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COVID-19 Update
February 12, 2021
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.

Iowa Update

The overall number of vaccines administered is 410,771 an increase of 28,173 since yesterday, with 194,991 receiving their first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and 107,890 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, 327,992 Iowans have tested positive, up 740 from our update yesterday morning, with a total of 1,508,869 tested. 22 additional deaths were reported since our last update, bringing the total to 5,196 deaths. Now 300,367 Iowans have recovered. The total 14 day rolling average positivity rate is 8.2% the past 7-day average is 6.3%. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here. There are currently 273 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 1 (of 99) county is at or above a 15 percent positivity rate over the past 14 days. Click here to search county data for today.
 
Washington, D.C.
  • HHS and the DoD announced they have purchased an additional 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna to help meet demand for COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. The orders placed yesterday bring the vaccine doses purchased by the U.S. government from these two companies to a total of 600 million doses, enough to vaccinate 300 million people.
  • President Biden announced next week’s launch of the Federally Qualified Health Center Vaccine program that will provide more vaccines for Community Health Centers that are reaching our underserved and most vulnerable communities. The program will be phased in, with the first centers able to start ordering vaccines as early as the week of Feb. 15. The initial phase will include at least one Community Health Center in each state, expanding to 250 centers in the coming weeks.
  • The Administration will increase overall, weekly vaccine supply to states, Tribes, and territories to 11 million doses nationwide beginning this week, resulting in a 5 percent increase in supply over last week.
  • The most recent press briefing by the White House COVID-19 Response Team and public health officials is here
  • The CDC is organizing a virtual National Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Feb. 22- Feb. 24 that will bring together practitioners from national, state, tribal, local, and territorial levels who are engaged in vaccinating communities across the nation. 
  • The GAO released a new report on OWS and the vaccine candidates developed as a result of the federal investments and efforts. 
  • 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 CDC has updated the guidance for mask wearing, and the Agency now recommends "double masking" to prevent spread of the more infectious variants. 
  • On Wednesday, the CDC for the first time, updated guidelines for individuals who have been fully vaccinated to state they no longer have to quarantine after being exposed to someone with COVID-19. The updated guidance states the new instruction applies to individuals who have been fully vaccinated within the three months following their final dose, and only as long as the individual has remained asymptomatic since their exposure to COVID-19. The CDC said inpatients and residents in health care settings who are fully vaccinated should still continue to quarantine after a potential exposure to the virus. 
  • The most recent COVID-19 Science Update from the CDC is here
  • 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. 
  • 323 tests and sample collection devices are authorized by the FDA under EUA. These include 240 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 at-home antigen test.
  • The DoD published the most recent COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Installation Status Update.
  • The NIH’s Spanish COVID-19 site provides information and links to resources on tests, treatments, vaccines, and clinical trials to learn how you can help end the pandemic and protect yourself and your family.
  • CMS released updated Medicaid and CHIP COVID-19 preliminary data summaries with information on services through July 31, 2020. The information includes updates on COVID-19 treatment and options, service use among Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries during the public health emergency, services delivered via telehealth among Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries during the public health emergency, and services for mental and substance use disorders among Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries.
  • CDC guidance for safely reopening schools is expected to be published tomorrow (Friday).
Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 27,127,858 total cases and 470,110 deaths. The CDC data closes out the day before reporting
  • For the first time since Election Day, fewer than 100,000 new cases were announced nationwide daily on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. National case numbers have been falling for a month. 
  • Deaths are beginning to decrease, though they remain high. Eight states are averaging more than 100 deaths a day.
  • Los Angeles will temporarily close five of its inoculation sites, including the one at Dodger Stadium, due to a shortage of COVID-19 vaccine doses.  
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced that Connecticut residents over the age of 65 will be eligible to schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments starting on Thursday, Feb. 11 as the state rolls into the next part of phase 1b of its vaccination program.
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) announced updates to the state’s COVID-19 vaccination program that allows only those Delawareans who received first doses at state-operated vaccination events in January to be administered second doses.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced that the state has expanded the level of detail available on its COVID-19 vaccine data dashboard to provide more information on doses shipped to and administered by each of the state’s vaccine providers. Gov. Walz also announced a new community vaccination site to launch this week in Rochester and that Minnesotans will have expanded access to COVID-19 vaccinations at pharmacies across the state through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced 11 community-based pop-up vaccination sites coming online this week at community centers, public housing complexes, and cultural centers. Gov. Cuomo also announced that excess vaccine supply meant for hospital workers can be used to open eligibility for New Yorkers with comorbidities and underlying conditions. New Yorkers with comorbidities and underlying conditions can make appointments at state-run mass vaccination sites beginning Feb. 14.   
  • Gov. Cuomo announced that New York City indoor dining can reopen at 25 percent capacity on Feb. 12 rather than Feb. 14.
  • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) outlined how North Carolina is working to provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. The state will require all vaccine providers to collect race and ethnicity data, will prioritize a portion of its weekly vaccines to events that focus on underserved communities, and will allocate baseline weekly amount of vaccine based on county population to ensure geographic equity with vaccines available in all 100 counties. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has also formed a dedicated team to track and provide technical assistance to vaccine providers to ensure they are hitting targets for speed and equity.
  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that the state is establishing a joint task force with members from each legislative caucus who can share vaccine information and communicate issues and solutions expediently on behalf of and to the broader General Assembly.
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced that effective Feb. 12, 11 counties improved in risk level, with 10 improving from Extreme Risk for the first time since November.
  • Illinois has added 134 new vaccination locations across the state since February 4. The new sites include 22 local health departments, medical centers, and hospital locations, two new mass vaccination locations supported by the local health department and Illinois National Guard, and 110 additional retail pharmacy stores.
  • The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced teachers and child care staff of all ages will become eligible for the vaccine beginning Thursday.
  •  Idaho launched a new page that provides updated information on the number of vaccine doses that individual providers and local public health districts have been allocated and the number of doses that remain for them to administer.
  • Indiana state officials said the state would continue to take an age-based approach to vaccine rollout, prioritizing those in the 60 and above age group next and then turning incrementally to those 50 and above.
  • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that people who accompany residents 75 years and older to mass vaccination sites are also allowed to get vaccinated.
  • 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 you 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.
    • This series of maps shows how states are responding to COVID-19.
Science, Lifestyle, and Economy
  • 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.
  • Microsoft has launched a COVID-19 vaccine dashboard that tracks the administration of vaccines aligned with the federal goal of 100 million vaccine doses in 100 days. The tool also presents an overview of our progress nationally, and in comparison to other countries.
  • CDC released an MMWR on the percentage of middle and high school students attending in-person classes who reported observing fellow students wearing a mask all of the time, by school setting and activities in the U.S. during October 2020. A sample of 3,953 middle and high school students aged 13–21 years who were attending in-person classes were asked about mask use by fellow students in several settings. Approximately 65 percent of students reported that fellow students wore a mask “all the time” in the classroom and in hallways or stairwells. However, reported use of masks all the time was lower in other indoor locations, including school buses (42 percent), restrooms (40 percent), and the cafeteria when not eating (36 percent). Reported observed mask use all the time was lowest during sports or extracurricular activities (28 percent) and outside on school property (25 percent).
  • A new study out of the University of Chicago has found that during the initial wave of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York City, only 1 in 5 to 1 in 7 cases of the virus was symptomatic. The research team found that non-symptomatic cases substantially contribute to community transmission, making up at least 50 percent of the driving force of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The results were published on Feb. 10 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • A widely available asthma drug called budesonide appears to significantly reduce the risk of people getting seriously ill with COVID-19 if it is taken within the first week of developing symptoms.
  • A team led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital has created a tool to guide frontline clinicians through diagnostic evaluations of patients who arrive in emergency departments and hospitals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 so that they'll know when it's safe to discontinue precautions. It is critical to isolate them to avoid the potential spread of infection, but keeping patients isolated longer than needed could delay patient care, take up hospital beds needed for other patients, and unnecessarily use up personal protective equipment.
  • new study that sought to pinpoint how the virus spread through New Orleans last year has found that the 2020 Mardi Gras celebration was responsible for tens of thousands of coronavirus cases, after a single person likely brought it to New Orleans in the weeks leading up to the event.
  • A new study suggests that people living with HIV may be more likely to contract, be hospitalized, and die from the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, that causes COVID-19. The study found that through the middle of 2020, people living with HIV in New York were 43 percent more likely to receive a diagnosis of COVID-19 than those without HIV and were 161 percent more likely to be hospitalized.
  • Europe’s oldest person, the French nun Sister André, has survived COVID-19 and will celebrate her 117th birthday this week.
  • Berlin’s international film festival next month will feature 15 movies made during the pandemic in competition for its Golden Bear top prize.
  • Uber will offer free rides to Walgreens to make it easier for people who do not have a car or a pharmacy nearby to access COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The WHO keeps a running list of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, which you can view here. STAT News also has a resource tracking COVID-19 drugs and vaccines. BIO’s coronavirus pipeline tracker is here. The New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here. This AVAC pipeline tracker is great, too. 
  • The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has an extensive list of commercial and lab-developed tests. 
  • 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.
International Affairs
  • 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.
  • UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore and WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus released a joint statement encouraging governments that have vaccinated their own health workers and populations at highest risk of severe disease to share vaccines through COVAX so other countries can do the same.
  • The WHO's Wuhan investigation team stated it is “extremely unlikely” that the COVID-19 virus came from a Wuhan lab. Dr. Peter Embarek said it was more likely that the virus jumped to humans from animals.
  • The WHO asserts that the AstraZeneca vaccine was still a vital tool in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, after South Africa delayed the start of its inoculation program over concerns about its efficacy against the virus variant. Yesterday, the WHO said that the benefits of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any risks and that the shot should be recommended for use, including in people aged 65 and older.
  • Two new COVID-19 variants, one of which has been classified as a concern, have been identified in England with some similarities to the P. 1  and B. 1. 351 variants.
  • Israel and Greece agreed to a tourism deal on Monday that will allow vaccinated citizens of the two countries to travel between them without limitations once flights resume.
  • Authorities on Easter Island began vaccinating residents against COVID-19 on Monday, distributing 1,200 doses on the first day.
  • Spain announced it has extended controls along its border with Portugal until March 1.
  • Sweden announced long-distance trains and buses will only be allowed to run at half capacity starting Feb. 14.
  • India has ordered 10 million more doses of the AstraZenecaCOVID-19, despite South Africa putting it on hold.
  • Equatorial Guinea announced it will impose a 7 PM to 6 AM curfew, limit flights, and reintroduce other restrictions on non-essential businesses.
  • Spain has extended a ban on arrivals by air from Britain, Brazil, and South Africa until Mar. 2 due to the new virus variants detected in those nations.
  • Mozambique’s recently appointed military head, Eugénio Ussene Mussa, has died after contracting COVID-19.
  • Argentina has announced it has approved the emergency use of the Indian-made Covishield vaccine.
  • Ghana’s parliament has suspended most of its activities for three weeks after at least 17 Members of Parliament and 151 staff members were infected with COVID-19.
  • Hong Kong will ease strict COVID-19 restrictions starting Feb. 18, re-opening sports, entertainment facilities, and extending dining hours.
  • Israel has administered Pfizer vaccines to 40 percent of its population. Israel said it would issue an official app allowing users to link their Health Ministry files to prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Malaysia will extend its free vaccination program to all non-citizens residing in the country, including students, refugees and undocumented migrants.
  • Germany will remain in a partial lockdown until at least March 7.
  • China has recorded its lowest number of new cases in five months, with just two new infections on Feb. 10.
  • The Philippines is set to receive 600,000 doses this month of Sinovac Biotech’s vaccine donated by China, a portion of which will be used to vaccinate military personnel.
  • Travelers arriving to Ireland from Austria, the U.A.E., and sub-Saharan African countries will be subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine.
  • Ireland’s lockdown has been extended until April, with non-essential businesses and schools closed.
  • Turkey has started to administer the second dose of China’s Sinovac vaccine to health care workers across the country.
  • Germany will ban travel from Czech border regions as well as Austria’s Tyrol over a surge in infections of COVID-19 variants.
  • Slovenia has announced a partial lifting of COVID-19 restrictions beginning next week, including the reopening of elementary schools.
  • Portugal has extended its nationwide lockdown until March 1.
  • Italy will reopen its ski resorts Feb. 15 in Lombardy, the region worst hit by the COVID-19.
  • Iran has begun its COVID-19 vaccination campaign, using Russia’s Sputnik V vaccination.
  • Global Cases: 107,875,463   Total Deaths: 2,370,607
Helpful Articles/Media
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 © 2021 Iowa Biotech Association, All rights reserved.


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