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COVID-19 Update
May 7, 2020

IowaBio wants to provide our members useful information during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This newsletter compiles information on state, federal and industry action to combat the virus and its impacts.

If your company is helping respond to COVID-19, IowaBio wants to know about it. Please, send any information about what your biotechnology company or organization is doing to help, to Jessica Hyland at Jessica@iowabio.org.

If IowaBio can assist you in getting information out, connecting with public officials, or support your company in another way, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Past IowaBio COVID-19 Update newsletters are now available at www.iowabio.org/COVID19 and can be found under the Industry News tab on the IowaBio website.

Iowa Update

Governor Kim Reynolds will hold a press conference today from the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Johnston, IA at 11:00 a.m. to provide an update to the state of Iowa on COVID-19. That press conference will be livestreamed and posted in full on Governor Reynolds’ Facebook Page

Yesterday, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) was notified of 293 additional positive cases for a total of 10,404 positive cases. There have been an additional 2,309 negative tests for a total of 52,767 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs.  According to IDPH, an additional 12 deaths were also reported (219 total deaths), 414 are currently hospitalized, and 3,803 Iowans have recovered. At this time, 1 in 50 Iowans have been tested. 

Yesterday in Washington D.C., Governor Reynolds addressed President Trump and Vice President Pence, praising the partnership and coordination with the Trump administration, and their support for additional testing in Iowa. President Trump retweeted a video clip of Reynolds speaking about his administration’s response. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue was also part of the discussion, addressing Iowa’s food supply chain and meat packing facility outbreaks. A Des Moines Register article is here.

Governor Reynolds' office issued a new proclamation Wednesday afternoon, allowing additional businesses to begin operating in Iowa again after she ordered them shut down in March, to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The full proclamation is here. A Des Moines Register article can be found here.

Dentists may resume providing services if they comply with guidelines for safely reopening adopted by the Iowa Dental Board, have adequate personal protective equipment, demonstrate a plan to preserve such equipment and have a supply chain to obtain more equipment if needed.

Other businesses that can open statewide beginning at 5 a.m. Friday are:
  • Campgrounds
  • Drive-in movie theaters
  • Tanning facilities
  • Medical spas
  • Malls and fitness centers at 50% capacity
The re-openings are on top of a previous order that allowed some retail businesses, including restaurants, to open in 77 of Iowa's 99 counties beginning on May 1.

The city of Des Moines is extending both the closure of administrative buildings until June 15, and a freeze on public event permits until July 1, Mayor Frank Cownie announced on Tuesday. An update on city parks and recreational services will come later this week, Cownie said. All deadlines remain suspended indefinitely for city permits, licenses, certifications and fines. Parking meter enforcement in Des Moines remains discontinued except where parking is prohibited.

Federal Legislation

Supplemental IV – CARES 2.0. / Phase 4

Timeline/Process/Politics: While the original plan was for the House to return next week, Whip Clyburn indicated on a call that the House will likely return the week of May 18. A vote in the House does not entail passage of a bill, as Republicans will not likely vote for the bill in its current state and bipartisan negotiations have yet to begin. The more micro issues will not be resolved until the macro issues are (state/local/tribal funding, liability protections, UI extension), and currently, 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.

Republicans have indicated that they intend to wait to see how programs are working (or not working) before passing another bill. However, some factors may add pressure to pass a bill sooner than Republicans would otherwise like. The SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program running out of funding, as it created the impetus for a COVID 3.5 package, could do so again. The federal boost to unemployment insurance ends July 31, and thus, could be another driver. The pressure of states’, local governments’, and tribes’ need for additional support could push Congress to move quicker. Additionally, if we continue to see deteriorating economic data (unemployment, job numbers, GDP), the White House could step up pressure on Republicans to pass a bill quickly.

The remaining Committees sent over language to leadership Tuesday evening, so a bill could be released soon. Speaker Pelosi has been working to set expectations for her caucus and Republicans that the bill will be more tailored than the bill Speaker Pelosi released before Senate passage of CARES.

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, see below for an outline of the bill.
  • State and Local: $500 billion for state and local relief, and additional funding for tribal and rural communities; funding for mass transit, CDBG; funding for broadband; additional funding for K-12 and education.
  • Public Health: more funding for Medicaid-serving providers, increase in FMAP, funding for a national testing plan, and language around the testing supply chain.
  • Businesses: Hazard pay for frontline workers (though, likely less than what Schumer has proposed); expansion of OSHA for essential workers; additional PPP funding with an extension of loans through August and loan term to 5 years; funding for EIDL; expansion of the employee retention tax credit.
  • Support for Individuals: Second round of stimulus checks; student debt relief; bans on utility shutoffs; expansion and extension of foreclosure and eviction bans; $75 billion for a homeowner assistance fund, $100 billion for a rental assistance fund; extension of federal boost to unemployment insurance; childcare assistance for frontline workers.
Legislation to Watch:

Rep. Don Beyer (D) and Sens. Jack Reed (D) and Michael Bennet (D) released a draft framework that would use automatic triggers to ensure that pandemic and unemployment assistance would continue to flow to individuals even in the absence of action by Congress. The bill aims to tie support to broader labor conditions, rather than acts of Congress.

Passed Legislation

New Implementation Information and Guidance
  • 5/6 – SBA released an updated FAQ for the Paycheck Protection Program. FAQ here.
  • 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.
  • 5/5 – Treasury released an updated FAQ regarding distribution of CARES Act state/local funds. FAQ here.
Previously Reported Implementation Information and Guidance

Small Business Loans & Treasury Main Street Lending
  • 5/4 – Treasury released an updated FAQ on 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
  • Treasury FAQ on Employee Retention Tax Credit here (updated 4/29)
Public Health Systems, Education, and Healthcare
  • 5/1 – As part of the $100 billion dedicated to hospitals and health providers in CARES, HHS is distributing funding to “hotspot” hospitals and providers this week. HHS will be distributing $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 will be distributed based on low-income/uninsured data (Medicare and Medicaid disproportionate share and uncompensated care payments). Money will go out Tuesday or Wednesday this week.
  • 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 Government Funding
  • 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.
  • 5/1 – Treasury updated the Coronavirus Relief Fund FAQ to clarify permissible uses. 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
  • 4/29 – Speaker Pelosi announced the members of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, to be chaired by Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. The Democratic members are the following:
    • Chairwoman Maxine Waters (Financial Services)
    • Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (Oversight and Reform)
    • Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (Small Business)
    • Chairman Bill Foster (Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight of Science, Space, and Technology Committee)
    • Chairman Jamie Raskin (Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of Oversight and Reform Committee)
    • Chairman Andy Kim (Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access of Small Business Committee)
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 earlier this week, the House has yet to confirm when it will return. Whip Clyburn indicated on a call yesterday that the House will likely return the week of May 18.

Hearings and Meetings: The Senate held the first in-person hearings Tuesday and Wednesday, 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. Yesterday Leader McCarthy sent a letter to Democratic leaders with the Republican proposal for reopening the House. It offered four strategies outlined below. Today, 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)

Other Federal Actions
  • President Trump has said the Coronavirus Task Force will not, in fact, be disbanding anytime soon. Instead, it will remain in commission “indefinitely” and shift the focus to finding a vaccine.
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue last night sent two letters to governors across the nation and leadership of major meat processing companies. The letters establish the USDA’s expectations for the implementation of President Trump’s recent EO that directs meat processing plants to follow the CDC and OSHA guidance specific to the meat processing industry to keep these critical facilities open while maintaining worker safety.
  • The FDA issued guidance notifying the Center for Devices and Radiological Health of a permanent discontinuance or interruption in manufacturing of a device under Section 506J of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act during the COVID-19 public health crisis. The guidance is intended to assist manufacturers in providing FDA timely, informative notifications about changes in the production of certain medical device products that will help the Agency prevent or mitigate shortages of such devices during the COVID-19.
  • The FDA has been notified that more than 240 laboratories have begun testing under the policies set forth in our COVID-19 Policy for Diagnostic Tests for Coronavirus Disease-2019 during the Public Health Emergency Guidance.
  • The FDA also continues to keep its COVID-19 Diagnostics FAQ up to date.
  • Remaining COVID-19 hearings in Congress this week (memos available upon request):
  • The CDC released a study of the spread of COVID-19 in public and private prisons and detention centers in the U.S. The study found that nearly 5,000 prisoners had contracted the virus along with over 2,000 staff members, resulting in 103 total deaths.
  • The CDC continues to update and publish additional documents on its dashboard. Today, the CDC published updated interim guidance on managing COVID-19 in correctional and detainment facilities, further information on social distancing (with subcategories for those at increased risk), and cruise ship crew member disembarkation guidelines. These three are just a sampling of the many updates made each day by the CDC.
  • You can view CMS’s overview of recent COVID-19-related actions here.
  • A 57-year-old man from El Salvador is the first person to die from COVID-19 while in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody. The man had been held at the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego, California.
Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 1,193,813 total cases and 70,802 deaths  The CDC data closes out the day before reporting.
  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced the creation of the Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps, a public service initiative that will support efforts this fall to increase testing and contact tracing and provide critical new job opportunities.
  • Updates on lockdowns/reopening:
    • Gov. Roy Cooper (D) signed an EO to modify North Carolina's Stay At Home order and transition to Phase 1 of slowly easing certain COVID-19 Friday, May 8th.
    • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced that Maryland is on track to reopen next week. Starting at 7:00 AM on Thursday, golf, tennis, boating, fishing, camping and other activities can resume, and state parks and beaches will reopen.
    • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) signed a supplementary emergency proclamation authorizing the first group of businesses to reopen, including agriculture services, auto dealerships, car washes, childcare services, pet grooming services, observatories and support facilities, and some retail and repair services.
    • Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced “Restore Illinois,” a five-phase plan to safely reopen Illinois guided by public health metrics designed to provide a framework for reopening businesses, education, and recreational activities in each 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
  • In Germany, the Bundesliga will be allowed to return, according to Chancellor Angela Merkel. Matches will resume on May 15th behind closed doors. Schools, daycare centers, stores, and restaurants will be allowed to reopen within the next few days, and hotels will be able to open by the end of the month.
  • Brazil’s health ministry recorded at least 10,503 new cases of COVID-19 and 615 deaths in the past 24 hours. The country currently has the highest number of cases in Latin America. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro continues to face criticism for downplaying the threat of the virus and attending rallies calling for an end to quarantine measures.
  • Poland’s governing coalition parties have agreed to postpone this Sunday's presidential election due to COVID-19 concerns. A new date has not yet been scheduled.
  • The EU’s Commission is anticipating a COVD-related economic downturn not seen since the Great Depression. Some estimates project decreases in economic activity of 7.5 percent. Greece, Spain, and Italy are expected to be hit hardest.
  • Researchers in the UK say a cluster of eight children, some who tested positive for COVID-19, seem to have symptoms of the rare Kawasaki disease. “We suggest that this clinical picture represents a new phenomenon affecting previously asymptomatic children with SARS-CoV-2 infection manifesting as a hyperinflammatory syndrome with multiorgan involvement similar to Kawasaki disease shock syndrome,” the researchers wrote.
  • Chinese officials continue to push back against U.S. allegations that China has not been fully forthcoming with details about the origin of COVID-19.
  • As India as moved to lift social distancing restrictions, the number of cases is doubling every 9.5 days, and the daily death toll has increased by more than 100. New Delhi and Mumbai, two of the most crowded areas, account for a third of all reported infections in India.
  • Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are will effectively be creating a “travel bubble”. The neighboring countries will lift travel restrictions between them starting May 15th, a move that will be the first of its kind in the EU since its members began to limit travel in March.
  • Global Cases:  3,775,667        Total Deaths:  264,406
Lifestyle, Science, and Economy
  • A new study from the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project shows a rise in food insecurity without modern precedent. Nearly a fifth of young children are not getting enough to eat, according to surveys of their mothers. The rate is three times higher than in 2008, at the worst of the Great Recession.
  • The payroll processing company ADP said on Wednesday that the private sector lost more than 20 million jobs in April, with the cuts spread across every sector and size of employer.
  • Amazon is backing a coalition of online retailers that will begin a seven-figure advertising offensive against President Trump’s demand that the United States Postal Service (USPS) increase package delivery prices to avoid bankruptcy during COVID-19. Amazon, CVS, and other companies involved in the campaign rely on the USPS for the delivery of millions of packages a year.
  • This interactive page shows how coronavirus mutates and spreads.
  • Economists are anticipating another bad week for U.S. unemployment claims. Data will be released later this week.
  • The DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) put out a joint alert warning that advanced persistent threat (APT) groups are using the pandemic to zero in on vulnerable organizations involved in fighting COVID-19. The agencies warned that these groups were likely being targeted in order to steal intellectual property and intelligence, such as details on national and international health policies and COVID-19 research. 
  • According to data released by the Department of Commerce, health care spending declined at an annualized rate of 18 percent in the first three months of the year. This is the largest reduction since the government started keeping records in 1959.
  • Orangutans in Indonesia’s rehabilitation centers are staying put for now. Officials have canceled all planned releases into the wild, closed the facilities to outsiders and ordered staff to wear protective gear. Scientists fear that COVID-19 could also jump to great apes — gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans — which share up to 99 percent of their DNA with humans.
  • The National Academy of Medicine will host a free webinar on Thursday to discuss priorities and strategies to support the professional well-being of clinicians.
  • 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).
Featured Resources
Town Hall Series
Brought to you by AssuredPartners
As an AssuredPartners agency, we invite you to join a Town Hall webinar on State Reopening Orders and Employee Return to Work Measures. Based on significant demand from our clients, we will cover: 
  • Recent DOL and IRS Changes for COBRA, Special Enrollments, and Claims Deadlines
  • State Reopening Orders & Return to Work Employee Screening
  • Health Screenings & Employee Wellness for Return to Work

May 8, 2020 at 1:00pm Central
Register
To register, complete the fields below the log in button. You will receive an email confirmation with a link to join the presentation.

AssuredPartners has set up a COVID-19 Resources Page that can be accessed at https://www.assuredpartners.com/Coronavirus-Resources.

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
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