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, 43,623 Iowans have tested positive, up 695 from our update yesterday morning, with a total of 468,162 tested. 15 additional deaths were reported since our last update, bringing the total to 854 deaths. Now 31,735 Iowans have recovered. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here.
Twenty-one U.S. states, including Iowa, are currently in the “red zone” for COVID-19 outbreaks under federal criteria, reporting more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week, according to a new federal report. Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin, also made the list.
Governor Reynolds announced yesterday that she will hold a press conference today, Thursday, July 30, at the capitol at 11:00 a.m. on “Return to Learn” for Iowa schools. The press conference will be livestreamed via her Facebook page.
HHS, through the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, released a new report showing the dramatic utilization trends of telehealth services for primary care delivery in Fee-for-Service (FFS) Medicare early on in the pandemic. The report analyzes claims data from January through early June and underscores how telehealth flexibilities helped to spur and maintain Medicare beneficiaries' access to their primary care providers.
CMS released its first monthly update of data that provides a snapshot of the impact of COVID-19 on the Medicare population. This snapshot includes data for American Indian/Alaskan Native Medicare beneficiaries. The new data indicate that American Indian/Alaskan Native beneficiaries have the second highest rate of hospitalization for COVID-19 among racial/ethnic groups after Blacks. Previously, the number of hospitalizations of American Indian/Alaskan Native beneficiaries was too low to be reported. The updated data confirm that the COVID-19 public health emergency is disproportionately affecting vulnerable populations, particularly racial and ethnic minorities. Read more here.
The DOE, HHS, and VA announced the formation of the COVID-19 Insights Partnership, an initiative to coordinate and share health data as well as research and expertise to aid in the fight against COVID-19. The COVID-19 Insights Partnership creates a framework for HHS and VA to utilize DOE’s world-leading high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence resources to conduct COVID-19 research and analyze health data that would otherwise not be possible.
The FDA posted the audio and transcript versions of Episode 6 in its new podcast series, FDA Insight, which features Dr. Peter Marks, Director of the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), in part 2 of a discussion on COVID-19 vaccines. The podcast is hosted by Dr. Anand Shah, FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs. Part 1 of this discussion, posted July 21, is accessible also in audio and transcript versions as Episode 5.
The FDA posted a new template for commercial developers to help them develop and submit EUA requests for COVID-19 diagnostic tests that can be performed entirely at home or in other settings besides a lab, such as offices or schools, and that could be available without a prescription.
The Administration for Community Living is conducting a three-part webinar series to explore how the pandemic offers opportunities to rethink and redesign home- and community-based services (HCBS). The first webinar will be August 5 at 2:30 PM and will focus on Supported Employment Services. Register here.
Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue announced yesterday that the USDA's Farmers to Families Food Box Program has distributed over 50 million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sec. Perdue also said the agency will launch a third round of Farmers to Families Food Box Program purchases with distributions to occur beginning by September 1 with completion by October 31, 2020. The purchases will spend the balance of $3 billion authorized for the program.
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:
Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Republicans released their $1 trillion version of a fourth COVID-19 relief package. Negotiations are ongoing.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) has tested positive for COVID-19.
House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) wrote a letter to the White House Coronavirus Task Force demanding that it make its internal assessments public. He said many states are not following these unpublished recommendations.
The following are COVID-19-related hearings in Congress this week:
Thursday (7/30) 9:30 AM Senate Finance, "Hearings to examine protecting the reliability of the United States medical supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pt. 2."
Friday (7/31) 9 AM House Oversight, "The Urgent Need for a National Plan to Contain the Coronavirus."
Updates from the States
Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 4,339,997 total cases and148,866 deathsThe CDC data closes out the day before reporting.
Twenty-one U.S. states are currently in the “red zone” for COVID-19 outbreaks under federal criteria, reporting more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week, according to a new federal report. Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin, made the list.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) signed an EO limiting the sale of alcoholic beverages after 11 p.m. at restaurants starting Friday.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) reinstated gathering, alcohol, and dining restrictions in the state's Hampton Roads area.
The City of Philadelphia extended their ban on indoor dining until September 1.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) released additional guidance updates of Washington's Safe Start phased reopening plan. The update modifies restrictions for gatherings, live entertainment, restaurants and taverns, entertainment and recreational centers, card rooms, movie theaters, and weddings and funerals and builds upon guidance released last week.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) issued another supplemental emergency proclamation containing an amended Safer at Home Order that includes a statewide mask requirement. Individuals will be required to wear a mask or other facial covering when in public and in close contact with other people, as described in the order. This amended order extends until August 31.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) announced the State of Tennessee’s recommendations to reopen schools for the 2020-2021 school year.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said he estimates the state would face a $30 billion budget shortfall over the next two years if the federal relief aid bill does not include funding for state governments. He warned of possible 20 percent cuts in funding that would affect state agencies and aid to local governments, schools, and hospitals.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) announced that all previously recommended guidelines for restaurants and other establishments that attract groups of people are now mandatory. The governor’s EO establishing these new measures will go into effect August 3.
Starting this Friday, people in Maryland must wear masks in all public buildings, not just in stores and on public transit, as well as in all places outdoors where social distancing is not possible. Maryland also strongly advised against travel to a number of hard-hit states, including Florida, Texas, and Georgia.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced that Phase Three will remain in effect until August 28. The only change will be that the social gathering limit will be lowered from 25 to 15 people.
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.
Today marks six months since WHO declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
WHO official yesterday described the COVID-19 pandemic as ‘one big wave’ and warned against complacency in the northern hemisphere summer since the infection does not share influenza’s tendency to follow seasons.
Spain recorded 1,153 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the highest number since May 6.
India’s Ministry of Home Affairs issued a new set of guidelines as part of a third phase of easing restrictions in the country. The easing comes as COVID-19 cases in India surpassed 1.5 million cases, with the country adding half a million cases in almost two weeks, according to the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Wednesday, Iran reported 235 deaths, its highest toll for a single day. Cases in the country began rising steeply again in June.
In Australia and some other places such as Hong Kong and Israel, all of which had previously appeared to defeat the virus, infections are growing twice as quickly as in the U.S.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam warned the city is on the brink of a large-scale outbreak and urged people to stay indoors as strict measures to curb the spread took effect today. The new regulations ban gatherings of more than two people, close dining in restaurants, and make the wearing of face masks mandatory in public places, including outdoors.
In the Middle East, celebrations for Eid al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice that marks the end of the hajj this weekend, will be tamer this year. About 2.5 million Muslims from around the world performed the pilgrimage to Mecca last year. This year, Saudi Arabia said it would allow as few as 1,000 pilgrims, all from within the kingdom.
Global Cases: 17,054,819 Total Deaths: 667,707
Lifestyle, Science, and Economy
The experimental COVID-19 vaccine that the NIH (NIAID) and Moderna are working on has been found to protect upper and lower airways in monkeys after two doses. This is the first time an experimental COVID-19 vaccine tested in nonhuman primates has been shown to produce such rapid viral control in the upper airway. The preliminary results of the study were published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The number of known infections among state prison inmates and correctional officers has increased by 45 percent since July 1, to more than 80,000, even with limited testing in correctional institutions, according to the database. Additionally, prison deaths related to the virus have risen by nearly 25 percent in that time.
The Federal Reserve left interest rates near zero on Wednesday and pledged to keep supporting the U.S. economy as the pandemic continues to depress economic growth and sideline millions of workers.
The Miami-Dade County public school system in Florida is delaying the start of the school year by a week to August 31, and said schools would initially open online only.
Pediatric researchers recently estimated that the states’ decisions to close schools last spring likely saved tens of thousands of lives from COVID-19 and prevented many more coronavirus infections; however, the authors have acknowledged that their findings are not broadly applicable.
A study by a team of researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine looked at the connection between race/ethnicity and income on COVID-19 cases and related deaths in 10 major U.S. cities. The researchers found that non-white counties had higher cumulative incidences and deaths compared to predominantly white counties, which was true for both low-income and high-income communities. The data suggest that racial disparities in COVID-19 cases and deaths exist beyond what can be explained by differences in poverty rates.
The Miami Marlins now have over 17 cases of COVID-19 and will not play again until Monday at the earliest. The Philadelphia Phillies, who recently played the Marlins, will not play again until Friday.
BIO’s pipeline tracker for vaccines, treatments and antivirals can be found here.
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.
MMWR Weekly COVID-19 Briefing is a weekly podcast to update readers on the latest scientific information from CDC’s COVID-19 response. In each episode, MMWR’s Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Charlotte Kent provides an overview of the latest scientific information published in MMWR. New episodes are posted every Monday. Listen to episodes here.