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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

2/25/2021

  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 28,138,938 total cases and 503,587 deaths. The CDC data closes out the day before reporting.
  • The U.S. is averaging fewer than 70,000 new cases a day for the first time since October.
  • Deaths are down from their peak, but about 2,000 deaths continue to be announced nationwide on most days. California deaths surpassed 50,000 this week, accounting for roughly one in 10 of coronavirus deaths in the U.S.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that the state is partnering with OptumServe and local counties to open 11 vaccination sites within the next week to serve communities in the Central Valley.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) amended and extended an EO establishing directives for the COVID-19 Dial Framework. The order was amended to add level Red into certain restrictions the Colorado Department of Public Health can set by Public Health Order.
  • Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment announced that Abbot Binax rapid tests will be administered by medical professionals for the legislative session.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced that the state will continue with an age-based approach to expanding eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations. Pre-K-12 school staff and teachers, and professional child care providers will be eligible to receive the vaccine in March at dedicated clinics that will be set up specifically for those sectors.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced the establishment of six additional COVID-19 vaccination sites in underserved communities.
  • Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) announced the launch of two additional state-supported mass vaccination sites in Rockford and Collinsville. The sites launched on Feb. 23 and each will provide up to 1,350 doses per day at full capacity.
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) issued an EO allowing temporary authorization for additional vaccinators during Kansas’ state of disaster emergency. The order allows state health care professionals such as pharmacy students, dentists, paramedics, and others who may administer injections or inoculations within their scope of practice to administer a coronavirus vaccine that is approved or authorized by the FDA.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) is working with the Lexington chapter of the NAACP to advance his commitment to providing equitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations across Kentucky. Gov. Beshear also announced an EO that recommends all school districts offer some in-person instructional opportunities beginning March 1.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Waltz (D) announced Hy-Vee will be added to the expanding network of pharmacies vaccinating Minnesotans across the state. Hy-Vee joins two other retail pharmacies in Minnesota — Walmart and Thrifty White — that are participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program that launched earlier this month.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced new guidelines for visitation of residents in nursing home facilities in accordance with CMS and CDC guidelines to begin on Feb. 26.
  • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (R) signed an EO to ease COVID-19 restrictions. The order allows bars to offer indoor service, increases alcohol sale cutoff times from 9 PM to 11 PM, and allows businesses to operate at 30 percent capacity up to 250 people.
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced that 16 counties improved in risk level, with 10 of those improving from Extreme Risk.
  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that more than 600 skilled nursing facilities have received first and second doses of the vaccine, and, in total, more than 315,000 doses of vaccine have been administered among all long-term care facilities being vaccinated by CVS and Walgreens.
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced certain outdoor sports and entertainment venues may begin to operate at increased capacity starting March 1.
  • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced the locations of four additional community-based vaccination clinics.
  • Useful state data:
    • Use Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 U.S. map as a resource for media, policymakers, and communities to view a collection of critical public health data in one online destination and better understand and track the COVID-19 pandemic in populations both large and small across the country. NPR's map can also be used to monitor you state's heat wave. 
    • NASHP has developed a COVID-19 State Action Center which serves as a state-level policy dashboard. Governing is also keeping a running tally of coronavirus news and impacts at the intersection of the health and economic crises in the states and localities.
    • This site from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides state-level information on cases/deaths, social distancing measures, health policy actions, and more.
    • This series of maps shows how states are responding to COVID-19.

2/22/2021

  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 27,938,085 total cases and 497,415 deaths. The CDC data closes out the day before reporting, but most major data sources have reported that the U.S. has reached the 500,000 mark for deaths.  
  • Cases have fallen more than 40 percent over the last two weeks and more than 70 percent since the January peak. Fewer people are testing positive each day than at any point since late October. 
  • Weather last week impacted the delivery of 6 million doses of vaccines that were expected to be delivered to all 50 states. Many states have been able to cover some of this delay with existing inventory. 7 million doses were delivered today and it is anticipated that all backlog doses will be delivered by midweek.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that movie theaters in New York City will be permitted to open for the first time in nearly a year on March 5. The theaters will only be permitted to operate at 25 percent of their maximum capacity, with no more than 50 people per screening, masks will be mandatory, and theaters must assign seating to patrons to guarantee proper social distancing.   
  • Gov. Cuomo announced additional efforts through a partnership with FEMA to expand access to community-based vaccination sites at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and York College in Queens.
  • Gov. Cuomo released updated guidance for infection rates and testing protocols on college campuses. Colleges and universities testing at least 25 percent of total students, faculty, and staff weekly will not be required to go on pause unless positivity rate exceeds 5 percent during a rolling 14-day period. Other colleges not testing at least 25 percent of population weekly must go on pause if they have 100 individuals test positive during a rolling 14-day period.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that a limited number of fans are now allowed to attend sports and entertainment events at venues with 5,000 or more seats beginning next week. Indoor venues will be limited to 10 percent of their seating capacity, while outdoor venues will be limited to 15 percent capacity.
  • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) extended the State of Civil Emergency through March 18, 2021, Gov. Murphy extended the Public Health Emergency that was first declared on March 9, 2020, for 30 days, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed the fourth renewal of his 90-day Proclamation of Disaster Emergency. 
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced that his administration is partnering with Health Equity Solutions on an outreach program to educated as many people as possible about the COVID-19 vaccine, particularly among communities that have historically had inequitable access to health care.
  • Gov. Lamont, the Mohegan Tribe, and Yale New Haven Health System announced plans to open a large-scale community vaccination site at Mohegan Sun.
  • Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) announced the launch of three additional state-supported mass vaccination sites in southern and central Illinois.
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) announced new steps to address data reporting issues that, to date, have inaccurately identified the number of individuals vaccinated for COVID-19 in Kansas. To address this gap, the state will introduce a new daily reporting snapshot, improve existing reporting by requiring a flat file fix, and address underlying technical issues with a system-level solve.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced the state is opening 28 additional vaccination sites, for a total of 291 sites across the commonwealth.
  • Gov. Beshear announced updated visitation protocols in some of the state’s long-term care facilities. Indoor visitation will resume for non-Medicare-certified facilities that have been through the vaccination process: that includes assisted living facilities, personal care homes, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, and independent living facilities. Group activities, communal dining, and visitation amongst vaccinated residents will resume. Visitors need to show proof of either a negative COVID-19 test or a COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced that beginning Monday, Feb. 22, K-12 teachers, school support staff, daycare staff, those who are pregnant, and Louisianans aged 55 to 64 with certain health conditions are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced that Minnesotans have received more than one million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. In all, 728,081 Minnesotans had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 286,543 had completed the two-dose series.
  • Gov. Walz announced that beginning Feb. 22, all middle and high school students can return to the classroom for hybrid or in-person learning and said that he expects all schools to offer their students some form of in-person learning by March 8.
  • Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Analytics announced additional metrics, data on trends and demographics, to be included on the state’s COVID-19 vaccine dashboard.
  • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced that the state has administered almost two million doses of vaccine with 23 percent of doses administered to Black North Carolinians vs. 13 percent five weeks ago.  
  • Virginia launched a new centralized system that allows individuals to easily pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine, confirm that they are on the waitlist, and learn more about Virginia’s vaccination program.
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) signed a modification to the Omnibus Emergency Order that increases gathering limits for indoor events from 10 to 25 people or 50 percent of stated fire occupancy restrictions.
  • Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced that effective Tuesday, anyone at least two weeks removed from their second vaccine shot will not be required to quarantine following out-of-state travel. Those visiting Vermont who are vaccinated will also be exempt if they can provide proof of their vaccinations.
  • Gov. Scott announced that starting Friday, Feb. 26, those at long-term facilities who are vaccinated can gather and visitors will be allowed at facilities that do not currently have an outbreak.
  • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that restaurants and bars can increase seating capacity from 50 percent to 75 percent, retail shops and grocery stores can double the number of customers per square foot in their buildings, and all school children in kindergarten through eighth grade will go back to in-person learning full-time.
  • Five additional vaccination centers (one in Pennsylvania and four in Florida) will be established to target vaccinations to those who are most vulnerable and to promote equity. The centers will be able to vaccinate multiple thousand people per day and should be up and running in the next two weeks.
  • Useful state data:
    • Use Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 U.S. map as a resource for media, policymakers, and communities to view a collection of critical public health data in one online destination and better understand and track the COVID-19 pandemic in populations both large and small across the country. NPR's map can also be used to monitor you state's heat wave. 
    • NASHP has developed a COVID-19 State Action Center which serves as a state-level policy dashboard. Governing is also keeping a running tally of coronavirus news and impacts at the intersection of the health and economic crises in the states and localities.
    • This site from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides state-level information on cases/deaths, social distancing measures, health policy actions, and more.
    • This series of maps shows how states are responding to COVID-19.

2/18/2021

  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 27,669,556 total cases and 489,067 deaths. The CDC data closes out the day before reporting
  • The U.S. has averaged around 81,000 cases a day over the past week, the fewest since the beginning of November.        
  • The pace of vaccinations has roughly doubled in the last month, but winter weather caused vaccine shipment delays this week and forced some vaccination sites in the South and Midwest to close.
  • South Carolina continues to lead the country by a wide margin in recent cases per capita. Case numbers are persistently high around Spartanburg and Myrtle Beach.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed an EO extending the state’s disaster declaration and extended an EO directing the Colorado Division of Insurance to enact a rule regarding rates for COVID-19 vaccine administration.  
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the Biden Administration announced the opening of the nation’s first community vaccination sites in Oakland and Los Angeles.
  • Delaware's Emergency Management Agency and Division of Public Health are partnering with FEMA, the CDC, HHS, and Dover International Speedway to open a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination site for six days beginning Feb. 21. FEMA will provide resources and federal staffing support, as well as operational support at this site.
  • Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced an expanded partnership with Federally Qualified Health Centers across the state to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. The state has also proactively ordered vaccines to be delivered to its SNS Receipt, Store, and Stage site in anticipation of adverse weather.  
  • The federal government has notified all states of COVID-19 vaccine delivery delays across the country due to adverse weather and road conditions.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced the launch of a community-based vaccination partnership to provide equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine to underserved communities throughout New Jersey. The community-based vaccination partnership will vaccinate 15,000 residents through the end of March.   
  • Gov. Murphy also announced an EO that enables indoor and outdoor youth sporting events to allow parents or guardians to attend practices or competitions.
  • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) issued an EO providing greater flexibility in gathering limits for houses of worship in Maine. Under the governor’s order, houses of worship may now accommodate five people per 1,000 square feet of space, or up to 50 people, whichever is greater.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed an EO that allows restaurants to stay open until 11 PM and that expands maximum capacity for restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues, and private events.
  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed an emergency directive adjusting statewide standards on gathering capacity limits for certain businesses.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will partially restore overnight service on the New York City Subway, pending continued positive trends in New York's COVID-19 indicators. New York transit officials also announced that they had avoided major reductions for the next two years preserving bus and subway service until at least 2022.
  • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) lifted a temporary restriction that required any indoor event of 10 people or more to obtain state approval in advance. Indoor events with 100 people or more still require approval. Gov. Hutchinson also lifted a restriction that prohibited schools from holding sports competitions with more than two teams.
  • The Tennessee Department of Health announced vaccination registration for residents aged 65 and older and those in Phase 1b, including staff members of kindergarten through 12th grade schools and childcare facilities, will begin on Feb. 22. The state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan has been updated to add pregnant women to Phase 1c. The Tennessee Department of Health also launched a new online COVID-19 Vaccination scheduling tool. 
  • Utah launched a COVID-19 contact tracing system that allows Utah residents to opt in to receive and share notifications about possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Washington, D.C., residents employed in grocery stores or manufacturing are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The next expansion, on March 1, is for people of any age with a covered medical condition,  including asthma, sickle cell disease, cancer, developmental disabilities, some heart conditions, and more.
  • The Massachusetts COVID-19 vaccine appointment portal temporarily crashed Thursday morning as more than 1 million additional state residents became eligible to schedule their vaccination.
  • Useful state data:
    • Use Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 U.S. map as a resource for media, policymakers, and communities to view a collection of critical public health data in one online destination and better understand and track the COVID-19 pandemic in populations both large and small across the country. NPR's map can also be used to monitor you state's heat wave. 
    • NASHP has developed a COVID-19 State Action Center which serves as a state-level policy dashboard. Governing is also keeping a running tally of coronavirus news and impacts at the intersection of the health and economic crises in the states and localities.
    • This site from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides state-level information on cases/deaths, social distancing measures, health policy actions, and more.
    • This series of maps shows how states are responding to COVID-19.

2/16/2021

  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 27,542,421 total cases and 485,070 deaths. The CDC data closes out the day before reporting
  • The country has averaged around 91,000 cases a day over the last week, down from about 250,000 at the January peak.
  • Officials in Ohio discovered a data reporting error that resulted in around 4,000 deaths not being announced when they occurred. The state announced large single-day death totals on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and it is unclear whether more are expected.  
  • Rhode Island has one of the country’s highest rates of known cases over the last week and over the whole pandemic. It is also struggling in vaccinations, reporting the lowest percentage of residents receiving a first dose of any state.
  • Connecticut’s Department of Public Health released data showing how vaccines in Connecticut have been administered throughout the state across race and ethnicity and pointed to several other steps being taken to address disparities in vaccine administration.
  • Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s (D) administration announced the state is deploying three Disaster Survivor Assistance teams throughout the state to serve as community outreach specialists at county-run COVID-19 vaccination sites. 
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced six new regional vaccination sites across the commonwealth and said vaccines will now also be available at mobile clinics, 10 Kroger stores, 15 Walmart stores, and 125 pharmacies, including Walgreens and Good Neighbor independent pharmacies. In total, there are more than 150 vaccination sites in Kentucky, in addition to local health department vaccination programs.
  • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services outlined a timeline for Group 3 frontline workers to receive vaccine eligibility beginning with anyone working in child care or in Pre-K -12 schools on Feb. 24.
  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed a proclamation extending Louisiana’s modified Phase 2 guidelines, which include restrictions such as a statewide mask mandate, for another 21 days. The new order is set to expire on March 3, 2021.  
  • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced that the state will no longer require self-quarantine for visitors or New Mexicans arriving into the state from “high-risk” states.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that closing times for restaurants and bars will be extended from 10 PM to 11 PM statewide beginning Sunday, Feb. 14.
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced that, beginning this week, outdoor contact sports will be permitted to resume with health and safety protocols in place based on county risk level. In Lower Risk and Moderate Risk counties, practices and games for outdoor contact sports, including high school football, can resume following health and safety guidance to be issued by the Oregon Health Authority.
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced that five new regions have met the metric requirements to progress to Phase 2 of the Healthy Washington reopening plan, starting this weekend.
  • A winter storm has caused the cancellation of Missouri’s COVID-19 mass vaccination events, delays of vaccine shipment in Florida and Texas, and the closure of multiple COVID-19 vaccine sites in Alabama and Ohio.
  • Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) opted against extending the state's COVID-19 disaster declaration but issued a directive that calls on state government to continue following all policies that were in place under the disaster declaration until the state decides which policies to keep in place. Gov. Dunleavy also announced that the state will no longer require travelers to have a negative COVID-19 test when arriving in the state. 
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has issued an EO modifying sanitation guidance for businesses and events in accordance with the latest data about COVID-19 spread. The order also adds a requirement for restaurants, non-critical infrastructure businesses, and events to ensure their ventilation systems operate properly. Critical Infrastructure businesses are encouraged to ensure proper ventilation as well, and all Georgia businesses and events should increase air circulation and purification as practicable.
  • Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) lifted the statewide mask mandate that had been in place since July.
  • The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced today the state has confirmed its first case of the COVID-19 variant first identified in South Africa, B.1.351.  
  • Useful state data:
    • Use Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 U.S. map as a resource for media, policymakers, and communities to view a collection of critical public health data in one online destination and better understand and track the COVID-19 pandemic in populations both large and small across the country. NPR's map can also be used to monitor you state's heat wave. 
    • NASHP has developed a COVID-19 State Action Center which serves as a state-level policy dashboard. Governing is also keeping a running tally of coronavirus news and impacts at the intersection of the health and economic crises in the states and localities.
    • This site from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides state-level information on cases/deaths, social distancing measures, health policy actions, and more.
    • This series of maps shows how states are responding to COVID-19.

2/11/2021

  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 27,127,858 total cases and 470,110 deaths. The CDC data closes out the day before reporting
  • For the first time since Election Day, fewer than 100,000 new cases were announced nationwide daily on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. National case numbers have been falling for a month. 
  • Deaths are beginning to decrease, though they remain extremely high. Eight states are averaging more than 100 deaths a day.
  • Los Angeles will temporarily close five of its inoculation sites, including the one at Dodger Stadium, due to a shortage of COVID-19 vaccine doses.  
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced that Connecticut residents over the age of 65 will be eligible to schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments starting on Thursday, Feb. 11 as the state rolls into the next part of phase 1b of its vaccination program.
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) announced updates to the state’s COVID-19 vaccination program that allows only those Delawareans who received first doses at state-operated vaccination events in January to be administered second doses.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced that the state has expanded the level of detail available on its COVID-19 vaccine data dashboard to provide more information on doses shipped to and administered by each of the state’s vaccine providers. Gov. Walz also announced a new community vaccination site to launch this week in Rochester and that Minnesotans will have expanded access to COVID-19 vaccinations at pharmacies across the state through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced 11 community-based pop-up vaccination sites coming online this week at community centers, public housing complexes, and cultural centers. Gov. Cuomo also announced that excess vaccine supply meant for hospital workers can be used to open eligibility for New Yorkers with comorbidities and underlying conditions. New Yorkers with comorbidities and underlying conditions can make appointments at state-run mass vaccination sites beginning Feb. 14.   
  • Gov. Cuomo announced that New York City indoor dining can reopen at 25 percent capacity on Feb. 12 rather than Feb. 14.
  • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) outlined how North Carolina is working to provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. The state will require all vaccine providers to collect race and ethnicity data, will prioritize a portion of its weekly vaccines to events that focus on underserved communities, and will allocate baseline weekly amount of vaccine based on county population to ensure geographic equity with vaccines available in all 100 counties. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has also formed a dedicated team to track and provide technical assistance to vaccine providers to ensure they are hitting targets for speed and equity.
  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that the state is establishing a joint task force with members from each legislative caucus who can share vaccine information and communicate issues and solutions expediently on behalf of and to the broader General Assembly.
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced that effective Feb. 12, 11 counties improved in risk level, with 10 improving from Extreme Risk for the first time since November.
  • Illinois has added 134 new vaccination locations across the state since February 4. The new sites include 22 local health departments, medical centers, and hospital locations, two new mass vaccination locations supported by the local health department and Illinois National Guard, and 110 additional retail pharmacy stores.
  • The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced teachers and child care staff of all ages will become eligible for the vaccine beginning Thursday.
  •  Idaho launched a new page that provides updated information on the number of vaccine doses that individual providers and local public health districts have been allocated and the number of doses that remain for them to administer.
  • Indiana state officials said the state would continue to take an age-based approach to vaccine rollout, prioritizing those in the 60 and above age group next and then turning incrementally to those 50 and above.
  • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that people who accompany residents 75 years and older to mass vaccination sites are also allowed to get vaccinated.
  • Useful state data:
    • Use Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 U.S. map as a resource for media, policymakers, and communities to view a collection of critical public health data in one online destination and better understand and track the COVID-19 pandemic in populations both large and small across the country. NPR's map can also be used to monitor you state's heat wave. 
    • NASHP has developed a COVID-19 State Action Center which serves as a state-level policy dashboard. Governing is also keeping a running tally of coronavirus news and impacts at the intersection of the health and economic crises in the states and localities.
    • This site from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides state-level information on cases/deaths, social distancing measures, health policy actions, and more.
    • This series of maps shows how states are responding to COVID-19.

2/8/2021

  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 26,852,809 total cases and 462,037 deaths. The CDC data closes out the day before reporting
  • Fewer than half as many cases are emerging each day than at the country’s peak a month ago. Death rates, however, remain extremely high.
  • Hawaii, North Dakota, and Washington State are adding new cases at the lowest rates in the country. South Carolina, Arkansas, and Oklahoma are identifying infections at the highest rates.
  • The New York Department of Education announced that New York City's public middle schools will reopen this month following winter break.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that restaurants in New York City can begin serving customers indoors on Friday, two days earlier than previously planned.
  • Gov. Cuomo also announced that four additional New York companies, and one company that has previously received state support, will be awarded nearly $2 million in state support to produce needed supplies to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) issued an emergency proclamation that ends the requirement for Iowans to wear masks in public buildings, lifts previous restrictions on the number of people allowed at social gatherings, and rolls back social distancing for bars, restaurants, casinos, fitness centers, and other establishments. Gov. Reynolds also encouraged Iowans, businesses, and organizations to take reasonable public health measures consistent with guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health.
  • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) signed an EO and emergency order establishing a statewide public health emergency and requiring face coverings in public places to protect the health and safety of Wisconsinites. He also announced a new partnership with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare to help expand vaccine accessibility.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the Biden-Harris Administration announced a pilot project to establish community vaccination sites in Oakland and Los Angeles. The sites will be co-run by FEMA and the State of California through the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) issued a modification to his Omnibus State of Emergency Declaration, requiring Delaware vaccination providers to report complete demographic information into the Delaware Immunization Information System within 24 hours of administering a vaccine. The modification requires health care providers, pharmacies, and other entities that provide vaccinations to offer the shots free of charge, though insurance information may be collected.
  • Illinois has added 80 new locations to the list of COVID-19 vaccination locations open to the public for a current total of 390 locations. The new sites include 78 additional Walgreens locations for a total of 170 stores across the state, as well as two Illinois National Guard-supported locations in Cook and St. Clair counties.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced four new regional COVID-19 vaccination sites, in Bowling Green, Covington, Glasgow, and Murray.
  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced that Louisiana will begin vaccinating people between the ages of 65 and 69 today, Feb. 8, expanding eligibility to more than 275,000 additional Louisianans. Some Unified Command Group members, state COVID-19 emergency response personnel, local emergency response personnel, law enforcement, first responders, and elections workers for the upcoming March and April elections will also be eligible.
  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced a new Equity and Fairness Initiative aimed at ensuring vaccines are distributed to Nevadans equally, specifically in Clark County. Under this initiative, the state will work with Clark County Emergency Management and Southern Nevada Health District to clarify prioritization lanes, support fair access to vaccines through site selection, and equitable allocation across communities.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed an EO that eliminates the numerical cap on the size of religious gatherings and maintains the capacity limit for these gatherings at 50 percent, effective immediately. The EO also permits all voters in any special election or municipal primary held prior to April 20, 2021, to vote using an absentee ballot.
  • Connecticut’s Department of Public Health announced plans to expand availability and access to COVID-19 vaccine scheduling through an appointment hotline. Beginning today, the hotline will have expanded hours, from 8 AM to 8 PM, seven days per week.
  • Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services updated its current epidemic order to allow contact sports to resume as of Monday, Feb. 8, provided masks are worn during practices and competition.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) extended an EO directing individuals in Colorado to wear a medical or non-medical face-covering.
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) called on all K-12 school divisions in the Commonwealth to make in-person learning options available by March 15, 2021, in accordance with the health guidance the Northam Administration put forward in January and new research from the CDC. The governor also encouraged school divisions to offer classroom instruction during the summer months for those who choose.
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced that the covidvaccine.oregon.gov site will now include a new tool—Get Vaccinated Oregon— to help people determine eligibility and to sign up for email alerts and text notifications when they become eligible.
  • Georgia health officials suspended the Medical Center of Elberton from the state’s vaccine program for six months for starting to vaccinate teachers before they officially became eligible under state guidelines.
  • Useful state data:
    • Use Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 U.S. map as a resource for media, policymakers, and communities to view a collection of critical public health data in one online destination and better understand and track the COVID-19 pandemic in populations both large and small across the country. NPR's map can also be used to monitor you state's heat wave. 
    • NASHP has developed a COVID-19 State Action Center which serves as a state-level policy dashboard. Governing is also keeping a running tally of coronavirus news and impacts at the intersection of the health and economic crises in the states and localities.
    • This site from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides state-level information on cases/deaths, social distancing measures, health policy actions, and more.
    • This series of maps shows how states are responding to COVID-19.

2/4/2021

  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 26,398,337 total cases and 449,020 deaths. The CDC data closes out the day before reporting
  • Reports of new cases have fallen by 30 percent in the last two weeks. 
  • The country continues to average about 3,000 deaths a day, near peak levels. Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia have reached seven-day death records this week.
  • Four of the five metro areas with the highest rates of recent cases are in Texas. Infections have been emerging at alarming levels around Eagle Pass, Laredo, Rio Grande City, and Midland.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced that the state has added a map on its Open Data portal indicating the COVID-19 vaccine distribution by town and city statewide.  
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) announced an expansion of Delaware’s COVID-19 vaccination program with a statewide focus on vaccinating Delawareans in underserved, minority communities.
  • Illinois has added a total of 41 new vaccination locations since Jan. 26 for a current total of 310 locations open to the public. The Illinois Department of Public Health is also now reporting county-level vaccine inventory data on its website. The data include the number of doses allocated by county, doses administered, and the number of people who are fully vaccinated.
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) announced the launch of the “Find My Vaccine” mapping tool, designed to help Kansans locate sites that are administering vaccines in their communities.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced the federal COVID-19 team will increase Kentucky’s vaccine supply by an additional 5 percent. In total, the state’s supply will increase by 22 percent the week of Feb. 8 compared with the week of Jan. 25. Additionally, Gov. Beshear and Kroger Health opened the state’s regional vaccination site at Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park in Fayette County.
  • Minnesota has ramped up its COVID-19 vaccination efforts and is now administering two times the number of shots given per day on average compared to last week.
  • Nevada’s Health Response Center issued new guidance permitting Emergency Medical Services personnel to administer the COVID-19 vaccine without having a vaccine endorsement. This guidance aligns with an emergency directive that is intended to broadly allow and encourage as many qualified medical services providers to administer COVID-19.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that, because the federal government is increasing the states vaccine supply, localities can have the flexibility to add restaurant workers, taxi drivers, and developmentally disabled facilities to the 1B vaccine prioritization group.
  • New York corrections officials announced that people in prisons age 65 and older will be vaccinated after a coalition of advocacy groups sued Gov. Cuomo and the state’s top health official demanding that all of the roughly 50,000 incarcerated people in the state be immediately offered a vaccine.
  • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) called on K-12 school districts across the state to allow in-person instruction for all students.
  • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) announced that he will not extend the state's 11 PM curfew for bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.
  • Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) moved the state into Stage 3 of his COVID-19 reopening plan. Under the new stage, gathering size caps will rise from 10 to 50 people. Sporting events, religious and political expression, education, and health care activities are exempt from the group size limits as long as organizers follow the Idaho State Board of Education COVID-19 safety guidelines.
  • Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced school quarantine changes for students who have had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The following changes go into effect Monday, Feb. 8: rules no longer require quarantine or contact tracing if students and teachers remain at least 3 feet apart and are wearing a mask at all times in the classroom, but quarantine rules still apply to exposures that occur at lunch, athletics, band, or choir or any other school setting, or if teachers and students have removed their masks.
  • Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) announced that he received federal approval to give 19,500 unused COVID-19 vaccine doses that were originally provided to CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate residents and staff in long-term care facilities to vulnerable Montanans. The redirection of the unused doses will allow nearly 10,000 more Montanans in Phase 1B to be fully vaccinated.
  • New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) said the state will stop using the federal vaccination scheduling system in the next few weeks, before the next phase begins.
  • The Ohio Department of Health released the latest list of states on its COVID-19 travel advisory. Those entering Ohio after going to states reporting positivity rates of 15 percent or higher are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) announced that starting Monday, Feb. 8, any state resident 65 or older can get a COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of health status or preconditions. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) also expanded vaccine eligibility to resident 65 or order beginning March 1.
  • Useful state data:
    • Use Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 U.S. map as a resource for media, policymakers, and communities to view a collection of critical public health data in one online destination and better understand and track the COVID-19 pandemic in populations both large and small across the country. NPR's map can also be used to monitor you state's heat wave. 
    • NASHP has developed a COVID-19 State Action Center which serves as a state-level policy dashboard. Governing is also keeping a running tally of coronavirus news and impacts at the intersection of the health and economic crises in the states and localities.
    • This site from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides state-level information on cases/deaths, social distancing measures, health policy actions, and more.
    • This series of maps shows how states are responding to COVID-19.

2/1/2021

  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 26,034,475 total cases and 439,955 deaths. The CDC data closes out the day before reporting
  • For the first time since November, the U.S. is averaging fewer than 150,000 cases a day. However, deaths remain near record levels with more than 90,000 coronavirus deaths announced so far in 2021.
  • Going into Monday, 47 states were reporting sustained declines in cases. The remaining three were mostly flat.
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) Protect Michigan Commission hosted its first meeting and unveiled Michigan’s COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy to get 70 percent of Michiganders age 16 and older vaccinated as quickly as possible.    
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that a mass vaccination site at Yankee Stadium is under development and that ten more community vaccination kits will be deployed to underserved communities. Gov. Cuomo also announced that if New York's COVID-19 infection rate stays on its current trajectory, indoor dining in New York City can reopen at 25 percent capacity on Valentine's Day.
  • New York officials said today that coronavirus vaccinations scheduled for Tuesday at government-run sites would be postponed for a second straight day due to the snow storm.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced that more than 35,000 Minnesotans age 65 and older will have access to COVID-19 vaccines at over 100 clinics, hospitals, state community vaccination sites, and other locations across the state this week. The administration also launched an online vaccine finder to help Minnesotans seek out the vaccine from their local providers.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced the state will launch an at-home testing program for educators.
  • Gov. Polis also extended an EO preventing late fees for residential and commercial tenants and extended an EO providing relief to public utility customers due to financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) announced that starting Friday, Feb. 5, travelers from South Korea may bypass a mandatory 10-day quarantine if they take a COVID-19 test and receive a negative result from a trusted testing partner in South Korea. The test must be taken no earlier than 72 hours prior to departure.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced the state will open its first regional vaccination site at the Kentucky Horse Park in Fayette County next week. The state has also launched a new state website and hotline to help Kentuckians determine if they are eligible to receive a vaccine and then helps them find one in their region. Gov. Beshear signed an EO extending the state’s moratorium on evictions to at least March 31.
  • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced she will end the 9 PM early closing time for businesses, effective today.  
  • Gov. Mills, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D), Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R), New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D), and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced an extension of the suspension of interstate youth hockey competitions for public and private schools and youth hockey leagues through at least March 31, 2021.
  • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced that every school district in the state will be able to welcome all ages of students safely back to the classroom on Feb. 8.
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) shared changes to the state’s Roadmap to Recovery as the evaluation criteria for regions moves from Phase 1 to Phase 2. Gov. Inslee also issued a proclamation to ensure, as required by federal law, that persons receiving extended foster care services don't "age out" at 21 years old during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) said that starting Feb. 8, the Alabama Department of Public Health will extend eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations to include people 65 or older, and additional groups of frontline workers.
  • Arizona opened its second state-run COVID-19 vaccination site, but the site is limited to distributing only 500 doses a day.
  • Arkansas is working with Walmart to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. The state does not have a contract with Walgreens or CVS.
  • Florida launched a website for COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration.
  • Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed an EO that limits attendance at social gatherings or events based on the county’s color-coded metric. Red and orange counties may not exceed 25 percent of the facility’s capacity, yellow counties may not exceed 50 percent of the facility’s capacity, and blue counties may reach 100 percent of the facility’s capacity. The EO is in effect for the entire month of February.
  • Iowa extended COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to first responders, educators, and people 65 and older which makes 20 percent of the state's population eligible. Gov. Baker also extended COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in Massachusetts to first responders, educators, and people 65 and older, but individuals 75 and older are at the top of the priority list.
  • The Maryland Department of Health announced that adults who are hospitalized with certain health conditions are now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines.  
  • The Missouri State Health Department will focus on delivering COVID-19 vaccines to health care partners that are able to administer at least 5,000 doses per week throughout February.
  • Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) issued new directed health measures moving the state from the “blue” to “green” phase of its COVID-19 response plan. As of Jan. 30, the maximum capacity for indoor gatherings is 100 percent, organizers of gatherings of 500 or more people must receive approval from their local health department before holding their events, Nebraskans who have been fully vaccinated do not have to quarantine after a close contact, and Nebraskans who have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months do not need to quarantine after a close contact.
  • Today, schools across the state of Ohio will begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine to their teachers, staff, and other adult employees.
  • The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control unveiled a new public phone line that will deal solely with helping people answer their COVID-19 vaccine questions.
  • Useful state data:
    • Use Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 U.S. map as a resource for media, policymakers, and communities to view a collection of critical public health data in one online destination and better understand and track the COVID-19 pandemic in populations both large and small across the country. NPR's map can also be used to monitor you state's heat wave. 
    • NASHP has developed a COVID-19 State Action Center which serves as a state-level policy dashboard. Governing is also keeping a running tally of coronavirus news and impacts at the intersection of the health and economic crises in the states and localities.
    • This site from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides state-level information on cases/deaths, social distancing measures, health policy actions, and more.
    • This series of maps shows how states are responding to COVID-19.

For updates previous to February, click here

Federal Updates

Washington, D.C

2/25/2021

  • In an analysis released yesterday, the FDA said the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has met the requirements for EUA. Tomorrow, FDA’s VRBPAC will meet to discuss the vaccine and next steps. The VRBPAC meeting agenda and briefing materials have been released and the meeting will be live webcast here.
  • President Biden announced that the Administration will deliver more than 25 million masks to over 1,300 Community Health Centers across the country as well as 60,000 food pantries and soup kitchens, in an effort to provide vulnerable populations with masks. A fact sheet on the initiative is here
  • President Biden signed an EO on America's supply chains, which includes an order that the HHS Secretary submit a report identifying risks in the supply chain for pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients and policy recommendations to address these risks. The report is meant to complement the ongoing work to secure the supply chains for COVID-19 materials, including PPE.
  • The Administration has also extended the COVID-19 emergency declaration, which will be in place for at least the next 90 days.
  • Yesterday, the FDA launched a new webpage with information and resources from the CDC and other trusted partners to help employers in the food and agriculture sector communicate about COVID-19 vaccination in their workforce.
  • Today, the FDA announced that it is allowing undiluted frozen vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to be transported and stored at conventional temperatures commonly found in pharmaceutical freezers for a period of up to two weeks. The change is reflected in updates to the Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine.
  • The FDA issued a safety communication to inform patients and health care providers that pulse oximeters have limitations and a risk of inaccuracy under certain circumstances. The Pulse Oximeter Accuracy and Limitations: FDA Safety Communication provides:
    • Important recommendations for patients and their caregivers on how to use pulse oximeters at home.
    • Recommendations for health care providers on how to use pulse oximeters for better accuracy.
    • Background on pulse oximeters and the FDA’s actions to evaluate factors that may affect pulse oximeter accuracy and performance.
    • Instructions for reporting problems with pulse oximeters to the FDA.
  • The most recent White House COVID-19 Response Team briefings is here (2/24).
  • NIH Director Francis Collins announced the Agency has launched a new initiative to study "Long COVID." The goal is to identify the causes and ultimately the means of prevention and treatment of individuals who have been sickened by COVID-19, but don’t recover fully over a period of a few weeks. 
  • The CDC has published and updated a number of COVID-19 and vaccine materials and resources on its dashboard, and you can keep track of vaccinations here. Please continue to check these for information on things like recommended quarantine periods and return-to-work guidance. To highlight a few of the recent updates:
  • 331 tests and sample collection devices are authorized by the FDA under EUA. These include 247 molecular tests and sample collection devices, 70 antibody tests, and 14 antigen tests. There are 37 molecular authorizations that can be used with home-collected samples. There is one molecular prescription at-home test, one antigen prescription at-home test, and one over-the-counter at-home antigen test.
  • The House Budget Committee approved the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package today, setting up a vote in the full House later this week that could go into the weekend. Text of the bill can be found here and the press release here. For a more detailed description of the legislative landscape, please refer to Sierra Fuller's COVID-19 Legislative Update

2/22/2021

  • President Biden issued a Proclamation on Remembering the 500,000 Americans Lost to COVID-19.
  • Today, the FDA issued guidance for medical product developers, specifically covering vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics products, to address the emergence and potential future emergence of variants of the coronavirus. 
  • The agenda has been released for the FDA's Feb. 26 VRBPAC meeting to discuss EUA of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine candidate. 
  • The two most recent White House COVID-19 Response Team briefings are here (2/19) and here (2/22).
  • The CDC has published and updated a number of COVID-19 and vaccine materials and resources on its dashboard, and you can keep track of vaccinations here. Please continue to check these for information on things like recommended quarantine periods and return-to-work guidance. To highlight a few of the recent updates:
  • The CDC's most recent Science Update is available here
  • BARDA announced it will provide advanced development support to Luminex Corporation for a single test to detect COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
  • There are a couple of relevant hearings coming up in Congress:
  • The CDC's National Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine kicked off this morning. There are over 11,000 participants from 6,000 organizations across all 50 states, nearly all territories, and 128 tribes and tribal organizations. 
  • The COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force will hold a virtual meeting on Feb. 26,  from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM ET. This meeting is open to the public. Pre-registration is encouraged for members of the public who wish to attend the meeting and who wish to participate in the public comment session. To register, please send an email with your name, affiliation, and email to: COVID19HETF@hhs.gov.
  • CDC Director Rochelle Walensky answered some questions about COVID-19, from the emerging variants to the vaccine.
  • 331 tests and sample collection devices are authorized by the FDA under EUA. These include 247 molecular tests and sample collection devices, 70 antibody tests, and 14 antigen tests. There are 37 molecular authorizations that can be used with home-collected samples. There is one molecular prescription at-home test, one antigen prescription at-home test, and one over-the-counter (OTC) at-home antigen test.
  • The House Budget Committee approved the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package today, setting up a vote in the full House later this week that could go into the weekend. Text of the bill can be found here and the press release here. For a more detailed description of the legislative landscape, please refer to Sierra Fuller's COVID-19 Legislative Update

2/18/2021

  • As part of his National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, President Biden announced a series of new actions to expand COVID-19 testing. These actions include: Expanding COVID-19 testing for schools and underserved populations; Increasing domestic manufacturing of testing supplies; and Rapidly increasing virus genome sequencing.
  • President Biden is set to announce that the U.S. will provide $4 billion between 2021 and 2022 to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance for the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, the innovative financing instrument of the COVAX Facility, which supports access to safe and effective vaccines for 92 low- and middle-income economies. 
  • A transcript from the most recent White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing is here
  • The USDA, the FDA, and the CDC published a statement underscoring that there is no credible evidence of food or food packaging associated with or as a likely source of viral transmission of COVID-19.
  • The CDC has published and updated a number of COVID-19 and vaccine materials and resources on its dashboard, and you can keep track of vaccinations here. Please continue to check these for information on things like recommended quarantine periods and return-to-work guidance. To highlight a few of the recent updates:
  • CDC's weekly COVIDView report has been replaced with the COVID Data Tracker Weekly Review. This new webpage and newsletter will highlight key data from CDC’s COVID Data Tracker, narrative interpretations of the data, and visualizations from the week. The new Weekly Review will also summarize important trends in the pandemic and bring together CDC data and reporting in a centralized location. 
  • There are multiple relevant hearings coming up in Congress:
  • The NIH announced it is funding a new study that will evaluate the effects of remdesivir in pregnant women who have been prescribed the drug to treat COVID-19. The study, which will be conducted at 17 sites in the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico, aims to determine how pregnant women metabolize the drug and whether there are any potential side effects.
  • 331 tests and sample collection devices are authorized by the FDA under EUA. These include 247 molecular tests and sample collection devices, 70 antibody tests and 14 antigen tests. There are 37 molecular authorizations that can be used with home-collected samples. There is one molecular prescription at-home test, one antigen prescription at-home test and one over-the-counter (OTC) at-home antigen test.
  • Top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote a letter to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky pressing for more information on the agency’s guidance for reopening schools. Committee Ranking Member Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Morgan Griffith (R-VA), wrote that 89 percent of the nation’s school children, or over 65.3 million students, currently live in areas that would be considered high transmission areas based on the new guidance.
  • HHS and the White House COVID-19 response team have released the weekly state profile snapshot. The purpose of this report is to develop a shared understanding of the current status of the pandemic at the national, regional, state, and local levels.
  • The DoD published its most recent COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Installation Status Update.
  • DHS announced it has seized more than 11 million counterfeit N95 masks meant for frontline workers in recent weeks, including more than 1 million on Wednesday.
  • The CDC is organizing a virtual National Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Feb. 22- Feb. 24 that will bring together practitioners from national, state, tribal, local, and territorial levels who are engaged in vaccinating communities across the nation. 

2/16/2021

  • The CDC on Friday released highly anticipated guidance for reopening K-12 schools. The indicators and thresholds in the operational strategy replace the core indicators in the previous Indicators for Dynamic School Decision-Making. A comparison of the former and new indicators and thresholds is provided here. The guidance, as anticipated, was met with mixed reviews from stakeholders who do not believe the guidance goes far enough, to critics who feel this is either long overdue or overreaching.  
  • COVID-19 czar Jeff Zients told governors on Tuesday that the weekly vaccine supply going out to states is increasing by more than 20 percent to 13.5 million doses this week. This announcement followed a letter from the National Governors Association sent yesterday, asking President Biden "for enhanced reporting and coordination between federal and state governments on COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts."
  • The CDC has published new science briefs, including on the transmission of coronavirus in K-12 schools and on options to reduce quarantine, here
  • The CDC is organizing a virtual National Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Feb. 22- Feb. 24 that will bring together practitioners from national, state, tribal, local, and territorial levels who are engaged in vaccinating communities across the nation. 
  • The FDA posted the webpage, COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Surveillance, which provides an overview of the Agency's active and passive systems used to monitor the safety of authorized COVID-19 vaccines. The FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research is conducting these surveillance efforts in collaboration with the CDC, CMS, the VA, and other academic and large non-government healthcare data systems.
  • Last week, the FDA issued an EUA for a a monoclonal antibody combination for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age or older weighing at least 40 kilograms) who test positive for coronavirus and who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19.
  • 331 tests and sample collection devices are authorized by the FDA under EUA. These include 247 molecular tests and sample collection devices, 70 antibody tests, and 14 antigen tests. There are 37 molecular authorizations that can be used with home-collected samples. There is one molecular prescription at-home test, one antigen prescription at-home test and one over-the-counter (OTC) at-home antigen test.
  • The FDA informed the drugmaker Moderna that it can put up to 40 percent more coronavirus vaccine into each of its vials. A 14-dose vial load could increase the nation’s vaccine supply by as much as 20 percent.
  • The most recent COVID-19 Science Update from the CDC is here
  • The CDC has published and updated a number of COVID-19 and vaccine materials and resources on its dashboard, and you can keep track of vaccinations here. Please continue to check these for information on things like recommended quarantine periods and return-to-work guidance. To highlight a few of the recent updates:
  • The DoD has put about 3,600 service members on orders to be ready to deploy around the country to help with mass vaccination efforts.
  • U.S. Navy officials announced that three sailors aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • HHS and the White House COVID-19 response team have released the weekly state profile snapshot. The purpose of this report is to develop a shared understanding of the current status of the pandemic at the national, regional, state, and local levels.
  • FEMA launched its first mass COVID-19 vaccination sites in Los Angeles and Oakland today. Inclement weather delayed the opening of similar sites in Texas. 

2/11/2021

  • HHS and the DoD announced they have purchased an additional 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna to help meet demand for COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. The orders placed today bring the vaccine doses purchased by the U.S. government from these two companies to a total of 600 million doses, enough to vaccinate 300 million people.
  • President Biden announced next week’s launch of the Federally Qualified Health Center Vaccine program that will provide more vaccines for Community Health Centers that are reaching our underserved and most vulnerable communities. The program will be phased in, with the first centers able to start ordering vaccines as early as the week of Feb. 15. The initial phase will include at least one Community Health Center in each state, expanding to 250 centers in the coming weeks.
  • The Administration will increase overall, weekly vaccine supply to states, Tribes, and territories to 11 million doses nationwide beginning this week, resulting in a 5 percent increase in supply over last week.
  • The most recent press briefing by the White House COVID-19 Response Team and public health officials is here
  • The CDC is organizing a virtual National Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Feb. 22- Feb. 24 that will bring together practitioners from national, state, tribal, local, and territorial levels who are engaged in vaccinating communities across the nation. 
  • The GAO released a new report on OWS and the vaccine candidates developed as a result of the federal investments and efforts. 
  • HHS and the White House COVID-19 response team have released the weekly state profile snapshot. The purpose of this report is to develop a shared understanding of the current status of the pandemic at the national, regional, state, and local levels.
  • The CDC has updated the guidance for mask wearing, and the Agency now recommends "double masking" to prevent spread of the more infectious variants. 
  • On Wednesday, the CDC for the first time updated guidelines for individuals who have been fully vaccinated to state they no longer have to quarantine after being exposed to someone with COVID-19. The updated guidance states the new instruction applies to individuals who have been fully vaccinated within the three months following their final dose, and only as long as the individual has remained asymptomatic since their exposure to COVID-19. The CDC said inpatients and residents in health care settings who are fully vaccinated should still continue to quarantine after a potential exposure to the virus. 
  • The most recent COVID-19 Science Update from the CDC is here
  • The CDC has published and updated a number of COVID-19 and vaccine materials and resources on its dashboard, and you can keep track of vaccinations here. Please continue to check these for information on things like recommended quarantine periods and return-to-work guidance. To highlight a few of the recent updates:
  • Here is the most recent COVIDView from CDC, a weekly summary and interpretation of key indicators that have been adapted to track the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. 
  • 323 tests and sample collection devices are authorized by the FDA under EUA. These include 240 molecular tests and sample collection devices, 69 antibody tests, and 14 antigen tests. There are 35 molecular authorizations that can be used with home-collected samples. There is one molecular prescription at-home test, one antigen prescription at-home test, and one over-the-counter at-home antigen test.
  • The DoD published the most recent COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Installation Status Update.
  • The NIH’s Spanish COVID-19 site provides information and links to resources on tests, treatments, vaccines, and clinical trials to learn how you can help end the pandemic and protect yourself and your family.
  • CMS released updated Medicaid and CHIP COVID-19 preliminary data summaries with information on services through July 31, 2020. The information includes updates on COVID-19 treatment and options, service use among Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries during the public health emergency, services delivered via telehealth among Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries during the public health emergency, and services for mental and substance use disorders among Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries.
  • CDC guidance for safely reopening schools is expected to be published tomorrow (Friday).

2/8/2021

  • Rep. Ron Wright (R-TX) passed away on Sunday due to complications from COVID-19. Rep. Wright's office said in a statement, “Congressman Wright will be remembered as a constitutional conservative. He was a statesman, not an ideologue.” He is the first sitting member of Congress to die from COVID-19. Read more about Rep. Wright's life here
  • Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin announced that 1,110 active duty service members will support five FEMA vaccinations centers. Each team will include service members from across the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, and will be composed of: 15 service members for command and control; 80 for administering vaccinations; 15 registered nurses; 57 clinical staff; and 55 general purpose personnel.
  • A transcript from today's press briefing by the White House COVID-19 Response Team and Public Health Officials is available here
  • During Friday's press briefing, Tim Manning, Nation Supply Chain Coordinator, announced three ways the Administration is using the DPA:
    • To provide Pfizer with more equipment and supplies to enable them to ramp-up production of vaccines.
    • To help deliver more than 60 million point-of-care/at-home tests by this summer.
    • To produce more surgical gloves and other PPE in the U.S. 
  • HHS and the White House COVID-19 response team have released the weekly state profile snapshot. The purpose of this report is to develop a shared understanding of the current status of the pandemic at the national, regional, state, and local levels.
  • The FDA is alerting health care professionals and compounders of potential risks associated with compounding remdesivir drug products. The FDA cautions against compounding remdesivir drug products. The agency recommends health care providers utilize the FDA-approved drug for patients who are prescribed remdesivir. Compounded drugs are not FDA-approved. This means the FDA does not verify the safety, effectiveness, or quality of compounded drugs. Compounded drugs should only be used in patients whose medical needs cannot be met by an FDA-approved drug.
  • 322 tests and sample collection devices are authorized by the FDA under EUA. These include 239 molecular tests and sample collection devices, 69 antibody tests, and 14 antigen tests. There are 35 molecular authorizations that can be used with home-collected samples. There is one molecular prescription at-home test, one antigen prescription at-home test, and one over-the-counter (OTC) at-home antigen test.
  • The CDC has published and updated a number of COVID-19 and vaccine materials and resources on its dashboard, and you can keep track of vaccinations here. Please continue to check these for information on things like recommended quarantine periods and return-to-work guidance. To highlight a few of the recent updates:
  • Here is the most recent COVIDView from CDC, a weekly summary and interpretation of key indicators that have been adapted to track the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. 
  • The NIH announced the beginning of an international randomized, controlled Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of an investigational long-acting antibody combination for treating people hospitalized with COVID-19.
  • Sailors assigned to the Navy's USS Ronald Reagan began receiving the second shot of the COVID-19 vaccination on Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan on Feb. 2. 
  • Last week, the House and Senate passed budget resolutions and the budget. This week, House committees are beginning to mark up their sections of the bill. For a more in-depth overview of the legislative landscape, please refer to Sierra Fuller's COVID-19 Legislative Update.

2/4/2021

  • The Biden Administration released a Fact Sheet on the additional steps announced on Tuesday to implement the President's National Strategy to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. These steps include increasing the vaccine supply to states, Tribes, and territories to 10.5 million doses nationwide and securing the equipment to extract a 6th dose from Pfizer’s vials, and increasing funding to jurisdictions to get vaccines into arms. President Biden also announced that starting on Feb. 11, the first phase of the federal pharmacy program will launch and select pharmacies nationwide will start offering vaccinations for their communities.
  • HHS and the White House COVID-19 response team have released the weekly state profile snapshot. The purpose of this report is to develop a shared understanding of the current status of the pandemic at the national, regional, state, and local levels.
  • First Lady Jill Biden and the President's chief medical advisor Dr. Tony Fauci joined top military officials today for a virtual town hall to urge serving military, veterans, and their families to get vaccinated. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his nurse wife, Hollyanne Milley, also joined the town hall, which was co-organized by the Red Cross and Blue Star Families.
  • The FDA has scheduled a meeting of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) on Feb. 26 to discuss the request for EUA for a COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson and Johnson. The FDA intends to make background materials available to the public, including the meeting agenda and committee roster, no later than two business days prior to the meeting.
  • The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Republicans sent a letter to OMB requesting details on unspent funds from the last three COVID-19 supplementals. Specifically, they are requesting details on the $10.25 billion for testing and contact tracing and the recent $22 billion for testing, contact tracing, and vaccine distribution, and how much of both pots remain unspent by states.
  • To help explain the new Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 vaccination, the CDC created a helpful new webpage.
  • The CDC has published and updated a number of COVID-19 and vaccine materials and resources on its dashboard, and you can keep track of vaccinations here. Please continue to check these for information on things like recommended quarantine periods and return-to-work guidance. To highlight a few of the recent updates:
  • To stay up-to-date on your state’s vaccination plan and learn when the COVID-19 vaccine is available, select your state here: https://go.usa.gov/xASrP.
  • The FDA is revising the Letter of Authorization for COVID-19 convalescent plasma to limit the authorization to the use of high titer COVID-19 convalescent plasma only for the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 early in the disease course and to those hospitalized patients who have impaired humoral immunity and cannot produce an adequate antibody response. Plasma with low levels of antibodies has not been shown to be helpful in COVID-19.
  • The Fact Sheet for Health Care Providers has been updated to note, among other things, that transfusion of COVID-19 convalescent plasma in hospitalized patients late in the course of illness (e.g. following respiratory failure requiring intubation and mechanical ventilation) has not been associated with clinical benefit.
  • Today, Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin signed a memo that directs all individuals on military installations and all individuals performing official duties on behalf of the Department from any location other than the individual’s home, including outdoor shared spaces, to wear masks in accordance with the most current CDC guidelines. 
  • The DoD has posted a new COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Installation Status Update.
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee held two relevant subcommittee hearings this week. Memos are available upon request.
  • Earlier this week, a group of Republican Senators released a framework for a $618 billion relief bill. An article comparing the GOP framework to President Biden's plan is here. For a more in-depth overview of the legislative landscape, please refer to Sierra Fuller's COVID-19 Legislative Update.
  • No new members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19. It is still important to remember a couple of things when examining cases of COVID-19 in partially or fully vaccinated individuals:
    • Vaccines do not work instantly. The body still needs a few weeks to build up immunity after receiving a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 
    • It's possible to be exposed to COVID-19 before receiving your vaccine, test negative, and then continue to develop the infection after the shot and show a positive result. 
    • Vaccines for COVID-19 are being authorized by the FDA based on how well they keep you from getting severely ill or dying. This does not mean you cannot still become infected or infect others after being vaccinated.

2/01/21

  • Reps. Lori Trahan (D-MA) and Stephen Lynch (D-MA) have both tested positive for COVID-19. It is important to remember a couple of things when examining these positive tests:
    • Vaccines do not work instantly. The body still needs a few weeks to build up immunity after receiving a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 
    • It's possible to be exposed to COVID-19 before receiving your vaccine, test negative, and then continue to develop the infection after the shot and show a positive result. 
    • Vaccines for COVID-19 are being authorized by the FDA based on how well they keep you from getting severely ill or dying. This does not mean you cannot still become infected or infect others after being vaccinated.
  • The CDC announced that the Agency is implementing provisions of President Biden’s EO on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel and will require the wearing of masks by all travelers into, within, or out of the U.S. on airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares. The mask requirement also applies to travelers in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and seaports; train, bus, and subway stations; and any other areas that provide transportation.  Transportation operators must require all persons onboard to wear masks when boarding, disembarking, and for the duration of travel. Operators of transportation hubs must require all persons to wear a mask when entering or on the premises of a transportation hub.
  • The FDA added a new frequently asked question (FAQ), “Can the FDA help me get a COVID-19 vaccine,” to our COVID-19 FAQs, under the vaccine section. The answer is no. The FDA’s authority includes authorizing or approving COVID-19 vaccines for use in the U.S. The FDA is not responsible for vaccine distribution. Go to the CDC website to find your state and local health departments who are responsible for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. If you are contacted directly by someone who says they are from the FDA about a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, it is a scam.
  • The FDA has added content to the question-and-answer appendix in its guidance titled “Conduct of Clinical Trials of Medical Products During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.” The updated guidance includes a new question-and-answer regarding whether FDA considers receipt of medical products authorized under an emergency use authorization for use in clinical care, such as a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, or a monoclonal antibody to treat COVID-19, to be receipt of “investigational” medical products. This information may be relevant when sponsors are considering eligibility criteria that exclude patients from enrolling in clinical trials if they have received certain medical products.    
  • 320 tests and sample collection devices are authorized by the FDA under emergency use authorizations (EUAs). These include 238 molecular tests and sample collection devices, 69 antibody tests, and 13 antigen tests. There are 33 molecular authorizations that can be used with home-collected samples. There is one molecular prescription at-home test, one antigen prescription at-home test, and one over-the-counter (OTC) at-home antigen test.
  • The CDC has published and updated a number of COVID-19 and vaccine materials and resources on its dashboard, and you can keep track of vaccinations here. Please continue to check these for information on things like recommended quarantine periods and return-to-work guidance. To highlight a few of the recent updates:
  • Here is the most recent COVIDView from CDC, a weekly summary and interpretation of key indicators that have been adapted to track the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. 
  • The most recent COVID-19 Science Update from the CDC is here
  • The DoD, in coordination with HHS, awarded $231.8 million to Ellume USA LLC to onshore production capacity of the Ellume COVID-19 Home Test for the U.S. This industrial base expansion effort will allow Ellume USA LLC to increase production capacity of the Ellume COVID-19 Home Test in the U.S. by 640,000 tests per day by December 2021, to support domestic COVID-19 testing. The expansion includes the procurement of 8.5 million tests that will be distributed across the U.S. in accordance with the National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness policy established Jan. 21, 2021. 
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold two relevant subcommittee hearings this week. Memos will be available upon request.
  • Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, sent letters to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Tyson FoodsSmithfield Foods, and JBS USA launching an investigation into coronavirus outbreaks at meatpacking plants nationwide, which have resulted in the deaths of more than 250 employees.
  • National Guard troops are supporting vaccination efforts in 38 states across the country, giving over 51,000 shots a day.
  • Yesterday, a group of Republican Senators sent a letter to President Biden outlining a $618 billion framework for COVID-19 relief and asking to meet with the President. The group met today to discuss the possibility of a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package. For a more in-depth overview of the legislative landscape, please refer to Sierra Fuller's COVID-19 Legislative Update.

For updates previous to February, click here

Military/Defense

Military/Defense

Updated as of 11/30/2020

  • The number of new COVID-19 cases involving U.S. military personnel in Okinawa Prefecture hit a record high on Monday, with the Marines reporting 72 infections amid a nationwide surge of COVID-19 cases in Japan.
  • A North Dakota Army National Guardsman is the 12th service member to die of COVID-19 complications and the fourth reported service member to die this month from complications of the virus.
  • As part of OWS, the DoD and HHS agreed to pay $375 million to Eli Lilly for 300,000 doses of its antibody therapeutic, bamlanivimab.

For updates previous to 11/30/2020, click here

International Affairs

International Affairs

2/25/2021

  • Here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Update and here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Operational Update.
  • The WHO says global deaths are down 20 percent since last week, and cases have been declining for six straight weeks. However, more than 2.5 million people around the world have died from COVID-19, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University. 
  • Ghana received the world's first Covax shipment of 600,000 AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines yesterday.
  • New Zealand has made mask wearing compulsory on all trains, buses, and planes around the country.
  • Air New Zealand will trial a digital vaccine passport in April on flights between Auckland and Sydney.
  • Oman will not allow people from 10 countries to enter the country for 15 days starting today. The countries are Sudan, Lebanon, South Africa, Brazil, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Ethiopia.
  • Greek hospital doctors have gone on strike today and dozens marched in Athens to protest “suffocating” conditions at hospitals during the pandemic. Greece has also delayed lifting lockdown restrictions in the wider Athens area on March 1, as previously planned.
  • Israel announced it will send surplus COVID-19 vaccinations to several countries, in the latest move to suggest limited global supplies will lead to a new form of diplomatic currency.
  • The Netherlands eased restrictions, allowing schools and hairdressers to reopen.
  • Spain has extended a ban on arrivals from Britain, Brazil, and South Africa until March 16.
  • Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, and Sweden have been given 10 days to respond to the European Commission’s concerns that they have breached commonly agreed upon COVID-19 guidelines.
  • France ICU patients with COVID-19 reached a 12-week high of 3,435. The French government has ordered a weekend lockdown in the Dunkirk area.
  • Israel will impose an evening curfew of 8:30 PM to 5 AM for three nights to curb the spread of COVID-19 during the Jewish holiday of Purim.
  • Israel’s parliament has passed a law allowing the government to share the identities of people not vaccinated against COVID-19 with other authorities, raising privacy concerns for those opting out of inoculation.
  • Ireland is reopening some schools next week but is extending other lockdown restrictions until April.
  • Sweden will ease restrictions on elderly residents of care homes who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. The Swedish government has also said it would reduce opening hours for all restaurants, bars, and cafes, and tighten limits on the number of people allowed in shops.
  • Denmark will ease some shopping restrictions and allow schools in parts of the country to reopen on March 1.
  • Switzerland is set to ease out of its lockdown beginning March 1, confirming preliminary plans to open shops, museums, and libraries and allow outdoor gatherings of up to 15 people.
  • Jordan announced stricter measures yesterday to curb the spread of COVID-19, including a 10 PM curfew effective today.
  • Canada’s largest city, Toronto, has cancelled all large in-person, city-permitted outdoor events through July.
  • Australian airline Qantas is preparing to resume regular international flights beginning late October.
  • The Finnish Prime Minister said the country would go into a three-week lockdown beginning on March 8.
  • Croatia will allow bars and restaurants to open their outdoor terraces next week after a more than three-month closure due to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Afghanistan has launched a COVID-19 vaccination campaign using AstraZeneca vaccines donated by India earlier this month.
  • UNICEF has sent 100,000 syringes to the Maldives in preparation for the first deliveries of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines under the Covax program.
  • Global Cases: 112,209,815   Total Deaths: 2,490,776

2/22/2021

  • Here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Update and here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Operational Update.
  • The number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered worldwide has passed 200 million.
  • Japan has confirmed a new variant of COVID-19, known as E484K, that emerged at a Tokyo immigration facility. The new variant appears to have originated overseas but is different from other types that have been found in Japan, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.
  • The French Riviera will be locked down over the next two weekends in an attempt to fight back a spike in COVID-19 cases.
  • U.K. Prime Minister unveiled the government’s four-step roadmap to take England out of lockdown today. Beginning March 8, all students in all years can return to school and people can meet with one friend outdoors. Starting April 12, non-essential businesses can reopen. On May 17, families can meet indoors. Finally, beginning June 21, the government will look at removing all legal limits on social contact.
  • Israel will extend the closure of its airports and land borders for 14 more days until March 6. Several businesses have also been allowed to open from Sunday.
  • The Vatican moved to clarify a decree that implied employees could lose their jobs if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccination without legitimate health reasons, following criticism.
  • Beijing will gift Algeria 200,000 Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine doses.
  • The Czech government will keep all non-essential businesses closed for the foreseeable future.
  • Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have received 20,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine from the U.A.E. Gaza will begin its COVID-19 vaccination rollout today.
  • Quarantine-free travel from New Zealand to Australia has resumed ahead of a downgraded alert level expected in Auckland today.
  • Portugal will refocus its COVID-19 vaccination campaign towards vulnerable age groups and away from key state workers such as the police and firefighters due to scarce vaccine supplies.
  • Ghana is expecting a first delivery of 350,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of next week.
  • Greece has extended lockdown restrictions to more areas of the country until March 1.
  • Argentina’s health minister resigned on Friday after claims surfaced of improper vaccine allocations.
  • After demonstrations in Gabon’s two major cities, the president has said two people have died as protests against the new COVID-19 restrictions resulted in a street standoff.
  • Denmark announced the closure of some border crossings from Germany following a cluster outbreak in a German town close to the border. Thirteen crossings will be closed, and nine others will receive increased security. Dutch senators also approved legislation upholding the COVID-19 curfew, ensuring it will remain in force until at least early March.
  • In Toronto, Canada, lockdown and stay at home orders have been extended until March 8, despite schools just opening and shops scheduled to reopen on Feb. 22.
  • Italian police are investigating fake COVID-19 drugs and vaccines after a Veneto regional official reported to have received an offer to buy 27 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine outside of the E.U. system.
  • Iran has closed several crossing points at its border with Iraq after the B.1.1.7 variant was found in the country.
  • Ireland’s hospitality sector will remain shut until mid-summer.
  • India’s western Maharashtra state, home to the country’s financial hub Mumbai, is imposing new COVID-19 restrictions in four districts.
  • Vanuatu and New Caledonia will open a safe travel corridor between the two countries starting in April.
  • Today in Germany, hundreds of thousands of students returned to schools and kindergartens for the first time in two months.
  • The Italian government extended a ban today on non-essential travel between the country’s 20 regions until March 27.
  • Tanzania’s president finally acknowledged last week that his country has a COVID-19 problem, after claiming for months that the disease had been defeated by prayer. Today, the WHO called for Tanzania to start reporting COVID-19 data, which has not been updated since April 2020.
  • Poland will no longer require visitors to quarantine if they present a negative COVID-19 test result starting March 1.
  • Israel has reported a 95.8 percent drop in COVID-19 infection among those who have received two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine.
  • Hong Kong will start its public free vaccination program next week, after authorizing emergency use of the Chinese vaccine, Sinovac.
  • Global Cases: 111,102,016   Total Deaths: 2,462,911

2/18/2021

  • Here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Update and here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Operational Update.
  • Foreign ministers met virtually for a first-ever U.N. Security Council session on vaccinations called by current chair, Britain.  
  • Reported daily COVID-19 infections have been falling across the world for a month and, on Tuesday, hit their lowest since mid-October.  
  • Central European countries asked the European council president, Charles Michel, to help ease tighter controls imposed by Germany on the Czech and Austrian borders to free up the flow of goods and industrial components. 
  • Spain will administer AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to people aged 45 to 55 in the next phase of its national inoculation plan, as new figures showed the third wave of infection receding further. 
  • Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday the country would enter a gradual normalization period, province by province, in March. Turkey has vaccinated more than 5 million people with the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac as part of a campaign launched one month ago.  
  • Australia’s Victoria state began easing COVID-19 restrictions on Wednesday. 
  • Australia will begin its first COVID-19 vaccinations from Monday in about 240 aged care homes across more than 190 locations around the country. 
  • The New Zealand government is ended Auckland’s three-day lockdown at midnight on Wednesday despite reporting three new community COVID-19 cases. 
  • Israel has permitted Palestinian officials to send the first shipment of 1,000 COVID-19 vaccines to the blockaded Gaza strip.  
  • Ukraine will prolong a lockdown until the end of April but will allow regions with fewer COVID-19 cases to ease restrictions.  
  • Lesotho prison authorities are concerned after the first cases of COVID-19 were recorded in three of its 10 jails. More than 70 percent of prisoners in one of the country’s 10 facilities tested positive for COVID-19 last month. 
  • Switzerland will start easing COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in March. 
  • India will make COVID-19 molecular tests mandatory for people arriving directly or indirectly from the U.K., South Africa, and Brazil to contain the spread of more infectious virus variants found in those countries. 
  • Zimbabwe has begun its vaccination program after receiving a donation of 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China earlier this week. China will also donate 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Namibia.  
  • Health authorities in some European countries – including France, Germany and Sweden – are facing resistance to AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine after side-effects led hospital staff and other frontline workers to call in sick. 
  • The U.A.E. is sending 20,000 doses of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine to Gaza, a rival to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has announced, in a decision that could have repercussions for upcoming elections.  
  • China has begun requiring that travelers isolate for 14 days before flying in from some countries in Africa and Asia.
  • Police in Brazil are investigating allegations that health care workers are giving fake COVID-19 vaccines, amid reports of nurses injecting people with empty syringes. 
  • Israel has extended its COVID-19 border closure for 14 more days.  
  • A decree signed by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, the governor of the Vatican City State, says those employees who refuse the vaccine without legitimate health reasons may be transferred to a different position or may even be terminated. 
  • Global Cases:  109,594,835        Total Deaths: 2,424,060 

2/16/2021

  • Here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Update and here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Operational Update.
  • The WHO has approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, meaning the vaccine can be rolled out globally and participate in the Covax program that aims to bring vaccines to poorer countries.
  • Johnson & Johnson has submitted its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine to the E.U.’s drug regulator for authorization. The vaccine could be approved by mid-March if it meets criteria for safety, efficacy, and quality. It would be the fourth vaccine to receive approval in the E.U.
  • Colombia, which has had the second worst COVID-19 outbreak in Latin America, will start vaccinations on Wednesday. The campaign will begin in a rural part of the country in an effort to show that the vaccines will be available for everyone, not just those in major cities.
  • Portugal will extend its COVID-19 border controls with Spain until March.
  • Mexico city’s COVID-19 threat level has been lowered after two months of strict lockdown measures.
  • South Africa has reopened 20 of its land borders today to allow normal travel.
  • South Africa has announced they will share unused doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine with the African Union.
  • Australia has suspended quarantine-free travel with New Zealand after it locked down Auckland following the detection of three new community cases.
  • The Palestinian authority has accused Israel of blocking 2,000 vaccines set to be delivered to Gaza health workers in the blockaded coastal strip.
  • An agreement between Greece, Cyprus, and Israel will allow people with the COVID-19 vaccination certificates to travel between the three countries.
  • The Czech Republic’s government announced it will reopen schools beginning March 1 despite high levels of COVID-19 infection.
  • Syringe shortages have delayed Japan’s vaccination program, raising concerns that millions of Pfizer doses could be wasted.
  • North Korea has been accused by the South Korean National Intelligence Agency of breaking into Pfizer’s computer systems looking for information on the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The Dutch government has been ordered to remove the 9 PM curfew imposed to limit the spread of the COVID-19 following a court ruling. The Dutch prime minister has called for the curfew to remain.
  • Hong Kong will reopen sports and entertainment facilities and extend dining hours starting Feb. 18 as daily cases in the city dropped to single digits.
  • Germany will offer free COVID-19 antigen tests starting Mar. 1 as the country begins allowing some children to return to schools.
  • The Norwegian government will lift all extra restrictions on Thursday imposed on the capital region to stop the spread of the B.1.1.7 variant.
  • Scotland will allow children aged four to seven to return to school starting Feb. 22.
  • Brazil’s environment minister has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard has said that his government is to present a complaint at the U.N. security council tomorrow about the unequal access to COVID-19 vaccines globally.
  • Rwanda has started vaccinating health care workers and other high-risk groups.
  • Mexico began vaccinating senior citizens in more than 300 municipalities across the country Monday after receiving 860,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
  • South Korea has arranged to buy COVID-19 vaccines for 23 million more people.
  • Global Cases: 108,822,960   Total Deaths: 2,403,641

2/11/2021

  • Here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Update and here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Operational Update.
  • UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore and WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus released a joint statement encouraging governments that have vaccinated their own health workers and populations at highest risk of severe disease to share vaccines through COVAX so other countries can do the same.
  • The WHO's Wuhan investigation team stated it is “extremely unlikely” that the COVID-19 virus came from a Wuhan lab. Dr. Peter Embarek said it was more likely that the virus jumped to humans from animals.
  • The WHO asserts that the AstraZeneca vaccine was still a vital tool in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, after South Africa delayed the start of its inoculation program over concerns about its efficacy against the virus variant. Yesterday, the WHO said that the benefits of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any risks and that the shot should be recommended for use, including in people aged 65 and older.
  • Two new COVID-19 variants, one of which has been classified as a concern, have been identified in England with some similarities to the P. 1  and B. 1. 351 variants.
  • Israel and Greece agreed to a tourism deal on Monday that will allow vaccinated citizens of the two countries to travel between them without limitations once flights resume.
  • Authorities on Easter Island began vaccinating residents against COVID-19 on Monday, distributing 1,200 doses on the first day.
  • Spain announced it has extended controls along its border with Portugal until March 1.
  • Sweden announced long-distance trains and buses will only be allowed to run at half capacity starting Feb. 14.
  • India has ordered 10 million more doses of the AstraZenecaCOVID-19, despite South Africa putting it on hold.
  • Equatorial Guinea announced it will impose a 7 PM to 6 AM curfew, limit flights, and reintroduce other restrictions on non-essential businesses.
  • Spain has extended a ban on arrivals by air from Britain, Brazil, and South Africa until Mar. 2 due to the new virus variants detected in those nations.
  • Mozambique’s recently appointed military head, Eugénio Ussene Mussa, has died after contracting COVID-19.
  • Argentina has announced it has approved the emergency use of the Indian-made Covishield vaccine.
  • Ghana’s parliament has suspended most of its activities for three weeks after at least 17 Members of Parliament and 151 staff members were infected with COVID-19.
  • Hong Kong will ease strict COVID-19 restrictions starting Feb. 18, re-opening sports, entertainment facilities, and extending dining hours.
  • Israel has administered Pfizer vaccines to 40 percent of its population. Israel said it would issue an official app allowing users to link their Health Ministry files to prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Malaysia will extend its free vaccination program to all non-citizens residing in the country, including students, refugees and undocumented migrants.
  • Germany will remain in a partial lockdown until at least March 7.
  • China has recorded its lowest number of new cases in five months, with just two new infections on Feb. 10.
  • The Philippines is set to receive 600,000 doses this month of Sinovac Biotech’s vaccine donated by China, a portion of which will be used to vaccinate military personnel.
  • Travelers arriving to Ireland from Austria, the U.A.E., and sub-Saharan African countries will be subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine.
  • Ireland’s lockdown has been extended until April, with non-essential businesses and schools closed.
  • Turkey has started to administer the second dose of China’s Sinovac vaccine to health care workers across the country.
  • Germany will ban travel from Czech border regions as well as Austria’s Tyrol over a surge in infections of COVID-19 variants.
  • Slovenia has announced a partial lifting of COVID-19 restrictions beginning next week, including the reopening of elementary schools.
  • Portugal has extended its nationwide lockdown until March 1.
  • Italy will reopen its ski resorts Feb. 15 in Lombardy, the region worst hit by the COVID-19.
  • Iran has begun its COVID-19 vaccination campaign, using Russia’s Sputnik V vaccination.
  • Global Cases: 106,991,090   Total Deaths: 2,347,015

2/8/2021

  • Here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Update and here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Operational Update.
  • COVAX released a statement on the new Coronavirus variants. 
  • On Feb. 7 Denmark lifted the ban on flights coming from the U.A.E.
  • The Australian state of Victoria has recorded another day without any locally acquired cases, after nearly 15,000 tests were conducted.
  • The U.A.E. will temporarily only vaccinate residents and citizens who are elderly or who have certain health conditions, following a spike in infections in recent weeks.
  • The U.K.’s vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, said there are no plans to introduce vaccine passports, , because such a measure would be discriminatory.
  • Austria has tightened border controls to all neighboring countries, saying non-essential travel should be prevented during the pandemic.
  • Israel and Jordan have relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, with barbershops and some other businesses opening in Israel and pupils returning to school in Jordan.
  • Afghanistan received its first batch of AstraZeneca’s vaccines from India’s Serum Institute on Sunday.
  • Hungary has approved Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V, with 40,000 doses ready to be rolled out.
  • China on Monday reported zero locally transmitted COVID-19 cases for the first time since mid-December.
  • South Korea reported the lowest daily number of new COVID-19 cases since late November as the government slightly eased social distancing restrictions in the face of growing criticism from businesses impacted by the rules.
  • Beginning today, all staff and pupils at French schools must wear only category 1 face masks under a tightening of health rules at education establishments. This means no more home-made masks, which are less effective against the spread of new COVID-19 variants.
  • Migrants living in Britain will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines regardless of whether they have the legal right to live and work in the country, and getting vaccinatedwill not trigger immigration checks.
  • The armies of Pakistan and Cambodia have both received donations of COVID-19 vaccines from China, the first foreign militaries to do so.
  • COVID-19 case rates for the U.K. have dropped to their lowest level since before Christmas, with some regions of England recording rates last seen in early December.
  • Argentina has detected the first cases of two Brazilian COVID-19 variants in travelers from the neighboring nation.
  • The Dutch government will extend its 9 PM night-time curfew to Mar. 2.
  • A stay-at-home order for Toronto will be extended by another two weeks.
  • Indonesia began inoculating people 60 and older on Monday after health officials concluded that the Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccine they were using was safe for that age group.
  • The public health commission in Spain has said the country’s vaccination program will not make use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in older people, making it the latest European country to do so.
  • Global Cases: 105,805,951     Total Deaths: 2,312,278

2/4/2021

  • Here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Update and here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Operational Update.
  • The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the WHO, as co-leads of the COVAX initiative for equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines, alongside key delivery partner UNICEF, published COVAX’s first interim distribution forecast.
  • Colombia’s capital, Bogota, lifted tough restrictions and a city-wide red alert against COVID-19 on Wednesday.
  • The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in France is at its highest since November.
  • French president Emmanuel Macron said all French people who are willing to be vaccinated will be offered a vaccine by the end of summer.
  • Scotland’s youngest children, including all nursery and primary school students, will be allowed to go back to school starting Feb. 22.
  • Saudi Arabia suspended entry from 20 countries effective from 9 PM on Feb. 3.
  • Lockdown measures in the Netherlands, many of which have been in place since October, will remain in place until at least Mar. 2.
  • The German military has sent more than 20 doctors and nurses along with ventilators and hospital beds to Portugal, where a severe rise in cases has prompted several European nations to offer help.
  • The Palestinian Authority began vaccinating its health workers in the occupied West Bank against COVID-19 after receiving doses from Israel.
  • WHO inspectors visited a laboratory in China’s Wuhan city on Wednesday. The inspection of the Wuhan virology institute, which conducts research on the world’s most dangerous diseases, will be one of the most-watched stops on the team’s probe into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Danish government has announced plans to introduce a digital document with which people will be able to prove they have an up-to-date COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The Ukrainian government is preparing to end a nationwide lockdown and allow health authorities to relax restrictions in areas where COVID-19 infection levels are lower.
  • Spain has detected its second case of the COVID-19 variant first discovered in South Africa.
  • Denmark has seen an increase in the proportion of COVID-19 cases of the more transmissible variant, health authorities said, despite overall infection numbers falling in the country.
  • Ontario, Canada will resume in-person classes for primary and secondary students across all regions by Feb. 16, with most areas reopening on Feb. 8.
  • Kuwait will suspend entry for non-citizens for two weeks as of Feb. 7.
  • The Brazilian government announced Wednesday it was negotiating the purchase of 30 million coronavirus vaccine doses from Russia and India, after regulators made it easier for the treatments to win emergency use authorizations.
  • North Korea has requested COVID-19 vaccines and is expected to receive nearly 2 million doses, according to the Gavi vaccine alliance, part of the WHO-backed Covax program, although the isolated country has insisted it is virus-free.
  • Taiwan will get a share of 1.3 million COVID-19 vaccine shots produced by AstraZeneca from the Covax global vaccine program.
  • Qatar has reimposed restrictions on education, leisure, and business activities, including closing indoor swimming pools and theme parks and restricting restaurant capacities.
  • India has said it will continue to provide COVID-19 related humanitarian assistance to Myanmar despite a military coup which overthrew elected civilian leaders on Monday.
  • China is set to send 150,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Syria as aid.
  • Paraguay signed a contract with the Russian Direct Investment Fund to purchase the Sputnik V vaccine.
  • The WTO said on Thursday its COVAX initiative aims to start shipping nearly 90 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Africa this month.
  • China will donate 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Congo Republic and forgive $13 million in public debt, its ambassador to the country said on Thursday.
  • The Cuban capital of Havana will implement a curfew of 9 PM on Friday evening.
  • The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been provisionally approved for use in New Zealand, where the government will begin vaccinating frontline healthcare and border workers in the coming months.
  • Global Cases: 103,989,900     Total Deaths: 2,260,259

2/1/2021

  • Here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Update and here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Operational Update.
  • A WHO team looking into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic today visited a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan where the virus is though to have started.
  • South Africa has received its first shipment of one million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. 
  • The Madrid, Spain region will begin easing its COVID-19 restrictions this week. Starting Friday, groups of up to six people will be allowed to gather on outdoor restaurant terraces, an increase from the current cap of four.
  • In the U.K., residents in parts of Surrey will be offered COVID-19 tests after two people with no travel links were found to have caught the virus variant discovered in South Africa.
  • Portugal reported nearly half of its total COVID-19 death toll during January. A total of 5,576 people died from the COVID-19 in January, representing 44.7 percent of all 12,482 fatalities since the virus began spreading.
  • Hong Kong will extend social distancing measures for two weeks until after the Lunar New Year holiday and will impose stricter testing rules when cases of COVID-19 are detected. The measures, which include a ban on more than two people gathering and dining in restaurants after 6 PM local time, will remain in place until Feb. 17.
  • Similarly, South Korea will extend its social distancing rules by two weeks until the end of the Lunar New Year holiday as new COVID-19 infection clusters emerges in the country.
  • Israel’s nationwide lockdown has been extended until Feb. 5, which includes airport and border closures.
  • China’s daily new cases fell to a three-week low. New confirmed reported cases dropped by more than half from 92 to 42.
  • Japan is expected to extend a state of emergency this week for Tokyo and other areas as hospitals remain under pressure despite a decline in COVID-19 cases.
  • Taiwan health authorities are still battling an outbreak centered around a Taoyuan hospital, which claimed the first COVID-related death in almost nine months on Feb. 29.
  • Pakistan received 500,000 doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine on Monday.
  • Ghana has re-imposed a ban on social gatherings as the number of COVID-19 cases increase.
  • The E.U. wants 70 percent of adults vaccinated by end of summer. AstraZeneca will increase its coronavirus vaccine deliveries to the E.U. by 30 percent, the European Commission said Sunday.
  • Two million Australians began their first full day of a strict COVID-19 lockdown on Monday following the discovery of one case in Perth,  but no new cases have since been found.
  • Germany said today that it will support Portugal with medical staff and equipment after an appeal for help from the Iberian country, which said on Saturday that only seven of 850 ICU beds set up for COVID-19 cases on its mainland were vacant. Austria said it would assist by taking in some intensive-care patients from Portugal.
  • The variant of the coronavirus first discovered in the U.K. caused half of all new COVID-19 infections in the Netherlands by Jan. 26. Primary schools in the Netherlands will reopen from Feb. 8, the Dutch government announced on Sunday.
  • Anti-lockdown protesters demonstrated in Brussels, Budapest, and Vienna over the weekend. In Belgium on Sunday, 488 demonstrators were arrested in Brussels in an unauthorized anti-lockdown protest.
  • Israel has agreed to transfer 5,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the Palestinians to immunize front-line medical workers, the office of the defense minister said. Israel has come under criticism from U.N. officials and human rights groups for not providing vaccines to the Palestinians.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron defended his decision to hold off on a third lockdown on Saturday, telling the public he had faith in their ability to rein in COVID-19 with less severe curbs even as a third wave spreads through France and vaccinations are delayed.
  • The Trans-Tasman bubble allowing quarantine-free travel from New Zealand to Australia will resume Feb. 6, Australian health authorities have announced.
  • More than 80 people were arrested in China for producing more than 3,000 doses of fake COVID-19 vaccines.
  • A German refugee accommodation center in Cologne has been hit by a coronavirus outbreak. 41 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, with 31 of them testing positive for the variants first identified in South Africa or Brazil.
  • Denmark will reopen schools for first through fourth grades starting Feb. 8.
  • Austria has announced it will relax its COVID-19 lockdown from Monday next week, moving to an 8 PM curfew and allowing non-essential shops and schools to reopen.
  • Russia has extended a ban on flights to and from the U.K. until Feb. 17 due to the new coronavirus variant first detected in the U.K.
  • The E.U. toughened its restrictions on visitors from outside the bloc on Monday, with travelers only allowed to enter from countries with very low numbers of cases. The exemptions now include seven countries - Australia, China, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand, although China’s inclusion is dependent on China allowing in E.U. visitors.
  • German chancellor Angela Merkel attended a five-hour vaccine summit in Berlin to emphasize that the government is aware of the urgency with which Germany needs to roll out COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Canada on Monday reported its first case of COVID-19 with the South African virus variant.
  • Global Cases: 102,584,351    Total Deaths: 2,222,647

For updates previous to February, click here

Grants/Funding

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

2/25/28

  • More than 91.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed across the U.S., and more than 46 million people have received their first dose, according to CDC data.
  • Moderna has completed enrollment of 3,000 participants in a clinical trial testing its COVID-19 vaccine in kids between ages 12 and 17.
  • CDC released an MMWR on suspected recurrent SARS-CoV-2 infections among residents of a skilled nursing facility during a second COIVD-19 outbreak in Kentucky. Five residents of a skilled nursing facility received positive SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test results in two separate COVID-19 outbreaks separated by 3 months. Residents received at least four negative test results between the two outbreaks, suggesting the possibility of reinfection. Severity of disease in the five residents during the second outbreak was worse than that during the first outbreak and included one death.
  • A part of the NIH’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative, the RADx Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program is focusing on assessing and removing barriers to testing for populations disproportionately affected by the pandemic, including African Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Latinos/Latinas, Native Hawaiians, older adults, pregnant women and those who are homeless or incarcerated. RADx-UP aims to develop strategies to reduce disparities in COVID-19 testing by supporting more than 70 projects across the country that have existing community partnerships. The Communities Fighting COVID! project integrates a major research center with more than a dozen community organizations and a network of community health workers to boost COVID-19 testing among populations in San Diego.
  • Among a group of hundreds of thousands of Americans who tested positive for a SARS-CoV-2 infection, the risk of developing a subsequent infection more than three months later was about 90 percent lower than it was for people who had not been previously infected and therefore had no immunity to the virus, according to researchers from the National Cancer Institute.
  • A new Google-funded repository at the Data Science Initiative called Global.health is collecting an unprecedented amount of anonymized information about individual cases in one place. For each individual, the database includes up to 40 associated variables, such as the date when they first had COVID-19 symptoms, the date they received a positive test, and their travel history.
  • Two separate teams of researchers said this week they have found a worrying new coronavirus variant in New York City and elsewhere in the Northeast that carries mutations that help it evade the body's natural immune response, as well as the effects of monoclonal antibody treatments. Genomics researchers have named the variant B.1.526. It appears in people affected in diverse neighborhoods of New York City and is scattered in the Northeast.
  • A Danish study suggests that people infected with the B117 COVID-19 variant may have a 60 percent higher risk of being hospitalized. In a Press Conference today, the WHO said the B117 variant is more transmissible and results in more severe illness.
  • The WHO has agreed on a no-fault compensation plan for claims of serious side effects in people in 92 poorer countries due to get COVID-19 vaccines via the Covax program.
  • A Kaiser Health News investigation found COVID-19 vaccine registration and information websites at the federal, state, and local levels are flouting disability rights laws and limiting the ability of people who are blind or visually impaired to sign up for shots.
  • AstraZeneca has told the E.U. it expects to deliver less than half the COVID-19 vaccines it was contracted to supply in the second quarter. Four out of five of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine doses delivered to E.U. countries are yet to be used on patients.
  • The Olympic torch audience has been asked to applaud rather than cheer on the passing runners.
  • France’s Six Nations rugby game against Scotland has been postponed after another player tested positive for COVID-19, taking the tally of confirmed cases among the French team to 16.
  • Ten orangutans have been airlifted back to their natural habitat on Indonesia’s Borneo island, due to the dangers of COVID-19 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 New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here. This AVAC pipeline tracker is great, too. 
  • The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has an extensive list of commercial and lab-developed tests. 
  • Continue to look at the NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis’s (OPA) expert-curated portfolio of COVID-19 publications and preprints. The portfolio includes peer-reviewed articles from PubMed and preprints from medRxiv, bioRxiv, ChemRxiv, and arXiv. It is updated daily with the latest available data and enables users to explore and analyze the rapidly growing set of advances in COVID-19 research.

2/22/2021

  • More than 75.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed across the U.S., and more than 44.1 million people have received their first dose, according to CDC data.
  • A laboratory study suggests that the South African variant of the COVID-19 may reduce antibody protection from the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by two-thirds, and it is not clear if the vaccine will be effective against the mutation.
  • Pfizer and BioNTech said on Friday they have submitted new data to the U.S. health regulator showing the stability of their COVID-19 vaccine at temperatures commonly found in pharmaceutical freezers and refrigerators.
  • A three-month gap between doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine results in higher vaccine efficacy than a six-week gap, a new study suggests.
  • The CDC released an MMWR on clusters of SARS-CoV-2 infection among elementary school educators and students in one school district in Georgia. The study found that the two main reasons for the spread in these schools were due to inadequate physical distancing and mask adherence.
  • Based on 2019 data, only heart disease (655,381) and cancer (599,274) caused more deaths in a year than COVID-19.
  • A study of more than 1,300 near-whole genome sequences of SARS-CoV-2, published recently in the journal Nature Medicine, shows there were in fact at least 42 SARS-CoV-2 variants spreading in South Africa within the pandemic’s first six months in that country. Among them were 16 variants that had never before been described.
  • Novavax says enrollment of its Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial in U.S. and Mexico is complete. In January, Novavax announced that early results from a Phase 3 trial in the U.K. show its COVID-19 vaccine has an efficacy of 89.3 percent.
  • Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) started Phase 2 trial of their vaccine, and Phase 3 could begin by April.
  • Singapore has been testing out a “bubble” business hotel that will allow quarantined executives arriving in the country to do face-to-face meetings and exchange documents amid the pandemic.
  • Since February 2020, the leisure-and-hospitality sector has shed nearly four million people, or roughly a quarter of its workforce. As of January 2021, 15.9 percent of the industry’s workers remained unemployed; more than any other industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • The last male from Brazil’s indigenous Juma tribe has died from 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 New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here. This AVAC pipeline tracker is great, too. 
  • The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has an extensive list of commercial and lab-developed tests. 
  • Continue to look at the NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis’s (OPA) expert-curated portfolio of COVID-19 publications and preprints. The portfolio includes peer-reviewed articles from PubMed and preprints from medRxiv, bioRxiv, ChemRxiv, and arXiv. It is updated daily with the latest available data and enables users to explore and analyze the rapidly growing set of advances in COVID-19 research.

2/18/2021

  • More than 73.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed across the U.S., and more than 41 million people have received their first dose, according to CDC data.
  • The average U.S. life expectancy dropped by a year in the first half of 2020, according to a new report from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. Life expectancy of the Black population declined by 2.7 years in the first half of 2020, after 20 years of gains. The gap between Black and white Americans, which had been narrowing, is now at six years, the widest since 1998.
  • In a new study, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine loses some potency against the coronavirus variant that first appeared in South Africa.
  • CDC's MMWR put out a few new reports, two of which are highlighted below:
  • Pfizer-BioNTech said that it is beginning clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine in pregnant women, the first such trials to include expectant mothers in the U.S.
  • At a hearing on Wednesday, a DoD official said nearly one third of service members are declining the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • According to the WHO, the coronavirus variant first identified in the U.K. has now been found in 94 countries, the variant first identified in South Africa has been found in 46 countries, and the variant first identified in Brazil has been found in 21 countries.
  • E.U. disease and food safety experts have warned that all mink farms are at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and spreading the virus, and staff and animals should be regularly tested.
  • Updated results from the CORONADO study, analyzing the outcomes of patients with diabetes admitted to the hospital with COVID-19, shows that one in five patients die within 28 days while around half are discharged.
  • Worker applications for unemployment benefits rose during the first half of February, pausing a downward trend that pointed to an improving labor market amid other signs that the economic recovery is picking up.
  • Frances Goldman, a 90-year-old woman from Seattle, walked six miles in the snow to receive her COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The Ivy League announced that it would not attempt to stage spring sports in 2021 due to COVID-19, making it the only conference in the NCAA's Division I that remains completely on the sidelines for the fourth consecutive season.
  • 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. This AVAC pipeline tracker is great, too. 
  • The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has an extensive list of commercial and lab-developed tests. 
  • Continue to look at the NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis’s (OPA) expert-curated portfolio of COVID-19 publications and preprints. The portfolio includes peer-reviewed articles from PubMed and preprints from medRxiv, bioRxiv, ChemRxiv, and arXiv. It is updated daily with the latest available data and enables users to explore and analyze the rapidly growing set of advances in COVID-19 research.

2/16/2021

  • More than 71.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed across the U.S., and more than 39.6 million people have received their first dose, according to CDC data.
  • In an average of Axios/Ipsos polls taken in January and February, 74 percent of Democrats said they'd either been vaccinated, or were extremely or very likely to get vaccinated as soon it's available to them. Just 51 percent of Republicans said the same thing. Independents were in the middle of these two groups at 61 percent.
  • Researchers at the NIH say the humidity created inside the mask may help combat respiratory diseases such as COVID-19. A recent study, led by researchers in the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), found that face masks substantially increase the humidity in the air that the mask-wearer breathes in. This higher level of humidity in inhaled air could help explain why wearing masks has been linked to lower disease severity in people infected with SARS-CoV-2, because hydration of the respiratory tract is known to benefit the immune system. The study published in the Biophysical Journal.
  • A new Johns Hopkins data tool helps people with disabilities determine when they qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine and compares how different states prioritize the disability community in the vaccine rollout. Created by researchers, students and advocates who themselves are disabled and have personally experienced how inequitable and inaccessible the pandemic response has been, the COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization Dashboard launched to not only help the disability community get vaccinated, but also to arm policymakers with data to improve the system.
  • New data show the pandemic has exacerbated existing disparities and created additional challenges for women, especially those with children, in research fields. In some fields, the proportion of female authors on preprints, submitted manuscripts, and published papers dropped during the first few months of the pandemic. Mothers also suffered a 33 percent larger drop in research hours compared with fathers, according to a global survey of 20,000 Ph.D. holders published as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper last month.
  • British government scientists are increasingly finding the coronavirus variant first detected in Britain to be deadlier than the original virus. The British government did not publicly announce the updated findings, which are based on roughly twice as many studies as their earlier assessment and include more deaths from cases of COVID-19 caused by the new variant, known as B.1.1.7. It posted the document on a government website on Friday and said that it had been considered at a meeting of government advisers the day before.
  • At least 32 million of the 142 million BinaxNOW rapid COVID-19 tests distributed by the U.S. government to states starting last year weren’t used as of early February, according to a Wall Street Journal review of their inventories.
  • The Biden administration extended a federal moratorium on home foreclosures for another three months and expanded assistance for people behind on their mortgage payments during the coronavirus pandemic. Homeowners will also have more time—through June 30—to enroll in a program to request a pause or a reduction in mortgage payments.
  • Spending by consumers who make less than $60,000 a year jumped by more than 20 percent in the week that ended Jan. 10, the week after the U.S. Treasury Department began electronically sending stimulus payments of $600 per adult and $600 per child for individuals with adjusted gross incomes under $75,000, according to the research group Opportunity Insights’ tracker of figures from Affinity Solutions.
  • The Polish government announced that a COVID-19 strain found on a Polish mink farm can be directly transmitted from the animals to humans.
  • Several gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park that tested positive for COVID-19 last month have fully recovered.
  • 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. This AVAC pipeline tracker is great, too. 
  • The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has an extensive list of commercial and lab-developed tests. 
  • Continue to look at the NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis’s (OPA) expert-curated portfolio of COVID-19 publications and preprints. The portfolio includes peer-reviewed articles from PubMed and preprints from medRxiv, bioRxiv, ChemRxiv, and arXiv. It is updated daily with the latest available data and enables users to explore and analyze the rapidly growing set of advances in COVID-19 research.

2/11/2021

  • More than 59.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed across the U.S., and more than 32.3 million people have received their first dose, according to CDC data.
  • Microsoft has launched a COVID-19 vaccine dashboard that tracks the administration of vaccines aligned with the federal goal of 100 million vaccine doses in 100 days. The tool also presents an overview of our progress nationally and in comparison to other countries.
  • CDC released an MMWR on the percentage of middle and high school students attending in-person classes who reported observing fellow students wearing a mask all of the time, by school setting and activities in the U.S. during October 2020. A sample of 3,953 middle and high school students aged 13–21 years who were attending in-person classes were asked about mask use by fellow students in several settings. Approximately 65 percent of students reported that fellow students wore a mask “all the time” in the classroom and in hallways or stairwells. However, reported use of masks all the time was lower in other indoor locations, including school buses (42 percent), restrooms (40 percent), and the cafeteria when not eating (36 percent). Reported observed mask use all the time was lowest during sports or extracurricular activities (28 percent) and outside on school property (25 percent).
  • A new study out of the University of Chicago has found that during the initial wave of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York City, only 1 in 5 to 1 in 7 cases of the virus was symptomatic. The research team found that non-symptomatic cases substantially contribute to community transmission, making up at least 50 percent of the driving force of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The results were published on Feb. 10 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • A widely available asthma drug called budesonide appears to significantly reduce the risk of people getting seriously ill with COVID-19 if it is taken within the first week of developing symptoms.
  • A team led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital has created a tool to guide frontline clinicians through diagnostic evaluations of patients who arrive in emergency departments and hospitals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 so that they'll know when it's safe to discontinue precautions. It is critical to isolate them to avoid the potential spread of infection, but keeping patients isolated longer than needed could delay patient care, take up hospital beds needed for other patients, and unnecessarily use up personal protective equipment.
  • new study that sought to pinpoint how the virus spread through New Orleans last year has found that the 2020 Mardi Gras celebration was responsible for tens of thousands of coronavirus cases, after a single person likely brought it to New Orleans in the weeks leading up to the event.
  • A new study suggests that people living with HIV may be more likely to contract, be hospitalized, and die from the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, that causes COVID-19. The study found that through the middle of 2020, people living with HIV in New York were 43 percent more likely to receive a diagnosis of COVID-19 than those without HIV and were 161 percent more likely to be hospitalized.
  • Europe’s oldest person, the French nun Sister André, has survived COVID-19 and will celebrate her 117th birthday this week.
  • Berlin’s international film festival next month will feature 15 movies made during the pandemic in competition for its Golden Bear top prize.
  • Uber will offer free rides to Walgreens to make it easier for people who do not have a car or a pharmacy nearby to access COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The WHO keeps a running list of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, which you can view here. STAT News also has a resource tracking COVID-19 drugs and vaccines. The New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here. This AVAC pipeline tracker is great, too. 
  • The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has an extensive list of commercial and lab-developed tests. 
  • Continue to look at the NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis’s (OPA) expert-curated portfolio of COVID-19 publications and preprints. The portfolio includes peer-reviewed articles from PubMed and preprints from medRxiv, bioRxiv, ChemRxiv, and arXiv. It is updated daily with the latest available data and enables users to explore and analyze the rapidly growing set of advances in COVID-19 research.

2/8/2021

  • More than 59.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed across the U.S., and more than 32.3 million people have received their first dose, according to CDC data.
  • Dr. Tony Fauci said he believes that vaccine supplies will improve by March, with increased doses of approved vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna and a new vaccine candidate from Johnson & Johnson.
  • CDC released an MMWR on the observed face mask use at six universities in the U.S. from September to November, 2020. During September–November 2020, mask use was directly observed at six universities with mask mandates. Among persons observed indoors, 91.7 percent wore masks correctly, varying by mask type, from 96.8 percent for N95-type masks and 92.2 percent for cloth masks to 78.9 percent for bandanas, scarves, and similar face coverings. Institutions of higher education can use this feedback to tailor training and messaging for correct mask use.
  • CDC also released an MMWR on the decline in COVID-19 hospitalization growth rates associated with statewide mask mandates in 10 states from March to October, 2020. During March 22–Oct. 17, 2020, 10 sites participating in the COVID-19–Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network in states with statewide mask mandates reported a decline in weekly COVID-19–associated hospitalization growth rates by up to 5.5 percentage points for adults aged 18–64 years after mandate implementation, compared with growth rates during the 4 weeks preceding implementation of the mandate. Mask-wearing is a component of a multipronged strategy to decrease exposure to and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and reduce strain on the health care system, with likely direct effects on COVID-19 morbidity and associated mortality.
  • Hospitals across the country have reported dramatic increases in alcohol-related admissions for critical diseases such as alcoholic hepatitis and liver failure. Alcoholism-related liver disease was a growing problem even before the pandemic, but the pandemic has dramatically added to the toll. Leading liver disease specialists and psychiatrists believe the isolation, unemployment and hopelessness associated with COVID-19 are driving the explosion in cases.
  • A new University of Michigan poll suggests that nearly one in five older adults don't have the ability to isolate after exposure to someone with COVID-19 - and that those who are Hispanic or Black, or who have lower incomes or poor health to begin with, are more likely to lack a safe isolation place in their home.
  • South Africa has suspended use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine after a researcher's report “minimal” protection against the COVID-19 variant. It will now instead offer vaccines developed by Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer in the coming weeks.
  • Leisure and hospitality remains by far the worst hit industry, having lost 61,000 jobs in January on top of a downwardly revised 536,000 jobs in December, for a total of almost 4 million jobs lost since February 2020. This industry alone accounts for around 40 percent of jobs lost during the pandemic.
  • A mosque in England has been turned into a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination center to help ease vaccine hesitancy in the Muslim community.
  • Researchers at Oxford University have expressed that herd immunity can no longer be the goal for COVID-19 vaccines following the news that the AstraZeneca vaccine does not stop people with the South African variant from becoming mildly or moderately ill.
  • The Australian Open began in Melbourne on Monday, after a three-week delay because of confirmed COVID-19 cases among staff and players. The number of spectators has been capped at 30,000 per day, about half the usual attendance.
  • 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. This AVAC pipeline tracker is great, too. 
  • The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has an extensive list of commercial and lab-developed tests. 
  • Continue to look at the NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis’s (OPA) expert-curated portfolio of COVID-19 publications and preprints. The portfolio includes peer-reviewed articles from PubMed and preprints from medRxiv, bioRxiv, ChemRxiv, and arXiv. It is updated daily with the latest available data and enables users to explore and analyze the rapidly growing set of advances in COVID-19 research.

2/4/2021

  • More than 57.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed across the U.S., and more than 27.9 million people have received their first dose, according to CDC data.
  • Moderna is hoping to raise the number of doses in its vials to as many as 15 from the current 10 doses, a potential 50 percent increase.
  • Despite residents and workers in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) being at increased risk for COVID-19, a recent MMWR article shows that, among 11,460 SNFs with at least one vaccination clinic conducted during the first month of the CDC Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, only 37.5 percent of staff members received at least one vaccine dose through the program.
  • Another MMWR study this week found American adults reported more problems with depression, new or increased substance use and suicidal thoughts during the COVID-19 pandemic, but even higher levels of Hispanic people reported these mental health issues.
  • In a recent study published in PNAS, participants who exhibited greater social distancing on a virtual behavior measure—simulations presenting graphical depictions of specific real-world scenarios, asking them to position themselves relative to others in the scene—were less likely to contract COVID-19 subsequently. 
  • A single dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine provides sustained protection against COVID-19 for at least three months and cuts transmission of the virus by two-thirds, according to a new study.
  • Mexico on Tuesday approved Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the country, one of the worst hit by the pandemic, following the release of positive trial results.
  • GlaxoSmithKline and CureVac sign a $180 million deal to develop a next generation of COVID-19 vaccines targeting new emerging variants in the pandemic.
  • AstraZeneca and Oxford University are aiming to develop a next-generation vaccine to tackle new variants as early as by the autumn, a senior executive said.
  • Pfizer plans to deliver 200 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine to the U.S. by May, earlier than its initial forecast of July, according to slides published Tuesday by the company ahead of its fourth-quarter earnings call.
  • Pfizer expects to sell about $15 billion in coronavirus vaccine doses this year, the company announced in releasing its fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday.
  • To help combat vaccine misinformation and address lingering concerns that people have, corporate, nonprofit, and media leaders, including WebMD and Medscape, are joining a public service campaign called VaxFacts. Led by HealthGuard, the goal of the campaign is to provide facts and tools to help consumers make informed decisions about vaccines.
  • Australia’s economy is expected to recover to its pre-pandemic size by the middle of this year – six to 12 months early – the Reserve Bank governor has revealed.
  • American Airlines is telling about 13,000 employees that they are at risk of furlough when a U.S. aid package for airline workers expires on Apr. 1, the company said on Wednesday.
  • The Netherlands has limited AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to people aged under 65, despite the E.U. approving it for all ages.
  • Capt. Sir Tom Moore, 100, a World War 2 veteran who raised $45 million for the U.K.’s National Health Service, has died after being hospitalized for COVID-19.
  • A hotel in South Africa has introduced robots into its lobby to help reduce the risk of coronavirus infection.
  • Germany will not allow the Liverpool Football Club into the country to play a Champions League game at Leipzig on Feb. 16 because of border restrictions imposed over new COVID-19 variants.
  • Athletes will be tested at least once every four days as part of the International Olympic Committee’s quest to hold the Tokyo Games.
  • Spain’s bull-running festival held in the northern city of Pamplona has been cancelled for the second year in a row because of 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 New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here. This AVAC pipeline tracker is great, too. 
  • The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has an extensive list of commercial and lab-developed tests. 
  • Continue to look at the NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis’s (OPA) expert-curated portfolio of COVID-19 publications and preprints. The portfolio includes peer-reviewed articles from PubMed and preprints from medRxiv, bioRxiv, ChemRxiv, and arXiv. It is updated daily with the latest available data and enables users to explore and analyze the rapidly growing set of advances in COVID-19 research.

2/1/2021

  • More than 49.9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed across the U.S., and more than 26.0 million people have received their first dose, according to CDC data.
  • A new CDC report indicates that among 11,460 nursing homes where pharmacists from CVS and Walgreens held vaccination clinics between mid-December and mid-January, 78 percent of residents got immunized on average, but only 37.5 percent of staff members did.
  • The Texas Emergency Medical Task Force State Coordination Center has created a new approach to help hospitals transfer COVID-19 patients between facilities. The state has operationalized Pulsara, a HIPAA-compliant, free smartphone app, to help hospitals initiate patient transfers and balance patient load to help ease capacity pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic. See the presentation slides Texas Patient Navigation and Load Balancing for more background.
  • J&J has announced that its vaccine was 66 percent effective overall in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 at 28 days after a single shot and was 72 percent effective in the U.S. The J&J vaccine is unique in that it is a single dose, requires only a refrigerator, is inexpensive, and has the ability to create a large number of doses.
  • Race and low socioeconomic status once again factor high on the list of vulnerabilities to COVID-19 infection and death according to two U.S. studies published late last week. The first study found county-level inequalities and the second study linked ethnicity and community exposure to infections among health care workers.
  • A University of California, Davis, study found that more than a third of people nationwide are either unlikely or at least hesitant to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them.
  • Despite a scarce supply, a substantial amount of COVID-19 monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment courses remain unused, says a new rapid expert consultation from the NASEM. The rapid expert consultation describes frameworks and allocation strategies that can overcome the logistical difficulties of administering mAb therapy, promote equitable access, and allow for data collection on the safety and effectiveness of mAbs. It also considers strategies that could build manufacturing capacity to scale up the supply of COVID-19 mAbs.
  • According to a recent MMWR release, during the first month of the U.S. COVID-19 vaccination program, approximately 13,000,000 persons received at least one dose of vaccine. Among persons with demographic data, 63 percent were women, 55 percent were 50 years or older, and 60.4 percent were non-Hispanic White.
  • In a study posted online today, researchers found that individuals who previously had COVID-19 had far higher antibody levels after both the first and second doses of the vaccine and might need only one shot. The science community seems split over whether or not this is the case- some specialists would like to see more data first, while others view this as a surefire way to save vaccine doses. 
  • Universities across Australia are offering discounts of up to 20 percent to international students who are studying completely online while they are barred from entering Australia due to border restrictions.
  • Scandinavia’s biggest film festival is going ahead this year despite the pandemic but will be hosted on an isolated island and admit only one attendee - a Swedish nurse, selected from 12,000 applicants. 
  • Capt. Sir Tom Moore, 100, a World War 2 veteran who raised $45 million for the U.K.’s National Health Service, has been admitted to a hospital with COVID-19.
  • Students in the U.K. could earn about $55,000 less over their lifetime due to the lost schooling during the pandemic, according to new research from the U.K. Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).
  • 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. This AVAC pipeline tracker is great, too. 
  • The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has an extensive list of commercial and lab-developed tests. 
  • Continue to look at the NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis’s (OPA) expert-curated portfolio of COVID-19 publications and preprints. The portfolio includes peer-reviewed articles from PubMed and preprints from medRxiv, bioRxiv, ChemRxiv, and arXiv. It is updated daily with the latest available data and enables users to explore and analyze the rapidly growing set of advances in COVID-19 research.

For updates previous to February, click here

Articles/Media

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), U.S. 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), U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), Childrens Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), Executive Order (EO), Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)

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

Johns Hopkins University Real-Time Coronavirus Tracker

RSS 2019 Novel Coronavirus