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COVID-19 Update
June 1, 2020

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 Governor Announced at her press conference Friday that on Monday (today) her administration will be returning to the capitol in light of the legislative session resuming. They will stop working from the state emergency operations center. She will continue to hold regular press conferences to provide two live broadcasts per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting this week, instead of daily press conferences. This newsletter will reflect that change.

Currently, IDPH has reported on the state’s coronavirus dashboard, 19,669 Iowans have tested positive, up 917 from our update Friday morning, with a total of 159,287 Iowans tested.  18 more deaths were reported since our update Friday, bringing the total to 537 deaths.  Now 11, 173 Iowans have recovered. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here.

The Iowa Revenue Estimating Committee met Friday afternoon to provide a forecast of the State of Iowa’s fiscal health. Linked here is the updated spreadsheet.

The highlights from the panel are as follows:
  • FY2020: March estimate was $8.090 Billion. They downgraded this revenue to $7.926B (reduction of $150M). This represents positive revenue growth of 0.9% (82.4M increase for FY20 from FY19) (from March estimate of 3% growth). Important to note this is the current fiscal year that ends June 30, 2020.
     
  • FY2021: This number will be used by legislators to build their budget when they re-convene June 3rd.  The March estimate was at $8.236B. They lowered the projection to $7.876B representing a $360M downgrade from the March estimate. This means that the legislature has a lower cap of what they can spend for FY 21 ($360M less than March estimate).
In the CARES package passed by Congress, the State of Iowa directly received $1.25 billion for COVID-19 relief.  Friday the Governor announced the $1.25 Billion in federal funding will be leveraged by allocating $700 million and holding the remaining $550 million to look at the needs of Iowa’s unemployment trust fund and potential future costs to the state. The governor intends to distribute $700 million based on the chart below:
Senator Joni Ernst joined the press conference to explain the use of other CARES Act funds. Iowa small businesses have received over 54,000 PPP loans worth over $5 Billion. She said they are still working on securing PPP for other businesses like local media outlets and chambers of commerce. Of the economic impact payments that came to Iowans 1.5 million people have received totaling $2.7 Billion dollars. Ernst also said she is working hard for biofuels producers. She said looking forward she wants essential worker tax relief, and a focus on child care.

One of the new programs to help Iowans with economic impacts from COVID-19 is up and running. Iowans can now apply for eviction and foreclosure relief funds through IFA. Director Debbie Durham announced the opening of the website for the program and what it entails:
  • Eligible Iowans can receive rental assistance of up to 4 months up to $3,200
  • Mortgage payment assistance relief for up to $3,000
  • Iowans must be a current homeowner or renter due to COVID-19 loss of income
  • Have a household income of 80 of average household income per county
  • Must not be receiving federal stimulus benefit of additional $600 per week
  • There must be an electronic verification from their landlord
  • Applications can be made at Iowahousingrecovery.com
  • The program is first come first served and they are prepared to take 20,000 applications
Governor Reynolds at her press conference on Friday thanked Trump for his announcement that he will be extending Title 32, allowing the National Guard to continue helping COVID-19 efforts in the state.

Federal Legislation
Supplemental IV – The Heroes Act (HR 6800)
Timeline/Process/Politics: Republicans have begun moving to put together their priorities for the next coronavirus supplemental. Internal Republican discussions are happening this week with bipartisan negotiations possibly beginning the following week. Conversations between House and Senate Republicans and the White House are continuing and there are ongoing conversations between Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer. Speaker Pelosi has been in close contact with the trial lawyers’ association (AAJ) to discuss what liability protection provisions could be allowed. A final bill could come in June, July, or even as late as August, depending on negotiations.
 
Policy: The bill itself may be smaller in scope and overall cost than previous bills. Rather than a $3 trillion bill, it’s could clock in around $1 or $1.5 trillion, with Republicans' spending fatigue being the restraining factor.
 
In a House Republican leadership call, Republicans indicated that there would be some form COVID-19 liability immunity in the next package – it has become a bicameral red-line issue for Republicans. Liability protection could be a blanket protection from 2020 to 2021 for all employers but wouldn’t be fully universal (as Republicans agree that there shouldn’t be a shield for bad actors). It is still unclear what would determine bad actors as federal, state, and local guidance on coronavirus practices often contradict one another.
 
As mentioned previously, Senate Republicans are increasingly concerned about the expanded unemployment insurance becoming a disincentive for employees to return to work. Sen. Portman and others have been working on ideas to prevent and mitigate that disincentives. Disincentive mitigation may end up in the tax space or unemployment insurance space.
 
The Heroes Act passed the House on May 15, and can serve as an outline of Democratic priorities (to a certain extent). Heroes Act text (as of 5/12/2020) here. Section by section here. One pager here. State and Local one pager here. NCAI’s summary on tribal provisions here. Manager’s amendment here. House Rules Committee report here.
 
Legislation to Watch
Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act: Last Thursday, the House passed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (HR 7010) 417-1. The single no vote was from Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY). It’s unclear if those changes will be enough to pass the Senate. The Senate attempted to hotline a similarly focused bill last week, though the Senate bill has significant differences. It is unclear the House-passed bill will move through the Senate or whether a conference will be necessary.

Highlights of the House bill (H.R. 7010) below. Updated text (budget language included) here.
  • Allow loan forgiveness for expenses beyond the 8-week covered period.  
  • Removes the limitation that restrict non-payroll expenses (rent, utilities) to 25% of the loan. 
  • Eliminate limitations that restrict loan terms to 2 years. 
  • Allow businesses that take PPP loans to be eligible for payroll tax deferment.  
  • Extend the rehiring deadline to align with the enhanced Unemployment Insurance to offset its effects. 
  • Clarify safe harbor language, specifically that an “inability to return to the same level of business activity,” refers to compliance with HHS, CDC, OSHA standards or any other worker/customer safety requirement related to COVID-19.
  • Allows borrowers to defer payments until SBA has made forgiveness determination.
Highlights of the Senate bill below. Text here. One pager here.
  • Extends the deadline to apply for a PPP from 6/30/2020, to 12/31/2020;
  • Allows borrowers a full 16 weeks to use funds, extending it from 8 weeks;
  • Expand use of funds to include PPP and investments in safety for reopening;
  • Clarify the lender hold harmless provision.
Infrastructure: With the usual grain of salt that accompanies any discussion of infrastructure, it should be noted that Chairman Pallone said on a call today that the House would move a “big” infrastructure bill by the end of June. In addition to the usual road/rail/surface transportation items, Pallone highlighted:    
  • $86 billion for improving broadband in underserved areas;
  • $25 billion for drinking water improvements;
  • $35 billion for electricity grid improvements;
  • $25 billion for hospitals;
  • $10 billion for community health centers.
Passed Legislation
Moving forward, this section will only include new information and guidance. For past information and guidance and past legislation, please refer to the archives.
 
New Implementation Information and Guidance
  • 5/28 – The Boston Federal Reserve released legal documents for eligible borrowers and lenders to participate Main Street program as well as updated FAQs on the program. Application and information pager here.
  • 5/28 – SBA and Treasury announced a $10 billion set-aside of the PPP for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). Press release here.
  • 5/28 – SBA released an updated FAQ on the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which provides funding to state, local, and tribal governments. FAQ here.
Congress
Hearings/Floor Activity: The Senate will return this week. Leader Hoyer released an updated House calendar (here) – it shows no voting days until June 30. In the Dear Colleague accompanying the calendar, Leader Hoyer explained that committee work will be the primary focus, outlining NDAA, appropriations, surface transportation reauthorization, WRDA, and expansion of the ACA as “must-pass” pieces of legislation. Leader Hoyer also noted that should additional votes be necessary for COVID-19 related legislation, members will be given 72 hours’ notice before votes.
 
Appropriations: HAC is still a couple of weeks away from formulating a real markup schedule. If that’s the case, we’re not likely to see markups commence until mid-to-late June at best. It will take some time to develop and implement committee guidance and procedures for the new remote latitude afforded through the House Rules change. The plan remains to move through COVID Phase 4 before turning to FY21. We still expect a rapid-fire markup process. The hope is that all 12 subcommittees can go through subcommittee markups over the course of a week – whenever the markups begin – with most of the full committee markups in the following week. HAC-D will likely go in the middle of the pack, largely due to the fact they still need to work on the classified annex which hasn’t been addressed yet as staff cannot work in classified spaces.
 
The FY21 Senate Appropriations schedule has slipped indefinitely. Last week, SAC released the 302b allocations to the subcommittee clerks. Subcommittees may poll their member rather than meet in person and save the in-person markups for full committee, to minimize the number of times that committee members have to gather. Chairman Shelby has publicly said that the Homeland Security and the MilCon-VA spending bills are unlikely to move forward due to political disagreements over funding for the border wall. The Defense bill is unlikely to go through the formal markup process and may post a Chairman’s recommendation and explanatory statement online as was done in FY18.

Leader McConnell and Chairman Shelby have reached an agreement to exempt VA health programs from the budget caps by designating it as emergency spending. This would save $11-$12 billion on the non-defense discretionary side and increase the odds of producing bipartisan bills. Another plan would be to agree to a budget cap adjustment similar to the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). 
 
NDAA: HASC and SASC are finalizing their bills. SASC is looking to markup NDAA 2021 June 8-10, with the goal to have a bill to floor before the 4th of July recess. HASC markup is unlikely to occur on June 10-12 as previously reported – HASC is continuing to work through the logistics of the markup. Markup dates now have slipped to the week of June 22 or July 1-2.  
 
Remote voting/virtual protocols: This week is the first week the House allowed proxy voting and remote hearings and markups. House Republicans sued House officials in attempt to block remote voting. The Senate has not moved forward with any proxy voting or remote procedures.
 
Members of Congress in Quarantine or Treatment (new additions in bold)
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 (38): Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS), Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA), Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Vincente Gonzalez (D-TX), Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY), Rep. David Price (D-NC), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ), Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX), Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

Other Federal Actions
Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 1,761,503 total cases and 103,700 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. 
  • Mississippi, Utah, Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Arizona all set new highs in their daily reports of new positive cases of COVID-19.
  • A person who attended some of the crowded pool parties at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri last weekend has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said today that New York City could potentially start reopening by June 8th. Under the first step, nonessential stores would be allowed to open for curbside pickup and nonessential construction and manufacturing could resume.
  • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced that youth summer leagues, summer schools, and day camps can reopen.
  • Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed an EO that takes additional steps to allow for larger gatherings and lets bars and nightclubs reopen in Georgia if they follow certain guidelines.
  • Gov. Brad Little (R) announced that Idaho will enter Stage 3 of reopening its economy, allowing bars to reopen, and allowing public or private gatherings of up to 50 people if social distancing can be maintained. Additionally, Gov. Little announced that movie theaters were included in Stage 3.
  • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a proclamation that permits bars, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and social and fraternal clubs may reopen on May 28th with the same public health measures as restaurants in place. The proclamation also permits the reopening on June 1st of additional establishments, including outdoor performance venues, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement parks, skating rinks, skate parks, outdoor playgrounds.
  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) issued two additional COVID-19 EOs, extending a prohibition on utility shutoffs and residential late fees, and allowing breweries, wineries, and distilleries to provide service in outdoor seating areas. Gov. Hogan also extended his order prohibiting electric, gas, water, sewage, phone, cable TV, and internet service provider companies from shutting off any residential customer’s service, or charging any residential late fees. The order will remain in effect through July 1st.
  • Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced updates for the opening of Massachusetts for certain sectors (i.e., professional sports teams) and provided guidance to the opening of restaurants and lodging businesses.
  • Gov. Tate Reeves (R) announced his Safer At Home order will be ending on June 1st to be replaced by new guidance for the next stage of economic recovery for Mississippi. Gov. Reeves also issued another executive order to begin safely reopening ballparks, movie theaters, libraries, and museums.
  • Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signed an EO updating guidelines pertaining to social gatherings, education, businesses, travel, and events. The new order clarifies that all businesses within specific counties that have been moved to the low risk phase are operating if they can meet and adhere to the specific guidelines.
  • Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced the opening of additional close contact businesses, dental procedures, businesses that require work in the home, and of limited overnight youth summer camp programming. Additionally, the state of Vermont increased the size of social gatherings.
  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) released his Phase 2 reopening directive, which is set to expire on June 30th.
  • Gov. David Ige (D) approved requests, from the Mayors Hawaiʻi and Kauaʻi counties, to safely re-open more businesses and operations under guidelines that will ensure their health, safety, and welfare.
  • Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced the opening of specific amusement parks and the Kentucky State Park Lodges with extensive precautions in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed amended yellow phase orders to include eight new counties into the yellow phase of reopening Pennsylvania. The eight counties are joining 49 counties that previously moved into the yellow phase.
  • 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
  • The U.K. National Health Service will keep personal data of people with COVID-19 for 20 years as part of its track-and-trace program. 
  • The European Commission launched a new global fundraising campaign with Global Citizen to finance the development and worldwide distribution of COVID-19 testing, vaccines and treatments.
  • Brazil surpassed Spain today as it recorded 1,124 new coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours.
  • Migrant workers in India are being infected by COVID-19 at alarming rates. Almost half of the country’s 160,000 known cases have been traced to just four cities: New Delhi, Chennai, Ahmedabad, and Mumbai. Despite severe lockdown restrictions put in place more than two months ago, top scientists anticipate the country might not see its peak in cases and deaths until the end of July.
  • Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece are expected to open borders to each other starting June 1st. Greece has a list of nearly 30 countries it will allow travelers from in an effort to save their tourism industry. 
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that the Canadian government is considering “a slight modification” of the agreement limiting nonessential travel at the U.S.-Canada border to allow for the reunification of some families.
  • Hundreds of individuals reportedly fled from quarantine facilities in Malawi and Zimbabwe. At nearly 50 of more than 400 quarantined individuals that fled in Malawi tested positive for COVID-19, and more than 100 individuals that fled quarantine in Zimbabwe tested positive.
  • Global Cases:  6,194,508      Total Deaths:  372,501
Lifestyle, Science, and Economy
  • More than 1 in 4 U.S. workers have lost their jobs since the COVID-19 outbreak shut down much of the economy in March. The DOL reported that another 2.1 million people filed for unemployment benefits. That's down 323,000 from the previous week but brings the total for the past 10 weeks to 40.8 million, which represents 26 percent of the civilian labor force in April.
  • WHO has published a surveillance protocol for SARS-CoV-2 infection among health workers. This is a technical tool that countries can use to better understand the characteristics and exposure risks of health workers infected with COVID-19.
  • Tyson Foods will temporarily close its Iowa pork processing plant after 555 employees, or 22 percent of the workforce, tested positive for COVID-19. Operations are expected to resume this week.
  • The United Food and Commercial Workers union called on Smithfield to close a meatpacking plant in LA where over 10 percent of workers have contracted COVID-19. The union was joined by PETA in their protest. 
  • CVS reached its target of opening 1,000 COVID-19 testing sites, in partnership with the federal government. 
  • A group of over 100 scientists and clinicians have questioned the authenticity of a massive hospital database that was the basis for an influential paper published last week that suggested the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat people with COVID-19 did not help and may have increased the risk of abnormal heart rhythms and death. Some of the complaints from the letter sent to the Lancet include that the authors did not name any of the involved hospitals or even which countries were involved.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Forbes is keeping a running list of all major international airline COVID-19-related change and cancellation policies.
  • RetailDive tracks store reopenings in the U.S. 
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 Biotechnology Association, All rights reserved.


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