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COVID-19 Update
May 11, 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

According to coronavirus.iowa.gov, since our last report Friday morning, 900 more positive cases have been reported, and 6,847 more negative tests were reported. 7,747 more have been tested for a total of 74,174 Iowans tested. Friday - Sunday there were an additional 34 deaths, with a total of 265 deaths, and 5,154 have recovered. (Note: The state last week changed its method/timing of reporting these statistics, ours will now be based on coronavirus.iowa.gov statistics, rather than IDPH daily press release data.)

Governor Kim Reynolds did not hold a press conference on Friday, due to conflicts in her schedule with Vice President Mike Pence visiting Des Moines, to speak about the essential food supply including meat processing, and to encourage faith leaders. Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg news tweeted Sunday, that due to possible exposure on her trip to Washington D.C., Governor Reynolds is considering self-isolating after coming into contact with a Vice Presidential aide who tested positive for COVID-19. Jacobs said in the tweet that Dr. Caitlin Pedati, State Epidemiologist who attended the meetings with the Governor in D.C. will be self-isolating.  It is unclear whether 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. These press conferences are livestreamed and posted in full on Governor Reynolds’ Facebook Page. Bloomberg news also reported Vice President Pence was self-isolating, but plans to be back at work today.

Federal Legislation 

Supplemental IV – CARES 2.0. / Phase 4 

Timeline/Process/Politics: While Majority Whip Clyburn has told Members that votes this week are "unlikely", it is still not out of the realm of possibility. There is still a good amount to be worked out between House and Senate Democrats on what CARES 2.0. will include. Once Democrats form a consensus, negotiations with Republicans will begin, though there’s a wide gap between Democrats and Republicans on the big issues. It could be June/July before the parties come to an agreement and pass it. 

While Republicans have publicly stated they intend to wait and see what needs funding/fixing before moving forward with another package, various factors—PPP running out of funding, needs of states/local/tribal governments, bad economic data and pressure from the White House—could pressure them to move quicker.  

Policy: The bill currently is in the range of $1.5-2 trillion. With the caveat that the bill is still being drafted, no bipartisan negotiations have occurred, and many pieces will change in the coming days, the bill will likely include significant funding for state, local, and tribal governments, hazard pay for frontline workers, extension for unemployment insurance, housing relief and rental assistance, additional PPP funding, expansion of the employee retention tax credit, additional stimulus checks, additional funding for Medicaid providers, and funding for a national testing plan.  

Leader McConnell has marked liability shield provisions as a “red line” issue that must be included in the next Coronavirus package. The Senate Judiciary Committee is already involved in negotiations. Leader McConnell’s office they are making headway in drafting language. Leader McConnell has insisted that it must be included in the next package and not as a separate bill. See below for some provisions that could be included. 
  • A federal shield from state personal injury claims for those following federal/state/local guidelines. 
  • Gross negligence and willful misconduct claims would not be shielded. 
  • A broader medical malpractice shield (virtually no liability for any type of claim if they can show a connection to COVID-19) but would not shield gross negligence or willful misconduct claims. 
  • Heightened standard for plaintiffs to prove that business/facility violated COVID-19 safety standards and prove that harm was caused by COVID-19.  
  • Mandate the court could not move to discovery phase until after ruling on a motion to dismiss.
Friday during House pro forma Reps. Stephanie Murphy (D), John Katko (R), Suzan DelBene (D), Brian Fitzpatrick (R), and Chris Pappas (D) introduced a bill aimed at expansion of the employee retention tax credit. This is a proposal that has been championed by the New Democrat Coalition. Text here. One pager here. Highlights from the bill below: 
  • Increasing credit percentage to 80 percent of qualified wages; 
  • Increasing the per-employee limitation to $15,000 per calendar quarter; 
  • Altering the large employer treatment threshold to employers having more than 1,500 employees or having gross receipts above $41.5 million in 2019; 
  • Phasing in the credit, so employers who have experienced more than a 20 percent decline in gross receipts can claim a portion of the credit; 
  • Clarifying that “qualified wages” include qualified health benefits and employers who continue providing such benefits qualify even if they do not continue paying qualifying wages; 
  • Allowing state, territory, and tribal governmental employers (including subdivision/agencies of these entities) to claim the credit if these employers retain employees; and 
  • Allow employers to be eligible for both ERTC and PPP but put guardrails in place to prevent “double dipping.” 
Passed Legislation

New Implementation Information and Guidance
  • 5/8 – SBA’s Inspector General released a report on the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program. The report found the Administration’s administration of the program did not align with the law in four ways: prioritization of underserved/rural markets, loan proceeds eligibility for forgiveness, guidance on loan deferment, and registration of loans. Report here.  
  • 5/8 – On a White House call yesterday, the next payments to tribes will come in approximately a month. Treasury still has a remaining $3.2 billion to distribute among tribes. Treasury plans to submit a new data request soon, with a portal open as early as next week. Tribes will likely have a few weeks to respond to the request and then Treasury will take a couple of weeks to process the data and determine a formula. The next round of funding will be based on employment and expenditure data of Tribes and tribally-owned entities. 
  • 5/7 – The Washington Post reported that the SBA has imposed a new loan limit on the department’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), moving the loan limit from $2 million to $150,000. The department also announced that it would only be accepting applications from agricultural businesses onward. 
  • 5/7 – The remaining members of the House Select Committee on Coronavirus Crisis were named. Minority Whip Scalise’s priorities for the committee here. Full Committee membership below: 
    • Chair Jim Clyburn (D-SC) – Chair 
    • Maxine Waters (D-CA) 
    • Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) 
    • Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) 
    • Bill Foster (D-IL) 
    • Jamie Raskin (D-MD) 
    • Andy Kim (D-NJ) 
    • Steve Scalise (R-LA) – Ranking Member 
    • Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) 
    • Rep Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) 
    • Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) 
    • Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) 
  • Note for providers: CMS is interpreting language in FFCRA and CARES as requiring providers to cover testing and treatment of uninsured COVID patients. 
Previously Reported Implementation Information and Guidance

Small Business Loans & Treasury Main Street Lending
  • 5/6 – Treasury released an updated FAQ for the Paycheck Protection Program. FAQ here.  
  • 5/3 – Treasury and SBA released a data set for the most recent tranche of P3 funds. Data here
  • 4/30 – The IRS issued guidance that most expenses funded by forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are non-deductible for federal income tax purposes.  
  • 4/30 – The Federal Reserve released the term sheets and other information relating to its expansion of scope and eligibility of the Main Street Lending Program. Term sheets and other information here. Other information on other facilities and programs here
  • 4/29 – SBA announced that from 4:00-11:49pm on 4/29, SBA systems would only accept loans from lending institutions with asset sizes less than $1 billion dollars. The move was aimed at ensuring access to the PPP loan program for smaller lenders and their customers. 
  • 4/28 – SBA announced it would no longer accept PPP loan applications submitted by robotic processing systems.  
  • Treasury released an interim final rule for the Paycheck Protection Program on how lenders will calculate loan amounts for employers with seasonal employees. Rule here.  
  • 4/24 – SBA issued a procedural guidance on participation sales here
  • 4/24 – SBA released an interim final rule on requirements for Promissory Notes, Authorizations, Affiliation, and Eligibility. Interim Final Rule here. Additional eligibility criteria and requirements for certain loans here.  
  • 4/24 – Data on Economic Injury Disaster Loans here, EIDL Advance here
  • 4/23 – The Treasury Department asked all publicly traded companies that received funds under the program to return the funds within two weeks. 
  • The Treasury Department released an interim final rule on the small business provisions in the bill. 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 
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’s FAQ page on individual economic relief here 
  • Treasury Guidance on Employee Retention Tax Credit here 
  • 4/29 – Treasury FAQ on Employee Retention Tax Credit here 
Public Health Systems, Education, and Healthcare
  • 5/1 – As part of the $100 billion dedicated to hospitals and health providers in CARES, HHS has distributed funding to “hotspot” hospitals and providers. HHS distributed $12 billion to 395 hospitals who provided inpatient care for 100 or more COVID-19 patients through April 10, 2020. $2 billion of the funding was distributed based on low-income/uninsured data (Medicare and Medicaid disproportionate share and uncompensated care payments). Money went out on Tuesday and Wednesday. 
  • 4/27 – Outline of the Provider Relief Fund with additions from COVID 3.5 here
  • 4/27 – Education Sec. Betsy DeVos announced that more than $300 million in discretionary grant funds will be available for states to use to create adaptable, innovative learning opportunities for K-12 and postsecondary learners in response to COVID-19. The grants will be funded through the Education Stabilization Fund (ESF), authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 
  • 4/26 – CMS announced that it is reevaluating the amounts that will be paid under its Accelerated Payment Program (AAP) and suspending its Advance Payment Program to Part B suppliers effective immediately. Press release here
  • The announcement came as a surprise to Democrats, who were actively negotiating with the department officials on modifying the program.  
  • 4/23 – As part of negotiations on 3.5, the Administration made commitments on how the next $60 billion in the health relief fund will be distributed. HHS has committed that it will send out an additional $60 billion dollars in the coming weeks, much of it coming within the next 10 days.  
  • 4/23 – As part of negotiations on 3.5, the Administration made commitments on changes to Medicare advance payment policies. The administration committed that, by the end of this week, Secretary Mnuchin and Chief of Staff Meadows will release a letter stating that they will:  
    • Use their administrative authority to reduce the interest rate down from what is currently 10.25 percent to a rate that is more in line with a traditional federal interest rate.  
    • Use their administrative authority to extend the repayment period beyond 12 months.  
    • Work with Congress and support legislation in Corona 4 that will place the liability for these payments in Treasury’s General Revenue fund, rather than the Medicare Hospital Insurance and Supplemental Medical Insurance Trust Funds. The expansion of these programs must not adversely affect Medicare’s solvency or result in premium increases for seniors. 
  • 4/22 – CARES Act Provider Relief Fund overview here. State by state breakdown of first payment here.  
  • 4/9 – Secretary DeVos indicated 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 distributed the funding to colleges, which are meant to then distribute the aid among students. See here for the specific allocations for each college. 
Economic Stabilization
  • 4/30 – Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced the FAA will begin awarding the AIP and other discretionary grants funding through the CARES Act. Press release here. Complete list of grants here. Map of airports receiving funding here
  • 4/10 – Treasury Q&A on Loans to Air Carriers and Eligible Businesses and National Security Businesses here. Loan application here
  • 3/30 – 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
State, Local, and Tribal Governments
  • 5/5 – Treasury released distribution details regarding the tribal portion of the Coronavirus Release Fund. The first 60% of the fund will be distributed to tribes based on population used in the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) and will include a floor of $100,000. The remaining 40% will be distributed based on the number of individuals employed by the Tribe, including employees of tribally owned entities. Treasury still needs to collect and verify employment data before distributing the second round of funding. Amounts for ANCs will not be distributed, as litigation is still pending. Press release here. Details here
  • More than a dozen tribes have sued the Treasury Department over its guidance identifying Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) as eligible entities for the fund. Last Wednesday, Secretary Mnuchin said that the department would not be releasing funding until Tuesday, April 28 – two days after the deadline outlined in the CARES Act. The court on Monday preliminarily enjoined Treasury from disbursing funds to ANCs.  
  • 5/5 – Treasury released an updated FAQ regarding distribution of CARES Act state/local funds. FAQ here
  • 4/27 – USDA announced that Kansas and Virginia have been approved to operate Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which provides assistance to families of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals dealing with school closures.  
  • 4/22 –  Treasury issued guidance on the state/local/tribal governments fund here. The guidance further defines what expenses qualify as “necessary expenditures” and provides examples as well as examples of ineligible expenses. 
  • 4/13 – Treasury 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.   
Oversight
  • 5/7 – Leadership announced the remaining members of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis. Speaker Pelosi had announced earlier the Democratic members of the Committee Members of the Committee are listed below:
    • Chair Jim Clyburn (D-SC) – Chair 
    • Maxine Waters (D-CA) 
    • Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) 
    • Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) 
    • Bill Foster (D-IL) 
    • Jamie Raskin (D-MD) 
    • Andy Kim (D-NJ) 
    • Steve Scalise (R-LA) – Ranking Member 
    • Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) 
    • Rep Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) 
    • Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) 
    • Rep. Mark Green (R-TN)
Supplemental 3.5 – Interim Emergency Coronavirus Relief, formally titled “Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act” (HR 266)

The President signed the bill into law on April 24. Text here. Section by section here. Summary of hospital and testing provisions here. DPCC one pager here. Senate Democrats summary of health provisions. Overview of commitments regarding health funding and Medicare advance payments the Administration made as part of negotiations. 

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

Supplemental II – Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6201)

The Senate passed the House bill on March 18 and the President signed the bill into law that evening. Bill text here. Factsheet here. Bill section by section here. A summary of paid leave provisions, incorporating changes made by technical correction, is here.

Supplemental I – Coronavirus Supplemental

Signed by the President March 6. Text here, summary here.

Congress

Session: While the Senate returned last week, the House has yet to confirm when it will return. Whip Clyburn indicated on a call last week that the House will likely return the week of May 18. 

Hearings and Meetings: The Senate held the first in-person hearings last week, with limited attendance and required social distancing protocols. 

Appropriations: While specific timing continues to be unclear, HAC will likely stick to the original subcommittee order of markups, just shifting everything back. Staff is continuing to work through FY21 and many subcommittees are in the final stages of wrapping up their bills. Chairwoman Lowey intends to have subcommittees ready to markup mid-May. The expected order is the following: LHHS; AG; CJS; SFOPs; E&W; DOD; MilCon; FSGG; Interior; THUD; Homeland; and Leg Branch. HAC-D will be limited in marking up the classified portion of the bill, as staff cannot do so remotely and will need to complete it upon return to their offices. The Senate is scheduled to markup their bills the last week of June.

NDAA: HASC intends to schedule the markup once the House schedule is clear. SASC is looking to markup NDAA 2021 the week of June 8, with the goal to have a bill to floor before the 4th of July recess.   

Remote voting/virtual protocols: With regard to efforts to develop rules for remote voting and a "virtual Congress," negotiations in the House have yielded little progress. Thursday, Leader McCarthy sent a letter to Democratic leaders with the Republican proposal for reopening the House. It offered four strategies outlined below. Friday, Leader Hoyer replied in a statement that the proposal “falls woefully short.” Leaders Hoyer and McCarthy continue to head the panel charged with crafting a bipartisan solution (the group includes Reps. McGovern, Lofgren, Cole and Davis). Reaching consensus remains difficult. 

McCarthy Proposal
  • “Strategy 1: Modify Existing Practices and Structures” – Essentially use existing House rules and practices but take steps to reduce congestion in offices/Capitol, install barriers, etc. 
  • “Strategy 2: Employ a Phased Return with Committees” – Each committee would present an outline to the Majority Leader detailing their projected business meetings for the month ahead, along with estimated attendance levels. This information would be used to generate a staggered business calendar, with rotating use of larger committee hearing rooms where necessary. Precedence would be given to bipartisan COVID-19 response measures and other high-priority legislative items. 
  • “Strategy 3: Deploy Technology in a ‘Crawl, Walk, Run’ Progression” – Would require that rigorous testing standards be met, ample feedback be provided, and bipartisan rules of the road be agreed upon and made public to truly safeguard minority rights before widely adopting technology. 
  • “Strategy 4: Accelerate Active Risk Mitigation Practices” – Continue ongoing efforts to distribute Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits—including gloves, facemasks, and alcohol-based hand sanitizers—with additional supplies available on demand. Ensure hand sanitizing stations are ubiquitous around the Capitol campus and enhanced cleaning procedures adopted. Keep staffing to a minimum through continued use of teleworking procedures, while the Capitol remains open to only members, required staff, and credentialed press. 
Members of Congress in Quarantine or Treatment (new additions in bold)

Note: It has been a month since a member of Congress has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Tested Positive (0)

Currently Self-Quarantined (0)

Recovered (7): 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)

Completed Quarantine (37): 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) 

Washington, D.C. Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are  1,300, 696 total cases and 78,771 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting.
  • In an effort to move away from in-person voting during a pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) of California said all Californians will be receiving mail-in ballots for the November election.
  • Updates on lockdowns/reopening:
    • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) announced that a new safer at home order, which will reopen restaurants and bars, gyms, salons, and churches will go into effect Monday, May 11th.
    • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) released guidelines to allow some businesses to reopen on May 20th.
    • Gov. John Carney (D) extended the state's stay-at-home order until May 31st and announced that June 1st would be the target date to reopen Delaware.
    • Florida Gov. DeSantis (R) announced he will be extending Florida's State of Emergency for 60 days. At the same time, he announced that barber shops and salons can reopen in most of Florida on Monday.
    • Gov. Janet Mills (D) on Friday announced updated guidelines for the reopening of the Maine economy for a number of different businesses and outdoor activities.
    • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) extended the state's "Safer At Home" order until Monday, May 25th. He also announced a plan for salons, barbershops, and gyms to reopen starting on Monday.
    • Gov. Tom Wolf (D) of has extended Pennsylvania's stay-at-home order for all counties in the red phase of his reopening plan, including the Philadelphia area, until June 4th. Additionally, Gov. Wolf announced 13 Pennsylvania counties will move to the yellow phase of reopening starting on Friday, May 15th.
    • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) announced that restaurants throughout the state will be allowed to reopen for limited dine-in services beginning Monday the 11th.
    • Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced child care centers can begin to reopen on June 1st and day camps will be able to operate this summer.
    • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) released a list of safe practices for businesses to follow once the economy begins to reopen.
  • Useful state data:
    • The NYT is tracking which states are reopening and which are still shut down.
    • These charts show cumulative coronavirus cases and deaths for metropolitan areas over time.
    • 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.
International Affairs
  • Saudi Arabia continues to report daily increases in COVID-19 cases. Since mid-April, their numbers have tripled.
  • Recent data indicate that Mexico could be massively underreporting COVID-19 deaths in Mexico City. Officials say the true number of deaths could be up to three times as many as are being reported.
  • Today, Russia reported 10,699 new cases, continuing its recent trend of more than 10,000 new cases per day. At this pace, Russia could potentially overtake the UK, Italy, and Spain by early next week to reach #2 globally, behind the U.S.
  • According to the Brazilian Health Ministry, Brazil reported a record daily increase of 751 COVID-19 deaths on Friday, bringing them to a nationwide toll of nearly 10,000.
  • At least 2 million Canadians lost their jobs in April, adding to the 1 million who were already unemployed through March. Canada’s unemployment rate stands at 13 percent, the second highest ever recorded.
  • The European Commission is encouraging countries in the EU to extend restrictions on nonessential travel and to keep external borders closed until June 15th.
  • Kuwait’s government announced today it will impose a nationwide lockdown starting Sunday that will stay in place until the end of this month.
  • Global Cases:  4,123,376 Total Deaths:  283,055
Lifestyle, Science, and Economy
  • More than 20.5 million jobs were lost in April, leading the U.S. to an unemployment rate of 14.7 percent, the worst since the Great Depression. A huge portion of the job losses are classified as temporary, as employers hope to be able to bring back employees after COVID-19 lockdowns start to ease.
  • More than two-thirds of respondents said in a poll released last Thursday that they were more concerned that state governments would reopen their economies too quickly than that they might take too long.
  • Health officials are tracking a new illness in children, 73 children in New York have had it, which doctors have labeled pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PIMS). Information about PIMS is still extremely limited due to the small numbers of cases compared with the staggering numbers of people affected by COVID-19, but pediatric specialists around the country are focusing their efforts on determining whether more cases exist. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles experts noticed an increase in the number of patients diagnosed with Kawasaki disease (a rare pediatric condition characterized by inflammation of blood vessels and abnormal dilations of the arteries supplying the heart with blood) in the month of April as compared to the previous two years.
  • A recent study detected COVID-19 in the semen of a small sample of patients from China’s Henan province. The study acknowledges that these analyses do not indicate whether or not COVID-19 can be sexually transmitted. Other viruses can be found in semen and can be transmitted via sexual contact, including Zika and Ebola.
  • A recently released Harvard University study showed that COVID-19 patients living in counties with higher levels of air pollution were more likely to die from the respiratory disease. The study has not been peer-reviewed, and is politically controversial.
  • Tesla has told employees it intended to restart its factory in Fremont, California today, but these plans do not comply with a local government order that has not yet cleared large manufacturers to resume operations.
  • The operators of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea have extended the "temporary closure" of the theme park. The news comes as Disney said it will begin a phased reopening of its Shanghai theme park next week.
  • 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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