30 billion in relief funding. The money will not have to be repaid and can be used for a variety of uses. The first tranche will go to hospitals based on their Medicare FFS reimbursements in 2019. As total FFS payments were approx. $484 billion in 2019, a provider can estimate their payment by dividing their 2019 Medicare FFS (not including Medicare Advantage) payments they received by 484 and multiply that ratio by 30. If the providers total 2019 Medicare FFS payments were Y, then (Y ÷ 484) x 30 = amount of relief. State by state breakdown of first payment here.
    • HHS is working on developing a plan in the next seven to ten days for how to disburse another $30 billion for Medicaid-heavy providers and potentially a focus on pumping money to providers in hotspots.
  • Factsheet on accelerated and advance payments for providers/suppliers here
  • Secretary DeVos indicated last week that she would be moving to "immediately distribute" the $6 billion in CARES for emergency financial aid grants to college students. The grants can be used by college students for technology, course materials, food, housing, and healthcare. DeVos will be distributing the funding to colleges, which will then distribute the aid among students. The Department did not issue guidance on how colleges are to structure the program, but colleges will be required to sign a form certifying that the funds were used in accordance with the law. See here for the specific allocations for each college.
Title IV – Economic Stabilization
  • The Treasury Department released guidance on payroll support to airline industry employees, and on loans to the airline industry and businesses critical to national security. Guidance for payroll support here. Guidance on procedures and minimum requirements for loans here. Treasury press release here.
  • Treasury Q&A on Loans to Air Carriers and Eligible Businesses and National Security Businesses here. Loan application here.
Division B – Appropriations
  • Last week the FCC announced a two-part, $200 million COVID-19 telehealth program. The press release may be found here; and the FCC order approved on Wednesday can be found here.
Oversight
  • Speaker Pelosi announced the creation of a House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, which will be focused on oversight of how the funds appropriated in CARES and other supplementals is spent. Majority Whip Clyburn will chair the committee. Other members of the committee have yet to be announced.
  • Leader Schumer announced on Monday that he will appoint Bharat Ramamurti to the Congressional Oversight Commission. The Commission was created by CARES to oversee implementation of the economic relief provisions in the bill. Ramamurti was the Deputy Policy Director for Economic Policy on the presidential campaign of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Congress

Session: The House announced that it would not reconvene before May 4. D.C. is currently under a shelter-in-place order, and Maryland and Virginia have similar orders in place. In a Dear Colleague last week, Speaker Pelosi advised members to keep their schedule flexible and said that, in order to make up for lost time, the House may meet during weeks previously scheduled as District Work Periods. The Senate is in recess until April 20.

Appropriations/NDAA: Subcommittee markups have officially been postponed. While timing continues to be unclear, House Appropriations Committee (HAC) will likely stick to the original subcommittee order of markups, just shifting everything back by 2-3 weeks. As of today, HAC majority had distributed 302bs to clerks but has not shared with the minority. HAC subcommittees are continuing to work at basically the same schedule they had planned before COVID-19 and believe they can get to a 95% solution once members get back in town. The House may try to hold markups soon after whenever the next package is passed, when members have returned D.C. The Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) has floated two different allocations to subcommittee clerks, the differentiating factor between the two allocations being how VA Choice is treated. SAC has given subcommittees direction to stick with the original plan of marking up all of the bills in June.

This year’s NDAA markup has been “indefinitely postponed”. Reps. Adam Smith and Thornberry (HASC Chair and RM) sent a letter to the committee members saying that they will schedule the date of the markup once the House schedule for the next few months becomes clear. SASC Chairman Inhofe has said he aims to writing the FY21 NDAA by the end of May but is flexible considering the circumstances.

Remote voting: Speaker Pelosi and Leader McConnell have both voiced opposition to members’ voting remotely, but as the pandemic makes travel more treacherous, in-person voting has become more difficult. Remote voting is being discussed to some extent in both chambers. The House Committee on Rules Majority released a staff report on voting options. The report discusses unanimous consent, proxy voting, as well as the logistics (and security concerns) of remote voting. Additionally, the House Sergeant at Arms and the Attending Physician released guidance for voting in-person, including procedures for voting in shifts for roll call votes. Leader McConnell, as of right now, is not supportive of any form of remote voting. 

Other Floor Action: The House issued guidance last week indicated that Floor materials are to be submitted through a secure email address instead of dropped off at the Speaker’s Lobby or Cloakrooms. Members are still allowed to drop off materials in person. Speaker’s Dear Colleague on the guidance here

Hearings and Meetings: While most hearings and markups for the next week or so have been cancelled, some committee staff are working to see whether holding hearings virtually is possible. The Senate Rules Committee Democrats released a one-pager guidance on “paper hearings”, which stated “paper hearings” are not official hearings. The Senate Sergeant at Arms is exploring technology that would allow for remote hearings, though Leader McConnell remains opposed to any form of remote voting. Under current rules, the House does not allow virtual hearings. Chairman McGovern has been contemplating changing the rules on this and could issue guidance soon. The House Administration Committee is working on a report on best tools to be able to do virtual meetings. The Senate has advised offices to avoid using the video conferencing app Zoom over data security concerns. The Senate has not yet officially banned the application though.

Members of Congress in Quarantine or Treatment (new additions in bold)

Tested Positive (1): Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL)

Recovered (6): 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)

Currently Self-Quarantined (1): Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ)

Completed Quarantine (36): 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)

Other Federal Actions
  • The CDC has posted multiple new guidance documents on its COVID-19 dashboard, including useful information about how to wear a cloth face covering and how COVID-19 spreads.
  • The Supreme Court announced it will hear arguments, including cases on subpoenas, over the phone during six days in May.
  • Given the anticipated increase in demand for chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate, the FDA is taking steps to ensure that adequate supply of these drug products are available for patients:
  • The FDA issued a Consumer Update: How You Can Make a Difference During the Coronavirus Pandemic. It explains ways to help, such as donating blood, protecting yourself and others, saving protective equipment for front line workers, and reporting fraudulent products to the agency.
  • The FDA added new questions and answers to the webpage Q&A for Consumers: Hand Sanitizers and COVID-19. These new questions focus on unintentional ingestion of hand sanitizer by children, as there has been an increase in calls to Poison Control for unintentional ingestion of hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the emergency use of the Perfusor Space Syringe Infusion Pump System, Infusomat Space Volumetric Infusion Pump System, and Outlook ES (“B. Braun Space and Outlook Pumps”) for use in the tracheal delivery of continuous nebulized medications into a nebulizer to treat patients of all ages with or suspected of having COVID-19 and decrease the exposure of healthcare providers to such patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. The EUA was also issued for ground medical transport use of the Infusomat Space Volumetric Infusion Pump System.
  • The FDA issued an EUA to Advanced Sterilization Products, Inc. (ASP) for the ASP STERRAD Sterilization Systems that have the potential to decontaminate approximately 4 million compatible N95 or N95-equivalent respirators per day in the U.S. for single-user reuse by health care workers in hospital settings. This authorization is intended to help increase the availability of respirators so health care workers on the front lines can be better protected and provide the best care to patients with COVID-19.
  • CMS and the Departments of Labor and the Treasury issued guidance this weekend to help navigate private health insurance no-cost coverage of COVID-19 diagnostic testing and certain other related services, including antibody testing.  As part of the effort to slow the spread of the virus, this guidance is another effort to remove financial barriers for Americans to receive COVID-19 tests and health services, as well as encourage the use of antibody testing that may help to enable health care workers and other Americans to get back to work more quickly. 
  • Additional CMS news updates can be viewed in the daily roundup.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau plans to ask Congress for a four-month delay in delivering the population data used to redistrict the House of Representatives and political districts across the country. The new deadline would mean that state legislatures would get final figures for drawing new district maps as late as July 31st, 2021 rather than in February. The bureau also said it would extend the deadline for collecting census data to October 31st, and start to reopen field offices sometime after June 1st.
  • The U.S. Treasury Department released a new FAQ sheet about Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.
  • The Federal Healthcare Resilience Task Force recently published two documents to support EMS workers responding during COVID-19. 
  • The NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis (OPA) has developed a comprehensive, 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.
Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are total cases: 554,849  travel-related: 6,515 “close contact”: 13,341 The CDC now updates data Monday through Friday and data closes out the day before reporting.
    • The CDC is reporting 21,942 deaths in the U.S. related to COVID-19.
  • U.S. Department of the Treasury launched a web portal to allow eligible State, local, and tribal governments to receive payments to help offset the costs of their response to COVID-19.
  • Earlier today, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his state’s known death toll had exceeded 10,000, with 671 people dying on Sunday alone. He emphasized that he believes the worst is over.
  • Two groups of governors, one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast, announced Monday that they were forming regional working groups to help plan when it would be safe to begin to ease coronavirus-related restrictions to reopen their economies. In the East, the governors of Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island plan to establish a committee of public health officials, economic development officials, and their chiefs of staff to navigate easing their mitigation strategies. Governors Jay Inslee (Washington), Gavin Newsome (California), and Kate Brown (Oregon) have created the “Western States Pact” to work together on a joint approach to reopening their states’ economies. They said that while each state would have its own specific plan, the states would build out a West Coast strategy that would include how to control the virus in the future.
  • This weekend, the National Governors Association asked Congress to include an additional $500 billion in its next supplemental appropriations bill to help state and local governments offset state revenue shortfalls.
  • Useful state data:
    • These charts show cumulative coronavirus cases and deaths for metropolitan areas over time.
    • 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
  • French President Emmanuel Macron said that his country’s lock down will be extended through May 11th, at which point they will be taking steps to lift social distancing measures starting with the reopening of schools and daycare centers.
  • Turkey’s Parliament passed a law to release tens of thousands of prisoners to protect detainees from being infected by COVID-19. The bill will allow for the temporary release of about 45,000 prisoners, but excludes those jailed on terrorism charges.
  • Armed supporters of Khalifa Haftar in Libya have attacked medical warehouses belonging to a hospital in the capital Tripoli that is treating COVID-19 patients. Last week’s “humanitarian pause” in fighting is said to have lasted a matter of minutes.
  • Between the rapid spread of COVID-19 and oil demand plummeting, Venezuela is having a particularly difficult time. Oil is the country’s top export and, after its biggest Russian trading partner halted operations, the country’s oil output collapsed. Now, Venezuela is dealing with a struggling economy and an overwhelmed health care system.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was released from the hospital this weekend after falling ill with COVID-19 last week and ultimately being treated in ICU.
    • England’s lock down measures were originally set to expire today, but government and health officials have indicated it is still too soon to ease up on their lock down.
  • Yesterday, Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, declared a state of emergency for a second time and called on residents to stay at home for all but the most essential outings. Hokkaido’s governor issued the order upon reporting a second wave of COVID-19 cases.
  • China has seen a spike in cases as infected citizens have begun returning from Russia.
  • Global Cases:  1,773,084               Total Deaths:  111,652
Lifestyle and Economy
  • Smithfield Foods has reported that its Sioux Falls, S.D. plant, one of the nation’s largest pork processing facilities, will remain closed indefinitely after 293 workers tested positive for COVID-19. The plant employs 3,700 workers and produces about 130 million servings of food per week. This closure, combined with multiple others across the country, is posing a threat to the U.S. meat supply.
  • Registration is now open for the next APHA webinar: Crisis Standards of Care During COVID-19, Wednesday the 15th at 5pm. Register here.
  • Industry data indicates that about two million homeowners are skipping their monthly mortgage payments. This figure is expected to increase as more Americans lose their jobs from COVID-19 lock downs. Approximately 3.74 percent of home loans are in forbearance as of April 5th, up from about 2.73 percent the prior week.
  • The S&P 500 opened the week by falling 1 percent. The Dow fell nearly 1.5 percent. Investors are anticipating the forthcoming reports of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of American, and Goldman Sachs.
  • Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the U.S. agreed to lead a multinational coalition in major oil-production cuts. As part of the agreement, 23 countries committed to withhold collectively 9.7 million barrels a day of oil from global markets. The deal is meant to address the overabundance of oil resulting from the impact of COVID-19 on demand.
  • Today, the IMF is set to release its primary look at global growth, the World Economic Outlook. Reports say the document will forecast a sharp shrinking of the world’s economy. The IMF is scheduled to release other reports this week including the Global Financial Stability Report, which will evaluate the health of the international financial system, and the Fiscal Monitor Report, which will tally the enormous fiscal-policy actions taken by individual countries to help them through the pandemic.
  • Forbes is keeping a running list of all major international airline COVID-19-related change and cancellation policies.
  • The New York Times has started its own tracker of cases in the U.S. to fill in the gaps left by agency data.
  • Lists of canceled conferences and events can be found here (music), here (tech), here (general), and here (sports/entertainment).
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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