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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

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

  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 4,225,687 total cases and 146,546 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. There have now been more than 4 million cases of COVID-19 reported in the U.S. 
  • Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said travelers should quarantine for 14 days if they arrive from 27 “high-risk” states that meet certain criteria, including California, Florida, and Texas. Residents from Maryland and Virginia are exempted from the order. 
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) signed a modification to his State of Emergency declaration, allowing driver education services to resume immediately, with safety measures in place to prevent transmission of COVID-19. Gov. Carney’s modification also allows senior centers to open with safety precautions at 30 percent capacity.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed an EO extending the temporary suspension of certain regulatory statutes due to COVID-19, including statutory license limitations for breweries, wineries, distilleries, and retailers licensed for on-premises alcohol consumption. 
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced a new program, Housing for the Harvest, that will provide safe, temporary isolation spaces for agricultural and farmworkers who test positive or were exposed to the virus, which limits the risk of spreading COVID-19 to their coworkers or households. The program will operate in partnership with counties and local partners in the Central Valley, Central Coast, and Imperial Valley – the regions with the highest number of agricultural workers.
  • California has surpassed New York for the most reported cases. 
  • North Dakota reported its single-day record for cases, with 160 while Alabama reported its single-day record for deaths, with more than 60.
  • Hawai‘i Gov. David Ige (D) confirmed the state’s plans to move ahead with school reopening for students on Tuesday, August 4th. Teachers return on Wednesday, July 29th.
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signed EO's that outline mitigation procedures that schools must take to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Kansas students and teachers.
  • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) extended the pause on evictions and foreclosures for 60 days, until October 17th, during the COVID-19 Emergency.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) extended an EO increasing the Medicaid home health workforce and eliminating cost sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment for Medicaid enrollees.
  • Gov. Tim Walz (R) in Minnesota said he would mandate masks in public starting Saturday, and added that the state would provide masks to individuals in underserved areas. 
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) issued a state-wide mask mandate effective tomorrow.
  • Multiple states, including Kansas, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Wisconsin,Missouri, and Alaska, reported single-day highs for cases. 
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said the state’s plan for reopening schools will give parents the option to choose an entirely online option if they’re concerned about COVID-19. 
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that hair salons and barbershops in 33 counties may now reopen outside under new guidance from the state.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) limited social gatherings to 10 people.
  • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) reported COVID-19 outbreaks in seven churches across the state.
  • ICU bed capacity in Florida's Miami-Dade County is at 130 percent.
  • Minnesota reported its COVID-19-related death of a child under the age of five.
  • Chicago, Illinois is rolling back some of the original reopening rules. Starting Friday, Chicago bars will once again be banned from serving alcohol indoors; services like shaves and facials that require people to take off their masks will be banned; indoor fitness classes will be limited to 10 people; and property managers will be asked to limit guests to five per unit to prevent parties. 
  • Gwinnett County Public Schools, the largest school district in Georgia, said that classes will begin on August 12th with online-only instruction.
  • Cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. continue to surge, with multiple states setting daily case and death records. 
  • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) has re-enacted restrictions on indoor seating at restaurants and breweries. The Governor also tightened restrictions on gyms and other close contact businesses.
  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced a mandatory mask requirement and ordered bars in the state to close to on-premises consumption. The Governor also limited indoor social gathering to 50 people and will keep Louisiana in Phase Two of its reopening.
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced new requirements for face coverings and limits on social gatherings.
  • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) ordered bars in Monongalia County to close for 10 days in response to a spike in coronavirus cases.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) ordered all counties in the state to close indoor activities at restaurants, bars, wineries, tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, and museums.
  • Texas and Florida both surpassed 200,000 total cases over the weekend. 
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) directed Texans in all counties with 20 or more COVID-19 cases to wear face masks in public places. Sheriffs of Gillespie and Montgomery Counties have sad they do not intend to comply or enforce the order. 
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said the state is pausing its move to phase three of their reopening plan. Bars will remain closed and restaurants can only open at 50 percent capacity.
  • Florida's Miami-Dade County will shut down restaurants and gyms starting Wednesday.
  • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) signed an EO requiring adults and children over nine years to wear a face covering in places where social distancing is not possible.
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued a brief extension of the Safe Start proclamation until July 9th.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said today that the state will be cracking down on businesses that violate virus-related restrictions. Authorities inspected nearly 6,000 businesses over the holiday weekend and than 50 were cited.
  • Cases in California increased by 45 percent over the course of the last week. 
  • At least 14 states have announced they are pausing or rolling back reopening measures, including: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, North Carolina, Maine, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington state.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced a pause on the state's resumption of indoor dining, which was set to resume Thursday.
  • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced a mandatory 14-day quarantine starting Tuesday for people coming from a state with a 5 percent or greater positivity rate. The governor said Rhode Island will move to phase three of its reopening plan on Tuesday.
  • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) extended the state of emergency for Tennessee until August 29th.
  • Local Florida officials announced that beaches in Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties will close for the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Jacksonville will not be closing its beaches for the holiday weekend.
  • Los Angeles County has also closed all beaches for the Fourth of July weekend.
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is expected to extend the state's remaining pandemic restrictions. 
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) said she would sign an executive order requiring most residents to wear masks in public beginning July 3rd.
  • New cases in the U.S. account for 20 percent of new global cases.
  • Local and state health department leaders have been subject to harassment, personal insults, and death threats in recent weeks as a vocal and angry segment of the population accuse them of making mask requirements too strict. 
  • Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that casinos and indoor dining throughout New Jersey can resume at 25 percent capacity beginning on July 2nd.
  • Gov. JB Pritzker (D) released plans to continue reopening businesses as Illinois moves into phase four of the Restore Illinois plan. Phase four allows for the safe reopening or expansion of several key business segments - such as health and fitness, movies and theater, museums and zoos, as well as indoor dining at restaurants. Phase four also allows for expanded gathering sizes, increasing the limit from 10 people to 50 or fewer. This expanded gathering limit extends to key activities like meetings, events, and funerals.
  • Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that Step Two of phase two of Massachusett's four-phase reopening plan, Reopening Massachusetts, will begin today to allow additional businesses to resume operations under sector-specific guidelines. These include indoor table service at restaurants, close contact personal services, retail dressing rooms by appointment only, and offices at 50 percent capacity.
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced several steps the state is taking to mitigate the spread of the virus, including increasing enforcement of health and safety regulations, rapidly increasing testing in hot spots, and working with hospitals throughout the state to ensure they have the ability to treat Texans who test positive for COVID-19.
  • It took only three weeks for Arizona to double from 20,000 cases of COVID-19 to 40,000 cases. 
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that New York City is on track to enter phase two of reopening on June 22nd. The Mid-Hudson Valley is on track to enter phase three of reopening on June 23rd, and Long Island is on track to enter phase three of reopening June 24th based on current data.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced a new round of Safer at Home guidelines that include residential summer camps, indoor and outdoor events, bars, personal services, and non-critical manufacturing facilities. The new guidelines will be open for comment for 48 hours and will be finalized on Thursday, June 18th.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed an EO modifying previous orders to adapt to phase two reopening efforts to begin on June 16th. He also announced updated guidance for indoor and outdoor gatherings over the next several weeks.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) offered updated guidance on public pools and gatherings of up to 50 people.
  • Texas and Florida both recorded new daily highs of new cases of COVID-19. 
  • The Illinois and Du Quoin State Fairs have been canceled according to the Illinois Agricultural Department.
  • Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) said the state will move into stage four of its reopening plan, which includes bars and entertainment venues at 50 percent, movie theaters and bowling alleys at 50 percent, restaurants at 75 percent capacity, and allows gathering of up to 250 people with social distancing guidelines.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced the reopening of schools, gyms, movie theaters, and bars. The Bay Area will hold off on reopening some businesses and services until later this summer.
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced the reopening of the state's television, film, and streaming production industry.
  • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) has issued a new state of emergency Friday, as part of an EO that also allows the reopening of bowling alleys and lifts restrictions on retail business capacity limits
  • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) extended the State of Civil Emergency for 30 days through July 10th.
  • Gov. David Ige (D) approved a request from Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami of Kauaʻi county to re-open more businesses, operations, or activities under Hawaii public safety guidelines effective June 16th.
  • Gov. Ige also signed a proclamation that extends the COVID-19 emergency period through July 31st. The emergency proclamation lifts the quarantine requirement for inter-island travelers effective on June 16th. However, it also leaves in place the quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced that he has extend the COVID-19 peacetime emergency by 30 days to ensure the state can continue to quickly and effectively respond to the pandemic.
  • Numbers of newly reported cases are still rising in 21 states. Arizona and Texas, in particular, have emerged as hot spots over the last few weeks. 
  • Iowa announced today that the Iowa State Fair will not be held this year. 
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an EO to reopen outdoor swimming pools on June 22nd. Additionally, outdoor recreational and entertainment businesses are permitted to reopen immediately, with the exception of amusement parks, water parks, and arcades. These recreational and entertainment businesses are required to abide by a number of social distancing protocols that are specified in the order. Public and private social clubs are permitted to reopen their outdoor spaces, provided they comply with all applicable terms of the order.
  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) issued preliminary guidance for high school and recreational sports teams to resume voluntary workouts and other in-person activities in the state’s yellow and green phases. The guidance includes college and professional sports.
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued new guidance for domestic services in phase two. Gov. Inslee also issued expanded and updated guidance for certain recreational activities.
  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed a directive allowing local school districts, charter schools, and private schools to immediately reopen for summer learning and activities while implementing the phase two protocols designed to keep students, staff, families, and communities safe.
  • Yosemite National Park will reopen to the public on Thursday, allowing 50 percent of its average visitors.
  • Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced that phase two of Connecticut's reopening will be moved up to Wednesday, June 17th.
  • Gov. Laura Kelly (D) recommended that most communities advance to phase three of Kansas's reopening plan.
  • Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez (D) said that the county will open its beaches no later than Wednesday, June 10th.
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced that regions 6 and 8 of Michigan will enter phase five of the state's reopening plan. This allows salons, movie theaters, and gyms to open in those regions.
  • Washington, D.C., has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases that occurred on May 30th due to a backlog in testing results.
  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) allowed casinos and gaming to resume per reopening plans. He also released positive progress on COVID-19 showing a downward trend in cases.
  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that he would allow the amended stay-at-home order to expire at midnight tonight. The-stay at-home requirements were only in effect for counties in the red phase.
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said today that zoos, museums, movie theaters, playgrounds, tourist attractions, and entertainment venues will be allowed to reopen on June 10th.
  • Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced additional business reopenings under Maine’s rural reopening plan. Under the update, in 13 counties, tasting rooms and bars may open for outside service and gyms and fitness centers, nail salons, and tattoo and piercing parlors may open with added health and safety precautions beginning on Friday, June 12th. These establishments may reopen everywhere in all counties except for York, Cumberland, and Androscoggin counties.
  • Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced details about phase two of her framework for building a safe and strong Oregon. She also approved 26 counties to move to phase two of reopening on June 5th, 6th, and 8th.
  • COVID-19 infections and deaths are still on the rise in more than a dozen states. 
  • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) approved several proposals from mayors across the state to reopen more businesses and operations under public health guidelines.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed an EO which implements Phase 2 of the Stay Safe MN plan. Phase 2 includes outdoor dining at restaurants and bars to start June 1st with safety measures and capacity limits. Personal services like salons and barbershops can also open on June 1st at 25 percent capacity.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) issued an EO authorizing businesses to deny entry to inidividuals not wearing masks or face-coverings.
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced that the state will remain in phase one of its reopening for a minimum of another week, while Northern Virginia can enter phase one of reopening on Friday. Gov. Northam also signed an EO requiring masks in indoor spaces.
  • California is the most recent state to have recorded 100,000 cases.
  • Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a proclamation that will enable water parks across Texas to reopen at limited capacity under Phase 2 of reopening on May 29th.
  • Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced that Nevada is ready to move into Phase 2 of the reopening plan on May 29th including the reopening of casinos on June 4th. Additional businesses including personal services and gyms may open under new restrictions.
  • Twenty U.S. states reported an increase in new cases of COVID-19 last week, an increase of 13 states from the previous week. South Carolina had the biggest weekly increase at 42 percent, Alabama’s new cases rose 28 percent, Missouri’s rose 27 percent, and North Carolina’s rose 26 percent.
  • California's Department of Public Health announced that, subject to approval by county public health departments, all retail stores can reopen for in-store shopping under previously issued guidelines.
  • The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is recommending voluntary 14-day self-quarantine for those Kansans who traveled to Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, over the Memorial Day weekend and did not use protective measures, such as social distancing and face masks.  
  • Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that overnight facilities at West Virginia’s state parks and forests will start reopening to state residents only in following the guidelines of the Safer at Home order. Most day-use areas remain open to the public, though social distancing guidelines will be enforced.
  • White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said today that she is concerned about Chicago, the Washington, D.C. area, and Los Angeles, because their case rates are not dropping at the same rate as in other cities in the U.S.
  • The New Mexico Department of Health and the State Personnel Office began accepting applications today to fill 200 to 250 contact-tracing positions around the state as the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic moves into the next phase.
  • Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) announced that his state will conduct COVID-19 testing at long-term care facilities. He said that they will test a percentage of all residents and staff at each facility and, where there is a confirmed case, all staff and residents will be tested weekly. 
  • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) has updated directives on reopening recreational pools, overnight camps, community and school team sports, and resuming elective procedures. 
  • Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) outlined changes to the state's phase 2 reopening plan including travel quarantine and sports. 
  • New York State is now looking into 157 cases of MIS-C, the severe inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19 that is affecting children. CDC's informational page about MIS-C is linked here
  • House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) sent a letter to the Chair and Vice Chair of the National Governors Association, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), following up on his previous request that they direct the leaders of all fifty states, D.C., and U.S. territories to collect demographic data on racial disparities and COVID-19. His request follows reports that states are not reporting comprehensive demographic data. Of the 1.1 million COVID-19 cases reported to the CDC, race is not known in more than half of them. 
  • More than 10,000 individuals across the U.S. have been trained in COVID-19 contact tracing thanks to the free ASTHO and NCSD introductory training course. You can register for the course here.
  • At this point, all 50 states have started to reopen in some capacity. 
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery sent a letter to congressional leaders asking them to pass $1 trillion in direct relief for state and local governments. The letter, signed by 91 California leaders, outlines the budgetary challenges facing state, local, and tribal governments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Gov. Newsom also signed an EO waiving the deadline to verify grade point average and waive certain certification requirements and selective service registration verification for Cal Grant applicants.
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signed an EO moving Kansas into Phase 2 of “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas.” Phase 2, effective this Friday, will be modified to include data-driven restrictions necessary to prevent community transmission of COVID-19.
  • In Michigan, armed protesters once again gathered at the statehouse to oppose the ongoing statewide stay-at-home order. The gathering was reportedly smaller than previous protests. Michigan’s stay-at-home order is scheduled to expire on May 28th. 
  • Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) extended the state of emergency to June 15th.
  • Updates on lockdowns/reopening:
    • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced that gyms and fitness centers throughout the state can reopen on Monday, and restaurants and retail stores will be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity.
    • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's (R) order closing non-essential businesses is set to expire Sunday, but he said it will be extended until Monday to allow the Reopening Advisory Board to unveil its four-phase approach to reopening the state.
    • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that the state's stay-at-home order will remain in place until May 28th. The order also extended several emergency "suspensions" and "modifications" of laws through June 13th. Gov. Cuomo added that beaches in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware will open at 50 percent capacity Memorial Day weekend. 
    • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced Friday, new criteria for moving the state forward into Phase 2 of reopening the economy.
    • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) said he plans to lift capacity restrictions on restaurants and large attractions in most of the state.
    • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has lifted restrictions in 13 counties, including the Pittsburgh area, and announced that 12 more counties could reopen starting May 22nd. 
  • Two restaurants in Dallas, Texas directed employees not to wear face masks as they resume dine-in operations, while a Dallas County Judge amended his local stay at home order to mandate mask use. Texas Gov. Greg Abbot (R) has prohibited local governments from “imposing civil or criminal” punishments for failure to wear a mask.  
  • The Ohio Legislature passed a bill that would require the Director of Health to apply to the legislature for approval to extend any health order issued in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. Gov. Mark DeWine (R) has reportedly confirmed that he intends to veto the bill.
  • Georgia reported today that 20,000 teens in the state had been issued a driver’s license in the last month without having had to pass a road test.
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) rescheduled the presidential primary for July 7th.
  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that he is extending a ban on foreclosures and evictions through July 10th.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that schools in the state will remain closed for the rest of the academic year.
  • Over the weekend, Delaware Gov. John Carney (D), New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), Gov. Murphy, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D), Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D), Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D), and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced a joint multi-state agreement to develop a regional supply chain for PPE, other medical equipment, and testing.
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed an executive order creating the Michigan COVID-19 Office of Accountability within the State Budget Office.

Federal Updates

Washington, D.C

  • President Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, has tested positive for COVID-19. He is the most senior White House official known to have contracted the virus.
  • The Moderna/NIH vaccine candidate has entered a Phase 3 clinical trial. The trial, which will be conducted at 89 U.S. clinical research sites, is expected to enroll approximately 30,000 adult volunteers who do not have COVID-19. Read more here
    • If you're interested in learning more about all of the vaccine candidates, the New York Times has a very helpful tracker to follow vaccine development. It contains a list of 19 of the most-talked-about treatments for COVID-19.
  • The FDA reissued the LabCorp COVID-19 RT-PCR Test EUA to include two new indications for use: testing for people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms or who have no reason to suspect COVID-19 infection, and to allow pooled sample testing. The FDA reissued the LabCorp COVID-19 RT-PCR Test EUA to expand use of the test to anyone, after the company provided scientific data showing the test’s ability to detect SARS-CoV-2 in a general, asymptomatic population. Additionally, the reissuance includes authorization for LabCorp to test pooled samples containing up to five individual swab specimens collected under observation. Sample pooling allows for fewer tests to be run overall, conserving resources and potentially allowing more samples to be evaluated quicker.
  • The FDA continues to warn consumers and health care professionals not to use certain alcohol-based hand sanitizers due to the dangerous presence of methanol, or wood alcohol – a substance often used to create fuel and antifreeze that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin as well as life-threatening when ingested. The agency has posted a do-not-use list of dangerous hand sanitizer products, which is being updated regularly.
  • A new FDA Voices, tilted FDA’s Ongoing Work to Support and Advance COVID-19 Diagnostic Test Accuracy and Availability, describes how FDA has been proactive and supportive of test development by all comers — including laboratories, and large and small commercial manufacturers — to speed development and to quickly authorize tests that the science supports. 
  • FDA delivered written testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection. The statement, titled Protecting Americans from COVID-19 Scams, was by Catherine Hermsen, FDA’s Assistant Commissioner, Office of Criminal Investigations, Office of Regulatory Affairs.
  • On July 29th at 12:15 PM, the FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2.
  • HHS and DoD announced an agreement with Pfizer Inc. for large-scale production and nationwide delivery of 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. following the vaccine’s successful manufacture and approval. The agreement also allows the U.S. government to acquire an additional 500 million doses. The federal government will own the 100 million doses of vaccine initially produced as a result of this agreement, and Pfizer will deliver the doses in the U.S. if the product receives EUA or licensure from the FDA after completing demonstration of safety and efficacy in a large Phase 3 clinical trial. Read more here
  • Over the weekend, the FDA reissued an EUA to Quest Diagnostics to authorize its Quest SARS-CoV-2 rRT-PCR test for use with pooled samples containing up to four individual swab specimens collected under observation. The Quest test is the first COVID-19 diagnostic test to be authorized for use with pooled samples. Read more about the announcement and sample pooling here.
  • Tomorrow, July 21st, at 12 PM, the FDA, along with the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), will host a webinar on Respirators for Health Care Personnel Use during the COVID-19 Pandemic. During this webinar, representatives from the FDA, the CDC, and OSHA will answer questions from webinar attendees in an open question and answer format.
  • On July 22nd at 12:15 PM, the FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2.
  • In a new FDA Voices, titled FDA Protects Patients and Consumers from Fraud During COVID-19, agency leaders explain that the FDA’s consumer protection work is a cornerstone of the agency’s mission and a critical component of its pandemic response efforts. In another new FDA Voices, titled FDA’s Continued Commitment to the Safety and Security of Our Laboratories, agency leaders explain that laboratory safety is of the highest priority in all of the agency’s scientific research and analytical facilities.
  • Today, the FDA implemented and issued a guidance intended to help expand the availability of transport media used to transport certain clinical specimens for testing during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The FDA also posted answers to frequently asked questions relating to the development and use of transport media during the pandemic.
  • Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) wrote to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn regarding the agency’s work to determine the accuracy of COVID-19 diagnostic and serological tests. In their letter, the members raised similar concerns about serological tests, which are used to determine the presence of antibodies to the coronavirus. In March, citing the relative simplicity of serological tests, FDA allowed some serological tests to be used without first receiving an EUA, under certain conditions. As a result, a flood of unauthorized tests, which were later found to provide unreliable results, inundated the market. While FDA has since revised its guidance on serological tests, requiring developers to request an EUA, dozens of unreliable and unauthorized tests remain on the market.
  • Democratic Leader Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a white paper laying out a number of proposals from Senate Democrats to make sure COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, high quality, produced at scale, allocated in a manner that optimizes public health and reduces health disparities, free and accessible to everyone, and widely embraced by the public in order to end the COVID-19 pandemic and set the country on a path for economic recovery. 
  • Last week, the U.S. Surgeon General and HHS released a PSA ahead of the Fourth of July weekend imploring Americans to take action and to remember: COVID Stops With Me. The PSA from Surgeon General Jerome Adams reminds everyone to do their part to stay healthy by following a few simple instructions that will in turn, help prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. While we've passed the Fourth of July holiday, the message remains relevant. 
  • Last week, in an effort to prepare for the upcoming flu season during the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA issued an EUA for the third diagnostic test for detection and differentiation of the viruses that cause flu and COVID-19 in individuals suspected of having COVID-19 by their healthcare provider to the CDC.
  • The FDA issued an updated FDA COVID-19 Response At-A-Glance Summary that provides a quick look at facts, figures, and highlights of the agency's response efforts.
  • The FDA issued an EUA for a COVID-19 antigen diagnostic test, the BD (Becton Dickinson) Veritor System for Rapid Detection of SARS-CoV-2. This is the second antigen test the FDA has authorized for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 antigens. This test is authorized for use in laboratories certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) for high, moderate, or waived complexity testing, meaning it can be used in patient care settings operating under a CLIA Certificate of Waiver, Certificate of Compliance, or Certificate of Accreditation. Emergency use of this test is limited to authorized laboratories using the BD Veritor Plus Analyzer Instrument.
  • HHS announced an agreement to secure large supplies of the drug remdesivir for the U.S. from Gilead Sciences through September, allowing American hospitals to purchase the drug in amounts allocated by HHS and state health departments. Supplies will be allocated in the same way that Gilead’s donation of approximately 120,000 treatment courses of remdesivir were allocated: HHS allocates product to state and territorial health departments based on COVID-19 hospital burden, and health departments allocate it to hospitals. The delivery of the purchased remdesivir will be streamlined, going directly to the hospital, per the state’s allocation decision, rather than going first to the state health departments for subsequent delivery to hospitals.
  • You can view the FDA's daily COVID-19 roundup here
  • The CDC today highlighted considerations for wearing cloth face coverings. Emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows cloth face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. Wearing a mask is critical to protecting your own health and the health of others. 
  • The CDC continues to update its dashboard with new guidance documents and details, and I highly encourage taking a look at the succinct answers provided to frequently asked questions. Over the weekend and today, the agency updated considerations for restaurants and bars, strategies for optimizing the supply of face masks, and the newest travel recommendations by country
  • OSHA, the CDC, and the FDA released joint coronavirus-related interim guidance for employers and workers performing seafood processing operations in onshore facilities and aboard vessels offshore. The guidance includes recommended actions employers can take to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
  • President Trump signed a proclamation temporarily suspending work visas and barring more than half a million foreigners from coming to work in the U.S. in an effort to limit entry into the country during the pandemic. The restrictions would block entry into the U.S. under the H-1B visa program for high-skilled workers, and would also affect several other categories of visas, although it would exempt health care professionals and farm workers, among others. 
  • A clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 has been stopped by NIH. A data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) met late Friday and determined that while there was no harm, the study drug was very unlikely to be beneficial to hospitalized patients with COVID-19. After its fourth interim analysis, the DSMB, which regularly monitors the trial, recommended to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of NIH, to stop the study. 
  • CMS has instructed Medicare Administrative Contactors and notified Medicare Advantage plans to cover COVID-19 laboratory tests for nursing home residents and patients. This instruction follows the CDC's recent update of COVID-19 testing guidelines for nursing homes that provides recommendations for testing of nursing home residents and patients with COVID-19 symptoms, as well as for asymptomatic residents and patients who have been exposed. Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans will cover COVID-19 lab tests consistent with CDC guidance.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has asked committee leaders to invoke the chamber’s rule on decorum to prevent members who choose not to wear face coverings from taking part in hearings within the committee meeting rooms. House lawmakers are now required to wear masks during in-person committee meetings, but it will be up to the chairmen and chairwomen of those panels to decide on enforcement. The decision comes on the heels of updated guidance from attending physician Brian Monahan. 
  • Today, the FDA published the Statistical Considerations for Clinical Trials During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Guidance for Industry. Clinical trials and development across investigational product areas have been impacted by public health measures to control the COVID-19 virus; this guidance shares recommendations on statistical considerations to address the impact of COVID-19 on meeting objectives of clinical trials. This guidance applies to clinical trials of human medical products and animal drugs.
  • The FDA posted a new web page, Adverse Event Reporting for Medical Devices Under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or Discussed in COVID-19-Related Guidance Documents. This page answers questions about adverse event reporting for medical devices distributed under EUAs or that are the subject of COVID-19-related guidance documents and points out a number of adverse event reporting-related resources.
  • The NIH has posted updated guidelines for COVID-19 treatment. Some of the key updates to existing sections include considerations for children and potential antiviral drugs under evaluation, and there are a few new sections on acute kidney injury and renal placement therapy and testing for the virus. 
  • Here is this week’s COVIDView from CDC, a weekly summary and interpretation of key indicators that have been adapted to track the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.
  • At its first full briefing in over three months, the CDC released new guidance regarding COVID-19. The agency is urging organizers of large gatherings to "strongly encourage" the use of face masks. The new guidance also provides information about how to reduce risk of illness during everyday activities. The audio recording of today's telebriefing is available here
  • The CDC updated its dashboard with 22 new guidance documents and details today. Most recently, the agency posted updated guidance for deciding to go out and going out, some additional considerations for gatherings, and update guidance on caring for your family
  • The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at HHS issued guidance on how the HIPAA Privacy Rule permits covered health care providers to contact their patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to inform them about how they can donate their blood and plasma containing antibodies to help other patients with COVID-19.
  • FDA issued an FDA Voices, titled Rare Disease Therapy Development and Access Remain Top FDA Priorities During COVID-19, which explains that the FDA’s work to advance treatments for rare diseases and help ensure continuity of care for patients with those diseases continues to be a top priority during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • The CDC continues to update its dashboard with new guidance and details. Today, the agency posted updated guidance for pets and other animals, travel recommendations by country, and staffing resources for strengthening the public health workforce. 
  • The FDA posted FAQs to address questions related to the design, evaluation, labeling, and marketing of hospital beds, stretchers, and mattresses during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • The FDA issued an EUA to Illumina, Inc. for the first COVID-19 diagnostic test utilizing next generation sequence technology. The FDA authorized the Illumina COVIDSeq Test for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA from respiratory specimens collected from individuals suspected of COVID-19 by their healthcare provider. Using next generation sequencing means that the test can generate information about the genomic sequence of the virus present in a sample, which can be also used for research purposes.
  • FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said today that the CDC and the White House task force will be issuing guidance that “will have a lot of specificity” around how to use coronavirus tests.
  • The FDA and the NIH have made updates to the CURE ID crowd-sourcing app to make it easier for healthcare providers to share their experiences treating COVID-19 patients who are unable to be enrolled in a clinical trial. CURE ID’s web-based repository lets providers share experiences with novel uses of existing drugs in treating difficult-to-treat infectious diseases. Healthcare providers worldwide are encouraged to share their COVID-19 treatment experiences via CURE ID.
  • In response to public health and safety concerns about the appropriateness of decontaminating certain respirators, the FDA is reissuing certain EUAs to specify which respirators are appropriate for decontamination. Based on the FDA’s increased understanding of the performance and design of these respirators, the Agency has decided that certain respirators should not be decontaminated for reuse by health care personnel.
  • The CDC continues to update its dashboard with new guidance and details. Today, the agency posted updated guidance for Administrators in parks and recreation facilities, additional resources for health departments, and details for investigating a COVID-19 case.  
  • HHS posted a fact sheet titled, "HHS Initiatives to Address the Disparate Impact of COVID-19 on African Americans and Other Racial and Ethnic Minorities."
  • HHS announced new guidance that specifies what additional data must be reported to HHS by laboratories along with COVID-19 test results. The guidance standardizes reporting to ensure that public health officials have access to comprehensive and nearly real-time data to inform decision making in their response to COVID-19. The requirements including reporting based on race, ethnicity, age, and sex of individuals tested for the virus. The announcement acknowledges that, as the country begins to reopen, access to clear and accurate data is essential to communities and leadership for making decisions critical to a phased reopening. 
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue today announced the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has approved more than $545 million in payments to producers who have applied for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. FSA began taking applications May 26th, and the agency has received over 86,000 applications for the program. 
  • CMS posted the first set of underlying COVID-19 nursing home data. On April 19th, the agency announced the requirement that nursing homes must inform residents, their families, and their representatives of COVID-19 cases in their facilities. Also, nursing homes are required to report COVID-19 cases and deaths directly to the CDC. Today CMS made this data publicly available. As part of today’s announcement, CMS is also posting the results from the targeted inspections announced on March 4th to allow inspectors to focus on the most serious health and safety threats like infectious diseases and abuse during the pandemic. Links to all of the data can be found in the agency's announcement
  • HRSA awarded $15 million to 52 Tribes, Tribal organizations, urban Indian health organizations, and other health services providers to Tribes across 20 states to prepare, prevent, and respond to COVID-19 in rural tribal communities. View the list of awards here
  • The FDA is hosting a virtual Town Hall on June 3rd at 12:15 PM for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for COVID-19. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for COVID-19. 
  • Vice President Mike Pence met with members of the American Camp Association by phone and led a discussion with camp owners and operators across the country to discuss the approach to safely and responsibly reopening summer camps amid COVID-19. A brief readout is available here
  • The FDA issued a guidance entitled “Reporting a Temporary Closure or Significantly Reduced Production by a Human Food Establishment and Requesting FDA Assistance During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.” The guidance provides a mechanism for FDA-regulated establishments (human food facilities and farms) to voluntarily notify the agency of temporary closures and significant reductions in operations and to request assistance from FDA on issues that might affect continuity of their operations during the pandemic.
  • The FDA issued a guidance document entitled “Effects of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency on Formal Meetings and User Fee Applications” to provide answers to frequently asked questions. The agency is providing answers concerning certain aspects of sponsor requests for formal meetings with industry, user fee applications goals and timelines, and prioritization of drug and biological application reviews.
  • HHS has delivered an 81-page COVID-19 Strategic Testing Plan to Congress. The report outlines the national-level testing strategy, and recommends that states test at least two percent of their population by the end of June. The linked document outlines a state-by-state approach to COVID-19 testing, rather than a centralized national effort.
  • In response to the recent acceleration in the number COVID-19 cases in Brazil, President Trump has restricted U.S. entry for arriving travelers who have been to Brazil in the past 14 days. The list of international travel restrictions into the U.S. now includes: China, Iran, the European Schengen area, the U.K., the Republic of Ireland, and Brazil. 
  • Many government agencies were pretty quiet over the long weekend, but the CDC continued to churn out updated guidance and publish new COVID-19 documents to its dashboard. Over the last few days, the CDC published steps for evaluating and testing persons for COVID-19, new information about CDC diagnostic tests, and helpful information about antibody tests (among other resources). All CDC PSAs can be viewed here
  • Here is this week’s COVIDView from CDC, a weekly summary and interpretation of key indicators that have been adapted to track the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.
  • The CDC has posted interim guidance for communities of faith after President Trump referred to places of worship as essential services and said he would overrule governors who disagreed that places of worship should be allowed to reopen. 
  • The CDC continues to update and publish new COVID-19 documents to its dashboard. Today, the CDC published steps for how to discontinue home isolation, an updated FAQ for COVID-19 and children, and further considerations for travelers in the U.S. (among other resources). Importantly, the CDC has also revised its guidelines about how the coronavirus spreads. According to the newest guidance, it does not spread easily on surfaces. 
  • HHS announced it has begun distributing $4.9 billion in additional relief funds to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) to help them combat the effects of COVID-19. The announcement points out that nursing homes play a pivotal role in providing skilled care to vulnerable seniors. During this pandemic, nursing homes have faced unique challenges as their population of high risk seniors are more vulnerable to respiratory pathogens like COVID-19. This funding, which supplements previously announced provider relief funds, will be used to support nursing homes suffering from significant expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19.
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue announced that the Department is making available up to $1 billion in loan guarantees to help rural businesses meet their working capital needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, agricultural producers that are not eligible for USDA Farm Service Agency loans may receive funding under USDA Business & Industry (B&I) CARES Act Program provisions included in the CARES Act.
  • FDA posted a list of antibody tests that are being removed from the “notification list” of tests being offered under the Policy for Coronavirus Disease-2019 Tests During the Public Health Emergency. Antibody tests on this new removal list include those voluntarily withdrawn from the notification list by the test’s commercial manufacturer and those for which there is not a pending EUA request or issued EUA. The FDA expects that the tests on the removal list will not be marketed or distributed. Antibody tests offered by commercial manufacturers as outlined under the policy, which was issued on March 16th and updated on May 4th, continue to be located on the notification list pending review of their EUA request.
  • The FDA issued the guidance “Supplements for Approved Premarket Approval (PMA) or Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) Submissions During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency” to help foster the continued availability of medical. Per the guidance, the FDA does not intend to object to limited modifications to the design and manufacturing of devices approved through either a PMA or HDE without prior submission of a PMA or HDE supplement or 30-day notice for the duration of the public health emergency. The policy set forth in the guidance does not apply to design or manufacturing changes made for reasons other than addressing manufacturing limitations or supply chain issues resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency or to any proposed changes described in a regulatory submission already received by the FDA.
  • Through HRSA, HHS provided $225 million to Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) for COVID-19 testing.  These investments will support over 4,500 RHCs across the country to support COVID-19 testing efforts and expand access to testing in rural communities. RHCs are a special designation given to health care practices in underserved rural areas by CMS that help ensure access to care for rural residents. The funding is from the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act that was signed into law last month. A state-by-state breakdown of the funding is available here
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue announced today that households in 13 new states – Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia – will soon be able to purchase food online with their SNAP benefits. Once operational, online purchasing will be available in 36 states and D.C., home to more than 90 percent of SNAP participants. Sec. Perdue also announced an expansion of independently owned and operated retail stores beyond those included in the original pilot. Soon, more SNAP authorized retailers, under multiple store banners, will be accepting SNAP benefits online.
  • The GAO published a new Science & Tech Spotlight article focused on COVID-19 testing. 
  • Responding to the Senate Finance Committee, the GAO submitted a report on infection control in nursing homes. The study concluded that infection control deficiencies were widespread and persistent in nursing homes prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue, Labor Sec. Gene Scalia, NIH Director Francis Collins, HRSA Administrator Thomas Engels, and FDA's Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Peter Marks are all joining the White House Coronavirus Task Force. According to Vice President Pence, the task force is now focused on getting Americans back to work and allowing businesses to reopen. 
  • The White House announced the details of Operation Warp Speed, an effort to dramatically shorten the development timeline for COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics and get them to the front lines as quickly as possible. The project's chief operating officer will be four-star General Gustave Perna, and former head of GlaxoSmithKline's vaccine's division, Moncef Slaoui, will serve as chief scientist.
  • Here is this week’s COVIDView from CDC, a weekly summary and interpretation of key indicators that have been adapted to track the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.
  • The CDC published a series of flowcharts to provide guidance to state and local governments, schools and child care services, restaurants, and others regarding when and how to safely relax social distancing measures for various aspects of society.
  • The CDC will award $10.25 billion in funding to jurisdictions using funds from the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. These funds will be directed to states, localities, and territories to develop, purchase, administer, process, and analyze COVID-19 tests, conduct surveillance, trace contacts and related activities
  • The CDC continues to update and publish additional COVID-19 documents to its dashboard. Today, the CDC published updated information about worker safety and support, planning for colleges and universities, correctional and detention facilities, and an air travel toolkit for airline partners (among other resources). 
  • HHS has extended the deadline for healthcare providers fighting COVID-19 to attest to receipt of payments from the Provider Relief Fund and accept the Terms and Conditions. Providers will now have 45 days, increased from 30 days, from the date they receive a payment to attest and accept the Terms and Conditions or return the funds.
  • To date, the FDA has issued 42 warning letters to companies making bogus COVID-19 claims, including one to a seller of fraudulent chlorine dioxide products, equivalent to industrial bleach, frequently referred to as “Miracle Mineral Solution” or “MMS,” as a treatment for COVID-19. After the seller refused to take corrective action, a federal court issued a preliminary injunction requiring the seller to immediately stop distributing its unproven and potentially dangerous product.
  • Through HRSA, HHS awarded nearly $583 million to 1,385 HRSA-funded health centers in the U.S. to expand COVID-19 testing. Nearly 88 percent of HRSA-funded health centers report testing patients, with more than 65 percent offering walk-up or drive-up testing. Health centers are currently providing more than 100,000 weekly COVID-19 tests in their local communities. The funding for these centers is part of the “COVID 3.5” bill signed into law last month. Here is a list of award recipients.
  • COVID-19 hearings in Congress this week (memos available upon request):
  • COVID-19 hearings in Congress next week:
  • The FDA announced updates to its March 16th policy on commercial manufacturers’ serology tests (antibody tests) for COVID-19. Under the new policy, FDA expects commercial manufacturers to submit Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) requests, including their validation data, within 10 days of the updated policy publication date, or the date they notify FDA of their test validation, whichever is later.
  • An internal report in the Trump Administration projects about 200,000 new cases and 3,000 deaths each day by the end of the May/beginning of June. So far, no agency or department has claimed authorship over the document that contained the new projections.
  • The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the NIH is funding a study to help determine the rate of COVID-19 infection in children and their family members in the U.S. The study, called Human Epidemiology and Response to SARS-CoV-2 (HEROS), has started to enroll patients. HEROS will help determine what percentage of children infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, develop symptoms of the disease. In addition, the HEROS study will examine whether rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection differ between children who have asthma or other allergic conditions and children who do not.
  • The Senate has returned to D.C. (with skeleton staffs) and are jumping right in with hearings. The slated COVID-19 hearings are:
  • The FDA included, under the ventilator emergency use authorization (EUA), a ventilator developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which is tailored to treat patients with COVID-19. The ventilator was added to the list of authorized ventilators, ventilator tubing connectors and ventilator accessories under the ventilator EUA that was issued in response to concerns relating to insufficient supply and availability of FDA-cleared ventilators for use in health care settings to treat patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The FDA published Q&A about COVID-19 and pets.
  • The federal government is reportedly initiating an effort called “Operation Warp Speed” to speed the development and production of countermeasures against COVID-19, including vaccines. The program will reportedly provide liability protection and funding for vaccine developers. Operation Warp Speed has not officially been announced by the government.
    • It is unclear how much money will be allocated to this program, but the goal is reportedly to manufacture hundreds of millions of treatment/vaccine doses by the end of 2020.
  • The CDC continues to update their dashboard. Today, they notably updated the social media toolkit and guidance for contact tracing. Recently, they updated and published the most recent reopening guidelines for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes.
  • Betsy DeVos announced today that nearly $1.4 billion in additional funding will be directed to Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), as well as institutions serving low-income students to help ensure learning continues during the coronavirus national emergency. This funding is part of the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
  • The White House released the Opening Up America Again Testing Overview and Testing Blueprint to facilitate state development and implementation of the testing plans and rapid response programs described in the President’s Opening Up America Again Guidelines. The blueprint describes a partnership between federal, state, local, and tribal governments, and the private sector. The overview and blueprint do not specify how states will be able to test at least 2 percent of their populations every month, which is what administration officials had promised.
  • President Trump signed the interim emergency relief fund package last week, which replenishes the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and includes funding for hospitals, testing, and disaster loan programs. You can view the bill text here and a section by section summary here. With Congress set to return next Monday, May 4th, discussion of a fourth COVID supplemental funding package has continued. For a more thorough update on the federal legislative landscape, please refer to the COVID-19 Legislative Update from Sierra Fuller which is published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you do not already receive that update and would like to subscribe, please email sfuller@cgagroup.com.
  • The CDC has been busy uploading new guidance and updated resources for COVID-19 on their dashboard. On Sunday, the agency posted an interim guidance document for meat and poultry processing workers and employers. Today, there is more information about contact tracing, new symptoms associated with COVID-19, and a toolkit for transportation partners to inform road travelers.
  • Yesterday, CMS announced that it is reevaluating the amounts that will be paid under its Accelerated Payment Program (AAP) and suspending its Advance Payment Program to Part B suppliers effective immediately. Since expanding the AAP programs on March 28th, CMS approved over 21,000 applications totaling $59.6 billion in payments to Part A providers, which includes hospitals. For Part B suppliers, including doctors, non-physician practitioners, and durable medical equipment suppliers, CMS approved almost 24,000 applications advancing $40.4 billion in payments. 
  • President Trump signed the interim emergency relief fund package Friday April 24, which includes $310 billion to replenish the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $60 billion for separate disaster loans to small businesses ($50 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and $10 billion for the Emergency Economic Injury Grant program), $75 billion in emergency funds for hospitals, and $25 billion for testing. You can view the bill text here and a section by section summary here. For a more thorough update on the federal legislative landscape, please refer to the COVID-19 Legislative Update from Sierra Fuller which is published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you do not already receive that update and would like to subscribe, please email sfuller@cgagroup.com.
  • Here is this week’s COVIDView from CDC, a weekly summary and interpretation of key indicators that have been adapted to track the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.
  • Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) wrote a letter to CDC Director Robert Redfield expressing concern that federal public health officials are “behind the curve in assessing public health threat levels, because they lack immediate visibility into population health data.” In the letter, they press the CDC to implement a real-time national system for tracking COVID-19.
  • The Trump Administration released a new toolkit for states to help accelerate adoption of broader telehealth coverage policies in the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP). The toolkit will help states identify policies which may impede rapid deployment of telehealth services, such as pediatric considerations, coverage and reimbursement policies, and technology requirements.
  • Education Sec. Betsy DeVos announced the availability of more than $13.2 billion in emergency funding to support continued learning for K-12 students impacted by COVID-19. Education leaders will have flexibility to use these funds from the Elementary and Secondary Education Relief Fund (ESSER Fund) for immediate needs.
    • State education agencies (SEAs) must allocate 90% of their ESSER funds to local education agencies (LEAs), including public charter schools, in proportion to the  amount of FY 2019 funds the LEA received under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
  • The Senate passed more than $480 billion in interim emergency relief this afternoon. The legislation includes $310 billion to replenish the SBA Paycheck Protection Program, $60 billion for separate disaster loans to small businesses ($50 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and $10 billion for the Emergency Economic Injury Grant program), $75 billion in emergency funds for hospitals, and $25 billion for testing. The House is expected to vote on the measure as soon as Thursday. For a more thorough update on the federal legislative landscape, please refer to the COVID-19 Legislative Update from Sierra Fuller which is published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you do not already receive that update and would like to subscribe, please email sfuller@cgagroup.com.
  • President Trump announced that he would be ordering a temporary ban on immigration to the U.S. He has backed down from his original plan to also suspend guest worker programs. The order will be in place for 60 days, with the potential to be extended longer if deemed necessary.
  • House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer sent a letter to chairs of the House Administration and Rules Committees urging them to consider a set of recommendations to enable remote voting and committee work, and that also prepare Congress to work remotely even when back in Washington to comply with social distancing guidelines.
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue announced today that Arizona and Illinois have been approved to operate Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), a new program authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which provides assistance to families of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals dealing with school closures.
  • FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Dr. Peter Marks, and Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Dr. Janet Woodcock wrote an article for the FDA’s Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP).
  • HHS announced an ongoing partnership with Oracle, including Oracle's donation to HHS of the Therapeutic Learning System, an online platform designed to collect real-time medical data related to COVID-19. The Therapeutic Learning System is a safe, secure web portal designed to gather crowd-sourced, real-time information from doctors and other clinicians about how patients are responding to possible therapeutics to treat COVID-19. The data will not be owned by Oracle or any other private entity.
  • SAMHSA has begun to release emergency grants to strengthen access to treatments for substance use disorders and serious mental illnesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an announcement this afternoon.
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The $19 billion USDA program will take several actions to assist farmers, ranchers, and consumers in the response to COVID-19. CFAP will use the funding and authorities provided in the CARES Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and other USDA existing authorities to provide direct support to farmers and ranchers, and partner with regional and local distributors to purchase produce, dairy, and meat.
  • Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) along with 11 Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee sent a letter to HHS Sec. Alex Azar calling on him to distribute the remaining COVID-19 aid to health care providers in an equitable and transparent way, claiming the first $30 billion dollars failed to deliver funds to where they are needed most.
  • The NIH announced the launch of a public-private partnership to speed up the development of a COVID-19 vaccine and treatment options. Government and industry partners will provide infrastructure, subject matter expertise and/or funding (both new and in-kind) to identify, prioritize and facilitate the entry of some of the most promising candidates into clinical trials. Industry partners also will make available certain prioritized compounds, some of which have already cleared various phases of development, and associated data to support research related to COVID-19.
    • The government agencies involved are: NIH; ASPR; FDA; CDC; and European Medicines Agency.
    • The industry partners are: AbbVie; Amgen; AstraZeneca; Bristol Myers Squibb; Evotec; GlaxoSmithKline; Johnson & Johnson; KSQ Therapeutics; Eli Lilly and Company; Merck & Co., Inc.; Novartis; Pfizer; Roche; Sanofi; Takeda; and Vir Biotechnology.
  • The White House released guidelines for Opening Up America Again. The guidelines recommend that states document a “downward trajectory” in cases of COVID-19 and flu-like illnesses before relaxing stay-at-home orders. States could then proceed into a three-phase reopening process, according to the guidelines. The guidelines recommend that employers develop and implement social distancing practices, temperature checks at workplaces, testing for the virus, and increased sanitation and use of disinfection. President Trump said today that governors could begin reopening businesses, restaurants, and other elements of daily life by May 1st or earlier.
  • The President also hosted a call with a bipartisan group of members of Congress who will serve on the “Opening Up America Again Congressional Group.” The list of members can be found here.
  • The FEMA Healthcare Resilience Task Force created a COVID-19 Hospital Resource Package. The document contains guidance and resources for hospital administrators, hospital emergency planners and infection control practitioners in the following topical areas: hospital surge, crisis standards of care, staffing surge and resilience, workforce protection, regulatory relief, equipment supply surge and telemedicine.
  • The CDC has posted multiple new guidance documents on its COVID-19 dashboard, including considerations for pharmacies, guidance for training for healthcare professionals and the newest travel guidelines.
  • Senators released two documents today, A Roadmap to Reopening by Ensuring a Speedy and Ubiquitous Lab Testing System (RESULTS) and a report from DPCC: U.S. Lags the World in Testing, Leads the World in COVID-19 Cases. The reports outline Democrats' proposals to rapidly expand testing capacity. Democrats note in the report that the U.S. is testing around one in every 273 people for COVID-19, while South Korea and Germany have been testing one in every 100 people.
  • Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) sent a letter to Philips North America Corporation requesting information and documents regarding its foreign sales of ventilators, after entering into contract with HHS to provide ventilators to the U.S. stockpile. In the letter, Rep. Krishnamoorthi says Philips has been selling ventilators to foreign clients at much higher prices than what it would have received from HHS.
  • Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) led a letter signed by 37 senators to President Trump urging him to automatically extend work authorizations for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients and other impacted immigrants.
  • Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) sent a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma today urging the agency to release demographic data on the health outcomes of COVID-19 based on race, ethnicity, and gender.  His letter comes after multiple data sources continue to show that COVID-19 disproportionately affects individuals from racial and ethnic minority communities. In New York City, Latino and African American residents had double the age-adjusted death rates as compared to white residents. In Chicago, 64.6 percent of deaths and 49.6 percent of total cases are among African American residents, despite African Americans only making up approximately 30 percent of the city’s population.
  • The CDC has posted multiple new guidance documents on its COVID-19 dashboard, including useful information about how to wear a cloth face covering and how COVID-19 spreads.  
  • The Supreme Court announced it will hear arguments, including cases on subpoenas, over the phone during six days in May.
  • Given the anticipated increase in demand for chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate, the FDA is taking steps to ensure that adequate supply of these drug products are available for patients:
  • The FDA issued a Consumer Update: How You Can Make a Difference During the Coronavirus Pandemic. It explains ways to help, such as donating blood, protecting yourself and others, saving protective equipment for front line workers, and reporting fraudulent products to the agency.
  • The FDA added new questions and answers to the webpage Q&A for Consumers: Hand Sanitizers and COVID-19. These new questions focus on unintentional ingestion of hand sanitizer by children, as there has been an increase in calls to Poison Control for unintentional ingestion of hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • HHS announced they are beginning the delivery of the initial $30 billion in relief funding to providers in support of the national response to COVID-19 as part of the distribution of the $100 billion provider relief fund provided for in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The initial $30 billion in immediate relief funds started being delivered to providers today.
  • The CDC announced the extension of a no sail order for cruise ships. The order says it shall continue in operation until the earliest of (1) the expiration of the HHS Sec.’s declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency; (2) the CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations; or (3) 100 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register. The agency has reported that there are 100 cruise ships at sea off of U.S. coasts, with 80,000 crew members on board. Twenty ships at port or anchorage in the U.S. have known or suspected cases of COVID-19.
  • The CDC has published this week’s “COVIDView,” a weekly surveillance summary of U.S. COVID-19 activity.
  • The CDC updated its travel recommendations by country.
  • CMS is proposing a rule to continue their efforts to strengthen Medicare by aligning payments for inpatient psychiatric facilities (IPFs) with the costs of providing care. The proposed rule would update Medicare payment policies and rates for the IPF Prospective Payment System (PPS) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. CMS is publishing this proposed rule consistent with the legal requirements to update Medicare payment policies for IPFs on an annual basis.
  • CMS issued a proposed rule [CMS-1737-P] for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 that updates the Medicare payment rates and the quality programs for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).
  • Education Sec. Betsy DeVos said today she was moving to "immediately distribute" the $6 billion in coronavirus economic stimulus money that has been earmarked for emergency financial aid grants to college students. The funding is the first tranche of the nearly $31 billion of overall education aid that was included as part of last month’s stimulus package. The bill makes available aid for college students for things like technology, course materials, food, shelter, and health care. Allocations are available here.
  • CMS announced this on April 8th that they have temporarily suspended a number of rules so that hospitals, clinics, and other health care facilities can boost their frontline medical staffs. The changes affect doctors, nurses, and other clinicians nationwide, and focus on reducing supervision and certification requirements so that practitioners can be hired quickly and “perform work to the fullest extent of their licenses.”
  • CMS has updated their Q&A to assist Medicare providers to a more recent version.
  • The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at HHS announced that it will exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for violations of the HIPAA Rules against covered entities or business associates in connection with the good faith participation in the operation of COVID-19 testing sites during pandemic response. The notification was issued to support certain covered health care providers, including some large pharmacy chains, and their business associates that may choose to participate in the operation of a Community Based-Testing Site (CBTS), which includes mobile, drive-through, or walk-up sites that only provide COVID-19 specimen collection or testing services to the public.
  • The CDC released interim guidance on March 8 that details how essential employees can go back to work even if they have been exposed to people infected by COVID-19 as long as they do not feel sick and follow certain precautions. Per the guidance, employees can return to work if they take their temperature before heading to their workplaces, wear a face mask at all times, and practice social distancing while on the job.
  • The CDC removed guidance for doctors on how to prescribe hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, drugs recommended by President Donald Trump to treat COVID-19 that lack evidence to support their efficacy.
  • HHS announced the first contract for ventilator production rated under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to General Motors (GM). GM’s contract, at a total contract price of $489.4 million, is for 30,000 ventilators to be delivered to the SNS by the end of August, with a production schedule allowing for the delivery of 6,132 ventilators by June 1st.
  • Soon after, HHS announced the second contract for ventilator production rated under the DPA to Philips. Philips’s contract for $646.7 million is for a production schedule allowing for the delivery of 2,500 ventilators to the SNS by the end of May, and a total of 43,000 ventilators to be delivered by the end of December. 
  • On Monday April 7 White House press briefing, President Donald Trump criticized the WHO for being slow to respond to the pandemic and accused the organization of being “China-centric.” He followed that by saying the U.S. will be putting a hold on giving money to the WHO.
  • President Trump removed Glenn Fine, the Pentagon’s acting inspector general, who had been tasked with overseeing the $2 trillion stimulus package spending. In his place, the President has named the EPA’s inspector general, Sean O’Donnell, as the new acting inspector general for the DoD.
  • The CDC released several new guidance pages and resources today including: PPE burn rate calculator, guidelines for running essential errands, interim additional guidance for outpatient and ambulatory care settings, and more.
  • Today, the FDA approved an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for 200mg hydroxychloroquine tablets. The agency had recently posted information about hydroxychloroquine shortages due to a significant surge in demand, and is working with manufacturers to get supply under control.
  • The FDA continues to update its COVID-19 Q&A page here and has published its April 7th roundup here.
  • CMS announced it has delivered near $34 billion in the past week to frontline health care providers battling COVID-19. The funds have been provided through the expansion of the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program.
  • The CDC is now urging all Americans to wear a face covering (ideally a non-medical mask or scarf covering their mouth and nose) when they leave their homes. They have published a Q&A page for cloth face coverings and have updated the prevention page to include guidance on the use of cloth face coverings as a means to mitigate spread of COVID-19.
  • The FDA held a webinar with device manufacturers and industry partners to discuss its guidance on enforcement policy for PPE during COVID-19. Recording and transcript of the webinar can be found here.
  • HHS also reported its planned purchase of the ID NOW COVID-19 rapid point-of-care test, developed by Abbott Diagnostics Scarborough Inc. The ID NOW test, which provides results in under 13 minutes, will be distributed to public health labs in every state and territory.
  • CMS released a video providing answers to common questions about the Medicare telehealth services benefit.
  • CMS approved a number of additional state waivers to address the COVID-19 pandemic, including Section 1135 Medicaid waivers, Appendix K waivers for programs that care for elderly, and blanket waivers that permit Medicare-enrolled Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs) to temporarily enroll as hospitals.
  • The CDC has started publishing “COVIDView,” a weekly surveillance summary of U.S. COVID-19 activity. The report summarizes and interprets key indicators including information related to COVID-19 outpatient visits, emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths, as well as laboratory data.
  • The CDC has also released new guidance for how cruise ship passengers will be able to travel home. Previously, passengers who were exposed to COVID-19 but showed no symptoms were allowed to travel home on commercial flights if they had no fever. With the newly released guidance, cruise companies will have to charter flights to return passengers to their home cities. The decision was released as 1,000 passengers were going to disembark the Coral Princess, which docked in Miami on Saturday.
  • HUD announced new CARES Act mortgage payment relief options for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages who are struggling financially due to the coronavirus pandemic.
    • HUD also issued availability of regulatory waivers for Continuum of Care, Emergency Solutions Grant, Housing for Persons with AIDS, and Consolidated Plan requirements.
  • Members of Congress are now looking ahead to a fourth supplemental funding package. House Dems are expected to take the lead on a fourth package, and Speaker Pelosi has indicated that the infrastructure framework from January will be the starting point of whatever bill they introduce. For a more thorough update on the legislative landscape, please refer to the COVID-19 Legislative Update from Sierra Fuller. If you do not already receive that update and would like to subscribe, please email sfuller@cgagroup.com.
  • Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) is drafting legislation to establish a 9/11-style independent commission to review the country’s coronavirus response. The legislation is “very preliminary” and will likely not be released until the coronavirus crisis has subsided.
  • The FDA approved the first test for coronavirus antibodies for use in the U.S. While current tests can tell if a person is still infected, the Cellex antibody test is the first to receive authorization and can tell whether a patient has ever been exposed and if they might have some immunity.
    • A similar test, created by BioMedomics, has not been reviewed by the FDA but is permitted for distribution and use under the public health emergency guidance the agency issued on March 16th.
  • The FDA has published guidance to address the need for blood during the pandemic.
  • FEMA told the House Oversight Committee today that the 100,000 ventilators promised by President Trump will not be available until June. Following the release of this information, the President invoked the Defense Production Act, which directs General Electric Co., Hill-Rom Holdings Inc., Medtronic Public Limited Co., ResMed Inc., Royal Philips N.V., and Vyaire Medical Inc. to make ventilators. It also directs acting Homeland Security Sec. Chad Wolf and HHS Sec. Alex Azar to "use any and all authority available under the Act to facilitate the supply of materials" to these companies.
  • Drs. Tony Fauci and Debbie Birx, two of the leading health officials on COVID-19 issues for the U.S. government, agree that the virus could ultimately kill between 100,000-240,000 Americans as predicted by models. They expect deaths to peak in about two more weeks.
  • Dr. Fauci has reportedly required increased security due to threats to his personal safety as well as unwelcome communication from fervent admirers.
  • FEMA has a rumor control website to discern factual claims from fictional ones in regard to COVID-19.
  • The FDA today announced multiple actions taken in the ongoing response effort to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the development of reference sequence data for the U.S., a constituent update regarding guidance for flexibility for chain restaurants, a warning letter to Neuro XPF (cannabidiol products), and a diagnostics update.
  • The HHS Assistant Secretary for Health and U.S. Surgeon General issued an open letter to the health care community stressing the need to aggressively implement the following four measures:
    • Rigorous adherence to all social distancing measures, including limitations on gatherings and travel. This is the best way to reduce infections and thus demand for ventilators.
    • Optimize the use of mechanical ventilators, which includes canceling elective surgeries as well as transitioning other medical equipment for mechanical support for respiratory failure.
    • Judicious, data-driven requests and usage of the SNS of ventilators and equipment. To be able to allocate ventilators where they are most needed, all states must be data-driven in their requests based on the actual capacity for mechanical ventilation, including anesthesia machine conversions.
    • Increasing the capacity of the SNS through federal procurement. The SNS will receive at least an additional 20,000 mechanical ventilators by mid-May 2020.
  • The FDA created the Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP), as the federal government’s primary organization to develop and test COVID-19 treatments. CTAP will have a major focus on public private partnerships. CTAP is currently exploring antiviral drugs like remdesivir that might treat the specific virus, as well as host targets, such as interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor inhibitors that may be helpful in reducing lung inflammation and improving lung function in COVID-19 patients. Work is also ongoing to evaluate whether existing therapies such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (with or without other medications) help treat patients with COVID-19.
  • President Trump on Sunday issued a major disaster declaration for Washington, D.C., marking the 22nd state/territory to receive a major disaster declaration and federal assistance from FEMA. The declaration allows states and territories to access federal funds to combat the coronavirus.
  • The Capitol Visitor Center and House and Senate office buildings will be closed to the public though May 1st.
  • On Friday March 27, the House passed and the President signed the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The bill text is available here, and a section-by-section is here.

Military/Defense

Military/Defense

  • The military has increased COVID-19 safety precautions at 21 bases in recent weeks as the number of cases among service members continues to rise.
  • The National Defense Industrial Association, along with seven other trade groups, sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to extend the window for reimbursing government contractors for COVID-19-related expenses from September 30 to December 21.
  • The DoD and HHS awarded a $7.6 million contract to Hologic, Inc. to expand domestic production of custom sample collection and processing consumables for COVID-19 tests.
  • The Federal Education Association urged parents of students at DoD schools to select the online learning option for the new school year, citing inadequate safety precautions at schools.
  • The Marine Corps on Okinawa announced that it had no new COVID-19 cases to report within the last 24 hours and would be relaxing certain off-base restrictions for essential services.
  • Nearly 70 sailors deployed to Texas to support the COVID-19 response in civilian hospitals.
  • The Marine Corps on Okinawa reported one new COVID-19 case, brining the total from two clusters to 142.
    • Yokota’s 374th Airlift Wing announced a third active COVID-19 cases at its base in western Tokyo, which also serves as headquarters for U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force.
    • The number of COVID-19 cases affiliated with U.S. Forces Korea rose to 111, with 12 more troops and a dependent testing positive after travelling from the U.S. to South Korea over the past two weeks.
  • Air Force acquisition chief Will Roper said the frenzy to prevent a collapse of key suppliers during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic must prompt the DoD to develop a supply chain strategy that incentivizes industry to build a more diverse and resilient supply chain.
  • There are now 6,356 active COVID-19 cases within the VA health system, an 11 percent increase in the last week.
    • VA Sec. Robert Wilkie said the department is handling the recent nationwide spike in COVID-19 cases and is preparing for a potentially larger wave of cases in the Fall.
  • The Army became the first military service to surpass 7,000 COVID-19 cases, less than a week after reaching 6,000. There are over 21,000 total cases across the five services.
  • U.S. military bases in Japan reported three new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases associated with a cluster outbreak on two Marine bases there to 136.
  • 740 military medical and support personnel are deploying to Texas and California to aid the states’ COVID-19 responses as cases continue to rise. Troops from the Army, Navy, and Air Force were sent at the request of FEMA and state officials.
  • There are now 94 positive COVID-19 cases across multiple military bases on the Okinawa prefecture, where a cluster outbreak surfaced last week.
  • VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said the agency’s telehealth services at Walmart stores will expand in areas with limited access to VA hospitals.
  • The U.S. military is sending around 50 medical and support personnel to the San Antonio area to provide assistance amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in Texas.
  • The Space Force has revoked six stimulus contracts designed to aid small launch providers after the contracts were awarded on June 16th. The Space and Missile Systems Center released a statement saying the government “is re-evaluating its strategy on how best to proceed with this action”.
  • Soldiers with the Florida National Guard supported local and state authorities operating two community-based COVID-19 testing sites in Broward County amid surging cases in the state.
    • There are still more than 30,000 National Guardsmen activated for the COVID-19 pandemic response and the head of the National Guard Bureau said there is no sign of slowing down soon.
  • Lockheed Martin has sent $1.1 billion in accelerated payments to support its network of suppliers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The defense contracting company has also hired 8,300 employees since March and plans to hire 3,200 more before the end of the year.
  • The deliveries of new submarines and helicopters from Europe and the U.S. to Singapore have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • U.S. Forces Korea reported three new COVID-19 cases involving personnel arriving from the U.S.
  • The DoD and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) today signed a joint memorandum of agreement to spend $100 million of the department's CARES Act money to subsidize federal loans to ensure domestic industrial-based capabilities that support the national COVID-19 response.
  • Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord said nearly all companies of the defense industrial base have reopened for business after closing for COVID-19.
    • The full press conference with Undersecretary Lord can be found here.
  • All four U.S. public shipyards will begin the process of phasing out administrative leave options for high-risk and immuno-compromised individuals on June 24th.
  • A study at the Army Public Health Center found that most active-duty soldiers who became seriously ill after contracting COVID-19 had underlying health conditions such as obesity and high blood pressure.
  • The Army will launch an effort later this month to sign up 10,000 recruits in three days. “Army National Hiring Days” seeks to fill the shortage of recruits caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Seven service members deployed to Andersen Air Force base on Guam have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The Marine Corps loosened COVID-19 restrictions for military personnel stationed at Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji in Japan.
  • All personnel at Misawa Air Base in northern Japan were told to shelter in place for 24 hours after members of a visiting aircrew were confirmed to have COVID-19.
  • The DoD updated its list of locations that meet conditions to lift travel restrictions, subject to the assessment of conditions at individual installations within the areas.
  • There were nearly 1,000 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed among troops, civilians, dependents, and contractors with the DoD this week.
  • The DoD’s “Ventilator Challenge” has identified five prototype low-cost ventilators, including CorVent by Coridea, BLU3 Vent by BLU3, iBreather by L3 Harris, FieldVent by Northrop Grumman, and the NAVSEA PRE-Vent by the U.S. Navy. Upon receipt of FDA Emergency Use Authorization, the five designs will be available for production and fielding.
  • Medical professionals are testing all inbound U.S. military personnel within two hours of their arrival in South Korea.
  • The shipments of troops’ personal belongings have rebounded to about 80 percent of historical norms for this time of year and could reach 100 percent within weeks, after dropping to 30 percent or less in March when the Pentagon ordered a halt to most global moves.
  • The Honor Flight Network, which sends veterans to tour the war memorials in Washington, D.C., is canceling all trips through the end of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Joint Base Langley-Eustis conducted mass rapid oral fluid COVID-19 testing of 7,800 joint active duty personnel. The novel oral swab COVID-19 test from Curative Inc. is expected to aid operational readiness while protecting service members during the pandemic.
  • Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord said the DoD may be forced to take funds from its modernization and readiness accounts if Congress does not backfill billions of dollars in pandemic-related claims.
    • Lord’s full testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on defense industrial base challenges can be found here.
  • Army Futures commander Gen. John Murray said he is determining which of the service’s 34 top-priority programs the service may cut back or eliminate due to the budget impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) will propose a billion-dollar pandemic response and preparedness fund in his committee’s version of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.
  • The DoD has lifted travel restrictions in 39 states and five host nations.
  • The aircraft carrier Nimitz and portions of its strike group deployed today. In accordance with the Navy’s new COVID-19 regulations for ships at sea, sailors assigned to the strike group were quarantined on land for 14 days and tested for COVID-19 prior to boarding.
  • The Pennsylvania National Guard has assembled a task force to conduct point prevalence sampling at nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the commonwealth.
  • Leaders on the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees introduced the Veterans Economic Recovery Act to provide rapid retraining programs for veterans who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Reps. Mike Levin (D-CA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Chair and Ranking Members of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, introduced legislation to expand and strengthen VA services for homeless veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • At least 171 Air Force pilots have been approved to stay past their original retirement or separation dates as the traditionally higher-paying commercial airline industry struggles amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • President Trump announced he will extend National Guard orders authorizing domestic COVID-19 response missions through mid-August amid concerns that a previous end date would have complicated state support missions and denied the Guardsmen benefits.
  • Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Mark Milley said some service members who test positive for antibodies may be asked to donate plasma for treatment of their fellow troops.
  • The Air Force has delayed the date airmen are required to wear certain parts of the new Operational Camouflage Uniform in an effort to reduce stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The U.S. Army’s newest short-range air defense system, the Interim Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (IM-SHORAD), will be delayed due to COVID-19.
    • Army acquisition head Bruce Jette said programs in the two largest categories of acquisition programs remain on track for first unit equipped.
  • VA Sec. Robert Wilkie defended the Department’s use of hydroxychloroquine on veterans and promised to continue offering the drug to COVID-19 patients who have no other option.
  • The DoD has begun lifting its stop-movement order issued across the Department in March. States, districts, and territories will be evaluated based on the White House’s reopening plan with troops and their families allowed to travel once their location is deemed safe. A fact sheet on the DoD’s travel restrictions can be found here.
  • Officials from the National Guard Association of the United States pressed Congress to act quickly on pending bipartisan legislation that would provide Guardsmen and their families with six months of Tricare coverage after they leave federal Title 32 active duty.
  • VA Sec. Robert Wilkie is scheduled to testify on Thursday before a House Appropriations subcommittee on the VA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • VA officials said they plan to continue using hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients despite medical studies showing significant health risks associated with the drug. The decision comes as active cases of COVID-19 continue to drop at department hospitals while deaths connected to the illness keep increasing. 
  • Largely due to the dent in manpower from COVID-19, the general helming Army Recruiting Command is preparing a massive virtual hiring event this summer after the Army’s 245th birthday on June 14th.
  • Travel restrictions and closures related to COVID-19 hit CAE’s civil training and defense segments, fueling a 44.3 percent decline in net income in its fourth quarter. 
  • Director of the DoD’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan said the military’s AI efforts could play a significant role in tracking and spotting pandemics in the future.
  • Defense Sec. Mark Esper issued guidance that allows military base commanders to begin planning returning to normal operations in the COVID-19 environment.
  • Defense Under Sec. for Personnel and Readiness Matthew Donovan said the military expects a manning shortfall this year as the COVID-19 pandemic requires the services to reduce their intake of new troops.
  • VA researchers are launching clinical trials to see whether cancer prostate drug Degarelix (also labeled Firmagon) could help prevent adverse health effects from COVID-19 in men.
  • The USNS Mercy departed Los Angeles after nearly six weeks of assisting the area’s COVID-19 response.
  • Five sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt tested positive again for COVID-19 after they had already recovered and were allowed to return to the ship.
  • President Trump’s nominee for Navy Secretary, Kenneth Braithwaite, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
    • Mr. Braithwaite vowed to improve public trust in leadership of the service after years of controversies including a recent COVID-19 outbreak aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.
  • The Military Entrance Processing Command updated its policy for accessing COVID-19 survivors, loosening restrictions to prohibit accession to only those who were hospitalized because of complications.
  • House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) said service members should expect a 3 percent pay raise starting next January under the White House’s federal budget plan.
  • The Navy League today began a five-day virtual conference featuring top Navy leaders outlining research and procurement opportunities for small businesses. The virtual conference takes place daily from 3:00 PM-4:00 PM ET.
  • Defense Secretary Esper held a virtual conversation with the Brookings Institution on U.S. defense policy, readiness amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and the investments needed to fight the wars of the future
    • Sec. Esper warned that the U.S. military must adapt to the “new normal” of coronavirus or face larger impacts to readiness in years to come.
  • Boeing said it expects a $168 million cost overrun on the new Air Force One plans due to workforce shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Three major defense contractors reported that they are bracing for economic losses from the COVID-19 pandemic. Boeing and General Dynamics both reported sizable revenue decreases in the first quarter of 2020, while Northrop Grumman reduced its projections for the full year by nearly $400 million due to supply chain disruptions.
  • The USNS Comfort has left Manhattan after spending the last month supporting the region’s COVID-19 efforts.
  • The Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds will be conducting flyovers over Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta on Saturday to honor essential workers and health care personnel. D.C. residents can expect the flyover at 11:45 am, lasting approximately 20 minutes.
  • The U.S. Naval Academy announced this year’s commissioning events will be held over a 10-day period with graduating midshipmen separated into five groups to comply with social distancing measures.
  • There are now 47 confirmed COVID-19 cases among sailors aboard the destroyer USS Kidd, the second Navy ship with a COVID-19 outbreak. The destroyer, which only saw its first confirmed COVID-19 case on April 23rd, is expected to port in San Diego this week to conduct deep cleaning.
  • The USNS Mercy offloaded its last remaining patients this weekend as it prepares to leave Manhattan for its homeport in Norfolk, Virginia. As of Saturday, the 1,000-bed hospital ship had treated just 182 patients.
  • Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday recommended that Capt. Brett Crozier be restored to command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Capt. Crozier was relieved of duty April 2nd following the leak of his memo pleading to Navy officials for help with a COVID-19 outbreak on the carrier.
    • As of today, 840 sailors assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The USS Kidd, a Navy destroyer operating near South America, has been forced into port after 18 sailors tested positive for COVID-19.
    • This marks the second such instance involving a deployed naval warship sidelined due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Army Sec. Ryan McCarthy said the service expects no delay in the fielding of future weapons despite supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Sec. McCarthy also said a “rigorous” review of acquisition programs for the 2022 budget request is still on schedule.
  • The DoD reported 3,725 confirmed COVID-19 cases among service members, up 147 from yesterday. The military’s infection rate – 1,773-per-million – is lower than that of the general population – 2,545-per-million.
    • With 100 percent of the USS Theodore Roosevelt’s 4,800-sailor crew tested for the virus, 840 tests have come back positive.
  • The Army said nearly 250 enlisted and officers have requested to withdraw their retirements or resignations as the service offers voluntary extensions to service contracts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A study across VA hospitals nationwide found no evidence that hydroxychloroquine reduced the risk of mechanical ventilation in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Twenty-eight percent of patients who received the drug died, compared with 11 percent of patients who received standard care.
    • The fatality rate among VA patients who contract the virus – 6.5 percent – continues to be higher than the general public – 5 percent.
  • The Marine Corps is cancelling the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) requirement for this semi-annual period in accordance with COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
  • The Professional Services Council will host a virtual meeting tomorrow to discuss implementation issues regarding the DoD Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) program.
  • The DoD expects to see a three-month delay across the majority of its Major Defense Acquisition Program (MDAP) portfolio due to workforce shortages and supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A DoD spokesperson said most companies in its supply chain will be able to maintain the new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) for $1,000 per year or less. Under the program, companies will be required to obtain a CMMC assessment from a third-party auditing firm and then a subsequent certification from the newly established CMMC accreditation body before they can win defense contracts. DoD hopes to have CMMC certifications in every defense contract by 2025. 
  • The Navy has established a “rapid action team” to help implement new technologies in shipyards and aboard ships in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team will help Naval Sea Systems Command approve the use of new technology to ensure compliance with health guidelines.
  • For the first time, the number of new recoveries among service members – 155 – exceeded the number of new cases – 100. Twenty percent of the 2,889 troops diagnosed so far have recovered.
  • The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is testing three COVID-19 vaccine prototypes on small animals and is preparing to select one candidate for initial human testing.
  • Dozens of House and Senate Democrats sent a letter to DOJ, DoD, and DHS urging the Trump Administration to halt construction on the southern border wall during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • DHS and USDA announced a temporary rule change that allows H-2A petitioners with a valid temporary labor certification to employ certain foreign workers who are currently in H-2A status immediately after USCIS receives the H-2A petition. The rule change also allows H-2A workers to stay beyond the three-year maximum allowable period of stay in the U.S.
  • There are now over 2,800 confirmed COVID-19 cases among service members, up 8 percent from yesterday. DoD’s total COVID-19 cases, which includes troops, civilians, dependents and contractors, is 5,088.
    • DoD continues to provide daily updates on total cases across the Department, but does not disclose specific figures at the unit, installation, or combatant command level, citing the need for “operational security.”
  • The sailor who was aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt and moved to the ICU last week has died from COVID-19. The Navy today reported 585 confirmed COVID-19 cases on USS Theodore Roosevelt, up from roughly 400 on Friday.
  • DoD on Saturday authorized its first Defense Production Act Title 3 project responding to COVID-19 with a $133 million investment to increase U.S. domestic N95 mask production by 39 million over the next 90 days. Title 3 of the Defense Production Act allows the president “to incentivize the domestic industrial base to expand the production and supply of critical materials and goods.”

International Affairs

International Affairs

  • North Korea announced the country’s first suspected case of COVID-19. According to North Korean state media, the case was identified in an individual who had previously defected to South Korea and recently crossed the border back into North Korea. The individual reportedly exhibited symptoms associated with COVID-19, but there are currently no reports that the individual has tested positive.
  • Spain is no longer on the U.K.'s travel corridor list and people arriving into England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland from Spain will be required to self-isolate.
  • Hong Kong will prohibit dining in restaurants, limit public gatherings to two people, and require mask-wearing in public at all times, reacting to a spike in coronavirus cases.
  • COVID-19 cases in Latin America for the first time have surpassed the combined infections in the U.S. and Canada, amid a surge of infections in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, and Argentina.
  • Nearly two weeks after being hospitalized for COVID-19, the health minister of the Mexican state of Chihuahua, Jesus Grajeda, has died.
  • Belgium is tightening restrictions following an increase in COVID-19 cases. Starting Wednesday, Belgians will be allowed to see a maximum of five people outside of their families. Currently, a Belgian individual can meet 15 people in a "social bubble." 
  • Vietnam is evacuating 80,000 people, mostly local tourists, from Danang after three residents tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.
  • 15 lawmakers in Zambia have tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • Global COVID-19 infections surged past 15 million today. The top five countries with the most cases are Brazil, India, Russia, and South Africa. However, the disease is accelerating the fastest in the Americas.
  • Zimbabwe imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew and warned of stiff penalties for people who break quarantine rules.
  • Coronavirus deaths in Indonesia hit a record daily high of 139 in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 4,459.
  • Hong Kong, Australia, and Japan all announced record numbers of new cases as they battle resurgences of the virus.
  • Two ministers in South Africa’s cabinet were admitted to hospital with COVID-19 as the continent’s most-industrialized country counted a total 372,628 confirmed cases and 5,173 deaths.
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has had another positive COVID-19 test result. It is the third test he has taken since falling ill on July 7th.
  • India recorded at least 40,000 cases on Monday, its highest single-day total.
  • The number of new COVID-19 cases reported to the WHO rose by 259,848 in 24 hours over the weekend. This is the largest single-day increase since the pandemic began. 
  • The Australian state of Victoria is making mask-wearing mandatory, as cases there spike. The state premier said, "We are going to be wearing masks in Victoria, and potentially in other parts of the country for a very long time."
  • Cuba moved into the final phase of reopening after there were no new domestic cases reported on Sunday for the first time in 130 days.
  • Hong Kong reported 73 new cases, mostly local transmissions, as new restrictions took effect. 
  • France has made face masks compulsory in all enclosed public spaces amid new COVID-19 outbreaks. 
  • The number of COVID-19 infections around the world hit 13 million on Monday, climbing by a million in just five days. Today's WHO report does not reflect this milestone.
  • Russia reported 6,537 new coronavirus cases, pushing its overall tally to 733,699, the fourth largest case total reported in the world. 
  • Deaths in Mexico from the pandemic rose above 35,000 over the weekend, leading Mexico to overtake Italy for the world’s fourth-highest death total. 
  • South Africa will resume a ban on alcohol sales and reinstate a daily curfew to free up hospital capacity as the country's COVID-19 cases continue to rise. 
  • The WHO has sent a two-person advanced team to China to investigate the origins of the coronavirus and how it made the leap from animals to humans.
  • Latin America has overtaken the U.S. and Canada to become the second worst-hit region in terms of deaths from COVID-19.
  • The governor of Tokyo has said the Olympics in Japan must go ahead next year as a "symbol of world unity" in the face of the pandemic. 
  • Scotland reported no new COVID-19 deaths for the fifth day in a row. 
  • Hong Kong has closed gyms and movie theaters, and has banned gatherings of more than four in an effort to stem a new outbreak. 
  • The Iranian government, for first time since the pandemic began, ordered citizens to cover their faces in public. 
  • The Australian state of Victoria has locked down nine public housing towers in Melbourne, telling about 3,000 residents that they must not leave their homes for any reason for at least five days. 
  • A record number of new COVID-19 cases was reported globally Saturday, with the U.S., Brazil, and India showing the biggest increases.
  • Britain is putting 8.4 million pounds ($10.49 million) into a new study to examine the long-term effects of COVID-19 on patients.
  • Mexican officials said they will install health checkpoints at various entry points along the northern border this weekend.
  • The Israeli government has tightened restrictions, closing bars, gyms, and public swimming pools, curtailing gatherings in restaurants, synagogues, and buses, and canceling summer camps for all but the youngest children.
  • About 270,000 people in Spain have re-entered lockdown after the country officially ended its state of emergency on June 21st.
  • The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide now exceeds 10 million, and the death toll has passed 500,000, with daily infections escalating in the U.S., India, and Brazil. 
  • The WHO is planning to send a team to China next week to try to understand the origins of the coronavirus. 
  • Thailand will lift a ban on international flights on July 1st.
  • Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said officials are preparing a list of 15 non-EU countries considered safe for travel based on epidemiological criteria. 
  • Italy reported its lowest number of daily deaths on Saturday since early March. 
  • China reported a further decline in new confirmed cases of COVID-19, with a total of just 12, including seven cases of domestic transmission in Beijing, where nearly 8.3 million people have now undergone testing in recent weeks. 
  • Australian health authorities are using what they describe as a world-first saliva test for COVID-19 in Victoria state. 
  • South Korean health authorities said for the first time the country is in the midst of a “second wave” of COVID-19 infections focused around its densely populated capital. 
  • In England, a new "no swab" saliva COVID-19 test is being trialed that lets people collect their own sample at home by spitting into a pot.  
  • France is reopening movie theaters, swimming pools, and holiday centers, and all children up to age 15 are back at school. 
  • Thailand hopes to ease some COVID-19 restrictions on foreigners entering the country after going for 28 days without recording any domestic transmissions.
  • Fiji is planning to create a travel bubble with Australia and New Zealand. The proposal would allow residents to travel freely between the nations, without having to quarantine. 
  • Beijing canceled 70 percent of commercial flights from two of its major airports in an effort to contain a new outbreak that has infected more than 130 people in the past five days. 
  • Russia's Health Ministry said today that they have begun clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said Australia is unlikely to reopen its border to international travelers until 2021, but will look to relax entry rules for students and other long-term visitors.
  •  Two Australian universities plan to hire a plane to fly in hundreds of foreign students shut out in the middle of their studies by border closures due to COVID-19, a move they hope will start to salvage a major export earner. 
  • Juan Orlando Hernández, the president of Honduras, has tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, he announced that the first lady and two aides have also tested positive.  
  • Brazilian health authorities said they will now recommend hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 in children and pregnant women. They criticized the U.S. FDA's recent decision to revoke the emergency use of the drug. 
  • Canada has agreed to contribute over $5 million to the WHO Regional Office for the Americas to support COVID-19 response activities, including increasing access to PPE and other critical supplies. The contribution will focus on supporting marginalized and vulnerable communities in 23 countries in the Americas.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is switching to a "special work mode" after his wife tested positive for COVID-19. The president tested negative shortly after. Under the Ukrainian constitution, the president cannot delegate his powers to anyone, and situations of self-isolation and quarantine were not laid out.
  • Japan will ease travel restrictions by letting in up to 250 foreign travelers per day from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • At least 58 members of Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei's staff have tested positive for COVID-19. This makes it one of the world’s largest outbreaks to erupt at a nation’s center of elected power.
  • Brazil surpassed 800,000 total confirmed COVID-19 cases today. The death toll is now over 40,000. 
  • Prosecutors in Bergamo, Italy, are planning to question Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tomorrow as part of an inquiry into how COVID-19 was able to cut such a devastating path through the northern province.
  • Italy is easing its lockdown measures to allow professional sporting events, such as the Coppa Italia football match, to resume behind closed doors starting Friday. Other establishments can also reopen starting June 25th, including summer camps, kindergartens, betting rooms, and bingo halls.
  • The number of cases of COVID-19 in Africa has doubled in the last 18 days. The total is now over 200,000, though it took nearly 100 days to reach 100,000 cases. While the numbers may have risen so significantly in part because of increased testing, the WHO said today that more than half of the 54 countries on the continent were experiencing community transmission. Ten countries were driving the rise in numbers and accounted for nearly 80 percent of all cases, and South Africa has a quarter of the total cases.
  • Germany will lift its border controls with neighbors France, Austria, Switzerland, and Denmark on June 15th. New arrivals from Italy will also no longer have to go through border controls, though the two countries do not share a physical border. The controls will be relaxed for travelers arriving from Spain by plane starting on June 21st. The easing of restrictions comes as the country slowly rolls back its strictest lockdown measures.
  • Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank just conducted voluntary COVID-19 antibody tests on more than 44,000 employees, their families, clients, and outside medical professionals such as doctors and dentists. 
  • Poland has shut down 12 coal mines after the country’s health minister said most of its COVID-19 cases had been identified at these “hotspots.” At least two coal mines have more than 1,000 confirmed cases, according to figures supplied by coal companies.
  • WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the COVID-19 pandemic is worsening across the globe as the number of new cases on Sunday reached an all-time high.
  • At least 18 people who work in Guatemala’s Presidential House have tested positive for COVID-19. Officials are planning to limit access to the Presidential House for 72 hours, and all the workers at the Presidential House will be tested. The Guatemalan president also said he and his vice president will be working remotely.
  • Japan recorded no new COVID-19 deaths on Sunday, the first time this has happened since March 6th, around the time when the pandemic saw infection rates soar in the country. A total of 38 new infections were recorded on Sunday, which brings the national total to 17,886 cases and 929 deaths.
  • Peru reported 137 new COVID-19-related deaths today, which brings the national death toll to 5,031. The number of cases is up to 183,198, an increase of 4,284 from yesterday. Peru now has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in Latin America behind Brazil.
  • An ongoing government study in Spain so far suggests that more than 5 percent of the population has coronavirus antibodies. 
  • France will replace its traditional Bastille Day parade down the Champs-Élysées in Paris with a smaller military ceremony due to COVID-19. The July 14th ceremony will be a scaled down celebration and will include a tribute to health care workers.
  • Sweden will ease its travel restrictions starting June 13th to allow those who do not have any symptoms to move around the country.
  • The Global Vaccine Summit, hosted by the U.K. government, has raised $8.8 billion for vaccine research. 
  • Spain's Health Minister said the country will start lifting restrictions on Monday. 
  • Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that there will be a comprehensive easing of  restrictions starting June 1st. Restaurants and cafes will be allowed to reopen on June 1st, but bars and hookah cafés will remain closed. Additionally, a travel restriction prohibiting entry and exits from major metropolitan areas including Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir will be lifted.
  • French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said parks will reopen starting this Saturday, and beaches, lakes, sporting facilities, museums, and monuments will reopen on June 2nd. He added that gatherings must be limited to 10 people and the capacity of outdoor spaces will be limited to 5,000 people, under the condition that social distancing rules are enforced. It will be up to local mayors and regional officials to decide if masks should be mandatory for people visiting parks, beaches, and lakes. 
  • Houses of worship in Jordan will be allowed to reopen under public safety controls starting June 5th. Mosques will initially reopen for Friday prayers on June 5th, and other prayers will be allowed gradually.
  • New Zealand now has zero COVID-19 hospital patients. There are still a couple dozen active cases in the country, but those patients are not being treated in a hospital.
  • Both chambers of the French Parliament voted in favor of the "StopCovid" app today, despite the contact tracing app being criticized by opposition parties for its infringements on individual freedoms. French digital rights association La Quadrature du Net said that between 60 and 80 percent of the population would need to use the app for it to help mitigate COVID-19.
  • According to Spain's top COVID-19 health ministry official, mortality rates in Spain were 55 percent higher than usual between March 10th and May 10th of this year. Not all of those additional deaths can be linked directly to COVID-19, but many of them are likely due to people not wanting to go to hospitals or get medical assistance during the peak of the pandemic. 
  • Over the long weekend, the number of global COVID-19 cases passed 5 million. 
  • The WHO Regional Office for Africa has provided training for Tanzanian health workers to equip them with skills for caring for critically ill COVID-19 patients. A total of 160 health workers in Tanzania attended a three-day virtual training session organized by the Ministry of Health and the WHO.
  • The WHO Regional Office for Europe along with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said that they will continue to repurpose their influenza surveillance systems to also detect the COVID-19 virus.
  • Officials in Wuhan have so far tested 6.5 million residents of their 11 million goal. As of this afternoon, only 200 tests have returned positive. 
  • The WHO, UNICEF, and Gavi have warned that COVID-19 is disrupting life-saving immunization services around the world, putting millions of children – in rich and poor countries alike – at risk of diseases like diphtheria, measles, and polio. Based on data collected by those three organizations and Sabin Vaccine Institute, provision of routine immunization services is substantially hindered in at least 68 countries and is likely to affect approximately 80 million children under the age of 1 living in these countries.
  • WHO and the United Nationals High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) signed a new agreement to strengthen and advance public health services for the millions of displaced people around the world. A key aim this year will be to support ongoing efforts to protect some 70 million displaced people due to COVID-19.
  • Global Cases: 16,114,449        Total Deaths:  646,641

Grants/Funding

NIH has released four funding opportunities

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

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

FEMA Support

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

On the website under private sector you will find:

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

SBA Disaster Loan Funding

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

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

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

Additional information about SBA assistance:

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

Working Capital Loan Guarantee Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Economic Development Administration (EDA)

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

Grants/Funding

Lifestyle & Economy

Lifestyle and Economy

  • About 4,000 federal employees are seeking disability compensation on grounds that they contracted COVID-19 at work, while survivors of 60 deceased employees are seeking death benefits for the same reason. The Department of Labor is far behind in processing claims, and the number of claims is expected to significantly increase over the next few weeks.
  • Gold reached a record high today, continuing its rise as nervous investors sought out a safe place to put their money. The price for spot gold, which has been climbing steadily since March, reached $1,944 per ounce.
  • Google’s employees will work from home until mid-2021.
  • Planet Fitness announced today that all guests will be required to wear masks at all times while inside its facilities, effective August 1. 
  • Two coaches and 12 players on the Miami Marlins have tested positive for COVID-19, leading to the cancellation of multiple Major League Baseball games this week. 
  • The WHO keeps a running list of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, which you can view here. STAT News also has a resource tracking COVID-19 drugs and vaccines
  • Continue to look at the NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis’s (OPA) expert-curated portfolio of COVID-19 publications and preprints. The portfolio includes peer-reviewed articles from PubMed and preprints from medRxiv, bioRxiv, ChemRxiv, and arXiv. It is updated daily with the latest available data and enables users to explore and analyze the rapidly growing set of advances in COVID-19 research.
  • In a survey of museum directors by the American Alliance of Museums, 16 percent of respondents said there was a high risk that their museums could close for good in the next 16 months. Another 17 percent said they did not know if they would survive without further financial help from governments and private donors.
  • The Citi Open tennis tournament in Washington, D.C. has been canceled for 2020.
  • The jury seems still to be out about whether a person can become infected a second time with COVID-19. Although, a study by UCLA researchers shows that in people with mild cases of COVID-19, antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 drop sharply over the first three months after infection, decreasing by roughly half every 73 days. If sustained at that rate, the antibodies would disappear within about a year.
  • A new Northwestern Medicine study in mice found a widely used class of drugs to treat patients with hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetic kidney disease — many of whom are elderly — does not increase the risk of developing a severe and potentially fatal COVID-19 infection. There have been concerns by the medical community worldwide that the drugs -- ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) -- might have caused an increase in ACE2, the main receptor for SARS-CoV-2, which could possibly increase the risk for this infection and its severity. The new findings, however, revealed a decrease, not an increase, in ACE2 in mice kidney membranes and no change in lung membranes. The study supports the safety of these drugs in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • More than six million people signed up for food stamps in the first three months of the pandemic. The program grew by 17 percent between February and May of this year. 
  • Teachers unions sued Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) over his administration’s emergency order pushing schools to fully reopen next month even as cases of COVID-19 continue to surge in the state. The American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s largest teachers union, and its local affiliate, the Florida Education Association, accused Gov. DeSantis of violating a Florida law requiring that schools be “safe” and “secure.” The unions, along with parent and teacher plaintiffs, asked a state court in Miami to block the governor’s reopening order and allow local school superintendents and health departments to have full control over reopening decisions.
  • large new study from South Korea found that children between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread virus at least as well as adults do, suggesting that middle and high schools in particular may seed new clusters of infection. Children younger than 10 transmit to others much less often, which is consistent with what many other studies have reported.
  • On Saturday, 1,400 high school students were unhappy to find their ACT testing sites shut down upon arrival due to COVID-19. ACT Inc., the nonprofit organization that administers the test, noted that more than 88,000 students at some 1,100 sites successfully took the exam on Saturday. Test takers had been warned to check the ACT website for updates, but not all the cancellations made it onto the site.
  • According to a new study, an estimated 5.4 million Americans lost their health insurance between February and May due to COVID-19-related job losses. The study, to be released Tuesday by the nonpartisan consumer advocacy group Families U.S.A., found that the estimated increase in uninsured laid-off workers over the three-month period was nearly 40 percent higher than the highest previous increase, which occurred during the recession of 2008 and 2009. 
  • An observational analysis of more than 1,200 confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients across 69 countries between April 3rd and April 20th found heart abnormalities in more than half (55 percent) of subjects after they underwent echocardiograms, with 1 in 7 experiencing severe cardiac disease. 
  • The IRS clarified that for-profit healthcare providers will have to pay taxes on the grants they received from the COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund. Some for-profit providers had hoped that the grants could be classified as a qualified disaster relief payment, but the IRS said the grants have to be included in gross income. Tax-exempt providers won't be taxed on the grants unless they reimburse the provider for lost revenue for an unrelated trade or business.
  • Eighteen attorneys general sued the Trump administration for its order that would require international students to take classes in person this fall despite the pandemic.
    • Google, Facebook, Twitter, and more than a dozen other tech companies and associations, as well as more than 70 higher education associations and scores of universities, supported a lawsuit by Harvard and MIT seeking to block the rule.
  • Researchers are working on the next generation of COVID-19 tests that give answers in less than an hour, without onerous equipment or highly trained personnel. Some of the tests in development swap brain-tickling swabs for tubes in which you spit. Others would dunk patient samples into chemical mixtures that light up if they detect coronavirus genes. Another type of test identifies virus proteins in minutes and is cheap to produce. 
  • Pregnant women infected with COVID-19 are more likely to be hospitalized, admitted to an intensive care unit, and put on a ventilator than are infected women who are not pregnant, according to a CDC analysis. The report includes information on 8,207 pregnant women between ages 15 to 44, who were compared to 83,205 women in the same age bracket who were not pregnant. More than 31 percent of the pregnant women were hospitalized, compared with about 6 percent of women who were not pregnant.
  • The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report recently published multiple new articles:
    • Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 during and after a college spring break trip (March 14–19) led to 64 cases, including 60 among 183 vacation travelers, one among 13 household contacts, and three among 35 community contacts. Prompt epidemiologic investigation, with effective contact tracing and cooperation between a university and a public health department, contributed to outbreak control. This suggests that a coordinated response with contact tracing and testing of all contacts, including those who are asymptomatic, is important in controlling future COVID-19 outbreaks that might occur as schools and universities consider reopening.
    • One article argues symptom-based screening in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) is inadequate to detect SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Repeated point prevalence surveys can identify asymptomatic cases during outbreaks. Repeated point prevalence surveys at 26 Detroit SNFs identified an attack rate of 44 percent; within 21 days of diagnosis, 37 percent of infected patients were hospitalized and 24 percent died. Among 12 facilities participating in a second survey and receiving on-site infection prevention and control (IPC) support, the percentage of newly identified cases decreased from 35 percent to 18 percent.
  • A new study conducted by the CDC and several hospitals found that over half of U.S. states have seen previously healthy young people become seriously ill from multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) related to coronavirus. Nearly 90 percent of the 186 patients in the report were hospitalized, and most of those needed intensive care, the researchers said. One in five of the patients, who were all under 21, became so sick that they required ventilators, and four children died. 
  • An early release in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) found that testing among quarantined contacts of patients with COVID-19 in a correctional and detention facility identified a high proportion of asymptomatic and presymptomatic cases that were not identified through symptom screening alone. Approximately one fourth of cases were found through serial testing during quarantine. This implies early detection and isolation of persons with COVID-19, along with testing of close contacts, can slow the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in correctional and detention facilities. Serial testing, particularly for close contacts of patients, is important for complete identification of cases and prompt public health response in congregate settings.
  • According to data from the New York Times, at least 54,000 residents and employees of nursing homes and long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19, accounting for 43 percent of virus-related deaths in the U.S.
  • Gilead Sciences will soon start trials of an inhalable version of remdesivir, the antiviral drug that has shown some preliminary promise as a treatment for COVID-19. Remdesivir is currently only available intravenously, so it has only been available for use in hospitals. 
  • An early release in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report suggests that, in the 10 weeks following declaration of the COVID-19 national emergency, emergency room visits declined 23 percent for heart attack, 20 percent for stroke, and 10 percent for hyperglycemic crisis. The CDC encourages individuals experiencing chest pain, loss of motor function, altered mental status, or other life-threatening issues to seek immediate emergency care, regardless of the pandemic. Communication from public health and health care professionals should reinforce the importance of timely care for acute health conditions and assure the public that emergency departments are implementing infection prevention and control guidelines to ensure the safety of patients and health care personnel.
  • During May 5–12, 2020, a survey among adults in New York City and Los Angeles and broadly across the United States found widespread support of stay-at-home orders and nonessential business closures and high degree of adherence to COVID-19 mitigation guidelines. Most respondents reported that they would feel unsafe if restrictions were lifted at the time of the survey.
  • A recent Wall Street Journal article (free to read here) breaks down how, exactly, people catch COVID-19. One factor the article points out is that simple activities like speaking and breathing produce respiratory molecules that can disperse along air currents and potentially infect people nearby. 
  • Earlier this week, researchers described findings from a study that suggest the steroid dexamethasone could be effective at reducing COVID-19 mortality. The drug is part of the RECOVERY clinical trials conducted in the United Kingdom, one of the largest clinical trials testing potential COVID-19 therapeutics. The preliminary results have not undergone peer review. The study tested a small daily dose of the drug in 2,104 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. When compared to a non-placebo-controlled control group who received the normal standard of care, dexamethasone was associated with a 34 percent decrease in mortality for patients on mechanical ventilation and 20 percent decrease for those receiving oxygen therapy.
  • The Labor Department reported that more than 1.5 million Americans filed new state unemployment claims last week. While this is the lowest number since the crisis began, it is still far above normal levels. Even though many businesses are starting to reopen, those that were crippled by the economic hardships of lockdown restrictions are starting to have to lay off employees. 
  • The newest CDC forecasts suggest that the U.S. will likely see 124,000 to 140,000 COVID-19 deaths by the Fourth of July.
  • Between May 5th and 20th, a survey among adults in New York City and Los Angeles and broadly across the U.S. found widespread support of stay-at-home orders and nonessential business closures and high degree of adherence to COVID-19 mitigation guidelines. Most respondents reported that they would feel unsafe if restrictions were lifted at the time of the survey. The results of the study have been published in CDC's MMWR. 
  • Delta Airlines plans to partner with the Mayo Clinic and Quest Diagnostics to launch a program to test all employees for COVID-19 and antibodies as part of its efforts to return to normal operations. 
  • U.S. stocks fell sharply today after investors were reportedly concerned about the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the country. It was the worst day for the U.S. market since March. The Dow closed 1,862 points, or 6.9 percent, lower, and the S&P 500 ended down by 5.9 percent. 
  • Moderna confirmed it expects to begin a phase three study of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in July. The final phase of the placebo-controlled study will include 30,000 subjects in the U.S.
  • Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc said today it has begun human testing of its experimental antibody cocktail as a treatment for COVID-19. The trial has an “adaptive” design and could quickly move from dozens of patients to eventually include thousands, Chief Scientific Officer George Yancopoulos told Reuters.
  • According to a study published by a team of researchers in Texas and California, wearing a mask is the most effective way to stop person-to person spread of airborne spread of COVID-19.The researchers, led by Renyi Zhang from the department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University, compared COVID-19 infection rate trends in Italy and New York both before and after face masks were made mandatory. Both locations started to see infection rates flatten only after mandatory face masks measures were put in place.
  • Officials at the Federal Reserve indicated that they expect the unemployment rate to end 2020 at 9.3 percent and remain elevated for years.
  • The Treasury Department said today that the U.S. budget deficit grew to a record $1.88 trillion for the first eight months of this fiscal year, as Congress passed economic relief packages and the government delayed tax payments.
  • The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) indicated in a new report that the world economy is facing the most severe recession in a century and could have an exceptionally difficult time recovering due to a potential second wave of COVID-19. 
  • Los Angeles County issued guidelines for film and television to begin production as early as Friday, but it’s more likely that production will not resume until July at the earliest. Studios and production companies are still waiting for unions to determine job protocols, even though the industry issued its own white paper last week that established general guidelines for resuming production.
  • A scientist for the WHO said today that asymptomatic transmission was not a significant factor in the spread of the virus, which has created some confusion among experts seeking more information from the WHO. She cited a WHO report published June 5, which said that based on evidence from contact tracing, “asymptomatically infected individuals are much less likely to transmit the virus than those who develop symptoms.”
  • Thirty-nine of the 40 largest known virus clusters in the U.S. are in food processing or correctional facilities.
  • Stocks on Wall Street have made a full recovery for the year. The S&P 500 rose more than 1 percent today, adding to a multi-week rebound based on hope for a quick economic recovery, significant intervention by the Federal Reserve, and a disregard for the serious risks that businesses and consumers still face.
  • The Department of Labor reported that another 1.9 million workers filed for unemployment aid last week. 
  • U.S. exports and imports both posted their largest monthly decreases on record amid coronavirus-related shutdowns around the world. The Commerce Department said today that imports fell 13.7 percent in April from March, and exports dropped 20.5 percent, the largest declines since record-keeping began in 1992. The trade deficit expanded 16.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted $49.41 billion.
  • The authors of a paper published last month that reported concerning findings about the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients have retracted their report after the data that it was based on was called into question. The paper originally led to the suspension of some clinical trials of the medications, including by the WHO, though some of those have since resumed. More on this can be found in an article linked below, "The pandemic's first major research scandal erupts."
  • A recent study indicates the actual mortality rate of adults with critical illness from COVID-19 is less than what was previously reported. Compared to earlier reports of a 50 percent mortality rate, the study finds that the mortality rate of critically ill patients who required mechanical ventilation was only 35.7 percent.
  • According to a senior administration official, the White House won’t issue updated economic projections this summer because of uncertainty caused by the pandemic. The official said COVID-19 has resulted in fluctuating economic data, and that White House projections wouldn’t provide a meaningful snapshot of the economy. 
  • The Commerce Department reported the U.S. GDP fell at a 5.0% annual rate in the first quarter, adjusted for seasonality and inflation.
  • Initial claims for unemployment benefits declined to a seasonally adjusted 2.1 million last week from 2.4 million the prior week.
  • The American Council on Education, the Association of American Universities, and dozens of other higher education groups sent a letter to lawmakers on Thursday expressing “fears of huge transactional costs associated with defending against COVID-19 spread lawsuits” without more legal protections. The action comes as institutions that have lost millions in revenue from closures are facing huge financial pressures to reopen and are trying to figure out how to do so while protecting the health of students and staff.
  • U.S. stocks surged today on optimism that economic activity is gathering steam and authorities may offer more stimulus to bolster the recovery. The S&P 500 closed out above 3000 for the first time in nearly three months.
  • A recent poll of nearly 2,000 voters from May showed that, across political parties, people largely believe COVID-19 testing should be required for employees and students returning to their places of work and study. Democrats who participated in the poll were about 20 percent more likely than their republican counterparts to say they backed mandatory testing. 
  • A scientific brief has been published by WHO investigating any association between smoking and an increased risk for COVID-19. At the time of this review, the available evidence suggests that in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, smoking is associated with increased severity of disease and death.
  • The stock market got a bit of a boost today, with the S&P 500 gaining 1.2 percent and crude oil prices on the rise.
    • Likely due to the lifting of travel restrictions, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines both gained more than 10 percent. 
  • The WHO announced it would temporarily suspend the use of hydroxychloroquine following a recent study published in the medical journal The Lancet which raised safety concerns regarding the drug as a COVID-19 treatment. 
  • A new study found that there are four main risk factors that make COVID-19 victims more likely to have severe or life-threatening symptoms: age, sex, weight, and underlying illness. The study took into account data from more than 20,000 patients across 208 hospitals.  
  • Novavax said yesterday it has started the Phase 1 clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate and has enrolled the trial’s first participants, with preliminary results slated for July.
  • Epidemiologists across the country are confused by the CDC's decision to combine results of tests that detect active COVID-19 infection with those that detect recovery. Two reasons for the confusion are that serological testing can be unreliable, and patients who have had both diagnostic and serology tests would be counted twice.
  • A new study, in which 15,000 patients were treated with hydroxychloroquine and 81,000 patients were not, shows that the drug may have done more harm than good to those who received it. People who received the drugs were more likely to have abnormal heart rhythms.
  • A study conducted by researchers at several laboratories in China appears to be safe and may offer protection against the virus. The trial included 108 participants and found that subjects who got the vaccine mounted a moderate immune response to the virus, which peaked 28 days after the inoculation.
  • An additional 2.4 million individuals filed for unemployment last week, bringing the nine-week total to 38.6 million. 
  • Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said today that the COVID-19 pandemic poses the most serious threat “in our lifetimes” to the Federal Reserve’s goals of maintaining strong employment and stable prices.
  • Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are anticipating a busy hurricane season for the Atlantic. As has happened in India and Bangladesh, COVID-19 is expected to be a barrier in recovery efforts. For example, FEMA can currently only deploy 38 percent of staff. There are other concerns about the virus spreading in shelters and how to deal with evacuations.  
  • Ford Motors sent workers home at Chicago and Dearborn plants today after employees tested positive for COVID-19. The two employees who tested positive had passed a temperature check the day before. 
  • National Nurses United recently conducted a survey in which they found that many nurses remain fearful of becoming ill because they do not have the equipment they need to remain safe. The survey, conducted between April 15th and May 10th, includes responses from both union members and nonunion nurses in all 50 states. The findings showed that a staggering 87 percent of respondents reported having to reuse PPE, including respirators, a practice that the nurses said would not have been allowed before the pandemic.
  • Health experts are warning that stagnant plumbing systems in emptied office buildings could pose a threat when employees return. Bacteria — including the type that causes the respiratory condition Legionnaires’ disease — can build up if not properly addressed.
  • The Federal Reserve said industrial production, a measure of factory, mining, and utility output, decreased a seasonally adjusted 11.2 percent in April from the prior month.
  • According to recent government data, retail sales dropped by 16.4 percent in April after dropping over 8 percent in March. This is the biggest two-month plunge on record.
    • J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy today, the largest retailer to do so thus far. 
  • Retail workers across the country are facing violence while trying to enforce public health guidelines in their stores. A woman in Pennsylvania was punched in the face by a man refusing to wear a mask, a security guard in Michigan was shot and killed after insisting a customer put on a mask, and an employee in California wound up with a broken arm after helping to remove two customers who would not wear masks. 
  • Recent data show that women have so far been more vulnerable to job losses, because sectors with more women, such as education, leisure, and hospitality, have been hardest hit by social-distancing measures.
  • Air Canada will be reducing its workforce by 50-60 percent after having to reduce flight schedules by 95 percent. 
  • The Department of Labor reported that nearly 3.2 million more Americans were added to state jobless rolls last week. Economists now expect the monthly jobs report tomorrow to put the official April unemployment rate at 15 percent or higher — a Depression-era level.
  • Frontier Airlines announced today that they plan to take passengers’ temperatures before boarding commercial flights. Beginning June 1st, anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be denied boarding.
  • Starting Monday, Amtrak will require passengers to wear face coverings in stations and on trains and buses. The coverings can be removed only when passengers are eating in designated areas, in private rooms, or when seated alone or with a companion in their own pair of seats.
  • Several major sports league announced plans to resume play. The National Football League directed teams to develop plans to reopen training facilities on May 15th.
  • Food and consumer products trade groups sent a letter to Vice President Pence asking for more guidance on the steps they should take as they prepare to reopen. The groups wrote that the lack of “central coordination” from different agencies make it “extremely” difficult for companies to develop detailed response plans.
  • So far in the second round of PPP loans, about 2.2 million applicants have been approved, with an average loan size of $79,000. In the first round of funding, large, publicly traded companies received a large amount of the funding meant for small businesses. According to a recent report, publicly traded companies have since given back more than $375 billion of those federal stimulus loans.
  • Air Canada announced a new program, Air Canada CleanCare+, which consists of mandatory preflight infrared temperature checks, blocking the sale of adjacent seats, capping the total number of passengers allowed on each flight, requiring employees and passengers to wear face coverings, and removing pillows and blankets from the planes. The airline company will also begin using hospital grade disinfectant in their sprayers and will give kits with hand sanitizer to passengers.
  • The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis reported that, for the first month ever, renewable energy sources such as solar, hydro, and wind, supplied more power to the electric grid than coal-fired plants.
  • Carnival Corporation said today that it plans on allowing eight of its ships to start cruising again before the end of the summer. Carnival has canceled service on many of its lines through September, but will look to offer cruises from three total ports in Texas and Florida as early as August 1st.
  • The United States Department of Labor announced that an additional 3.8 million new unemployment insurance claims were filed last week. In total, Americans have filed more than 30 million new unemployment claims over the past 6 weeks.
  • Yesterday, Gilead Sciences, the manufacturer of remdesivir, released some results from a Phase III clinical trial comparing 5-day and 10-day treatment courses of the drug. The results did not provide any information whether the drug improved patient outcomes compared to a control group. Gilead also noted that the results “complement” forthcoming results from a placebo-controlled trial conducted by NIAID (mentioned in yesterday’s update).
    • The interim results from the NIAID study—a randomized control trial involving more than 1,000 patients—find that patients treated with remdesivir had a shorter time to recovery than those who received a placebo (median of 11 days compared to 15 days; 28 percent improvement). Dr. Tony Fauci described the reduction in time to recovery as “highly significant.”
  • Trade groups including the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service and the National Retail Federation wrote to a letter to lawmakers today urging them to provide relief funds to the United States Postal Services.
  • Meat processing workers, many of them low-income immigrants and minorities, are being recalled to plants where thousands have been sickened.
  • On Friday, labor organizers from Amazon, Whole Foods, Instacart, Walmart, Target, Shipt (owned by Target), and FedEx say they will walk off the job to strike for better pay, expansion of paid sick leave, access to personal protective equipment, and enforcement of social distancing in the workplace.
  • As online shopping has increased, demand for Amazon delivery folks has skyrocketed. Amazon hired 175,000 more workers over the last two months to keep up with orders.
  • Food delivery apps like Grubhub, DoorDash, and UberEats have said they would suspend some or all of the commissions they take on orders to help restaurants continue to offer takeout. Restaurants have said other fees still apply.
  • Apple is pushing back the production ramp-up of its flagship iPhones coming later this year by about a month. Apple’s annual product refresh fuels the majority of iPhone sales for an entire year, making new phones the linchpin of a business segment that accounts for more than half of the company’s total revenue.
  • The IRS is ready to release the second big wave of stimulus payments and will send money over the next few days to people who recently provided their direct-deposit information. These payments will likely go to two groups: One set is tax filers who successfully used the IRS  website’s “Get My Payment” tool to add bank information by midday on April 22nd, according to the IRS. The other set is people who don’t file tax returns but who receive Social Security or Social Security disability benefits, according to the Treasury Department.
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston is using a robot dog to help clinicians screen patients. The robot, developed by Boston Dynamics, allows physicians to communicate with and deliver supplies to patients without potential exposure to COVID-19; the robot also limits the use of PPE.
  • According to doctors, older adults with COVID-19 have several “atypical” symptoms, complicating efforts to ensure they get timely and appropriate treatment. COVID-19 is typically signaled by three symptoms: a fever, a bad cough, and shortness of breath. But older adults — the age group most at risk of severe complications or death from the illness ― may show none of these characteristics. Instead, seniors may seem “off” — not acting like themselves ― early on after being infected. They may sleep more than usual or stop eating. They may seem unusually apathetic or confused, losing orientation to their surroundings. They may become dizzy and fall. Sometimes, seniors stop speaking or simply collapse.
  • Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Labor released new information indicating that more than 4.4 million individuals filed initial claims for unemployment. While this number is a decrease from the previous week, it brings the national total to approximately 26 million new claims.
  • Individuals are postponing medical care and procedures, with emergency departments across the country reporting significant decreases in normal patient load. Some clinicians expressed concern that patients may be dying of these conditions at home rather than risking exposure to COVID-19 at the hospital.
  • A report by NPR found racial disparities in New York nursing home deaths. Among the 78 homes the report looked at, seven of the 11 nursing homes with the highest number of COVID-19 related deaths reported 46 percent or greater of “non-white” residents.
  • A data breach in the Small Business Association‘s (SBA) online application portal may have compromised personal information for nearly 8,000 businesses seeking emergency loans last month, the agency said today. SBA said it discovered on March 25th that the application system for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) may have disclosed personal information to other applicants of the program — including Social Security numbers, income amounts, names, addresses and contact information.

Other Resources

Common Acronyms

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

Emerging Therapeutic Company Investment and Deal-making 2010-2019

Contents:

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

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

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

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


Georgia-Specific Resources

COVID-19 Updates and Information Georgia Department of Economic Development

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

State-administered revolving loan program

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

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

Roadmap to Recovery

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

Moody COVID State Budget Stress Test

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

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

Mental Health

Helpful Articles/Media

Johns Hopkins University Real-Time Coronavirus Tracker

“Flattening the Curve” is how we describe the need to take precautions to minimize the number of people infected by COVID-19. Above, you can see where the health care system’s capacity is, as well as how it stacks up against the number of cases with and without implementing protective measures.

RSS 2019 Novel Coronavirus