Web

The Coronavirus is a serious global public health threat with information rapidly evolving. We are proud of our Members who are working hard to bring forward potential Covid-19 solutions to prevent, diagnose and treat this deadly infectious disease. Georgia Bio Member Companies, as employers, are also rushing to develop policies in response to employee concerns and safety needs. In support, Georgia Bio is working diligently to gather valuable tools and information for our Members to use as resources and guidelines.

BIO Coronavirus Hub

We have heard and seen many requests from medical research centers, biopharmaceutical companies, testing developers and testing sites requesting supplies and inquiring about manufacturing capacity. The BIO Coronavirus Hub enables you to post requests, announce the availability of supplies and capacity and to respond to those requests and announcements.

Symptoms

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Georgia's departments of Public Health are working with local health care providers throughout the state to ensure readiness to respond to this novel virus.

The State of Georgia has a new COVID-19 hotline. If you believe that you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, please contact your primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic. Please do not show up unannounced at an emergency room or health care facility.

Hotline: (844) 442-2681

CDC COVID-19 Guidance

New/Updated CDC COVID-19 Guidance; Updated Website Information – Week of June 21

*To go directly to CDC’s complete searchable COVID-19 guidance documents, click here.

New COVID-19 Guidance/Considerations:

Updated COVID-19 Guidance/Considerations:

Updated COVID-19 Website Information:

CDC’s COVID-19 frequently asked questions page

Business Guidelines

Georgia Chamber Business Guidance During COVID-19:

  1. Every Georgia business should implement their plans to protect the health and safety of their employees and customers.  
  2. Every Georgia business should follow the CDC social distancing guidelines. All businesses should make every effort to ensure adequate social distancing occurs by maintaining at least six feet of personal space or as otherwise recommended by the CDC, and providing a station(s) to wash hands with warm water and antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol, or both, according to the ordinance. 
  3. Businesses operating in localities that have not implemented restrictions should follow the Governor’s direction to limit public gatherings to 10 or fewer and, if they decide to remain operational, should strictly enforce social distancing. For example, if your manufacturing facility employees 400 you should ensure that they remain 6 feet apart or seek further guidance from the Department of Public Health. We also recommend providing employees with masks, gloves and other health personal protection equipment (PPE) as needed.  
  4. Essential businesses and services are not considered to be social gatherings
  5. If your community has implemented an “Essential Business and Services Only” order, we have strongly recommended that they follow the pre-approved Department of Homeland Security (DHS) list of critical industries for national continuity. That list can be found here: https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce. Those companies operating as “essential” should also continue to prioritize the safety of their employees.  
  6. If your community has implemented a “shelter in place” order without an “Essential Business and Services Only” order, we recommend you reach out to your local chamber or elected officials to comply with their specific order and continue to follow Governor Kemp’s Executive Order noted in (3) above

Suggestions to maintaining a safe workplace:

  • Educating employees on the signs and symptoms of the coronavirus and the precautions that can be taken to minimize the risk of contracting the virus.(94%)
  • Allowing sick employees to work from home or take leave as appropriate. (86%)
  • Minimizing unnecessary travel. (81%)
  • Minimizing unnecessary meetings and visitors. (75%)
  • Establishing first-line points of contact within the HR team responsible for managing employee questions or concerns. (39%)
  • Implementing and/or evaluating workplace emergency response protocols.(38%)
  • Training supervisors about strategies to address overreaction from employees and conflict in the workplace. (25%)
  • Other: Sending daily reports to all staff, updates pertinent to our office, colleagues, and clients

How organizations are handling travel concerns:

  • Providing other meeting options, such as video conferencing, to avoid such travel. (69%)
  • Suspending all travel to affected areas. (63%)
  • Monitoring and sharing travel advisories and warnings from relevant public health and governmental authorities with respect to areas where your employees may travel or where you currently have operations. (56%)
  • Asking employees who have recently returned from affected regions to work from home. (44%)
  • Implementing guidelines for travel to affected regions. (38%)
  • Contingency planning for operations and supply-chain disruptions that may occur due to travel restrictions in affected areas. (38%)
  • Developing a policy to address employees who refuse to work with co-workers returning from travel in affected regions. (to avoid anti-harassment and anti-discrimination) (10%)

What an organization's communicable illness policy and response plan should include:

Click here to download the World Health Organization's guide to developing a "Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan for the New Coronavirus."

  • When an ill employee must stay home, when an ill employee will be sent home and when and in what circumstances the employee may return. (81%)
  • What illnesses or exposure to illness an employee must disclose to the employer, and when and how such disclosure should be made. (63%)
  • When an employer may require an ill employee – or those who have been exposed – to be quarantined. (63%)
  • Whether the employer will pay employees for the time spent in quarantine as well as an outline of the benefits that are available to employees. (56%)
  • Other: Provisions for critical employees (like manufacturing personnel ) who must work but you want exposure limited - hotel accommodations be provided to insulate their families

Business Tools:

Biopharma Initiatives

 

State Updates

Updates from the States

  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed an executive order on Wednesday extending the state’s current COVID-19 restrictions and the public health state of emergency.
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and Dr. Kathleen Toomey, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), are asking all Georgians - especially those who may have participated in large gatherings over the Labor Day holiday weekend - to schedule a COVID-19 test at one of the Georgia Department of Public Health's more than 180 testing locations.
  • CDC Director Robert Redfield said Thursday that states in the South have begun “to turn the tide” on the coronavirus pandemic and predicted the country could bring it under control with basic measures of mask-wearing, social distancing and hand-washing.
  • On Thursday June 11th Governor Kemp signed a new COVID-19 Executive Order addressing the ongoing emergency response efforts for fighting the spread of COVID-19. The order relates to new regulations for sports, sheltering in place, and other gatherings that goes into effect at midnight on June 16, 2020 and runs through June 30, 2020. Click here to read through the executive order.
  • On June 3rd the Georgia General Assembly announced they will resume the 2020 legislative session on Monday June 15, the 30th Legislative Day. From the directive of the Committee on Administrative Affairs and with the approval of the President of the Senate, implemented measures related to reconvening the Georgia Legislature. Please click here to read through the measures that will allow the Georgia Senate and others to effectively maintain a safe and secure work environment.
  • On May 28, 2020, Governor Kemp and state officials provided an update on COVID-19 in Georgia and detailed his strategy for a “transitio to a new normal”. After consultation with Lieutenant Governor Duncan and Speaker Ralston, Governor Kemp decided to renew the State of Emergency for a third time through 11:59 PM on July 12, 2020. Kemp's order permits gatherings of as many as 25 people starting Monday, and it continues to require larger groups to maintain social distancing. It lets school systems start holding summer courses if they follow state criteria. It allows bars and nightclubs to reopen next week if they meet 39 measures, including screening workers for illness, limiting occupancy and requiring regular sanitation. Amusement parks can follow on June 12 if they abide by other limits. And live performance venues will remain indefinitely shuttered, and people older than 65, as well as the “medically fragile,” are urged to shelter in place until June 12. Click here for more information.
  • On Thursday May 7, 2020 Governor Kemp  provided Georgians a COVID-19 update. Gov. Brian Kemp is now encouraging all Georgians to be screened for Covid-19, even if they have no symptoms of the disease, as part of the state’s ongoing efforts to increase its testing numbers. The state’s new guidance comes as the federal government has promised to send more than 200,000 testing swabs and kits to the state this month. Click here for more details. 
  • On April 30, 2020 at 11:59PM the statewide shelter in place order for most Georgians will expire. However, moving forward, the Governor is urging Georgians to continue to stay home whenever possible. Governor Brian P. Kemp signed Executive Order 4.30.20.01. In accordance with the Governor Kemps executive orders, businesses across the Peach State must continue to operate with strict social distancing and sanitation rules to keep customers and employees safe through May 13, 2020. Those rules vary by business type for a measured, health-driven approach.
  • On April 23, 2020 Governor Kemp issued an executive order that provides details on the his plan to reopen Georgia.  Click here to read the Executive Order.
  • House Speaker David Ralston proposed that session resume on June 11. This date was selected for one overriding reason: to enable the members of the General Assembly to have the most current data available on the revenue and expenses as we make what will surely be significant changes to the FY 21 budget. Our priority when session resumes will be the only thing we are required to do- pass a balanced state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Click here to read the letter.
  • Governor Kemp announces initial steps to reopen businesses starting Friday April 27, 2020. Click here to read the Governors press briefing.
  • As the Georgia General Assembly looks forward to resuming the 2020 Session the date is still to be determined. House Speaker David Ralston appointed a committee to review their protocols and make recommendations on specific operations during that time. Click here to read the memorandum.
  • Governor Brian P. Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, and House Speaker David Ralston announced plans to extend Georgia’s public health state of emergency through May 13, 2020 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Under state law, the Governor may renew the public health state of emergency, which was otherwise set to expire on April 13, 2020. Lt. Governor Duncan and Speaker Ralston agree it is necessary for the public health emergency to be renewed and will not be requesting a special legislative session, which was tentatively scheduled for April 15, 2020.
  • Governor Brian P. Kemp issued a shelter in place order for the state of Georgia. The order will be effective beginning Friday, April 3rd, at 6:00 PM and expire Monday, April 13th, at 11:59 PM. Click here to view the executive order and for guidance/FAQ click here.
  • Gov. Kemp Calls on Georgia Businesses to Aid with Critical Health Care Needs - On March 24, 2020 Governor Kemp called on all Georgia businesses who are able to help the state provide, produce, distribute, or store critical health care items needed to fight the spread of COVID-19. Click here to read the press release and to complete the information form, visit: www.georgia.org/covid19response.
  • Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Monday night that she has signed 14-day stay at home order for the city of Atlanta. The order says all city residents are being directed to stay home except for essential services, essential activities, work or for government services. As of right now, the order does not include essential businesses, parks, the Atlanta BeltLine and restaurants serving takeout. Click here to read the executive order.
  • On March 23rd Governor Kemp announced new restrictions by directing bars and nightclubs statewide to close. The executive order also limited gatherings, including those in churches, to 10 or fewer people, unless a safe “social distancing” space of six feet apart can be maintained. At minimum, this order for isolation, quarantine, or shelter-in-place covers those who live in a long-term care facility, have chronic lung disease, are undergoing cancer treatment, have a positive COVID-19 test, are suspected to have COVID-19 because of their symptoms and exposure, or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19. Click here to view the executive order.
  • On March 20th Governor Kemp issued two additional executive orders: one authorizing nearly $20 million in emergency funding to pay for necessary medical supplies, and the other reducing regulations - especially in the healthcare context - to address COVID-19. All licensed Georgia pharmacists are now permitted to dispense a ninety-day supply of a prescription drug if a patient has no remaining refills and the pharmacist cannot get in contact with the prescribing provider. Pharmacists may also dispense early refills for prescription drugs. However, these authorizations do not apply to Schedule II controlled substances. Click here to view the executive order.
  • On March 14th Governor Kemp declared a public health state of emergency to deploy additional resources and give the Department of Public Health authority to direct specific healthcare action to fight against the spread of COVID-19. As part of this state of emergency, the Governor have authorized new processes for temporary licensure of out-of-state doctors and nurses, and authorized the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency to coordinate with the Georgia National Guard to call up as many as 2,000 troops to assist in emergency response. Click here to view the executive order.
  • On March 17, 2020, Governor Brian P. Kemp signed House Bill 792 - Georgia's amended fiscal year 2020 budget - with $100 million in emergency funding to address the spread of novel coronavirus and COVID-19.

  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 8,128,524 total cases and 218,986 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting.
  • Only two states are showing downward trends in new COVID-19 cases of at least 10 percent compared to the previous week — Hawaii and Vermont. Twenty-seven states are showing upward trends, and 21 states are showing steady trends.
  • On Monday, Florida reported fewer than 2,000 new daily coronavirus cases for the first time in a week, according to the Department of Health.
  • The Illinois Department of Public Health reported that 34 counties in Illinois are considered to be at a warning level for COVID-19.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Monday announced the state will independently review the safety of any FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine before it is distributed in the state.
  • Of the 50 largest school districts across the country, 24 have resumed in-person classes for large groups of students, and 11 others plan to in the coming weeks. An additional four have opened, or plan to open, for small groups of students who need extra attention.
  • Contact tracing revealed two out of three Chicagoans who tested positive for COVID-19 contracted the virus from someone they know, according to Dr. Allison Arwady, the Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner.
  • In response to a startling rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Amarillo and Lubbock areas, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Friday that the state is sending additional medical resources to those areas.
  • Eighteen outbreaks of COVID-19 stemming from church services have been reported in parts of West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice (R) said.
  • On Friday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced the launch of New Jersey’s COVID-19 Transparency website, providing oversight and public confidence in the expenditure of federal recovery funds as the State continues to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that the state will withhold funds for localities and schools in COVID-19 cluster zones that fail to enforce public health laws.
  • Gov. Cuomo also announced that the state will provide 200,000 rapid test kits to New York City schools in "Yellow Zones,” that movie theaters outside of New York City can reopen at 25 percent capacity under state guidance starting Oct. 23, and that ski resorts can reopen with 50 percent indoor capacity and with strict health and safety protocols starting Nov. 6.
  • Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) on Friday announced four steps that will go into effect Wednesday and stay in place at least through Nov. 30. Hospitals will need to protect 10 percent of their bed and intensive care availability to leave room for incoming COVID-19 patients. Indoor occupancy limits will be reduced from 75 percent to 50 percent, and individual groups at a gathering will be limited to eight per party. People patronizing bars and restaurants must remain seated, with table sizes limited to eight people. Wedding and funeral receptions must limit table sizes to eight people.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) extended an EO increasing the Medicaid home health workforce and eliminating cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment for Medicaid enrollees.
  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) announced Monday that a mask mandate will be reinstated for nine counties in an effort to combat the rise of COVID-19 cases in the state. In addition, hospitals where elective procedures and surgeries are performed must reserve at least 10 percent of their available beds to care for COVID-19 patients. If they can't, all elective procedures in those hospitals must be delayed. The EO also limits outdoor social gatherings to 50 people and indoor social gatherings to groups of 10 people.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group held its first meeting last week. The group was created to advise the administration on preparations for a COVID-19 vaccine, including the optimization of a statewide vaccine distribution strategy, and communicating critical medical information about the vaccine with the state’s residents.
  • Connecticut’s Department of Public Health launched a new weekly, color-coded COVID-19 alert map for every city and town in the state, identifying the average daily case rate per 100,000 population over the last two weeks. The new weekly alert level is also accompanied by municipal-level guidance on recommended actions for individual residents, institutions such as schools, houses of worship, community organizations, municipal leaders, and local health directors.
  • Hawaii’s “Safe Travels Hawai’i” program has officially launched. Under the Safe Travels Hawai‘i program, travelers now have the option of taking a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test from a trusted testing partner, and if given a negative result for COVID-19, allowed to bypass the state’s 14-day mandatory quarantine.
  • Organizers of the South Carolina State Fair will host the first ever drive-thru state fair this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The drive-thru fair is expected to start on Tuesday and will go through Wednesday.
  • A judge in Wisconsin ruled to uphold Gov. Tony Evers's EO that limits public gatherings to 25 percent of a building or room’s capacity.
  • The surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations is so severe in the Kansas City area that some hospitals have been forced to refuse ambulances due to a lack of space.
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 7,894,768 total cases and 216,025 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. Some sources are now reporting that the U.S. has reached the 8 million case mark. 
  • The U.S. topped 61,000 new coronavirus cases today, the highest daily count since reporting more than 66,000 cases on July 31.
  • Seventeen states are seeing surges unlike anything they experienced earlier in the pandemic. States including Alaska, Minnesota, Montana, and Wisconsin reported more new cases during the seven-day stretch that ended on Wednesday than in any other week since the virus arrived in the country.
  • Reports of new cases are trending upward in 41 states over the last two weeks, while nine states are holding case numbers roughly steady. No state in the country is seeing a sustained decline.
  • Officials in El Paso, Texas, announced new activity restrictions to slow the spread of the virus as new cases and hospitalizations rose to an all-time high.
  • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced the state of New Mexico will implement, and in some cases re-implement, several public health regulations later in the week to stem the alarming rise of COVID-19 illnesses statewide. The governor also reiterated her stark warnings from recent weeks – as COVID-19 infections have spread rapidly throughout all regions of the state, including an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations – that New Mexico may in the near future be compelled to re-enact even more stringent public health controls.
  • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) signed a 14th supplementary emergency proclamation that extends the COVID-19 emergency period through Nov. 30 and announced that the state has arranged nearly 200 contact tracers to aid DOH in tracing any travel-related infections.
  • Gov. Ige announced additional details of the pre-travel testing program, which is set to launch Thursday. All counties will be participating in the pre-travel testing program, which allows travelers to bypass the mandatory 14-day quarantine, though there will be different rules in different counties.
  • Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) has extended current COVID-19 public health orders through the end of October, according to an Oct. 14 press release.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced the expansion of the state’s saliva testing program, including the opening of new saliva testing sites and a pilot of the mail-order program. Gov. Walz also extended the state’s COVID-19 peacetime emergency.
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said today that it is not the right time to lift the state's 10 PM last call rule at bars. On Thursday, more than 20 Ohio senators announced they are backing a new bill to eliminate the curfew and end disciplinary action against bars and restaurants found to have violated that rule.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed an EO permitting municipal authority to revert to the more restrictive pre-Oct. 8, 2020 size and capacity limitations and rules for certain businesses and gatherings.
  • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) announced during a news conference Tuesday afternoon he will extend the state’s emergency declaration for another 60 days.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an EO allowing the resumption of contact practices and competitions in indoor settings for organized sports defined as “medium risk” and “high risk” by the New Jersey Department of Health’s “Guidance for Sports Activities.”  
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) announced that the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services has partnered with a Minnesota-based supply company to launch an online order portal available to adult care homes across the state to procure PPE and infection control supplies during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York’s regional travel advisory was updated: Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia have been added to the list of impacted locations that meet the metrics to qualify, and no states or territories were removed from the list this week.
  • Missouri’s COVID-19 dashboard is back up and running after being down for several days. The Department of Health and Senior Services said on Wednesday evening it completed resolving a data extract issue in reporting of COVID-19 cases, tests, and deaths. It said an error in how data was being exported caused inaccurate reporting on Oct. 10.
  • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) is quarantining after a member of his executive security detail tested positive for COVID-19, the governor’s office said Wednesday.
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 7,787,548 total cases and 214,446 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. The 7-day average of new cases in the U.S. is now over 50,000.
  • Since Saturday, more than 20 states have hit a new high in their seven-day average of reported case counts, and more than half of those states set records again today.
  • North Dakota and South Dakota are reporting more new cases per person than any state has previously.
  • More than 100 of New Jersey’s long-term care facilities experienced fresh coronavirus outbreaks this summer or fall after they were declared free of the virus. Eleven of those facilities had residents or staff members die in the new round of increased spread.
  • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced that Region 4, the Metro East, will return to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) amended and extended an EO requiring mask-wearing indoors to help stop the spread of the virus. 
  • Gov. Polis also extended an EO allowing for the operation of alternate care sites in response to COVID-19.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced the members he is appointing to serve on the Governor’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group. The group will be responsible for advising the governor on preparations for a COVID-19 vaccine, including the optimization of a statewide vaccine distribution strategy, and communicating critical medical information about the vaccine with the state’s residents.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that COVID-19 rapid result testing will be made available to every county in New York State. The New York State Department of Health will deploy an initial 400,000 rapid result test kits free of charge to local health departments, hospitals, pharmacies, and other health care providers to help increase access in all corners of New York State to free COVID-19 tests that can be done within 15 minutes and without having to send a specimen to a lab. DOH will prioritize the distribution of testing kits to counties and local health care providers in areas seeing a recent uptick in cases. 
  • Last week, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced that Louisiana will stay in Phase 3, keeping its strong COVID-19 mitigation measures, including a continued statewide mask mandate, in place for another 28 days. 
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 7,528,313 total cases and 211,132 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. 
  • Half of all states are reporting an uptick in new COVID-19 cases. Only three states — Hawaii, Iowa, and South Carolina — report a decline in cases over the past week.
  • Six states — Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming — set records for coronavirus-related hospitalizations on Tuesday, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. A seventh, Oklahoma, reported its highest count of hospitalizations since late July.
  • Hospitalizations for the virus in North Dakota, which have risen abruptly, are forcing health care officials in some towns to send people to faraway hospitals, even across state lines to Montana and South Dakota.
  • Utah heath officials said hospitals and healthcare systems are becoming strained under COVID-19 caseloads as current hospitalizations continue rising. Thursday, Utah had 237 people hospitalized for COVID-19 which is another record for current hospitalizations in any given day.
  • The Nevada COVID-19 Task Force today loosened the standards for testing levels and test positivity rates that counties must meet to stay off the state’s watch list. Counties can now conduct a third fewer COVID-19 tests,  dropping from 150 tests per day per 100,000 residents to the new standard of 100 per day. The test positivity threshold will go from 7 percent to 8 percent.
  • Hawaii is preparing to loosen some of the strict pandemic restrictions that have hammered its tourism industry, including the requirement that arriving travelers spend 14 days in quarantine. Starting on Oct. 15, travelers will be allowed to skip the quarantine if they can show a negative virus test result from an approved source, taken no more than 72 hours before arrival.
  • Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York’s regional travel advisory was updated: New Mexico has been added to the list of impacted locations that meet the metrics to qualify, and no states or territories were removed.
  • A total of 169 public school sites are now closed in areas where there are clusters of COVID-19 cases in New York City, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said Thursday he's keeping the state’s current coronavirus restrictions on businesses and activities in place for another month. In September, state Republican lawmakers convened a special session, hoping to undo many or all of the governor’s restrictions.
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Wednesday that bars can reopen next week at 50 percent capacity if counties opt in.
  • On Wednesday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced health officials would open a field hospital at the Wisconsin State Fair Park just outside of Milwaukee to handle the number of new COVID-19 cases that are starting to “overwhelm” hospitals in the state. The number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have nearly tripled in the past month, surging to 853 from 289 in early September.
  • Gov. Evers also directed the Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to issue Emergency Order #3, limiting public gatherings to no more than 25 percent of a room or building’s total occupancy.
  • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) told reporters Tuesday he does not want to shut down the state’s economy again and doesn’t believe a shutdown is on the horizon.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) extended the state’s mask mandate for 30 days.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) extended the Protect Our Neighbors EO. Polis also extended an EO expanding the health care workforce for hospitals and other inpatient treatment facilities.
  • Most new cases of COVID-19 in Ohio are coming from “everyday activities” and slipping vigilance, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said Thursday afternoon. The Ohio Department of Health reported 1,539 new COVID-19 diagnoses, 13 new deaths, and 109 new hospitalizations on Thursday.
  • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced that Maine will move into Stage 4 of the Plan to Restart Maine’s Economy beginning Oct. 13.
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced several updates to Washington's Safe Start reopening plan. The changes seek to align guidance and adjustments to regulations of several industries. Inslee also announced the extension of 26 proclamations today in response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced the Healing Illinois initiative in response to the racial disparities highlighted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced a plan to deploy a huge influx of rapid COVID-19 tests from the federal government. Oregon will be receiving 60,000 to 80,000 COVID-19 rapid tests per week until the end of the year. 
  • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) announced Wednesday morning that 60,000 antigen test kits, provided by the federal government, are now at the State Hygienic Lab. Her team will prioritize rural hospitals and clinics when sending out the tests, she said.
  • A member of California Gov. Gavin Newsom's (D) office staff tested positive for COVID-19 and contact tracing has begun, the office said Wednesday.
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 7,396,730 total cases and 209,199 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. 
  • Only three states – Texas, Missouri, and South Carolina – are reporting a decline in new COVID-19 cases compared to last week, as the country hit its highest daily rate of new cases in almost two months.
  • More than 3,000 new cases were announced in Wisconsin in a single day for the first time. The state set also single-day records for deaths and hospitalizations. Its test positivity rate reached 20 percent, a loud signal that the outbreak in the state has spun out of control.
  • State health officials in New Jersey have contacted more than 200 people who attended a campaign fundraiser at the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster on Thursday, hours before the president announced he had COVID-19, as they try to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves’s (R) Safe Recovery EO will be in effect until Nov. 11. While a statewide mask mandate is no longer in effect, the EO will require teachers and students to wear masks at school, and will require fans to wear masks at sporting events. Restrictions on bars and restaurants remain the same. The EO does ease some restrictions, such as increasing attendance at K-12 extracurricular activities to fifty percent of seating capacity.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is refusing to allow New York City to close nonessential businesses in nine hot spots in Brooklyn and Queens where the coronavirus has spiked, pre-empting a plan announced the day before by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the Commissioner of Health will send an order to COVID-19 hot spot local governments today establishing a framework for reporting their enforcement activities and setting specific consequences for failure to enforce the State Department of Health Emergency Regulations and the governor's EOs related to social distancing, mask compliance, and capacity limitations. If local governments do not enforce these legally binding requirements, they will be in violation of the order and can be subject to fines.
  • Schools in nine New York City Zip codes where coronavirus positivity rates have increased will close tomorrow, Gov. Andrew Cuomo today, just days after the city reopened all of its public schools.
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) extended his state of emergency declaration by 30 days.
  • Gov. Carney (D) also announced pop-up school testing locations as many schools prepare to return to school for in-person learning as part of their hybrid return-to-school plan.
  • After testing positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 23, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) and First Lady Teresa Parson have both fully recovered and returned to their regular schedules.
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed an EO moving the Upper Peninsula region back to phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan.
  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced that he will be issuing an emergency directive lifting restrictions on youth and adult sports and adjusting the COVID-19 statewide guidance on sports. The new directive and accompanying guidance will allow for practice, training and competitions for non-contact and minimal-contact sports statewide for both youth and adult sports. 
  • San Francisco will start offering free COVID-19 testing to children on Tuesday in the city’s well-known Mission District to curtail health and financial disparities. California’s new health equity metric determines how different counties are able to reopen. Those with glaring disparities among neighborhoods might not be allowed to move forward with reopening and must vow to move resources for testing and contact tracing into neighborhoods deeply impacted by the coronavirus.
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 7,260,465 total cases and 207,302 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. 
  • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced the Just Recovery for Racial Equity initiative. Just Recovery will identify and support strategies for responding to COVID-19, recovery, and building resilience in communities of color by partnering with community-based organizations and local groups, including other government and social service agencies. All media, outreach, and educational materials will be developed in multiple languages and will be distributed simultaneously with English language materials.
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced that the Virginia Open Data Portal now includes more than a dozen new COVID-19 datasets from the Virginia Department of Health. 
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that COVID Alert DE and PA will expand its reach to New York and New Jersey. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) yesterday announced the launch of COVID-19 exposure notification mobile apps in their respective states that will serve as crucial tools to supplement the effort to trace and contact individuals subject to a COVID exposure. 
  • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced that North Carolina will ease cautiously some restrictions while continuing safety measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 as the state’s metrics remained stable in September. 
  • Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced that his administration has launched a variety of new resources to support those who need to isolate or self-quarantine due to COVID-19. 
  • Health departments in Connecticut, Kentucky, Illinois, and Rhode Island all released guidance for trick-or-treating. 
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 7,168,077 total cases and 205,372 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. 
  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said the statewide mask mandate expired on Wednesday given that the numbers for average new COVID-19 cases have declined.
  • All people traveling through the Tampa International Airport will be able to get a coronavirus test on the premises starting Oct. 1, TPA and BayCare Health System representatives announced Tuesday.
  • Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) announced that COVID-19 resurgence mitigations will be implemented in Region 1, the northwestern-most counties in Illinois, beginning Oct. 3.
  • Connecticut’s State Department of Education, with the assistance of the Connecticut Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and the Connecticut National Guard, began distributing 600,000 face masks to school districts across the state.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) appointed the members of the state's independent Clinical Advisory Task Force that will review every COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the federal government and will advise New York State on the vaccines' safety and effectiveness in fighting the virus.
  • Gov. Cuomo also announced that New York will deploy 200 rapid testing machines to the sites of several upticks in specific counties and zip codes throughout the state.
  • Facing pressure from Florida officials, the school board in Miami-Dade County voted on Tuesday to begin opening classrooms nine days earlier than planned. The district’s youngest students can now return to schools on Monday, with nearly all students who have opted for in-person instruction returning by the end of next week.
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and Lt. Gov. Gilchrist highlighted new data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services showing significant progress has been made toward reducing the disparate impact COVID-19 has had on communities of color. The state created the Rapid Response Grant program to help local organizations continue the administration’s efforts to tackle racial disparities.
  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced that he will be issuing an emergency directive adjusting the COVID-19 Statewide Baseline Mitigation Standards, including increasing limits on gathering sizes. The new directive and accompanying guidance address gatherings of all types and iterations. This new directive increases the limit on gatherings from 50 to 250 people or 50 percent of capacity, whichever is less, so long as social distancing can be maintained and all other requirements can be met.
  • Colorado announced revisions to school outbreak guidelines, providing more tools to school districts that adopt best practices for COVID mitigation like seating charts and mask-wearing, to safely quarantine close contacts, instead of automatically quarantining entire cohorts or classrooms of students.
  • Connecticut’s Department of Public Health Acting Commissioner signed an order rescinding previously issued orders limiting visitation at long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, that were issued to protect the health of nursing home residents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York’s regional travel advisory was updated: Colorado has been added to the list of impacted locations that meet the metrics to qualify, and Arizona and Virginia have been removed from the list.
  • Wisconsin reported its highest number of deaths in a single day since late May. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 17 deaths due to the novel coronavirus, which brought the total number of deaths in the state to 1,300 people.
  • In Los Angeles, local health officials haven’t considered reopening schools, but county administrators this week have been pushing the LA health agency to allow younger students to attend classes in-person and put schools with large groups of students from low-income families at the top of the list. Los Angeles Unified is the nation's second-largest school district, and in a typical year, about 40,000 students ride one of the district’s more than 1,300 school buses to and from school. About 80 percent of the district’s students qualify for free or reduced-price meals.
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 6,958,632 total cases and 202,329 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. Most sources are reporting that the U.S. has now surpassed 7 million cases. 
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • An ABC News analysis of COVID-19 trends across all 50 U.S. states as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico found there were increases in newly confirmed cases over the past two weeks in 32 states, the nation's capital and the U.S. island territory in the Caribbean. The analysis also found increases in the daily positivity rate of COVID-19 tests in 21 states, increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations in 17 states and increases in daily COVID-19 death tolls in nine states.
  • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) signed a supplementary emergency proclamation that leaves in place the 14-day mandatory quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers. However, beginning October 15, a pre-travel testing option will allow travelers an alternative to the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
  • Gov. Ige also approved the award of $14 million in CARES funding for the Department of Health to provide more than 200 additional nurses and other specialists for hospitals statewide over the next four months. Some of the out-of-state personnel will begin arriving this weekend.
  • Gov. Ige signed a supplementary emergency proclamation that extends the COVID-19 emergency period through October 31.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that New York State will form an independent Clinical Advisory Task Force comprised of leading scientists, doctors, and health experts who will review every COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the federal government, and will advise New York State on the vaccine's safety and effectiveness in fighting the virus.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced details for his plans to move Connecticut into Phase 3 of the state’s reopening amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The plan, which is targeted to take effect on Thursday, October 8, 2020, will ease some of the restrictions that were put into place on businesses and gatherings while ensuring that the state continues taking a safe approach to limit the spread of the virus.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) lifted state restrictions for restaurants and many other businesses on Friday as the state moved into the next reopening phase. Restaurants and many other businesses will be allowed to operate at full capacity as part of Phase 3 of his administration’s reopening plan.
  • Facing a worrying spike in cases in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, New York City health officials began carrying out emergency inspections at private religious schools today and threatened to impose an extraordinary lockdown in those communities that would be the first major retreat by the city on reopening since the pandemic began.
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced that Washington is setting new requirements for commercial airports and recommendations for airlines. This is a statewide approach to the COVID-19 pandemic to help protect the health and safety of workers, passengers, and crew in the aviation sector.
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 6,874,982 total cases and 200,275 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting.
  • The U.S. is now mourning the loss of over 200,000 individuals from COVID-19. 
  • Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey's regional travel advisory has been updated: Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Wyoming have been added to the list of impacted locations that have met the metrics to qualify. No areas were removed this week. 
  • New Mexico amended the list of states from which visitors and arriving residents must quarantine. Colorado, Oregon, and Rhode Island have been added to the list of high-risk states. 
  • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) declared a new public health emergency due to a recent surge in cases among young people. Gov. Evers also issued a new face coverings order effective immediately. 
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued guidance for miscellaneous venues, including convention/conference centers, designated meeting spaces in hotels, events centers, and other similar venues as part of Washington's Safe Start phased reopening plan. 
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced that he is creating a working group to prepare Connecticut for the potential development of a COVID-19 vaccine. The governor’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group will be responsible for optimizing a statewide vaccine distribution strategy and communicating critical medical information about the vaccine with the state’s residents.
  • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) and the Commissioner of Health and Human Services announced that anyone in Maine can now get tested for COVID-19 without the need for a separate order from a health care provider, a milestone resulting from Maine's vastly expanded testing capacity.
  • Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced that the state would gradually enter Phase 5 of reopening, from September 26 to October 17. Residents will still be required to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing, but size limits on social gatherings and meetings will be lifted and restaurants, bars, and nightclubs will be allowed to operate at full capacity.
  • Students in Miami-Dade County, the fourth-largest school district in the country and the largest in Florida, will be able to choose to return to their classrooms next month under a plan approved by the school board after a marathon two-day meeting.
  • New York City will furlough more than 9,000 employees this year to offset pandemic-related budget deficits.
  • At least one coronavirus case had been reported in more than 100 school buildings and early childhood centers in the New York City school system by the first day of in-person instruction on Monday, according to the Department of Education.
  • Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) and his wife both tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 6,786,352 total cases and 199,024 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting, but some sources are reporting that the U.S. has surpassed 200,000 deaths. 
  • More than 4,500 students, teachers and staff at Texas schools have tested positive for the coronavirus since the school year began, according to the Dallas Morning News.
  • A third of states are still seeing rates of new cases that are at least 75 percent of their peak levels.
  • Virginia health officials on Friday reported the state’s first coronavirus-related death of a child since the start of the pandemic.
  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) eased restrictions on indoor dining to coincide with a new statewide restaurant week promotion that his administration created. As of today, restaurants can serve patrons at 75 percent capacity — up from 50 percent — in jurisdictions where local leaders agree it is safe for larger crowds indoors.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) amended and extended the Safer at Home EO, which includes the last call order. The last call order will now take effect based on what level a county is in according to the COVID-19 dial.
  • Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) announced that Region 7, which includes the greater Will and Kankakee County areas, returned to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan.
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced that Umatilla and Morrow Counties have succeeded in reducing the spread of COVID-19 sufficiently enough to be removed from the County Watch List. She also announced that Morrow County's application to move to Phase 2 of reopening has been approved, effective immediately.
  • Hawaii’s Department of Health released benchmarks, including COVID-19 case counts, that will help determine when schools should open or close.
  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced the state will move to quickly implement new guidance from the federal government easing restrictions on visits to nursing homes.
  • New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department’s State Parks Division announces the reopening of overnight camping in most State Parks beginning October 1.
  • California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health will move forward with emergency statewide standards to address what worker advocates have been calling “an occupational health emergency.” A seven-member board voted unanimously to begin creating standards that would require employers to take stricter precautions against COVID-19.
  • Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero signed an EO regarding the utilization of quarantine and isolation to combat the spread of COVID-19.
  • The Illinois Department of Public Health reported that 24 counties in Illinois are considered to be at a warning level for COVID-19. A county enters a warning level when two or more COVID-19 risk indicators that measure the amount of COVID-19 increase.
  • On the first day of school in N.Y.C. today, most students started virtually, but up to 90,000 began learning in person.
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 6,571,867 total cases and 197,116 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. 
  • Nevada's COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force approved lifting previous restrictions on bars, pubs, breweries, distilleries, wineries, taverns, and bar areas within restaurants in Clark County and Elko County, effective Sunday, September 20.
  • Californias Department of Public Health has recalled more than 10 million N95 respirator masks after learning they had not cleared a national certification process. More than seven million of the masks had already been distributed to frontline workers.
  • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced the state will update its guidance within the emergency public health order to permit small groups in exercise settings and safe outdoor activities for New Mexicans.
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced updated guidance for weddings and funerals as part of Washington's Safe Start phased reopening plan. 
  • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced that beginning on October 5, North Carolina public school districts and charter schools can choose to implement Plan A for elementary schools (grades K-5). Plan A continues to include important safety measures like face coverings for all students, teachers, and staff, social distancing, and symptom screening but does not require schools to reduce the number of children in the classroom. 
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that Washington and Oregon, members of the Western States Pact, will participate with California in piloting a project to test promising exposure notification technology. These states join other members of the Western States Pact, Colorado, and Nevada, along with states and universities across the country, in piloting this technology. 
  • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) announced plans for a Hawai‘i pre-travel testing program that gives travelers the option of possibly avoiding 14-day-long quarantine upon arrival to the state. 
  • Almost 1,000 Las Vegas casino employees have tested positive for COVID-19, and more than half are employees of Wynn Resorts. 
  • U.S. customs officials in Boston seized a trove of some 20,400 counterfeit N95 respirator masks from Hong Kong this month.
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 6,571,867 total cases and 195,053 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. 
  • Wyoming announced more than 120 new cases, far and away state’s highest daily total during the pandemic.
  • New Jersey and New York's regional travel advisory was updated. Puerto Rico was added to the list, and California, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, and Ohio were removed.
  • New York state's COVID-19 positivity rate rose above 1 percent this week for the first time in more than a month.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced that the state would be implementing a new framework that allows counties to reopen their economies to the fullest extent possible while protecting their communities. This tool will provide transparency and predictability for local governments and allow for a visual representation of a county’s success in suppressing the virus. 
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order that authorizes the commissioner of Public Health, local health departments, municipal chief elected officers, and state and local police to issue fines for violations of certain COVID-19 protective measures. Violations include failing to wear a mask or cloth face covering as required, organizing, hosting, or sponsoring a gathering that violates the gathering size restrictions, and attending a gathering that violates the gathering size restrictions.
  • Gov. Lamont also signed an EO that modifies the state’s previously issued self-quarantine and travel advisory order for people arriving to Connecticut from impacted states, expanding the testing exemption to all travelers who test negative for COVID-19 in the 72 hours prior to arrival. 
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) launched COVID Alert DE – a mobile app that will help Delaware fight community spread of COVID-19. The free mobile app – available to anyone 18 or older who lives, works, or attends college in Delaware – uses Bluetooth technology from Google and Apple to securely and anonymously alert users who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed an emergency regulation to support widespread immunization efforts to help the State prepare for a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The regulation, approved and requested by the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy, authorizes pharmaceutical technicians with appropriate training to administer immunizations under the direct supervision of a pharmacist.
  • Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade County, Florida, said he would allow the staggered opening of additional indoor spaces. Starting Friday, movie theaters, bowling alleys, banquet halls, and a few other venues will be allowed to open at half-capacity as long as they require masks and social distancing and meet certain ventilation requirements.
  • A wedding in Maine in early August only had 65 guests but has been linked to seven deaths 175 cases of COVID-19. Six of the people who have died had no connection to the wedding. 
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 6,503,030 total cases and 193,705 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. 
  • South Carolina’s lieutenant governor, Pamela Evette, has tested positive for COVID-19. She reports that she has only had mild symptoms and began quarantining last week.
  • States that reopened bars have experienced a doubling in the rate of cases after three weeks.
  • Statewide data in Michigan show 280 COVID-19 infections linked to several school clusters.
  • Wisconsin is reporting its highest level of new daily cases during the pandemic, averaging more than 1,000 new cases a day over the last week. The increases are largely tied to college towns.
  • Los Angeles began its sweeping initiative to test and screen all 700,000 students and 75,000 employees in the Los Angeles public schools. Officials reported five cases last week out of more than 5,400 children and adults tested.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that about 17,000 public school staff members have been tested ahead of the first day of school on September 21, and 55 have tested positive for COVID-19. Starting in October, the city will require monthly, random testing of 10 to 20 percent of students and staff members in all school buildings.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed an EO extending the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.
  • The Illinois Department of Public Health reported that 30 counties in the state are considered to be at a warning level for COVID-19.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) extended his EO directing Coloradans to wear a face mask.
  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) also extended the mask mandate in his state. 
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced updated guidance for indoor fitness and training facilities as part of Washington's Safe Start phased reopening plan.
  • A federal judged ruled recent EO's by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) to be unconstitutional. The orders placed size limits on indoor gatherings and closed non-essential businesses.
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) announced that the state will shift COVID-19 testing from mobile to fixed sites beginning Monday, September 14. The transition to more permanent, fixed testing sites will expand testing opportunities and provide more testing locations across the state.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced that his administration, working in collaboration with Spectra Venue Management services, has reached an agreement with Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC to play its home games this season at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 6,381,013 total cases and 191,353 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. 
  • In open defiance of the governor's orders, Des Moines, Iowa, schools began this week by teaching remotely. The decision puts the district’s funding and administrators’ jobs in jeopardy, leaves students locked out of athletics, and leaves their parents uncertain whether online classes will even count.
  • Oregon officials are having to figure out how to evacuate incarcerated individuals out of the way of the fires while also mitigating COVID-19 risks.
  • Halsey Beshears, Florida’s secretary for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Tweeted yesterday that the state would allow bars to operate at half capacity starting Monday. He rescinded an EO from June that had banned drinking at bars as the state experienced a surge.
  • Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez reopened beaches to everyone, and authorized the reopening of gyms, movie theaters, and casinos at 25 percent capacity.
  • California's Supreme Court refused to overturn Gov. Gavin Newsom's (D) directives limiting in-classroom instruction to slow the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced that Louisiana will move into phase three today. 
  • Nevada's COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force approved allowing bars in the City of Pahrump and in Washoe County to reopen following the statewide mitigation and enforcement measures. 
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced indoor dining in New York City will be allowed to resume beginning September 30th with a 25 percent occupancy limit. All restaurants that choose to reopen will be subject to strict safety protocols, including temperature checks, contact information for tracing, face coverings when not seated, and other safety protocols. Bar service will not be permitted, and restaurants will close at midnight.
    • MTA has also been authorized to fine those not wearing masks on public transportation.
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced that, due to significantly improved health metrics in the Eastern Region, localities in Hampton Roads will join the rest of the Commonwealth in Phase Three of the “Forward Virginia” plan to ease public health restrictions while mitigating the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed an executive order facilitating learning pods due to the presence of COVID-19. 
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) received her flu shot and emphasized that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now more important than ever for all Kansans to get a flu shot. 
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and Dr. Kathleen Toomey, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), are asking all Georgians - especially those who may have participated in large gatherings over the Labor Day holiday weekend - to schedule a COVID-19 test at one of the Georgia Department of Public Health's more than 180 testing locations.
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 6,310,663 total cases and 189,147 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. Other entities are now reporting over 190,000 deaths in the U.S.
  • Iowa and South Dakota seem to have emerged as the new hotspots in the U.S.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) extended the disaster declaration and employment of the Colorado National Guard to support and provide planning resources to state and local authorities responding to COVID-19.
  • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) extended the State of Civil Emergency through October 1, 2020.
  • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) approved another two-week extension of the “State-at-Home, Work-at-Home” order for the City and County of Honolulu, which will now end September 24.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) extended the commonwealth’s mandate for face coverings in some situations for another 30 days.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said indoor dining in New York City will return with limits on September 30.
  • Arizona reported its lowest number of new cases since late March.
  • For the first time in almost sixmonths, Navajo Nation authorities reported no new cases of COVID-19.
  • The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health banned haunted house attractions and said door-to-door trick-or-treating is not recommended.
  • A group of gym and boutique fitness studio owners announced a class-action lawsuit on Wednesday against Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City to allow indoor group fitness classes to reopen in the city. While gyms in New York were allowed to open back in August, indoor boutique studios and group classes, like Pilates, Zumba, and yoga have remained banned.
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 6,087,403 total cases and 185,092 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. Other entities, such as Johns Hopkins, are now reporting over 6 million cases in the U.S.
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed an EO opening gyms, fitness centers, pools, and other sports facilities. The order also allows organized sports to resume, although the state recommends against contact sports like football, soccer, and basketball.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said malls in New York City and casinos across the state will be allowed to reopen on September 9 at 50 percent capacity. Both will have to have specialized air conditioning systems capable of filtering out virus particles.
  • Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie issued a mask mandate for his city last week.
  • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced that the state will take a "modest" step forward and move into Phase 2.5 starting this Friday at 5 pm. Mask mandates and other prevention methods will remain in effect.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an EO increasing the limits for indoor religious services or celebrations, political activities, wedding ceremonies, funerals, or memorial services to 25 percent capacity with a maximum of 150 people. Other indoor gatherings, including house parties, remain at the limit of 25 percent capacity with a maximum of 25 people.
  • Nevada’s coronavirus task force voted to allow some restaurants in the Las Vegas area to reopen next week.
  • Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) said that, in the month of August alone, nearly 7,000 people in Missouri in the 18-24 age group tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced that the state has formed a rapid response team to do testing in schools and childcare facilities in case of potential COVID-19 infections or outbreaks.
  • 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.
    • 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, and this tracker, created and maintained by MultiState Associates, has an up-to-date list of executive orders and various travel restrictions.
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 5,972,356 total cases and 182,622 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. Other entities, such as Johns Hopkins, are now reporting over 6 million cases in the U.S.
  • Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, and the Dakotas all added more cases in a recent seven-day stretch than in any previous week of the pandemic.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) unveiled the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, a statewide, stringent, and slow plan for living with COVID-19 for the long haul. The plan imposes risk-based criteria on tightening and loosening COVID-19 allowable activities and expands the length of time between changes to assess how any movement affects the trajectory of the disease. 
  • The Illinois Department of Public Health has reported that 30 counties in Illinois are considered to be at a warning level for COVID-19. A county enters a warning level when two or more COVID-19 risk indicators that measure the amount of COVID-19 increase.
  • New Mexico's Department of Health has published a 21-page overview document providing guidance on COVID-19, Policies for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 in New Mexico. It is intended as a resource for members of the public, health care providers, and employers who may have general questions about COVID-19 and the recommended guidance in responding to and protecting against the virus.
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced that two counties—Hood River and Multnomah—have succeeded in reducing the spread of COVID-19 sufficiently enough to be removed from the County Watch List. No counties have been added this week. This brings the total number of counties on the Watch List to six.
  • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) signed an EO extending the Phase 3 pandemic restrictions another 30 days, until September 28. It includes a 15-person limit on social gatherings, though indoor gatherings can have 50 people and outdoor gatherings 100 if they are held at a restaurant or are catered and follow the rules for restaurants to keep parties apart and having patrons wear masks when not seated.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) deployed a SWAT team to SUNY Oneonta to contain a COVID-19 cluster that has developed there. The State team will include 71 contact tracers and eight case investigators. New York State will also open three free, rapid testing sites in the city of Oneonta. The sites will be open to all city residents by appointment, and results come back in 15 minutes. 
  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) extended the statewide mask mandate for an additional two weeks until September 14. 
  • Starting Friday, New Jersey movie theaters and other indoor performance venues can reopen with limits for the first time since the middle of March, and restaurants can open for indoor dining at 25 percent of capacity.
  • 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.
    • 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, and this tracker, created and maintained by MultiState Associates, has an up-to-date list of executive orders and various travel restrictions.
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 5,799,046 total cases and 178,998 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. 
  • Guam is now leading all 50 states and U.S. territories after seven weeks of new COVID-19 case highs.
  • As Hurricane Laura batters Louisiana and Texas, health officials are trying to shelter evacuees while keeping them safe from COVID-19. 
  • Following big increases in daily average numbers of new cases, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) ordered all bars, taverns, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and night clubs closed in six counties. They will not be able to reopen until September 20. 
  • Gov. Cuomo said colleges in New York must move classes online for two weeks if they report 100 cases or a number of cases equal to 5 percent of their on-campus population, whichever is lower, over two weeks.
  • Gov. Cuomo also said the state is reviewing when it will allow malls to reopen and indoor dining to resume in New York City, as well as when to let casinos and movie theaters reopen across the state.
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) said her state had reached an "unfortunate milestone" by reporting at least one case of COVID-19 in every county.
  • Iowa's health department confirmed the state's first death of a child from COVID-19 complications in a news release this week. The child, who was under the age of 5 and died in June, had underlying health conditions.
  • Hawaii Gov. David Ige approved a new “Stay-at-Home, Work-at-Home” order for the City and County of Honolulu that goes into effect on Thursday for the following two weeks.
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) signed a modification to his state of emergency declaration, formalizing new face-covering requirements for children. 
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that school principals can apply by this Friday to create outdoor classes in their schoolyards. The city’s public school system, the nation’s largest, is scheduled to reopen in just under three weeks in a hybrid model, not leaving much time to move classroom infrastructure outdoors.
  • Residents in Danbury, Connecticut are being urged to stay home when possible and limit gatherings after new cases jumped sharply there in the first 20 days of August.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said new COVID-19 testing sites will be set up at LaGuardia and Kennedy airports for many out-of-state travelers.
  • Gov. Cuomo also said today that school-sponsored sports that are considered “lower risk,” such as tennis, soccer, cross country, field hockey, and swimming, can practice and play with limits starting September 21.
  • Louisiana has had to shut down testing sites as they brace for multiple tropical storms. 
  • A judge in Florida has blocked the state-wide mandate that said schools who do not offer in-person instruction would not receive government funding. 
  • Cases in both Florida and Texas have passed 600,000, a milestone previously only reached by California.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) unveiled the state’s new enhanced online data tool.
  • Connecticut's Department of Aging and Disability Services released a document providing guidance for senior centers that will allow for the safe reopening of their facilities. The guidance was developed in partnership with senior centers, municipalities, and state and local health representatives. It is intended to provide senior centers with the discretion to expand the virtual programs and services that they have been providing during the pandemic beginning September 1.
  • A wedding reception in Maine led to at least 53 people being infected with COVID-19, officials with the Maine CDC reported over the weekend.
  • COVID-19 is now the No. 3 cause of death in the U.S.
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced four million free masks will be provided to the state's most vulnerable residents, through a partnership with Ford Motor Company and FEMA. The measure is part of Michigan's "Mask up Michigan" campaign, and masks will be distributed to schools, homeless shelters, and seniors.
  • Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced new COVID-19 mitigation efforts that will be implemented in the Metro East area beginning tomorrow. Region 4 is now reporting three consecutive days of a test positivity rate of 8 percent or higher, triggering implementation of mitigation efforts as outlined in the state's COVID-19 Mitigation Plan. 
  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed a directive formally adopting the Road to Recovery: Moving to A New Normal plan, which was announced publicly on August 3, and outlined the state’s transition to a long-term, focused mitigation strategy moving forward. The hallmark of the New Normal Plan is utilizing targeted strategic mitigation measures at the county level using State and local data and assessments to best help slow the spread of COVID-19 within those specific communities.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) extended and amended the EO requiring Coloradans to wear face masks. 
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced bowling alleys throughout New York will be allowed to reopen starting Monday with strict safety protocols in place. Gov. Cuomo also noted that gyms could be able to open as soon as next week. 
  • Utahans have a higher risk of infecting or becoming infected with COVID-19 in their own homes, according to a new analysis of data from the Utah Department of Health. About 38 percent of the state’s new cases have resulted from transmissions among family members and or roommates.
  • In Georgia, more counties and cities are eyeing mask mandates after Gov. Brian Kemp (R) this weekend ended his blanket ban on local officials imposing their own rules.
  • In Texas, a coding error left about 59,000 Walgreens COVID-19 tests uncounted according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
  • Principals of New York City's public schools say they need more than the two work days the city has allotted for them to meet with teachers in September in order to make decisions about staffing. About 50 school leaders signed a letter that called for a delay to in-person instruction until the end of September and included a detailed plan for how to phase children into schools over the course of the fall, starting with young children.
  • Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade County, Florida, said that he has been holding near-weekly phone meetings with Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami and federal health officials Drs. Jerome Adams, Deborah Birx, and Tony Fauci to talk about the virus in their region.
  • Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said travelers should quarantine for 14 days if they arrive from 27 “high-risk” states that meet certain criteria, including California, Florida, and Texas. Residents from Maryland and Virginia are exempted from the order. 
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) signed a modification to his State of Emergency declaration, allowing driver education services to resume immediately, with safety measures in place to prevent transmission of COVID-19. Gov. Carney’s modification also allows senior centers to open with safety precautions at 30 percent capacity.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed an EO extending the temporary suspension of certain regulatory statutes due to COVID-19, including statutory license limitations for breweries, wineries, distilleries, and retailers licensed for on-premises alcohol consumption. 
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced a new program, Housing for the Harvest, that will provide safe, temporary isolation spaces for agricultural and farmworkers who test positive or were exposed to the virus, which limits the risk of spreading COVID-19 to their coworkers or households. The program will operate in partnership with counties and local partners in the Central Valley, Central Coast, and Imperial Valley – the regions with the highest number of agricultural workers.
  • California has surpassed New York for the most reported cases. 
  • North Dakota reported its single-day record for cases, with 160 while Alabama reported its single-day record for deaths, with more than 60.
  • Hawai‘i Gov. David Ige (D) confirmed the state’s plans to move ahead with school reopening for students on Tuesday, August 4th. Teachers return on Wednesday, July 29th.
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signed EO's that outline mitigation procedures that schools must take to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Kansas students and teachers.
  • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) extended the pause on evictions and foreclosures for 60 days, until October 17th, during the COVID-19 Emergency.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) extended an EO increasing the Medicaid home health workforce and eliminating cost sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment for Medicaid enrollees.
  • Gov. Tim Walz (R) in Minnesota said he would mandate masks in public starting Saturday, and added that the state would provide masks to individuals in underserved areas. 
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) issued a state-wide mask mandate effective tomorrow.
  • Multiple states, including Kansas, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Wisconsin,Missouri, and Alaska, reported single-day highs for cases. 
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said the state’s plan for reopening schools will give parents the option to choose an entirely online option if they’re concerned about COVID-19. 
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that hair salons and barbershops in 33 counties may now reopen outside under new guidance from the state.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) limited social gatherings to 10 people.
  • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) reported COVID-19 outbreaks in seven churches across the state.
  • ICU bed capacity in Florida's Miami-Dade County is at 130 percent.
  • Minnesota reported its COVID-19-related death of a child under the age of five.
  • Chicago, Illinois is rolling back some of the original reopening rules. Starting Friday, Chicago bars will once again be banned from serving alcohol indoors; services like shaves and facials that require people to take off their masks will be banned; indoor fitness classes will be limited to 10 people; and property managers will be asked to limit guests to five per unit to prevent parties. 
  • Gwinnett County Public Schools, the largest school district in Georgia, said that classes will begin on August 12th with online-only instruction.
  • Cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. continue to surge, with multiple states setting daily case and death records. 
  • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) has re-enacted restrictions on indoor seating at restaurants and breweries. The Governor also tightened restrictions on gyms and other close contact businesses.
  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced a mandatory mask requirement and ordered bars in the state to close to on-premises consumption. The Governor also limited indoor social gathering to 50 people and will keep Louisiana in Phase Two of its reopening.
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced new requirements for face coverings and limits on social gatherings.
  • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) ordered bars in Monongalia County to close for 10 days in response to a spike in coronavirus cases.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) ordered all counties in the state to close indoor activities at restaurants, bars, wineries, tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, and museums.
  • Texas and Florida both surpassed 200,000 total cases over the weekend. 
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) directed Texans in all counties with 20 or more COVID-19 cases to wear face masks in public places. Sheriffs of Gillespie and Montgomery Counties have sad they do not intend to comply or enforce the order. 
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said the state is pausing its move to phase three of their reopening plan. Bars will remain closed and restaurants can only open at 50 percent capacity.
  • Florida's Miami-Dade County will shut down restaurants and gyms starting Wednesday.
  • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) signed an EO requiring adults and children over nine years to wear a face covering in places where social distancing is not possible.
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued a brief extension of the Safe Start proclamation until July 9th.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said today that the state will be cracking down on businesses that violate virus-related restrictions. Authorities inspected nearly 6,000 businesses over the holiday weekend and than 50 were cited.
  • Cases in California increased by 45 percent over the course of the last week. 
  • At least 14 states have announced they are pausing or rolling back reopening measures, including: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, North Carolina, Maine, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington state.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced a pause on the state's resumption of indoor dining, which was set to resume Thursday.
  • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced a mandatory 14-day quarantine starting Tuesday for people coming from a state with a 5 percent or greater positivity rate. The governor said Rhode Island will move to phase three of its reopening plan on Tuesday.
  • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) extended the state of emergency for Tennessee until August 29th.
  • Local Florida officials announced that beaches in Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties will close for the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Jacksonville will not be closing its beaches for the holiday weekend.
  • Los Angeles County has also closed all beaches for the Fourth of July weekend.
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is expected to extend the state's remaining pandemic restrictions. 
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) said she would sign an executive order requiring most residents to wear masks in public beginning July 3rd.
  • New cases in the U.S. account for 20 percent of new global cases.
  • Local and state health department leaders have been subject to harassment, personal insults, and death threats in recent weeks as a vocal and angry segment of the population accuse them of making mask requirements too strict. 
  • Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that casinos and indoor dining throughout New Jersey can resume at 25 percent capacity beginning on July 2nd.
  • Gov. JB Pritzker (D) released plans to continue reopening businesses as Illinois moves into phase four of the Restore Illinois plan. Phase four allows for the safe reopening or expansion of several key business segments - such as health and fitness, movies and theater, museums and zoos, as well as indoor dining at restaurants. Phase four also allows for expanded gathering sizes, increasing the limit from 10 people to 50 or fewer. This expanded gathering limit extends to key activities like meetings, events, and funerals.
  • Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that Step Two of phase two of Massachusett's four-phase reopening plan, Reopening Massachusetts, will begin today to allow additional businesses to resume operations under sector-specific guidelines. These include indoor table service at restaurants, close contact personal services, retail dressing rooms by appointment only, and offices at 50 percent capacity.
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced several steps the state is taking to mitigate the spread of the virus, including increasing enforcement of health and safety regulations, rapidly increasing testing in hot spots, and working with hospitals throughout the state to ensure they have the ability to treat Texans who test positive for COVID-19.
  • It took only three weeks for Arizona to double from 20,000 cases of COVID-19 to 40,000 cases. 
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that New York City is on track to enter phase two of reopening on June 22nd. The Mid-Hudson Valley is on track to enter phase three of reopening on June 23rd, and Long Island is on track to enter phase three of reopening June 24th based on current data.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced a new round of Safer at Home guidelines that include residential summer camps, indoor and outdoor events, bars, personal services, and non-critical manufacturing facilities. The new guidelines will be open for comment for 48 hours and will be finalized on Thursday, June 18th.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed an EO modifying previous orders to adapt to phase two reopening efforts to begin on June 16th. He also announced updated guidance for indoor and outdoor gatherings over the next several weeks.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) offered updated guidance on public pools and gatherings of up to 50 people.
  • Texas and Florida both recorded new daily highs of new cases of COVID-19. 
  • The Illinois and Du Quoin State Fairs have been canceled according to the Illinois Agricultural Department.
  • Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) said the state will move into stage four of its reopening plan, which includes bars and entertainment venues at 50 percent, movie theaters and bowling alleys at 50 percent, restaurants at 75 percent capacity, and allows gathering of up to 250 people with social distancing guidelines.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced the reopening of schools, gyms, movie theaters, and bars. The Bay Area will hold off on reopening some businesses and services until later this summer.
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced the reopening of the state's television, film, and streaming production industry.
  • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) has issued a new state of emergency Friday, as part of an EO that also allows the reopening of bowling alleys and lifts restrictions on retail business capacity limits
  • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) extended the State of Civil Emergency for 30 days through July 10th.
  • Gov. David Ige (D) approved a request from Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami of Kauaʻi county to re-open more businesses, operations, or activities under Hawaii public safety guidelines effective June 16th.
  • Gov. Ige also signed a proclamation that extends the COVID-19 emergency period through July 31st. The emergency proclamation lifts the quarantine requirement for inter-island travelers effective on June 16th. However, it also leaves in place the quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced that he has extend the COVID-19 peacetime emergency by 30 days to ensure the state can continue to quickly and effectively respond to the pandemic.
  • Numbers of newly reported cases are still rising in 21 states. Arizona and Texas, in particular, have emerged as hot spots over the last few weeks. 
  • Iowa announced today that the Iowa State Fair will not be held this year. 
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an EO to reopen outdoor swimming pools on June 22nd. Additionally, outdoor recreational and entertainment businesses are permitted to reopen immediately, with the exception of amusement parks, water parks, and arcades. These recreational and entertainment businesses are required to abide by a number of social distancing protocols that are specified in the order. Public and private social clubs are permitted to reopen their outdoor spaces, provided they comply with all applicable terms of the order.
  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) issued preliminary guidance for high school and recreational sports teams to resume voluntary workouts and other in-person activities in the state’s yellow and green phases. The guidance includes college and professional sports.
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued new guidance for domestic services in phase two. Gov. Inslee also issued expanded and updated guidance for certain recreational activities.
  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed a directive allowing local school districts, charter schools, and private schools to immediately reopen for summer learning and activities while implementing the phase two protocols designed to keep students, staff, families, and communities safe.
  • Yosemite National Park will reopen to the public on Thursday, allowing 50 percent of its average visitors.
  • Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced that phase two of Connecticut's reopening will be moved up to Wednesday, June 17th.
  • Gov. Laura Kelly (D) recommended that most communities advance to phase three of Kansas's reopening plan.
  • Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez (D) said that the county will open its beaches no later than Wednesday, June 10th.
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced that regions 6 and 8 of Michigan will enter phase five of the state's reopening plan. This allows salons, movie theaters, and gyms to open in those regions.
  • Washington, D.C., has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases that occurred on May 30th due to a backlog in testing results.
  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) allowed casinos and gaming to resume per reopening plans. He also released positive progress on COVID-19 showing a downward trend in cases.
  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that he would allow the amended stay-at-home order to expire at midnight tonight. The-stay at-home requirements were only in effect for counties in the red phase.
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said today that zoos, museums, movie theaters, playgrounds, tourist attractions, and entertainment venues will be allowed to reopen on June 10th.
  • Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced additional business reopenings under Maine’s rural reopening plan. Under the update, in 13 counties, tasting rooms and bars may open for outside service and gyms and fitness centers, nail salons, and tattoo and piercing parlors may open with added health and safety precautions beginning on Friday, June 12th. These establishments may reopen everywhere in all counties except for York, Cumberland, and Androscoggin counties.
  • Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced details about phase two of her framework for building a safe and strong Oregon. She also approved 26 counties to move to phase two of reopening on June 5th, 6th, and 8th.
  • COVID-19 infections and deaths are still on the rise in more than a dozen states. 
  • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) approved several proposals from mayors across the state to reopen more businesses and operations under public health guidelines.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed an EO which implements Phase 2 of the Stay Safe MN plan. Phase 2 includes outdoor dining at restaurants and bars to start June 1st with safety measures and capacity limits. Personal services like salons and barbershops can also open on June 1st at 25 percent capacity.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) issued an EO authorizing businesses to deny entry to inidividuals not wearing masks or face-coverings.
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced that the state will remain in phase one of its reopening for a minimum of another week, while Northern Virginia can enter phase one of reopening on Friday. Gov. Northam also signed an EO requiring masks in indoor spaces.
  • California is the most recent state to have recorded 100,000 cases.
  • Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a proclamation that will enable water parks across Texas to reopen at limited capacity under Phase 2 of reopening on May 29th.
  • Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced that Nevada is ready to move into Phase 2 of the reopening plan on May 29th including the reopening of casinos on June 4th. Additional businesses including personal services and gyms may open under new restrictions.
  • Twenty U.S. states reported an increase in new cases of COVID-19 last week, an increase of 13 states from the previous week. South Carolina had the biggest weekly increase at 42 percent, Alabama’s new cases rose 28 percent, Missouri’s rose 27 percent, and North Carolina’s rose 26 percent.
  • California's Department of Public Health announced that, subject to approval by county public health departments, all retail stores can reopen for in-store shopping under previously issued guidelines.
  • The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is recommending voluntary 14-day self-quarantine for those Kansans who traveled to Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, over the Memorial Day weekend and did not use protective measures, such as social distancing and face masks.  
  • Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that overnight facilities at West Virginia’s state parks and forests will start reopening to state residents only in following the guidelines of the Safer at Home order. Most day-use areas remain open to the public, though social distancing guidelines will be enforced.
  • White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said today that she is concerned about Chicago, the Washington, D.C. area, and Los Angeles, because their case rates are not dropping at the same rate as in other cities in the U.S.
  • The New Mexico Department of Health and the State Personnel Office began accepting applications today to fill 200 to 250 contact-tracing positions around the state as the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic moves into the next phase.
  • Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) announced that his state will conduct COVID-19 testing at long-term care facilities. He said that they will test a percentage of all residents and staff at each facility and, where there is a confirmed case, all staff and residents will be tested weekly. 
  • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) has updated directives on reopening recreational pools, overnight camps, community and school team sports, and resuming elective procedures. 
  • Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) outlined changes to the state's phase 2 reopening plan including travel quarantine and sports. 
  • New York State is now looking into 157 cases of MIS-C, the severe inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19 that is affecting children. CDC's informational page about MIS-C is linked here
  • House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) sent a letter to the Chair and Vice Chair of the National Governors Association, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), following up on his previous request that they direct the leaders of all fifty states, D.C., and U.S. territories to collect demographic data on racial disparities and COVID-19. His request follows reports that states are not reporting comprehensive demographic data. Of the 1.1 million COVID-19 cases reported to the CDC, race is not known in more than half of them. 
  • More than 10,000 individuals across the U.S. have been trained in COVID-19 contact tracing thanks to the free ASTHO and NCSD introductory training course. You can register for the course here.
  • At this point, all 50 states have started to reopen in some capacity. 
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery sent a letter to congressional leaders asking them to pass $1 trillion in direct relief for state and local governments. The letter, signed by 91 California leaders, outlines the budgetary challenges facing state, local, and tribal governments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Gov. Newsom also signed an EO waiving the deadline to verify grade point average and waive certain certification requirements and selective service registration verification for Cal Grant applicants.
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signed an EO moving Kansas into Phase 2 of “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas.” Phase 2, effective this Friday, will be modified to include data-driven restrictions necessary to prevent community transmission of COVID-19.
  • In Michigan, armed protesters once again gathered at the statehouse to oppose the ongoing statewide stay-at-home order. The gathering was reportedly smaller than previous protests. Michigan’s stay-at-home order is scheduled to expire on May 28th. 
  • Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) extended the state of emergency to June 15th.
  • Updates on lockdowns/reopening:
    • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced that gyms and fitness centers throughout the state can reopen on Monday, and restaurants and retail stores will be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity.
    • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's (R) order closing non-essential businesses is set to expire Sunday, but he said it will be extended until Monday to allow the Reopening Advisory Board to unveil its four-phase approach to reopening the state.
    • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that the state's stay-at-home order will remain in place until May 28th. The order also extended several emergency "suspensions" and "modifications" of laws through June 13th. Gov. Cuomo added that beaches in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware will open at 50 percent capacity Memorial Day weekend. 
    • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced Friday, new criteria for moving the state forward into Phase 2 of reopening the economy.
    • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) said he plans to lift capacity restrictions on restaurants and large attractions in most of the state.
    • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has lifted restrictions in 13 counties, including the Pittsburgh area, and announced that 12 more counties could reopen starting May 22nd. 
  • Two restaurants in Dallas, Texas directed employees not to wear face masks as they resume dine-in operations, while a Dallas County Judge amended his local stay at home order to mandate mask use. Texas Gov. Greg Abbot (R) has prohibited local governments from “imposing civil or criminal” punishments for failure to wear a mask.  
  • The Ohio Legislature passed a bill that would require the Director of Health to apply to the legislature for approval to extend any health order issued in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. Gov. Mark DeWine (R) has reportedly confirmed that he intends to veto the bill.
  • Georgia reported today that 20,000 teens in the state had been issued a driver’s license in the last month without having had to pass a road test.
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) rescheduled the presidential primary for July 7th.
  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that he is extending a ban on foreclosures and evictions through July 10th.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that schools in the state will remain closed for the rest of the academic year.
  • Over the weekend, Delaware Gov. John Carney (D), New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), Gov. Murphy, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D), Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D), Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D), and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced a joint multi-state agreement to develop a regional supply chain for PPE, other medical equipment, and testing.
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed an executive order creating the Michigan COVID-19 Office of Accountability within the State Budget Office.

Federal Updates

Washington, D.C

  • HHS and DoD announced agreements with CVS and Walgreens to provide and administer COVID-19 vaccines to residents of long-term care facilities (LTCF) nationwide with no out-of-pocket costs. The Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program provides complete management of the COVID-19 vaccination process. This means LTCF residents and staff across the country will be able to safely and efficiently get vaccinated once vaccines are available and recommended for them, if they have not been previously vaccinated. It will also minimize the burden on LTCF sites and jurisdictional health departments of vaccine handling, administration, and fulfilling reporting requirements.
  • CMS released data showing that 21 percent of Medicare beneficiaries report forgoing non-coronavirus care due to the pandemic, and nearly all - 98 percent - of beneficiaries have taken preventative measures to keep themselves safe from the virus. According to the survey, the most common type of forgone care because of the pandemic was dental care (43 percent), followed by regular check-up (36 percent), treatment for ongoing condition (36 percent), and diagnostic or medical screening test (32 percent). The most common reason cited for forgoing care was not wanting to risk being at a medical facility (45 percent).
  • 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.
  • And here is the most recent COVID-19 Science Update from the CDC. 
  • The CDC has continued to publish and update COVID-19 materials and resources on their dashboard. Recently the CDC posted the following helpful pages:
  • On Oct. 22, the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research’s (CBER), Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) will meet in open session, to discuss, in general, the development, authorization and/or licensure of vaccines to prevent COVID-19. No specific application will be discussed at this meeting. Read more here
  • 282 tests are authorized by FDA under EUAs; these include 220 molecular tests, 56 antibody tests, and 6 antigen tests.
  • Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic through Oct. 8, OSHA has cited 85 establishments for violations relating to coronavirus, resulting in proposed penalties totaling $1,222,156. OSHA inspections have resulted in the agency citing employers for violations, including failures to: Implement a written respiratory protection program; Provide a medical evaluation, respirator fit test, training on the proper use of a respirator and personal protective equipment; Report an injury, illness or fatality; Record an injury or illness on OSHA recordkeeping forms; and Comply with the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
  • More than 1,000 current and former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemic intelligence officers signed an open letter, decrying "the ominous politicization" of the agency throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Following the release of the letter, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Gary Peters (D-MI) called on the GAO to investigate the Trump Administration’s political influence over the CDC and the FDA, and to determine whether this interference has violated the agencies' scientific integrity and communication policies.
  • Talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin have continued, with major sticking points still remaining about additional COVID relief. Yesterday, Speaker Pelosi set a 48-hour deadline to strike a deal before the Election, but said any point after that window (end of the day Tuesday) will be too late for Congress to approve before Nov. 3. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is bringing a $500 billion skinny bill to the floor this week. 
  • CMS announced new actions to pay for expedited coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) test results. Starting Jan. 1, 2021, Medicare will pay $100 only to laboratories that complete high throughput COVID-19 diagnostic tests within two calendar days of the specimen being collected.  Also effective Jan. 1, 2021, for laboratories that take longer than two days to complete these tests, Medicare will pay a rate of $75. CMS wants to ensure that patients who test positive for the virus are alerted quickly so they can self-isolate and receive medical treatment.
  • The FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for SARS-CoV-2 test developers on Oct. 21 at 12:15 PM. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2. A second Town Hall will be on Oct. 28 at 12:15 PM.
  • The FDA reissued the EUA for certain filtering face-piece respirators (FFRs) that are manufactured in China and are not approved by NIOSH. Under the June 6, 2020 version of this EUA, a respirator was authorized if it met any of three predetermined eligibility criteria. Effective immediately, the reissued EUA no longer includes the three eligibility criteria, meaning the FDA will no longer review requests nor add to the list of authorized respirators–known as Appendix A—of this EUA based on those criteria.
  • As of today, 281 tests are authorized by FDA under EUAs; these include 219 molecular tests, 56 antibody tests, and 6 antigen tests.
  • The CDC has continued to publish and update COVID-19 materials and resources on their dashboard. Recently the CDC posted the following helpful pages:
  • Top U.S. health officials, including NIH's Tony Fauci and CDC's Robert Redfield have both noted this week that small household gatherings are driving the increase in COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and cautioned against large holiday gatherings in the coming months. 
  • OSHA has posted guidance for restaurants resuming in-person dining. 
  • Actions and comments by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin all indicate there will be no supplemental COVID-19 package before Election Day. 
  • Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) announced she would be suspending campaign travel after two of her close campaign staff tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • President Trump has tested negative for COVID-19 on consecutive days according to White House Physician Sean Conley.
  • The NIH's National Cancer Institute (NCI) has launched the Serological Sciences Network for COVID-19 (SeroNet), an initiative aimed at quickly increasing the nation’s antibody testing capacity and engaging the U.S. research community to understand the immune response to COVID-19. SeroNet will engage more than 25 of the nation’s top academic, government and private sector biomedical research institutions to study the immune response to COVID-19 to speed delivery of testing, treatments and vaccine development for combat the pandemic.
  • NIH's NIAID today launched a study designed to determine whether certain approved therapies or investigational drugs in late-stage clinical development show promise against COVID-19 and merit advancement into larger clinical trials. The ACTIV-5 Big Effect Trial, which will enroll adult volunteers hospitalized with COVID-19 at as many as 40 U.S sites, is being conducted in collaboration with the NIH’s public-private partnership Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Innovations and Vaccines (ACTIV) program. 
  • NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins penned a new blog in which he highlights some recent vaccine trial success, including one that indicates the Moderna vaccine candidate is both well tolerated and effective in generating a strong immune response when given to adults of any age.
  • Today, the FDA issued and immediately implemented a new guidance: Enforcement Policy for Modifications to FDA-Cleared Molecular Influenza and RSV Tests During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency. Many molecular influenza (flu) viruses and respiratory syncytial viruses (RSV) tests require the same critical components as many SARS-CoV-2 molecular assays. The policy outlined in this guidance aims to help expand access to certain FDA-cleared molecular tests intended for detection and identification of flu viruses, including molecular influenza tests that also detect and identify RSV.
  • The FDA updated the dashboard on the Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP) webpage. As of September 30, 2020, 550+ drug development programs were in planning stages, 350+ trials were reviewed by FDA and 5 COVID-19 treatments were currently authorized for emergency use.
  • The FDA released a statement reaffirming its commitment to the safety and security of its public health laboratories. 
  • As of today, 279 tests are authorized by FDA under EUAs; these include 217 molecular tests, 56 antibody tests, and 6 antigen tests.
  • CDC has a new webpage that features new ways of trick or treating and other Halloween activities. When trick or treating or participating in other Halloween activities with people outside your household, wear a mask. The agency encourages people to make it fun by making your mask part of your costume, but when it comes to slowing the spread of COVID-19, a costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. They also say not to wear a costume mask over a cloth mask as it can make breathing more difficult. 
  • HHS and DoD announced an agreement with AstraZeneca for late-stage development and large-scale manufacturing of the company's COVID-19 investigational product AZD7442, a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies, that may help treat or prevent COVID-19. 
  • HHS and DoD also announced an agreement with Cytiva, headquartered in Massachusetts, to expand the company’s manufacturing capacity for products that are essential in producing COVID-19 vaccines. BARDA collaborated with the DoD Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense and Army Contracting Command, to provide approximately $31 million to Cytiva for vaccine-related consumable products, such as liquid and dry powder cell culture media, cell culture buffers, mixer bags, and XDR bioreactors.
  • In their final act of the day, HHS and DoD awarded a $481 million Other Transaction Agreement to Cue Health, Inc. to expand U.S. production capacity for a cartridge-based point-of-care COVID-19 molecular test that produces results in about 20 minutes. This partnership with HHS and DOD will allow Cue to expand its industrial base and increase domestic production to 100,000 COVID-19 test kits per day by March 2021, and demonstrate this capacity through the delivery of six million COVID-19 tests and 30,000 instruments to the U.S. Government to support the domestic COVID-19 pandemic response.
  • CMS released a statement about the integrity of COVID-19 testing. 
  • Though numbers have been tossed around, letters have been sent, and negotiations have continued, there is still no pandemic relief bill on the table. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said today that the Senate will take up another skinny bill when it comes back in session next week. It almost certainly won't be in line with what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has expressed Democrats need to see. 
  • The FDA issued guidance with recommendations for vaccine sponsors regarding the scientific data and information that would support issuance of an EUA for investigational vaccines intended to prevent COVID-19.
  • The FDA launched a new webpage at www.fda.gov/covid19vaccines to highlight new information as it becomes available.
  • The FDA issued a letter to health care providers recommending that health care providers give clear, step-by-step instructions to patients who, in a health care setting, are self-collecting anterior nasal samples for SARS-CoV-2 testing. Without proper instructions, patients may not collect an adequate sample for testing, which may decrease the sensitivity of the test.
  • 273 tests are authorized by FDA under EUAs; these include 215 molecular tests, 53 antibody tests, and 5 antigen tests.
  • NIH, working in collaboration with BARDA, announced a third round of contract awards for scale-up and manufacturing of new COVID-19 testing technologies. The six new Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative contracts total $98.35 million for point-of-care and other novel test approaches that provide new modes of sample collection, processing and return of results. Innovations in these new technologies include integration with smart devices, mobile-lab processing that can be deployed to COVID-19 hot spots, and test results available within minutes.
  • CMS announced amended terms for payments issued under the Accelerated and Advance Payment (AAP) Program. This Medicare loan program allows CMS to make advance payments to providers and are typically used in emergency situations. Under the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act repayment will now begin one year from the issuance date of each provider or supplier’s accelerated or advance payment. CMS issued $106 billion in payments to providers and suppliers in order to alleviate the financial burden healthcare providers faced while experiencing cash flow issues in the early stages of combating COVID-19.
  • Tuesday, the CDC revised its page on people with certain medical conditions to reflect recent data supporting increased risk of severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19 among adults with COVID-19 who have obesity, who have overweight, or who smoke or have a history of smoking. These revisions also make the document more explicit about data and implications for adults and for children. The listed underlying medical conditions in children were also revised to indicate that these conditions might increase risk to better reflect the quality of available data currently. This reflects the fact that there are less data available for children and does not imply that children are not at risk. 
  • The most recent CDC forecast, which combines the data from dozens of independent models, predicts U.S. deaths from COVID-19 could reach 233,000 by the end of the month.
  • The CDC recently updated their page on Alcohol and Substance Abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • There are multiple new releases in CDC's MMWR:
  • Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) wrote to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows urging him to allow contact tracers to investigate the large outbreak of coronavirus cases surrounding President Trump and White House staff.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin spoke again this afternoon to determine if there is really any hope of passing a comprehensive bill, but the call did not yield any positive results. 
  • President Trump is back in the White House to recover after leaving the Walter Reed medical center this evening. Last Friday, President Trump announced that he and the First Lady tested positive for COVID-19. Over the weekend, the President was checked into Walter Reed to receive treatment, including remdesivir and a dose of an experimental antibody cocktail being developed by the drug maker Regeneron. 
  • Today, CDC issued updated guidance to its How COVID-19 Spreads website, which includes information about the potential for airborne spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. The new language cites recent evidence that the virus can spread further than six feet indoors.
  • The White House has reportedly blocked the FDA's new proposal of stricter guidelines for a COVID-19 vaccine. Key staff involved in the decision are objecting to provisions that would push approval of a vaccine past Election Day. The FDA is still looking to ensure that vaccines meet the guidelines stricter set of guidelines and is sharing the updated standards with an outside advisory committee of experts that is supposed to meet publicly before any vaccine is authorized for emergency use. 
  • NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has partnered with Matrix Medical Network to help more than 20 academic medical centers involved in NIAID’s COVID-19 Prevention Network establish mobile health clinics at universities, hospitals and other locations across the U.S. Mobile clinics will serve communities in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington.
  • The FDA posted a transcript of FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn's remarks to the National Consumers League last week about the vaccine review process.
  • FDA awarded a new research contract to the Stanford University School of Medicine to perform an in-depth analysis of tissue samples to learn more about how SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19—affects different systems in the body, and identify immune correlates. This regulatory science project could potentially help inform development and evaluation of medical countermeasures for COVID-19.
  • As of today, 270 tests are authorized by FDA under EUAs; these include 213 molecular tests, 52 antibody tests, and 5 antigen tests.
  • OSHA published additional frequently asked questions and answers regarding the need to report employees’ in-patient hospitalizations and fatalities resulting from work-related cases of COVID-19. OSHA’s new FAQs provide information to help employers apply the agency’s existing injury and illness recording and reporting requirements to the coronavirus. In particular, the FAQs provide guidance on how to calculate reporting deadlines for in-patient hospitalizations and fatalities, and clarify the meaning of the term “incident” as it relates to work-related coronavirus in-patient hospitalizations and fatalities.
  • OSHA issued Temporary Enforcement Guidance for tight-fitting powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) used during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • President Trump signed an EO to address the negative impact of prolonged shutdowns on mental and behavioral health and increase suicide prevention efforts. The President is establishing a cabinet-level working group to assess the mental health needs of the most vulnerable, including the elderly, minorities, children, veterans, and people with disabilities. The order also focuses on providing grant funding to support mental health treatment services including telehealth, peer-to-peer, and safe in-person therapeutic services.
  • Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and White House Press Sec. Kayleigh McEnany have tested positive for COVID-19. Others within the Administration who have tested positive are listed here
  • After ongoing negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin, sharp disagreements remain about the main issues in an additional stimulus package. Earlier this week, House Democrats had released an updated version of the Heroes Act, their $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. The text of revised version of The Heroes Act is here. A one-pager on the legislation is here. A section-by-section summary is here. Additional information on the state and local relief provisions is here.
  • President Trump and the First Lady have both tested positive for COVID-19. The President is being treated at Walter Reed hospital and has received a dose of an experimental antibody cocktail being developed by the drug maker Regeneron.
  • HHS, through HRSA, announced $20 billion in new funding for providers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. Under this Phase 3 General Distribution allocation, providers that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments will be invited to apply for additional funding that considers financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by the coronavirus. Previously ineligible providers, such as those who began practicing in 2020 will also be invited to apply, and an expanded group of behavioral health providers confronting the emergence of increased mental health and substance use issues exacerbated by the pandemic will also be eligible for relief payments. Providers can begin applying for funds on Oct. 5. 
  • HHS and The Rockefeller Foundation have signed an agreement to identify and share effective approaches for using rapid point-of-care (POC) antigen tests to screen for COVID-19 in communities, with a focus on safely reopening K-12 schools. The partnership establishes a pilot program with select cities and states in The Rockefeller Foundation's Testing Solutions Group (TSG), a network of public officials devoted to rapidly scaling COVID-19 testing, tracing, and tracking in their communities. HHS will provide at least 120,000 Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card POC SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests to pilot sites. The initial pilot cities, selected collaboratively with The Rockefeller Foundation, are Louisville, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Tulsa. In addition, Rhode Island has been selected as a pilot state.
  • The FDA revised its EUA to reflect changes in the distribution and allocation of the antiviral drug Veklury (remdesivir). More information about the revised EUA can be found here.
  • The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis held a hybrid hearing with HHS Sec. Alex Azar on the Department’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The contentious meeting served mostly as a messaging board, during which Democrats stuck to questioning the Administration's lack of a national testing strategy and Republicans were a united front rejecting accusations of politics impacting scientific decisions within government agencies. A memo is available upon request for this hearing. 
  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, released a 44-page report, “COVID-19 & Achieving Health Equity: Congressional Action is Necessary to Address Racism and Inequality in the U.S. Health Care System,” outlining how the American health care system has failed communities of color due to entrenched bias, discrimination, and racism—and demonstrating how those failures have contributed to disproportionate and tragically high COVID-19 death and infection rates among the Black, Latinx, and Tribal communities. In the report, Senator Murray also lays out a series of recommendations on Congressional action to address inequality and racism within the U.S. health care system.
  • HHS Sec. Alex Azar said during today's hearing that he is ordering a review of the $300 million-plus ad campaign aimed at boosting confidence in the Trump Administration's coronavirus response, one day after House Oversight select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis Chair Jim Clyburn (D-SC), wrote that the Administration, "appears to be misusing taxpayer dollars to fund a political propaganda campaign — disguised as a public health effort—just weeks before a presidential election."
  • Here is this week’s 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.
  • Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • After ongoing negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin, sharp disagreements remain about the main issues in an additional stimulus package. Earlier this week, House Democrats had released an updated version of the Heroes Act, their $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. The text of revised version of The Heroes Act is here. A one-pager on the legislation is here. A section-by-section summary is here. Additional information on the state and local relief provisions is here.
  • HHS announced five cooperative agreements to health information exchange organizations (HIEs) to help support state and local public health agencies in their efforts to respond to public health emergencies, including disasters and pandemics such as COVID-19. Each of the five recipients will work to improve HIE services so that public health agencies can better access, share, and use health information during public health emergencies. These efforts will also support communities that are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. You can find the HIEs here
  • NIH has awarded nearly $234 million to improve COVID-19 testing for underserved and vulnerable populations. A part of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative, the RADx Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program will support 32 institutions across the U.S. and will focus on populations disproportionately affected by the pandemic. These groups include African Americans, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, Latinos/Latinas, Native Hawaiians, older adults, pregnant women and those who are homeless or incarcerated. Read more here
  • An NIH-funded Phase 1 trial of an investigational mRNA vaccine to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection has shown that the vaccine is well-tolerated and generates a strong immune response in older adults. The study will continue to follow the older volunteers for approximately a year after second vaccination to monitor the long-term effects of the vaccine. According to the researchers, these Phase 1 trial results further support testing of the investigational vaccine in older adults in an ongoing large Phase 3 trial.
  • CMS released its first monthly Medicaid and CHIP Enrollment Trends Snapshot today. This new summary report captures impacts of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency by tracking total Medicaid and CHIP program enrollment trends for adults and children over a 12-month period. This first monthly snapshot shows over 4 million new Medicaid and CHIP enrollments between February and June 2020 – a nearly 5.7 percent increase since the PHE began in March 2020. Medicaid enrollment increased 6.2 percent to nearly 4 million new recipients. New CHIP enrollment increased by 23,495 – about one-half of one percent.
  • CMS announced an update to the methodology the agency employs to determine the rate of COVID-19 positivity in counties across the country. Counties with 20 or fewer tests over 14 days will now move to “green” in the color-coded system of assessing COVID-19 community prevalence. Counties with both fewer than 500 tests and fewer than 2,000 tests per 100,000 residents, and greater than 10 percent positivity over 14 days – which would have been “red” under the previous methodology – will move to “yellow.” This information is notable for nursing homes, which are required to test their staff for COVID-19 at a frequency based on the positivity rate of their respective counties.
  • The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is partnering with the University of New Mexico’s ECHO Institute in Albuquerque and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in Boston to establish a National Nursing Home COVID Action Network. The network will provide free training and mentorship to nursing homes across the country to increase the implementation of evidence-based infection prevention and safety practices to protect residents and staff.
  • The FDA updated the SARS CoV-2 reference panel comparative data on FDA’s website to reflect the latest information. The FDA SARS-CoV-2 reference panel is a standardized performance validation step for authorized SARS-CoV-2 molecular diagnostic tests. The reference panel allows for a more precise comparison of the analytical performance of different molecular in vitro diagnostic (IVD) assays intended to detect SARS-CoV-2. The FDA intends to continue to update the tables on the website.
  • In a new FDA Voices entitled, A Closer Look at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health’s Unprecedented Efforts in the COVID-19 Response, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn highlights how, in just a few short months, the agency’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health’s response to the pandemic has been unprecedented in terms of volume, speed and agility – spanning multiple areas, including: regulatory flexibility, EUAs for devices, shortage mitigation activities, Public Health Service Corps deployment and extensive engagement with stakeholders.
  • As of today, 263 tests are authorized by FDA under EUAs; these include 208 molecular tests, 51 antibody tests, and 4 antigen tests.
  • The National Alzheimer's and Dementia Resource Center (NADRC) is hosting a free webinar series on COVID-19 and dementia. Each webinar will focus on organizations that have pivoted their service delivery system to continue serving and supporting people living with dementia and their caregivers during the pandemic. Free webinars will happen on Oct. 19, Nov.2, and Nov. 19. Register here
  • CDC Director Robert Redfield was reportedly overruled when he wanted to extend a "no-sail order" on passenger cruises into next year. The order was set to expire this evening and, for now, will only be extended until Oct. 31. 
  • The House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing today titled, "Pathway to a Vaccine: Ensuring a Safe and Effective Vaccine People Will Trust.” You can view the witness panel here. A memo is available upon request. 
  • Friday, the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis will hold a hybrid hearing with HHS Sec. Alex Azar on the Department’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. A memo will also be available upon request for this hearing. 
  • Seven former FDA Commissioners wrote an op-ed expressing concern that political interference from the Trump Administration could have a catastrophic effect on the agency’s credibility as it prepares to roll out a coronavirus vaccine.
  • A coalition of travel, hotel, franchise, and state and local government groups called for Congress to not go on recess without providing relief for sectors devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. More than 175 organizations representing the public and private sector, including the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), International Franchise Association (IFA), National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, Airlines for America and the U.S. Travel Association, wrote a letter to congressional leadership on Wednesday. 
  • Earlier this week, House Democrats had released an updated version of the Heroes Act, their $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. While they were originally expected to vote tomorrow, leadership postponed the vote in hopes of striking a deal with the White House. The text of revised version of The Heroes Act is here. A one-pager on the legislation is here. A section-by-section summary is here. Additional information on the state and local relief provisions is here.
  • House Democrats released an updated version of the Heroes Act, their $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. The text of revised version of The Heroes Act is here. A one-pager on the legislation is here. A section-by-section summary is here. Additional information on the state and local relief provisions is here.
  • President Trump announced today that the federal government will ship 100 million rapid coronavirus tests to states by the end of the year. The first shipment of around 6.5 million tests will be divided and sent this week. The amount each state receives will be based on population data. President Trump and HHS testing czar Brett Giroir are encouraging state leaders to use the tests to help schools reopen, but governors will ultimately be in charge of deciding how to use the rapid tests they receive.
  • Tomorrow at 12:00 PM, the FDA, NIOSH, and OSHA will host a webinar on Respirators and Other PPE for Health Care Personnel Use during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • The FDA has announced a clinical hold on INOVIO's COVID-19 vaccine trials as the Agency has additional questions about the CELLECTRA® 2000 delivery device used in the trial. The hold is not the result of any adverse outcomes during the ongoing Phase 1 portion of INOVIO's study, and INOVIO and its partners are continuing to prepare for a planned Phase 2/3 trial of INO-4800.
  • The FDA will host the last in their series of virtual Town Halls for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2. The FDA will also hold virtual Town Halls for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers to help answer questions on:
    • September 30, 12:15 PM
  • The CDC updated their guidance today on how to select, wear, and clean your mask. 
  • CDC's MMWR published an early release new article COVID-19 Trends Among School-Aged Children — United States, March 1–September 19, 2020. The findings indicate that children with underlying conditions are more likely to experience severe effects of COVID-19, but also that teens are more likely to contract COVID-19 than younger children. 
  • The House Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a hearing on Wednesday titled, "Pathway to a Vaccine: Ensuring a Safe and Effective Vaccine People Will Trust.” You can view the witness panel here. A memo will be available upon request. 
  • Friday, the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis will hold a hybrid hearing with HHS Sec. Alex Azar on the Department’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. A memo will also be available upon request for this hearing. 
  • HHS Sec. Alex Azar said today he would be "first in line" to get a COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • FDA posted a document summarizing updated evidence to support the emergency use of COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma. The agency will continue to review the circumstances and appropriateness of the authorization for emergency use. To make this information accessible to the public, the document posted on the web presents FDA’s review in relatively plain language.
  • The FDA re-issued an EUA for the Assure COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test Device, making it the first authorized serology (antibody) test that can be used at the point of care (POC), meaning it is authorized for use in patient care settings operating under a CLIA Certificate of Waiver, Certificate of Compliance, or Certificate of Accreditation.
  • FDA developed new health education materials that have been culturally and linguistically tailored for diverse consumers. These materials are intended for health care professionals to share with their patients to help stimulate dialogue and answer pressing questions about FDA’s response to COVID-19. The materials provide information on the different areas of the FDA’s response to the pandemic, including health fraud, medical product supply, therapeutics, vaccine development, and diagnostic and antibody testing. 
  • As of Friday, 255 tests are authorized by FDA under EUAs; these include 204 molecular tests, 47 antibody tests, and 4 antigen tests.
  • The FDA issued an updated FDA COVID-19 Response At-A-Glance Summary which provides a quick look at facts, figures and highlights of the agency's response efforts.
  • Read the CDC's September 25 Science Update here. As a reminder, the Science Update series provides brief summaries of new COVID-19-related studies on many topics, including epidemiology, clinical treatment and management, laboratory science, and modeling.
  • Here is last week’s 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.
  • The NIH has reportedly lost an estimated $10 billion in research productivity since the start of the pandemic. 
  • CMS released new tools to reduce burdensome paperwork and authorization delays for laboratories seeking Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certification to test for COVID-19. CMS’s quick-start guide helps laboratories with the application process for CLIA certification and includes information on the expedited review process implemented at the beginning of the public health emergency that allows labs to start COVID-19 testing before the official paper certificate arrives by postal mail. Laboratories also have a new option to pay CLIA certification fees on the CMS CLIA Program website. Online payments are processed overnight, which is substantially faster than hard-copy checks.
  • The FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2. The FDA will also hold virtual Town Halls for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers to help answer questions on:
    • September 30, 12:15 PM
  • Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) today released a comprehensive report on care in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in the United States during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The report, titled “COVID-19 and Nursing Homes: What Went Wrong and Next Steps,” reviews U.S. nursing home performance during the first eight months of the pandemic. Data indicate that more than two out of five deaths due to COVID-19 in the United States are linked to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
  • Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) requested the independent Office of Inspector General (OIG) within HHS investigate potential political interference by the White House and Trump Administration political appointees into the scientific work of employees at the CDC responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The federal government is expected to start cracking down aggressively on hospitals for not reporting complete COVID-19 data daily into a federal data system. One possible consequence of not reporting data is the withholding of Medicare funding from non-compliant hospitals. The pending update to the reporting guidelines will only require the supply data once a week. However, draft documents show the newest guidelines would add several questions about influenza patients such as the number admitted to the hospital with flu, the number of flu patients in intensive care unit beds and the number of patients confirmed to have both flu and COVID-19. 
  • A member of HHS Sec. Alex Azar's security detail tested positive for COVID-19 this week. 
  • Yesterday, the FDA said they plan to issue stricter guidelines for the EUA of any new COVID-19 vaccine, adding a new layer of caution to the vetting process. The new guidelines would lay out more specific criteria for clinical trial data and recommend that the data be vetted by a committee of independent experts before the FDA authorizes any vaccine. Today, however, President Trump suggested he would consider not approving such guidelines. 
  • CMS released preliminary Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) data revealing that, during the COVID-19 public health emergency, rates for vaccinations, primary, and preventive services among children in Medicaid and CHIP have steeply declined. This decline may have significant impacts on long-term health outcomes for children, as Medicaid and CHIP cover nearly 40 million children, including three quarters of children living in poverty and many with special health care needs that require health services. A data analysis found there were 1.7 million fewer vaccinations given to Medicaid beneficiaries 2 or younger, a drop of 22 percent, and 3.2 million fewer screenings to detect autism or developmental delays, a drop of 44 percent. Dental care dropped by 69 percent, with 7.6 million fewer tooth cleanings and other services. CMS published a Fact Sheet: Service Use among Medicaid & CHIP Beneficiaries age 18 and Under during COVID-19.
  • HHS announced that the CDC will provide $200 million to jurisdictions for COVID-19 vaccine preparedness. The money will go to 64 jurisdictions through the existing Immunizations and Vaccines for Children cooperative agreement. These funds, along with the previous support CDC has provided, will help states prepare for the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The NIH announced it has expanded clinical trials to test convalescent plasma against COVID-19. Convalescent plasma is blood plasma taken from people who have recovered from COVID-19. It contains antibodies that can recognize and neutralize SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, as well as other components that may contribute to an immune response. The trials are receiving money from OWS and hope to have results as early as this fall.
  • Read the CDC's September 22 Science Update here. As a reminder, the Science Update series provides brief summaries of new COVID-19-related studies on many topics, including epidemiology, clinical treatment and management, laboratory science, and modeling.
  • The FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2. The FDA will also hold virtual Town Halls for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers to help answer questions on:
    • September 30, 12:15 PM
  • USDA announced the extension of more than a dozen flexibilities ensuring participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) continue receiving the food and health support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. USDA’s proactive extension of these waivers throughout the national public health emergency will ensure nutritionally at-risk mothers, babies, and children receive the critical nutrition benefits and services they count on in a safe manner while allowing the program to operate based on local conditions throughout the pandemic.
  • The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) met today to hear testimony from four of the country's top health officials about the Federal Response to COVID-19. Members sought information about the vaccination development and review process, pressed for commitments that all public health agency decision-making would be based on science and data, and criticized what they deemed to be a lack of clear communication regarding public health guidance. Witnesses repeatedly assured members that the review process for vaccines, treatments, testing, and other public health guidelines are based on science and directed by career professionals at their agencies. A memo of this hearing is available upon request. 
  • Thirty-four Senate Democrats, led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA), the ranking member of the Senate HELP Committee, introduced the Science and Transparency Over Politics (STOP) Act in light of a flood of accusations that agencies such as the CDC and FDA were pressured to tailor their talking points and reports to align with the White House’s narrative of the pandemic response. Many members in today's HELP hearing asked questions along these lines, suggesting political interference in scientific documents. 
  • There is still no coronavirus relief package on the table and negotiations are likely to be stalled for a while. As such, please note that Sierra Fuller's COVID-19 Legislative Update (email sfuller@cgagroup.com to subscribe) will be pausing until after the November 3 election. 
  • On Friday, the CDC posted guidance warning that the coronavirus spreads most commonly through the air and is more contagious than had previously been suggested. The Agency specifically cautioned that choir practice, restaurants, and fitness classes or any indoor environments without good ventilation increase a person's risk of catching the virus. However, the caution was retracted over the weekend, and the page now reads that the guidance was "posted in error."
  • To help inform the COVID-19 response and help stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 research, CDC has created a series called COVID-19 Science Update. The series provides brief summaries of new COVID-19-related studies on many topics, including epidemiology, clinical treatment and management, laboratory science, and modeling. These summaries are released Tuesdays and Fridays and include an overview of key findings, methods, and implications. Read Friday's here
  • The FDA has added content to the question-and-answer appendix in its guidance titled “Conduct of Clinical Trials of Medical Products during COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.” The updated guidance includes a new question-and-answer regarding a clinical trial investigator’s responsibility to review all investigational new drug application safety reports, including reports that will not result in a change to the investigator brochure, informed consent, or protocol.
  • A new video entitled, Beware of Fraudulent Coronavirus Tests, Vaccines and Treatments, explains to consumers that there are currently no FDA-approved drugs or vaccines to treat or prevent COVID-19. Products that fraudulently claim to cure, treat, diagnose, or prevent COVID-19 haven’t been evaluated by the FDA for safety and effectiveness for such use, and they might be dangerous to you and your family.
  • The FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2. The FDA will also hold virtual Town Halls for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers to help answer questions on:
    • September 23, 12:15 PM
    • September 30, 12:15 PM
  • Over the weekend, HHS released updated guidance on the information recipients of the Provider Relief Fund will need to report to HHS beginning on October 1, 2020. Providers that received more than $10,000 in grants will have to report on how they spent funds on coronavirus-related expenses and lost revenue. The $10,000 reporting threshold is a significant change from the statutory requirement in the CARES Act, which required detailed reporting disclosures from any entity that had received more than $150,000 in total funds from any COVID-19 relief legislation.
  • As of today, 249 tests are authorized by FDA under EUAs; these include 199 molecular tests, 46 antibody tests, and 4 antigen tests.
  • The GAO released a report today titled, "COVID-19: Federal Efforts Could Be Strengthened by Timely and Concerted Actions." The report updates GAO's oversight of federal actions to support public health, individuals, and the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report found that PPE shortages were a result of the U.S. relying heavily on in-demand foreign goods, HHS could probably collect more complete data, and the Treasury and IRS still don't know how many people haven't received their stimulus payments who are eligible to receive them. The report also includes a list of 16 recommendations. 
  • The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will meet on Wednesday at 10 AM to hear testimony from four of the country's top health officials about the Federal Response to COVID-19. A memo of this hearing will be available upon request. 
  • Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT) said yesterday that she tested positive for COVID-19 after visiting three facilities in an attempt to get a diagnosis.
  • There is still no coronavirus relief package on the table and negotiations are likely to be stalled for a while. As such, please note that Sierra Fuller's COVID-19 Legislative Update (email sfuller@cgagroup.com to subscribe) will be pausing until after the November 3 election. 
  • In President Trump's Friday briefing today he said, ...we expect to have enough vaccines for every American by April.”
  • The CDC reversed a recommendation that people who have had close contact with someone infected with the coronavirus did not need to get tested unless they had symptoms after the recommendation sparked an outcry among public health officials. The agency now says anyone exposed to an infected person for more than 15 minutes should be tested. 
  • The FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2. The FDA will also hold virtual Town Halls for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers to help answer questions on:
    • September 23, 12:15 PM
    • September 30, 12:15 PM
  • As of today, 248 tests are authorized by FDA under EUAs; these include 198 molecular tests, 46 antibody tests, and 4 antigen tests.
  • The FDA reissued the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Abbott ID Now COVID-19 test. The revisions to the previous EUA letter of authorization include a revised intended use to:
    • Indicate that testing is for specimens collected “from individuals who are suspected of COVID-19 by their health care provider within the first seven days of the onset of symptoms.” 
    • Clarify that testing is authorized for laboratories certified under CLIA and meet the requirements to perform high, moderate, or waived complexity tests.
    • Clarify that testing facilities within the United States and its territories are required to report all results to the appropriate public health authorities.
  • New data from the CDC show that adult obesity prevalence is increasing and racial and ethnic disparities persist. Notably, adults with obesity are at heightened risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19. The 2019 Adult Obesity Prevalence Maps show that twelve states now have an adult obesity prevalence at or above 35%: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. In addition to the maps, CDC has released a summary statement on obesity and race and ethnicity as related to COVID-19 risk.
  • The Congressional Budget Office published a document titled, "The Effects of Pandemic-Related Legislation on Output."
  • Here is last week’s 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.
  • After a day of rumblings about a potential deal, we still have nothing on the table heading into the weekend. For a more detailed description of what this means for the future COVID-19 legislative landscape, please refer to Sierra Fuller's COVID-19 Legislative Update (email sfuller@cgagroup.com to subscribe). 
  • The NIH has awarded seven contracts to companies and academic institutions to develop digital health solutions that help address the COVID-19 pandemic. The work could lead to user-friendly tools such as smartphone apps, wearable devices, and software that can identify and trace contacts of infected individuals, keep track of verified COVID-19 test results, and monitor the health status of infected and potentially infected individuals. The list of awardees can be found here
  • The NIH also announced a $12 million award for outreach and engagement efforts in ethnic and racial minority communities disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The award to RTI International, a non-profit research institution, will support teams in 11 states established as part of the NIH Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities. These teams have received initial funding to immediately create CEAL programs, and RTI will serve as the Technical and Administrative Support and Coordination (TASC) center. 
  • HHS and DoD released documents outlining the Administrations plan for distributing and administering millions of doses of a future COVID-19 vaccine to Americans for free. The plan involves an information campaign led by the HHS public affairs department; ramping up infrastructure so a vaccine can be delivered quickly once authorized; and sending 6.6 million kits of supplies needed to administer the vaccine, like syringes and alcohol pads. The strategy is outlined in a report to Congress and a 57-page playbook to states.
  • The FDA published comparative performance data for some authorized COVID-19 molecular diagnostic tests. The tables show the Limit of Detection (LoD) of more than 55 authorized molecular diagnostic COVID-19 tests against a standardized sample panel provided by the FDA. The FDA provided these standardized samples, known as a reference panel, to test developers who are required to assess their test’s performance against this panel (or other FDA-recommended reference materials) as a condition of their Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
  • The FDA awarded a new research contract to the University of Liverpool and global partners to sequence and analyze samples from humans and animals to create profiles of various coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. The study will also examine in vitro coronavirus models, such as organs-on-chips. This regulatory science project, awarded in collaboration with the NIH/NIAID, will hopefully help inform development and evaluation of medical countermeasures for COVID-19.
  • The FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2. The FDA will also hold virtual Town Halls for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers to help answer questions on:
    • September 23, 12:15 PM
    • September 30, 12:15 PM
  • As of today, 249 tests are authorized by FDA under EUAs; these include 198 molecular tests, 47 antibody tests, and 4 antigen tests.
  • Yesterday, the FDA approved an abbreviated new drug application for dexmedetomidine hydrochloride in 0.9 percent sodium chloride injection, indicated for the sedation of initially intubated and mechanically ventilated patients during treatment in an intensive-care setting, as well as the sedation of non-intubated patients prior to and/or during surgical and other procedures. The most common side effects of dexmedetomidine hydrochloride injection are hypotension (low blood pressure), bradycardia (slow heart rate), and dry mouth. This drug is included in the FDA’s Drug Shortage Database.
  • Today, the CDC released indicators to help schools make dynamic decisions about in-person learning as local conditions evolve throughout the pandemic. When coupled with local data about community spread, these indicators are an important tool to help local health officials, school administrators, and communities prepare, plan, and respond to COVID-19. These indicators are the latest resources CDC has provided for schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they supplement previously released CDC guidance.
  • CMS received the final report from the independent Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes (Commission), which was facilitated by MITRE.  CMS also released an overview of the actions the agency has taken to date to combat the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes. The Commission’s findings align with the actions CMS has taken to contain the spread of the virus and to safeguard nursing home residents from the ongoing threat of COVID-19. 
  • Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) wrote a letter to HHS Sec. Alex Azar and Education Sec. Betsy DeVos encouraging the Education Department to issue new guidance for how schools and colleges should address the unique and increased mental health challenges students are facing due to COVID-19. In the letter, the Senators requested information about how schools and colleges should use federal funds to support students’ mental health needs, with a particular focus on minorities or those from tribal nations, students with disabilities, and students experiencing homelessness.
  • Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, sent a letter to Vice President Pence and Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx raising concerns that the Task Force has weakened or retracted previous science-based recommendations in numerous states still in the “red zone,” including states that failed to comply with previous Task Force recommendations. The letter also demands the release of all White House Coronavirus Task Force reports tracking the spread of the virus and making recommendations to contain the outbreak. 
  • The Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies met today for a hearing at 10 AM titled, "Department of Health and Human Services’ Coronavirus Response: A Review of Efforts To Date and Next Steps." During the hearing, CDC Director Robert Redfield said he thought a vaccine would not be publicly available until the middle or end of 2021. President Trump later contradicted that, saying he thought perhaps Dr. Redfield had made a mistake. A memo on this hearing is available upon request
  • Assistant sec. of public affairs for HHS, Michael Caputo, announced he will be taking a two month leave of absence after he said he and his team had tried to water down MMWR reports out of the CDC. Caputo's science advisor, Dr. Paul Alexander, is leaving HHS entirely.
  • An unidentified White House staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has said members of her caucus will need to stay in Washington until a deal is reached on additional COVID-19 supplemental funding. Today, President Trump encouraged Republicans to "go for the much higher numbers." For a more detailed description of what this means for the future COVID-19 legislative landscape, please refer to Sierra Fuller's COVID-19 Legislative Update (email sfuller@cgagroup.com to subscribe). 
  • Tomorrow, September 15, at 12:00 PM the FDA will host a webinar to review enforcement policy for gowns, other apparel, and gloves during the COVID-19 pandemic and umbrella EUA for gowns and other apparel. During this webinar, the FDA will present information on both the enforcement policy and the EUA for gowns and other apparel, and representatives from the FDA, CDC, and OSHA will be available to answer questions.  
  • The NIH announced results from an agency-funded study which indicate that people with substance use disorders (SUDs) are more susceptible to COVID-19 and its complications. The research was co-authored by Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). According to the authors, the study findings underscore the need to screen for, and treat, SUDs as part of the strategy for controlling the pandemic. Additional research needs to be done to better understand how best to treat those with SUDs who are at risk for COVID-19 and counsel on how to avoid the risk of infection.
  • The FDA awarded a new research contract to the University of Liverpool and global partners to sequence and analyze samples from humans and animals to create profiles of various coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. The study will also examine in vitro coronavirus models, such as organs-on-chips. This regulatory science project, awarded in collaboration with the NIH/NIAID, will hopefully help inform development and evaluation of medical countermeasures for COVID-19.
  • The FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2. The FDA will also hold virtual Town Halls for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers to help answer questions on:
    • September 16, 12:15 PM
    • September 23, 12:15 PM
    • September 30, 12:15 PM
  • FDA test figures remain the same with 247 tests authorized by FDA under EUAs, including 197 molecular tests, 46 antibody tests, and 4 antigen tests.
  • OSHA has published guidance on the use of cloth face coverings while working in both indoor and outdoor hot and humid conditions. 
  • The Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies will meet this Wednesday, September 16, for a hearing at 10 AM titled, "Department of Health and Human Services’ Coronavirus Response: A Review of Efforts To Date and Next Steps."
  • Even though the Senate voted on the Republican-led skinny bill last week, negotiations between chambers have not progressed. The odds of a separate COVID package and CR are slimming daily. For a more detailed description of what this means for the future COVID-19 legislative landscape, please refer to Sierra Fuller's COVID-19 Legislative Update (email sfuller@cgagroup.com to subscribe). 
  • NIAID's Dr. Tony Fauci said today that, even with a vaccine at the end of this year or early 2021, "If you're talking about getting back to a degree of normality which resembles where we were prior to Covid, it's going to be well into 2021, maybe even towards the end of 2021."
  • In a new FDA Voices entitled, The FDA’s Scientific and Regulatory Oversight of Vaccines is Vital to Public Health, agency leaders explain that they are committed to making decisions that are guided by science and data regarding the authorization or approval of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • FDA issued a temporary guidance, “Resuming Normal Drug and Biologics Manufacturing Operations During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency,” to help drug and biological product manufacturers (including animal drug manufacturers) transition from operations impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency to normal manufacturing operations. This guidance provides recommendations to help manufacturers prioritize products and activities as they resume normal operations and as they remediate current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) activities that were necessarily delayed, reduced, or otherwise modified during the public health emergency in order to maintain production and the drug supply. The guidance for industry “Planning for the Effects of High Absenteeism to Ensure Availability of Medically Necessary Drug Products” describes high-level considerations for resuming normal operations. This temporary guidance, however, provides more detailed considerations and is specific to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Several Senior FDA career employees defended the independence and professionalism of their agency in an op-ed seeking to allay concerns over the intermingling of politics and science. 
  • The FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2. The FDA will also hold virtual Town Halls for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers to help answer questions on:
    • September 16, 12:15 PM
    • September 23, 12:15 PM
    • September 30, 12:15 PM
  • Here is this week’s 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.
  • The NIH has launched two of three adaptive Phase 3 clinical trials evaluating the safety and effectiveness of varying types of blood thinners to treat adults diagnosed with COVID-19. Part of the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) initiative, these trials will be conducted at more than 100 sites around the world and will involve patients in various clinical settings — those who have not been hospitalized, those currently hospitalized and those discharged after hospitalization for moderate to severe disease.
  • Resources for Integrated Care (RIC) launched the Integrated Care Community of Practice (ICCoP), a learning community of health plans seeking to incorporate meaningful member feedback into their governance structures. Health plans face additional challenges to effective member engagement due to  COVID-19, but the pandemic also presents opportunities to re-examine meeting structures, strategies, and recruitment. Over the past five months, ICCoP participants shared challenges and promising practices. This panel discussion will offer promising practices, including those from ICCoP, for staying connected to member advisors and supporting their continued involvement during COVID-19. The panel is on Thursday, September 17 at 12:30 PM, and you can register here
  • Social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic is a public health concern. Read what U.S. Surgeon General VADM Jerome Adams writes about how resources are available to help people stay connected even while physically distanced.
  • Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) raised a series of questions in a letter to HHS Sec. Alex Azar today following press reports that the agency put out a bid for a more than $250 million communications contract for a COVID-19 public relations campaign in the months leading up to the presidential election. HHS reportedly sent multiple communications firms a performance work statement (PWS), in which the agency identified a series of goals for a new communications contract, including “defeat despair and inspire hope” about the COVID-19 pandemic, “instill confidence to return to work and restart the economy,” build a “coalition of spokespeople,” and provide public health, therapeutic and vaccine information as the country reopens. 
  • House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), also sent a letter calling on HHS Sec. Alex Azar to suspend a $250 million communications contract awarded to Fors Marsh Group to create public service announcements (PSAs) relating to the coronavirus crisis.
  • The House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies will meet next Wednesday, September 16, for a hearing at 10 AM titled, "Department of Health and Human Services’ Coronavirus Response: A Review of Efforts To Date and Next Steps."
  • Odds of a fourth COVID stimulus package passing before the November 3 election are reportedly low. The Senate did meet yesterday to vote on the Republican-led skinny bill, but Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was the only member to break party lines and vote against the measure. Bill text is here. Bill summary is here. For a more detailed description of what this means for the future COVID-19 legislative landscape, please refer to Sierra Fuller's COVID-19 Legislative Update (email sfuller@cgagroup.com to subscribe). 
  • Today, HHS and the Assistant Secretary for Health issued guidance under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) to expand access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines when they are made available. This guidance authorizes state-licensed pharmacists to order and administer, and state-licensed or registered pharmacy interns acting under the supervision of the qualified pharmacist to administer, COVID-19 vaccinations to persons ages 3 or older, subject to certain requirements.
  • The Indian Health Service (IHS) announced the formation of a COVID-19 Critical Care Response Team to provide deployable resources to augment urgent lifesaving medical care to COVID-19 patients admitted to IHS or tribal hospital emergency department or inpatient settings. The addition of expert critical care support assists IHS hospitals in managing the surge in critically ill patients resulting from the pandemic and provides what IHS has deemed the most vulnerable patients the greatest chance of survival. In the event of an urgent need, the CCRT can rapidly mobilize, usually as soon as within 24-48 hours of the decision to deploy the team.
  • The FDA issued an updated FDA COVID-19 Response At-A-Glance Summary that provides a quick look at facts, figures, and highlights of the agency's response efforts.
  • The FDA has deactivated the FDA registration for 340 foreign establishments that failed to identify a U.S. Agent as required by FDA’s regulations.  Of these, 131 establishments list devices that are essential to the COVID-19 pandemic response.  
  • As of today, 244 tests are authorized by FDA under EUAs; these include 196 molecular tests, 44 antibody tests, and 4 antigen tests.
  • The FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2. The FDA will also hold virtual Town Halls for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers to help answer questions on:
    • September 16, 12:15 PM
    • September 23, 12:15 PM
    • September 30, 12:15 PM
  • The CDC announced today that, starting September 14, the U.S. government will remove requirements for directing all flights carrying airline passengers arriving from, or recently had a presence in, certain countries to land at one of 15 designated airports and halt enhanced entry health screening for these passengers. Currently, enhanced entry health screening is conducted for those arriving from, or with recent presence in, China (excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau), Iran, the Schengen region of Europe, the U.K. (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe), Ireland, and Brazil.
  • A recent CDC email outlined what the agency has done to monitor cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). CDC has a dedicated team investigating MIS-C to learn more about this syndrome and communicate information quickly to healthcare providersparents and caregivers, as well as state, local and territorial health departments. The team is working with U.S. and international scientists, healthcare providers, and other partners to learn more about this new syndrome. They are learning about how often it happens and who is likely to get it, creating a system to track cases, and providing guidance to parents and healthcare providers.Since mid-May, the CDC has been tracking reports of MIS-C. Many questions remain about why some children develop it after a COVID-19 illness or contact with someone with COVID-19, while others do not. As of September 3, CDC has received reports of 792 confirmed cases of MIS-C and 16 deaths in 42 states, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Additional cases are under investigation.
  • The CDC continues to update online resources and guidance documents. Check the list of most recent updates here
  • The HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response recently published Discharge Planning and Care Coordination during the COVID-19 Pandemic, a resource developed in partnership with ACL and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The tool is designed to support nurses, social workers, case managers, and others conducting discharge planning for adults with disabilities after COVID-19 treatment.
  • The Senate HELP Committee met today for a hearing titled, "Vaccines: Saving Lives, Ensuring Confidence, and Protecting Public Health."  NIH Director Francis Collins and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams testified. A memo from this hearing is available upon request. 
  • Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Chairman Jim Clyburn (D-SC), and Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Chairman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) sent a letter to HHS requesting written responses and a staff briefing on the federal government’s plans to deploy a coronavirus vaccine after licensure or authorization. The Chairs asked about preparations for distribution, plans to prioritize the vaccine for at-risk populations, efforts to ensure public transparency and increase vaccine confidence, and safeguards to ensure decisions are made free from political considerations.
  • The Senate will vote on a "skinny" stimulus package tomorrow. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is hoping for 51 votes in favor of the bill, not the 60 that would be required for cloture. Bill text is here. Bill summary is here. For a more detailed description of what's on (or off) the table, and for a review of the broader COVID-19 legislative landscape, please refer to Sierra Fuller's COVID-19 Legislative Update (email sfuller@cgagroup.com to subscribe). 
  • HHS, through HRSA, announced the details of a $2 billion Provider Relief Fund performance-based incentive payment distribution to nursing homes. This distribution is the latest update in the previously announced $5 billion in planned support to nursing homes grappling with the impact of COVID-19. Last week, HHS announced it had delivered an additional $2.5 billion in payments to nursing homes to help with upfront COVID-19-related expenses for testing, staffing, and PPE needs. Other resources are also being dedicated to support training, mentorship, and safety improvements in nursing homes.
  • The FCC, HHS, and USDA announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together on the Rural Telehealth Initiative, a joint effort to collaborate and share information to address health disparities, resolve service provider challenges, and promote broadband services and technology to rural areas in America. This action comes as the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of telehealth in delivering quality healthcare to rural Americans. According to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, recent telehealth efforts have, "allowed for more patients to be treated at home, freeing up valuable hospital beds for those who most need them, and reducing the risk of exposure to the virus."
  • Earlier this week, the FDA updated its guidance, “Investigational COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma,” to provide additional information related to the recently issued EUA for the use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma to treat hospitalized patients with COVID-19. This update includes a discussion regarding FDA’s intent to exercise temporary enforcement discretion regarding the IND requirements for the use of this product when blood establishments, hospitals, and health care providers collect plasma that does not meet the Conditions of Authorization of the EUA. The revised guidance continues to provide recommendations for health care providers who wish to administer and study convalescent plasma under an Investigational New Drug Application. In addition, the agency updated the web page, “Recommendations for Investigational COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma,” which also provides this information.
  • The FDA’s COVID-19-related consumer updates are now available in at least five languages.
  • The FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2. The FDA will also hold virtual Town Halls for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers to help answer questions on:
    • September 9, 12:15 PM
    • September 16, 12:15 PM
    • September 23, 12:15 PM
    • September 30, 12:15 PM
  • The CDC has asked states to prepare to distribute a potential COVID-19 vaccine as soon as late October, according to a series of planning documents sent to public health officials last week. CDC Director Robert Redfield also sent a letter to governors asking them to fast-track permits and licenses so that vaccine distribution sites can be up and running by November 1 in their states. 
  • CDC Director Robert Redfield signed a declaration issuing a temporary halt in residential evictions and stated that the evictions of tenants could be detrimental to public health control measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • The CDC continues to update online resources and guidance documents. Here are a few of the most recent updates:
  • The NIH has launched a study to track the prevalence and impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection among approximately 16,000 pregnant women in seven low- and middle-income countries. The study will follow women through pregnancy and 12 months after childbirth to compare maternal, fetal and newborn outcomes of participants who have been infected with the virus to those of pregnant women who have not been infected.
  • NIH announced $129.3 million in scale-up and manufacturing support for a new set of COVID-19 testing technologies as part of its Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative. NIH is awarding contracts to nine companies for technologies that include portable point-of-care tests for immediate results and high-throughput laboratories that can return results within 24 hours. These tests add to initial awards made to seven companies on July 31.
  • The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently posted FAQs pertaining to the application of the OIG's administrative enforcement authorities connected to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  
  • HHS said in a statement that they are canceling some remaining orders for ventilators as the SNS is full with nearly 120,000 ventilators available. 
  • HHS/HRSA announced assisted living facilities (ALFs) may now apply for funding under the Provider Relief Fund Phase 2 General Distribution allocation, funding that was made possible through the bipartisan CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. Like other providers applying for Phase 2 funding, eligible ALFs will receive 2 percent of their annual revenue from patient care.
  • Negotiations for an additional pandemic relief bill remain stalled. For a more detailed description of what's on (or off) the table, and for a review of the broader COVID-19 legislative landscape, please refer to Sierra Fuller's COVID-19 Legislative Update (email sfuller@cgagroup.com to subscribe). 
  • Tomorrow, September 1, at 12 PM, the FDA and the CDC will host a webinar to review CDC/NIOSH’s Surgical N95 respirator guidance. During this webinar, CDC/NIOSH will present information on the guidance, and representatives from the CDC/NIOSH, FDA, and OSHA will be available to answer your questions.
  • The FDA announced that a public meeting of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will be held on October 22 to discuss the general matter of the development, authorization, and/or licensure of vaccines indicated to prevent COVID-19. The FDA intends to make background material available to the public, including the meeting agenda and Committee roster, no later than two business days before the meeting. 
  • The FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2. The FDA will also hold virtual Town Halls for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers to help answer questions on:
    • September 9, 12:15 PM
    • September 16, 12:15 PM
    • September 23, 12:15 PM
    • September 30, 12:15 PM
  • The FDA alerted health care facility risk managers, procurement staff, and health care providers that medical gowns sold by Laws of Motion PPE, including surgical gowns, have potential quality issues that affect the level of fluid barrier protection and should not be used as personal protective equipment at this time. The Letter to Health Care Providers includes information for reporting problems with the Laws of Motion PPE gowns, including surgical gowns.
  • The FDA broadened the scope of the existing EUA for the drug Veklury (remdesivir) to include treatment of all hospitalized adult and pediatric patients with suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, regardless of disease severity. 
  • The CDC continues to update online resources and guidance documents. Here are a few of the most recent updates:
  • Here is last week’s 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.
  • The NIH announced that AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine candidate has entered Phase 3 trials. The trial will enroll approximately 30,000 adult volunteers at 80 sites in the U.S. to evaluate if the candidate vaccine can prevent symptomatic COVID-19. The Phase 3 trial is being implemented as part of Operation Warp Speed. Read more here
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue announced that the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program has distributed more than 75 million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier last week, President Trump announced an additional up to $1 billion will be added to the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.
  • Sec. Perdue also announced the USDA will extend several flexibilities through as late as December 31 to allow summer meal program operators to continue serving free meals to all children into the fall months. This will help ensure that children continue to have breakfast and lunch during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • The GAO published a "Brief Update on Initial Federal Response to the Pandemic."
  • Negotiations for an additional pandemic relief bill are still stalled. For a more detailed description of what's on (or off) the table, and for a review of the broader COVID-19 legislative landscape, please refer to Sierra Fuller's COVID-19 Legislative Update (email sfuller@cgagroup.com to subscribe). 
  • HHS announced it has now distributed almost $2.5 billion of the planned $5 billion distribution to nursing homes to support increased testing, staffing, and PPE needs. This funding allocation was made through HRSA as a targeted distribution from the $175 billion Provider Relief program funded through the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. This distribution of almost $2.5 billion in additional funding to over 15,000 nursing homes nationwide supplements the $4.9 billion that was previously distributed to skilled nursing facilities. HHS plans on distributing another $2 billion to nursing homes later this fall based on certain performance indicators that will be shared in the future.
  • The FDA posted a new “FDA Insight” podcast featuring Deputy Commissioner Anand Shah, M.D., and Valerie Jensen, the associate director of the drug shortages staff in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, discussing drug shortages and how the COVID-19 pandemic can impact the drug supply chain.
  • The FDA issued an EUA for the first antigen test where results can be read directly from the testing card, a similar design to some pregnancy tests. This design is fast and efficient for healthcare providers and patients and does not need the use of an analyzer. You can read more about how the test works here
  • The FDA is warning consumers about alcohol-based hand sanitizers that are being packaged in containers that may appear as food or drinks and may put consumers at risk of serious injury or death if ingested. The agency has discovered that some hand sanitizers are being packaged in beer cans, children’s food pouches, water bottles, juice bottles and vodka bottles. Additionally, the FDA has found hand sanitizers that contain food flavors, such as chocolate or raspberry.
  • Related, before you buy hand sanitizer or use hand sanitizer you have at home, the FDA recommends checking their do-not-use list here. They update the list regularly as new test results are released. The agency also recommends bookmarking the list in your web browser so that you can check each hand sanitizer before using it.
  • CMS released guidance for nursing homes and clinical laboratories to assist in enhancing their abilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to nursing home residents and their frontline staff. The guidance requires all nursing homes to test all residents and staff for COVID-19. 
  • CMS released an additional list of FAQs to Medicare providers regarding the HHS Provider Relief Fund and the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program payments. The FAQs provide guidance to providers on how to report provider relief fund payments, uninsured charges reimbursed through the Uninsured Program administered by HRSA, and SBA Loan Forgiveness amounts. The FAQs also address that provider relief fund payments should not offset expenses on the Medicare Cost Report.  
  • CMS is implementing a national nursing home training program for frontline nursing home staff and nursing home management. The training is designed to educate both frontline caregivers and their management about how to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in their nursing homes. The training will be available on the CMS Quality, Safety & Education Portal.
  • HHS announced the release of 1.5 million N95 respirators from the SNS for distribution to approximately 3,336 nursing home facilities across the U.S. 
  • The CDC recently revised testing guidelines, which no longer state asymptomatic individuals or individuals who have been exposed to an infected individual for less than 15 minutes should get tested for COVID-19. The change has been met with serious backlash from the public health community, who say the new guidelines diminish the importance and necessity of testing, particularly since asymptomatic people can transmit the virus. Today, CDC Director Robert Redfield said, "Everyone who needs a COVID-19 test can get a test. Everyone who wants a test does not necessarily need a test." Govs. Gavin Newsom (D) of California and Andrew Cuomo (D) of New York said their states will not be adopting the new guidelines. 
  • The CDC has updated their international travel guidelines and dropped the 14-day quarantine recommendation. The updated travel guidance does state that all returning travelers should social distance, wear a cloth face covering, wash their hands often, and watch for symptoms, but all of those have been recommended actions since the page was created back in March.
  • The CDC announced the creation of MMWR Weekly COVID-19 Briefing, a weekly podcast to update readers on the latest scientific information from CDC’s COVID-19 response. In each episode, MMWR Editor-in-Chief Dr. Charlotte Kent provides an overview of the latest scientific information published in MMWR. New episodes are posted every Monday. You can subscribe here
  • The Administration of Community Living (ACL) is reminding everyone that this year's flu season may be complicated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. The ACL says that, while there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, you can safely get a flu vaccine at multiple locations including your doctor’s office, health departments, and pharmacies. Use VaccineFinder.org to find flu vaccines available near you. 
  • Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s nonvoting delegate to Congress, and Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA) have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Though Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) spoke with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows today about rekindling negotiations, there is still nothing new to report by way of an additional COVID relief package. For a more detailed description of what's on (or off) the table, and for a review of the broader COVID-19 legislative landscape, please refer to Sierra Fuller's COVID-19 Legislative Update (email sfuller@cgagroup.com to subscribe). 
  • The FDA has issued an EUA for investigational convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to fight COVID-19. Based on available scientific evidence, the FDA concluded this product may be effective in treating COVID-19 and that the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product. The agency also published this decision memorandum.
    • The agency's decision has raised doubts among some experts who believe the therapy has not been adequately tested.
  • The FDA issued a letter to health care providers (HCP) and health care facilities alerting them of the potential that passive protective barriers (those without negative pressure) pose an increased health risk to patients and HCPs when treating patients who are known or suspected to have Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
  • The FDA issued an EUA to NovaSterilis, Inc. for its Nova2200, which can be used to decontaminate compatible N95 respirators for single-user reuse by HCP to prevent exposure to pathogenic biological airborne particulates when there are insufficient supplies of face-filtering respirators (FFRs) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The FDA posted a new webpage that provides an overview of available resources related to SARS-CoV-2 screening testing and testing using pooled samples.
  • The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the FDA have developed a checklist for human and animal food manufacturers to consider when continuing, resuming, or reevaluating operations due to the coronavirus pandemic. The checklist is useful for persons growing, harvesting, packing, manufacturing, processing or holding human and animal food regulated by FDA.
  • The Administration for Community Living updated their COVID-19 resources page, which you can view here
  • Here is last week’s 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.
  • The CDC continues to update its dashboard with new guidance documents and details, and I highly encourage exploring the newest toolkits. A few of the most recent additions include:
  • You can listen to the most recent CDC COVID-19 media telebriefing here
  • The CDC published their COVID-19 Response Health Equity Strategy: Accelerating Progress Towards Reducing COVID-19 Disparities and Achieving Health Equity. The guiding principles are: Reduce health disparities. Use data-driven approaches. Foster meaningful engagement with community institutions and diverse leaders. Lead culturally responsive outreach. Reduce stigma, including stigma associated with race and ethnicity.
  • The CDC announced the creation of MMWR Weekly COVID-19 Briefing, a weekly podcast to update readers on the latest scientific information from CDC’s COVID-19 response. In each episode, MMWR Editor-in-Chief Dr. Charlotte Kent provides an overview of the latest scientific information published in MMWR. New episodes are posted every Monday. You can subscribe here
  • Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s nonvoting delegate to Congress, and Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA) have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Last week, Republicans released their "skinny bill," another COVID-19 relief proposal. Bipartisan negotiations likely will not resume until after the nominating conventions have ended. For a more detailed description of what's on (or off) the table, and for a review of the broader COVID-19 legislative landscape, please refer to Sierra Fuller's COVID-19 Legislative Update (email sfuller@cgagroup.com to subscribe). 
  • The FDA published two new flowcharts and supporting information on respirators:
  • The FDA has updated its COVID-19 Resources for Health Professionals page to include the CURE ID app. CURE ID allows clinicians to quickly and easily share their experiences treating COVID-19 patients and patients with other difficult-to-treat infectious diseases.
  • The FDA posted frequently asked questions for consumers about UV lights and lamps. Consumers may be interested in purchasing ultraviolet-C (UVC) lamps to disinfect in the home or similar spaces. The FDA is providing answers to consumers’ questions about the use of these lamps for disinfection during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The FDA issued the third EUA for a COVID-19 antigen test, which is a diagnostic test that quickly detects fragments of proteins found in the virus by testing samples collected from the patient’s nasal cavity using swabs. The EUA was issued for LumiraDX UK Ltd.’s LumiraDx SARS-CoV-2 Ag Test, and authorized the test for use in high and moderate complexity laboratories certified Under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, as well as at the point-of-care operating under a waiver.
  • The FDA has released a temporary industry guidance entitled, “Manufacturing, Supply Chain, and Drug and Biological Product Inspections During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Questions and Answers.” The FDA said they recognize the COVID-19 pandemic is not only impacting public health, but also drug development programs, ongoing manufacturing operations, and the FDA’s ability to conduct inspections. The questions and answers in the guidance provide information regarding inspections for facilities that manufacture pharmaceutical products and sites involved in the conduct of clinical, analytical and nonclinical studies.
  • The FDA, in partnership with OSHA, developed the Employee Health and Food Safety Checklist for Human and Animal Food Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic. The checklist will assist the food industry with operational changes it may have as a result of COVID-19 and pulls guidance from the FDA, CDC, and OSHA. It serves as a quick reference in the areas of employee health, social distancing, and food safety for food operations that have been impacted during the pandemic.
  • The USDA continues to invest millions of dollars into providing broadband services for states in an effort to equip rural areas for distance learning, remote work, and telehealth services. The series of investments are part of the $100 million in grant funding made available for the ReConnect Pilot Program through the CARES Act.  
  • On Tuesday, August 25, at 3 PM, the Administration for Community Living is hosting a webinar called Successful Approaches to Creatively Engage with Older Adults.
  • HHS issued a third amendment to the Declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) to increase access to childhood vaccines and decrease the risk of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks as kids in the U.S. return to daycare, preschool, and school. The amendment authorizes State-licensed pharmacists (and pharmacy interns acting under their supervision to administer vaccines, if the pharmacy intern is licensed or registered by his or her State board of pharmacy) to order and administer vaccines to individuals ages three through 18 years, subject to several requirements.
  • HHS has leveraged the Defense Production Act (DPA) to apply priority rated orders for contracts with Becton Dickinson (BD) and Quidel Corporation. These acquisitions will fulfill a large-volume purchase of diagnostic systems and assays for COVID-19 testing and will expedite shipments of these systems and assays to every nursing home certified by CMS with a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) Certificate of Waiver – approximately 14,000 nursing homes – in the U.S. The tests can diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infection in approximately 15 minutes.
  • The CDC continues to update its dashboard with new guidance documents and details, and I highly encourage exploring the newest toolkits. A few of the most recent additions include:
  • Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) has tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • HHS is reversing a recent change to the way hospitals report pandemic-related information to the government, again tasking the CDC with data collection.
  • HHS testing czar Brett Giroir predicted Wednesday that the U.S. will have the capacity to test up to 90 million people per month for COVID-19 beginning in September — 10 million less than he predicted last month.
  • Earlier this week, Republicans released their "skinny bill," another COVID-19 relief proposal. Bipartisan negotiations likely will not resume until after the nominating conventions have ended. For a more detailed description of what's on (or off) the table, and for a review of the broader COVID-19 legislative landscape, please refer to Sierra Fuller's COVID-19 Legislative Update (email sfuller@cgagroup.com to subscribe). 
  • On Friday, HHS/HRSA announced an additional $1.4 billion in targeted distribution funding to almost 80 free-standing children’s hospitals nationwide. The announcement noted that children’s hospitals have seen decreasing patient visits and increased costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. This distribution will help to ensure children’s hospitals receive relief proportional to other hospitals across the nation and providers caring for children are able to continue operating safely in some of our most vulnerable communities. A preliminary state-by-state breakdown on validated distributions for next week can be found here. HHS will update this file once validation review of an additional 24 children’s hospitals are complete.
  • HHS and the DoD, in support of Operation Warp Speed, announced that McKesson Corporation will be a central distributor of future COVID-19 vaccines and related supplies needed to administer the vaccinations. The CDC is executing an existing contract option with McKesson to support vaccine distribution. The company also distributed the H1N1 vaccine during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009-2010. The current contract with McKesson, awarded as part of a competitive bidding process in 2016, includes an option for the distribution of vaccines in the event of a pandemic.
  • CMS announced on Friday that the agency has imposed more than $15 million in civil money penalties (CMPs) to more than 3,400 nursing homes during the public health emergency for noncompliance with infection control requirements and the failure to report COVID-19 data. 
  • The FDA issued an updated FDA COVID-19 Response At-A-Glance Summary that provides a quick look at facts, figures, and highlights of the agency's response efforts.
  • The FDA issued an EUA for the emergency use of Baxter Healthcare Corporation’s REGIOCIT for adult patients being treated with continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) and for whom regional citrate anticoagulation is appropriate. The use of this product under the EUA is limited to critical care settings. CRRT is a “dialysis” treatment that provides renal support for critically ill patients with acute kidney injury. Baxter Healthcare Corporation’s REGIOCIT is available for use only in healthcare facilities that the company has qualified for receiving this product.
  • The FDA is providing a device shortage list as part of the implementation of section 506J of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). The device shortage list reflects the categories of devices that the FDA has determined to be in shortage at this time, and will be updated as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. In addition, the FDA is providing a list of medical devices for which manufacturing has been permanently discontinued. Under section 506J, manufacturers of certain devices must notify the FDA of an interruption or permanent discontinuance in manufacturing. The publication of these lists allows for transparency to the public and stakeholders about devices shortages and manufacturing that has been permanently discontinued. 
  • The FDA issued Yale School of Public Health an EUA for its SalivaDirect COVID-19 diagnostic test, which uses a new method of processing saliva samples when testing for COVID-19. This molecular test is for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2 in saliva collected without preservatives in a sterile container from individuals suspected of COVID-19 by their healthcare provider. SalivaDirect does not require any special type of swab or collection device – a saliva sample can be collected in any sterile container. It is also unique because it does not require a separate nucleic acid extraction step.
  • The CDC continues to update its dashboard with new guidance documents and details, and I highly encourage exploring the newest toolkits. A few of the most recent additions include:
  • The CDC also updated their increased risk page today to reflect recent data supporting increased risk of severe COVID-19 among individuals with cancer.
  • The USDA reported that minks at two Utah fur farms have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans, announcing the first U.S. cases in a species that has been widely culled in Europe following outbreaks there.
  • Negotiations for an additional coronavirus supplemental have fallen apart. Speaker Pelosi is standing firm at $2 trillion and the White House and Republican-led Senate have rejected the figure. For a more detailed description of what's on (or off, at this point) the table, and for a review of the broader COVID-19 legislative landscape, please refer to Sierra Fuller's COVID-19 Legislative Update (email sfuller@cgagroup.com to subscribe). 
  • President Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, has tested positive for COVID-19. He is the most senior White House official known to have contracted the virus.
  • The Moderna/NIH vaccine candidate has entered a Phase 3 clinical trial. The trial, which will be conducted at 89 U.S. clinical research sites, is expected to enroll approximately 30,000 adult volunteers who do not have COVID-19. Read more here.
    • If you're interested in learning more about all of the vaccine candidates, the New York Times has a very helpful tracker to follow vaccine development. It contains a list of 19 of the most-talked-about treatments for COVID-19.
  • The FDA reissued the LabCorp COVID-19 RT-PCR Test EUA to include two new indications for use: testing for people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms or who have no reason to suspect COVID-19 infection, and to allow pooled sample testing. The FDA reissued the LabCorp COVID-19 RT-PCR Test EUA to expand use of the test to anyone, after the company provided scientific data showing the test’s ability to detect SARS-CoV-2 in a general, asymptomatic population. Additionally, the reissuance includes authorization for LabCorp to test pooled samples containing up to five individual swab specimens collected under observation. Sample pooling allows for fewer tests to be run overall, conserving resources and potentially allowing more samples to be evaluated quicker.
  • The FDA continues to warn consumers and health care professionals not to use certain alcohol-based hand sanitizers due to the dangerous presence of methanol, or wood alcohol – a substance often used to create fuel and antifreeze that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin as well as life-threatening when ingested. The agency has posted a do-not-use list of dangerous hand sanitizer products, which is being updated regularly.
  • A new FDA Voices, tilted FDA’s Ongoing Work to Support and Advance COVID-19 Diagnostic Test Accuracy and Availability, describes how FDA has been proactive and supportive of test development by all comers — including laboratories, and large and small commercial manufacturers — to speed development and to quickly authorize tests that the science supports. 
  • FDA delivered written testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection. The statement, titled Protecting Americans from COVID-19 Scams, was by Catherine Hermsen, FDA’s Assistant Commissioner, Office of Criminal Investigations, Office of Regulatory Affairs.
  • On July 29th at 12:15 PM, the FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2.
  • HHS and DoD announced an agreement with Pfizer Inc. for large-scale production and nationwide delivery of 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. following the vaccine’s successful manufacture and approval. The agreement also allows the U.S. government to acquire an additional 500 million doses. The federal government will own the 100 million doses of vaccine initially produced as a result of this agreement, and Pfizer will deliver the doses in the U.S. if the product receives EUA or licensure from the FDA after completing demonstration of safety and efficacy in a large Phase 3 clinical trial. Read more here
  • Over the weekend, the FDA reissued an EUA to Quest Diagnostics to authorize its Quest SARS-CoV-2 rRT-PCR test for use with pooled samples containing up to four individual swab specimens collected under observation. The Quest test is the first COVID-19 diagnostic test to be authorized for use with pooled samples. Read more about the announcement and sample pooling here.
  • Tomorrow, July 21st, at 12 PM, the FDA, along with the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), will host a webinar on Respirators for Health Care Personnel Use during the COVID-19 Pandemic. During this webinar, representatives from the FDA, the CDC, and OSHA will answer questions from webinar attendees in an open question and answer format.
  • On July 22nd at 12:15 PM, the FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2.
  • In a new FDA Voices, titled FDA Protects Patients and Consumers from Fraud During COVID-19, agency leaders explain that the FDA’s consumer protection work is a cornerstone of the agency’s mission and a critical component of its pandemic response efforts. In another new FDA Voices, titled FDA’s Continued Commitment to the Safety and Security of Our Laboratories, agency leaders explain that laboratory safety is of the highest priority in all of the agency’s scientific research and analytical facilities.
  • Today, the FDA implemented and issued a guidance intended to help expand the availability of transport media used to transport certain clinical specimens for testing during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The FDA also posted answers to frequently asked questions relating to the development and use of transport media during the pandemic.
  • Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) wrote to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn regarding the agency’s work to determine the accuracy of COVID-19 diagnostic and serological tests. In their letter, the members raised similar concerns about serological tests, which are used to determine the presence of antibodies to the coronavirus. In March, citing the relative simplicity of serological tests, FDA allowed some serological tests to be used without first receiving an EUA, under certain conditions. As a result, a flood of unauthorized tests, which were later found to provide unreliable results, inundated the market. While FDA has since revised its guidance on serological tests, requiring developers to request an EUA, dozens of unreliable and unauthorized tests remain on the market.
  • Democratic Leader Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a white paper laying out a number of proposals from Senate Democrats to make sure COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, high quality, produced at scale, allocated in a manner that optimizes public health and reduces health disparities, free and accessible to everyone, and widely embraced by the public in order to end the COVID-19 pandemic and set the country on a path for economic recovery. 
  • Last week, the U.S. Surgeon General and HHS released a PSA ahead of the Fourth of July weekend imploring Americans to take action and to remember: COVID Stops With Me. The PSA from Surgeon General Jerome Adams reminds everyone to do their part to stay healthy by following a few simple instructions that will in turn, help prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. While we've passed the Fourth of July holiday, the message remains relevant. 
  • Last week, in an effort to prepare for the upcoming flu season during the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA issued an EUA for the third diagnostic test for detection and differentiation of the viruses that cause flu and COVID-19 in individuals suspected of having COVID-19 by their healthcare provider to the CDC.
  • The FDA issued an updated FDA COVID-19 Response At-A-Glance Summary that provides a quick look at facts, figures, and highlights of the agency's response efforts.
  • The FDA issued an EUA for a COVID-19 antigen diagnostic test, the BD (Becton Dickinson) Veritor System for Rapid Detection of SARS-CoV-2. This is the second antigen test the FDA has authorized for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 antigens. This test is authorized for use in laboratories certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) for high, moderate, or waived complexity testing, meaning it can be used in patient care settings operating under a CLIA Certificate of Waiver, Certificate of Compliance, or Certificate of Accreditation. Emergency use of this test is limited to authorized laboratories using the BD Veritor Plus Analyzer Instrument.
  • HHS announced an agreement to secure large supplies of the drug remdesivir for the U.S. from Gilead Sciences through September, allowing American hospitals to purchase the drug in amounts allocated by HHS and state health departments. Supplies will be allocated in the same way that Gilead’s donation of approximately 120,000 treatment courses of remdesivir were allocated: HHS allocates product to state and territorial health departments based on COVID-19 hospital burden, and health departments allocate it to hospitals. The delivery of the purchased remdesivir will be streamlined, going directly to the hospital, per the state’s allocation decision, rather than going first to the state health departments for subsequent delivery to hospitals.
  • You can view the FDA's daily COVID-19 roundup here
  • The CDC today highlighted considerations for wearing cloth face coverings. Emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows cloth face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. Wearing a mask is critical to protecting your own health and the health of others. 
  • The CDC continues to update its dashboard with new guidance documents and details, and I highly encourage taking a look at the succinct answers provided to frequently asked questions. Over the weekend and today, the agency updated considerations for restaurants and bars, strategies for optimizing the supply of face masks, and the newest travel recommendations by country
  • OSHA, the CDC, and the FDA released joint coronavirus-related interim guidance for employers and workers performing seafood processing operations in onshore facilities and aboard vessels offshore. The guidance includes recommended actions employers can take to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
  • President Trump signed a proclamation temporarily suspending work visas and barring more than half a million foreigners from coming to work in the U.S. in an effort to limit entry into the country during the pandemic. The restrictions would block entry into the U.S. under the H-1B visa program for high-skilled workers, and would also affect several other categories of visas, although it would exempt health care professionals and farm workers, among others. 
  • A clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 has been stopped by NIH. A data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) met late Friday and determined that while there was no harm, the study drug was very unlikely to be beneficial to hospitalized patients with COVID-19. After its fourth interim analysis, the DSMB, which regularly monitors the trial, recommended to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of NIH, to stop the study. 
  • CMS has instructed Medicare Administrative Contactors and notified Medicare Advantage plans to cover COVID-19 laboratory tests for nursing home residents and patients. This instruction follows the CDC's recent update of COVID-19 testing guidelines for nursing homes that provides recommendations for testing of nursing home residents and patients with COVID-19 symptoms, as well as for asymptomatic residents and patients who have been exposed. Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans will cover COVID-19 lab tests consistent with CDC guidance.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has asked committee leaders to invoke the chamber’s rule on decorum to prevent members who choose not to wear face coverings from taking part in hearings within the committee meeting rooms. House lawmakers are now required to wear masks during in-person committee meetings, but it will be up to the chairmen and chairwomen of those panels to decide on enforcement. The decision comes on the heels of updated guidance from attending physician Brian Monahan. 
  • Today, the FDA published the Statistical Considerations for Clinical Trials During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Guidance for Industry. Clinical trials and development across investigational product areas have been impacted by public health measures to control the COVID-19 virus; this guidance shares recommendations on statistical considerations to address the impact of COVID-19 on meeting objectives of clinical trials. This guidance applies to clinical trials of human medical products and animal drugs.
  • The FDA posted a new web page, Adverse Event Reporting for Medical Devices Under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or Discussed in COVID-19-Related Guidance Documents. This page answers questions about adverse event reporting for medical devices distributed under EUAs or that are the subject of COVID-19-related guidance documents and points out a number of adverse event reporting-related resources.
  • The NIH has posted updated guidelines for COVID-19 treatment. Some of the key updates to existing sections include considerations for children and potential antiviral drugs under evaluation, and there are a few new sections on acute kidney injury and renal placement therapy and testing for the virus. 
  • Here is this week’s 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.
  • At its first full briefing in over three months, the CDC released new guidance regarding COVID-19. The agency is urging organizers of large gatherings to "strongly encourage" the use of face masks. The new guidance also provides information about how to reduce risk of illness during everyday activities. The audio recording of today's telebriefing is available here
  • The CDC updated its dashboard with 22 new guidance documents and details today. Most recently, the agency posted updated guidance for deciding to go out and going out, some additional considerations for gatherings, and update guidance on caring for your family
  • The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at HHS issued guidance on how the HIPAA Privacy Rule permits covered health care providers to contact their patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to inform them about how they can donate their blood and plasma containing antibodies to help other patients with COVID-19.
  • FDA issued an FDA Voices, titled Rare Disease Therapy Development and Access Remain Top FDA Priorities During COVID-19, which explains that the FDA’s work to advance treatments for rare diseases and help ensure continuity of care for patients with those diseases continues to be a top priority during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • The CDC continues to update its dashboard with new guidance and details. Today, the agency posted updated guidance for pets and other animals, travel recommendations by country, and staffing resources for strengthening the public health workforce. 
  • The FDA posted FAQs to address questions related to the design, evaluation, labeling, and marketing of hospital beds, stretchers, and mattresses during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • The FDA issued an EUA to Illumina, Inc. for the first COVID-19 diagnostic test utilizing next generation sequence technology. The FDA authorized the Illumina COVIDSeq Test for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA from respiratory specimens collected from individuals suspected of COVID-19 by their healthcare provider. Using next generation sequencing means that the test can generate information about the genomic sequence of the virus present in a sample, which can be also used for research purposes.
  • FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said today that the CDC and the White House task force will be issuing guidance that “will have a lot of specificity” around how to use coronavirus tests.
  • The FDA and the NIH have made updates to the CURE ID crowd-sourcing app to make it easier for healthcare providers to share their experiences treating COVID-19 patients who are unable to be enrolled in a clinical trial. CURE ID’s web-based repository lets providers share experiences with novel uses of existing drugs in treating difficult-to-treat infectious diseases. Healthcare providers worldwide are encouraged to share their COVID-19 treatment experiences via CURE ID.
  • In response to public health and safety concerns about the appropriateness of decontaminating certain respirators, the FDA is reissuing certain EUAs to specify which respirators are appropriate for decontamination. Based on the FDA’s increased understanding of the performance and design of these respirators, the Agency has decided that certain respirators should not be decontaminated for reuse by health care personnel.
  • The CDC continues to update its dashboard with new guidance and details. Today, the agency posted updated guidance for Administrators in parks and recreation facilities, additional resources for health departments, and details for investigating a COVID-19 case.  
  • HHS posted a fact sheet titled, "HHS Initiatives to Address the Disparate Impact of COVID-19 on African Americans and Other Racial and Ethnic Minorities."
  • HHS announced new guidance that specifies what additional data must be reported to HHS by laboratories along with COVID-19 test results. The guidance standardizes reporting to ensure that public health officials have access to comprehensive and nearly real-time data to inform decision making in their response to COVID-19. The requirements including reporting based on race, ethnicity, age, and sex of individuals tested for the virus. The announcement acknowledges that, as the country begins to reopen, access to clear and accurate data is essential to communities and leadership for making decisions critical to a phased reopening. 
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue today announced the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has approved more than $545 million in payments to producers who have applied for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. FSA began taking applications May 26th, and the agency has received over 86,000 applications for the program. 
  • CMS posted the first set of underlying COVID-19 nursing home data. On April 19th, the agency announced the requirement that nursing homes must inform residents, their families, and their representatives of COVID-19 cases in their facilities. Also, nursing homes are required to report COVID-19 cases and deaths directly to the CDC. Today CMS made this data publicly available. As part of today’s announcement, CMS is also posting the results from the targeted inspections announced on March 4th to allow inspectors to focus on the most serious health and safety threats like infectious diseases and abuse during the pandemic. Links to all of the data can be found in the agency's announcement
  • HRSA awarded $15 million to 52 Tribes, Tribal organizations, urban Indian health organizations, and other health services providers to Tribes across 20 states to prepare, prevent, and respond to COVID-19 in rural tribal communities. View the list of awards here
  • The FDA is hosting a virtual Town Hall on June 3rd at 12:15 PM for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for COVID-19. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for COVID-19. 
  • Vice President Mike Pence met with members of the American Camp Association by phone and led a discussion with camp owners and operators across the country to discuss the approach to safely and responsibly reopening summer camps amid COVID-19. A brief readout is available here
  • The FDA issued a guidance entitled “Reporting a Temporary Closure or Significantly Reduced Production by a Human Food Establishment and Requesting FDA Assistance During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.” The guidance provides a mechanism for FDA-regulated establishments (human food facilities and farms) to voluntarily notify the agency of temporary closures and significant reductions in operations and to request assistance from FDA on issues that might affect continuity of their operations during the pandemic.
  • The FDA issued a guidance document entitled “Effects of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency on Formal Meetings and User Fee Applications” to provide answers to frequently asked questions. The agency is providing answers concerning certain aspects of sponsor requests for formal meetings with industry, user fee applications goals and timelines, and prioritization of drug and biological application reviews.
  • HHS has delivered an 81-page COVID-19 Strategic Testing Plan to Congress. The report outlines the national-level testing strategy, and recommends that states test at least two percent of their population by the end of June. The linked document outlines a state-by-state approach to COVID-19 testing, rather than a centralized national effort.
  • In response to the recent acceleration in the number COVID-19 cases in Brazil, President Trump has restricted U.S. entry for arriving travelers who have been to Brazil in the past 14 days. The list of international travel restrictions into the U.S. now includes: China, Iran, the European Schengen area, the U.K., the Republic of Ireland, and Brazil. 
  • Many government agencies were pretty quiet over the long weekend, but the CDC continued to churn out updated guidance and publish new COVID-19 documents to its dashboard. Over the last few days, the CDC published steps for evaluating and testing persons for COVID-19, new information about CDC diagnostic tests, and helpful information about antibody tests (among other resources). All CDC PSAs can be viewed here
  • Here is this week’s 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.
  • The CDC has posted interim guidance for communities of faith after President Trump referred to places of worship as essential services and said he would overrule governors who disagreed that places of worship should be allowed to reopen. 
  • The CDC continues to update and publish new COVID-19 documents to its dashboard. Today, the CDC published steps for how to discontinue home isolation, an updated FAQ for COVID-19 and children, and further considerations for travelers in the U.S. (among other resources). Importantly, the CDC has also revised its guidelines about how the coronavirus spreads. According to the newest guidance, it does not spread easily on surfaces. 
  • HHS announced it has begun distributing $4.9 billion in additional relief funds to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) to help them combat the effects of COVID-19. The announcement points out that nursing homes play a pivotal role in providing skilled care to vulnerable seniors. During this pandemic, nursing homes have faced unique challenges as their population of high risk seniors are more vulnerable to respiratory pathogens like COVID-19. This funding, which supplements previously announced provider relief funds, will be used to support nursing homes suffering from significant expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19.
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue announced that the Department is making available up to $1 billion in loan guarantees to help rural businesses meet their working capital needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, agricultural producers that are not eligible for USDA Farm Service Agency loans may receive funding under USDA Business & Industry (B&I) CARES Act Program provisions included in the CARES Act.
  • FDA posted a list of antibody tests that are being removed from the “notification list” of tests being offered under the Policy for Coronavirus Disease-2019 Tests During the Public Health Emergency. Antibody tests on this new removal list include those voluntarily withdrawn from the notification list by the test’s commercial manufacturer and those for which there is not a pending EUA request or issued EUA. The FDA expects that the tests on the removal list will not be marketed or distributed. Antibody tests offered by commercial manufacturers as outlined under the policy, which was issued on March 16th and updated on May 4th, continue to be located on the notification list pending review of their EUA request.
  • The FDA issued the guidance “Supplements for Approved Premarket Approval (PMA) or Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) Submissions During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency” to help foster the continued availability of medical. Per the guidance, the FDA does not intend to object to limited modifications to the design and manufacturing of devices approved through either a PMA or HDE without prior submission of a PMA or HDE supplement or 30-day notice for the duration of the public health emergency. The policy set forth in the guidance does not apply to design or manufacturing changes made for reasons other than addressing manufacturing limitations or supply chain issues resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency or to any proposed changes described in a regulatory submission already received by the FDA.
  • Through HRSA, HHS provided $225 million to Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) for COVID-19 testing.  These investments will support over 4,500 RHCs across the country to support COVID-19 testing efforts and expand access to testing in rural communities. RHCs are a special designation given to health care practices in underserved rural areas by CMS that help ensure access to care for rural residents. The funding is from the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act that was signed into law last month. A state-by-state breakdown of the funding is available here
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue announced today that households in 13 new states – Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia – will soon be able to purchase food online with their SNAP benefits. Once operational, online purchasing will be available in 36 states and D.C., home to more than 90 percent of SNAP participants. Sec. Perdue also announced an expansion of independently owned and operated retail stores beyond those included in the original pilot. Soon, more SNAP authorized retailers, under multiple store banners, will be accepting SNAP benefits online.
  • The GAO published a new Science & Tech Spotlight article focused on COVID-19 testing. 
  • Responding to the Senate Finance Committee, the GAO submitted a report on infection control in nursing homes. The study concluded that infection control deficiencies were widespread and persistent in nursing homes prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue, Labor Sec. Gene Scalia, NIH Director Francis Collins, HRSA Administrator Thomas Engels, and FDA's Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Peter Marks are all joining the White House Coronavirus Task Force. According to Vice President Pence, the task force is now focused on getting Americans back to work and allowing businesses to reopen. 
  • The White House announced the details of Operation Warp Speed, an effort to dramatically shorten the development timeline for COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics and get them to the front lines as quickly as possible. The project's chief operating officer will be four-star General Gustave Perna, and former head of GlaxoSmithKline's vaccine's division, Moncef Slaoui, will serve as chief scientist.
  • Here is this week’s 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.
  • The CDC published a series of flowcharts to provide guidance to state and local governments, schools and child care services, restaurants, and others regarding when and how to safely relax social distancing measures for various aspects of society.
  • The CDC will award $10.25 billion in funding to jurisdictions using funds from the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. These funds will be directed to states, localities, and territories to develop, purchase, administer, process, and analyze COVID-19 tests, conduct surveillance, trace contacts and related activities
  • The CDC continues to update and publish additional COVID-19 documents to its dashboard. Today, the CDC published updated information about worker safety and support, planning for colleges and universities, correctional and detention facilities, and an air travel toolkit for airline partners (among other resources). 
  • HHS has extended the deadline for healthcare providers fighting COVID-19 to attest to receipt of payments from the Provider Relief Fund and accept the Terms and Conditions. Providers will now have 45 days, increased from 30 days, from the date they receive a payment to attest and accept the Terms and Conditions or return the funds.
  • To date, the FDA has issued 42 warning letters to companies making bogus COVID-19 claims, including one to a seller of fraudulent chlorine dioxide products, equivalent to industrial bleach, frequently referred to as “Miracle Mineral Solution” or “MMS,” as a treatment for COVID-19. After the seller refused to take corrective action, a federal court issued a preliminary injunction requiring the seller to immediately stop distributing its unproven and potentially dangerous product.
  • Through HRSA, HHS awarded nearly $583 million to 1,385 HRSA-funded health centers in the U.S. to expand COVID-19 testing. Nearly 88 percent of HRSA-funded health centers report testing patients, with more than 65 percent offering walk-up or drive-up testing. Health centers are currently providing more than 100,000 weekly COVID-19 tests in their local communities. The funding for these centers is part of the “COVID 3.5” bill signed into law last month. Here is a list of award recipients.
  • COVID-19 hearings in Congress this week (memos available upon request):
  • COVID-19 hearings in Congress next week:
  • The FDA announced updates to its March 16th policy on commercial manufacturers’ serology tests (antibody tests) for COVID-19. Under the new policy, FDA expects commercial manufacturers to submit Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) requests, including their validation data, within 10 days of the updated policy publication date, or the date they notify FDA of their test validation, whichever is later.
  • An internal report in the Trump Administration projects about 200,000 new cases and 3,000 deaths each day by the end of the May/beginning of June. So far, no agency or department has claimed authorship over the document that contained the new projections.
  • The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the NIH is funding a study to help determine the rate of COVID-19 infection in children and their family members in the U.S. The study, called Human Epidemiology and Response to SARS-CoV-2 (HEROS), has started to enroll patients. HEROS will help determine what percentage of children infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, develop symptoms of the disease. In addition, the HEROS study will examine whether rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection differ between children who have asthma or other allergic conditions and children who do not.
  • The Senate has returned to D.C. (with skeleton staffs) and are jumping right in with hearings. The slated COVID-19 hearings are:
  • The FDA included, under the ventilator emergency use authorization (EUA), a ventilator developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which is tailored to treat patients with COVID-19. The ventilator was added to the list of authorized ventilators, ventilator tubing connectors and ventilator accessories under the ventilator EUA that was issued in response to concerns relating to insufficient supply and availability of FDA-cleared ventilators for use in health care settings to treat patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The FDA published Q&A about COVID-19 and pets.
  • The federal government is reportedly initiating an effort called “Operation Warp Speed” to speed the development and production of countermeasures against COVID-19, including vaccines. The program will reportedly provide liability protection and funding for vaccine developers. Operation Warp Speed has not officially been announced by the government.
    • It is unclear how much money will be allocated to this program, but the goal is reportedly to manufacture hundreds of millions of treatment/vaccine doses by the end of 2020.
  • The CDC continues to update their dashboard. Today, they notably updated the social media toolkit and guidance for contact tracing. Recently, they updated and published the most recent reopening guidelines for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes.
  • Betsy DeVos announced today that nearly $1.4 billion in additional funding will be directed to Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), as well as institutions serving low-income students to help ensure learning continues during the coronavirus national emergency. This funding is part of the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
  • The White House released the Opening Up America Again Testing Overview and Testing Blueprint to facilitate state development and implementation of the testing plans and rapid response programs described in the President’s Opening Up America Again Guidelines. The blueprint describes a partnership between federal, state, local, and tribal governments, and the private sector. The overview and blueprint do not specify how states will be able to test at least 2 percent of their populations every month, which is what administration officials had promised.
  • President Trump signed the interim emergency relief fund package last week, which replenishes the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and includes funding for hospitals, testing, and disaster loan programs. You can view the bill text here and a section by section summary here. With Congress set to return next Monday, May 4th, discussion of a fourth COVID supplemental funding package has continued. For a more thorough update on the federal legislative landscape, please refer to the COVID-19 Legislative Update from Sierra Fuller which is published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you do not already receive that update and would like to subscribe, please email sfuller@cgagroup.com.
  • The CDC has been busy uploading new guidance and updated resources for COVID-19 on their dashboard. On Sunday, the agency posted an interim guidance document for meat and poultry processing workers and employers. Today, there is more information about contact tracing, new symptoms associated with COVID-19, and a toolkit for transportation partners to inform road travelers.
  • Yesterday, 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. Since expanding the AAP programs on March 28th, CMS approved over 21,000 applications totaling $59.6 billion in payments to Part A providers, which includes hospitals. For Part B suppliers, including doctors, non-physician practitioners, and durable medical equipment suppliers, CMS approved almost 24,000 applications advancing $40.4 billion in payments. 
  • President Trump signed the interim emergency relief fund package Friday April 24, which includes $310 billion to replenish the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $60 billion for separate disaster loans to small businesses ($50 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and $10 billion for the Emergency Economic Injury Grant program), $75 billion in emergency funds for hospitals, and $25 billion for testing. You can view the bill text here and a section by section summary here. For a more thorough update on the federal legislative landscape, please refer to the COVID-19 Legislative Update from Sierra Fuller which is published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you do not already receive that update and would like to subscribe, please email sfuller@cgagroup.com.
  • Here is this week’s 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.
  • Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) wrote a letter to CDC Director Robert Redfield expressing concern that federal public health officials are “behind the curve in assessing public health threat levels, because they lack immediate visibility into population health data.” In the letter, they press the CDC to implement a real-time national system for tracking COVID-19.
  • The Trump Administration released a new toolkit for states to help accelerate adoption of broader telehealth coverage policies in the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP). The toolkit will help states identify policies which may impede rapid deployment of telehealth services, such as pediatric considerations, coverage and reimbursement policies, and technology requirements.
  • Education Sec. Betsy DeVos announced the availability of more than $13.2 billion in emergency funding to support continued learning for K-12 students impacted by COVID-19. Education leaders will have flexibility to use these funds from the Elementary and Secondary Education Relief Fund (ESSER Fund) for immediate needs.
    • State education agencies (SEAs) must allocate 90% of their ESSER funds to local education agencies (LEAs), including public charter schools, in proportion to the  amount of FY 2019 funds the LEA received under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
  • The Senate passed more than $480 billion in interim emergency relief this afternoon. The legislation includes $310 billion to replenish the SBA Paycheck Protection Program, $60 billion for separate disaster loans to small businesses ($50 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and $10 billion for the Emergency Economic Injury Grant program), $75 billion in emergency funds for hospitals, and $25 billion for testing. The House is expected to vote on the measure as soon as Thursday. For a more thorough update on the federal legislative landscape, please refer to the COVID-19 Legislative Update from Sierra Fuller which is published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you do not already receive that update and would like to subscribe, please email sfuller@cgagroup.com.
  • President Trump announced that he would be ordering a temporary ban on immigration to the U.S. He has backed down from his original plan to also suspend guest worker programs. The order will be in place for 60 days, with the potential to be extended longer if deemed necessary.
  • House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer sent a letter to chairs of the House Administration and Rules Committees urging them to consider a set of recommendations to enable remote voting and committee work, and that also prepare Congress to work remotely even when back in Washington to comply with social distancing guidelines.
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue announced today that Arizona and Illinois have been approved to operate Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), a new program 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.
  • FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Dr. Peter Marks, and Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Dr. Janet Woodcock wrote an article for the FDA’s Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP).
  • HHS announced an ongoing partnership with Oracle, including Oracle's donation to HHS of the Therapeutic Learning System, an online platform designed to collect real-time medical data related to COVID-19. The Therapeutic Learning System is a safe, secure web portal designed to gather crowd-sourced, real-time information from doctors and other clinicians about how patients are responding to possible therapeutics to treat COVID-19. The data will not be owned by Oracle or any other private entity.
  • SAMHSA has begun to release emergency grants to strengthen access to treatments for substance use disorders and serious mental illnesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an announcement this afternoon.
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The $19 billion USDA program will take several actions to assist farmers, ranchers, and consumers in the response to COVID-19. CFAP will use the funding and authorities provided in the CARES Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and other USDA existing authorities to provide direct support to farmers and ranchers, and partner with regional and local distributors to purchase produce, dairy, and meat.
  • Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) along with 11 Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee sent a letter to HHS Sec. Alex Azar calling on him to distribute the remaining COVID-19 aid to health care providers in an equitable and transparent way, claiming the first $30 billion dollars failed to deliver funds to where they are needed most.
  • The NIH announced the launch of a public-private partnership to speed up the development of a COVID-19 vaccine and treatment options. Government and industry partners will provide infrastructure, subject matter expertise and/or funding (both new and in-kind) to identify, prioritize and facilitate the entry of some of the most promising candidates into clinical trials. Industry partners also will make available certain prioritized compounds, some of which have already cleared various phases of development, and associated data to support research related to COVID-19.
    • The government agencies involved are: NIH; ASPR; FDA; CDC; and European Medicines Agency.
    • The industry partners are: AbbVie; Amgen; AstraZeneca; Bristol Myers Squibb; Evotec; GlaxoSmithKline; Johnson & Johnson; KSQ Therapeutics; Eli Lilly and Company; Merck & Co., Inc.; Novartis; Pfizer; Roche; Sanofi; Takeda; and Vir Biotechnology.
  • The White House released guidelines for Opening Up America Again. The guidelines recommend that states document a “downward trajectory” in cases of COVID-19 and flu-like illnesses before relaxing stay-at-home orders. States could then proceed into a three-phase reopening process, according to the guidelines. The guidelines recommend that employers develop and implement social distancing practices, temperature checks at workplaces, testing for the virus, and increased sanitation and use of disinfection. President Trump said today that governors could begin reopening businesses, restaurants, and other elements of daily life by May 1st or earlier.
  • The President also hosted a call with a bipartisan group of members of Congress who will serve on the “Opening Up America Again Congressional Group.” The list of members can be found here.
  • The FEMA Healthcare Resilience Task Force created a COVID-19 Hospital Resource Package. The document contains guidance and resources for hospital administrators, hospital emergency planners and infection control practitioners in the following topical areas: hospital surge, crisis standards of care, staffing surge and resilience, workforce protection, regulatory relief, equipment supply surge and telemedicine.
  • The CDC has posted multiple new guidance documents on its COVID-19 dashboard, including considerations for pharmacies, guidance for training for healthcare professionals and the newest travel guidelines.
  • Senators released two documents today, A Roadmap to Reopening by Ensuring a Speedy and Ubiquitous Lab Testing System (RESULTS) and a report from DPCC: U.S. Lags the World in Testing, Leads the World in COVID-19 Cases. The reports outline Democrats' proposals to rapidly expand testing capacity. Democrats note in the report that the U.S. is testing around one in every 273 people for COVID-19, while South Korea and Germany have been testing one in every 100 people.
  • Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) sent a letter to Philips North America Corporation requesting information and documents regarding its foreign sales of ventilators, after entering into contract with HHS to provide ventilators to the U.S. stockpile. In the letter, Rep. Krishnamoorthi says Philips has been selling ventilators to foreign clients at much higher prices than what it would have received from HHS.
  • Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) led a letter signed by 37 senators to President Trump urging him to automatically extend work authorizations for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients and other impacted immigrants.
  • Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) sent a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma today urging the agency to release demographic data on the health outcomes of COVID-19 based on race, ethnicity, and gender.  His letter comes after multiple data sources continue to show that COVID-19 disproportionately affects individuals from racial and ethnic minority communities. In New York City, Latino and African American residents had double the age-adjusted death rates as compared to white residents. In Chicago, 64.6 percent of deaths and 49.6 percent of total cases are among African American residents, despite African Americans only making up approximately 30 percent of the city’s population.
  • The CDC has posted multiple new guidance documents on its COVID-19 dashboard, including useful information about how to wear a cloth face covering and how COVID-19 spreads.  
  • The Supreme Court announced it will hear arguments, including cases on subpoenas, over the phone during six days in May.
  • Given the anticipated increase in demand for chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate, the FDA is taking steps to ensure that adequate supply of these drug products are available for patients:
  • The FDA issued a Consumer Update: How You Can Make a Difference During the Coronavirus Pandemic. It explains ways to help, such as donating blood, protecting yourself and others, saving protective equipment for front line workers, and reporting fraudulent products to the agency.
  • The FDA added new questions and answers to the webpage Q&A for Consumers: Hand Sanitizers and COVID-19. These new questions focus on unintentional ingestion of hand sanitizer by children, as there has been an increase in calls to Poison Control for unintentional ingestion of hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • HHS announced they are beginning the delivery of the initial $30 billion in relief funding to providers in support of the national response to COVID-19 as part of the distribution of the $100 billion provider relief fund provided for in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The initial $30 billion in immediate relief funds started being delivered to providers today.
  • The CDC announced the extension of a no sail order for cruise ships. The order says it shall continue in operation until the earliest of (1) the expiration of the HHS Sec.’s declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency; (2) the CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations; or (3) 100 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register. The agency has reported that there are 100 cruise ships at sea off of U.S. coasts, with 80,000 crew members on board. Twenty ships at port or anchorage in the U.S. have known or suspected cases of COVID-19.
  • The CDC has published this week’s “COVIDView,” a weekly surveillance summary of U.S. COVID-19 activity.
  • The CDC updated its travel recommendations by country.
  • CMS is proposing a rule to continue their efforts to strengthen Medicare by aligning payments for inpatient psychiatric facilities (IPFs) with the costs of providing care. The proposed rule would update Medicare payment policies and rates for the IPF Prospective Payment System (PPS) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. CMS is publishing this proposed rule consistent with the legal requirements to update Medicare payment policies for IPFs on an annual basis.
  • CMS issued a proposed rule [CMS-1737-P] for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 that updates the Medicare payment rates and the quality programs for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).
  • Education Sec. Betsy DeVos said today she was moving to "immediately distribute" the $6 billion in coronavirus economic stimulus money that has been earmarked for emergency financial aid grants to college students. The funding is the first tranche of the nearly $31 billion of overall education aid that was included as part of last month’s stimulus package. The bill makes available aid for college students for things like technology, course materials, food, shelter, and health care. Allocations are available here.
  • CMS announced this on April 8th that they have temporarily suspended a number of rules so that hospitals, clinics, and other health care facilities can boost their frontline medical staffs. The changes affect doctors, nurses, and other clinicians nationwide, and focus on reducing supervision and certification requirements so that practitioners can be hired quickly and “perform work to the fullest extent of their licenses.”
  • CMS has updated their Q&A to assist Medicare providers to a more recent version.
  • The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at HHS announced that it will exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for violations of the HIPAA Rules against covered entities or business associates in connection with the good faith participation in the operation of COVID-19 testing sites during pandemic response. The notification was issued to support certain covered health care providers, including some large pharmacy chains, and their business associates that may choose to participate in the operation of a Community Based-Testing Site (CBTS), which includes mobile, drive-through, or walk-up sites that only provide COVID-19 specimen collection or testing services to the public.
  • The CDC released interim guidance on March 8 that details how essential employees can go back to work even if they have been exposed to people infected by COVID-19 as long as they do not feel sick and follow certain precautions. Per the guidance, employees can return to work if they take their temperature before heading to their workplaces, wear a face mask at all times, and practice social distancing while on the job.
  • The CDC removed guidance for doctors on how to prescribe hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, drugs recommended by President Donald Trump to treat COVID-19 that lack evidence to support their efficacy.
  • HHS announced the first contract for ventilator production rated under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to General Motors (GM). GM’s contract, at a total contract price of $489.4 million, is for 30,000 ventilators to be delivered to the SNS by the end of August, with a production schedule allowing for the delivery of 6,132 ventilators by June 1st.
  • Soon after, HHS announced the second contract for ventilator production rated under the DPA to Philips. Philips’s contract for $646.7 million is for a production schedule allowing for the delivery of 2,500 ventilators to the SNS by the end of May, and a total of 43,000 ventilators to be delivered by the end of December. 
  • On Monday April 7 White House press briefing, President Donald Trump criticized the WHO for being slow to respond to the pandemic and accused the organization of being “China-centric.” He followed that by saying the U.S. will be putting a hold on giving money to the WHO.
  • President Trump removed Glenn Fine, the Pentagon’s acting inspector general, who had been tasked with overseeing the $2 trillion stimulus package spending. In his place, the President has named the EPA’s inspector general, Sean O’Donnell, as the new acting inspector general for the DoD.
  • The CDC released several new guidance pages and resources today including: PPE burn rate calculator, guidelines for running essential errands, interim additional guidance for outpatient and ambulatory care settings, and more.
  • Today, the FDA approved an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for 200mg hydroxychloroquine tablets. The agency had recently posted information about hydroxychloroquine shortages due to a significant surge in demand, and is working with manufacturers to get supply under control.
  • The FDA continues to update its COVID-19 Q&A page here and has published its April 7th roundup here.
  • CMS announced it has delivered near $34 billion in the past week to frontline health care providers battling COVID-19. The funds have been provided through the expansion of the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program.
  • The CDC is now urging all Americans to wear a face covering (ideally a non-medical mask or scarf covering their mouth and nose) when they leave their homes. They have published a Q&A page for cloth face coverings and have updated the prevention page to include guidance on the use of cloth face coverings as a means to mitigate spread of COVID-19.
  • The FDA held a webinar with device manufacturers and industry partners to discuss its guidance on enforcement policy for PPE during COVID-19. Recording and transcript of the webinar can be found here.
  • HHS also reported its planned purchase of the ID NOW COVID-19 rapid point-of-care test, developed by Abbott Diagnostics Scarborough Inc. The ID NOW test, which provides results in under 13 minutes, will be distributed to public health labs in every state and territory.
  • CMS released a video providing answers to common questions about the Medicare telehealth services benefit.
  • CMS approved a number of additional state waivers to address the COVID-19 pandemic, including Section 1135 Medicaid waivers, Appendix K waivers for programs that care for elderly, and blanket waivers that permit Medicare-enrolled Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs) to temporarily enroll as hospitals.
  • The CDC has started publishing “COVIDView,” a weekly surveillance summary of U.S. COVID-19 activity. The report summarizes and interprets key indicators including information related to COVID-19 outpatient visits, emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths, as well as laboratory data.
  • The CDC has also released new guidance for how cruise ship passengers will be able to travel home. Previously, passengers who were exposed to COVID-19 but showed no symptoms were allowed to travel home on commercial flights if they had no fever. With the newly released guidance, cruise companies will have to charter flights to return passengers to their home cities. The decision was released as 1,000 passengers were going to disembark the Coral Princess, which docked in Miami on Saturday.
  • HUD announced new CARES Act mortgage payment relief options for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages who are struggling financially due to the coronavirus pandemic.
    • HUD also issued availability of regulatory waivers for Continuum of Care, Emergency Solutions Grant, Housing for Persons with AIDS, and Consolidated Plan requirements.
  • Members of Congress are now looking ahead to a fourth supplemental funding package. House Dems are expected to take the lead on a fourth package, and Speaker Pelosi has indicated that the infrastructure framework from January will be the starting point of whatever bill they introduce. For a more thorough update on the legislative landscape, please refer to the COVID-19 Legislative Update from Sierra Fuller. If you do not already receive that update and would like to subscribe, please email sfuller@cgagroup.com.
  • Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) is drafting legislation to establish a 9/11-style independent commission to review the country’s coronavirus response. The legislation is “very preliminary” and will likely not be released until the coronavirus crisis has subsided.
  • The FDA approved the first test for coronavirus antibodies for use in the U.S. While current tests can tell if a person is still infected, the Cellex antibody test is the first to receive authorization and can tell whether a patient has ever been exposed and if they might have some immunity.
    • A similar test, created by BioMedomics, has not been reviewed by the FDA but is permitted for distribution and use under the public health emergency guidance the agency issued on March 16th.
  • The FDA has published guidance to address the need for blood during the pandemic.
  • FEMA told the House Oversight Committee today that the 100,000 ventilators promised by President Trump will not be available until June. Following the release of this information, the President invoked the Defense Production Act, which directs General Electric Co., Hill-Rom Holdings Inc., Medtronic Public Limited Co., ResMed Inc., Royal Philips N.V., and Vyaire Medical Inc. to make ventilators. It also directs acting Homeland Security Sec. Chad Wolf and HHS Sec. Alex Azar to "use any and all authority available under the Act to facilitate the supply of materials" to these companies.
  • Drs. Tony Fauci and Debbie Birx, two of the leading health officials on COVID-19 issues for the U.S. government, agree that the virus could ultimately kill between 100,000-240,000 Americans as predicted by models. They expect deaths to peak in about two more weeks.
  • Dr. Fauci has reportedly required increased security due to threats to his personal safety as well as unwelcome communication from fervent admirers.
  • FEMA has a rumor control website to discern factual claims from fictional ones in regard to COVID-19.
  • The FDA today announced multiple actions taken in the ongoing response effort to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the development of reference sequence data for the U.S., a constituent update regarding guidance for flexibility for chain restaurants, a warning letter to Neuro XPF (cannabidiol products), and a diagnostics update.
  • The HHS Assistant Secretary for Health and U.S. Surgeon General issued an open letter to the health care community stressing the need to aggressively implement the following four measures:
    • Rigorous adherence to all social distancing measures, including limitations on gatherings and travel. This is the best way to reduce infections and thus demand for ventilators.
    • Optimize the use of mechanical ventilators, which includes canceling elective surgeries as well as transitioning other medical equipment for mechanical support for respiratory failure.
    • Judicious, data-driven requests and usage of the SNS of ventilators and equipment. To be able to allocate ventilators where they are most needed, all states must be data-driven in their requests based on the actual capacity for mechanical ventilation, including anesthesia machine conversions.
    • Increasing the capacity of the SNS through federal procurement. The SNS will receive at least an additional 20,000 mechanical ventilators by mid-May 2020.
  • The FDA created the Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP), as the federal government’s primary organization to develop and test COVID-19 treatments. CTAP will have a major focus on public private partnerships. CTAP is currently exploring antiviral drugs like remdesivir that might treat the specific virus, as well as host targets, such as interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor inhibitors that may be helpful in reducing lung inflammation and improving lung function in COVID-19 patients. Work is also ongoing to evaluate whether existing therapies such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (with or without other medications) help treat patients with COVID-19.
  • President Trump on Sunday issued a major disaster declaration for Washington, D.C., marking the 22nd state/territory to receive a major disaster declaration and federal assistance from FEMA. The declaration allows states and territories to access federal funds to combat the coronavirus.
  • The Capitol Visitor Center and House and Senate office buildings will be closed to the public though May 1st.
  • On Friday March 27, the House passed and the President signed the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The bill text is available here, and a section-by-section is here.

Military/Defense

Military/Defense

  • Top military leaders have been cleared to return to work at the Pentagon after self-quarantining following the positive COVID-19 test of a senior Coast Guard official in early October.
  • In a memo released last week, the Office of Inspector General, the Pentagon’s internal watchdog, announced that it will audit whether the DoD misused COVID-19 relief funds.
  • In a discussion with National Defense Magazine last Thursday, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville stated that changes to training and safety procedures have not affected the Army’s readiness.
    • Gen. McConville also stated that the Army’s weapons programs have remained on track, although some milestones and intermediate steps may have shifted  
  • Last week, the Pentagon announced plans to boost its COVID-19 testing capacity by acquiring 6 million test kits from Cue Health.
  • Two sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt tested positive for COVID-19 and have been evacuated.
  • Despite COVID-19, the Navy met its enlisted recruiting goals. Defense Sec. Mark Esper stated that COVID-19 forced the military to modernize its recruitment process.
  • The Air Force and DoD exceeded its COVID-19 convalescent plasma collection goal in hopes that blood plasma containing antibodies for COVID-19 may boost immune responses to COVID-19.
  • Researchers with the U.S. Army Futures Command are working to develop alternative methods to measure COVID-19 antibody levels, resulting in a process that is faster and more cost effective than to use on a large scale.
  • A new military-led study showed that there is a low risk of contracting COVID-19 on large commercial aircrafts due to advanced filtration systems.
  • Amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, the commander of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson banned active duty airmen from bars.
  • The Army wants the defense industry to maintain COVID-19 social distancing measures in factories even after the pandemic ends.
  • DoD acquisition officials expressed concerned about the declining number of small businesses in its supplier base due COVID-19.
    • The comments came amid congressional scrutiny and reports that it awarded contracts for medical gowns to inexperienced companies despite bids from more than 100 vendors with track records of completing procurement contracts.
  • Due to a steady decline in COVID-19 cases within the DoD, the military is downgrading its health condition levels from Condition C to Condition B. While this transition eases the social distancing requirements, officials stated that a return to more restrictive measures is possible.
  • The Air Force plans to test hundreds of active-duty volunteers at Edwards Air Force Base, Eglin Air Force Base, Hanscom Air Force Base, and Hill Air Force Base to determine whether additional protective measures are needed in work areas.
  • As of Friday, Virginia Military Institute is reporting 42 active COVID-19 cases, with nearly 200 cadets in quarantine.
  • U.S. Forces Korea announced Tuesday that, between Sept. 25 and Oct. 9, 22 service members tested positive for COVID-19 in South Korea.
  • On a call last Thursday, the DoD stated that it has paused its efforts to send 190,000 Tricare beneficiaries into the private sector due to COVID-19.
  • As a result of a partnership between Care.com and Armed Services YMCA, free childcare on Election Day will be provided at 27 locations near military installations across the U.S.
  • The Pentagon said on Tuesday that top military officials are quarantining after one of the Coast Guard service chiefs tested positive for COVID-19.
    • On Wednesday night, officials announced that Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Gary Thomas tested positive for COVID-19, the second top military official to have contracted the virus.
    • The Defense Health Agency stated senior military leaders will have the same access to COVID-19 treatments as President Trump.
  • In a video released Wednesday on Twitter, President Trump suggested that the military will help distribute Regeneron, the experimental drug he credits for his recovery.
  • Following reports that military suicides have increased during the pandemic, President Trump ordered various federal agencies, including the DoD and VA, to develop a plan to address mental health issues exacerbated by COVID-19.
  • The Army has suspended the Army Combat Fitness Test requirement to graduate initial military training through next year.
  • As travel limits continue to ease, the U.S. military in Japan reported two new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, one at the Kadena Air Base and another at the Naval Air Facility Atsugi.
  • The White House threatened to veto Democrats' $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief package, which included funds for the Defense Health Agency, DoD, and VA.
  • After the House initially stated that it would not investigate how the Pentagon spent its CARES Act funds, the House Oversight and Reform Committee, the Financial Services Committee, and the select subcommittee of the coronavirus crisis announced a joint investigation into the Pentagon's COVID-19 relief spending.
  • The COVID-19 Joint Acquisition Task Force, set up by the Pentagon, will be transitioning to a permanent office.
  • Airmen and soldiers from the Connecticut National Guard helped both the Connecticut State Department of Education and the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security distribute masks to school districts throughout the state as many students and teachers transition back to in-person or hybrid learning.
  • At least four top generals may have been exposed to COVID-19 during a Gold Star family event at the White House on Sunday.
  • The new $2.2 trillion relief package unveiled by the House on Wednesday contains $2.2 billion for the DoD and $613 million for the VA.
    • This includes $705 million to the Defense Health Agency to underwrite drug manufacturing capabilities for COVID-19 treatments
  • Gen. D.T. Thompson, Vice Chief of Space Operations, expressed concerns that COVID-19 may result in space supply chain disruptions, especially for commercial startups.
  • The Pentagon said this morning that there had been no changes to alert levels for American troops worldwide, and that military analysts had not detected any unusual activity from potential adversaries resulting from the announcement that President Trump had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • During Tuesday's presidential debate, President Trump stated that the military is ready to help transport a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it's available. The DoD, however, insists that it does not anticipate the significant use of military transportation in shipping vaccines.
  • On Monday, DoD and HHS announced that they awarded a $20 million contract to On Demand Pharmaceuticals to boost domestic production for active pharmaceutical ingredients.
  • Tricare will begin to cover some experimental therapies for COVID-19.
  •  The Air Force is lowering the maximum amount airmen can receive in tuition assistance from $4,500 to $3,750 in anticipation of a demand surge due to COVID-19.
  • You can read the most recent COVID-19 travel restrictions installation status update here
  • Last week, SOUTHCOM donated a field hospital to Jamaica to support its response to COVID-19. Overall, the U.S. has provided Jamaica $2 million and the whole region $17 million in supplies and other resource to assist in COVID-19 response.
  • Military suicides are up 20 percent in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. While officials can't attribute this increase to COVID-19, there is a direct correlation from when the COVID-19 pandemic began.
  • Despite calls from some House Democrats, Congress announced that they will not be investigating how the Pentagon spent its CARES Act funds and stated that the Pentagon did not misuse its funds because they addressed COVID-related impacts in the industrial base.
  • According to data released Monday, an eighth U.S. service member has died from COVID-19, the first since late August.
  • Two individuals have been charged for their handling of a COVID-19 outbreak in a veterans' nursing home in Massachusetts, where nearly 80 veterans died. 
  • The Naval Academy announced that midshipmen will not be allowed to go home for Thanksgiving, adding to midshipmen's previous concerns of low morale and mental health.
  • During a call Thursday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked Defense Sec. Mark Esper to consider utilizing the SHIELD T3 COVID-19 testing program, which was developed by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign within the DoD.
  • MacDill Air Force Base will increase the number of service members and civilian employees working on base, citing a two-week downward trend in COVID-19 cases in Tampa Bay.
  • On Thursday, a coalition of 40 organizations called on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis to investigate the Pentagon's alleged misuse of its $1 billion in CARES Act funds.
  • The DoD is beginning to use AI technology to help with early detection of COVID-19. The devices, which detect changes in people’s physiology, are expected to roll out this month to U.S. Northern Command and to the U.S. Military Academy next month.
  • The Wright-Patt lab has tested over 120,000 specimens for COVID-19, leading the DoD’s COVID testing efforts.
  • Reports emerged that $2 million in funds earmarked for COVID-19 relief were redirected by the Pentagon to military equipment. The DoD responded today that funding was used to address COVID-related impacts in the industrial base, even in that portion of the industrial base not producing medical supplies.
  • After a nine week decline in COVID cases, the VA saw an increase in new cases. As of last week, the DoD reported over 60,000 cumulative cases.
  • In an interview, Pentagon Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord talked about the impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. industrial base and how the Pentagon is seeking between $10-20 billion to fund the defense industry’s pandemic-related costs.
  • In response to the Joint Chiefs' review of the military’s shortcomings in the pandemic response, the Pentagon is planning to “improve the Joint Forces' response to future disease outbreaks.”
  • The Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories confirmed four new COVID-19 cases last week.
  • The Air Force plans to stop using Keesler Air Force Base as an extension site for its basic training after its last class of recruits graduate but will keep the program as an option if another COVID-19 outbreak occurs.
  • According to OSHA, a U.S. Veterans Affairs hospital in Indianapolis failed to protect workers in several departments from COVID-19 during the first weeks of the pandemic. Safety inspectors cited six alleged hazards at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center, including not providing appropriate respirators to workers conducting sonograms on patients confirmed to have COVID-19.
  • A union representing teachers and other staff members of schools operated by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) has called for officials to immediately shift all schools to remote learning after the death of a counselor at Fort Knox Middle/High School from COVID-19.
  • As Congress debates a continuing resolution (CR) this week, the defense industry is concerned that the long-term funding patch will delay both new procurement programs and emergency COVID-19 funding into next year.
  • Brett Crozier, the dismissed captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, said he knew he was jeopardizing his military career when he broke protocol and sent a now-famous email warning of a COVID-19 outbreak on board the aircraft carrier.
  • After U.S. Coast Guard cutter Munro lost a tenth of its crew to quarantine, 16 students from the academy, some of whom had never been on a ship before, were brought up to serve on the ship. 
  • The Pentagon is reportedly starting to rewrite its pandemic playbook after an internal review found failings in the department's initial response to COVID-19. The Joint Chiefs of Staff is revising the plans, last updated by U.S. Northern Command in 2013, and is building on “lessons learned” from the COVID-19 response.
  • The DoD’s updated COVID-19 Travel Restriction Installation Status Update can be found here. Travel restrictions have been lifted at 113 of 231 installations (49 percent).
  • Authorities in southern Germany have recorded three more COVID-19 cases in people who frequented bars visited by a 26-year-old woman suspected of breaking quarantine rules in the Alpine resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. There are now 59 cases in the town, including 25 staff at the U.S. military-run Edelweiss Lodge and Resort.
    • The general commanding American troops in Bavaria met with local officials in the town to reassure them of the U.S. military’s commitment to COVID-19 precautions.
  • VA officials reported 2,945 active COVID-19 cases, the lowest level in nearly three months.
    • However, the department is on pace to add another 600 deaths from COVID-19 by the end of the month.
  • The president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association, Eric Fanning, penned an op-ed calling on Congress to pass the annual defense authorization and appropriations bills as soon as possible.
  • Three individuals on Guam died from COVID-19 in less than 24 hours. Of the 2,013 recorded COVID-19 cases on Guam, 261 have been U.S. service members.
  • The DoD has updated their Operation Warp Speed dashboard
  • The Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, Adm. Charles “Chas” Richard, spoke with reporters about his command’s mission set amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Referring to the pre-pandemic status quo, Adm. Richard said he is “not sure that we’re ever going to go back to the way we were before.”
  • The DoD signed contracts with nine American businesses for the delivery of 73 million COVID-19 disposable isolation gowns at a cost of $335  million. The contracts will support the replenishment of the HHS-managed SNS and deliver by January 2021.
  • The Hawaii National Guard Joint Task Force continues to administer COVID-19 surge testing on freeways in Honolulu.
  • Officials in southern Germany are considering imposing fines against a 26-year-old American woman linked to a cluster of coronavirus cases in the Alpine resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, including at a hotel that caters to U.S. military personnel.
  • The commander of the largest U.S. naval base in Japan lowered the installation’s health-alert level Monday and lifted some travel and activity restrictions on its personnel.
  • The DoD has updated their Operation Warp Speed dashboard
  • Wearing masks, wiping down work spaces and quarantine periods have presented a fringe benefit to military operations, most notably in the basic training environment. Fewer troops are coming down with communicable diseases, which take them out of the fight for days or even weeks.
  • The damage to the defense industry caused by the pandemic has yet to be fully measured, and companies may soon be facing more-severe delayed effects. Ellen Lord, the Pentagon's acquisition chief, said the Pentagon plans to collect pandemic data on the tens of thousands of companies that make up the industrial base for the time period of March 15 through September 15 in hopes of better documentation and a lifeline from Congress.
  • DoD announced two DPA Title III actions to sustain and strengthen essential domestic industrial base capabilities and defense-critical small businesses. The Department says these actions will help to retain critical workforce capabilities throughout the disruption caused by COVID-19 and to restore some jobs lost because of the pandemic. 
  • DoD, on behalf of HHS, signed contracts with a maximum value of $136 million with five American businesses to manufacture up to 15 million COVID-19 reusable isolation gowns for the replenishment of the HHS-managed SNS. Delivery of the gowns will be complete by January 2021 ensuring HHS is poised to meet the Nation’s critical medical needs. Announcement here
  • Updated DoD case totals are included in the first figure below.
  • The Senate Republicans' slimmed-down COVID-19 relief bill released today does not include emergency funding for the DoD.
    • An earlier Senate GOP stimulus proposal released in July would have provided $30 billion in emergency funding for the DoD.
  • U.S. commands around the globe have donated millions of dollars in supplies including field hospitals, PPE, and medical equipment to support COVID-19 relief efforts in partner nations.
  • The Marine Corps will resume its physical fitness and combat fitness tests nearly five months after the tests were halted on April 21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Arlington National Cemetery will reopen to the public tomorrow roughly six months after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cemetery to close in March.
  • Eight veterans have died from COVID-19 at Yukio Okutso State Veterans Home in Hilo, Hawaii. 58 of the facility’s 74 residents have now tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The DoD’s acquisition chief Ellen Lord said she could be requesting up to $20 billion in emergency funding for the defense industry to cover the costs of COVID-19 disruptions.
  • A bipartisan group of 18 senators from the Senate National Guard Caucus sent a letter to President Trump requesting the restoration of full federal funding for the National Guard’s COVID-19 mission.
    • In August, the President ordered most states to begin covering 25% of the cost for National Guard COVID-19 response missions.
  • In a Military Times poll, nearly half of active-duty troops said the COVID-19 pandemic represents a significant threat to military readiness and operations.
    • 48 percent of respondents did not believe service leaders have taken the appropriate steps in response to the pandemic, while 46% of respondents said service leaders have done so.
  • The U.S. military in Japan will relax some public health restrictions for personnel in Tokyo and on Okinawa as COVID-19 cases among the ranks continue to drop.
  • The DoD has selected five military installations to conduct a Phase III clinical trial for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
    • The sites are Naval Medical Center San Diego in California, Joint Base San Antonio Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas, Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia.
  • DoD’s latest COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Installation Status Update can be found here. Travel restrictions have been lifted at 104 of 231 installations (45 percent).
  • The Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support will hold a hearing on supply chain integrity with Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen M. Lord on October 1, 2020.
  • An Army reservist from Florida is the seventh U.S. service member to die from complications related to COVID-19.
  • Soldiers from the Indiana National Guard have been helping operate Miami Correctional Facility after several prison workers contracted COVID-19.
  • The VA reported more deaths from COVID-19 patients in August than any other month of the pandemic. As of Monday evening, at least 2,935 VA patients have died from COVID-19.
  • Two of the six candidate vaccines for COVID-19 are now in Phase III trials.
    • HHS deputy chief of staff for policy Paul Mango said Operation Warp Speed has identified half of the 30,000 participants required for Phase III trials.  
  • The unemployment rate for veterans has more than tripled since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving nearly 800,000 veterans searching for work. 
  • Service members based in Guam are sheltering-in-place for a second time after the island shuttered all non-essential businesses again.  
  • An American family that violated COVID-19 restrictions in Japan has been banned from all U.S. military installations for 10 years.  
  • The Air Mobility Command transported a shipment of 500 ventilators from the U.S. to Indonesia.
  • The DoD released its COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Installation Status Update. Travel restrictions have been lifted at 103 of 231 installations (45 percent).
  • Louisiana National Guardsmen have put their COVID-19 response on hold as they mobilize for Hurricane Laura. 
  • Nine Senate Democrats sent a letter to Defense Sec. Mark Esper demanding more details on the DoD’s strategy for protecting troops and their families from COVID-19.  
  • A Pearl Harbor ceremony to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII will be limited to local veterans in Hawaii due to COVID-19 concerns. 
  • The VA surpassed 50,000 COVID-19 cases among its patients since the start of the pandemic, with over half of the positive cases being reported in the last 50 days.  
  • Guam extended its public health emergency on the same day the island reported its 10th COVID-19-related death. 
  • South Korea’s daily COVID-19 case count reached 441, opening the possibility that the nation could face another lockdown. A U.S. service member and DoD civilian contractor tested positive after flying to South Korea from the U.S. 
  • House Democrats introduced a bill to fully fund the National Guard’s COVID-19 mission after 44 states and territories saw federal funding for their Guard deployments reduced by 25 percent over the weekend. Only Texas, Florida, Arizona, California, and Connecticut are currently receiving full federal funding. 
  • A California National Guardsmen died from COVID-19, marking the sixth service member to die from the virus.  
  • Six more American service members tested positive after flying to South Korea from the U.S.
    • South Korean President Moon Jae-in warned a lockdown may be necessary after 266 new COVID-19 cases were reported. 
  • Seventh Air Force collaborated with the American Red Cross and Operation Gratitude to deliver care packages for quarantined troops transitioning to new assignments in South Korea. 
  • The DoD unveiled an interactive webpage for news and resources on Operation Warp Speed.  
  • Ellen M. Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, briefed reporters on COVID-19 and other topics.  
  • The DoD awarded $750,000 to Plasma Technologies, LLC for the manufacturing of convalescent plasma products. 
  • The latest DoD COVID-19 travel restrictions installation update can be found here.  
  • The American Small Business League has sued the Trump Administration for data on payouts received by companies under the Paycheck Protection Program. 
  • An Army Reserve soldier died from complications related to COVID-19, marking the fifth service member to die from the virus.  
  • An undisclosed number of cadets at the Air Force Academy tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after the campus reopened. 
  • A scaled back version of the world’s largest maritime military exercise, known as the Rim of the Pacific, began this week in Hawaii. 
  • House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) said additional COVID-19 relief money for the DoD should not be a dealbreaker for a broader stimulus package.
  • The National Defense Industrial Association and National Small Business Association are seeking to redirect leftover funds in Section 4003 of the CARES act – which designated $17 billion in loans for a limited group of defense contractors – to aid small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 70 Democrats signed a new letter urging President Trump to reverse his decision requiring most states to cover 25 percent of the costs for National Guard deployments in response to COVID-19.
  • U.S. Forces Korea raised its Health Protection Condition after South Korea reported hundreds of new COVID-19 cases over the weekend.
    • The U.S. and South Korea will begin their annual joint military exercises in a scaled-down manner to accommodate COVID-19 precautions.
  • The military has increased COVID-19 safety precautions at 21 bases in recent weeks as the number of cases among service members continues to rise.
  • The National Defense Industrial Association, along with seven other trade groups, sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to extend the window for reimbursing government contractors for COVID-19-related expenses from September 30 to December 21.
  • The DoD and HHS awarded a $7.6 million contract to Hologic, Inc. to expand domestic production of custom sample collection and processing consumables for COVID-19 tests.
  • The Federal Education Association urged parents of students at DoD schools to select the online learning option for the new school year, citing inadequate safety precautions at schools.
  • The Marine Corps on Okinawa announced that it had no new COVID-19 cases to report within the last 24 hours and would be relaxing certain off-base restrictions for essential services.
  • Nearly 70 sailors deployed to Texas to support the COVID-19 response in civilian hospitals.
  • The Marine Corps on Okinawa reported one new COVID-19 case, brining the total from two clusters to 142.
    • Yokota’s 374th Airlift Wing announced a third active COVID-19 cases at its base in western Tokyo, which also serves as headquarters for U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force.
    • The number of COVID-19 cases affiliated with U.S. Forces Korea rose to 111, with 12 more troops and a dependent testing positive after travelling from the U.S. to South Korea over the past two weeks.
  • Air Force acquisition chief Will Roper said the frenzy to prevent a collapse of key suppliers during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic must prompt the DoD to develop a supply chain strategy that incentivizes industry to build a more diverse and resilient supply chain.
  • There are now 6,356 active COVID-19 cases within the VA health system, an 11 percent increase in the last week.
    • VA Sec. Robert Wilkie said the department is handling the recent nationwide spike in COVID-19 cases and is preparing for a potentially larger wave of cases in the Fall.
  • The Army became the first military service to surpass 7,000 COVID-19 cases, less than a week after reaching 6,000. There are over 21,000 total cases across the five services.
  • U.S. military bases in Japan reported three new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases associated with a cluster outbreak on two Marine bases there to 136.
  • 740 military medical and support personnel are deploying to Texas and California to aid the states’ COVID-19 responses as cases continue to rise. Troops from the Army, Navy, and Air Force were sent at the request of FEMA and state officials.
  • There are now 94 positive COVID-19 cases across multiple military bases on the Okinawa prefecture, where a cluster outbreak surfaced last week.
  • VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said the agency’s telehealth services at Walmart stores will expand in areas with limited access to VA hospitals.
  • The U.S. military is sending around 50 medical and support personnel to the San Antonio area to provide assistance amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in Texas.
  • The Space Force has revoked six stimulus contracts designed to aid small launch providers after the contracts were awarded on June 16th. The Space and Missile Systems Center released a statement saying the government “is re-evaluating its strategy on how best to proceed with this action”.
  • Soldiers with the Florida National Guard supported local and state authorities operating two community-based COVID-19 testing sites in Broward County amid surging cases in the state.
    • There are still more than 30,000 National Guardsmen activated for the COVID-19 pandemic response and the head of the National Guard Bureau said there is no sign of slowing down soon.
  • Lockheed Martin has sent $1.1 billion in accelerated payments to support its network of suppliers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The defense contracting company has also hired 8,300 employees since March and plans to hire 3,200 more before the end of the year.
  • The deliveries of new submarines and helicopters from Europe and the U.S. to Singapore have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • U.S. Forces Korea reported three new COVID-19 cases involving personnel arriving from the U.S.
  • The DoD and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) today signed a joint memorandum of agreement to spend $100 million of the department's CARES Act money to subsidize federal loans to ensure domestic industrial-based capabilities that support the national COVID-19 response.
  • Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord said nearly all companies of the defense industrial base have reopened for business after closing for COVID-19.
    • The full press conference with Undersecretary Lord can be found here.
  • All four U.S. public shipyards will begin the process of phasing out administrative leave options for high-risk and immuno-compromised individuals on June 24th.
  • A study at the Army Public Health Center found that most active-duty soldiers who became seriously ill after contracting COVID-19 had underlying health conditions such as obesity and high blood pressure.
  • The Army will launch an effort later this month to sign up 10,000 recruits in three days. “Army National Hiring Days” seeks to fill the shortage of recruits caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Seven service members deployed to Andersen Air Force base on Guam have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The Marine Corps loosened COVID-19 restrictions for military personnel stationed at Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji in Japan.
  • All personnel at Misawa Air Base in northern Japan were told to shelter in place for 24 hours after members of a visiting aircrew were confirmed to have COVID-19.
  • The DoD updated its list of locations that meet conditions to lift travel restrictions, subject to the assessment of conditions at individual installations within the areas.
  • There were nearly 1,000 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed among troops, civilians, dependents, and contractors with the DoD this week.
  • The DoD’s “Ventilator Challenge” has identified five prototype low-cost ventilators, including CorVent by Coridea, BLU3 Vent by BLU3, iBreather by L3 Harris, FieldVent by Northrop Grumman, and the NAVSEA PRE-Vent by the U.S. Navy. Upon receipt of FDA Emergency Use Authorization, the five designs will be available for production and fielding.
  • Medical professionals are testing all inbound U.S. military personnel within two hours of their arrival in South Korea.
  • The shipments of troops’ personal belongings have rebounded to about 80 percent of historical norms for this time of year and could reach 100 percent within weeks, after dropping to 30 percent or less in March when the Pentagon ordered a halt to most global moves.
  • The Honor Flight Network, which sends veterans to tour the war memorials in Washington, D.C., is canceling all trips through the end of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Joint Base Langley-Eustis conducted mass rapid oral fluid COVID-19 testing of 7,800 joint active duty personnel. The novel oral swab COVID-19 test from Curative Inc. is expected to aid operational readiness while protecting service members during the pandemic.
  • Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord said the DoD may be forced to take funds from its modernization and readiness accounts if Congress does not backfill billions of dollars in pandemic-related claims.
    • Lord’s full testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on defense industrial base challenges can be found here.
  • Army Futures commander Gen. John Murray said he is determining which of the service’s 34 top-priority programs the service may cut back or eliminate due to the budget impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) will propose a billion-dollar pandemic response and preparedness fund in his committee’s version of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.
  • The DoD has lifted travel restrictions in 39 states and five host nations.
  • The aircraft carrier Nimitz and portions of its strike group deployed today. In accordance with the Navy’s new COVID-19 regulations for ships at sea, sailors assigned to the strike group were quarantined on land for 14 days and tested for COVID-19 prior to boarding.
  • The Pennsylvania National Guard has assembled a task force to conduct point prevalence sampling at nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the commonwealth.
  • Leaders on the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees introduced the Veterans Economic Recovery Act to provide rapid retraining programs for veterans who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Reps. Mike Levin (D-CA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Chair and Ranking Members of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, introduced legislation to expand and strengthen VA services for homeless veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • At least 171 Air Force pilots have been approved to stay past their original retirement or separation dates as the traditionally higher-paying commercial airline industry struggles amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • President Trump announced he will extend National Guard orders authorizing domestic COVID-19 response missions through mid-August amid concerns that a previous end date would have complicated state support missions and denied the Guardsmen benefits.
  • Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Mark Milley said some service members who test positive for antibodies may be asked to donate plasma for treatment of their fellow troops.
  • The Air Force has delayed the date airmen are required to wear certain parts of the new Operational Camouflage Uniform in an effort to reduce stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The U.S. Army’s newest short-range air defense system, the Interim Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (IM-SHORAD), will be delayed due to COVID-19.
    • Army acquisition head Bruce Jette said programs in the two largest categories of acquisition programs remain on track for first unit equipped.
  • VA Sec. Robert Wilkie defended the Department’s use of hydroxychloroquine on veterans and promised to continue offering the drug to COVID-19 patients who have no other option.
  • The DoD has begun lifting its stop-movement order issued across the Department in March. States, districts, and territories will be evaluated based on the White House’s reopening plan with troops and their families allowed to travel once their location is deemed safe. A fact sheet on the DoD’s travel restrictions can be found here.
  • Officials from the National Guard Association of the United States pressed Congress to act quickly on pending bipartisan legislation that would provide Guardsmen and their families with six months of Tricare coverage after they leave federal Title 32 active duty.
  • VA Sec. Robert Wilkie is scheduled to testify on Thursday before a House Appropriations subcommittee on the VA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • VA officials said they plan to continue using hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients despite medical studies showing significant health risks associated with the drug. The decision comes as active cases of COVID-19 continue to drop at department hospitals while deaths connected to the illness keep increasing. 
  • Largely due to the dent in manpower from COVID-19, the general helming Army Recruiting Command is preparing a massive virtual hiring event this summer after the Army’s 245th birthday on June 14th.
  • Travel restrictions and closures related to COVID-19 hit CAE’s civil training and defense segments, fueling a 44.3 percent decline in net income in its fourth quarter. 
  • Director of the DoD’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan said the military’s AI efforts could play a significant role in tracking and spotting pandemics in the future.
  • Defense Sec. Mark Esper issued guidance that allows military base commanders to begin planning returning to normal operations in the COVID-19 environment.
  • Defense Under Sec. for Personnel and Readiness Matthew Donovan said the military expects a manning shortfall this year as the COVID-19 pandemic requires the services to reduce their intake of new troops.
  • VA researchers are launching clinical trials to see whether cancer prostate drug Degarelix (also labeled Firmagon) could help prevent adverse health effects from COVID-19 in men.
  • The USNS Mercy departed Los Angeles after nearly six weeks of assisting the area’s COVID-19 response.
  • Five sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt tested positive again for COVID-19 after they had already recovered and were allowed to return to the ship.
  • President Trump’s nominee for Navy Secretary, Kenneth Braithwaite, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
    • Mr. Braithwaite vowed to improve public trust in leadership of the service after years of controversies including a recent COVID-19 outbreak aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.
  • The Military Entrance Processing Command updated its policy for accessing COVID-19 survivors, loosening restrictions to prohibit accession to only those who were hospitalized because of complications.
  • House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) said service members should expect a 3 percent pay raise starting next January under the White House’s federal budget plan.
  • The Navy League today began a five-day virtual conference featuring top Navy leaders outlining research and procurement opportunities for small businesses. The virtual conference takes place daily from 3:00 PM-4:00 PM ET.
  • Defense Secretary Esper held a virtual conversation with the Brookings Institution on U.S. defense policy, readiness amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and the investments needed to fight the wars of the future
    • Sec. Esper warned that the U.S. military must adapt to the “new normal” of coronavirus or face larger impacts to readiness in years to come.
  • Boeing said it expects a $168 million cost overrun on the new Air Force One plans due to workforce shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Three major defense contractors reported that they are bracing for economic losses from the COVID-19 pandemic. Boeing and General Dynamics both reported sizable revenue decreases in the first quarter of 2020, while Northrop Grumman reduced its projections for the full year by nearly $400 million due to supply chain disruptions.
  • The USNS Comfort has left Manhattan after spending the last month supporting the region’s COVID-19 efforts.
  • The Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds will be conducting flyovers over Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta on Saturday to honor essential workers and health care personnel. D.C. residents can expect the flyover at 11:45 am, lasting approximately 20 minutes.
  • The U.S. Naval Academy announced this year’s commissioning events will be held over a 10-day period with graduating midshipmen separated into five groups to comply with social distancing measures.
  • There are now 47 confirmed COVID-19 cases among sailors aboard the destroyer USS Kidd, the second Navy ship with a COVID-19 outbreak. The destroyer, which only saw its first confirmed COVID-19 case on April 23rd, is expected to port in San Diego this week to conduct deep cleaning.
  • The USNS Mercy offloaded its last remaining patients this weekend as it prepares to leave Manhattan for its homeport in Norfolk, Virginia. As of Saturday, the 1,000-bed hospital ship had treated just 182 patients.
  • Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday recommended that Capt. Brett Crozier be restored to command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Capt. Crozier was relieved of duty April 2nd following the leak of his memo pleading to Navy officials for help with a COVID-19 outbreak on the carrier.
    • As of today, 840 sailors assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The USS Kidd, a Navy destroyer operating near South America, has been forced into port after 18 sailors tested positive for COVID-19.
    • This marks the second such instance involving a deployed naval warship sidelined due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Army Sec. Ryan McCarthy said the service expects no delay in the fielding of future weapons despite supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Sec. McCarthy also said a “rigorous” review of acquisition programs for the 2022 budget request is still on schedule.
  • The DoD reported 3,725 confirmed COVID-19 cases among service members, up 147 from yesterday. The military’s infection rate – 1,773-per-million – is lower than that of the general population – 2,545-per-million.
    • With 100 percent of the USS Theodore Roosevelt’s 4,800-sailor crew tested for the virus, 840 tests have come back positive.
  • The Army said nearly 250 enlisted and officers have requested to withdraw their retirements or resignations as the service offers voluntary extensions to service contracts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A study across VA hospitals nationwide found no evidence that hydroxychloroquine reduced the risk of mechanical ventilation in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Twenty-eight percent of patients who received the drug died, compared with 11 percent of patients who received standard care.
    • The fatality rate among VA patients who contract the virus – 6.5 percent – continues to be higher than the general public – 5 percent.
  • The Marine Corps is cancelling the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) requirement for this semi-annual period in accordance with COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
  • The Professional Services Council will host a virtual meeting tomorrow to discuss implementation issues regarding the DoD Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) program.
  • The DoD expects to see a three-month delay across the majority of its Major Defense Acquisition Program (MDAP) portfolio due to workforce shortages and supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A DoD spokesperson said most companies in its supply chain will be able to maintain the new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) for $1,000 per year or less. Under the program, companies will be required to obtain a CMMC assessment from a third-party auditing firm and then a subsequent certification from the newly established CMMC accreditation body before they can win defense contracts. DoD hopes to have CMMC certifications in every defense contract by 2025. 
  • The Navy has established a “rapid action team” to help implement new technologies in shipyards and aboard ships in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team will help Naval Sea Systems Command approve the use of new technology to ensure compliance with health guidelines.
  • For the first time, the number of new recoveries among service members – 155 – exceeded the number of new cases – 100. Twenty percent of the 2,889 troops diagnosed so far have recovered.
  • The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is testing three COVID-19 vaccine prototypes on small animals and is preparing to select one candidate for initial human testing.
  • Dozens of House and Senate Democrats sent a letter to DOJ, DoD, and DHS urging the Trump Administration to halt construction on the southern border wall during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • DHS and USDA announced a temporary rule change that allows H-2A petitioners with a valid temporary labor certification to employ certain foreign workers who are currently in H-2A status immediately after USCIS receives the H-2A petition. The rule change also allows H-2A workers to stay beyond the three-year maximum allowable period of stay in the U.S.
  • There are now over 2,800 confirmed COVID-19 cases among service members, up 8 percent from yesterday. DoD’s total COVID-19 cases, which includes troops, civilians, dependents and contractors, is 5,088.
    • DoD continues to provide daily updates on total cases across the Department, but does not disclose specific figures at the unit, installation, or combatant command level, citing the need for “operational security.”
  • The sailor who was aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt and moved to the ICU last week has died from COVID-19. The Navy today reported 585 confirmed COVID-19 cases on USS Theodore Roosevelt, up from roughly 400 on Friday.
  • DoD on Saturday authorized its first Defense Production Act Title 3 project responding to COVID-19 with a $133 million investment to increase U.S. domestic N95 mask production by 39 million over the next 90 days. Title 3 of the Defense Production Act allows the president “to incentivize the domestic industrial base to expand the production and supply of critical materials and goods.”

International Affairs

International Affairs

  • Here is the most recent (10/16) edition of the WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Update.
  • A total of 184 countries have now joined the Covax facility, which aims to finance vaccines to be distributed fairly to both rich and poor countries. Ecuador and Uruguay are the most recent countries to join.
  • The U.N. said it plans to stockpile one billion syringes around the world by the end of 2021, to be used for the delivery of any future coronavirus vaccine. UNICEF plans to stockpile 520 billion syringes in its warehouses by the end of the year.
  • Chinese health authorities investigating a recent COVID-19 outbreak say they have discovered live coronavirus on frozen food packaging, a finding that suggests the virus can survive in cold supply chains.
  • Coronavirus cases continue to surge across Europe as leaders scramble to simultaneously slow the pandemic’s spread and compile resources to help treat the many people falling ill.
  • French health authorities said the number of people treated in intensive care units for COVID-19 has gone beyond the 2,000 threshold on Monday, a first since May 17.
  • At least half of India’s 1.3 billion people are likely to have been infected with coronavirus by next February, helping slow the spread of the disease, according to a member of a federal government committee tasked with providing projections.
  • After almost five months of a strict lockdown and dusk-to-dawn curfew, authorities in Kenya last month eased the restrictions meant to curb the spread of the pandemic. But on Sunday, Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said the relaxation of the rules could lead to a second wave of COVID-19. He said the percentage of positive test results had increased this month, after restrictions were lifted, and admissions to intensive care units had increased in recent days.
  • A temporary national lockdown will be put into place in Wales.
  • Ireland will move to the highest level of COVID-19 restrictions under the government’s five-tier roadmap for dealing with the virus.
  • Belgium has imposed a nationwide overnight curfew beginning today.
  • Switzerland has made wearing face masks compulsory in indoor public spaces and limited in-person public gatherings to no more than 15 people.
  • Italian Prime minister Giuseppe Conte announced new measures over the weekend that allow mayors to close public squares after 9 PM, permitting access only to reach homes or businesses.
  • The Polish government announced Monday that it will turn the country’s national stadium into a field hospital capable of treating up to 500 patients at a time. In the past day, more than 7,000 people have tested positive for the virus in Poland, marking a positivity rate higher than 20 percent.
  • In Australia, restrictions in Melbourne have been eased, with residents no longer limited in the time they can spend away from home for education or socializing. Restrictions allowing people to travel three miles from home have been increased to 15 miles, and outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people from two households will be allowed. The partial reopening of shops, bars and restaurants will begin on Nov. 2.
  • Twenty-five crew members aboard a livestock carrier docked at a port in Western Australia have tested positive for the coronavirus. The ship, the Al Messilah, has 52 crew members, and the authorities warned that further positive test results were possible.
  • Restrictions on all nonessential travel at U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico remain in place until Nov. 21, U.S. Acting Homeland Security Sec. Chad Wolf said Monday.
  • Public Safety Minister Bill Blair also announced Monday that Canada will extend the border restrictions until Nov. 21.
  • Panama is the latest country to offer travelers a COVID-19 test when they arrive at its main airport, a little less than a week after resuming international flights following a seven-month suspension due to the pandemic.
  • A “test-and-release” system to cut the quarantine period for international arrivals to the U.K. should be in place by Dec. 1, Transportation Sec. Grant Shapps said.
  • South Africa’s health minister Zweli Mkhize and his wife have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Global Cases: 39,944,882               Total Deaths: 1,111,998
  • You can view the WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Update here and the Operational Update here
  • The weekly number of new coronavirus cases in Europe is now at its highest point since the start of the pandemic. The number of confirmed cases in Europe rose by a million to seven million in just 10 days.
  • As a thick quilt of smog wrapped itself around New Delhi on Thursday, signaling the start of the fall pollution season, doctors and scientists warned that the deteriorating air quality could make the city’s COVID-19 problems even worse. India currently ranks second in number of coronavirus cases globally, following the U.S.
  • Scientists in Chile are investigating a possible mutation of the coronavirus in southern Patagonia, where there has been an unusually contagious second wave of infections in recent weeks.
  • Mexico has confirmed its first case of a patient testing positive for both COVID-19 and the flu.
  • Young, healthy people should be prepared to wait more than a year to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, the WHO’s chief scientist said Wednesday.
  • Prime Minister Jean Castex of France extended to the entire country health restrictions that had so far been imposed only in areas hard-hit by the virus. Starting Saturday, all restaurants will have to follow a strict health protocol that includes keeping registers of customers for contact-tracing and keeping seating to no more than six per table. Private parties will be forbidden in public spaces, and rules to encourage social distancing, such as limiting the number of spectators or visitors in cultural venues or customers in shopping centers, will be enforced throughout the country.
  • The U.K. will impose tougher COVID-19 restrictions on London beginning at midnight on Friday. Household mixing indoors will be banned and public transport use discouraged, but businesses will remain open.
  • The Israeli government voted Thursday to lift some elements of its lockdown as the country’s number of new coronavirus cases continued to decline. The decision, which will go into effect on Sunday, will permit Israelis to go more than 1,000 meters beyond their homes without the need for a special reason, order takeout from restaurants, visit beaches, send their children to day care centers and kindergartens, and reopen some businesses. Other restrictions, including school closures and bans on the opening of bars, restaurants, malls, and event halls, will remain in place.
  • Spain will close bars and restaurants across Catalonia for the next 15 days following a surge in cases, as the country tackles one of the highest rates of infection in Europe. All bars and restaurants in the region will be limited to a takeaway and delivery service for two weeks from Thursday night. Shops and markets will operate at 30 percent capacity, gyms, cinemas, and theatres at 50 percent, and children’s play areas will close at 8 PM.
  • Portugal announced new virus restrictions on Thursday, including a five-person limit on public gatherings, after a rise in new cases.
  • The Czech Republic will start building capacity for COVID-19 patients outside of hospitals as the country faces the fastest rate of infections in Europe.
  • Officials in Singapore and Hong Kong said that they had reached a preliminary agreement to establish a travel bubble between the two Asian financial centers, allowing travelers of all kinds to bypass quarantine. Under the agreement, travelers must test negative for the virus and fly only on designated flights. Officials did not say when the bubble would begin.
  • In an interview yesterday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country is committed to keeping the border closed until the U.S. gets control of COVID-19.
  • Eleven members of the Swiss Guard have tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting fears of an outbreak within the small corps charged with protecting the pope.
  • Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, went into quarantine for a second time in two weeks after being exposed to the virus.
  • Two officials in Qingdao, China, have been fired amid a new virus outbreak there, the city government said on Thursday. The director of the health commission and the president of the Qingdao Chest Hospital are under investigation after six confirmed infections and six asymptomatic cases were linked to the hospital.
  • Global Cases: 38,394,169               Total Deaths: 1,089,047
  • You can view the WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Update here and the Operational Update here
  • The Chinese city of Qingdao is testing all of its 9.5 million residents after it recorded the country’s first locally transmitted cases of the virus in almost two months.
  • Human trials of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine have begun in the UAE, the Kremlin said yesterday. The trials in the UAE are the second trials of the Sputnik V vaccine abroad, following the launch of trials in Belarus. Scientists around the world are skeptical of the safety and efficacy of the vaccine due to its small trials and rapid development. 
  • The Dutch government has ordered bars and restaurants to close in an effort to stem a surge in COVID-19 cases. Additionally, there is a ban on alcohol sales after 8 PM, and a limit on the number of people who can attend household gatherings.
  • Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte announced new restrictions on gatherings, restaurants, sports, and school activities to help control the rapidly increasing number of infections.
  • As case numbers rise in Europe, the E.U. adopted new guidelines aimed at coordinating members’ varying travel measures. The bloc will now use a single map with a color-coded system to denote the scale of outbreaks: green at the low end of risk, orange in the middle and red at the high end.
  • At the end of last week, the number of coronavirus infections in France jumped over 20,000 in one day for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Today, the French healthcare system's chief said hospitals in Paris could fill 90 percent of ICU beds as early as next week.
  • Spain declared a state of emergency to help keep Madrid in partial lockdown measures. 
  • Canadian health officials have said Canadian children can go trick-or-treating on Halloween, despite being in the middle of a second wave of COVID-19, as long as they practice physical distancing, wear masks, and wash their hands.
  • In the Czech Republic, where there have been more cases per capita in the last week than almost all other countries in Europe, schools will close Wednesday. 
  • Eighteen members of Tunisia’s Parliament have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Germany added Munich to its list of coronavirus “red” zones yesterday, triggering new COVID-19 restrictions as the country deals with a rise in cases.
  • Global Cases: 37,704,153     Total Deaths: 1,079,029
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that his close relatives and other people in his inner circle have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, as Russia races to cement itself as the first country with an effective method of wiping out the disease.
  • People who were asymptomatic accounted for 86 percent of the people who tested positive for COVID-19 in a U.K. sample population during lockdown, a study showed, meaning the country’s current policy of only testing people with symptoms might miss many cases.
  • Hospitals in the Paris region have moved into emergency mode, canceling staff holidays and postponing non-essential operations, as coronavirus patients made up close to half of all patients in intensive care units.
  • Defiance of coronavirus rules in rural India is propelling the nation’s virus caseload toward the top spot globally. In many villages, no one is wearing masks, there is no social distancing, and people are refusing to get tested. India currently has 6.8 million cases of the virus, the second highest in the world after the U.S.
  • A Madrid court struck down a government order imposing a partial coronavirus lockdown on the Spanish capital, ruling in favor of the Madrid region in a standoff with national authorities. Under the health ministry’s order, Madrid regional authorities on Friday barred residents from leaving the area, including nine satellite town and imposed other measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in one of Europe’s worst virus hotspots.
  • The Czech government will close indoor sports facilities and culture venues for two weeks beginning Monday to slow the spread of new coronavirus infections. Restaurants will have to close at 8 PM, and pupils in the upper level of elementary schools will alternate between in-class and distance learning, government officials said.
  • Saudi Arabia’s minister of education, Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al Shaikh, announced distance learning will continue until the end of the first term of the educational year after evaluating the situation in the past weeks.
  • Kenya has begun a phased reopening of schools almost eight months after authorities suspended classes because of the pandemic. The country’s education secretary, George Magoha, announced on Tuesday that public and private schools would reopen for students in grades four, eight and 12 starting Monday.
  • Sweden will postpone plans to let more people attend sport events and concerts due to rising coronavirus cases both within the country and around Europe.
  • Bars, restaurants, and other businesses in Berlin, Germany will be forced to close between 11 PM and 6 AM, starting this weekend, in an effort to combat COVID-19.
  • First minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a nationwide ban on drinking indoors in licensed premises in Scotland for more than two weeks, with a full shutdown of all premises across the central belt where infection rates are accelerating most rapidly.
  • Poland will make face masks mandatory in public spaces starting Saturday in response to a second day of record-high case numbers.
  • New Zealand moved to lift the last of its restrictions in Auckland after 10 days with no new cases linked to a cluster that first surfaced in August. The government will now allow unrestricted gatherings and trips on public transit without social distancing or masks.
  • With coronavirus cases surging in Malaysia to their highest levels since the pandemic began, the prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, has placed himself in quarantine and acknowledged that a recent election campaign was one of the causes of the spike.
  • Thailand is pushing back plans to receive its first batch of foreign tourists due to administrative issues, a senior official said, adding to uncertainty about when it will welcome back visitors vital to its economy.
  • Japan plans to lift travel bans next month on people going to China and 11 other countries, including Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Japan has banned travel to 159 countries and regions.
  • Singapore has approved COVID-19-secure cruise holidays to nowhere, in the latest attempt to offer a long-distance travel experience, albeit with no stops, and revive its tourism sector.
  • Global Cases: 36,002,827     Total Deaths: 1,049,810
  • View the WHO's Weekly Operational Update here and the Epidemiological Update here
  • Britain’s government has launched an investigation into why a technical issue with its test-and-trace program had not been identified sooner. The country reported a jump in COVID-19 cases after a technical issue meant that more than 15,000 test results had not been transferred into computer systems, used by contact tracers, on time.
  • The Brazilian military has wrapped up a three-week operation that provided medical care to the Amazon’s Guajajara tribe hit by COVID-19, in response to criticism from Human Rights Watch and the Indigenous Missionary Council that Brazil was not protecting vulnerable indigenous people from the pandemic.
  • Around 1 in 10 people worldwide may have contracted the coronavirus, the director of the WHO’s Emergencies Program, Mike Ryan, said Monday, citing the organization’s “best estimates.”
  • Iceland announced new coronavirus-related restrictions during the weekend, following a spike in cases in recent weeks despite the island’s early success in limiting the spread of the virus. The government ordered bars, gyms and some other businesses to close and is limiting most gatherings to 20 people, down from prior restrictions that capped events at 200.
  • European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Monday that she will self-quarantine until Tuesday, after being informed that she had “participated in a meeting last Tuesday attended by a person who yesterday tested positive for COVID-19.” 179 European Commission staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
  • As confirmed new coronavirus cases have climbed to more than 10,000 per day in Russia, Moscow schools will switch to a distance-learning format just one month after classes resumed.
  • All bars in Paris and surrounding areas will close starting Tuesday for a period of at least two weeks amid a resurgence of COVID-19 in France.
  • Ireland’s government has rejected a surprise recommendation from its National Public Health Emergency Team to go into lockdown and will instead tighten current COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Malaysian prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin will self-quarantine for 14 days after a minister who attended a high-level government meeting to discuss coronavirus developments on Saturday tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Iran’s COVID-19 crisis worsened today, with a record number of deaths and new infections, as the capital, Tehran, went into partial shutdown for a week.
  • Argentina has the world’s highest rate of positive COVID-19 tests, with nearly six out of 10 testing positive, a reflection of low testing levels and loose enforcement of lockdown rules.
  • Authorities in the northwestern Spanish region of Castilla y León have announced that the cities of Palencia and León will be placed in partial lockdown for two weeks beginning Tuesday following a surge in cases.
  • New Zealand will lift restrictions on Auckland, its most populous city, from midnight on Wednesday, joining the rest of the nation. Restrictions had been reinstated after a cluster of infections emerged, but after the city reported no new infections for 10 consecutive days, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that a second wave there had almost certainly been “eliminated.”
  • Global Cases: 35,109,317 cases       Total Deaths: 1,035,341 deaths
  • WHO has finalized approval for a second antigen-based rapid diagnostic test, giving it emergency use listing.
  • The government of Sao Paulo state in Brazil has asked health regulator Anvisa to register for use the COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech, governor João Doria said, a major step in what could be one of the first vaccination programs in the Americas.
  • South African soldiers deployed to enforce one of the world’s strictest lockdowns have returned to barracks as new coronavirus infections slowed. President Cyril Ramaphosa initially mobilized 2,820 soldiers in late March to help police enforce the confinement measures. But a month later he deployed 73,000 extra troops to help implement the nationwide lockdown.
  • Canada will ease some border restrictions next Thursday to allow for more family reunifications, and plans to allow some new international students to attend learning institutions.
  • Authorities ordered the lockdown of more than 100 towns and villages across Lebanon after hundreds of people tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days amid a shortage of hospital beds.
  • The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started a safety review after some patients taking coronavirus drug remdesivir reported serious kidney problems. The EU regulator said it is not clear “whether remdesivir was causing the acute kidney injury but that the issue warrants further investigation.”
  • The French government Thursday announced a set of measures it said it was ready to impose to contain a rapid resurgence of COVID-19. For weeks, the country has relied on a regional system to implement restrictions in areas where transmission rates of the virus are high. Yesterday, Health Minister Olivier Véran said Paris could soon join the “maximum” risk category, which would mean another complete shutdown of bars, restaurants, and cafes.
  • Madrid’s regional authorities will shortly put the Spanish capital and nine nearby towns under partial lockdown, with immediate effect. With 859 cases per 100,000 people, the Madrid region is the worst COVID-19 hotspot in Europe.
  • Face masks will have to be worn at all times outdoors in the Italian capital, Rome, and the surrounding Lazio region, starting this weekend.
  • Pakistani authorities have closed more than 100 restaurants and six wedding halls in Karachi over violations of social distancing rules amid a sudden increase in COVID-19 deaths.
  • Denmark will cull around 1 million mink after finding further coronavirus infections among the animals at farms that breed them for their fur, authorities said. The Nordic country is the world’s largest producer of mink – small, lithe mammals with brown-black fur used to make coats and scarves.
  • Global Cases: 34,161,721 cases       Total Deaths: 1,016,986 deaths
  • South Africa will begin allowing some international tourists to enter the country on Thursday for the first time since its national lockdown took effect in March.
  • A health official in Russia said that early clinical trials have been completed on a second vaccine, moving it closer to registration under the Russian approach of approving vaccines for emergency use before beginning late-stage trials to determine whether they are effective. Russia registered its first COVID-19 vaccine — one based on common cold viruses — in August and is now offering a small number of doses outside of trials to people at elevated risk of infection, like health care workers.
  • A former president and opposition politician in Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, announced on Wednesday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus amid a flurry of virus-related disruptions to Ukrainian politics.
  • South Korea said today that it will impose a fine of up to $85 on anyone caught without a mask in high-risk areas like outdoor gatherings and on public transportation, starting on Oct. 13.
  • Peru will restart international flights to some regional countries as it aims to lift coronavirus restrictions and reopen its economy. Flights to 11 destinations in Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Panama will resume on Oct. 5. Health protocols including coronavirus tests for passengers arriving to Peru will be mandatory.
  • Chilean health authorities have approved the start of clinical trials for coronavirus vaccines under development by China’s Sinovac and Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical unit Janssen.
  • Madrid’s regional authorities do not agree with the central government’s plans to lock down the capital city in the coming days, regional health chief Enrique Ruiz Escudero said during a news conference, saying the decision was not valid legally.
  • Turkey’s health minister appeared to acknowledge that the government does not publish the full number of daily positive COVID-19 cases but only those who are symptomatic, while refuting a claim that the case number had been 19 times the official figure.
  • Today, India’s federal government allowed states to reopen schools and other educational institutions, as well as movie theatres, even as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the country.
  • The Italian Senate has been suspended after two members fell ill with COVID-19. Parliamentary activity was suspended after Marco Croatti and Francesco Mollame, from the ruling Five Star Movement, tested positive.
  • The Czech Republic is to enter a state of emergency to control a surge in cases. The measure will be in place from Monday and will last for 30 days.
  • Colombia’s land and water borders will remain closed until Nov. 1, the country’s migration agency said on Wednesday, in an effort to stem coronavirus infections.
  • Norway will allow most amateur team sports to resume and larger crowds at matches in mid-October, as the government eases nationwide restrictions to control the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Slovakia’s government has approved a state emergency to help combat a spike in new coronavirus cases.
  • India's Vice President Venkaiah Naidu has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a tweet posted on his official Twitter account.
  • The incidence rates of the novel coronavirus in Paris, Lyon and Lille have exceeded the threshold of 250 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants set by the government.
  • Canada's daily COVID-19 case count has reached a level not seen since the peak of daily cases in April, Canada's chief public-health official Dr. Theresa Tam said on Wednesday.
  • The U.N. and its partners today received a influx of donations as governments, private sector, civil society, and international organizations committed support to the Access to COVID-19 Tools- (ACT) Accelerator initiative launched by the WHO alongside international partners. Nearly $1 billion in new financing has been committed to the initiative, which the WHO refers to as, "the world’s most comprehensive multilateral end-to-end solution to the devastating COVID-19 pandemic."
  • Global Cases: 33,502,430     Total Deaths: 1,004,421 deaths 
  • The WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Update can be found here
  • A new arrangement will allow for around 120 million rapid coronavirus tests to be distributed to low- and middle-income countries over the next six months, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced today. 
  • Greece on Sunday confirmed the first COVID-19 fatality in one of the country’s increasingly overburdened migrant and refugee camps. 
  • People who do not self-isolate in England will now face fines of up to 10,000 pounds, or almost $13,000 USD, as the nation battles a second coronavirus wave. 
  • Government officials in Marseille and Aix-en-Provence ordered bars, cafes, and restaurants to close for 15 days starting last evening. They are currently the only two cities in France under the new order.  
  • India’s coronavirus caseload has surpassed six million. 
  • A cruise ship carrying more than 1,500 people was turned back from the Greek island of Milos in the Aegean Sea after 12 crew members tested positive for COVID-19. The Mein Schiff 6, which sails under the flag of Malta, left Crete on Sunday and was off the coast of Milos early on Monday when the test results were released. 
  • The municipal government in Beijing announced new procedures to allow medical personnel to bypass their bosses in reporting health emergencies directly to hotlines and government agencies. The rules are supposed to protect whistle-blowers’ identities and shield them from any retaliation. 
  • The next Group of 20 summit meeting, which was scheduled to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, will take place virtually on Nov. 21 and 22.  
  • With Zimbabwe’s coronavirus infections on the decline, schools are reopening, along with churches, bars, restaurants, airports and tourist attractions. Strict lockdowns designed to curb transmission are being replaced by a return to relatively normal life. 
  • A recent surge in infections in Morocco has led authorities to reinstitute strict lockdown measures. Marrakech is at a standstill, while police checks are part of the scenery in hard-hit Casablanca. In the northern city of Tangiers, military vehicles were deployed last month to help enforce measures there. Movement between the city and others was stopped, barring exceptional authorizations. 
  • Beijing’s Municipal Commerce Bureau called on frozen food importers to avoid importing goods from COVID-19 hotspots. 
  • A definitive count of coronavirus-related fatalities in Mexico will probably not be available for “a couple of years,” the country’s top health official predicted Sunday. As in most countries, Mexico’s official death toll — over 76,000 as of late last night, the fourth-highest total worldwide — is widely understood to be an undercount. 
  • Melbourne, the epicenter of the Australia’s largest coronavirus outbreak, will no longer be subject to a curfew after today.  
  • Kenya will extend its nightly COVID-19 curfew for another 60 days with shortened hours from 11 PM to 4 AM local time, but bars and the sale of alcohol in ordinary eateries will be permitted effective Tuesday. 
  • Global Cases: 33,034,598     Total Deaths: 996,342 deaths (reports now confirm this number has exceeded 1,000,000)
  • With the world fast approaching one million deaths officially related to COVID-19, a doubling of that number is “certainly unimaginable, but it’s not impossible,” WHO expert Mike Ryan said today.
  • Sweden, where a shutdown-free pandemic response prompted a global debate, is seeing another wave of COVID-19 cases, with the country’s state epidemiologist warning this week that it was heading in the “wrong direction” as winter approaches.
  • Because of new crowd size limits handed down by France Prime Minister Jean Castex for Paris and other cities, only 1,000 spectators will be allowed each day at the French Open, which begins Sunday.
  • Limits on the number of Australians who can return have spurred a growing uproar over the country’s hardline approach on COVID-19.
  • In an act of defiance, Syria's union of doctors announced last month that 61 physicians had died of the coronavirus in the span of just a few days. The disclosure contradicted the Syrian government, which had said a day earlier it had registered exactly 60 deaths in the entire country since March, and represented an uncharacteristic challenge to a state known for its tight control of information and severe intolerance for alternative views.
  • The economic fallout from the pandemic is propelling thousands of Tunisians to make the perilous Mediterranean journey in search of better living conditions, with the largest wave in nearly a decade reaching Italy's shores. The strict lockdown Tunisia imposed in March was largely successful in containing the outbreak, but the measures devastated the country’s already ailing economy.
  • The WHO warned that more than 80 percent of cases of COVID-19 in Africa could be asymptomatic.
  • Tokyo 2020 Olympic organizers are proposing to cut the number of officials at next year’s postponed Summer Games by 10-15 percent as part of a wider package of proposals aimed at reducing costs and streamlining the event for a post COVID-19 world.
  • Russia’s sovereign wealth fund (RDIF) says it has agreed to supply up to 35 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine to Uzbekistan. RDIF said in a statement that upon approval by Uzbekistan’s regulators, up to 10 million doses of the vaccine will be delivered to Tashkent-based pharmaceutical company Laxisam in 2020. As many as 25 million doses will be shipped in 2021.
  • South Korea will implement strengthened social distancing measures around the nation’s upcoming Chuseok holidays. Minister of Health Park Neung-hoo said in a briefing that restaurants and cafes with more than 20 seats in the Seoul metropolitan area will have to keep tables at a minimum distance of one meter apart unless dividers are installed. Movie theaters and internet cafes must leave one seat empty between clients.
  • India reported under 90,000 new cases for the fifth straight day. Based on the current rate of infection, India is expected within weeks to become the pandemic's worst-hit nation, surpassing the U.S.
  • The U.K. reported 6,634 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, its highest daily caseload since the start of the pandemic.
  • A Chinese health official said Friday that the country’s annual production capacity for coronavirus vaccines will top 1 billion doses next year, following an aggressive government support program for construction of new factories. Capacity is expected to reach 610 million doses by the end of this year.
  • The island kingdom of Bahrain has the highest number of active virus cases per million people in the Arab world, according to a tweet by the American University of Beirut’s Global Health Institute. Lebanon ranks second with 2,628 active cases per million.
  • Global Cases: 32,110,656     Total Deaths: 980,031
  • Here are the most recent editions of the WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Update and Operational Update.
  • U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday that Britain has reached a "perilous turning point" in the coronavirus pandemic as he introduced new curfews on pubs and restaurants in England and encouraged remote working — restrictions that could remain in place for six months. 
  • Finland launched a pilot program involving coronavirus-sniffing dogs at Helsinki Airport today, amid hopes that dogs could come to play a key role in screening for the virus. 
  • France raised its COVID-19 alert level in multiple areas across the country and authorities ramped up restrictions on public gatherings in several cities to ease pressure on its health system. The new measures will include the total closure of all bars and restaurants in the cities of Aix-en-Provence and Marseille, and a ban on public gatherings of more than 10 people in Paris and a handful of other French cities. 
  • The regional government of Madrid said today that it will request urgent military and logistics support from the central government to carry out tasks like setting up emergency tents for the homeless and disinfecting public areas. Spain is seeing a spike in cases centered in the capital, parts of which were again put under lockdown this week. 
  • Foreigners with valid residence permits for work, personal matters, and family reunions in China will be allowed to enter the country again without having to apply for new visas starting next week, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said today. Such foreign nationals have been barred since March. 
  • Yesterday, Saudi Arabia said Muslims will be allowed to perform the smaller, year-round pilgrimage starting October 4 as the kingdom gradually begins lifting restrictions that had been in place on Islam’s holiest site for the past seven months due to COVID-19. 
  • About 600 pubs that serve only drinks were allowed to reopen today in Northern Ireland for the first time in six months. 
  • Germany's coronavirus tracing app has been used to transmit 1.2 million test results from labs to users during its first 100 days, according to officials. The Corona-Warn-App, downloaded more than 18 million times since its launch in June, was touted by the government as a key tool in the country's effort to contain the spread of the virus. 
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that Canada is in a second wave of COVID-19 and warned that the country is on the brink of a fall season that could be much worse than the spring. 
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans for a strict, two-week nationwide lockdown in a bid to slow a raging coronavirus outbreak. 
  • Global Cases: 31,425,029     Total Deaths: 967,164
  • Here are the most recent editions of the WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Update and Operational Update.
  • Around the world, at least 73 countries are seeing surges in newly detected cases.
  • The WHO and partners said countries comprising more than 60 percent of the world’s population have signed up to its international initiative to buy coronavirus vaccines, but said they still need billions of dollars to pay for the shots.
  • New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced plans today to lift coronavirus-related restrictions for most of the country, saying the nation’s mystery outbreak that began in August appears to be largely under control.
  • Britain’s chief medical officers have raised the nation’s official COVID-19 alert level, meaning the virus is in general circulation and transmission rates are high.
  • Communities located on the U.S.-Canada border, which have reported no cases of COVID-19, are pushing for end to restrictions on cross-border travel for their community.
  • Hundreds of protesters gathered over the weekend in Madrid to demonstrate against the new lockdown measures. Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the president of the Madrid region, announced on Friday that 850,000 people would be placed in partial lockdown beginning today in order to stop an emerging second wave of COVID-19.
  • President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the U.N. failed in its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Iraq will bar entry to religious pilgrims due to COVID-19 according to its government health committee. The announcement comes just weeks ahead of a Shi'ite Muslim pilgrimage which is the largest annual religious gathering in the world.
  • Top government scientists in the U.K. warned that Britain could face 50,000 coronavirus cases a day by mid-October based on to its current trajectory.
  • Infections in France reached a new record-high this weekend with over 13,000 new cases in 24 hours. As a result of outbreaks, Italy added Paris and other parts of France to its COVID-19 blacklist.
  • Northern Ireland will apply restrictions imposed in some areas 10 days ago to the whole region in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and is open to considering collective action across the U.K, First Minister Arlene Foster said today.
  • The Taj Mahal, one of India’s most famous landmarks, reopened today after being closed for more than six months as part of efforts to curb the spread of the virus. India has the second-highest coronavirus caseload behind the U.S.
  • Global Cases: 30,949,804     Total Deaths: 959,116
  • There have now over 30 million cases of COVID-19 reported globally.
  • Iran's health ministry said 144 people had died and 3,049 had tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours. 
  • British prime minister Boris Johnson is raising the possibility of a new lockdown, including closing restaurants and pubs, as cases surge in a "second wave."
  • India has added more than 93,000 new cases a day on average over the last week.
  • President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala has tested positive for COVID-19, becoming at least the fourth Latin American leader to be infected during the pandemic.
  • Thousands of Hasidic pilgrims who set out to celebrate the Jewish New Year at the grave of a rabbi in Ukraine are heading home after being denied entry from Belarus due to virus travel restrictions.
  • New Zealand recorded no new cases of COVID-19 today for the first time in over a month, after an outbreak in Auckland had threatened the progress against the virus.
  • President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has extended a national state of emergency until September 2021. 
  • The U.S./Canada and U.S./Mexico nonessential travel bans have been extended for another month until October 21. 
  • China’s CanSino Biologics and a military-backed research institute are preparing to start clinical trials of a two-dose vaccine regimen after scientists raised concerns that their current one-dose treatment failed to produce a strong enough immune response. China's Sinopharm announced this week that it would provide emergency doses of one of its two trial vaccines to the United Arab Emirates.
  • Yves-François Blanchet, the leader of the separatist Bloc Québécois party in Canada, has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Global Cases: 30,055,710     Total Deaths: 943,433
  • U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, said today that COVID-19 is the world's top security threat. He went on to call for greater cooperation to develop and distribute an affordable vaccine, and criticized misinformation campaigns that could dissuade people from getting vaccinated.
  • Indian company Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories is the newest customer of Russia’s vaccine, which has been approved by the government but not yet fully been tested for safety and efficacy. Dr. Reddy’s agreed first to cooperate on clinical trials and, if they are successful, to buy 100 million doses.
  • Israeli reporters who had covered a large White House event were sent into quarantine upon returning home. 
  • India recorded its five millionth case yesterday, less than a month after hitting the three million mark. 
  • As cases in Madrid continue to increase, a health official from Madrid’s regional government warned that the capital was preparing to impose “selective lockdowns” in certain districts.
  • After six months, and in an effort to bring back tourists to boost the economy, Nepal is starting to allow mountaineers and trekkers back to the country.
  • The mayor of Paris announced that the city’s temporary expansion of bike lanes to facilitate travel during the pandemic would become permanent.
  • Global Cases: 29,444,198      Total Deaths: 931,321
  • Here is the most recent (9/14) edition of the WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Update.
  • Yesterday, the WHO reported the highest one-day increase in COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic with more than 308,000 new cases.
  • Antarctica remains the only continent with zero cases of COVID-19, but that could change as researchers begin to arrive in droves.
  • French cities Marseille and Bordeaux have imposed bans on gatherings of more than 10 people after authorities noted a concerning surge of cases in the cities and surrounding areas. Visits to retirement homes will also be more restricted.
  • The U.S. has relaxed its travel advisory for China and Hong Kong but is still warning Americans to “reconsider travel." In its updated guidance, the government said China and Hong Kong had resumed most business operations.
  • Former Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has left the hospital after nearly two weeks. He was previously admitted to be treated for pneumonia caused by COVID-19. He made an effort to warn Italians not to underestimate the gravity of the virus. 
  • India reported 92,071 new cases today, the fifth consecutive day that new cases exceeded 90,000 in the country.
  • British officials set stricter restrictions on gatherings, lowering the limit of people who can meet from 30 to six.
  • Dr. Jeannette Young, the chief health officer of Queensland, is under police protection because of death threats amid rising opposition to her pandemic policies. This is not an isolated case. Public health authorities around the world are facing death threats from people who are upset with their proposed restrictions. 
  • Israel will be returning to a nationwide lockdown for at least three weeks, starting on Friday.
  • On Saturday, Canada reported zero COVID-19 deaths for the first time since March 15 (which is the day I adopted my dog in anticipation of a long quarantine). 
  • Global Cases: 28,918,900      Total Deaths: 922,252
  • As cases continue to rise in France, government officials have chosen to focus on increasing testing capacity rather than implementing further lockdown measures.
  • India has reported a record 96,551 new cases, pushing the country’s total caseload above 4.5 million. The country has recorded more than 76,000 deaths from COVID-19.
  • Myanmar has implemented a lockdown for half of its largest city, Yangon, and halted travel between regions in an effort to halt the spread of the virus.
  • North Korea has given a shoot-to-kill order to its deployed crack troops along the border to prevent smugglers from introducing COVID-19 into its population.
  • Scientists from Imperial College London said that the prevalence of coronavirus infections doubled every eight days from late August to early September in England.
  • Things are so far, so good in Germany after the first month of in-person schooling. Even though 41 schools in Berlin were reported to have been affected in the first two weeks, there have been few transmissions within the schools themselves.
  • A new report from UNAIDS shows how countries grappling with COVID-19 are using the experience and infrastructure from the AIDS response to ensure a more robust response to both pandemics. COVID-19 and HIV: 1 moment, 2 epidemics, 3 opportunities—how to seize the moment to learn, leverage and build a new way forward for everyone’s health and rights shows that by identifying the dynamic changes needed, systems can be found that are effective, inclusive, equitable and sufficiently resourced.
  • Global Cases: 28,040,853      Total Deaths: 906,092
  • Here are the WHO's most recent weekly Epidemiological Update and Operational Update on COVID-19. 
  • Germany has extended its travel advisory to include all countries outside Europe through September 30. The foreign ministry said it will start to evaluate individual non-European destinations case by case, rather than issue another blanket warning, starting next month.
  • China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, said yesterday that the country’s success in suppressing its coronavirus outbreak was a vindication of Communist Party rule.
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that Britain will implement a ban on gatherings of more than six people starting next week in response to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases. 
  • French prime minister Jean Castex is self-isolating after he came into contact with the director of the Tour de France, who has tested positive. Mr. Castex tested negative on Tuesday, but he will isolate until being retested seven days after the contact took place. 
  • Japan approved a plan to spend more than $6 billion from its emergency budget reserves on coronavirus vaccines.
  • India surpassed Brazil to become the country with the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world behind the U.S.
  • On Tuesday, India's Health Ministry announced plans to open classrooms for high school students on a voluntary basis, and only with their parents’ approval, starting September 21. The vast majority of schoolchildren will continue to study online.
    • The Taj Mahal will also open for tourism on September 21, with access restricted to 5,000 people per day.
  • China’s biggest air show is scheduled to go ahead as planned in November, which is a backtracking of an earlier announcement that the event had been canceled because of the pandemic. 
  • Amid rapidly surging new virus cases each day, Turkey is requiring masks be worn in all public places, including offices, factories, and open-air places such as parks and beaches.
  • The U.N. confirmed the first known cases of COVID-19 among Syrian refugees in a camp in Jordan that houses around 40,000 people who fled fighting in Syria.
  • The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which has been on the front lines of the battle with COVID-19, decided to pull funding and shut down its coronavirus pandemic task force.
  • Hong Kong will expand the size of legal public gatherings to four from two on Friday, as the Chinese territory loosens restrictions that it imposed this summer to fight a third wave of infections. More sports and entertainment venues will also be allowed to reopen.
  • UNICEF survey conducted over the summer across 77 countries found that almost 68 percent of countries reported at least some disruption in health checks for children and immunization services because of the pandemic. In addition, 63 percent of countries reported disruptions in antenatal checkups and 59 percent in post-natal care.
  • Global Cases: 27,486,960      Total Deaths: 894,983
  • An Amnesty International report states that more than 7,000 health care workers have died from COVID-19 globally. Mexico has lost the most, with 1,320 health worker deaths. The U.S. is close behind with 1,077. Britain, Brazil, Russia, and India each have lost about 600 workers.
  • Thailand has gone 100 days without a reported case of local transmission, but its success has come at a steep financial cost. The country’s last reported case of community transmission was confirmed on May 24. Hundreds of cases have been found since then among residents returning from abroad, but all have been detected during the required 14-day quarantine periods. 
  • India reported 83,883 new cases on Thursday, breaking its own global record.
  • The Czech Republic reported its highest single-day increase today with 650 new cases.
  • Turkish officials said they will be placing restrictions on weddings and other social events amid a surge in new cases. The daily number of cases has reached almost 1,600 in the last week.
  • Jamaica plans to go ahead with in-person elections. On election day, all voters will be required to wear face masks and maintain social distancing at polling stations. Moreover, the government has hired 7,000 workers to help maintain other hygienic measures such as sanitizing pencils each time they’re used to fill out a ballot. While Jamaican voters traditionally dip a finger in ink to signal that they’ve cast a ballot, they'll instead be using germ-killing alcohol-based ink.
  • The WHO said today that the global effort to develop and equitably distribute a coronavirus vaccine will reserve 220 million doses for the African continent to ensure it is not left behind. The doses are expected to cover 20 percent of individuals on the continent and would be distributed to each country based on population size. Front-line health-care workers, the elderly, and those with preexisting conditions will likely have priority (in that order).
  • British Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the country’s COVID-19 testing system is working “well” despite British media reports that people are having to travel up to 100 miles to visit a test center because of shortages or lack of local access.
  • Brazil surpassed 4 million cases of COVID-19 today.
  • Former prime minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi has tested positive for COVID-19 after a “precautionary check."
  • Global Cases: 25,884,895      Total Deaths: 859,130
  • Spain has recorded more than 53,000 new cases in the last week. 
  • Students in Hong Kong will start school in person on September 23.
  • Greece issued a new directive temporarily suspending all passenger flights to the Catalonia region in Spain.
  • India now has the world’s third-highest COVID-19 death toll behind the U.S. and Brazil at 64,469 total deaths.
    • India's National Statistical Office said the country's economy contracted by nearly 24 percent in the first quarter of the 2020-2021 fiscal year, which ended in June, compared with the same quarter the previous year.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that his government has arranged to buy 76 million doses of a vaccine now under development by Novavax, and 38 million doses of a different proposed vaccine from Johnson & Johnson. Canada had already said they planned to buy 20 million doses of a Pfizer vaccine and 56 million doses of a Moderna vaccine
  • In New Zealand, officials reported nine new cases today, including four imported cases and five community cases linked to a cluster in Auckland. Today is also the first day when it is mandatory to wear masks on public transportation nationwide in New Zealand. 
  • Australia reported its highest daily death toll today, most of which were from the past month that had not been recorded earlier. Of the 41 deaths, eight were in the previous 24 hours. The rest were in nursing homes as early as late July, and are only just being counted because of a change in the way they are required to report COVID-19 deaths.
  • Global Cases: 25,118,689      Total Deaths: 844,312
  • According to new figures by UNICEF, at least a third of schoolchildren globally are unable to access remote learning when their schools are closed.
  • Lebanon will loosen its latest virus-related lockdown after outraged business owners said the rules in place since August 21 were untenable and exacerbating the country’s enormous economic suffering.
  • The British government said it would start to make payments to people in low-income areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases who have to quarantine but cannot work from home. Payments of up to 182 pounds (about $240) will be made to people who have tested positive for the virus as well as to their contacts if they meet certain criteria.
  • Demonstrations in by far-right groups against virus restrictions scheduled for the weekend in Berlin, Germany were canceled after city authorities said that they would most likely break social-distancing rules. 
  • Doctors in the public hospitals in Nairobi, Kenya have ended their strike over inadequate PPE, lack of insurance coverage, and withheld salaries. The Nairobi county government and the doctors’ union managed to agree to a deal addressing most of the health workers’ concerns.
  • South Korea reported 441 new cases today, its highest daily total since early March. The government has criticized doctors on strike and churches obstructing epidemiological efforts, claiming they are making it harder to fight COVID-19.
  • In Paris, face masks will be required in all public places beginning tomorrow morning.
  • Four prominent Hungarian politicians, including two ministers, have gone into quarantine, and one ranking party official announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Authorities in Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal say they have recorded at least 10 cases of the virus in the endangered Greater Andamanese tribe, one of five vulnerable tribes living on the remote islands.
  • Global Cases: 24,021,218      Total Deaths: 821,462
  • Europe is bracing for a barrage of job cuts as companies prepare to majorly downsize in an effort to offset COVID-related financial losses. Government-backed furlough programs that have helped keep about a third of Europe’s work force financially secure are set to unwind in the coming months.
  • Millions of people in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region in western China, have been unable to leave their homes for 40 days because of a sweeping lockdown to fight a virus resurgence. With the outbreak seemingly under control, but the restrictions still largely in place, many residents say they are being confined to their homes unnecessarily and denied access to critical services like health care.
  • Bali, Indonesia’s leading tourist destination, nixed plans to allow foreign tourists starting September 11, and will wait at least until the end of the year before opening to them. Bali’s economy contracted 11 percent during the second quarter, with about 2,700 tourism workers laid off and another 74,000 on unpaid leave.
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand extended Auckland's lockdown until Sunday night. The restrictions were originally set to expire on Wednesday, but PM Ardern said the extra time was necessary to ensure that a virus cluster had been brought under control. Eight new confirmed or probable cases were announced on Monday, bringing the total to 101.
  • Today, a "made in Italy" vaccine was administered to the first volunteer. The vaccine is produced by ReiThera, a biotechnology company based near Rome but headquartered in Switzerland.
  • French health officials said an outbreak of COVID-19 at a nudist camp in the southern resort town of Le Cap d’Agde was “very worrying.” More than 140 people have tested positive in the town and 310 more are awaiting results.
  • Authorities in the Gaza Strip announced the first reported community spread of COVID-19, raising concerns that the pandemic could spread widely in the densely populated area.
  • The WHO announced that 172 economies are now engaged in discussions to potentially participate in COVAX, a global initiative aimed at working with vaccine manufacturers to provide countries worldwide equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, once they are licensed and approved. COVAX currently has the world’s largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio - including nine candidate vaccines, with a further nine under evaluation and conversations underway with other major producers. The goal of COVAX is to bring the pandemic under control via equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. Read more here
  • Italy recorded more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases in a day for the first time since early May.
  • In Germany, several thousand volunteers attended a pop-up concert as part of an experiment to understand how COVID-19 spreads in large-scale stadium events — and how to prevent it. All participants were required to test negative for the virus 48 hours before the event and wear masks throughout the experiment.
  • Global Cases: 23,311,719      Total Deaths: 806,410
  • The U.K. added Portugal to the list of "travel corridor" countries, meaning people arriving from those locations no longer have to quarantine for 14 days. On the other hand, people coming from Croatia, Austria, and Trinidad & Tobago will now be required to quarantine for 14 days. 
  • Brazil's Congress has decided that the use of masks is mandatory in closed places like commercial establishments, many workplaces, religious temples and schools. In a joint session of both governing houses, the legislature overturned President Jair Bolsonaro's veto on such requirements.
  • According to the WHO's reports, Europe has been recording more than 26,000 daily new cases of COVID-19 on average since governments started relaxing measures implemented to stop the spread of the disease.
  • Costa Rica has announced that U.S. residents flying from six northeastern states will be allowed entry next month to help revitalize its tourism sector, which has been burdened by the pandemic. Starting next month, Costa Rica will allow six weekly flights for residents from New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, and Connecticut.
  • Sweden's official statistics office said the country recorded its highest death tally in 150 years for the first half of 2020. This is the highest number of deaths in Sweden during the first half of the year since 1869, when the country was struck by famine and 55,431 people died.
  • Health officials in China issued new guidelines that exempt residents of Beijing from wearing masks outdoors unless they come into close contact with strangers.
  • Australia has secured a deal with the U.K.-based drug company AstraZeneca for access to a potential COVID-19 vaccine if trials go well. AstraZeneca is currently developing a vaccine in partnership with Oxford University, and has already reached agreements with several governments, including the U.S. and U.K., to produce at least 2 billion doses, with the first deliveries starting as early as September.
  • Seoul, the capital of South Korea, will seek damages from the church at the center of its current COVID-19 outbreak. In a briefing, Seo said the city government is reviewing the legal basis for the civil suit against the Sarang-jeil church and its Reverend, Jun Kwang-hoon. Earlier in the week, Seoul reported a cluster of cases related to the church in the city. A total of 568 people linked to the Sarang-jeil church have since tested positive for the virus according to local authorities.
  • New Zealand recorded six new cases of COVID-19, five of which were locally transmitted, linked to a cluster in Auckland. The sixth case was a person who recently arrived from overseas, and is in "managed isolation." 
  • France confirmed 4,711 new COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths in the past 24 hours, the largest single-day jump in infections since before the country’s lockdown was lifted in May.
  • Italy imposed its first new restrictions on daily life since coming out of lockdown nearly four months ago, ordering the closure of nightclubs and mandating mask-wearing, even outdoors, in areas with nightlife.
  • New Zealand said it would postpone its national election by four weeks as a cluster of new virus cases continues to spread in Auckland, its largest city. After 100 days without any community transmission, New Zealand has recorded 13 new cases of COVID-19 in the past day.
    • On Friday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that Auckland -- the city at the center of the new outbreak -- will remain under a level three lockdown for another 12 days. 
  • All 4,066 members of the Sarang-Jeil church in South Korea must be tested for coronavirus after a spike in cases was traced back to a religious service held by the group.
  • Iraq recorded its highest-ever daily record of new COVID-19 cases on Sunday. The Iraqi Ministry of Health reported 4,348 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 176,931.
  • The U.K. imposed a 14-day quarantine starting Saturday on all arrivals from France, the Netherlands, Malta and Monaco after increases in Covid-19 cases. France says it will impose reciprocal measures on visitors from the UK.
  • South Africa has reported a sharp drop in crime during the first months of COVID-19 lockdowns. Police data from April 1-June 30 shows crimes such as murder down 35.8 percent, sexual offenses down 39.7 percent, and common robbery down 49.8 percent compared to the same period last year.
  • Argentina’s President, Alberto Fernández, announced his country’s quarantine measures will be extended with some changes until August 30. 
  • The U.S. has confirmed the U.S. and Mexico and the U.S. and Canada will extend shared border restrictions through September 21.
  • Brazil has reported at least 19,373 new COVID-19 cases and 684 deaths in the past 24 hours. The total number of confirmed  infections now stands at nearly 3.4 million. 
  • Japan reported its worst drop in GDP on record as the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak dented consumption. Their economy shrank 7.8 percent in the second quarter compared with the previous quarter, the country's Cabinet Office said on Monday. That translated to an annual rate of decline of 27.8 percent, the worst since modern records started in 1980 and the third consecutive quarter of contraction.
  • Thailand’s economy, which depends heavily on tourism and exports, shrank by 12.2 percent in the second quarter, its biggest contraction since 1998. Thailand barred visitors from abroad starting in early April to prevent new cases of the virus. 
  • Global Cases: 21,294,845      Total Deaths:  761,779
  • North Korea announced the country’s first suspected case of COVID-19. According to North Korean state media, the case was identified in an individual who had previously defected to South Korea and recently crossed the border back into North Korea. The individual reportedly exhibited symptoms associated with COVID-19, but there are currently no reports that the individual has tested positive.
  • Spain is no longer on the U.K.'s travel corridor list and people arriving into England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland from Spain will be required to self-isolate.
  • Hong Kong will prohibit dining in restaurants, limit public gatherings to two people, and require mask-wearing in public at all times, reacting to a spike in coronavirus cases.
  • COVID-19 cases in Latin America for the first time have surpassed the combined infections in the U.S. and Canada, amid a surge of infections in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, and Argentina.
  • Nearly two weeks after being hospitalized for COVID-19, the health minister of the Mexican state of Chihuahua, Jesus Grajeda, has died.
  • Belgium is tightening restrictions following an increase in COVID-19 cases. Starting Wednesday, Belgians will be allowed to see a maximum of five people outside of their families. Currently, a Belgian individual can meet 15 people in a "social bubble." 
  • Vietnam is evacuating 80,000 people, mostly local tourists, from Danang after three residents tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.
  • 15 lawmakers in Zambia have tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • Global COVID-19 infections surged past 15 million today. The top five countries with the most cases are Brazil, India, Russia, and South Africa. However, the disease is accelerating the fastest in the Americas.
  • Zimbabwe imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew and warned of stiff penalties for people who break quarantine rules.
  • Coronavirus deaths in Indonesia hit a record daily high of 139 in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 4,459.
  • Hong Kong, Australia, and Japan all announced record numbers of new cases as they battle resurgences of the virus.
  • Two ministers in South Africa’s cabinet were admitted to hospital with COVID-19 as the continent’s most-industrialized country counted a total 372,628 confirmed cases and 5,173 deaths.
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has had another positive COVID-19 test result. It is the third test he has taken since falling ill on July 7th.
  • India recorded at least 40,000 cases on Monday, its highest single-day total.
  • The number of new COVID-19 cases reported to the WHO rose by 259,848 in 24 hours over the weekend. This is the largest single-day increase since the pandemic began. 
  • The Australian state of Victoria is making mask-wearing mandatory, as cases there spike. The state premier said, "We are going to be wearing masks in Victoria, and potentially in other parts of the country for a very long time."
  • Cuba moved into the final phase of reopening after there were no new domestic cases reported on Sunday for the first time in 130 days.
  • Hong Kong reported 73 new cases, mostly local transmissions, as new restrictions took effect. 
  • France has made face masks compulsory in all enclosed public spaces amid new COVID-19 outbreaks. 
  • The number of COVID-19 infections around the world hit 13 million on Monday, climbing by a million in just five days. Today's WHO report does not reflect this milestone.
  • Russia reported 6,537 new coronavirus cases, pushing its overall tally to 733,699, the fourth largest case total reported in the world. 
  • Deaths in Mexico from the pandemic rose above 35,000 over the weekend, leading Mexico to overtake Italy for the world’s fourth-highest death total. 
  • South Africa will resume a ban on alcohol sales and reinstate a daily curfew to free up hospital capacity as the country's COVID-19 cases continue to rise. 
  • The WHO has sent a two-person advanced team to China to investigate the origins of the coronavirus and how it made the leap from animals to humans.
  • Latin America has overtaken the U.S. and Canada to become the second worst-hit region in terms of deaths from COVID-19.
  • The governor of Tokyo has said the Olympics in Japan must go ahead next year as a "symbol of world unity" in the face of the pandemic. 
  • Scotland reported no new COVID-19 deaths for the fifth day in a row. 
  • Hong Kong has closed gyms and movie theaters, and has banned gatherings of more than four in an effort to stem a new outbreak. 
  • The Iranian government, for first time since the pandemic began, ordered citizens to cover their faces in public. 
  • The Australian state of Victoria has locked down nine public housing towers in Melbourne, telling about 3,000 residents that they must not leave their homes for any reason for at least five days. 
  • A record number of new COVID-19 cases was reported globally Saturday, with the U.S., Brazil, and India showing the biggest increases.
  • Britain is putting 8.4 million pounds ($10.49 million) into a new study to examine the long-term effects of COVID-19 on patients.
  • Mexican officials said they will install health checkpoints at various entry points along the northern border this weekend.
  • The Israeli government has tightened restrictions, closing bars, gyms, and public swimming pools, curtailing gatherings in restaurants, synagogues, and buses, and canceling summer camps for all but the youngest children.
  • About 270,000 people in Spain have re-entered lockdown after the country officially ended its state of emergency on June 21st.
  • The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide now exceeds 10 million, and the death toll has passed 500,000, with daily infections escalating in the U.S., India, and Brazil. 
  • The WHO is planning to send a team to China next week to try to understand the origins of the coronavirus. 
  • Thailand will lift a ban on international flights on July 1st.
  • Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said officials are preparing a list of 15 non-EU countries considered safe for travel based on epidemiological criteria. 
  • Italy reported its lowest number of daily deaths on Saturday since early March. 
  • China reported a further decline in new confirmed cases of COVID-19, with a total of just 12, including seven cases of domestic transmission in Beijing, where nearly 8.3 million people have now undergone testing in recent weeks. 
  • Australian health authorities are using what they describe as a world-first saliva test for COVID-19 in Victoria state. 
  • South Korean health authorities said for the first time the country is in the midst of a “second wave” of COVID-19 infections focused around its densely populated capital. 
  • In England, a new "no swab" saliva COVID-19 test is being trialed that lets people collect their own sample at home by spitting into a pot.  
  • France is reopening movie theaters, swimming pools, and holiday centers, and all children up to age 15 are back at school. 
  • Thailand hopes to ease some COVID-19 restrictions on foreigners entering the country after going for 28 days without recording any domestic transmissions.
  • Fiji is planning to create a travel bubble with Australia and New Zealand. The proposal would allow residents to travel freely between the nations, without having to quarantine. 
  • Beijing canceled 70 percent of commercial flights from two of its major airports in an effort to contain a new outbreak that has infected more than 130 people in the past five days. 
  • Russia's Health Ministry said today that they have begun clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said Australia is unlikely to reopen its border to international travelers until 2021, but will look to relax entry rules for students and other long-term visitors.
  •  Two Australian universities plan to hire a plane to fly in hundreds of foreign students shut out in the middle of their studies by border closures due to COVID-19, a move they hope will start to salvage a major export earner. 
  • Juan Orlando Hernández, the president of Honduras, has tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, he announced that the first lady and two aides have also tested positive.  
  • Brazilian health authorities said they will now recommend hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 in children and pregnant women. They criticized the U.S. FDA's recent decision to revoke the emergency use of the drug. 
  • Canada has agreed to contribute over $5 million to the WHO Regional Office for the Americas to support COVID-19 response activities, including increasing access to PPE and other critical supplies. The contribution will focus on supporting marginalized and vulnerable communities in 23 countries in the Americas.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is switching to a "special work mode" after his wife tested positive for COVID-19. The president tested negative shortly after. Under the Ukrainian constitution, the president cannot delegate his powers to anyone, and situations of self-isolation and quarantine were not laid out.
  • Japan will ease travel restrictions by letting in up to 250 foreign travelers per day from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • At least 58 members of Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei's staff have tested positive for COVID-19. This makes it one of the world’s largest outbreaks to erupt at a nation’s center of elected power.
  • Brazil surpassed 800,000 total confirmed COVID-19 cases today. The death toll is now over 40,000. 
  • Prosecutors in Bergamo, Italy, are planning to question Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tomorrow as part of an inquiry into how COVID-19 was able to cut such a devastating path through the northern province.
  • Italy is easing its lockdown measures to allow professional sporting events, such as the Coppa Italia football match, to resume behind closed doors starting Friday. Other establishments can also reopen starting June 25th, including summer camps, kindergartens, betting rooms, and bingo halls.
  • The number of cases of COVID-19 in Africa has doubled in the last 18 days. The total is now over 200,000, though it took nearly 100 days to reach 100,000 cases. While the numbers may have risen so significantly in part because of increased testing, the WHO said today that more than half of the 54 countries on the continent were experiencing community transmission. Ten countries were driving the rise in numbers and accounted for nearly 80 percent of all cases, and South Africa has a quarter of the total cases.
  • Germany will lift its border controls with neighbors France, Austria, Switzerland, and Denmark on June 15th. New arrivals from Italy will also no longer have to go through border controls, though the two countries do not share a physical border. The controls will be relaxed for travelers arriving from Spain by plane starting on June 21st. The easing of restrictions comes as the country slowly rolls back its strictest lockdown measures.
  • Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank just conducted voluntary COVID-19 antibody tests on more than 44,000 employees, their families, clients, and outside medical professionals such as doctors and dentists. 
  • Poland has shut down 12 coal mines after the country’s health minister said most of its COVID-19 cases had been identified at these “hotspots.” At least two coal mines have more than 1,000 confirmed cases, according to figures supplied by coal companies.
  • WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the COVID-19 pandemic is worsening across the globe as the number of new cases on Sunday reached an all-time high.
  • At least 18 people who work in Guatemala’s Presidential House have tested positive for COVID-19. Officials are planning to limit access to the Presidential House for 72 hours, and all the workers at the Presidential House will be tested. The Guatemalan president also said he and his vice president will be working remotely.
  • Japan recorded no new COVID-19 deaths on Sunday, the first time this has happened since March 6th, around the time when the pandemic saw infection rates soar in the country. A total of 38 new infections were recorded on Sunday, which brings the national total to 17,886 cases and 929 deaths.
  • Peru reported 137 new COVID-19-related deaths today, which brings the national death toll to 5,031. The number of cases is up to 183,198, an increase of 4,284 from yesterday. Peru now has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in Latin America behind Brazil.
  • An ongoing government study in Spain so far suggests that more than 5 percent of the population has coronavirus antibodies. 
  • France will replace its traditional Bastille Day parade down the Champs-Élysées in Paris with a smaller military ceremony due to COVID-19. The July 14th ceremony will be a scaled down celebration and will include a tribute to health care workers.
  • Sweden will ease its travel restrictions starting June 13th to allow those who do not have any symptoms to move around the country.
  • The Global Vaccine Summit, hosted by the U.K. government, has raised $8.8 billion for vaccine research. 
  • Spain's Health Minister said the country will start lifting restrictions on Monday. 
  • Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that there will be a comprehensive easing of  restrictions starting June 1st. Restaurants and cafes will be allowed to reopen on June 1st, but bars and hookah cafés will remain closed. Additionally, a travel restriction prohibiting entry and exits from major metropolitan areas including Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir will be lifted.
  • French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said parks will reopen starting this Saturday, and beaches, lakes, sporting facilities, museums, and monuments will reopen on June 2nd. He added that gatherings must be limited to 10 people and the capacity of outdoor spaces will be limited to 5,000 people, under the condition that social distancing rules are enforced. It will be up to local mayors and regional officials to decide if masks should be mandatory for people visiting parks, beaches, and lakes. 
  • Houses of worship in Jordan will be allowed to reopen under public safety controls starting June 5th. Mosques will initially reopen for Friday prayers on June 5th, and other prayers will be allowed gradually.
  • New Zealand now has zero COVID-19 hospital patients. There are still a couple dozen active cases in the country, but those patients are not being treated in a hospital.
  • Both chambers of the French Parliament voted in favor of the "StopCovid" app today, despite the contact tracing app being criticized by opposition parties for its infringements on individual freedoms. French digital rights association La Quadrature du Net said that between 60 and 80 percent of the population would need to use the app for it to help mitigate COVID-19.
  • According to Spain's top COVID-19 health ministry official, mortality rates in Spain were 55 percent higher than usual between March 10th and May 10th of this year. Not all of those additional deaths can be linked directly to COVID-19, but many of them are likely due to people not wanting to go to hospitals or get medical assistance during the peak of the pandemic. 
  • Over the long weekend, the number of global COVID-19 cases passed 5 million. 
  • The WHO Regional Office for Africa has provided training for Tanzanian health workers to equip them with skills for caring for critically ill COVID-19 patients. A total of 160 health workers in Tanzania attended a three-day virtual training session organized by the Ministry of Health and the WHO.
  • The WHO Regional Office for Europe along with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said that they will continue to repurpose their influenza surveillance systems to also detect the COVID-19 virus.
  • Officials in Wuhan have so far tested 6.5 million residents of their 11 million goal. As of this afternoon, only 200 tests have returned positive. 
  • The WHO, UNICEF, and Gavi have warned that COVID-19 is disrupting life-saving immunization services around the world, putting millions of children – in rich and poor countries alike – at risk of diseases like diphtheria, measles, and polio. Based on data collected by those three organizations and Sabin Vaccine Institute, provision of routine immunization services is substantially hindered in at least 68 countries and is likely to affect approximately 80 million children under the age of 1 living in these countries.
  • WHO and the United Nationals High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) signed a new agreement to strengthen and advance public health services for the millions of displaced people around the world. A key aim this year will be to support ongoing efforts to protect some 70 million displaced people due to COVID-19.
  • Global Cases: 16,114,449        Total Deaths:  646,641

Grants/Funding

NIH has released four funding opportunities

As part of the RADx-UP initiative, NIH has released four funding opportunities (https://www.nih.gov/research-training/medical-research-initiatives/radx/funding) to solicit community-engaged research on COVID-19 testing among underserved and/or vulnerable populations to both understand and close the disparity gap.  These funding opportunities include:

  • Emergency competitive revision applications to existing awards for large consortia, multi-site trials, centers and other current networks that have adequate capacity, infrastructure, and established community-engaged relationships to support large-scale testing interventions or have the capacity to ramp up quickly to reach underserved or vulnerable populations.
  • Second, complementary emergency competitive revision opportunity which shifts eligibility to collaborative and individual research awards, generally focused on smaller underserved or vulnerable populations.
  • Emergency competitive revisions to solicit research to understand the social, ethical, and behavioral implications (SEBI) of COVID-19 testing in these populations.
  • A new Coordination and Data Collection Center (CDCC) award (U24), a key component of the consortium. The CDCC will serve as a national resource, working with NIH scientific staff and consortium members to provide overarching support and guidance in the following four domains: (1) Administrative Operations and Logistics, (2) COVID-19 Testing Technology, (3) Community and Health System Engagement and (4) Data Collection, Integration and Sharing.

FEMA Support

Suppliers, donors and clients, see the following website: https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus/how-to-help

On the website under private sector you will find:

  • To sell medical supplies or equipment to the federal government, please email specifics to covidsupplies@fema.dhs.gov.
  • If you have medical supplies or equipment to donate, please provide us details on what you are offering.
  • If you are a private company that wants to produce a product related to the COVID response – email nbeoc@max.gov.
  • If you are a hospital and other companies in need of medical supplies, contact your state Department of Public Health and/or Emergency Management.
  • For non-medical supplies, services or equipment, if you are interested in doing business with FEMA, visit our Industry Liaison Program.

SBA Disaster Loan Funding

Small businesses in ANY state and territory may apply for the disaster loans online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Due to heavy usage, it is best for companies to go onto the site at night.  If possible always apply online.

  • Small Business Development Center (SBDC) counselors can help companies complete disaster applications remotely. Contact your local SBDC.
  • For anyone already having an current  SBA disaster loan, it is deferred until 12/31/2020.

For individual questions on disaster loans, companies can call, email or use the website:
Online:  SBA.gov/Disaster 
Email:    disastercustomerservice@sba.gov
Call:       1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339)

Additional information about SBA assistance:

  • Borrowers with a current SBA 504  or 7(a) business loan can contact their lender to request a deferral for up six months.
  • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million for working capital to help support small businesses overcome the temporary loss of working capital they are experiencing.
  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits.
  • SBA offers long-term loans up to a maximum of 30 years.
  • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.

Working Capital Loan Guarantee Program

Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank)

 https://www.exim.gov/fact-sheet-exim-covid-19-assistance

Working Capital Loan Guarantees can empower exporters to unlock cash flow and take on new business abroad. Exporters can borrow more with the same collateral, secure performance, bid bonds needed to win projects, and increase global competitiveness.

Treasury and IRS Issue Guidance on Deferring Tax Payments Due to COVID-19 Outbreak
U.S. Department of the Treasury

Following President Donald J. Trump's emergency declaration pursuant to the Stafford Act, the U.S. Treasury Department and IRS issued guidance allowing all individual and other non-corporate tax filers to defer up to $1 million of federal income tax (including self-employment tax) payments due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest.

CDFA's COVID-19 Comprehensive Recovery Strategy
Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA)

CDFA has developed a set of policy proposals that would allow state and local governments, through development finance agencies, to be immediate problem solvers that can help alleviate the extreme economic challenges facing small businesses and communities to put America securely on the path to recovery.

State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) SSBCI was a federal financing program that delivered flexible, affordable capital to small businesses around the country. The expiration of the SSBCI Program in 2017 left a void in the marketplace for affordable small business loans. Reauthorization of SSBCI is one of the key tenets of CDFA’s COVID-19 Comprehensive Recovery Strategy.  Small Business Access to Capital Act of 2020 (S. 3551) would provide $3 billion in funds to a reauthorized SSBCI Program and provide immediate access to capital for small businesses that desperately need it. The programs created by states under the original SSBCI are still in operation and would be ready to immediately deploy capital to businesses in need. Reauthorization is pending.

Treasury and IRS Issue Guidance on Deferring Tax Payments Due to COVID-19 Outbreak
U.S. Department of the Treasury

Following President Donald J. Trump's emergency declaration pursuant to the Stafford Act, the U.S. Treasury Department and IRS issued guidance allowing all individual and other non-corporate tax filers to defer up to $1 million of federal income tax (including self-employment tax) payments due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest.

Economic Development Administration (EDA)

As of March 26, the EDA had yet to issue specific guidance for COVID-19 related programs but, based on past history is likely to do so. Additional information may be found at the EDA Disaster Recovery website:  https://www.eda.gov/disaster-recovery/

Grants/Funding

Lifestyle & Economy

Lifestyle and Economy

  • Only 58 percent of respondents in a recent poll said they would get vaccinated right away, down from 69 percent who said the same in August. Among Black respondents, only 43 percent said that they would get the vaccine, down from 65 percent in August.
  • Dr. Tony Fauci suggested two additional ways to combat COVID-19 as the weather cools. The first is to keep windows open to promote airflow in indoor spaces, and the second is to wear a mask in your home if you're unsure whether or not your guests have been social distancing. 
  • The number of Hispanic Americans who died from the coronavirus increased from May to August, while all other racial groups saw a decline in fatalities according to the most recent MMWR article
  • Scientists out of Penn State have found that certain mouthwashes, and a %1 baby shampoo solution used to rinse the sinuses, can potentially neutralize the coronavirus. The results indicate that some of these products might be useful for reducing the viral load, or amount of virus, in the mouth after infection and may ultimately help to reduce the spread of the virus.
  • Pfizer confirmed Friday it expects to seek emergency authorization of its experimental vaccine against COVID-19, if it is effective, in the third week of November.
  • The U.S. budget deficit tripled to a record $3.1 trillion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, thanks in large part to the coronavirus. As a share of economic output, the budget gap in fiscal year 2020 hit roughly 16.1 percent, the largest since World War II production in 1945, according to the Treasury Department.
  • Commerce Department data showed that retail sales, a measure of purchases at stores, restaurants and online, rose a seasonally adjusted 1.9 percent in September. The gain marked the fifth straight month of retail-sales growth.
  • Unfortunately, U.S. industrial production fell in September, snapping four months of growth, in another sign of a slowing recovery. According to the Federal Reserve, output remains 7.1 percent below where it was in February, before the pandemic hit.
  • Do you have questions about vaccines? Try this article
  • 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. The New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here
  • 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.
  • University of Oxford scientists announced Thursday that they have developed a rapid antigen test for the coronavirus that they say can offer results in as few as five minutes and eventually could be used to screen people at airports and other crowded venues.
  • The CDC's MMWR also published multiple new scientific articles:
  • UC Santa Barbara researchers are studying how SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility changes as the weather cools. In addition to its ability to travel farther, the virus is particularly persistent in cooler temperatures, remaining "infectious from several minutes to longer than a day in various environments."
  • Pfizer has said it will test its coronavirus vaccine in children as young as 12 to see how safely it protects them against infection.
  • A new study in the Lancet suggests lockdowns initiated to curb the spread of the coronavirus in China and Europe at the beginning of the pandemic improved air quality, averting tens of thousands of deaths in regions where air pollution has a significant impact on mortality. From February to March, the study found an estimated 24,200 premature deaths associated with particulate matter were averted throughout China compared to 3,309 reported COVID-19 fatalities, and "improvements in air quality were widespread across China because of extended lockdown measures."
  • study of more than 11,000 people sponsored by the WHO indicates that the drug remdesivir does not prevent deaths among patients. An NIH trial previously suggested that remdesivir modestly reduced the time to recovery in patients severely ill with COVID-19, but even that study did not show that the drug prevents deaths. The WHO Solidarity Therapeutics Trial also indicates that hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir, and interferon regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the in-hospital course of COVID-19 among hospitalized patients.
  • More than 2,000 scientists, researchers, and healthcare professionals have now signed the John Snow Memorandum, which denounces the idea of achieving herd immunity through more infections and fewer protections.
  • Economic studies are showing that, after the CARES Act stimulus package decreased helped fend off poverty in the U.S., the number of poor people has risen by between 6 and 8 million since May. 
  • The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level since late August (898,000), with fresh layoffs adding to other signs the economic recovery is losing steam as the pandemic continues. Some of the recent declines in continuing claims represent individuals who have exhausted the maximum duration of payments available through regular state programs, and are now collecting money through a federal program that provides an extra 13 weeks of benefits. About 2.8 million people were receiving aid through this extended-benefits program in the week ended Sept. 26.
  • Stock markets in the U.S. and globally are shaky as COVID-19 cases are increasing in the U.S. and Europe (anticipation of the Nov. 3 election doesn't seem to be helping).
  • SUNY Oneonta president Barbara Jean Morris resigned weeks after the school experienced the most severe coronavirus outbreak of any public university in the state. Last month, more than 700 students there tested positive for the virus, leading the college to shut down in-person classes.
  • 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. The New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here
  • 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.
  • Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial has been paused. The pause, which is not a regulatory hold, is due to an "unexplained illness" in a study participant, and will remain in place until researchers have been able to prove the illness was not caused by the vaccine.
  • Drugmaker Pfizer has announced an additional modification to the protocol for its late-stage study of its COVID-19 vaccine, this time to include more young participants. The company said on Monday that it has received permission from the FDA to include adolescents aged 12 through 15 in its global COVID-19 vaccine study.
  • Eli Lilly's antibody treatment clinical trial has been paused due to a "potential safety concern." The Eli Lilly trial was designed to test the benefits of the therapy on hundreds of people hospitalized with COVID-19, compared with a placebo.
  • A recent study published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society suggests that wearing masks does NOT increase carbon dioxide levels in patients with chronic lung disease. 
  • The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium has increased access to coronavirus testing in the Philadelphia region, testing more than 10,000 people. The group’s mobile unit and pop-up testing sites also offer patients an opportunity to connect with African American health care providers. Read more here
  • An elderly woman in the Netherlands has died after getting COVID-19 a second time, researchers reported on Monday. It’s the first time a death has been reported from reinfection with coronavirus. To date, researchers have confirmed only 23 cases of reinfection, but in all prior cases the patient recovered.
  • A 25-year-old man in Nevada is the first recorded case of reinfection in the U.S.
  • Data from Japan, Spain, and Italy indicate that an individual's age does not indicate how likely they are to be infected with coronavirus, despite age playing a significant role in how likely an individual is to survive if infected. 
  • A new Viewpoint published in JAMA suggests COVID-19 will end up costing people in the U.S. around $16 trillion. The paper aggregates mortality, morbidity, mental health conditions, and direct economic losses to estimate the total cost of the pandemic in the US on the optimistic assumption that it will be substantially contained by the fall of 2021.
  • Also in JAMA, researchers say far more Americans have died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic than have been counted and reported. The study found that from March through July, there were 225,530 "excess" deaths — a 20 percent increase over the average number of deaths expected for those months. About 67percent of those deaths are directly linked to COVID-19, but the remaining 33 percent could be a result of underreporting/misreporting or deaths that came as a result of disruptions to acute care during the pandemic.  
  • Portuguese soccer phenomenon Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • The Ruby Tuesday restaurant franchise filed for bankruptcy last week. 
  • 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. The New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here
  • 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.
  • A clinical trial to test the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of a combination treatment regimen for COVID-19 consisting of the antiviral remdesivir plus a highly concentrated solution of antibodies that neutralize SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has begun. The study is taking place in hospitalized adults with COVID-19 in the U.S., Mexico, and 16 other countries on five continents. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the NIH, is sponsoring and funding the Phase 3 trial, called Inpatient Treatment with Anti-Coronavirus Immunoglobulin, or ITAC.
  • Regeneron said on Wednesday that it had submitted an EUA application to the FDA for emergency approval of the experimental antibody cocktail that was used to help treat President Trump. The company said access to the treatment would be extremely limited at first, with only enough doses for 50,000 patients.
  • Eli Lilly and Company announced additional details on its SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody programs – including interim data on combination therapy in recently diagnosed patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 – and plans to make these therapies broadly available to patients. The company said a monoclonal antibody treatment is effective in reducing levels of the virus that causes COVID-19 in patients, and also appears to prevent patients from visiting the emergency room or hospital.
  • A recent study published in NEJM funded by NIH's NIAID found that remdesivir was superior to a placebo in shortening the time to recovery in adults who were hospitalized with COVID-19 and had evidence of lower respiratory tract infection.
  • In another study in the NEJM, among patients hospitalized with COVID-19, those who received hydroxychloroquine did not have a lower incidence of death at 28 days than those who received usual care.
  • In the largest study to date of COVID-19 among non-hospitalized pregnant women, researchers analyzed the clinical course and outcomes of 594 women who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus during pregnancy. They found that the most common early symptoms for pregnant women were cough, sore throat, body aches, and fever. Half of the participants still had symptoms after 3 weeks and 25 percent had symptoms after 8 weeks.
  • Johns Hopkins University is getting a $1.44 million federal grant from NIAID to study potential COVID-19 testing gaps and disparities for transgender persons.
  • A coalition of 11 academic institutions and their community partners across California has received a $4.1 million grant from NIH for a statewide community-engaged approach to addressing COVID-19 among populations that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. UCLA will lead the coalition. 
  • The European Commission has sealed a supply deal with Johnson & Johnson for the supply of its potential COVID-19 vaccine for up to 400 million people. This is the third advance purchase contract signed by the E.U. with makers of coronavirus vaccines after deals with AstraZeneca and Sanofi. 
  • The E.U. also signed a deal with Gilead, the California-based pharmaceutical company, to ensure uninterrupted access to remdesivir, an antiviral drug being used to treat COVID-19. The deal would allow all members of the E.U., as well as the U.K., Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and several Balkan countries to buy up to 500,000 treatment courses in the next six months.
  • COVID-19 is threatening the survival of indigenous languages in native communities across the globe. In Brazil, the virus has so far killed at least 205 indigenous “ancients,” leaders who served as living records for people without written ones. By targeting the elderly, the virus is disproportionately striking down the last remaining speakers of ancient languages that were already threatened by globalization, development, and the growing hegemony of a few global languages.
  • Patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were more likely male, younger, and, in both the U.S. and Spain, had fewer comorbidities and lower medication use than hospitalized influenza patients according to a recent study published by the Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics (OHDSI) community.
  • A new study by Simon Fraser University (SFU) researchers has found clear evidence that wearing a mask can have a significant impact on the spread of COVID-19. The researchers, from SFU's Department of Economics, have determined that mask mandates are associated with a 25 percent or larger weekly reduction in COVID-19 cases in Canada.
  • TestBoston — a project now being launched by Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Broad Institute — plans to offer monthly at-home COVID-19 testing to thousands across Greater Boston in the coming months, at no charge. Participants will test themselves monthly for six months, and can also have a test kit sent to their home whenever they have symptoms. The program is donor funded, costing about $100 per participant per month.
  • 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. The New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here
  • 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.
  • A new article in Science Magazine's Letters section takes a closer look at airborne transmission of the coronavirus. The authors point out that aerosols containing infectious virus can also travel more than 2 meters and accumulate in poorly ventilated indoor air, leading to superspreading events. They suggest that public health officials should add clear guidance about the importance of moving activities outdoors, improving indoor air using ventilation and filtration, and improving protection for high-risk workers.
  • Another study suggests the length a person speaks is a more important factor in droplet spread than has been discussed in social distancing conversations thus far.
  • An MMWR article points to increasing evidence that children and adolescents can efficiently transmit SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Between July and August 2020, four state health departments and the CDC investigated a COVID-19 outbreak that occurred during a 3-week family gathering of five households in which an adolescent aged 13 years was the index and suspected primary patient; 11 subsequent cases occurred.
  • Based on data from all 50 states and D.C., the authors of a recent study found a gradual but steady decline in viral transmission rates during the eight weeks immediately preceding relaxation of physical distancing rules. Almost immediately after those rules were relaxed, most states reversed course. Eight weeks after restrictions were lifted or loosened, only nine of 51 still had low rates of transmission. The investigators previously reported that statewide physical distancing measures were associated with a reduction in the growth rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and a short-term reduction in COVID-19 related deaths.
  • In an article published in Behavioral Science & Policy, New York University and Yale University researchers report that women have practiced preventive practices of physical distancing, mask wearing, and maintaining hygiene to a greater degree than men. Women were also more likely to listen to experts and exhibit alarm and anxiety in response to COVID-19.
  • A team of scientists at the University of Vermont, working in partnership with a group at the University of Washington, has developed a method of testing for the COVID-19 virus that doesn't make use of these chemicals but still delivers an accurate result, paving the way for inexpensive, widely available testing in both developing countries and industrialized nations like the U.S., where reagent supplies are again in short supply. The accuracy of the new test was evaluated by a team of researchers at the University of Washington led by Keith Jerome, director of the university's Molecular Virology Lab, using 215 COVID-19 samples that RT-PCR tests had shown were positive, with a range of viral loads, and 30 that were negative. It correctly identified 92 percent of the positive samples and 100 percent of the negatives.
  • British company Cineworld, which owns Regal Cinemas in the U.S., said it would temporarily close all 663 of its movie theaters in the U.S. and Britain. The move is expected to affect 40,000 employees in the U.S. and 5,000 in Britain.
  • 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. The New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here
  • 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.
  • NASEM released their final consensus study report: Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine. The report “recommends using existing systems across all levels of government to provide necessary resources to ensure equitable allocation, distribution, and administration of COVID-19 vaccine; launching a COVID-19 vaccine promotion campaign and risk communication and engagement program; and supporting equitable allocation globally.”
  • It was already well known that multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a rare but severe complication of SARS-CoV-2 infection in children and adolescents. However, since June, several case reports and series have been published reporting a similar multisystem inflammatory syndrome in adults (MIS-A). CDC's MMWR published an early release article about it today. 
  • Researchers are calling for loss of smell to be recognized globally as a symptom of COVID-19. In recent studies, more individuals are experiencing loss of taste and smell as symptoms than they are cough and fever. 
  • One of the public health side effects of COVID-19 has been evictions and homelessness. Princeton University is tracking eviction filings in 17 U.S. cities during the pandemic. As of Sept. 19, landlords in those cities have filed for more than 50,000 evictions since March 15. The tally includes about 11,900 in Houston, 10,900 in Phoenix, and 4,100 in Milwaukee.
  • New research suggests that the earlier plasma is collected after the donor's recovery from COVID-19, the better, as antibodies start to disappear after three months of symptom onset. This small study, which drew from 282 COVID-19 plasma donors in Quebec, Canada, followed 15 adults (11 males and 4 females) who were diagnosed with and subsequently recovered from COVID-19. While symptoms ranged from mild to severe, none of these donors were hospitalized for their COVID-19 infection. Participants each donated their plasma between four and nine times with the first donation occurring between 33 and 77 days after symptom onset and the last donation between 66 and 114 days.
  • In a clinical trial testing whether a daily regimen of hydroxychloroquine could protect those most likely to be exposed to COVID-19, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found there was no difference in infection rates among health care workers who took the drug versus those taking a placebo. While the researchers observed a lack of effect associated with hydroxychloroquine, infection levels were low among the participants, which the researchers believe points to the effectiveness of other prevention measures in the health system: social distancing, use of personal protective equipment, and proper hand hygiene.
  • About 10 percent of Americans, 22.3 million, reported they sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat within the past week, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent Household Pulse Survey fielded between Aug. 19 and 31. That is up from 18 million before March 13.
  • A new analysis of data from researchers at King's College London using information from the COVID Symptom Study app and patients admitted to St Thomas' Hospital in London, has shown that delirium - a state of acute confusion associated with a higher risk of serious illness and death - is a key symptom of COVID-19 in frail, older people. The findings, published in the journal Age and Ageing, highlight that doctors and caregivers should be aware of delirium as a possible early warning sign of COVID-19 in the elderly, even in the absence of more typical symptoms such as cough or fever.
  • According to a case study published in the Canadian Association Medical Journal, creating "work bubbles" during the COVID-19 pandemic can help reduce the risk of company-wide outbreaks while helping essential businesses continue to function. Bombardier Aviation, a large Canadian company that employs 22,000 people at 7 factories across 4 provinces/states in Canada and the U.S., adjusted to the pandemic by having most office staff work from home, ensuring that only employees who built or supported aircraft delivery were on site. Essential employees were organized into cohorts that interacted only with each other to minimize contact with other staff.
  • Following President Trump's announcement that he and the First Lady had tested positive for COVID-19, the S&P 500 fell as much as 1.7 percent in early trading before closing down 0.7 percent. The Dow fell 0.48 percent to close at 27,682.81.
  • Notre Dame University President John Jenkins has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the school's newspaper. 
  • The NFL is postponing Sunday’s game between the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers to later in the season because of further positive tests for the novel coronavirus among the Titans.
  • A recent survey of more than 1,200 college athletic trainers found that just 47 percent of coaches and staff members across sports were “fully compliant” with safety protocols related to the virus. The survey, conducted by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, also found that roughly 7 percent of coaches and staff members did not follow the rules at all.
  • Yesterday, Amazon released comprehensive data on the spread of the coronavirus among its employees, disclosing for the first time that more than 19,000 workers, or 1.44 percent of the total, contracted the virus this year.
  • Importantly, Dr. Anthony Fauci was named the #Sammies2020 Federal Employee of the Year! Watch here
  • 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. The New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here
  • 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.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics is now reporting that children of all ages make up 10 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S., up from 2 percent back in April. As of Monday, CDC counted over 4,35,000 cases in children and 93 deaths, with less than two percent of the infected requiring hospitalization.
  • On Friday, Oct. 2, the National Academies will release the final Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine report during a free webinar hosted by study committee co-chairs William Foege and Helene Gayle. Sponsored by NIH and CDC, the report will help guide equitable allocation of a limited initial supply of COVID-19 vaccine.
  • European regulators are reportedly set to start an accelerated review of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine front-runner, meaning the vaccine candidate could be the first to seek approval in the region.
  • A cluster  of COVID-19 cases has emerged at Brigham and Women's, a major teaching and research hospital in Boston. The growing number of cases has prompted employees to speak out about what they said was a lack of regular and convenient testing for staff members without symptoms. As of this afternoon, 33 staff members, and 12 patients who were there for other reasons, have tested positive for the virus.
  • One study suggests the many modern office buildings have ventilation systems that could increase risk of COVID-19 exposure. Apparently, widely-used 'mixing ventilation' systems, which are designed to keep conditions uniform in all parts of the room, disperse airborne contaminants evenly throughout the space. These contaminants may include droplets and aerosols, potentially containing viruses. This is particularly concerning as evidence increasingly indicates that the virus is spread primarily through larger droplets and smaller aerosols, which could travel through vents.
  • The Serum Institute of India (SII) pledged to make an additional 100 million doses of effective COVID-19 vaccines for low- and middle-income nations in 2021 as part of an expanded distribution effort with Gavi, the Vaccines Alliance, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the partners said Wednesday. As part of their ramped-up manufacturing pact, the Gates Foundation will plug an additional $150 million into boosting SII and Gavi's production capacity to provide shots at a maximum of $3 per dose, bringing its total commitment to $300 million. 
  • American Airlines will begin furloughing 19,000 employees tomorrow, making them the first carrier to make such an announcement.
  • Sri Lanka’s cricket Premier League tournament, due to feature some of the world’s best-known players, has been put off a second time due to strict quarantine rules for foreign players, the game’s national governing body said Wednesday.
  • There are now 8 clinical trials in Phase 3 of testing. 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. The New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here
  • 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.
  • A recent poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, surveyed around 3,500 respondents nationwide in July and early August and found that nearly half of American households faced lost jobs or pay cuts during the pandemic (figure below). According to the survey results, the share of households that had a member fall ill with COVID-19 and that subsequently have lost work is up to 64 percent. Of those that have had a sick household member, 63 percent report facing serious financial problems during the coronavirus outbreak. Of households that include someone who has a disability, 63 percent reported facing serious financial hardship, and 37 percent report using up all or most of their savings.
  • Researchers are increasingly concerned about the long-lasting mental health impacts of the pandemic and virus-related lockdowns. This concern is particularly acute for those with substance use disorder or related behavioral health issues. A University of Houston researcher, Michael Zvolensky said, "The impact of COVID-19 on psychological symptoms and disorders, addiction and health behavior is substantial and ongoing and will negatively impact people's mental health and put them at greater risk for chronic illness and drug addiction."
  • Early results from Johnson & Johnson's Phase 1/2a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial found that 99 percent of the participants age 18 to 55 in both dose groups had developed antibodies against the virus 29 days after getting vaccinated. The analysis found that most of the side effects, like fever, headache, fatigue, body aches and injection-site pain, were mild and resolved after a couple of days. Phase 3 trials, which will involve around 60,000 individuals, will examine the safety and effectiveness of a single dose against a placebo to prevent symptomatic COVID-19.
  • A new study has identified 2,085 excess deaths in England and Wales due to heart disease and stroke during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. On average, that is 17 deaths each day over four months that probably could have been prevented. The study's authors believe the excess deaths were caused by people not seeking emergency hospital treatment for a heart attack or other acute cardiovascular illness requiring urgent medical attention, either because they were afraid of contracting COVID-19 or were not referred for treatment.
  • Findings from a new literature review about the association between flu vaccines and the risk of severe COVID-19 illness suggest that measures aimed at raising influenza vaccination coverage in the coming months would be beneficial. 
  • A recent study estimates that only around 9 percent of Americans had been infected with COVID-19 by July - a far cry from what would be needed to achieve herd immunity. 
  • The airline industry is about to take another large hit as airlines prepare to cut a combined 35,000 jobs this week. 
  • There are now 8 clinical trials in Phase 3 of testing. 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. The New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here
  • 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.
  • A study of more than 28,500 dialysis patients published Friday in The Lancet found fewer than 10 percent of U.S. adults had coronavirus antibodies as of July — far below what public health experts say is needed to achieve herd immunity.
  • MMWR has published multiple new articles:
  • AstraZeneca is still waiting for the U.S. drug regulator to approve the restart of the clinical trial of its potential COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. almost three weeks after it was paused due to safety concerns.
  • Yale University has designated three independent laboratories to perform the university-developed SalivaDirect COVID-19 test. Along with Yale Pathology Labs — the first to offer the test — Access Medical Laboratories, Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), and Mirimus, Inc., represent the initial wave of providers for the innovative testing method. They will make SalivaDirect available to people in Florida, Minnesota and New York by late September.
  • A standard test that assesses blood cells can identify which patients who are admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 face a high risk of becoming critically ill and dying, according to an article published earlier this week. 
  • Organizers of Rio de Janeiro's Carnival announced Thursday evening that the colorful, rhythmic parades of 2021 are postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19. It's the first time Carnival has been postponed in more than a century.
  • 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. The New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here
  • 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.
  • Johnson & Johnson announced plans to enroll 60,000 participants in a Phase 3 trial for their COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The J&J experimental vaccine does not require subzero refrigeration, and it may require one dose rather than two - two big advantages over other vaccine candidates. 
  • An early release in CDC's MMWR shows how difficult it is to successfully implement contact tracing efforts. During a period of high rates of COVID-19 in North Carolina, nearly half of COVID-19 patients reported no contacts, and 25 percent of contacts provided in Mecklenburg County couldn't be reached. In Randolph County, 35 percent of COVID-19 patients reported no contacts, and nearly half of those provided were not reached. Despite aggressive efforts by health departments, many COVID-19 patients do not report contacts, and many contacts cannot be reached. The study suggests that improved timeliness of contact tracing, community engagement, and community-wide mitigation are necessary to reduce coronavirus transmission.
  • Earlier in the pandemic, COVID-19 was thought to be mostly impacting older individuals. However, another MMWR report found that during June–August 2020, COVID-19 incidence was highest in those aged 20–29 years, who accounted for more than 20 percent of all confirmed cases. The authors state that younger adults likely contribute to community transmission of COVID-19. Across the southern U.S. in June 2020, increases in percentage of positive COVID-19 test results among adults aged 20–39 years preceded increases among those over the age of 60 by 4–15 days.
  • A recent study by researchers at the Riken Center for Computational Science, a research institute based in Kobe, Japan, plastic face shields do little to contain the spread of microscopic airborne particles created by such activities as talking, singing, or sneezing. While the face shields can block the spread of some large droplets, the researchers found that they are essentially incapable of capturing droplets five microns or smaller.
  • The Metropolitan Opera announced that it has canceled its entire 2020-21 season and will not reopen until next September. It is the nation’s largest performing arts organization.
  • The 2021 Vienna Opera Ball, one of the most prestigious galas on Austria’s social calendar, is canceled due to COVID-19. 
  • Not sure how to celebrate Halloween safely this year? The CDC has some guidelines to help. 
  • Organizers of the annual New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square said today that this year's event will be mostly virtual. 
  • 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. The New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here
  • 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.
  • The National Medical Association (NMA), which was founded in 1895 when Black doctors were being excluded from other professional medical societies, is forming a task force to screen federal decisions about coronavirus vaccines and treatments. Although experiencing disproportionately high rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths, minorities are historically underrepresented in clinical trials. The purpose of the NMA panel is to more closely evaluate vaccine trial results, particularly the effects on non-white trial participants, before fully promoting a vaccine as safe.  
  • After facing increased pressure to be transparent with their vaccine trials, AstraZeneca published its vaccine trial blueprint. Dr. Eric Topol, a clinical trials expert at Scripps Research in San Diego, compared the three major trials happening now. You can view his table in the first figure below.  
  • Scientists estimate that 60 to 70 percent of the population might need to gain immunity, whether by vaccine or previous infection, to COVID-19 before herd immunity is reached.
  • Despite the CDC recent 180 on airborne transmission of coronavirus, most scientists agree that the virus spreads through aerosols, or micro-particles in respiratory droplets that linger in the air, and say that air filtration systems, like those with HEPA filters, can help reduce the concentration of aerosols in a space as long as the systems are properly sized and the filters are regularly replaced.
  • The coronavirus pandemic has triggered or exacerbated economic crises around the world, adding pressure on families to send their children to work, as many schools remain closed. A report by the International Labour Organization found the pandemic’s economic and social impact “will hit children particularly hard.”
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook said that 85 to 90 percent of Apple workers have been doing their jobs from home since March and that the company likely will not return to in-person operations until “sometime next year.”
  • Since mid-March, tofu shortages have been reported from Seattle to Washington, with manufacturers struggling to keep up with demand even as grocery stores rationed sales to customers. Nielsen data shows tofu sales were 40 percent higher in the first half of 2020 compared with last year, likely due to COVID-19 lockdowns. Pulmuone Brands — owner of Nasoya, the nation’s No. 1 tofu brand — had to ship an additional 1 million packs from South Korea, the world’s biggest consumer of tofu, to the U.S. this summer while its American plants caught up with demand.
  • 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. The New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here
  • 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.
  • Researchers tested 11 household fabrics that are commonly used for homemade masks and found that all are effective at curbing the small and large respiratory droplets that are released when we speak, cough, or sneeze.
  • U.S. adults increasingly experienced symptoms associated with acute stress and depression as COVID-19 cases and deaths skyrocketed between mid-March and mid-April 2020, according to a study of more than 6,500 people from three large, nationally representative cohorts.
  • In a recent poll by YouGov, an overwhelming majority of Americans say they would not trust any COVID-19 vaccine released before Election Day in November. Among all respondents, 59 percent said they would either “distrust somewhat” or “distrust completely” the safety and efficacy of such a vaccine — with 36 percent saying they would completely distrust it. 50 percent of Republicans polled agree with the majority that a pre-Election Day vaccine would not be trustworthy.
  • Six members of a team directing the firefighting efforts in the Pacific Northwest went into temporary quarantine after a member of a resupply crew tested positive for COVID-19.
  • New York City will soon let restaurants add a temporary charge of up to 10 percent for extra virus help as long as it is clearly noted on menus. This will not apply for takeout or delivery.
  • U.S. stocks slid into the red before market close today. This week saw tech share sell-offs galore and dwindling hope of a quick post-lockdown economic recovery.
  • Southwest Airlines has extended its ban on middle seats during flights through November 30.
  • A high school student in Massachusetts went to the first day of in-person classes this week despite testing positive days earlier. The student’s parents knew he had tested positive and still sent him to school.
  • Eliza W. Kinsey, PhD, associate research scientist in epidemiology at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and colleagues estimate that more than 1.15 billion breakfasts and lunches for American students who receive free and reduced-price meals were not served in school as a result of school closures during the nine-week period between March 9 and May 1.
  • A bunch of new studies have highlighted an upward trend in the number of pregnancies ending in stillbirths. Researchers say that in some countries, pregnant women adequate antenatal care because of lockdown restrictions and disruptions to health care. As a result, they say, complications that can lead to stillbirths were probably missed. An additional study, published in CDC's MMWR, links COVID-19 to preterm delivery. 
  • Roughly 1 in 10 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 needed to return to the hospital within a week of discharge from an emergency department visit, according to data from the first three months of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philadelphia region between March and May 2020. Researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania also found that factors like lower pulse oximetry levels and fever were some of the most telling symptoms that resulted in return trips that resulted in admission. 
  • Northeastern University will be refunding most of the fall semester tuition of 11 first-year students who were dismissed earlier this month for violating the school’s COVID-19 rules by gathering in a room without masks or social distancing.
  • Because of virus-related precautions, Baylor University has postponed its football season opener scheduled for tomorrow night against the University of Houston. 
  • 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. The New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here
  • 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.
  • As was reported in a MMWR article yesterday, among 121 COVID-19-associated deaths among individuals younger than 21 years, 10 percent were infants and 70 percent were aged 10–20 years. Hispanic, non-Hispanic Black, and non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaskan Native individuals accounted for 78 percent of these deaths.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) launched the latest "Mask Up, America" campaign video featuring Paul Rudd. The video is aimed at younger Americans to inform them of the importance of wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect themselves and others.
  • Federal Reserve officials said today that they plan to keep interest rates near zero through at least 2023. Officials are also predicting that unemployment will fall to 7.6 percent by the end of this year and to 5.5 percent by the end of 2021.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, the U.S. has seen a 13,200 jump in excess deaths from Alzheimer’s and dementia. Doctors have reported increased falls, pulmonary infections, and frailty in patients who were previously stable for years. According to one doctor, some patients can no longer swallow food and others are so depressed they cannot get out of bed.
  • Drug company Eli Lilly says a single infusion of its experimental drug has markedly reduced blood levels of the coronavirus in newly infected patients and lowered the chances that they would need hospitalization. The drug is a monoclonal antibody, a manufactured copy of an antibody produced by a patient who recovered from COVID-19. Many scientists hope that monoclonal antibodies will prove to be powerful treatments for COVID-19, but they are difficult and expensive to manufacture, and progress has been slow.
  • Gauss, a computer vision startup, and Cellex, a biotech company that works on diagnostics, announced the first rapid COVID-19 test that can be fully performed by people at home without involving a laboratory. The test has not been issued an EUA by the FDA. 
  • According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 6 in 10 adults are worried the FDA will rush to approve a vaccine due to political pressure.
  • The Big Ten Conference said it would try to play football as soon as the weekend of October 23. The league said players, coaches, trainers and others on the field would undergo daily testing for the virus, and that any player who tested positive would be barred from games for at least 21 days.
  • At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which is also part of the Big Ten and saw a sharp uptick in cases last week, local health authorities ordered all Greek organizations with one or more cases among their live-in members to quarantine. Some states, like Kansas, Colorado, and Michigan, have tracked COVID-19 clusters back to Greek houses.
  • Yelp released data showing 60 percent of business closures due to COVID-19 lockdowns are now permanent.
  • Major League Baseball and its players’ union reached agreement Tuesday on the format for the expanded, 16-team postseason, which will see the final three rounds played in controlled, neutral-site bubbles in Southern California and Texas and the World Series at the Texas Rangers’ new stadium in Arlington.
  • 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. The New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here
  • 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.
  • According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the damage to the world’s major economies from pandemic lockdowns has been six times more severe than the 2009 global financial crisis and created an “unprecedented” blow to growth in the second quarter in almost every country except China. Growth in the U.S. shrank by 9 percent. 
  • AstraZeneca’s vaccine trials have resumed in Britain after a recent clinical hold and safety review. Trials remain paused in the U.S. and other countries.
  • Pfizer and BioNTech said they are moving to enlarge the Phase 3 trial of their COVID-19 vaccine by 50 percent, which could allow the companies to collect more safety and efficacy data and to increase the diversity of the study’s participants. The companies said they want to increase the size of the study to 44,000 participants, which would have to be approved by the FDA.
  • Merck has begun testing one of its COVID-19 vaccine candidates in humans. Please check the links below for a variety of vaccine trackers. 
  • Several K-12 school districts in the U.S. Northeast have delayed the start of in-person classes in recent days after high school students attended large parties, leading to concern about increased spread of the virus.
  • This year's Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be confined to the Herald Square area and broadcast for viewers to watch. The balloons and floats will approach from 34th Street and Sixth Avenue, move along 34th Street in front of the Macy’s building, and then turn the corner onto Seventh Avenue and out of view.
  • The Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Renwick Gallery are all scheduled to reopen on Friday.
  • Amazon announced it plans to hire 100,000 new workers in the U.S. and Canada for its warehouses and logistics network.
  • A recent survey of more than 400 employers in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia shows most are struggling with how to safely bring back workers in the midst of the pandemic, even as states continue to reopen.
  • 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. The New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here
  • 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.
  • According to a contact tracing data from three Utah child care facilities, even children with mild or no symptoms can transmit COVID-19. Researchers analyzed contact tracing data from 184 people with links to three child care centers in Salt Lake County from this April to July, and found that at least two children passed on the virus while asymptomatic. 
  • study in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report analyzed 314 patients and found that those who tested positive for the virus were twice as likely to have eaten at a restaurant in the previous two weeks as those who tested negative. Several researchers said that the links between contracting the virus and eating out should be viewed with caution, because the study did not distinguish between patrons who dined at indoor or outdoor facilities, and didn’t rely on contact tracing.
  • Researchers at the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health suggest the case tally in the U.S. does not "capture the total burden of the pandemic because testing has been primarily restricted to individuals with moderate to severe symptoms due to limited test availability." The report, published in the journal Nature Communications, says the U.S. may have experienced over 6.4 million cases of COVID-19 by April 18. At the time, there were 721,245 confirmed cases, the researchers said.
  • As many as one in 100 patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 develop a pneumothorax - a 'punctured lung' - according to a study led by Cambridge researchers.
  • Dr. John Whyte, chief medical officer at WebMD, interviewed dean and president of Morehouse School of Medicine, Dr Valerie Montgomery Rice. Discussion included racial health disparities, representation in clinical trials, and more. 
  • In a research letter from Harvard found that among 3,222 young adults hospitalized with Covid-19, 88 died — about 2.7 percent. One in five required intensive care, and one in 10 needed a ventilator to assist with breathing. Among those who survived, 99 patients, or 3 percent, could not be sent home from the hospital and were transferred to facilities for ongoing care or rehabilitation. The study indicates that young people are certainly at risk, and should be taking social distancing measures seriously. 
  • More than 40,000 COVID-19 infections have been reported among students, faculty and staff at colleges and universities across all 50 states. The actual tally is likely higher due to a lag from schools that update their data every few days.
  • Multiple students at Miami University of Ohio chose to host a party while knowing they had tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • Not sure how to act "during these uncertain times?" Read the Washington Post's Covid-19 etiquette: A comprehensive guide.
  • A newly published study looking at cats in Wuhan, where the first known outbreak of COVID-19 began, shows more cats might be contracting the disease than first believed. Scientists analyzed blood samples taken from 102 cats between January and March 2020 in Wuhan, China. Fifteen of the cats had COVID-19 antibodies in their blood, and 11 of those cats had neutralizing antibodies that bind to the coronavirus and block infection.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • The AstraZeneca vaccine trial has been put on a clinical hold an individual enrolled in a Phase II/III trial had experienced a rare form of spinal cord inflammation. During the trial suspension, an independent board of experts will determine if the inflammation was a result of the vaccine or if it was a separate issue. The halt has two effects- it concerns those in the trial for the time being, and it shows why OWS has selected six vaccinates, so there is no pressure if one of the six doesn't work.
  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association, half a million children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The groups said 70,630 new child cases were reported from August 20 through September 3, representing a 16 percent increase in child cases over two weeks, and bringing up the total to at least 513,415 cases.
  • For a variety of reasons, many testing sites across the country do not test any children. This hampers schools’ ability to quickly isolate and trace coronavirus cases among students. It could also create a new burden on working parents, with some schools and child care centers requiring symptomatic children to prove a negative COVID-19 test before rejoining class.
  • Findings from a recent publication indicate that more than a quarter of American adults are experiencing COVID-related symptoms of depression. Financial pressures as a result of the pandemic are thought to be the main factor for the rise. Experiencing more COVID-related stressors was a major predictor of depression symptoms.
  • Racial disparities among essential workers could be a key reason that Black Americans are more likely than whites to contract and die of COVID-19, according to researchers at the University of Utah. They found that Black individuals disproportionately worked in nine vital occupations that increase their exposure to COVID-19.
  • new paper from San Diego State University is linking an estimated 250,000 infections from August 2 to September 2 (the equivalent of roughly one-fifth of newly reported cases in the U.S. in that time) back to the Sturgis motorcycle rally in South Dakota.
  • In an effort to bolster public trust in a vaccine amid President Trump's promise of a vaccine by election day, the chief executives of nine drug companies published a statement pledging not to seek regulatory approval before the safety and efficacy of their experimental coronavirus vaccines have been established in Phase 3 clinical trials.
  • Scientist David Montefiori has studied how the SARS-CoV-2 virus might mutate as it passed from person to person. Montefiori, a virologist who has spent much of his career studying how chance mutations in HIV help it to evade the immune system, says that SARS-CoV-2 is changing much more slowly than HIV. But one mutation in the gene that encodes the spike protein, which helps virus particles to penetrate cells, appears repeatedly in samples from people with COVID-19. The graphic below shows the conformations of the spike protein. 
  • The results of a new study indicate that the COVID-19-causing virus sometimes attacks the brain, leading to neurological symptoms like headaches, confusion, or delirium.
  • A series of recent polls show how hesitant Americans are to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Polling over the summer shows that up to a third of Americans will refuse to be vaccinated for COVID-19, much of that an aversion to this particular treatment rather than vaccines in general. Two-thirds of U.S. voters said in another poll that they won't try to get a vaccine as soon as it becomes available (even if it is free), and one in four say they don't want to ever get it.
  • The results of a survey that examines how COVID-19 has affected households in some of the nation’s largest cities were published this morning and suggest that at least half of households studied in four major U.S. cities reported serious financial problems triggered by the pandemic, and more than half report serious problems caring for their children. The poll, released by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, found that the effects described in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston are falling heaviest on households with annual incomes below $100,000 and in Black and Latino families. 
  • LabCorp announced plans to launch a new at-home COVID-19 diagnostic that allows people to also get tested for the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) from a single sample.
  • German genetic testing company Qiagen announced yesterday that it plans to launch a new antigen test that it says could eventually be deployed in airports and stadiums if it receives the appropriate authorizations. The company said it plans to launch two versions of the antigen test in the U.S. later this year: one version that’s meant to be processed in a clinical laboratory and another that’s portable and can be processed at point of care. The company has not yet applied for an EUA from the FDA, but said it plans to do so.
  • A dentist in Manhattan says that she has seen more tooth fractures in the past six weeks than in the past six years. She sees three factors at work: virus-induced stress that leads to clenching and grinding teeth; poor posture from working at home that can lead to teeth-grinding; and not getting enough rest, which can lead to tension and clenching the teeth.
  • The stock market bounced back from a three-day sell-off that cut 10 percent off the Nasdaq composite index and pummeled companies that had largely been resilient during the pandemic.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Earlier this week, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released for public comment a discussion draft of a preliminary framework to assist policymakers in planning for equitable allocation of a vaccine against COVID-19. The discussion draft includes a summary of lessons learned from past allocation frameworks for mass vaccination campaigns, including for H1N1 influenza in 2009 and during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2013-2016, as well as from recent guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic for the allocation of scarce resources, such as medical resources and supplies. 
  • Recent data shows that more than three-quarters of people interviewed in states with high infection rates, like California and Louisiana, refused to cooperate with contact tracing efforts to identify relatives or acquaintances who may have been exposed to COVID-19. 
  • International clinical trials published on Wednesday confirmed hope that cheap, widely available steroid drugs can help seriously ill patients survive COVID-19. The new studies include an analysis that pooled data from seven randomized clinical trials evaluating three steroids in more than 1,700 patients. The study concluded that each of the three drugs reduced the risk of death. The WHO has updated their treatment guidance accordingly. 
  • New CDC cellphone data indicates stay-at-home orders issued across the U.S. in the spring really did work at keeping people home.
  • Results from a recent New York Times survey of more than 1,500 schools showed that over two-thirds of the schools have reported at least one case of COVID-19. More than 100 of the institutions have reported at least 100 cases. Auburn, Illinois State, and South Carolina are among at least six universities with more than 1,000 known cases.
    • Indiana University encouraged fraternity and sorority houses at the Bloomington campus to close after at least five Greek houses reported positivity rates of more than 50 percent.
    • NIH's Dr. Tony Fauci is strongly discouraging schools from sending students home, where they could spread the virus within their home states when they return.
  • The pandemic has caused people to lose sleep over heightened stress and disrupted routines. Experts are referring to it as “Coronasomnia,” as and they say it could prove to have profound public-health ramifications, such as creating a new population of chronic insomniacs dealing with decreased productivity, amplified tempers, and increased risks of hypertension, depression, and other health problems.
  • An additional 881,000 people applied for state unemployment benefits last week.
  • Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have created a dog-like robot called Dr. Spot that uses a tablet mounted for doctors to communicate with patients remotely over a video call.  Developed by Boston Dynamics, the robot dogs are controlled by a handheld device. Researchers say the technology includes four infrared and light wavelength-measuring cameras to monitor body temperature, breathing rate, blood oxygen saturation, and pulse. The project researchers have successfully tested the technology on healthy patients from a distance of up to three meters, so they now plan to try it on patients with COVID-19 symptoms to see if it's possible to minimize in-person contact with patients.
  • Pfizer’s chief executive, Dr. Albert Bourla, said today that the company expects to know whether its vaccine is effective by the end of next month, and that it would apply immediately for approval if that turns out to be the case.
  • United Airlines announced yesterday that they will have to put 16,370 workers on involuntary, indefinite furlough at the start of October unless they receive additional federal aid. 
  • Toshiro Muto, CEO of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, said he thinks the postponed games could proceed without a vaccine, but that there would just be a limited number of spectators. 
  • Filming for the new movie "The Batman" has been put on hold after lead actor, Robert Pattinson, tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • 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
  • 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.
  • According to a new study in CDC's MMWR, a large number of doctors, nurses, and other health care workers may be going undiagnosed after they become infected despite being at high risk for developing COVID-19. The report found that around 6 percent of the workers had antibody evidence of a previous coronavirus infection, and more than two-thirds of these individuals had not been previously diagnosed.
  • The directors of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (IDDRC) Network, a nationwide group funded by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, have said the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs). Read more here
  • Data compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics from the summer show that cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19 have increased at a faster rate in children and teenagers than among the general public.
  • Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 remains one of the most critical questions to solve in terms of getting the COVID-19 pandemic under control. Watch the National Academies' webinar "Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2," in which experts reviewed the available data along with some historical context.
  • Nearly half of the top 20 metropolitan areas where new cases per capita rose the most over the past two weeks are college towns.
  • The University of Missouri today reported an additional 109 cases of COVID-19, bringing the school’s total to 415. This seems like a lot, until you consider the University of Alabama's more than 1,200 infected students. 
  • Zoom reported higher sales and profit in the three months from May through July than it did in all of 2019, as more people work from home and have begun online schooling/distance learning.
  • United, Delta, and American Airlines all announced they will be dropping domestic change fees in light of uncertainty caused by the pandemic. 
  • 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
  • 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.
  • An early release from CDC's MMWR found that, during the 2020 summer camp season, four Maine overnight camps with 1,022 attendees from 41 states and international locations implemented a multilayered prevention and mitigation strategy that was successful in identifying and isolating three asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and preventing secondary transmission. 
  • Per Lost on the Frontline, an ongoing investigation by the Guardian and Kaiser Health News to record and memorialize every U.S. health care worker who dies from COVID-19, over 1,000 frontline health care workers have reportedly died from the virus, with an overwhelming number of those being immigrants of people of color. 
  • Starting September 1, the National Academies will invite public comments on a Discussion Draft of the Preliminary Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine, part of a study commissioned by the NIH and CDC. The study will recommend priorities to inform allocation of a limited initial supply of COVID-19 vaccine, taking into account factors such as racial/ethnic inequities and groups at higher risk due to health status, occupation, or living conditions. More information can be found here
  • Moderna and Pfizer, the companies leading the way for the first U.S. COVID-19 vaccine, said earlier this week they have enrolled more than half the people needed for the 30,000-person trials in the final phase of testing. Only about a fifth of those participants are from Black and Hispanic communities, however, which indicates the studies are lacking diversity (a critical piece in vaccine development for a disease that disproportionately affects Black and Hispanic individuals).
  • A new meta-analysis of published studies about the drug hydroxychloroquine shows that it does not lower mortality in COVID-19 patients, and using it combined with the antibiotic azithromycin is associated with a 27 percent increase in mortality.
  • Weekly unemployment claims in the U.S. exceeded one million again last week. Another 608,000 people filed for benefits under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which offers aid to independent contractors, self-employed workers and others not covered by regular state programs. 
  • In a new study, a computer simulation model found that if 75 percent of the population gets vaccinated, the vaccine has to have an efficacy (ability to protect against infection) of at least 70 percent to prevent an epidemic and at least 80 percent to extinguish an ongoing epidemic. If only 60 percent of the population gets vaccinated, the thresholds are even higher, around 80 percent to prevent an epidemic and 100 percent to extinguish an ongoing epidemic.
  • The University of Alabama reported more than 500 cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty, and staff. 
  • After a Spring without students in schools, some buildings are finding Legionella in water. Legionella forms in stagnant water (such as water in pipes in an empty school building) and the bacteria can be dispersed through the air and inhaled. 
  • The C.E.O. of Delta Air Lines told staff that the carrier had put about 240 customers on a no-fly list for refusing to wear masks on its planes and in lounges or gate areas. Other airlines, including United, have also barred passengers for not following virus-safety rules.
  • The country's oldest department store, Lord & Taylor, has become the most recent victim of COVID-19's wrath on the retail industry. The company has filed for bankruptcy.
  • 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.
  • There has been a 90 percent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among children in the U.S. over the last four weeks, according to recent data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association. The information will be updated weekly and is publicly available.
  • report published by the CDC suggests child-care centers may reopen safely in areas where the virus is low.
  • Researchers in Hong Kong have produced study results that indicate reinfection of COVID-19 may be possible in rare cases. The study is set to be published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
  • More than 730 American colleges and universities have announced at least one case on campus among students, faculty, or staff since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • The WHO released a document titled Advice on the use of masks for children in the community in the context of COVID-19. The document includes a Q&A about children and masks.
  • Research from the University of Notre Dame estimates that more than 100,000 people were already infected with COVID-19 by early March—when only 1,514 cases and 39 deaths had been officially reported and before a national emergency was declared. The study provides insight into how limited testing and gaps in surveillance during the initial phase of the epidemic resulted in so many cases going undetected. 
  • No­vavax is going ahead with the Phase II por­tion of a Phase I/II tri­al for its vac­cine in the U.S and Aus­tralia but will be focusing on old­er pa­tients this time. According to the company, about half of par­tic­i­pants en­rolled in the Phase II por­tion are be­tween the ages of 60 to 84. Recently released data show that the can­di­date pro­tect­ed macaques from in­fec­tion dur­ing a chal­lenge tri­al.
  • recent report from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy warned that a lack of data on how COVID-19 is affecting minority groups is limiting the U.S. response to the disease. More than half of COVID-19 cases reported to the federal government by states through the end of May did not include the patient’s race or ethnicity. Additionally, a study published last month found evidence that socioeconomic bias is ingrained into the primary federal surveillance program for flu-like illness, ILINet, which has been used to help track COVID-19, which often includes flu-like symptoms.
  • American Airlines will begin deploying a disinfecting surface coating that kills COVID-19 for up to seven days. SurfaceWise2, manufactured by Allied BioScience, creates an invisible layer that kills pathogens on high-touch surfaces within two hours.
  • According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, if mask use increases from 53 percent to 95 percent it could save almost 70,000 lives.
  • A Zoom outage earlier today highlighted how dependent many U.S. schools and companies have become on the videoconferencing platform. 
  • The Ohio State University has suspended 228 students who either hosted or attended parties/large gatherings and said they must leave campus while their disciplinary cases are pending. Schools across the country are having to deal with disciplining students who disobey COVID-19 codes of conduct. 
  • KFC has suspended its 64-year-old “Finger Lickin’ Good” ad campaign for markets outside the U.S. because of the coronavirus pandemic. The company said it would pause the use of “the most inappropriate slogan of 2020” in its advertising for now, given hygiene messaging and preventive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
  • 11 NFL teams were told over the weekend that a total of 77 people, including players and staff members, had  tested positive for COVID-19. It turned out, however, that the tests had yielded false positive results. 
  • 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.
  • The CDC released a new study that specifically examines how COVID-19 is affecting American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) – one of the racial and ethnic minority groups at highest risk from the disease. CDC found that in 23 selected states, the cumulative incidence of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases among AI/AN was 3.5 times that of non-Hispanic whites. The study also showed that AI/AN who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 tended to be younger than white non-Hispanic individuals with COVID-19 infection. 
  • Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital recently published a study that found 49 out of 192 children ages 0-22 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and an additional 18 children had late-onset, COVID-19-related illness. The infected children were shown to have a significantly higher level of virus in their airways than hospitalized adults in ICUs for COVID-19 treatment. The study results indicate that kids are a possible source of spreading this virus, and this should be taken into account in the planning stages for reopening schools.
  • U.S. stocks fell today after the Department of Labor reported rising jobless claims, a troubling signal that the economic devastation unleashed by the pandemic continues to burden the labor market. The weekly jobless claims had started to decrease in recent months, but have remained well above historical highs, averaging about 1.18 million a week for the last month. Economists had incorrectly predicted last week’s figure to approach the numbers from the week before, which had fallen below 1 million for the first time in about five months.
  • Next week, the National Academies are hosting a webinar on airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2. The workshop will take place over two days, both of which will last from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM. You can register here
  • survey of nearly 2,200 members of the largest federal employees’ union found that more than 70 percent of those who have returned to on-site work felt their agencies were not keeping them safe.
  • N.C. State University will move all of its undergraduate classes online after clusters of COVID-19 cases were found on campus this week.
  • Schools across the country are finding that students are not abiding by COVID-19 codes of conduct. Students without masks or any apparent concern for social distancing partied on campus at Penn State and Syracuse University, and threw a house party near the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts. At Purdue University, dozens of students were suspended for violating a new rule meant to curb off-campus parties, and a gathering at Indiana University Bloomington is being investigated by the school.
  • The New York Mets became the fourth Major League Baseball team to have a player test positive for COVID-19 since the shortened season began on July 23. 
  • Airbnb announced today that it will ban house parties and events at all of its global listings.
  • Interested in which college football teams and conferences have canceled? Read this
  • 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.
  • CDC's MMWR published a new early release about workplace outbreaks. The study article shows that, between March 6–June 5, 2020, workplace outbreaks occurred in 15 Utah industry sectors; 58 percent of workplace outbreak-associated COVID-19 cases were in three sectors: Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade, and Construction. Despite representing nearly a quarter of Utah workers in all affected sectors, Hispanic and nonwhite workers accounted for nearly three quarters of workplace outbreak-associated COVID-19 cases. The authors suggest that there should be sector-specific COVID-19 guidance, and that mitigation strategies should be culturally and linguistically responsive to racial/ethnic minority workers disproportionately affected by COVID-19. 
  • According to new studies, mild cases of COVID-19 can trigger robust memory T cell responses, even in the absence of detectable virus-specific antibody responses. Previously, it was not clear how SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses relate to antibody responses or to the clinical course of COVID-19 in humans. One scientist said, "The obvious next step is to determine whether robust memory T cell responses in the absence of detectable antibodies can protect against COVID-19 in the long-term."
  • The number of Americans who say they can’t afford enough food for themselves or their children is growing, according to Census data, and it is likely to get larger now that some government benefits have expired. As of late last month, about 12.1 percent of adults lived in households that didn’t have enough to eat at some point in the previous week, up from 9.8 percent in early May, Census figures show. And almost 20 percent of Americans with kids at home couldn’t afford to give their children enough food, up from almost 17 percent in early June.
  • Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget is launching a new interactive COVID Money Tracker tool. They also published a new analysis showing How Much COVID Relief Has Been Spent So Far and a guide to COVID Money Tracker, complete with FAQs. 
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the largest schools in the country to bring students to campus for in-person teaching, said today it will have to pivot to all-remote instruction for undergraduates after testing showed a pattern of rapid spread of COVID-19.
  • The Canadian Football League announced the cancelation of its 2020 season, saying it was in “the best long-term interests” of the league and marking the first time in more than a century that the Grey Cup won’t be awarded.
  • Last Thursday, 761,821 individuals passed through airport security checkpoints in the U.S. While that's only about a third of the previous year's travelers on that same day, it’s far above the 87,534 passengers who flew on April 14, when pandemic restrictions were new. Additionally, nearly 7 million Americans have taken road trips, according to AAA’s numbers. One company said RV rentals are nearly double what they were last year. 
  • 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.
  • About 4,000 federal employees are seeking disability compensation on grounds that they contracted COVID-19 at work, while survivors of 60 deceased employees are seeking death benefits for the same reason. The Department of Labor is far behind in processing claims, and the number of claims is expected to significantly increase over the next few weeks.
  • Gold reached a record high today, continuing its rise as nervous investors sought out a safe place to put their money. The price for spot gold, which has been climbing steadily since March, reached $1,944 per ounce.
  • Google’s employees will work from home until mid-2021.
  • Planet Fitness announced today that all guests will be required to wear masks at all times while inside its facilities, effective August 1. 
  • Two coaches and 12 players on the Miami Marlins have tested positive for COVID-19, leading to the cancellation of multiple Major League Baseball games this week. 
  • 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.
  • In a survey of museum directors by the American Alliance of Museums, 16 percent of respondents said there was a high risk that their museums could close for good in the next 16 months. Another 17 percent said they did not know if they would survive without further financial help from governments and private donors.
  • The Citi Open tennis tournament in Washington, D.C. has been canceled for 2020.
  • The jury seems still to be out about whether a person can become infected a second time with COVID-19. Although, a study by UCLA researchers shows that in people with mild cases of COVID-19, antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 drop sharply over the first three months after infection, decreasing by roughly half every 73 days. If sustained at that rate, the antibodies would disappear within about a year.
  • A new Northwestern Medicine study in mice found a widely used class of drugs to treat patients with hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetic kidney disease — many of whom are elderly — does not increase the risk of developing a severe and potentially fatal COVID-19 infection. There have been concerns by the medical community worldwide that the drugs -- ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) -- might have caused an increase in ACE2, the main receptor for SARS-CoV-2, which could possibly increase the risk for this infection and its severity. The new findings, however, revealed a decrease, not an increase, in ACE2 in mice kidney membranes and no change in lung membranes. The study supports the safety of these drugs in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • More than six million people signed up for food stamps in the first three months of the pandemic. The program grew by 17 percent between February and May of this year. 
  • Teachers unions sued Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) over his administration’s emergency order pushing schools to fully reopen next month even as cases of COVID-19 continue to surge in the state. The American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s largest teachers union, and its local affiliate, the Florida Education Association, accused Gov. DeSantis of violating a Florida law requiring that schools be “safe” and “secure.” The unions, along with parent and teacher plaintiffs, asked a state court in Miami to block the governor’s reopening order and allow local school superintendents and health departments to have full control over reopening decisions.
  • large new study from South Korea found that children between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread virus at least as well as adults do, suggesting that middle and high schools in particular may seed new clusters of infection. Children younger than 10 transmit to others much less often, which is consistent with what many other studies have reported.
  • On Saturday, 1,400 high school students were unhappy to find their ACT testing sites shut down upon arrival due to COVID-19. ACT Inc., the nonprofit organization that administers the test, noted that more than 88,000 students at some 1,100 sites successfully took the exam on Saturday. Test takers had been warned to check the ACT website for updates, but not all the cancellations made it onto the site.
  • According to a new study, an estimated 5.4 million Americans lost their health insurance between February and May due to COVID-19-related job losses. The study, to be released Tuesday by the nonpartisan consumer advocacy group Families U.S.A., found that the estimated increase in uninsured laid-off workers over the three-month period was nearly 40 percent higher than the highest previous increase, which occurred during the recession of 2008 and 2009. 
  • An observational analysis of more than 1,200 confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients across 69 countries between April 3rd and April 20th found heart abnormalities in more than half (55 percent) of subjects after they underwent echocardiograms, with 1 in 7 experiencing severe cardiac disease. 
  • The IRS clarified that for-profit healthcare providers will have to pay taxes on the grants they received from the COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund. Some for-profit providers had hoped that the grants could be classified as a qualified disaster relief payment, but the IRS said the grants have to be included in gross income. Tax-exempt providers won't be taxed on the grants unless they reimburse the provider for lost revenue for an unrelated trade or business.
  • Eighteen attorneys general sued the Trump administration for its order that would require international students to take classes in person this fall despite the pandemic.
    • Google, Facebook, Twitter, and more than a dozen other tech companies and associations, as well as more than 70 higher education associations and scores of universities, supported a lawsuit by Harvard and MIT seeking to block the rule.
  • Researchers are working on the next generation of COVID-19 tests that give answers in less than an hour, without onerous equipment or highly trained personnel. Some of the tests in development swap brain-tickling swabs for tubes in which you spit. Others would dunk patient samples into chemical mixtures that light up if they detect coronavirus genes. Another type of test identifies virus proteins in minutes and is cheap to produce. 
  • Pregnant women infected with COVID-19 are more likely to be hospitalized, admitted to an intensive care unit, and put on a ventilator than are infected women who are not pregnant, according to a CDC analysis. The report includes information on 8,207 pregnant women between ages 15 to 44, who were compared to 83,205 women in the same age bracket who were not pregnant. More than 31 percent of the pregnant women were hospitalized, compared with about 6 percent of women who were not pregnant.
  • The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report recently published multiple new articles:
    • Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 during and after a college spring break trip (March 14–19) led to 64 cases, including 60 among 183 vacation travelers, one among 13 household contacts, and three among 35 community contacts. Prompt epidemiologic investigation, with effective contact tracing and cooperation between a university and a public health department, contributed to outbreak control. This suggests that a coordinated response with contact tracing and testing of all contacts, including those who are asymptomatic, is important in controlling future COVID-19 outbreaks that might occur as schools and universities consider reopening.
    • One article argues symptom-based screening in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) is inadequate to detect SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Repeated point prevalence surveys can identify asymptomatic cases during outbreaks. Repeated point prevalence surveys at 26 Detroit SNFs identified an attack rate of 44 percent; within 21 days of diagnosis, 37 percent of infected patients were hospitalized and 24 percent died. Among 12 facilities participating in a second survey and receiving on-site infection prevention and control (IPC) support, the percentage of newly identified cases decreased from 35 percent to 18 percent.
  • A new study conducted by the CDC and several hospitals found that over half of U.S. states have seen previously healthy young people become seriously ill from multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) related to coronavirus. Nearly 90 percent of the 186 patients in the report were hospitalized, and most of those needed intensive care, the researchers said. One in five of the patients, who were all under 21, became so sick that they required ventilators, and four children died. 
  • An early release in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) found that testing among quarantined contacts of patients with COVID-19 in a correctional and detention facility identified a high proportion of asymptomatic and presymptomatic cases that were not identified through symptom screening alone. Approximately one fourth of cases were found through serial testing during quarantine. This implies early detection and isolation of persons with COVID-19, along with testing of close contacts, can slow the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in correctional and detention facilities. Serial testing, particularly for close contacts of patients, is important for complete identification of cases and prompt public health response in congregate settings.
  • According to data from the New York Times, at least 54,000 residents and employees of nursing homes and long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19, accounting for 43 percent of virus-related deaths in the U.S.
  • Gilead Sciences will soon start trials of an inhalable version of remdesivir, the antiviral drug that has shown some preliminary promise as a treatment for COVID-19. Remdesivir is currently only available intravenously, so it has only been available for use in hospitals. 
  • An early release in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report suggests that, in the 10 weeks following declaration of the COVID-19 national emergency, emergency room visits declined 23 percent for heart attack, 20 percent for stroke, and 10 percent for hyperglycemic crisis. The CDC encourages individuals experiencing chest pain, loss of motor function, altered mental status, or other life-threatening issues to seek immediate emergency care, regardless of the pandemic. Communication from public health and health care professionals should reinforce the importance of timely care for acute health conditions and assure the public that emergency departments are implementing infection prevention and control guidelines to ensure the safety of patients and health care personnel.
  • During May 5–12, 2020, a survey among adults in New York City and Los Angeles and broadly across the United States found widespread support of stay-at-home orders and nonessential business closures and high degree of adherence to COVID-19 mitigation guidelines. Most respondents reported that they would feel unsafe if restrictions were lifted at the time of the survey.
  • A recent Wall Street Journal article (free to read here) breaks down how, exactly, people catch COVID-19. One factor the article points out is that simple activities like speaking and breathing produce respiratory molecules that can disperse along air currents and potentially infect people nearby. 
  • Earlier this week, researchers described findings from a study that suggest the steroid dexamethasone could be effective at reducing COVID-19 mortality. The drug is part of the RECOVERY clinical trials conducted in the United Kingdom, one of the largest clinical trials testing potential COVID-19 therapeutics. The preliminary results have not undergone peer review. The study tested a small daily dose of the drug in 2,104 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. When compared to a non-placebo-controlled control group who received the normal standard of care, dexamethasone was associated with a 34 percent decrease in mortality for patients on mechanical ventilation and 20 percent decrease for those receiving oxygen therapy.
  • The Labor Department reported that more than 1.5 million Americans filed new state unemployment claims last week. While this is the lowest number since the crisis began, it is still far above normal levels. Even though many businesses are starting to reopen, those that were crippled by the economic hardships of lockdown restrictions are starting to have to lay off employees. 
  • The newest CDC forecasts suggest that the U.S. will likely see 124,000 to 140,000 COVID-19 deaths by the Fourth of July.
  • Between May 5th and 20th, a survey among adults in New York City and Los Angeles and broadly across the U.S. found widespread support of stay-at-home orders and nonessential business closures and high degree of adherence to COVID-19 mitigation guidelines. Most respondents reported that they would feel unsafe if restrictions were lifted at the time of the survey. The results of the study have been published in CDC's MMWR. 
  • Delta Airlines plans to partner with the Mayo Clinic and Quest Diagnostics to launch a program to test all employees for COVID-19 and antibodies as part of its efforts to return to normal operations. 
  • U.S. stocks fell sharply today after investors were reportedly concerned about the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the country. It was the worst day for the U.S. market since March. The Dow closed 1,862 points, or 6.9 percent, lower, and the S&P 500 ended down by 5.9 percent. 
  • Moderna confirmed it expects to begin a phase three study of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in July. The final phase of the placebo-controlled study will include 30,000 subjects in the U.S.
  • Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc said today it has begun human testing of its experimental antibody cocktail as a treatment for COVID-19. The trial has an “adaptive” design and could quickly move from dozens of patients to eventually include thousands, Chief Scientific Officer George Yancopoulos told Reuters.
  • According to a study published by a team of researchers in Texas and California, wearing a mask is the most effective way to stop person-to person spread of airborne spread of COVID-19.The researchers, led by Renyi Zhang from the department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University, compared COVID-19 infection rate trends in Italy and New York both before and after face masks were made mandatory. Both locations started to see infection rates flatten only after mandatory face masks measures were put in place.
  • Officials at the Federal Reserve indicated that they expect the unemployment rate to end 2020 at 9.3 percent and remain elevated for years.
  • The Treasury Department said today that the U.S. budget deficit grew to a record $1.88 trillion for the first eight months of this fiscal year, as Congress passed economic relief packages and the government delayed tax payments.
  • The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) indicated in a new report that the world economy is facing the most severe recession in a century and could have an exceptionally difficult time recovering due to a potential second wave of COVID-19. 
  • Los Angeles County issued guidelines for film and television to begin production as early as Friday, but it’s more likely that production will not resume until July at the earliest. Studios and production companies are still waiting for unions to determine job protocols, even though the industry issued its own white paper last week that established general guidelines for resuming production.
  • A scientist for the WHO said today that asymptomatic transmission was not a significant factor in the spread of the virus, which has created some confusion among experts seeking more information from the WHO. She cited a WHO report published June 5, which said that based on evidence from contact tracing, “asymptomatically infected individuals are much less likely to transmit the virus than those who develop symptoms.”
  • Thirty-nine of the 40 largest known virus clusters in the U.S. are in food processing or correctional facilities.
  • Stocks on Wall Street have made a full recovery for the year. The S&P 500 rose more than 1 percent today, adding to a multi-week rebound based on hope for a quick economic recovery, significant intervention by the Federal Reserve, and a disregard for the serious risks that businesses and consumers still face.
  • The Department of Labor reported that another 1.9 million workers filed for unemployment aid last week. 
  • U.S. exports and imports both posted their largest monthly decreases on record amid coronavirus-related shutdowns around the world. The Commerce Department said today that imports fell 13.7 percent in April from March, and exports dropped 20.5 percent, the largest declines since record-keeping began in 1992. The trade deficit expanded 16.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted $49.41 billion.
  • The authors of a paper published last month that reported concerning findings about the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients have retracted their report after the data that it was based on was called into question. The paper originally led to the suspension of some clinical trials of the medications, including by the WHO, though some of those have since resumed. More on this can be found in an article linked below, "The pandemic's first major research scandal erupts."
  • A recent study indicates the actual mortality rate of adults with critical illness from COVID-19 is less than what was previously reported. Compared to earlier reports of a 50 percent mortality rate, the study finds that the mortality rate of critically ill patients who required mechanical ventilation was only 35.7 percent.
  • According to a senior administration official, the White House won’t issue updated economic projections this summer because of uncertainty caused by the pandemic. The official said COVID-19 has resulted in fluctuating economic data, and that White House projections wouldn’t provide a meaningful snapshot of the economy. 
  • The Commerce Department reported the U.S. GDP fell at a 5.0% annual rate in the first quarter, adjusted for seasonality and inflation.
  • Initial claims for unemployment benefits declined to a seasonally adjusted 2.1 million last week from 2.4 million the prior week.
  • The American Council on Education, the Association of American Universities, and dozens of other higher education groups sent a letter to lawmakers on Thursday expressing “fears of huge transactional costs associated with defending against COVID-19 spread lawsuits” without more legal protections. The action comes as institutions that have lost millions in revenue from closures are facing huge financial pressures to reopen and are trying to figure out how to do so while protecting the health of students and staff.
  • U.S. stocks surged today on optimism that economic activity is gathering steam and authorities may offer more stimulus to bolster the recovery. The S&P 500 closed out above 3000 for the first time in nearly three months.
  • A recent poll of nearly 2,000 voters from May showed that, across political parties, people largely believe COVID-19 testing should be required for employees and students returning to their places of work and study. Democrats who participated in the poll were about 20 percent more likely than their republican counterparts to say they backed mandatory testing. 
  • A scientific brief has been published by WHO investigating any association between smoking and an increased risk for COVID-19. At the time of this review, the available evidence suggests that in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, smoking is associated with increased severity of disease and death.
  • The stock market got a bit of a boost today, with the S&P 500 gaining 1.2 percent and crude oil prices on the rise.
    • Likely due to the lifting of travel restrictions, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines both gained more than 10 percent. 
  • The WHO announced it would temporarily suspend the use of hydroxychloroquine following a recent study published in the medical journal The Lancet which raised safety concerns regarding the drug as a COVID-19 treatment. 
  • A new study found that there are four main risk factors that make COVID-19 victims more likely to have severe or life-threatening symptoms: age, sex, weight, and underlying illness. The study took into account data from more than 20,000 patients across 208 hospitals.  
  • Novavax said yesterday it has started the Phase 1 clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate and has enrolled the trial’s first participants, with preliminary results slated for July.
  • Epidemiologists across the country are confused by the CDC's decision to combine results of tests that detect active COVID-19 infection with those that detect recovery. Two reasons for the confusion are that serological testing can be unreliable, and patients who have had both diagnostic and serology tests would be counted twice.
  • A new study, in which 15,000 patients were treated with hydroxychloroquine and 81,000 patients were not, shows that the drug may have done more harm than good to those who received it. People who received the drugs were more likely to have abnormal heart rhythms.
  • A study conducted by researchers at several laboratories in China appears to be safe and may offer protection against the virus. The trial included 108 participants and found that subjects who got the vaccine mounted a moderate immune response to the virus, which peaked 28 days after the inoculation.
  • An additional 2.4 million individuals filed for unemployment last week, bringing the nine-week total to 38.6 million. 
  • Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said today that the COVID-19 pandemic poses the most serious threat “in our lifetimes” to the Federal Reserve’s goals of maintaining strong employment and stable prices.
  • Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are anticipating a busy hurricane season for the Atlantic. As has happened in India and Bangladesh, COVID-19 is expected to be a barrier in recovery efforts. For example, FEMA can currently only deploy 38 percent of staff. There are other concerns about the virus spreading in shelters and how to deal with evacuations.  
  • Ford Motors sent workers home at Chicago and Dearborn plants today after employees tested positive for COVID-19. The two employees who tested positive had passed a temperature check the day before. 
  • National Nurses United recently conducted a survey in which they found that many nurses remain fearful of becoming ill because they do not have the equipment they need to remain safe. The survey, conducted between April 15th and May 10th, includes responses from both union members and nonunion nurses in all 50 states. The findings showed that a staggering 87 percent of respondents reported having to reuse PPE, including respirators, a practice that the nurses said would not have been allowed before the pandemic.
  • Health experts are warning that stagnant plumbing systems in emptied office buildings could pose a threat when employees return. Bacteria — including the type that causes the respiratory condition Legionnaires’ disease — can build up if not properly addressed.
  • The Federal Reserve said industrial production, a measure of factory, mining, and utility output, decreased a seasonally adjusted 11.2 percent in April from the prior month.
  • According to recent government data, retail sales dropped by 16.4 percent in April after dropping over 8 percent in March. This is the biggest two-month plunge on record.
    • J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy today, the largest retailer to do so thus far. 
  • Retail workers across the country are facing violence while trying to enforce public health guidelines in their stores. A woman in Pennsylvania was punched in the face by a man refusing to wear a mask, a security guard in Michigan was shot and killed after insisting a customer put on a mask, and an employee in California wound up with a broken arm after helping to remove two customers who would not wear masks. 
  • Recent data show that women have so far been more vulnerable to job losses, because sectors with more women, such as education, leisure, and hospitality, have been hardest hit by social-distancing measures.
  • Air Canada will be reducing its workforce by 50-60 percent after having to reduce flight schedules by 95 percent. 
  • The Department of Labor reported that nearly 3.2 million more Americans were added to state jobless rolls last week. Economists now expect the monthly jobs report tomorrow to put the official April unemployment rate at 15 percent or higher — a Depression-era level.
  • Frontier Airlines announced today that they plan to take passengers’ temperatures before boarding commercial flights. Beginning June 1st, anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be denied boarding.
  • Starting Monday, Amtrak will require passengers to wear face coverings in stations and on trains and buses. The coverings can be removed only when passengers are eating in designated areas, in private rooms, or when seated alone or with a companion in their own pair of seats.
  • Several major sports league announced plans to resume play. The National Football League directed teams to develop plans to reopen training facilities on May 15th.
  • Food and consumer products trade groups sent a letter to Vice President Pence asking for more guidance on the steps they should take as they prepare to reopen. The groups wrote that the lack of “central coordination” from different agencies make it “extremely” difficult for companies to develop detailed response plans.
  • So far in the second round of PPP loans, about 2.2 million applicants have been approved, with an average loan size of $79,000. In the first round of funding, large, publicly traded companies received a large amount of the funding meant for small businesses. According to a recent report, publicly traded companies have since given back more than $375 billion of those federal stimulus loans.
  • Air Canada announced a new program, Air Canada CleanCare+, which consists of mandatory preflight infrared temperature checks, blocking the sale of adjacent seats, capping the total number of passengers allowed on each flight, requiring employees and passengers to wear face coverings, and removing pillows and blankets from the planes. The airline company will also begin using hospital grade disinfectant in their sprayers and will give kits with hand sanitizer to passengers.
  • The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis reported that, for the first month ever, renewable energy sources such as solar, hydro, and wind, supplied more power to the electric grid than coal-fired plants.
  • Carnival Corporation said today that it plans on allowing eight of its ships to start cruising again before the end of the summer. Carnival has canceled service on many of its lines through September, but will look to offer cruises from three total ports in Texas and Florida as early as August 1st.
  • The United States Department of Labor announced that an additional 3.8 million new unemployment insurance claims were filed last week. In total, Americans have filed more than 30 million new unemployment claims over the past 6 weeks.
  • Yesterday, Gilead Sciences, the manufacturer of remdesivir, released some results from a Phase III clinical trial comparing 5-day and 10-day treatment courses of the drug. The results did not provide any information whether the drug improved patient outcomes compared to a control group. Gilead also noted that the results “complement” forthcoming results from a placebo-controlled trial conducted by NIAID (mentioned in yesterday’s update).
    • The interim results from the NIAID study—a randomized control trial involving more than 1,000 patients—find that patients treated with remdesivir had a shorter time to recovery than those who received a placebo (median of 11 days compared to 15 days; 28 percent improvement). Dr. Tony Fauci described the reduction in time to recovery as “highly significant.”
  • Trade groups including the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service and the National Retail Federation wrote to a letter to lawmakers today urging them to provide relief funds to the United States Postal Services.
  • Meat processing workers, many of them low-income immigrants and minorities, are being recalled to plants where thousands have been sickened.
  • On Friday, labor organizers from Amazon, Whole Foods, Instacart, Walmart, Target, Shipt (owned by Target), and FedEx say they will walk off the job to strike for better pay, expansion of paid sick leave, access to personal protective equipment, and enforcement of social distancing in the workplace.
  • As online shopping has increased, demand for Amazon delivery folks has skyrocketed. Amazon hired 175,000 more workers over the last two months to keep up with orders.
  • Food delivery apps like Grubhub, DoorDash, and UberEats have said they would suspend some or all of the commissions they take on orders to help restaurants continue to offer takeout. Restaurants have said other fees still apply.
  • Apple is pushing back the production ramp-up of its flagship iPhones coming later this year by about a month. Apple’s annual product refresh fuels the majority of iPhone sales for an entire year, making new phones the linchpin of a business segment that accounts for more than half of the company’s total revenue.
  • The IRS is ready to release the second big wave of stimulus payments and will send money over the next few days to people who recently provided their direct-deposit information. These payments will likely go to two groups: One set is tax filers who successfully used the IRS  website’s “Get My Payment” tool to add bank information by midday on April 22nd, according to the IRS. The other set is people who don’t file tax returns but who receive Social Security or Social Security disability benefits, according to the Treasury Department.
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston is using a robot dog to help clinicians screen patients. The robot, developed by Boston Dynamics, allows physicians to communicate with and deliver supplies to patients without potential exposure to COVID-19; the robot also limits the use of PPE.
  • According to doctors, older adults with COVID-19 have several “atypical” symptoms, complicating efforts to ensure they get timely and appropriate treatment. COVID-19 is typically signaled by three symptoms: a fever, a bad cough, and shortness of breath. But older adults — the age group most at risk of severe complications or death from the illness ― may show none of these characteristics. Instead, seniors may seem “off” — not acting like themselves ― early on after being infected. They may sleep more than usual or stop eating. They may seem unusually apathetic or confused, losing orientation to their surroundings. They may become dizzy and fall. Sometimes, seniors stop speaking or simply collapse.
  • Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Labor released new information indicating that more than 4.4 million individuals filed initial claims for unemployment. While this number is a decrease from the previous week, it brings the national total to approximately 26 million new claims.
  • Individuals are postponing medical care and procedures, with emergency departments across the country reporting significant decreases in normal patient load. Some clinicians expressed concern that patients may be dying of these conditions at home rather than risking exposure to COVID-19 at the hospital.
  • A report by NPR found racial disparities in New York nursing home deaths. Among the 78 homes the report looked at, seven of the 11 nursing homes with the highest number of COVID-19 related deaths reported 46 percent or greater of “non-white” residents.
  • A data breach in the Small Business Association‘s (SBA) online application portal may have compromised personal information for nearly 8,000 businesses seeking emergency loans last month, the agency said today. SBA said it discovered on March 25th that the application system for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) may have disclosed personal information to other applicants of the program — including Social Security numbers, income amounts, names, addresses and contact information.

Other Resources

Common Acronyms

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Central Command (CENTCOM), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)

Emerging Therapeutic Company Investment and Deal-making 2010-2019

Contents:

  • Acquisitions
  • Licensing 
  • IPOs and FOPOs 
  • Venture Funding 
  • Methodology 

https://www.bio.org/sites/default/files/2020-06/BIO_2020_BIO_Industry_Analysis_2010_2019.pdf

Gov. Kemp Calls on Georgia Businesses to Aid with Critical Health Care Needs

  • Governor Kemp calls on all Georgia businesses who are able to help the state provide, produce, distribute, or store critical health care items needed to fight the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Click here to read the press release and to complete the information form, visit: www.georgia.org/covid19response.


Georgia-Specific Resources

COVID-19 Updates and Information Georgia Department of Economic Development

Economic Assistance for Atlanta Businesses Affected by COVID-19 Invest Atlanta

State-administered revolving loan program

State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) - Department of Community Affairs

  1. Georgia Loan Participation Program. The State purchases a participation of up to 25% of an approved loan, for loans ranging from $100,000 to $5,000,000. (Maximum participation amount depending on program liquidity; current maximum participation is $250,000.)  
  2. Georgia SBCG (Small Business Credit Guaranty) is a 50% loan guaranty program with a current maximum loan amount of $400,000 with a $200,000 guaranty.

Roadmap to Recovery

A set of recommendations intended to guide governors and state agencies on reopening and operating their states in this new environment. Developed by NGA and the Association of State & Territorial Health Officers (ASHTO). 

Moody COVID State Budget Stress Test

A report from Moody’s concerning the precariousness of state budgets as a result of COVID-19.

Gilead Sciences statements on trials of remdesivir (COVID-19)

Mental Health

Helpful Articles/Media

Johns Hopkins University Real-Time Coronavirus Tracker

RSS 2019 Novel Coronavirus