Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center

The Coronavirus is a serious global public health threat with information rapidly evolving. We are proud of our members and public health partners who are working hard to bring forward potential Covid-19 solutions to prevent, diagnose and treat this deadly infectious disease. In support, Georgia Global Health Alliance is working diligently to gather valuable tools and information for our community to use as resources and guidelines.

If you are a partner or member of GGHA and would like to add a link to this page, please email Lisa Hayes at lisa@gghalliance.org.

COVID-19 Resources

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




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:
  • 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:




State Updates


  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are total cases: 1,412,121 and 85,990 deaths (Updated 5/15/20) The CDC data closes out the day before reporting.
    • The number of deaths due to COVID-19 may increase as autopsies in California are showing people may have been infected with the virus in the U.S. as early as the beginning of February. Dr. Sara Cody, the chief health officer of Santa Clara County, south of San Francisco, said the newly diagnosed cases underlined that the virus was spreading undetected for weeks in the country in January and February.
  • Useful state data:
    • The NYT is now tracking which states are reopening and which are still shut down.
    • Johns Hopkins University launched its newest COVID-19 U.S. map as a resource for media, policymakers and communities to view a collection of critical public health data in one online destination and better understand and track the COVID-19 pandemic in populations both large and small across the country.
    • These charts show cumulative coronavirus cases and deaths for metropolitan areas over time.
    • NASHP has developed a COVID-19 State Action Center which serves as a state-level policy dashboard. Governing is also keeping a running tally of coronavirus news and impacts at the intersection of the health and economic crises in the states and localities.
    • This site from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides state-level information on cases/deaths, social distancing measures, health policy actions, and more. This resource from Bloomberg Law is a database of State Quarantine and Public Health Laws related to the COVID-19 response.
    • This series of maps shows how states are responding to COVID-19, and this tracker, created and maintained by MultiState Associates, has an up-to-date list of executive orders and various travel restrictions.
    • Finally, this site offers COVID-19 projections assuming full social distancing through may and can be broken down by state.
Georgia Updates
  • May 12: With businesses reopening across the state, Gov. Brian Kemp issued a new executive order to keep certain businesses closed through the end of May. In general, it does the following:
    • Strongly encourages social distancing, wearing masks and following the CDC sanitation guidelines for all residents.
    • Continues the unilateral ban on public gatherings (more than ten people less than six feet away from each other) except for the operation of critical infrastructure businesses where such distancing is impractical.
    • Continues the requirement for high risk individuals to shelter in place.
    • Continues and modestly changes extensive industry specific requirements for restaurants, food processing, grocery stores, retail, cinemas, tattoo parlors, hospitals, surgery centers, dentists, and others.
    • Extends existing liability protections for healthcare workers.
    • In a new provision, the order puts CDC guidance on summer camps in control of whether they happen. Absent guidance, day camps are allowed, but overnight camps are banned. However, guidance on overnight camp operation is included, meaning that a decision could be made quickly to allow them.
    • Importantly, the order continues to leave the state rules in place on business operation, limits restrictions on essential infrastructure and prohibits local governments from interfering with the operation of critical infrastructure. Click here to read the executive order.

  • April 21: Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia (R) is being criticized by health experts and some business owners for his decision to reopen parts of the state’s economy later this week. The main argument is that reopening too much too soon will lead to a second wave of COVID-19.
  • April 20: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced that gyms, fitness centers, barber shops, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo studios, and massage therapy practices will be allowed to reopen on Friday, and elective surgeries will be allowed to resume. Starting next Monday, restaurants will be allowed to reopen for dine-in and movie theaters can reopen as can private clubs.
  • April 10: This week, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced his plan to extend the state of emergency through May 13th to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It was previously set to be lifted on April 13th.
  • 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.
Updates from States
  • May 15:
  • 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.
  • May 14:
  • May 13: Wisconsin’s Supreme Court has rejected Gov. Tony Evers's (D) extension of a stay-at-home order to continue the prohibition on most travel and operations of nonessential businesses until May 26th. The conservative-leaning court ruled 4-to-3 that the measure had exceeded the authority given to the top health official under state law.
  • At least 16 states are now reporting cases of pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome (PIMS), which researchers believe is linked to COVID-19. New York is now tracking 102 cases in children, 60 percent of whom have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Updates on lockdowns/reopening:
    • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) previously detailed the first phase of reopening starting Friday, which allows nonessential retail and centers of worship to operate at 50 percent capacity. Northern Virginia, however, will delay implementation of phase one until May 29th.
    • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) announced she is lifting restrictions across the state starting Friday, permitting salons, barbershops, massage parlors, tattoo parlors, restaurants, fitness centers, libraries, and race tracks to open with appropriate public health measures.
    • Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) extended the city's stay-at-home order until June 8th.
    • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an EO permitting resumption of non-essential construction, curbside pickup at non-essential retail businesses, and gatherings in cars starting May 18th.
    • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that tanning businesses have been added to the list of entities that will be allow to reopen on May 21st.
    • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced his state's stay-at-home order will be lifted this Friday. Maryland will instead be under a "safer-at-home" public health advisory, which allows retail stores, manufacturing operations, barber shops and hair salons, and churches to open with 50 percent capacity.
  • May 12: Health officials in New York state are looking into approximately 100 cases of pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PIMS), which causes life-threatening inflammation in critical organs. The illness is certainly not limited to New York state, and has been identified throughout the region and across the country.
  • Store customers in California, Georgia, and Pennsylvania have been arrested for refusing to follow guidelines mandating that they wear masks in public.
  • As states have begun to ease restrictions, a main COVID-19 model is now predicting nearly 150,000 deaths in the U.S., an increase of 10,000 from estimates this weekend.
  • Updates on lockdowns/reopening:
    • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) gave an updated timeline for when the state will begin to reopen, mostly on May 25th.
    • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) issued an executive order allowing specific localities in Northern Virginia to delay entering phase one of the "Forward Virginia" plan until May 28th. The whole state is expected to enter phase one on Friday, May 15th.
    • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) has allowed Wahkiakum, Skamania, and Stevens counties to move into phase two of Gov. Inslee's Safe Start plan to reopen the economy and recreation. This brings the total to eight counties.
    • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) announced additional phase one guidelines that will allow gyms and fitness studios, movie theaters, and museums the option to reopen beginning this Friday, so long as they adhere to strict guidelines limiting capacity, requiring social distancing, and imposing thorough sanitation requirements.
    • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) announced today that seven counties in the central part of the state would be placed under strict measures due to increased rates of COVID-19.
  • May 11: Led by California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) the members of the Western States Pact - California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Nevada - wrote a letter to House and Senate leadership asking for $1 trillion in aid to help deal with the financial effects of COVID-19.
  • Connecticut's Office of Early Childhood announced that summer camps in the state will be able to reopen on June 29th with strict public health guidelines.
  • The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and Bloomberg Philanthropies, in partnership with New York state launched an online course to train contact tracers.
  • Updates on lockdowns/reopening:
    • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced he will be lifting his state's stay-at-home order on Friday and moving to Phase One of reopening, which allows for most businesses to reopen at 25 percent capacity.
    • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced three upstate regions - the Finger Lakes, the Southern Tier, and Mohawk Valley - have met the required reopening metrics and will be allowed to partially reopen this weekend.
    • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) released a four-phase approach to reopening his state's economy planned for May 18th, and published Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards for all industries once reopening begins.
    • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) outlined consequences for counties and restaurants that do not abide by his reopening plan, including the withholding of federal stimulus funds and the revocation of liquor licenses.
    • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) announced that close contact service providers, fitness and exercise centers, commercial gyms, and public or commercial pools will be able to open in a limited capacity on Monday, May 18th.
    • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced that restaurants can reopen outdoor dining areas beginning May 18th.
    • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) released the schedule for additional reopenings that allows for opening of restaurants, retail stores, and outdoor recreation areas on May 21st.
  • May 8: In an effort to move away from in-person voting during a pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) of California said all Californians will be receiving mail-in ballots for the November election.
  • Updates on lockdowns/reopening:

  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) announced that a new safer at home order, which will reopen restaurants and bars, gyms, salons, and churches will go into effect Monday, May 11th.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) released guidelines to allow some businesses to reopen on May 20th.
  • Gov. John Carney (D) extended the state's stay-at-home order until May 31st and announced that June 1st would be the target date to reopen Delaware.
  • Florida Gov. DeSantis (R) announced he will be extending Florida's State of Emergency for 60 days. At the same time, he announced that barber shops and salons can reopen in most of Florida on Monday.
  • Gov. Janet Mills (D) on Friday announced updated guidelines for the reopening of the Maine economy for a number of different businesses and outdoor activities.
  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) extended the state's "Safer At Home" order until Monday, May 25th. He also announced a plan for salons, barbershops, and gyms to reopen starting on Monday.
  • Gov. Tom Wolf (D) of has extended Pennsylvania's stay-at-home order for all counties in the red phase of his reopening plan, including the Philadelphia area, until June 4th. Additionally, Gov. Wolf announced 13 Pennsylvania counties will move to the yellow phase of reopening starting on Friday, May 15th.
  • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) announced that restaurants throughout the state will be allowed to reopen for limited dine-in services beginning Monday the 11th.
  • Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced child care centers can begin to reopen on June 1st and day camps will be able to operate this summer.
  • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) released a list of safe practices for businesses to follow once the economy begins to reopen.
  • May 7: 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.
  • Updates on lockdowns/reopening:
    • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) says the state’s three gaming casinos will be allowed to reopen with limited operations starting May 18th.
    • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced new COVID-19 safeguards for retail stores and workplaces eligible to reopen Friday and the following weeks.
    • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) extended Michigan's stay-at-home order until May 28th, with some exceptions (like auto manufacturers, who may return to work on Monday).
    • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) announced additions to phase one of his state’s reopening plan. It will allow movie theaters, gyms, and museums to reopen by May 15th.
    • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced new guidance and a new, three-phase plan for counties and businesses to reopen.
    • Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced she will allow Rhode Island’s stay-at-home order to expire Saturday (5/9).
  • May 6: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced the creation of the Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps, a public service initiative that will support efforts this fall to increase testing and contact tracing and provide critical new job opportunities.
  • Updates on lockdowns/reopening:
    • Gov. Roy Cooper (D) signed an EO to modify North Carolina's Stay At Home order and transition to Phase 1 of slowly easing certain COVID-19 Friday, May 8th.
    • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced that Maryland is on track to reopen next week. Starting at 7:00 AM on Thursday, golf, tennis, boating, fishing, camping and other activities can resume, and state parks and beaches will reopen.
    • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) signed a supplementary emergency proclamation authorizing the first group of businesses to reopen, including agriculture services, auto dealerships, car washes, childcare services, pet grooming services, observatories and support facilities, and some retail and repair services.
    • Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced “Restore Illinois,” a five-phase plan to safely reopen Illinois guided by public health metrics designed to provide a framework for reopening businesses, education, and recreational activities in each phase.
  • May 5: Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 1,171,510 total cases and 68,279 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting.
  • Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI) filed a lawsuit against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and the Director of the state’s Department of Health, arguing that the statewide social distancing orders are unconstitutional. Michigan’s Republican-led state legislature is considering its own lawsuit.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced the special enrollment period through the New York State of Health Health Plan Marketplace will remain open through June 15th.
  • Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State announced that nearly one million voters have applied for a mail-in ballot for the June 2nd primary election.
  • Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) announced the Test Nebraska program which has already increased testing capacity to between 1,000 and 1,5000 tests per day.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) officially closed schools for the remainder of the academic year.
  • Updates on lockdowns/reopening:
    • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) signed an EO stating that everyone must wear a face mask while in public. Additionally, she outlined the state’s phased reopening plan, and what will occur in the first phase.
    • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) Gov. Jay Inslee announced the " Safe Start" plan as a phased approach to reopening Washington's economy.
    • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced a new, web-based program to assist businesses and religious organizations with safely resuming operations as the public health emergency continues. OpenSafely.la.gov allows business owners and church leaders to register in order to receive up-to-the-minute information on what phase their business and/or church is considered, what phase the state is in as Louisiana moves through phases of return and what social distancing and sanitation guidelines are required for their specific operation in each phase.
  • May 4: 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.
  • Updates on lockdowns/reopening:
    • Gov. Cuomo outlined the core factors New York will be monitoring to decide if they can start reopening as well as new safety precautions businesses must put in place.
    • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) has accelerated his phased reopening plan for the state. Barbershops and salons can resume services starting this Friday if they limit occupancy, implement social distancing measures, increase sanitation protocols, and provide cloth masks to employees. Next Monday (May 15th) restaurants can offer dine-in service.
    • Gov. Ralph Northam (D) of Virginia said the state will begin reopening on May 15th as part of phase I of the reopening plan, which could last two to four weeks. Nonessential businesses, for now, are still required to be closed until May 14th.
    • New Hampshire's original stay-at-home was set to expire today, but Gov. Chris Sununu (R) placed a Stay-at-Home 2.0 order in effect until May 31st.
    • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced today that wellness facilities and drive-in movie theaters will reopen starting May 11th.
    • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) announced he would be taking steps to reopen restaurants and outdoor activities.
  • May 1: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed an EO extending Michigan’s state of emergency through May 28th, and was protested by a crowd of armed, unhappy residents. She is ultimately agreeing to allow some construction and outdoor work to resume May 7th.
  • Following California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) order to close Orange County beaches, thousands gathered to protest at Huntington beach.
  • Los Angeles is the largest city in the country to offer free testing to anyone, regardless of symptoms. On Thursday, which was the first day of free testing in the city, nearly 10,000 people were tested.
  • More than 150 workers on a construction project at a nuclear power facility in Georgia have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 90 are “active confirmed positive cases” and 81 are workers who recovered and are “available to return to work.”
  • Lawmakers in Arizona, Georgia, and Hawaii are grappling with when to reconvene or begin their state legislative sessions.
  • The Oklahoma legislature will resume on May 4th, per an EO signed today.
  • Rhode Island has canceled hearings and General Assembly meetings through May 8th.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed an EO keeping ski areas closed until May 23rd, which might sound unnecessary (skiing in May??) unless you’re from Colorado and have seen people skiing on the 4th of July.
  • Hundreds of people met to protest at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield and in downtown Chicago today, demanding that Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) lift the stay-at-home order that he recently extended until May 29th.
  • Updates on Lockdowns/Reopening:
    • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) extended the state’s stay at home order through May 15th.
      • Gov. Grisham also authorized the lockdown of the Town of Gallup due to the high population of Navajo who live in the town, and the high incidence of COVID-19 within the Navajo Nation.
    • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) extended the stay home order until May 18th, but will allow curbside food pickup. As part of the EO, Gov. Walz strongly encourages all Minnesotans to wear a manufactured or homemade mask at all times when they leave their homes to any place where social distancing is difficult.
    • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) presented an approach his administration is considering to reopen Connecticut’s economy in phases beginning May 20th. The plan relies on metrics surrounding disease conditions, virus management, health care capacity and supplies, and the ability to continue social distancing practices.
    • Gov. David Ige (D) in Hawaii authorized Honolulu mayor Kirk Caldwell's reopening plan that started today.
    • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) presented her framework for gradually, safely re-opening the Kansas economy and getting Kansas back to work. Kelly’s framework, “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas” is structured to return more flexibility to local community response efforts, while still operating under a statewide, regulatory baseline.
    • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) laid out the State’s Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery plan, designed to build a path forward and safely restart Nevada’s economy. The criteria includes a consistent downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases and hospitalization over a 14-day period, hospitals having the ability to maintain hospital capacity without employing Crisis Standards of Care, and expanded testing and case contract tracing.
    • New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) announced he is implementing a new, modified Stay-at-Home Order (Stay at Home 2.0) which will be in effect until May 31st.
    • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) today announced that the Ohio Department of Health has issued a "Stay Safe Ohio Order." The new order, which incorporates the openings of businesses and services announced as part of the Responsible RestartOhio plan, will replace the previous "Stay at Home" order, which expires at midnight tonight.
    • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) announced that the statewide “Work-or-Home” order will be lifted and returned to voluntary status on May 4th. He also announced that beginning on May 4th, restaurants throughout the state may provide outdoor customer dining service in addition to existing take out, curbside, and delivery services.
    • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said he will be extending the state’s stay-at-home order until at least the end of May.
  • April 30:
  • New Jersey reported more deaths in the last 24 hours than any other state (406).
  • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) made clear that it is highly unlikely that groups of more than 50 people will be able to gather at any point this summer. She recommended that anyone planning an event with more than 50 people through the summer cancel, postpone, or find a way to celebrate virtually instead.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said starting next Wednesday the New York City subway system will halt service from 1:00-5:00 am each night to allow time for trains to be disinfected.
  • Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced a new COVID-19 risk assessment dashboard to aid the state in gauging when and how to best lift the state’s ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.
  • Armed protesters gathered at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing today in an effort to convince lawmakers to vote against extending the state of emergency.
  • Updates on Lockdowns/Reopening:
    • Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced that Arizona's stay-at-home order will be extended to May 15th, with some modifications. The "Stay home, Stay healthy, Stay connected" policy allows retailers not classified as an essential business to, starting May 4th, operate through delivery service and other means that do not entail in-store sales.
    • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) formally extended Georgia's public health state of emergency through June 12th to continue enhanced testing across Georgia. He also signed an order today requiring medically fragile and elderly Georgians to continue to shelter in place through June 12th.
    • Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) enacted Stage 1 Protocols of Idaho Rebound for opening daycares, youth activities, and places of worship.
    • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced today that he will soon lift the "Stay At Home" order imposed statewide, replacing it with a "Safer At Home" order set to go into effect on May 4th.
    • Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) has announced that new public health order effective May 1st will allow gyms, barber shops, hair salons, and other personal care services to reopen under specific operating conditions.
    • Gov. Andy Beshear (D) laid out Kentucky's plan to gradually open business activities, set to allow a variety of business to resume operations May 11th - May 25th
  • April 29:
  • The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) announced the launch of a free, on-demand training for entry-level COVID-19 contact tracers. The course, Making Contact: A Training for COVID-19 Contact Tracers, will support ongoing public health agency efforts to prepare new contact tracers for their work of helping identify COVID-19 positive cases and those with whom they’ve been in close contact.
  • Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland (R) issued an Executive Order (EO) requiring universal testing for all residents and staff at nursing homes, regardless of whether they have symptoms.
  • Louisiana’s state legislature is unhappy with Gov. John Bel Edwards’s (D) decision to extend the stay-at-home order. Speaker of the state House of Representatives, Clay Schexnayder (R) said one idea is to override the governor’s emergency declaration.
  • Updates on Lockdowns/Reopening:
    • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced his phased approach for gradually reopening Kentucky's economy starting on May 11th. The text of the plan has not yet been published.
    • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced that he will be extending the state's stay-at-home order.
    • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced the creation of the New York Forward Re-Opening Advisory Board to help guide the state's re-opening strategy.
    • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said that Arkansas restaurants can reopen their dining rooms starting May 12th.
    • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced two new EO’s today. The first creates the Governor's Restart and Recovery Commission, a taskforce charged with advising the administration on the timing and preparation for New Jersey's recovery. The purpose of the second order is to reopen the state’s parks, golf courses, and county parks.
    • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said this afternoon that he plans to allow restaurants and stores to operate at 25 percent of capacity starting Monday. Movie theatres, bars, gyms, and hairdressers will remain closed.
  • April 28:
    • New York State and New York City both reported their second consecutive day of decreasing daily rate of new COVID-19 cases.
    • A recent survey asked all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and D.C. about their contact tracing capacity. Many states responded that they intend to hire a significant number of contact tracers, like Texas, which is trying to reach 5,000.
    • The number of virus patients newly admitted to hospitals in New York State has fallen more than 70 percent since the outbreak’s peak this month.
    • Updates on Lockdowns/Reopening:
      • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) extended her state’s stay-at-home order until May 31st, and also outlined a four-stage plan to reopen the state’s economy.
      • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) announced Tuesday the state will begin reopening the economy in a series of phases beginning Thursday at 5:00 pm.
      • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said today that he will extend the limit on gatherings and the closures of nonessential businesses in his state until May 18th.
      • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Tuesday outlined the phased reopening plan for his state. The Governor said the state is currently in the first phase, marked by ongoing efforts to provide a financial safety net for low-wage earners who might otherwise work when sick and encouraging the use of face coverings by residents when in places where they cannot practice safe physical distancing. A written plan has not yet been published on the Governor’s website.
      • Colorado Gov. Gov. Jared Polis (D) continued to provide additional details on the state’s new “safer at home face” which is in effect for the next 30 days. The state launched a new website and list of frequently asked questions about the new reopening phase.
      • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced the partial re-opening of some outdoor recreation activities. As of Tuesday, May 5th, some outdoor recreation will be allowed with appropriate safety precautions, including: fishing; hunting; playing golf; and day use at state parks, state public lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources and at state Fish and Wildlife areas.
  • April 27: President Trump suggested on a call with governors today that some should make an effort to reopen their public schools before the end of the academic year. Montana, which has among the fewest cases and deaths, will give schools the option to reopen starting May 7th.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) and Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced their states will be joining California, Oregon, and Washington in the Western States Pact – a working group of Western state governors who have a shared plan for modifying stay-at-home orders.
  • The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) has provided masks to all inmates (approximately 18,500 total) and correctional staff amid the coronavirus pandemic. To date, four inmates within MDOC have tested positive for COVID-19 and 21 have tested negative.
  • New Jersey Gov. Murphy (D) said Monday that he would need to see four things before he would consider reopening businesses and schools: a prolonged decline in hospitalization and infection rates, expanded testing, more contact tracing and places for those who were sick with the virus to remain in isolation.
  • Updates on Lockdowns/Reopening:
    • Gov. Polis signed an executive order outlining the new “ safer at home” level for the state’s response which includes some new benchmarks for reopening. Starting today, retail businesses can open for curbside delivery, starting Friday, personal services can open if they are implementing best practices, and on May 4th, offices can reopen at a 50 percent reduced in-person staffing capacity (but are still encouraged to allow employees to telecommute). Child care facilities can also expand or reopen if they are following Safer at Home requirements.
    • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced the reopening of the state’s businesses in phases starting Friday and said he was allowing the stay-at-home order to expire on April 30th.
    • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) outlined a multi-phase plan, based on regional analysis and determinations, to re-open New York. This will only be implemented once the region experiences a 14-day decline in the hospitalization rate.
    • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) allowed retail businesses to become operational today or after if they adhere to requirements to limit capacity and maintain strict physical distancing. Restaurants, bars, breweries, and distilleries can begin providing some in-establishment services on May 4th.
    • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) allowed restaurants and retailers to reopen at 50 percent capacity in the vast majority of counties.
    • Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) will allow restaurants, movie theaters, sporting venues, and gyms to reopen May 1st if they maintain "strict social distancing and sanitation protocols." Bars, schools, and sporting events, however, will still be closed.
    • In Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz (D) said he will allow some businesses to reopen beginning Monday.
    • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) has opened beaches for exercising, but said people cannot loiter on the beach and must maintain social distance. Elective surgeries are also allowed to take place as long as there is enough capacity.
    • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is extending the state's current stay-at-home order through May 15th, keeping bars, dine-in restaurants and barber shops closed for two additional weeks before starting a phased reopening of the economy on May 16th.
  • April 24: COVID-19 became Los Angeles County’s leading cause of death after California’s worst day of the pandemic yet. L.A. has seen nearly 800 deaths from COVID-19 since the onset of the outbreak.
  • The National Governors Association and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) published a “ Roadmap to Recovery,” which outlines public health infrastructure needs that should be addressed before a state’s gradual reopening.
  • Hawaii has started offering tourists a free ticket home. With a $25,000 grant from the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the nonprofit Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii has begun helping to return travelers who don’t have the means to follow the mandatory 14-day quarantine, which involves paying for lodging, and food delivery. Since starting the program three weeks ago, the organization has sent 20 visitors back to their airports of origin, including travelers from Guam, Los Angeles, Denver, and Birmingham.
  • In Georgia, lines started forming around 7:00 am after Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed an order generally allowing barbershops, nail salons, gyms, bowling alleys, and tattoo parlors to reopen today. Dine-in service at restaurants will be allowed to resume on Monday. At a shopping center in Atlanta, every parking spot was full, and few employees were wearing masks.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) reported preliminary results from a serological study conducted across New York state; the preliminary results found that nearly 14 percent of New York residents may have been previously infected with COVID-19.
  • Gov. Cuomo also announced that he would direct the New York State Board of Election to send every voter a postage-paid application for an absentee ballot for the upcoming June 23rd primary.
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) announced that schools will remain closed through the end of the school year.
  • Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) extended the Emergency Declaration through June 15th (not an extension of the stay-at-home order).
  • New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) also extended an Emergency Declaration for an additional three weeks but did not extend a stay-at-home order.
  • Updates on Lockdowns/Reopening:
    • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced a three-stage plan to reopen the state's economy.
    • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 15th, but said that some businesses will be able to reopen (like golf courses).
    • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) announced he was replacing the shelter in place order with a new “Safer At Home” order. The order will relax some of the restrictions in previous executive orders by allowing some retail businesses to re-open under strict mandates. Museums, theaters, casinos, bars, salons, tattoo parlors, and gyms will remain closed.
  • April 23: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said that more than 21 percent of around 1,300 people in New York City who were tested for coronavirus antibodies this week were found to have them.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) of California said Thursday that the state had experienced its “deadliest day” since the start of the pandemic, with 115 COVID-19 deaths.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced that the state’s public K-12 schools will stay closed for the rest of the academic year.
  • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) extended the state’s stay-at-home order through the end of May, with some additional modifications.
  • Reopening Updates:
    • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) said she will lift the ban on elective medical procedures beginning May 1st.
    • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) detailed a plan for a gradual three-phase reopening of the state’s economy.
    • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) announced restaurants and retail outlets in a majority of the state’s counties will be able to reopen at half their capacity as early as next week, provided they follow certain guidelines.
    • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) announced plans to reopen places of worship and some businesses this weekend and early next week as part of a phased reopening of the state.
    • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced a three-part plan to reopen the state and extended the current stay-at-home order through May 8th.
    • Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) announced a four-phase reopening of Idaho’s economy.
    • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) outlined the plan to gradually reopen the state’s economy.
    • Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) announced his plan to reopen the state’s economy.
  • April 22: President Trump has indicated that he believes it is too soon for gyms, hair salons, and tattoo parlors to reopen on Friday in Georgia.
  • South Dakota, Iowa, and North Dakota remain the only states without a stay-at-home order. South Dakota also does not have enforceable restrictions against large gatherings. The state has recorded 1,755 cases of the virus and eight COVID-19-related deaths.
  • Reopening Updates:
    • California Gov. Gavin Newsome (D) announced that hospitals will now start to schedule essential surgeries, in coordination with Washington and Oregon, effective immediately.
    • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced that Colorado’s stay-at-home mandate is being updated to a ‘safer-at-home’ mandate, with certain businesses reopening this Friday.
    • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) announced relaxed medical licensing restrictions to help meet the demands of the state’s healthcare needs.
    • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced that he will unveil plans to reopen the state on Friday.
    • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said she will likely extend her stay-at-home order beyond April 30th even if she reopen parts of the state’s economy.
    • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) announced the state’s stay-at-home order would be lifted effective April 26th.
  • April 21: The Wisconsin legislature submitted a petition calling on the state's Supreme Court to temporarily block enforcement of Gov. Tony Evers's (D) stay-at-home order after he extended the directive through May 26th.
  • Puerto Rico has performed an average of 15 tests a day for every 100,000 people, which is a lower rate than any state in the U.S. and more than 10 times less comprehensive than the testing effort in New York.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) met with President Trump today at the White House to talk about additional federal assistance to expand testing and support state and local governments.
  • Reopening Updates:
    • Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia (R) is being criticized by health experts and some business owners for his decision to reopen parts of the state’s economy later this week. The main argument is that reopening too much too soon will lead to a second wave of COVID-19.
    • Alaska’s stay-at-home order expired today.
    • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) has said that she is planning a phased-in reopening when their stay-at-home order expires April 30th. It will be tailored to the demographics and various economic sectors of the state.
    • North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum (R) plans to partially reopen the state on May 1st.
    • Starting May 8th, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has said he plans to ease restrictions starting with construction, curbside alcohol pickup, and vehicle sales.
    • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) has said that "the vast majority of businesses" will be allowed to re-open on May 1st.
    • Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York will start to allow elective treatments in hospitals in parts of the state that have fewer cases of COVID-19.
  • April 20: A state prison in Ohio is now the largest reported COVID-19 hotspot in the U.S. State officials have said that at least 1,828 inmates — almost three-quarters of the prison population —tested positive at the Marion Correctional Institution, which is a minimum- and medium-security prison north of Columbus.
  • Significant workplace-based clusters have been recorded in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee and other states, which indicates that COVID-19 is only just beginning to hit some communities.
  • USC and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health released preliminary results from a collaborative scientific study that suggests COVID-19 infections are far more widespread in L.A. County than previously thought, and the fatality rate is much lower.
  • Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson announced today that the Maryland General Assembly will not reconvene in May for a special session as previously decided.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said at his daily press briefing today that 478 more people had died in New York, which is the lowest single-day total in over two weeks. The state’s death toll from COVID-19 is now 14,347. Gov. Cuomo, however, said he continues to be frustrated by the lack of federal funding for testing. New York today started an ambitious effort to test for antibodies among a sample of 3,000 people who had been randomly selected. This effort, combined with more testing, is what Gov. Cuomo says will be required to help inform decisions about easing restrictions.
  • Lockdown protests have continued in state capitals across the country, with the most recent taking place in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Republican state lawmakers who addressed the crowd called on Gov. Tom Wolf (D) to relax the restrictions, with one stating, “We can have a normal where we aren’t locked in our homes like prisoners.” Gov. Wolf extended the state’s shutdown restrictions through May 8th and announced “small steps” aimed at a gradual economic reopening.
  • Reopening Updates:
    • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced that gyms, fitness centers, barber shops, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo studios, and massage therapy practices will be allowed to reopen on Friday, and elective surgeries will be allowed to resume. Starting next Monday, restaurants will be allowed to reopen for dine-in and movie theaters can reopen as can private clubs.
    • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) says the statewide stay-at-home order will end next week. He will allow a gradual reopening of nonessential businesses and permit surgical procedures and other activity suspended by the coronavirus fight as long as strict social distancing and other individual protective measures continue. Gov. Polis cited widespread compliance with the orders for an apparent leveling off of COVID-19 hospitalizations, allowing the most severe restrictions imposed last month to expire on April 27th.Multiple other states have said they will be dropping stay-at-home restrictions May 1st. We will begin to more closely monitor state announcements and record timelines as governors make decisions about easing restrictions. For now, please view a list of state timelines here.
  • April 19: Governors across the country have indicated they will not be reopening their states until they can prove a decrease in deaths and cases with adequate testing.
  • Twenty-five youths who are being held at a juvenile detention center in Virginia have tested positive for COVID-19. The outbreak at the Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center in Richmond is the largest at a youth detention facility in the country, and people are calling on Gov. Ralph Northam to release people from the center to further prevent the spread of the virus.
    • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today that New York state will begin antibody testing thousands of residents this week to try and determine the breadth of the coronavirus outbreak. Gov. Cuomo said a test was approved by the FDA and that testing will take place aggressively.
    • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue announced the approval of West Virginia’s requests to provide online purchasing of food to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Households. This will allow the state to expedite the implementation of online purchasing with currently authorized SNAP online retailers with a target start date to be announced at a later time. West Virginia’s SNAP participation is nearly 300,000 individuals, almost 150,000 households, and totals nearly $400 million annually in federal funding.
    • Starting tomorrow, Vermont contracting companies, garden-supply stores, small construction crews and small offices will be allowed to operate with certain restrictions.
    • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order that reopened outdoor recreational businesses, including golf courses, bait shops, public and private marinas and outdoor shooting ranges. The order still requires residents to adhere to social distancing guidelines recommended by the CDC.
    • New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey have all reopened marinas, boatyards and boat launches for recreational use.­­­
    • An analysis of the blood of some 3,300 people living in Santa Clara county in early April found that one in every 66 people had been infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). The researchers estimate that between 48,000 and 82,000 of the county’s roughly 2 million inhabitants were infected with the virus at that time, which is a pretty sharp contrast with the official case count of some 1,000 people reported in early April.
    • More than 2,000 people gathered at the Washington State Capitol to challenge the state’s stay-at-home mandates. Protestors did not wear masks and generally gathered in close quarters. Gov. Jay Inslee responded by saying, “I support free speech, but crowd counts or speeches won’t determine our course. This isn’t about politics. It can only be about doing what is best for the health of all Washingtonians.”
    • The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance has created a website to assist those who likely qualify for the $1,200 stimulus checks—but may have been ineligible for an automatic deposit due to a lack of federal tax return information. Many low-income Americans lack the information because they don’t meet the federal filing threshold of $12,000 for individuals or $24,000 for married couples.
  • April 17: Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves extended the shelter-in-place order in his state for another week. The order is now set to expire on April 27th. Beginning Monday, April 20th, some non-essential businesses will be allowed to do curbside and delivery sales, and lakes and beaches will be able to reopen. Gatherings of 10 or more are still banned and strict social distancing must be practiced.
  • Several groups of U.S. states have made plans to coordinate regional roll backs of social distancing measures, including existing coalitions on the east and west coasts. Yesterday, a group of 7 Midwestern states—Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, and Kentucky— announced that they are similarly coordinating a regional plan to relax social distancing measures and “reopen the regional economy.” The group did not announce a set date to start implementing procedures, but Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said his state will begin this process on May 1st.
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued three new executive orders to begin the process of reopening Texas while revising hospital capacity and certain social distancing guidelines. Within the orders, select activities and services that pose minimal to no threat of spreading COVID-19 are allowed to reopen using a "Retail-To-Go" model, certain restrictions on surgeries have been loosened, and schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. Within these orders, the Governor has established the Strike Force to Open Texas—a team of nationally recognized medical experts and private and public leaders who will advise the Governor on safely and strategically reopening the state of Texas.
  • St. Paul, Minnesota, joined the list of cities where residents are protesting statewide lock downs. A group calling itself “Liberate Minnesota” held a protest outside Gov. Tim Walz’s house in violation of stay-at-home orders.
  • California’s April 16th income tax revenue plummeted by 87 percent compared to the same day in 2019. This roadmap provides a summary of state tax activity relating to COVID-19.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a bipartisan economic advisory committee that includes all four of the state’s living former governors and some of the nation’s leading corporate executives including the chief executive of Apple, Tim Cook, and the chairman of Disney, Robert A. Iger, as well as the former head of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen.
  • The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance has created a website to assist those who likely qualify for the $1,200 stimulus checks—but may have been ineligible for an automatic deposit due to a lack of federal tax return information. Many low-income constituents lack the information because they don’t meet the federal filing threshold of $12,000 for individuals or $24,000 for married couples.
  • The National Conference of State Legislatures released a letter Friday addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell requesting swift action on a flexible relief funding package to “enable legislatures and governors to mitigate drastic declines in revenues necessary to maintain essential services to all Americans.”
  • April 16: Following the demonstrations in Lansing, Michigan, crowds also formed in Frankfort, Kentucky and Raleigh, North Carolina to protest against stay-at-home orders. Protests are reportedly being planned in California, Oregon, and Texas as state-wide orders negatively impact the economy.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state’s shutdown would be extended until at least May 15th.
  • Multiple other governors, including Wisconsin’s Tony Evers and Idaho’s Brad Little, also extended stay-at-home orders, which are available in multiple state data sets below.
  • Nursing homes and long-term care facilities continue to be ravaged by COVID-19. In New Jersey, 17 bodies were found in a nursing home morgue intended to hold no more than four people.
  • Johns Hopkins University launched its newest COVID-19 U.S. map as a resource for media, policymakers and communities to view a collection of critical public health data in one online destination and better understand and track the COVID-19 pandemic in populations both large and small across the country.
  • April 15: California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today that the state would be providing $125 million in disaster relief assistance for undocumented immigrants impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Gov. Newsom said the state will provide $75 million in disaster relief assistance which will be supplemented by $50 million from Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees. The $75 million Disaster Relief Fund will support undocumented Californians who are ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits and disaster relief as a result of their immigration status. About 150,000 undocumented adults in the state will receive a one-time cash benefit of $500 per adult with a cap of $1,000 per household.
  • Yesterday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards postponed Louisiana’s Presidential Preference Primary election until July 11th.D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser extended the District’s public health emergency and closure of schools until May 15th and announced that other COVID-19 restrictions in the city, including nonessential business closures, a stay-at-home order, and a ban on gatherings of 10 or more people are also extended.
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home policies led to protests in the streets of Lansing. Two conservative groups, Michigan Conservative Coalition and Michigan Freedom Fund, organized the demonstration, dubbed “Operation Gridlock.”
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new order today which states New Yorkers will have to wear masks while in public spaces where they cannot maintain social distancing, effective Saturday. While disobeying does not come with a penalty, Gov. Cuomo said that the state could make it a civil violation if people do not comply voluntarily.
  • Gov. Cuomo also announced that New York would donate 100 ventilators to Maryland and 50 to Michigan.
  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan emphasized that it is still too early to reopen the state but said he will begin rolling out a plan to reopen parts of the state economy as conditions allow. Gov. Hogan outlined four things that must be in place before Maryland could begin lifting lock down orders: a dramatic ramping up of testing; a fully implemented surge expansion in hospitals; the acquisition of sufficient PPE; and a quadrupling of the state’s contact tracing workforce to deploy 1,000 people to identify and track every coronavirus patient in the state.
  • Today, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine approved the release of 105 nonviolent inmates, increasing the number of early releases in the state to about 500 in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the prison system. All individuals were previously scheduled for release within 90 days, and all will undergo testing before being released. Last week, more than 300 inmates were released.
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam extended his shutdown order for nonessential businesses until May 8th, two weeks longer than the original order. The state’s stay-at-home order is still in effect through June 10th.
  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced that the Mississippi Home Corporation has a program to help those at risk of losing their homes due to job loss as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The program can provide short-term help with a one-time payment or up to six months of mortgage payment relief while a homeowner tries to find work.
  • April 14: Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced today that public schools in Mississippi will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. School districts have been asked to submit plans for continued distance learning through the end of this school year.
  • The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) and the National League of Cities (NLC) released findings of a survey that reported nearly nine in 10 cities expect a budget shortfall due to the impact of COVID-19 on their economies. The findings were drawn from responses of more than 2,400 cities and indicated that, without federal support, many will be forced to furlough or lay off city employees and cut back on critical services.
  • The USCM sent a letter to the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate urging that the “Interim Supplemental” currently being negotiated provide $53.55 billion in emergency fiscal assistance through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) structure for America’s cities.
  • At least 45 residents of a nursing home in Virginia have died from COVID-19, the highest death toll reported at a long-term care facility in the U.S.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that teams of National Guard personnel were being dispatched to dozens of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities where COVID-19 cases have been found, to test residents and staff for the virus.
  • New York City has revised its death counting methodology to now include people who had never tested positive for the virus but were presumed to have died because of it. The new standard sharply increased the city’s death toll by more than 3,700, which means there have now been over 10,000 deaths from COVID-19 in New York City.
  • Yesterday, two groups of governors announced that they were forming regional working groups to help plan when it would be safe to begin to ease coronavirus-related restrictions to reopen their economies. In the East, the governors of Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island plan to establish a committee of public health officials, economic development officials, and their chiefs of staff to navigate easing their mitigation strategies. Governors Jay Inslee (Washington), Gavin Newsome (California), and Kate Brown (Oregon) have created the “Western States Pact” to work together on a joint approach to reopening their states’ economies.
    • Today, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said that the state would eventually revisit its broad-based stay-at-home orders with the possibility of replacing them with more localized and less restrictive measures. He warned that, when things get back to normal, masks and face coverings will likely be commonplace for quite a while. Gov. Newsom also said patrons of restaurants are likely to have their temperature taken before being seated and will be served by someone in a mask and gloves. The Governor outlined several indicators that the state will try to meet before rolling back protective measures, which Oregon and Washington are likely to follow:
      • expanding testing and contact tracing, with the goal of isolating infected patients;
      • reducing the exposure of vulnerable people, such as the homeless and the elderly;
      • the ability of hospitals to handle a surge of patients;
      • a plan for businesses, schools and other facilities to open while maintaining social distancing; and
      • a plan to reinstitute restrictions if infections rise again.
  • April 13: U.S. Department of the Treasury launched a web portal to allow eligible State, local, and tribal governments to receive payments to help offset the costs of their response to COVID-19.
  • Johns Hopkins University launched its newest COVID-19 U.S. map as a resource for media, policymakers, and communities to view a collection of critical public health data in one online destination and better understand and track the COVID-19 pandemic in populations both large and small across the country.
  • Earlier today, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his state’s known death toll had exceeded 10,000, with 671 people dying on Sunday alone. He emphasized that he believes the worst is over.
  • Two groups of governors, one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast, announced Monday that they were forming regional working groups to help plan when it would be safe to begin to ease coronavirus-related restrictions to reopen their economies. In the East, the governors of Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island plan to establish a committee of public health officials, economic development officials, and their chiefs of staff to navigate easing their mitigation strategies. Governors Jay Inslee (Washington), Gavin Newsome (California), and Kate Brown (Oregon) have created the “Western States Pact” to work together on a joint approach to reopening their states’ economies. They said that while each state would have its own specific plan, the states would build out a West Coast strategy that would include how to control the virus in the future.
  • This weekend, the National Governors Association asked Congress to include an additional $500 billion in its next supplemental appropriations bill to help state and local governments offset state revenue shortfalls.
  • April 10: New York State’s total number of cases rose by nearly 11,000 over the last 24 hours, the largest single-day increase yet. The state now has a total of 170,812. The 777 new deaths in New York over the last day also pushed the state’s death toll to 7,844. Fortunately, the estimate for how many hospital beds would be needed has not been met. This is due, in part, to the adherence of the state’s social distancing standards.
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the state would forbid people from traveling between homes beginning tomorrow. Gov. Whitmer has also extended the state’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order through the end of the month.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has asked his state’s church-goers to please forego Easter church services this coming Sunday. Those who do attend mass gatherings, he said, will be forced to self-quarantine for two weeks.
  • San Francisco Mayor London Breed said today that 70 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at one of the city’s largest homeless shelters. The number includes two staff members.
  • One public school in California is still open. While many states have canceled school for the remainder of the year, some governors have yet to make decisions about state-wide closures. This map continues to track state-by-state school closures.
  • This week, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced his plan to extend the state of emergency through May 13th to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It was previously set to be lifted on April 13th.
    • Multiple other governors have made similar announcements this week, all of which are highlighted in the MultiState tracker below.
  • April 9: New York continues to see high death and infection rates of COVID-19. For the second day in a row, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo compared the impact of the virus to the September 11th terrorist attacks, referring to the outbreak as a “silent explosion that ripples through society with the same randomness, the same evil that we saw on 9/11.” New Yorkers are encouraged to continue complying with social distancing measures.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom said his state will be dividing up 500 ventilators to send to Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Nevada, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. The Governor has been criticized for his decision to send California resources to other states during this time of crisis, but he has backed up his decision by insisting it was the right and responsible action to help other states.
  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves reported an 8000 percent increase in unemployment in his state.
  • April 7: Wisconsin residents headed to the polls today after yesterday’s efforts to push back their election day were squandered. Individuals were voting on the Democratic presidential primary and a pivotal state Supreme Court seat, and many people expressed their disappointment that they were being forced to choose between their health and voting.
  • Yesterday, Vice President Pence led a discussion with the chief executives of approximately 50 States, territories, and Washington, D.C., and their state emergency managers and health officials to provide an update on the “all-of-America” approach to respond to and mitigate the effects of COVID-19. A readout from the teleconference is available here.
  • New York and New Jersey both posted record high death counts in the last 24 hours. New York’s one-day death toll of 731 is higher than their previous highest rate by more than 100. Gov. Andrew Cuomo pointed out that, despite the high number of deaths, the number of hospitalizations has gone down, which is a promising indicator. In New Jersey, 232 people died in 24 hours. Combined, the deaths in New York and New Jersey make up more than half of all virus-related deaths in the U.S.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy did a live Q&A about the state’s response to COVID-19.
  • During a press conference this afternoon, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced a new MEMA website where businesses in Mississippi can offer resources to those in need. The website states it “provides disaster-specific communications from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency to industry associations and those registered members to coordinate private-sector businesses. It connects those who need resources with Mississippi resource providers during response and recovery from an emergency or disaster event.” MSBEOC is open to any Mississippi business or organization and there is no cost to join.
  • Experts have warned that other states are on pace to have epidemics as serious as that in New York. These charts show cumulative coronavirus cases and deaths for metropolitan areas over time.
  • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signed an emergency declaration postponing the state’s election until June 9th. Her order was blocked within hours by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that Wisconsin would not be allowed to extend the deadline for absentee voting.
    • Fifteen other states and one territory have previously postponed their election days: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Puerto Rico. You can track the full primary calendar here.
  • As stay-at-home orders have spread across the U.S., checkpoints have appeared along some state lines. Governors in Rhode Island, Texas, and Florida have ordered some drivers coming from out of state to be stopped at the border and reminded of the quarantine requirement, though no state has blocked drivers from passing through on their way to their final destination.
  • New York’s death toll has started to plateau, but nearly 600 people still died in the last 24 hours. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is cautiously optimistic that the state might have seen the worst of the pandemic. In all, 4,758 people have died from COVID-19 so far in New York, making up nearly half of the nation’s total.
  • Experts have warned that other states are on pace to have epidemics as serious as that in New York. These charts show cumulative coronavirus cases and deaths for metropolitan areas over time.
  • Nine states still do not have state-wide stay at home orders in place: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Wyoming, Utah, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The Mayors of some cities in Wyoming, Utah, and Oklahoma have issued orders to keep their residents inside, but the governors of those states have not announced blanket executive orders.
  • New York recorded its highest daily death toll thus far. The state’s total death count is nearing 3,000.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today that he signed an executive order giving him the authority to move ventilators from hospitals with less need to hospitals with severe shortages. He also voiced his hope that this could happen at a national level.

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a sweeping initiative to protect homeless people in the state by relocating them into isolated hotel rooms. Gov. Newsom said the state had already procured nearly 7,000 hotel rooms, with a goal of obtaining a total of 15,000 units, in counties with significant homeless populations. The initiative is backed by FEMA and aims to help those experiencing homelessness who have tested positive for COVID-19, who have been exposed to coronavirus, or who are at high risk for the disease.

  • A COVID-19 outbreak at a San Antonio, Texas nursing home has infected 66 of the facility’s 84 residents and killed an additional resident, the largest spread of the virus at a Texas long-term care facility. Eight of the facility’s workers have already tested positive, and a number of the staff members have worked at other nursing homes in the San Antonio region.

  • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said today that pharmacists will be allowed to dispense emergency refills of maintenance medications for a 90-day supply and an additional 90-day supply if needed.

  • The American Medical Association (AMA) sent a letter to the National Governors Association (NGA) urging all states to issue statewide stay-at-home orders. The AMA also called on the NGA and governors to enact emergency orders to close non-essential businesses, limit non-essential activities, and prohibit gatherings in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • Ohio officials are sending letters to local judges suggesting they consider releasing a total of 38 prisoners of the nearly 49,000 in custody across the state. Of the 38, 23 are pregnant or imprisoned with babies they delivered behind bars and the other 15 are over the age of 60 and within 60 days of being released. All are nonviolent offenders who have had no major infractions in prison.

  • Alabama today became the forty-first state to issue a stay-at-home order.

  • Hundreds of thousands of hoarded medical supplies, including 192,000 N95 respirator masks, are being sent to health care workers in New York and New Jersey. The supplies were located by the FBI on Monday and seized by HHS under the Defense Production Act.

    • New York State is particularly in need, as they face running out of masks in as few as six days.

  • Delaware Gov. John Carney issued an order limiting public gatherings to 10 people through May 15th.

  • Florida welcomed (begrudgingly) the Holland America cruise ships Zaandam and Rotterdam today at Port Everglades. 200 of the passengers are currently showing COVID-19 symptoms and four from the Zaandam had already died.

  • Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state extended the emergency stay-home order through the end of May 4th. The order kept in place and strengthened earlier restrictions, temporarily banning sporting events, concerts and going to gyms, bars and nail salons.

  • 1,400 New York Police Department members tested positive for COVID-19. Nearly 17 percent of the department, or 6,172 employees, are now out sick.

  • West Virginia has postponed its democratic primary from May 12th to June 9th. They are the 15th state to do so.

  • The LA Times has started tracking COVID-19 in California.

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom said that 170 ventilators that were shipped to California by the federal government needed repairs over the weekend.

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a new website enlisting retired physicians, student doctors and nurses at the end of their training to contribute to the “human capital surge” of medical professionals. The website also calls for dentists, paramedics, behavioral health professionals, respiratory therapists and other medical professionals.

  • Testing continues to be a prominent state issue. State and local governments still do not have access to the tests they need, and data collection has been particularly challenging. Domo’s tracking site has a map of state testing, which might be useful to those working on state-level issues.

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the release of the state’s emergency stockpile of 21 million N95 respirators, all of which are expired. While the expired masks still have effective filtering capacity, the elastic bands may have lost their resilience.

  • An emergency field hospital has opened in Central Park, Manhattan. Today, volunteers and officials from Samaritan’s Purse, an organization that provides medical aid around the globe, set up a 68-bed facility in the park’s East Meadow, across the street from Mount Sinai Hospital. The facility will hold eight intensive care units with ventilators and will be staffed by about three to four doctors and several more nurse practitioners.

  • In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott is now requiring that all individuals who have returned from New Orleans by road must self-quarantine for 14 days. The original order had extended only to those who had flown in from New Orleans, but now any Texas residents returning by air from Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, or any California airport must stay at home for two weeks or be subject to a $1,000 fine or 180 days in jail.

  • The Ohio legislature moved the official primary date to April 28th and created a new plan, under which approximately 7.8 million registered voters in Ohio will receive postcards with instructions for applying for a ballot. Ballots postmarked by April 27th will be counted in the primary. Voters who are disabled or who do not have a permanent address will be allowed to vote in person at their local elections boards.

  • There are now school closures in all 50 states. This site maps school closures across states in counties.

  • A teenager in California is believed to be the first juvenile in the U.S. to die from COVID-19.

  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced late last week that he is postponing the March 31st Republican primary runoff in the state's 2nd Congressional District because of COVID-19. The new date is June 23rd.

  • Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida said today that he will sign an executive order directing the state’s surgeon general to require anyone flying (not driving) to the state from New York or New Jersey to observe a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

  • Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Maryland and Oregon are the latest states to order more people to stay home in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 before it overwhelms their health care systems. This document provides a more comprehensive list of state declarations and orders of essential businesses.

  • The CDC is reporting 400 deaths in the U.S. related to COVID-19.

  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey postponed the primary runoffs (including the Senate GOP showdown between Tommy Tuberville and Jeff Sessions) in the state originally planned for March 31, pushing them back until July 14 due to the spread of COVID-19. Two GOP-leaning open-seat House runoffs will also take place then.

  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced an executive order banning gatherings of more than ten people in the state. Additionally, malls in Maryland will close by 5pm today.

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a series of executive orders today to prepare for and mitigate COVID-19. The orders are: no groups of more than 10 people; people shall avoid eating at bars and restaurants, except for delivery/take-out; no visiting nursing homes or retirement facilities; and schools are temporarily closed.

  • California Gov. Gavin Newson just issued a “stay at home” order.

  • Forty-four states have now closed schools. This site maps school closures and is updated twice daily on weekdays.

  • New York state now has more confirmed cases than all but 10 countries in the world.

  • Thirty-nine states have now closed schools. This site maps school closures and is updated twice daily on weekdays.

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the launch of a new COVID-19 public awareness campaign to provide useful information to Californians and inform them of actions they can take to further prevent the spread of the virus. The campaign is anchored by a new, consumer-friendly website, www.covid19.ca.gov, that highlights critical steps people can take to stay healthy and resources available to Californians impacted by the outbreak, including paid sick leave and unemployment assistance.

  • Kansas has announced that all schools will be closed for the rest of the school year.

  • Kim Reynolds of Iowa issued a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency plan that went into effect at noon today. The plan is in line with those in multiple other states, shutting down restaurants, theaters, and fitness centers, and banning mass gatherings of more than 10 people.

  • The Maryland primaries originally scheduled for April 28th will now be held on June 2nd. Maryland is the fifth state to postpone its primary.

  • The White House today urged governors in states with evidence of community transmissions to close schools in affected and surrounding areas. Leaders of top teachers unions have been vocal in backing the closure of schools nationwide.

  • CMS granted Florida’s request to expand its Medicaid program to remove barriers to needed services to combat COVID-19. With the approval, the state can waive prior authorization requirements under Section 1135 authority, streamline enrollment, and allow care to be offered in alternative settings that might be unlicensed.

  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that residents should be prepared for a “shelter in place” order to go into effect in the next two days.

  • Beaches have started to ban groups of more than 10, starting with Florida during peak spring break tourist season.

  • West Virginia is officially the 50th state to report a case.




Federal Updates


Global Cases: 4,338,658 Total Deaths: 297,119 (Updated May 15, 2020) Washington, D.C

  • May 15: 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).
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue today announced the extension of three nationwide waivers, giving child nutrition program operators flexibility to continue feeding children while promoting social distancing and keeping families safe during COVID-19. Throughout the pandemic, schools and local program sponsors have used flexibilities provided by USDA to find creative ways to feed kids, such as setting up drive-thru pick-ups and delivering meals on bus routes. With the extension of these waivers, these innovative models can continue, without interruption, while state and local social distancing orders remain in place.
  • There are more COVID-19 hearings slated to take place in Congress next week. Memos will be available upon request:
  • Today, the FDA issued an updated At-A-Glance that provides a quick look at facts, figures, and highlights of the agency's COVID-19 response efforts.
  • The FDA issued a Consumer Update, Coronavirus Testing Basics, to provide information about the different types of tests available and the steps involved in obtaining results.
  • The FDA published Contacts for Medical Devices During the COVID-19 Pandemic, a detailed list of email addresses that may be used to ask questions about COVID-19 related to specific devices, EUA's, or guidance documents.
  • The FDA will host a virtual Town Hall on May 20th at 12:15 PM for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers to help answer questions about the updated COVID-19 diagnostics policy.
  • The House passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act (H.R. 6800) this evening (208-199). 14 Democrats voted no and one Republican voted yes. Bill text can be found here, and the Manager's Amendment is linked here. A one pager on the legislation is here. A section-by-section summary is here. A resource on the state and local relief provisions is here.
  • May 14: HHS and AHRQ announced a new funding opportunity that will award $5 million in fiscal year 2020 to support novel, high-impact studies that evaluate the responsiveness of health care delivery systems, health care professionals, and the overall U.S. health care system to the COVID-19 pandemic. AHRQ expects to invest the $5 million for new multi-method, rapid-cycle research with the ability to produce and disseminate initial observations within six months after the initial award, and then regularly throughout the remainder of the award period.
  • The CDC issued an official Health Advisory today about the multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19. The alert provides background information and a case definition.
  • The CDC continues to update and publish additional COVID-19 documents to its dashboard. Today, the CDC published updated information about schools and child care programs, people who need to take extra precautions, resources for community and faith-based organizations, and federal resources for COVID-19 contact tracing staffing (among other resources).
  • The CDC also updated this resource, which shows how the predictions of total deaths from COVID-19 have changed over time.
  • The NIH has begun a clinical trial to evaluate whether hydroxychloroquine, combined with the antibiotic azithromycin, can prevent COVID-19 hospitalization and death.
  • COVID-19 hearings in Congress this week and next (memos available upon request):
    • Today
      • 10:00 AM – House Energy and Commerce Hearing: “Protecting Scientific Integrity in the COVID-19 Response” (Dr. Rick Bright, currently known as the BARDA whistle blower, testified for nearly four hours)
    • Next Week
      • Tuesday (5/19) 12:00 PM – House Appropriations VA Dept. Hearing: "Response to COVID-19"
      • Thursday (5/21) 9:30 AM – Senate Aging Hearing: "Caring for seniors amid the COVID-19 crisis"
  • The FDA put out a press release officially alerting the public to early data that suggest potential inaccurate results from using the Abbott ID NOW point-of-care test to diagnose COVID-19. Specifically, the test may return false negative results.
  • Tomorrow at 1 PM, the FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for researchers, clinical laboratories, and commercial manufacturers to discuss the production and use of 3D printed swabs. This is a collaboration between the FDA, the VA Innovation Ecosystem, and the NIH 3D Print Exchange.
  • The FDA also announced they will host a virtual Town Hall on May 20th at 12:15 PM for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers to help answer questions about the updated COVID-19 diagnostics policy.
  • In light of the continued economic hardships associated with COVID-19, the FHA announced an extension of its foreclosure and eviction moratorium through June 30th for homeowners with FHA-insured Single Family mortgages, while also supporting new FHA-insured mortgage originations through an extension of temporary policy flexibilities for lenders and appraisers.
  • CMS is announcing a call for nominations for the new contractor-led Coronavirus Commission on Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes to help inform immediate and future responses to COVID-19 within these facilities. The Commission will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the overall response to the COVID-19 pandemic in nursing homes and will inform immediate and future actions to address the virus in order to safeguard the health and quality of life for an especially vulnerable population of Americans.
  • Every day, the USDA is announcing more investments into state broadband and state SNAP programs to support both online schooling and nutrition needs of families across the U.S.
  • A new order under review by several government agencies would extend the Administration's COVID-19 border restrictions indefinitely.
  • The Trump Administration is reportedly laying out new plans to expand the Strategic National Stockpile after it ran out of critical medical supplies early on in the COVID-19 pandemic. The plans include ensuring a 90-day supply of testing supplies and essential drugs to serve as a buffer while the U.S. increases manufacturing capacity.
  • The House is set to vote tomorrow on the Democrats' 1,815-page, $3 trillion HEROES Act (H.R. 6800). Today, the White House released a message stating that, in its current form, President Trump would veto the legislation. The text of The Heroes Act, H.R. 6800, is here, and the Manager's Amendment is linked here. A one pager on the legislation is here. A section-by-section summary is here. A resource on the state and local relief provisions is here.
  • May 13: This Friday at 1 PM, the FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for researchers, clinical laboratories, and commercial manufacturers to discuss the production and use of 3D printed swabs. This is a collaboration between the FDA, the VA Innovation Ecosystem, and the NIH 3D Print Exchange.
  • The FDA also announced they will host a virtual Town Hall on May 20th at 12:15 PM for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers to help answer questions about the updated COVID-19 diagnostics policy.
  • Today, the FDA posted a new website with information on use of thermal imaging systems. Thermal imaging systems and non-contact infrared thermometers use different forms of infrared technology to measure temperature, which has remained a common way to check for fever (a symptom of COVID-19).
  • Vice President Pence had a discussion with higher education leaders today about getting students back to school in the fall. A brief readout of the conversation is available here.
  • COVID-19 hearings in Congress this week (memos available upon request):
  • The CDC continues to update and publish additional COVID-19 documents on its dashboard. Today, the CDC published updated information about symptoms, racial and ethnic minority groups, and guidance for environmental health practitioners.
  • CMS released a new toolkit developed to aid nursing homes, governors, states, departments of health, and other agencies who provide oversight and assistance to these facilities, with additional resources to aid in the fight against COVID-19 in nursing homes. The toolkit is comprised of best practices and builds upon previous actions taken by CMS, which provide a wide range of tools and guidance to states, health care providers, and others.
  • May 12: House Democrats released the text of the 1,815-page, $3 trillion HEROES Act (H.R. 6800) this afternoon. The text of The Heroes Act, H.R. 6800, is here. A one pager on the legislation is here. A section-by-section summary is here. A resource on the state and local relief provisions is here. Votes are expected in the House on Friday, though the leaders of the Progressive Caucus have written to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking for more time to read through the bill before they vote. For a more in-depth briefing on the legislative landscape, please refer to the COVID-19 Legislative Update, which is published on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. If you do not receive the Legislative Update and would like to subscribe, email sfuller@cgagroup.com
  • COVID-19 hearings in Congress this week (memos will be available upon request):
  • The CDC has updated and added sections to its COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines including a new section on antithrombotic therapy.
  • The CDC continues to update and publish additional documents on its dashboard. Today, the CDC published updated information about what to do if your pet tests positive for COVID-19, interim guidance on unsheltered homelessness and COVID-19 for homeless service providers and local officials, new information for pediatric healthcare providers, and an air travel toolkit for airline partners. These are just a sampling of the many updates made each day by the CDC.
  • Yesterday, CMS Administrator Seema Verma wrote a letter to nursing home management and staff, sharing her gratitude for the workers as well as reiterating that the Administration is doing all it can to support them.
  • The FDA provided an update on surveillance inspections during COVID-19. In the update, the agency stated it will continue to utilize and implement additional alternative inspection tools and approaches while postponing domestic and foreign routine surveillance inspections. This will continue as local, national, and international conditions warrant, with the exception of certain mission critical inspections.
  • The FDA issued a warning letter to a company that was selling fraudulent COVID-19 products. Fusion Health and Vitality LLC recently offered products, including “CORE” and “IMMUNE SHOT,” for sale in the U.S. with claims that misleadingly represented the products as safe and/or effective for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. There are currently no FDA-approved products to prevent or treat COVID-19.
  • To help homeowners and renters have the most up to date and accurate housing assistance information, the CFPB, FHFA, and HUD launched the new mortgage and housing assistance website, cfpb.gov/housing. FHFA and HUD are offering CARES Act assistance and protection for Americans having trouble paying their mortgage or rent due to COVID-19. This joint website consolidates the CARES Act mortgage relief, protections for renters, resources for additional help, and information on how to avoid COVID-19 related scams. It also provides lookup tools for homeowners to determine if their mortgage is federally backed, and for renters to find out if their rental unit is financed by FHA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac.
  • May 11: The White House has directed West Wing staff to wear masks/face coverings after at least two aides tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Drs. Tony Fauci and Robert Redfield, and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn are all self-isolating. Tomorrow's Senate HELP Committee hearing will still take place, but each of the aforementioned individuals will join virtually.
  • HUD Sec. Ben Carson announced the allocation of $1 billion in CARES Act funding through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. You can view the allocation formula here.
  • COVID-19 hearings in Congress this week (memos will be available upon request):
  • The CDC remained busy through the weekend, updating and publishing additional documents on its dashboard. Today, the CDC published updated information about SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing for Public Health Emergency Response, Epidemiology and Surveillance ( SPHERES), guidance on when to wear gloves and running essential errands, and a list of factors to consider when planning to purchase respirators from another country. These are just a sampling of the many updates made each day by the CDC.
  • CMS updated a video that answers FAQ about the expanded Medicare telehealth services benefit. New information includes how CMS adds items to the list of telehealth services, additional practitioners that can provide telehealth services, and the distant site services that Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) can provide. Further, the video includes information about audio-only telehealth services, telehealth services that hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies can provide, along with how to correctly bill for telehealth services.
  • The FDA issued the first EUA for a COVID-19 antigen test, which is a new category of diagnostic tests that quickly detect fragments of proteins found on the virus by testing samples collected from the nasal cavity using swabs.
  • Democrats are still hoping to introduce a "COVID IV"/CARES 2.0 bill within the week. Whatever text is introduced will likely face weeks of negotiations before a vote would take place in the Senate.
  • May 8: Vice President Mike Pence’s Press Secretary, Katie Miller, has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • 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.
  • COVID-19 hearings in Congress next week:
  • Today the U.S. FDA authorized the first diagnostic test (produced by the Rutgers Clinical Genomics Laboratory) which can process home-collected saliva samples for COVID-19.
  • On Wednesday, the U.S. FDA granted an EUA for the first CRISPR-based diagnostic test for COVID-19. With the appropriate, corresponding instrumentation, this test kit could be used at the point of care, and results can be reported within minutes.
  • This week, HHS deployed 50 portable kidney dialysis machines and supplies to New York City and Long Island Intensive Care Units (ICUs) to provide surge capacity for facilities caring for patients with COVID-19, which has caused acute kidney injury and required dialysis in a some cases.
  • The CDC continues to update and publish additional documents on its dashboard. Today, the CDC published an updated FAQ about children, helpful information for long-haul truck drivers, new guidance and resources for staffing the public health workforce, and some additions to the household checklist. These three are just a sampling of the many updates made each day by the CDC.
  • Though the Senate returned to Washington on Monday, Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) has indicated the House will not return for another couple of weeks. This does not affect the passage of a fifth (or fourth, depending on how you classify 3.5) COVID-19 supplemental appropriations package quite so much as does the standoff between Republicans and Democrats on a few key issues.
  • May 7: 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):
  • Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR) today announced that the Full Committee will hold a teleconference forum tomorrow (5/8) at 12:00 PM on COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and surveillance.
  • The CDC continues to update and publish additional documents on its dashboard. Today, the CDC published updated interim guidance for tribal communities, first responders and law enforcement, and schools and child care programs. These three are just a sampling of the many updates made each day by the CDC.
  • The CDC published three new articles in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) about COVID-19, including an article about workers in meat processing plants. This study looked at COVID-19 cases among U.S. workers in 115 meat and poultry processing facilities were reported by 19 states. Among approximately 130,000 workers at these facilities, 4,913 cases and 20 deaths occurred. Difficulties with workplace physical distancing and hygiene and crowded living and transportation conditions were listed as factors that increased risk.
  • CMS announced that nursing homes are now required to report the first week of COVID-19 data to the CDC beginning May 8th but no later than May 17th. For the first time, all 15,000 nursing homes will be reporting this data directly to the CDC through its reporting tool.
  • CMS released additional FAQs to aid state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies in their response to the pandemic. The new FAQs cover a variety of Medicaid and CHIP topics, including emergency preparedness and response, benefit, financing, eligibility and enrollment flexibilities, information technology, and data reporting.
  • CMS has approved over 155 requests for state relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including recent approvals for Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington. These approvals help to ensure that states have the tools they need to combat COVID-19 through a wide variety of waivers, amendments, and Medicaid state plan flexibilities, including support for programs that care for the elderly and people with disabilities. CMS developed a toolkit to expedite the application and review of each request and has approved these requests in record time.
  • Though the Senate returned to Washington on Monday, Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) has indicated the House will not return for another couple of weeks. This does not affect the passage of a fifth (or fourth, depending on how you classify 3.5) COVID-19 supplemental appropriations package quite so much as does the standoff between Republicans and Democrats on a few key issues.
  • White House officials have reportedly rejected proposed guidance developed by the CDC which aims to assist states in implementing protective measures as states begin to reopen. Officials are said to have viewed the draft guidance as “overly prescriptive,” particularly for states currently experienced low levels of transmission.
  • President Trump said today that he, Vice President Pence, and members of the White House staff will be tested every day for COVID-19 after a military aide who has had contact with the president tested positive.
  • May 6: President Trump has said the Coronavirus Task Force will not, in fact, be disbanding anytime soon. Instead, it will remain in commission “indefinitely” and shift the focus to finding a vaccine.
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue last night sent two letters to governors across the nation and leadership of major meat processing companies. The letters establish the USDA’s expectations for the implementation of President Trump’s recent EO that directs meat processing plants to follow the CDC and OSHA guidance specific to the meat processing industry to keep these critical facilities open while maintaining worker safety.
  • The FDA issued guidance notifying the Center for Devices and Radiological Health of a permanent discontinuance or interruption in manufacturing of a device under Section 506J of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act during the COVID-19 public health crisis. The guidance is intended to assist manufacturers in providing FDA timely, informative notifications about changes in the production of certain medical device products that will help the Agency prevent or mitigate shortages of such devices during the COVID-19.
  • The FDA has been notified that more than 240 laboratories have begun testing under the policies set forth in our COVID-19 Policy for Diagnostic Tests for Coronavirus Disease-2019 during the Public Health Emergency Guidance.
  • The FDA also continues to keep its COVID-19 Diagnostics FAQ up to date.
  • COVID-19 hearings in Congress this week (memos available upon request):
  • The CDC released a study of the spread of COVID-19 in public and private prisons and detention centers in the U.S. The study found that nearly 5,000 prisoners had contracted the virus along with over 2,000 staff members, resulting in 103 total deaths.
  • The CDC continues to update and publish additional documents on its dashboard. Today, the CDC published updated interim guidance on managing COVID-19 in correctional and detainment facilities, further information on social distancing (with subcategories for those at increased risk), and cruise ship crew member disembarkation guidelines. These three are just a sampling of the many updates made each day by the CDC.
  • You can view CMS’s overview of recent COVID-19-related actions here.
  • Though the Senate returned to Washington on Monday, Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) has indicated the House will not return for another couple of weeks. This does not affect the passage of a fifth (or fourth, depending on how you classify 3.5) COVID-19 supplemental appropriations package quite so much as does the standoff between Republicans and Democrats on a few key issues.
  • A 57-year-old man from El Salvador is the first person to die from COVID-19 while in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody. The man had been held at the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego, California.
  • May 5: The White House has communicated that the Coronavirus Task Force will be coming to an end in the not-too-distant future. Vice President Mike Pence said the Task Force could be wrapping up as early as the beginning of June.
  • Today, Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) sent President Trump a letter calling on the Administration to develop a comprehensive national strategic plan of action by May 24th to ensure states have sufficient tests to begin safely re-opening.
  • Democratic lawmakers wrote to Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day asking for details on the company’s plans for remdesivir, an anti-viral medication being studied to treat COVID-19, including measures to secure the supply chain, disclosures about taxpayer investment in the drug, and pricing.
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue announced today that the USDA is investing $23 million through the ReConnect Pilot Program for three recipients in New Mexico to provide broadband service in rural areas.
    • Sec. Perdue also announced a 5 million meal expansion of Meals to You, the USDA’s partnership with Baylor University, McLane Global, and PepsiCo, to feed low-income kids in rural areas.
  • CMS posted a new FAQ page for state Medicaid and CHIP programs.
  • HUD Sec. Ben Carson announced the allocation of $380 million in supplemental administrative fee funding to all Public Housing Authorities (PHA), including Moving to Work (MTW) PHAs. The two months of additional funding may be used for traditional administrative fees as well as for new costs related to protecting assisted families and employees throughout this coronavirus pandemic. The funding was made available by the CARES Act.
  • The Senate has returned to D.C. (with skeleton staffs). The slated COVID-19 hearings are:
  • The CDC continues to update and publish additional documents on its dashboard, including updated strategies to optimize the supply of PPE and equipment, guidance for care for breastfeeding women, and interim guidance criteria for return to work for healthcare personnel with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
  • You can view CMS’s overview of recent COVID-19-related actions here.
  • May 4: 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:
  • Last week, the CDC launched the SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing for Public Health Emergency Response, Epidemiology and Surveillance (SPHERES), a new national genomics consortium to coordinate SARS-CoV-2 sequencing across the U.S. Large-scale, rapid genomic sequencing of the virus that causes COVID-19 will allow public health experts to: monitor important changes in the virus as it continues to circulate; gain important insights to support contact tracing; provide crucial information to aid in identifying diagnostic and therapeutic targets; and advance public health research in the areas of transmission dynamics, host response, and evolution of the virus. The agency has since updated SPHERES information on the CDC dashboard.
  • Over the weekend and into today, the CDC continued to update and publish additional documents on its dashboard, including updated guidance for community and faith-based organizations, new general business FAQ, information about contact tracing training and guidance, further information for pediatric health care providers, and guidance for the discontinuation of isolation for people who have COVID-19 but do not work in health care settings.
  • You can view CMS’s overview of recent COVID-19-related actions here.
  • May 1: The Senate will return to Washington on Monday and start right back up with hearings. Some notable COVID-19 hearings are:
  • 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.
  • Yesterday, the CDC launched the SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing for Public Health Emergency Response, Epidemiology and Surveillance (SPHERES), a new national genomics consortium to coordinate SARS-CoV-2 sequencing across the U.S. Large-scale, rapid genomic sequencing of the virus that causes COVID-19 will allow public health experts to: monitor important changes in the virus as it continues to circulate; gain important insights to support contact tracing; provide crucial information to aid in identifying diagnostic and therapeutic targets; advance public health research in the areas of transmission dynamics, host response, and evolution of the virus.
  • CDC has updated and published additional documents on its dashboard, including guidance for community and faith based organizations, new FAQ about lab testing and reporting, information for environmental health practitioners, and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET), which is a population-based surveillance system that collects data on laboratory-confirmed COVID-19-associated hospitalizations among children and adults through a network of over 250 acute-care hospitals in 14 states.
  • The CDC released a report saying that at least 4,193 workers at 115 meatpacking plants in the U.S. have been infected with COVID-19.
  • HUD Sec. Ben Carson announced the Department will allocate $685 million in COVID-19 relief funding to help low-income Americans residing in public housing. The funding was made available by the CARES Act and will be awarded to Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) in the U.S. You can find the list of allocations here.
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue approved a request from Minnesota to provide online purchasing of food to SNAP households. This approval will allow the states to expedite the implementation of online purchasing with currently authorized SNAP online retailers with a target start date to be announced at a later time. Minnesota’s SNAP participation is nearly 400,000 individuals, and nearly 200,000 households.
  • On the heels of some promising results out of a NIH clinical trial, the FDA has issued an EUA for the investigational antiviral drug remdesivir for the treatment of suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease. While there is limited information known about the safety and effectiveness of using remdesivir to treat people in the hospital with COVID-19, the investigational drug was shown in a clinical trial to shorten the time to recovery in some patients. The EUA allows for remdesivir to be distributed in the U.S. and administered intravenously by health care providers, as appropriate, to treat suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease (defined as patients with low blood oxygen levels or needing oxygen therapy or more intensive breathing support such as a mechanical ventilator).
  • You can view CMS’s overview of recent COVID-19-related actions here.
  • Yesterday, HHS (through HRSA) awarded $20 million to increase telehealth access and infrastructure for providers and families to help prevent and respond to COVID-19. The funds will increase capability, capacity, and access to telehealth and distant care services for providers, pregnant women, children, adolescents, and families, and will assist telehealth providers with cross-state licensure to improve access to health care during the pandemic.
  • House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) wrote a letter to the House chief administrative officer and attending physician to ask how best to reopen the U.S. House and Capitol. In the letter, Hoyer seeks guidance on the what is needed to disinfect surfaces, as well as information on how many staff members ought to return first in each office during a phased reopening.
  • April 30: 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 House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing May 6th at 10:00 am on the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will be meeting on May 7th at 10:00 am for hearing titled, “Shark Tank: New Tests for COVID-19.” The two witnesses, who were announced this morning, are NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and BARDA Acting Director Dr. Gary Disbrow.
  • CMS announced a new independent Commission that will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the nursing home response to COVID-19. The Commission will provide independent recommendations to the contractor to review and report to CMS to help inform immediate and future responses to COVID-19 in nursing homes. This effort builds upon the five-part plan unveiled last April to ensure safety and quality in America’s nursing homes, as well as recent CMS efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 within these facilities.
  • Today, the Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee released a report studying the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color.
  • On Tuesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to President Trump advising him to limit the amount of liability businesses could face for spreading COVID-19. The letter warned against overregulating businesses, and should receive positive reception in the Administration.
  • April 29: The CDC continues to update their dashboard. Today, they notably updated the section on Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes. Other updated resources are caring for someone sick at home, guidance for people who need to take extra precautions, and a new page with downloadable videos.
  • Results from an NIH clinical trial suggest that the drug remdesivir accelerates recovery from advanced COVID-19. The trial (known as the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial, or ACTT), sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, is the first clinical trial launched in the United States to evaluate an experimental treatment for COVID-19. Preliminary results from the trial indicate that patients who received remdesivir had a 31 percent faster time to recovery than those who received a placebo treatment.
  • NIH announced a new initiative aimed at speeding the innovation, development, and commercialization of COVID-19 testing technologies. The Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative will fund early innovative technologies to develop rapid and widely accessible COVID-19 testing. Working with the CDC, BARDA, and USDA, NIH will seek opportunities to move more advanced diagnostic technologies swiftly through the development pipeline toward commercialization and broad availability.
  • CMS issued a letter thanking clinicians for their ongoing efforts to treat patients and combat COVID-19 and shared additional details on the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) improvement activity. The agency announced earlier this month that clinicians who participate in a COVID-19 clinical trial and report their findings to a clinical data repository or registry can earn credit in MIPS under the Improvement Activities performance category for the 2020 performance period.
  • The IRS has updated their FAQ for Employee Retention Credit under the CARES Act.
  • House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said yesterday that the House will not return to Washington on May 4th. The Senate, however, will be back in action on Monday. This has not stopped discussions of a fourth COVID supplemental funding package, but it has shifted the timeline.
  • The FDA is hosting a webinar tomorrow at 1:00 pm about “Conducting Clinical Trials During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.”
  • April 28: HHS has started distributing that last $20 billion of the $50 billion general distribution to Medicare facilities and providers impacted by COVID-19. In order to receive payment, providers eligible for the general distribution must submit required revenue information for verification, and must attest to the terms and conditions of this additional distribution. The portal for submitting this information is open linked from hhs.gov/providerrelief. Payments will go out on a rolling basis as eligible providers submit and verify the required information.
  • President Trump declared meat processing plants “critical infrastructure” to allow them to stay open to avoid shortages of pork, chicken, and other products. The decision has been hotly contested by unions and labor advocates who said the Administration needs to be doing more to protect workers who often work shoulder to shoulder. Meat processing plants have popped up as hotspots for infection.
  • The CDC continues to update their dashboard, updating today their guidance about care for breastfeeding women, what to do if you are sick, and travel recommendations.
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue announced that both Maryland and New Mexico 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.
  • House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said today that the House will not return to Washington on May 4th. This has not stopped discussions of a fourth COVID supplemental funding package, however it has shifted the timeline.
  • Today, the FDA issued a new video resource explaining Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs), one of several tools FDA uses to help make important medical products available quickly during public health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. As the video explains, EUAs provide more timely access to drugs, diagnostic tests and/or other critical medical products that can help diagnose, treat and/or prevent COVID-19. When deciding whether to issue an EUA, the FDA evaluates the available scientific evidence very quickly and carefully balances any known and potential benefits and/or risks of these products to the public.
  • The FDA and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued warning letters to two companies for selling fraudulent COVID-19 products, as part of the agency’s effort to protect consumers. There are currently no FDA-approved products to prevent or treat COVID-19. Consumers concerned about COVID-19 should consult with their health care provider.
    • The first seller warned, Hopewell Essential Oils, offers essential oils and herbal products for sale in the U.S. with misleading claims that the products are safe and/or effective for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
    • The second seller warned, Santiste Labs LLC, the “DefendTM Patch,” a transdermal patch containing a “composition of botanical oils,” for sale in the U.S. with misleading claims that the product is safe and/or effective for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.
    • Today, the FDA posted information and resources to assist manufacturers submitting generic drug applications with bioequivalence studies that may be impacted during COVID-19.
  • On April 29th from 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm ET, the FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2.
  • The FDA is hosting a webinar on April 30th at 1:00 pm about ET “Conducting Clinical Trials During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.”There are not 93 vaccine candidates in the pipeline, one of which is from NIH .
  • April 27: 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.
  • 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.
  • USDA Sec. Sonny Perdue announced that Kansas and Virginia have been approved to operate Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which provides assistance to families of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals dealing with school closures.
  • The USDA Agricultural Marketing Services posted to the federal register the availability of $3 billion in funds for the purchase and distribution of fresh produce and dairy and meat products for Americans facing challenges due to the COVID-19 national emergency.
  • The FDA provided an update today on the availability of alcohol-based hand sanitizer and said more than 1,500 additional manufacturers have registered with the agency to produce hand sanitizer. At the same time, the agency is addressing safety concerns related to products being sold that are not in line with the FDA’s policy and others being marketed with unproven claims.
  • On April 29th from 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm ET, the FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2.
  • The FDA is hosting a webinar on April 30th at 1:00 pm about ET “Conducting Clinical Trials During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.”
  • Education Sec. Betsy DeVos announced today that more than $300 million in discretionary grant funds will be available for states to use to create adaptable, innovative learning opportunities for K-12 and postsecondary learners in response to COVID-19. The grants will be funded through the Education Stabilization Fund (ESF), authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
  • The Executive Office of the President posted a proclamation about the suspension of entry of immigrants who present a risk to the U.S. labor market during the economic recovery following COVID-19.
  • April 24: President Trump signed the interim emergency relief fund package today, 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.
  • 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.
  • On April 29th from 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm ET, the FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2.
  • The FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication regarding known side effects of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, including serious and potentially life-threatening heart rhythm problems, that have been reported with their use for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19, for which they are not approved by the FDA.
  • The USDA announced Vermont has been approved to provide online purchasing of food to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households. This will allow Vermont to join 16 other approved states to expedite the implementation of online purchasing with currently authorized SNAP online retailers with a target start date to be announced at a later time.
  • Fire service organizations nationwide fighting against COVID-19 will soon be able to apply for a share of $100 million in funding for PPE and medical supplies through the FEMA Assistance for Firefighters Grant Program. FEMA will begin accepting applications for FY20 on 4/28 with a deadline of 5/15.
  • April 23: Following the Senate’s passage of an interim emergency relief fund package yesterday, the House voted in favor of the bill today (all in masks and gloves). President Trump is expected to sign it into law soon. The legislation 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. 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 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.
  • New Democrat Coalition (NDC) Members, led by NDC Housing Task Force Co-Chair Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA), sent a letter to the federal financial and housing agencies asking them to take steps to stabilize and simplify the mortgage market during the COVID-19 crisis. The Treasury Department released an updated FAQ document about the PPP and said they will continue to add to it as more questions arise about the program and distribution of funds. On April 29th from 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm ET, the FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for SARS-CoV-2. The CDC added 15 new or updated resources to its dashboard today, including guidance for interim infection prevention and control for veterinary clinics (timely because of the two infected pet cats), information about people who should take extra precautions, and updated public service announcements. No new members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • April 22: President Trump signed an executive order mandating a 60-day halt in issuing green cards to prevent people from immigrating to the U.S.
  • CMS and ASPR released a new toolkit to help state and local healthcare decision makers maximize workforce flexibilities when confronting 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in their communities. This toolkit includes a full suite of available resources to maximize responsiveness based on state and local needs, building on President Trump’s commitment to a COVID-19 response that is locally executed, state managed, and federally supported.
  • The CDC and USDA confirmed the first cases of COVID-19 in two pet cats. They are the first domestic pets to test positive in the U.S.
  • HHS and HRSA announced that they awarded nearly $165 million to 14 Telehealth Resource Centers (TRCs) to help rural and underserved areas combat COVID-19. TRCs will be able to use the funds to provide hands-on technical support in areas such as equipment acquisition, payment policy, system design, and licensing and credentialing. The awards can be found here.
  • HHS is asking hospitals for information that it will use to allocate targeted payments from the COVID-19 provider relief fund. Hospitals must submit this requested information by Thursday night:
    • total number of intensive care beds as of April 10th
    • total number of admissions of patients with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis from January 1st to April 10th
    • national provider identifier
  • The Treasury Department released an FAQ sheet about the state and local section of the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
  • Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue announced emergency benefit increases for SNAP households in the U.S. USDA is providing a 40 percent increase in SNAP benefits to help families who have been hit with economic distress due to COVID-19.
  • More than 50 education and related national associations sent a letter to House leadership urging them to include Rep. Grace Meng’s (D-NY) recently introduced bill, H.R. 6563 (116) in the fourth coronavirus relief package. The bill would create a special $2 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund administered through the FCC’s E-rate Program for schools and libraries to support remote learning. The funds would be used to purchase Wi-Fi hot spots, modems, routers, and internet-connected devices.
  • On April 29th from 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm ET, 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.
  • Per guidance issued yesterday, the Education Department will prohibit colleges from granting emergency assistance to undocumented students, even those currently under federal protection. The Department claims the CARES Act makes clear the relief fund should be used for U.S. citizens.
  • Tomorrow, the IRS will hold an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) discussion (with live Q&A) with the American public at 2pm ET. Pre-registration is required.
  • The Senate passed more than $480 billion in interim emergency relief yesterday. 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 set to vote on the measure tomorrow afternoon.
  • The CDC added 16 new or updated resources to its dashboard today, including information for other at-risk populations such as people experiencing homelessness and pregnant people, strategies to optimize the supply of PPE, and information about pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • DHS published notifications of two temporary travel restrictions: the extension of restriction between the U.S. and Mexico and the U.S. and Canada.
  • Dr. Rick Bright issued a statement about his removal from his post at BARDA. More background is available here.
  • No new members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • April 21: 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.
  • 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.
  • CMS, the ONC, and HHS announced a policy of enforcement discretion to allow compliance flexibilities regarding the implementation of the interoperability final rules announced back on March 9th in response to COVID-19. The agencies involved will continue to monitor the implementation landscape to determine if further action is needed.
  • Education Sec. Betsy DeVos announced today that an additional $6.2 billion is now available to higher education institutions through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund in the CARES Act. The CARES Act allows institutions to use up to one half of the total funds received to cover any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to COVID-19. In order to access the funds, higher education institutions must submit a Certification and Agreement for Recipient Institutional Costs, which can be found here. Institutions must also have executed the Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students before submitting the second certification and agreement.
  • FDA published an update about how it has been providing flexibility to the food industry to support the food supply chain to meet consumer demand. The FDA today authorized the first diagnostic test with a home collection option for COVID-19. Specifically, the FDA re-issued the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the LabCorp COVID-19 RT-PCR Test to permit testing of samples self-collected by patients at home using LabCorp’s Pixel by LabCorp COVID-19 Test home collection kit.
  • USDA announced the approval of requests from Kentucky, Missouri, and Texas to provide online purchasing of food to SNAP recipients. The approval allows the states to expedite the implementation of online purchasing with currently authorized SNAP online retailers with a target start date to be announced at a later time. Rick Bright has stepped down as director of BARDA to lead the recently-announced
  • NIH initiative aimed at speeding up COVID-19 vaccine and treatment options. The NIH program will provide guidance to drug makers and federal agencies about which vaccine and treatment candidates seem most promising and how to test them quickly.
  • The CDC continues to update and add resources on its dashboard, such as guidance for child care programs that remain open, a checklist for institutes of higher education, and CDC’s role in helping cruise ship travelers during the pandemic.
  • No new members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • April 20: 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.
  • Senate Democrats, including Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) sent a letter today to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging the Administration to reconsider its treatment of the World Health Organization (WHO) during the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The senators raised concerns about the consequences of further withdrawing the U.S. from multilateral cooperation to confront COVID-19.
  • Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer urging the Trump Administration to provide tariff exclusions for American manufacturers making much-needed medical and personal protective equipment for hospitals and health care professionals on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, the Senators call for immediate suspension of Section 301 tariffs on components and machinery identified by American manufacturers as necessary to produce critical medical supplies.
  • The CDC has posted multiple new guidance documents on its COVID-19 dashboard, including information about support for states, tribes, localities, and territories, and key concepts and resources for addressing contact tracing.
  • President Trump said during yesterday’s press briefing that the Administration is preparing to use the Defense Production Act to compel an unspecified U.S. facility to increase production of test swabs by over 20 million per month. According to researchers, there are currently only about 150,000 diagnostic tests conducted each day. To safely ease restrictions, scientists have said the U.S. needs to at least triple that pace of testing.
  • There are multiple upcoming CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) calls and webinars. Registration is not required. View the schedule here.
  • FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn issued a statement about serological test validation and education efforts.
  • The Senate is hoping to pass a $500 billion COVID 3.5 bill (Interim Emergency Coronavirus Relief) by unanimous consent tomorrow. The House would follow with a vote later in the week. The bill will include funding for some combination of SBA programs (replenishment of the PPP), hospitals, and testing.
  • No new members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • April 19: CMS announced new regulatory requirements that will require nursing homes to inform residents, their families, and representatives of COVID-19 cases in their facilities. Additionally, CMS will now require nursing homes to report cases of COVID-19 directly to CDC. The information must be reported in accordance with existing privacy regulations and statute. Finally, CMS will also require nursing homes to fully cooperate with CDC surveillance efforts around COVID-19 spread.
  • CMS has issued new guidance to re-open health care systems with low incidence of COVID-19.
  • President Trump signed a new Executive Order: National Emergency Authority to Temporarily Extend Deadlines for Certain Estimated Payments.
  • The CDC has posted multiple new guidance documents on its COVID-19 dashboard, including guidance for handling COVID-19 in correctional and detention facilities, FAQ for health care professionals and the newest travel guidelines.
  • There are multiple upcoming CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) calls and webinars. Registration is not required. View the schedule here.
  • FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn issued a statement about serological test validation and education efforts.
  • House and Senate leadership continue to engage in negotiations about additional supplemental funding packages (COVID 3.5, COVID IV, and COVID V), and seem to have come to an agreement about replenishing the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This evening, Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin said he was hopeful the Senate could pass legislation as soon as tomorrow and that the House would take it up for a vote as early as Wednesday morning, but nothing has been formally agreed upon or introduced at this point. The COVID 3.5 bill would likely include something in the ballpark of $250-300 billion for the PPP, $50 billion for the SBA’s disaster relief fund, $75 billion for hospitals, and $25 billion for testing.
  • Reps. Neal Dunn (R-FL), Nydia Velasquez (D-NY), Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and Ben McAdams (D-UT) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) remain the only members of Congress to have tested positive for COVID-19 (or be presumptive positive).
  • April 17: 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.
  • 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 multiple new guidance documents on its COVID-19 dashboard, including considerations for pharmacies, guidance for training for healthcare professionals and the newest travel guidelines.
  • There are multiple upcoming CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) calls and webinars. Registration is not required. View the schedule here.
  • The House and Senate will both remain recessed until May. House and Senate leadership continue to engage in negotiations about additional supplemental funding packages (COVID 3.5, COVID IV, and COVID V), particularly now that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding has run out, but nothing has been formally agreed upon or introduced. For a more thorough update on the federal legislative landscape,
  • Reps. Neal Dunn (R-FL), Nydia Velasquez (D-NY), Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and Ben McAdams (D-UT) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) remain the only members of Congress to have tested positive for COVID-19 (or be presumptive positive).
  • April 16: 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.
  • The CDC plans to hire hundreds of contact tracers, whose job it would be to locate individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19. Contact tracing has been pushed by the vast majority of public health experts as a necessary step in reopening the country. Additionally, the CDC is considering transferring 25,000 Census Bureau workers to do contact tracing over the next few weeks and months. The census workers, who had been hired to go door to door collecting household data for the 2020 Census, would turn to contact tracing for up to two months.
  • There are multiple upcoming CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) calls and webinars. Registration is not required. View the schedule here. The FDA announced a further expansion of COVID-19 testing options through the recognition that spun synthetic swabs – with a design similar to Q-tips – could be used to test patients by collecting a sample from the front of the nose.
  • The FDA is encouraging those who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma for a potential new treatment called convalescent plasma.
  • The latest CMS news updates can be viewed in the daily roundup.
  • OSHA has come under fire as thousands of complaints are flooding in against companies who fail to follow social distancing and sanitary guidelines to protect workers, and the agency has done little to mitigate it. Records show worker concerns about shortages of masks and gloves, of being forced to work with people who appear sick, and of operating in cramped work areas that prevent them from standing six feet from one another. OSHA has yet to issue a specific coronavirus standard for employers that would protect many “essential” workers, leaving employers to come up with their own ways of trying to meet health guidelines.
  • NIH recently conducted a study that showed N95 respirators can be decontaminated effectively and maintain functional integrity for up to three uses. The experiment tested four decontamination methods: vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP), 70-degree Celsius dry heat, ultraviolet light, and 70 percent ethanol spray. Of those, VHP was the most effective decontamination method, because no virus could be detected after only a 10-minute treatment. UV and dry heat were acceptable decontamination procedures as long as the methods are applied for at least 60 minutes.
  • The House and Senate will both remain recessed until May. House and Senate leadership continue to engage in negotiations about additional supplemental funding packages (COVID 3.5, COVID IV, and COVID V), particularly now that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding has run out, but nothing has been formally agreed upon or introduced. For a more thorough update on the federal 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.
  • Reps. Neal Dunn (R-FL), Nydia Velasquez (D-NY), Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and Ben McAdams (D-UT) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) remain the only members of Congress to have tested positive for COVID-19 (or be presumptive positive).
  • April 15: 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.
  • Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) led a bipartisan group of senators in urging the Trump Administration to provide relief for local farmers who are struggling as the nation works to combat the spread of COVID-19. In a letter sent to USDA Sec. Sonny Perdue, the senators urged USDA to ensure that a portion of the $9.5 billion they secured in the CARES Act goes to local farmers who sell directly to consumers, schools, institutions, food hubs, regional distribution centers, retail markets, farmers markets, and restaurants.
  • The Washington Post published a copy of a CDC/FEMA framework for reopening the country which includes multiple phases. The first is to roll out a national communication campaign and community readiness assessment until May 1st. From then until May 15th, the government would ramp up manufacturing of testing kits and PPE, and increase emergency funding. Various reopening would start after that, based on location.
  • The CDC has posted multiple new guidance documents on its COVID-19 dashboard, including a social media toolkit, guidance for caring for someone at home, and information for people at higher risk of getting sick.
  • There are multiple upcoming CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) calls and webinars. Registration is not required. View the schedule here.
  • CMS announced Medicare will nearly double payments for certain lab tests that use high-throughput technologies to rapidly diagnose COVID-19. High-throughput lab tests can process more than 200 specimens a day using highly sophisticated equipment that requires specially trained technicians and more time-intensive processes to assure quality. Medicare will pay laboratories for the tests at $100 effective yesterday.
  • The latest CMS news updates can be viewed in the daily roundup.
  • NIH recently conducted a study that showed N95 respirators can be decontaminated effectively and maintain functional integrity for up to three uses. The experiment tested four decontamination methods: vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP), 70-degree Celsius dry heat, ultraviolet light, and 70 percent ethanol spray. Of those, VHP was the most effective decontamination method, because no virus could be detected after only a 10-minute treatment. UV and dry heat were acceptable decontamination procedures as long as the methods are applied for at least 60 minutes.
  • Through HRSA, HHS has awarded $90 million for Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program recipients across the country to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. This funding is provided by the FY20 CARES Act. This funding supports 581 Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program recipients across the country, including city/county health departments, health clinics, community-based organizations, state health departments, and AIDS Education and Training Centers, in their efforts to prevent or minimize the impact of this pandemic on people with HIV.
  • April 14: President Trump today announced the formation of 17 “ Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups” that have been tasked with mapping out the best way to reopen the U.S. economy.
  • Education Sec. Betsy DeVos announced today that career and technical education (CTE) programs can donate or loan personal protective equipment (PPE) to public and private healthcare centers.
  • Sec. DeVos also announced that nearly $3 billion will be allocated to governors to continue education for K-12 students throughout the crisis. The money comes from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, authorized through the CARES Act, and is an emergency block grant.
    • DeVos will also allocate $6 billion to colleges and universities to provide direct emergency cash grants to students.
  • Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter yesterday to HHS Sec. Alex Azar calling on the Administration to quickly and efficiently allocate the remainder of the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSF) to healthcare providers.
    • In their letter, the senators voiced their concern for a more targeted distribution of funds to COVID-19 “hot spots.” Currently, $30 billion of the total $100 billion allocated will be dedicated to all providers enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B based purely on their claim value.
  • The CDC published two new articles in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Characteristics of Health Care Personnel with COVID-19 and Transmission of COVID-19 to Health Care Personnel During Exposures to a Hospitalized Patient.
  • The CDC has posted multiple new guidance documents on its COVID-19 dashboard, including useful information about testing in the U.S.
  • The latest CMS news updates can be viewed in the daily roundup.
  • The NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis (OPA) has developed a comprehensive, expert-curated portfolio of COVID-19 publications and preprints. The portfolio includes peer-reviewed articles from PubMed and preprints from medRxiv, bioRxiv, ChemRxiv, and arXiv. It is updated daily with the latest available data and enables users to explore and analyze the rapidly growing set of advances in COVID-19 research.
  • The House and Senate will both remain recessed until May. House and Senate leadership continue to engage in negotiations about additional supplemental funding packages (COVID 3.5, COVID IV, and COVID V), but nothing has been formally agreed upon or introduced.
  • Reps. Neal Dunn (R-FL), Nydia Velasquez (D-NY), Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and Ben McAdams (D-UT) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) remain the only members of Congress to have tested positive for COVID-19 (or be presumptive positive).
  • April 13: 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.
  • The FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the emergency use of the Perfusor Space Syringe Infusion Pump System, Infusomat Space Volumetric Infusion Pump System, and Outlook ES (“B. Braun Space and Outlook Pumps”) for use in the tracheal delivery of continuous nebulized medications into a nebulizer to treat patients of all ages with or suspected of having COVID-19 and decrease the exposure of healthcare providers to such patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. The EUA was also issued for ground medical transport use of the Infusomat Space Volumetric Infusion Pump System.
  • The FDA issued an EUA to Advanced Sterilization Products, Inc. (ASP) for the ASP STERRAD Sterilization Systems that have the potential to decontaminate approximately 4 million compatible N95 or N95-equivalent respirators per day in the U.S. for single-user reuse by health care workers in hospital settings. This authorization is intended to help increase the availability of respirators so health care workers on the front lines can be better protected and provide the best care to patients with COVID-19.
  • CMS and the Departments of Labor and the Treasury issued guidance this weekend to help navigate private health insurance no-cost coverage of COVID-19 diagnostic testing and certain other related services, including antibody testing. As part of the effort to slow the spread of the virus, this guidance is another effort to remove financial barriers for Americans to receive COVID-19 tests and health services, as well as encourage the use of antibody testing that may help to enable health care workers and other Americans to get back to work more quickly.
  • Additional CMS news updates can be viewed in the daily roundup.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau plans to ask Congress for a four-month delay in delivering the population data used to redistrict the House of Representatives and political districts across the country. The new deadline would mean that state legislatures would get final figures for drawing new district maps as late as July 31st, 2021 rather than in February. The bureau also said it would extend the deadline for collecting census data to October 31st, and start to reopen field offices sometime after June 1st.
  • The U.S. Treasury Department released a new FAQ sheet about Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.
  • The Federal Healthcare Resilience Task Force recently published two documents to support EMS workers responding during COVID-19.
  • The NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis (OPA) has developed a comprehensive, 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.
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had a call with Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin last Friday in what seemed to be the beginning of negotiations for the next COVID-19 supplemental. There does not seem to have been any progress made. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy released a statement on Saturday calling on Democrats to drop their insistence on including additional funding for other programs, and Democratic leadership issued a response calling for changes to the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program and asserting the importance of increasing funding for hospitals, states and local governments, testing and PPE, and SNAP beneficiaries.
  • April 10: 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).
  • The FDA issued the second emergency use authorization (EUA) to decontaminate compatible N95 or N95-equivalent respirators for reuse by health care workers in hospital settings. This EUA will support decontamination of approximately 750,000 N95 respirators per day in the U.S.
  • The FDA also issued an emergency use authorization for a blood purification system to treat patients 18 years of age or older with confirmed COVID-19 admitted to intensive care with confirmed or imminent respiratory failure. The authorized product works by reducing the amount of cytokines and other inflammatory mediators, like small active proteins in the bloodstream that control a cell’s immune response by filtering the blood and returning the filtered blood to the patient. The proteins that are removed are typically elevated during infections and can be associated with a “cytokine storm” that occurs in some COVID-19 patients, leading to severe inflammation, rapidly progressive shock, respiratory failure, organ failure, and death.
  • House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer sent a letter to the Chair and Vice Chair of the National Governors Association, Governors Larry Hogan of Maryland Andrew Cuomo of New York, urging them to direct the leaders of all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and U.S. territories to collect demographic data on racial disparities and the coronavirus.
  • The Senate was unable to pass a bill yesterday by unanimous consent (Republican bill here, Democratic bill here) and has adjourned. Speaker Pelosi has previously indicated that the next Democrat-led supplemental proposal will be similar to the recently passed CARES Act, with focuses on small business assistance, unemployment benefits, direct payments to individuals and families, and additional funding for public health. The bill will likely include significant plus ups to programs outlined in CARES and provisions from the Pelosi bill from two weeks ago.
  • Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL) said yesterday that he has tested positive for COVID-19, making him the seventh member of Congress to have the illness. Reps. Nydia Velasquez (D-NY), Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and Ben McAdams (D-UT) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) were previously all positive (or be presumptive positive).
  • April 9: 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 evening 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 Congressional Black Caucus sent a letter to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield calling for immediate racial data reporting for COVID-19 in every state. The letter urges the CDC to prioritize the collection and reporting of vital public health data which will include race and risk factors. The letter is in response to the alarmingly high rates at which black Americans and other minorities are being infected by, and dying from, COVID-19.
  • The FDA’s daily COVID-19 roundup is available here.
  • NIH has started a clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of adults hospitalized with COVID-19. The first participants are now enrolled in Tennessee.
  • This resource is tracking recent statements from members of Congress about COVID-19.
  • The White House COVID-19 task force released testing data today and provided a breakdown of how the virus is impacting various age groups. The data highlights that, in the higher age groups, there are also higher rates of infection. Of those tested:
    • 11 percent of those under 25 were positive.
    • 17 percent of those between 25 and 45 were positive.
    • 21 percent of those between 45 and 65 were positive.
    • 22 percent of those between 65 and 85 were positive.
    • 24 percent of those over 85 were positive.
  • Remarks by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and members of the White House COVID-9 task force from yesterday’s press briefing are available here.
  • April 7: At today’s 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.
  • CMS also posted a letter to clinicians that outlines a summary of actions CMS has taken to ensure clinicians have maximum flexibility to reduce unnecessary barriers to providing patient care during the pandemic. The summary includes information about telehealth and virtual visits, accelerated and advanced payments, and recent waiver information.
  • This evening, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said that $30 billion of the $100 billion for hospitals will be released this week. Award amounts will be based on an individual hospital’s Medicare revenue and will be disbursed by a simple direct deposit to the hospital. If the hospital is not set up to receive a direct deposit, there will be a simple registration process. The money will not be first come first serve.
  • FEMA is issuing a temporary rule to allocate certain scarce or threatened materials for domestic use, so that these materials may not be exported from the U.S. without explicit approval by FEMA. The rule covers five types of PPE, outlined in a statement released today.
  • Federal officials have begun releasing detained immigrants who are thought to be at high risk of contracting COVID-19. ICE has instructed its field offices to identify individuals who are considered particularly vulnerable, such as those over 60 or pregnant. A spokesperson said the agency had identified 600 such detainees, and that 160 have been released.
  • Congress, despite being recessed, is preparing for a fourth COVID-19 supplemental funding package. “CARES 2” is being led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is aiming to have legislation on the floor during the week of April 20th. Speaker Pelosi has indicated that the next supplemental will be similar to the recently passed CARES Act, with focuses on small business assistance, unemployment benefits, direct payments to individuals and families, and additional funding for public health. The bill will likely include significant plus ups to programs outlined in CARES and provisions from the Pelosi bill from two weeks ago. For a more thorough update on the federal 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.
  • Remarks by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and other members of the COVID-19 Task Force from yesterday’s (4/6) White House press briefing are available here.
  • 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 announced upcoming action by the CDC to provide $186 million in funding for resources to state and local jurisdictions in support of the COVID-19 response.
  • 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.
  • HUD has allocated $200 million in Indian Housing Block Grants to American Indian Tribes across the country to aid their response to COVID-19.
  • CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report includes an article highlighting the impact of COVID-19 in children. The preliminary description of pediatric U.S. COVID-19 cases shows that relatively few children with COVID-19 are hospitalized, and fewer children than adults experience fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Severe outcomes have been reported in children, including three deaths.
  • The CDC released updated COVID-19 guidance for transit maintenance workers.
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos authorized new funding flexibilities that allow schools to repurpose existing education funds for technology infrastructure and teacher training on distance learning.
  • Remarks by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and other members of the COVID-19 Task Force from yesterday’s White House press briefing are available here.
  • 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 i nfrastructure framework from January will be the starting point of whatever bill they introduce. Today, she added that the next government aid package could top $1 trillion. 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.
  • No new members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19. Reps. Nydia Velasquez (D-NY), Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and Ben McAdams (D-UT) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) remain the only members to test positive (or be presumptive positive) at this point. Eight other members are in self-quarantine and 29 have completed a self-quarantine.
  • CMS released updated guidance for nursing homes attempting to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. Recommendations include implementing symptom screening for all staff and residents, ensuring staff use appropriate PPE, and separating staffing teams for residents.
  • 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.
  • A bipartisan Senate group urged FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn to ease federal guidance on alcohol in hand sanitizer, asking the administration to allow the use of undenatured (food-grade) alcohol as an acceptable ingredient. Read the letter here.
  • The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee scheduled a “ paper hearing” for April 9 on the use of big data in the fight against coronavirus. The hearing will allow witnesses to answer lawmakers’ questions remotely with testimony posted online.
  • The FDA issued revised guidelines allowing blood donations from gay men who have refrained from sexual contact for three months, replacing the previous one-year requirement.
  • CMS issued a third set of COVID-19 FAQs about Medicaid and CHIP. A collection of all FAQs can be found here.
  • CMS issued new recommendations to state and local governments, as well as nursing homes, to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes.
  • The Supreme Court has postponed oral arguments scheduled for the April session.
  • 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.
  • As part of the response to COVID-19, the FDA is taking the lead on a national effort to facilitate the development of, and access to, two investigational therapies derived from human blood.
  • The Trump administration will use a federal stimulus package to pay hospitals that treat uninsured people with the new coronavirus as long as they agree not to bill the patients or issue unexpected charges.
  • On April 6th, the FDA will host a webinar for device manufacturers and industry to discuss and answer questions on the recently issued, immediately-in-effect guidance on enforcement policy for PPE during COVID-19.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Reps. Nydia Velasquez (D-NY), Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and Ben McAdams (D-UT) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) remain the only members of Congress to test positive (or be presumptive positive) for COVID-19. Eight other members are in self-quarantine and 29 have completed a self-quarantine. 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.
  • President Trump has extended the federal government’s social-distancing guidelines through the end of April.
  • The CDC issued a domestic travel advisory for residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Individuals from those three states are urged to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for two weeks effective yesterday. The travel advisory does not apply to essential employees.
  • CMS announced an array of temporary regulatory waivers and new rules to increase flexibility within the health care system and improve response to COVID-19.
  • CMS announced the expansion of its accelerated and advanced payment program for Medicare participating health care providers and suppliers, to ensure they have the resources needed to combat COVID-19. The program expansion includes changes from the recently enacted CARES Act.
  • CMS sent a letter to the nation’s hospitals on behalf of Vice President Pence requesting that they increase their data reporting. The Administration is requesting that hospitals report COVID-19 testing data to HHS, in addition to daily reporting regarding bed capacity and supplies to the CDC National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) COVID-19 Patient Impact and Hospital Capacity Module.
  • FEMA has a “ How to Help” website for COVID-19 which includes donations, volunteering, and private sector subcategories.
  • The EPA is relaxing enforcement of multiple environmental regulations because of worker shortages and travel restrictions caused by COVID-19, per a memo circulated March 26. This has caused a stir in the environmental activism community as many facilities benefiting from the relaxed standards are still operating under full capacity.
  • President Trump sent a letter to America’s governors today saying the federal government hoped to provide a risk assessment for individual counties in conjunction with increased testing capabilities. In the letter, the President says that counties will be classified as high, medium or low risk to help local policymakers make decisions about whether to maintain, increase, or relax social distancing standards.
  • HHS banned the hoarding or price-gouging of N95 respirator masks, ventilators, gloves, and other personal protective equipment. The hoarding ban includes hydroxychloroquine after reports of the drug selling out at pharmacies. The list of banned materials can be found here.
  • The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at HHS issued guidance on how covered entities may disclose protected health information about an individual who has been infected with or exposed to COVID-19 to law enforcement, paramedics, other first responders, and public health authorities in compliance with HIPAA.
  • On March 25, the USTR announced the U.S. would grant tariff exclusions for more medical products from China. The new categories of medical equipment excluded from tariffs include refillable dispensers, sterile urology drain bags, ice bags, and wristbands.
  • On March 24, the FDA announced multiple actions taken in its ongoing response effort to COVID-19.
  • The Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) authority allows the FDA to help strengthen the nation’s public health protections against CBRN threats by facilitating the availability and use of MCMs needed during public health emergencies. Click here for a list of current EUAs.
  • On March 23, the FDA took action to increase U.S. supplies to support the U.S. response to COVID-19 by providing instructions to manufacturers importing personal protective equipment and other devices.
  • HHS ASPR is providing $100 million to support the National Special Pathogen System (NSPS), which will leverage infrastructure set up for the U.S. Ebola response in order to assist health departments and hospital systems across the country.
  • CMS approved Medicaid Section 1135 waivers for 11 states, bringing the total number of states approved for waivers to 13. The waivers offer states flexibilities to focus their resources on combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • CDC continues to update its list of FAQ for healthcare professionals.
  • CMS announced a new inspection process for nursing homes and healthcare facilities that includes a self-assessment tool for providers. The new inspection plans come following a CMS review of the Life Care Center nursing home in Kirkland, Washington. CMS is temporarily postponing routine inspections at healthcare facilities to focus on prioritized inspections.
  • The NIH launched a website with educational resources for coronavirus workers dealing with the spread of COVID-19. The website contains virtual safety training for frontline responders who must continue working despite coronavirus.
  • The White House introduced the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium to provide COVID-19 researchers worldwide with access to high performance computing resources. Researchers may submit COVID-19 research proposals to the consortium which will then be reviewed and matched with computing resources.
  • The IRS temporarily closed all Taxpayer Assistance Centers and stopped face-to-face service through the country. The IRS will continue to process tax returns, issue refunds, and help taxpayers to the “greatest extent possible.”
  • The Census Bureau has paused all hiring and on-boarding for nearly 600,000 employees due to COVID-19 until at least April 1st.
  • Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) penned a letter signed by 126 House Democrats urging the Administration to drop its ACA lawsuit amid the coronavirus pandemic. The letter warns of a healthcare system collapse should the Supreme Court strike down the ACA during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) joined Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Ben McAdams (D-UT) as the only members of Congress who have tested positive for COVID-19; however, 26 other members are now in self-quarantine. Four members have completed a self-quarantine.
  • Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) penned a letter signed by 126 House Democrats urging the Administration to drop its ACA lawsuit amid the coronavirus pandemic. The letter warns of a healthcare system collapse should the Supreme Court strike down the ACA during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The President has signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which the Senate passed yesterday with a vote of 90-8. The House previously passed the bill (and then a correcting resolution), which is the second COVID-19 supplemental appropriations package. View the bill summary here.
  • During a conference call this afternoon, CISA released its guidance intended to help states, local governments and businesses determine which workers are considered essential during shelter in place orders and other restrictions on business operations. CISA made two things abundantly clear on the call: its guidance does not carry the force of law, and guidance is subject to change as it receives stakeholder feedback.
  • The State Department announced a Level 4 travel advisory for all international travel. The announcement of the Department’s most severe travel warning is unprecedented, and instructs all Americans abroad to either return to the U.S. or prepare to shelter in place. Americans also will also be instructed not to travel abroad.
    • Some Americans remain in limbo abroad: they are either unable to leave the country they are in due to travel restrictions, or are forced to pay steep amounts for the few remaining flights.
    • In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.
  • The Census Bureau said today that it will extend the deadline for counting everyone in the U.S. by two weeks.
  • The Census Bureau announced that it will temporarily suspend all of its field work for the 2020 census until at least April 1. The census can still be filled out online, however, and letters with instructions on how to participate are expected to arrive at "most homes" by Friday.
  • There are currently multiple proposals floating around for a third supplemental, which will be Senate-driven. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released details of a $750 billion proposal, Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin has offered ideas for a $1.2 trillion package, and Senate Republicans have put together a bill that would cost around $850 billion.
  • President Trump announced March 18th that he will invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA), which would allow the Administration to mobilize American industry to manufacture medical supplies, such as masks, gloves, and other PPE, that are in short supply.
  • The FDA is allowing for the expanded use of devices to monitor patients’ vital signs remotely. Press release here.
  • The FDA published guidance on production of alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • The FDA issued a guidance for industry, investigators, and institutional review boards conducting clinical trials during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
  • On March 17th, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted U.S. Cellular special temporary authority to use more airwaves to help meet increased consumer demand for broadband during the pandemic.
  • Last week the House passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (and then a correcting resolution), the second COVID-19 supplemental appropriations package. We are currently awaiting Senate action, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated the Senate will vote as soon as possible. View the bill summary here.
  • The Office of Management and Budget sent a letter to Congress outlining additional funding needs for FY20 and FY21 for the COVID-19 response.
  • Reps. Ben McAdams (D-UT) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) have both tested positive for COVID-19.
  • HUD Secretary Ben Carson authorized the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to implement an immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages for the next 60 days.
  • For the next in its FAQ series, CMS released updates to their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for State Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Agencies.
  • CMS has also released recommendations on adult elective surgeries and non-essential medical, surgical, and dental procedures.
  • CMS has released a Virtual Toolkit with resources for medical and public health partners to stay up to date with CMS materials.
  • Medicaid Telehealth Guidance to states.
  • Administration officials said all asylum seekers and other foreigners attempting to enter the U.S. from Mexico illegally will be turned away, citing the potential risk of COVID-19 spreading through detention facilities and border patrol agents. When acted upon (likely within the next two days), ports of entry would still remain open to American citizens, green-card holders, and foreigners with proper documentation.
  • 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.




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) 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.
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.
Grants/Funding Lifestyle and Economy - Americans can track the status of their stimulus payments and provide their bank-account information to get their money faster via direct deposit on a new IRS website. - Forbes is keeping a running list of all major international airline COVID-19-related change and cancellation policies. - The New York Times has started its own tracker of cases in the U.S. to fill in the gaps left by agency data. - Lists of canceled conferences and events can be found here (music), here (tech), here (general), and here (sports/entertainment). - Continue to check out 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. - RetailDive tracks store reopenings in the U.S.
  • May 15: 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.
  • U.S. officials are preparing to begin checking passengers’ temperatures at roughly a dozen airports as soon as next week, as the coronavirus pandemic has heightened travel anxieties.
  • May 14:
  • May 13: Chair of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell warned today that the U.S. is facing an economic hit that could permanently damage the economy if Congress does not provide sufficient policy support to prevent a wave of bankruptcies and prolonged unemployment. Subsequently, the S&P 500 fell an additional 2 percent.
  • Researchers at NYU Langone Health in New York City said a device manufactured by Abbott Labs, which is widely used to detect COVID-19, missed nearly half of the positive cases detected by another common test. The researchers compared the Abbott ID Now to another device, finding that it missed 48% of positive cases the other machine detected. The NYU study has not been peer-reviewed and was posted online Tuesday ahead of formal publication. At the White House, where President Trump, Vice President Pence and other senior officials are regularly tested using the device, the risk of false negatives was highlighted when two aides tested positive last week.
  • Speech droplets generated by asymptomatic carriers of the COVID-19 virus are increasingly considered to be a likely mode of disease transmission, according to a recent study.
  • A new government projection shows the U.S. is on track to produce more electricity this year from renewable power than from coal for the first time on record. In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, factories, retailers, restaurants, and office buildings have shut down, which has dramatically decreased demand for electricity. Since coal plants often cost more to operate than gas plants or renewables, many utilities are cutting back on coal power first in response.
  • Tyson Foods plans to reduce prices for ground beef, roasts and other beef products by as much as 20 percent to 30 percent for sales made this week to restaurants, grocery stores, and other customers.
  • Cisco Systems posted lower quarterly sales and projected its first annual sales decline in three years, citing economic effects from COVID-19 that have taken a toll on its core business.
  • Amtrak plans to restart its Acela express service between Washington, D.C. and Boston on June 1st, whether or not there are passengers to ride it. Uber announced today that all users will be required to wear a mask or face covering starting May 18th to keep them safe as cities start to reopen. The company also said it has allocated $50 million to buy supplies for drivers, including masks, disinfectant sprays, and wipes.
  • Emirates Airlines said today that limited passenger flights would resume to nine destinations — including London and Frankfurt — beginning May 21st.
  • Italy's Serie A soccer clubs held a vote today to resume the season starting on June 13th, pending government approval.
  • May 12: The S&P 500 dropped 2 percent today as reports from around the world came in about new spikes of cases in countries easing social distancing restrictions.
  • California State University, the nation’s largest four-year public university system, said that classes at its 23 campuses would be canceled for the fall semester, with instruction taking place almost exclusively online.
  • California’s system of community colleges has sued the Department of Education in an effort to overturn guidelines issued by Sec. Betsy DeVos that would deny COVID-19 relief funds to undocumented students, including Dreamers.
  • In Tennessee, the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex highlights the elevated transmission risk of COVID-19 in correctional facilities and surrounding communities. The prison has recently reported approximately 600 COVID-19 cases among both prisoners and staff.
  • The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) announced $384 million in additional funding to support a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Novavax.
  • Gilead has signed non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements with five generic pharmaceutical manufacturers based in India and Pakistan to further expand supply of remdesivir. The agreements allow the companies – Cipla Ltd., Ferozsons Laboratories, Hetero Labs Ltd., Jubilant Lifesciences and Mylan – to manufacture remdesivir for distribution in 127 countries. The countries consist of nearly all low-income and lower-middle income countries, as well as several upper-middle- and high-income countries that face significant obstacles to healthcare access.
  • Several sports leagues have announced their reopening dates and plans. NASCAR will resume on May 17th at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina with no fans present. Major League Baseball has reportedly reached a deal to begin the delayed 2020 season in July.
  • While some cruise ships remain at sea, with passengers and crew stuck onboard, Carnival Cruise Line announced it intends to resume services on select cruise routes starting August 1st.
  • Patagonia was one of the first major companies to close all of its stores back in March, and they've recently announced they could be one of the last to reopen. Representatives said Patagonia likely will not reopen any in-store shopping locations until June at the earliest, but it could also be as late as fall or early winter.
  • May 11: Facebook and Google both announced late last week that employees will be able to work from home through the end of the year. Some employees will be asked to go in once offices reopen in the coming months, but the majority will be encouraged to stay home.
  • Some companies have started sending out screening surveys (like this one from Ford) before allowing employees to return to work.
  • Tesla reopened its only U.S. electric car plant in California, despite local orders against manufacturing. Elon Musk tweeted today that production had restarted and he would be "on the line with everyone else."
  • A robot dog is patrolling one of Singapore's parks as part of a coronavirus-related trial. The machine is made by Boston Dynamics and has a camera to monitor how busy Bishan-Ang Moh Kio Park becomes. It also has a loudspeaker to broadcast social-distancing messages.
  • McGill University in Montreal has already announced that classes will be held online for the fall of 2020.
  • ClassPass, a website offering gym-class access, has had to furlough most of its staff and has lost a reported 95% of revenue.
  • May 8: More than 20.5 million jobs were lost in April, leading the U.S. to an unemployment rate of 14.7 percent, the worst since the Great Depression. A huge portion of the jobs losses are classified as temporary, as employers hope to be able to bring back employees after COVID-19 lockdowns start to ease.
  • More than two-thirds of respondents said in a poll released Thursday that they were more concerned that state governments would reopen their economies too quickly than that they might take too long.
  • Health officials are tracking a new illness in children, 73 children in New York have had it, which doctors have labeled pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PIMS). Information about PIMS is still extremely limited due to the small numbers of cases compared with the staggering numbers of people affected by COVID-19, but pediatric specialists around the country are focusing their efforts on determining whether more cases exist. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles experts noticed an increase in the number of patients diagnosed with Kawasaki disease (a rare pediatric condition characterized by inflammation of blood vessels and abnormal dilations of the arteries supplying the heart with blood) in the month of April as compared to the previous two years.
  • A recent study detected COVID-19 in the semen of a small sample of patients from China’s Henan province. The study acknowledges that these analyses do not indicate whether or not COVID-19 can be sexually transmitted. Other viruses can be found in semen and can be transmitted via sexual contact, including Zika and Ebola.
  • A recently released Harvard University study showed that COVID-19 patients living in counties with higher levels of air pollution were more likely to die from the respiratory disease. The study has not been peer-reviewed, and is politically controversial.
  • Tesla has told employees it intended to restart its factory in Fremont, California today, but these plans do not comply with a local government order that has not yet cleared large manufacturers to resume operations.
  • The operators of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea have extended the "temporary closure" of the theme park. The news comes as Disney said it will begin a phased reopening of its Shanghai theme park next week.
  • May 7: 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.
  • New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Irving Medical Center researchers found that hydroxychloroquine neither helped nor harmed COVID-19 patients at the medical center in Manhattan. As a result, the hospital is no longer recommending it as a treatment for its COVID-19 patients.
  • Moderna, one of the first biotech companies to begin human trials of an experimental vaccine for the coronavirus, said that the FDA had cleared its application to proceed to a clinical trial involving about 600 people.
  • The drop in airline travel caused by COVID-19 has sharply reduced the amount of atmospheric data routinely gathered by commercial airliners, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Apparently, sensors on planes collect data on temperature, wind, and humidity, and transmit it in real time to forecasting organizations around the world. The data collection has been cut by nearly 90 percent in some regions.
  • May 6: A new study from the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project shows a rise in food insecurity without modern precedent. Nearly a fifth of young children are not getting enough to eat, according to surveys of their mothers. The rate is three times higher than in 2008, at the worst of the Great Recession.
  • The payroll processing company ADP said on Wednesday that the private sector lost more than 20 million jobs in April, with the cuts spread across every sector and size of employer.
  • Amazon is backing a coalition of online retailers that will begin a seven-figure advertising offensive against President Trump’s demand that the United States Postal Service (USPS) increase package delivery prices to avoid bankruptcy during COVID-19. Amazon, CVS, and other companies involved in the campaign rely on the USPS for the delivery of millions of packages a year.
  • This interactive page shows how coronavirus mutates and spreads.
  • Economists are anticipating another bad week for U.S. unemployment claims. Data will be released later this week.
  • The DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) put out a joint alert warning that advanced persistent threat (APT) groups are using the pandemic to zero in on vulnerable organizations involved in fighting COVID-19. The agencies warned that these groups were likely being targeted in order to steal intellectual property and intelligence, such as details on national and international health policies and COVID-19 research.
  • According to data released by the Department of Commerce, health care spending declined at an annualized rate of 18 percent in the first three months of the year. This is the largest reduction since the government started keeping records in 1959.
  • Orangutans in Indonesia’s rehabilitation centers are staying put for now. Officials have canceled all planned releases into the wild, closed the facilities to outsiders and ordered staff to wear protective gear. Scientists fear that COVID-19 could also jump to great apes — gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans — which share up to 99 percent of their DNA with humans.
  • May 5: Reports from New York City and Europe describe new cases of a rare multisystem inflammatory syndrome in some pediatric COVID-19 patients. The Paediatric Intensive Care Society alerted its members of this condition in late April, and public health officials are distributing notices to local health systems to inform pediatricians of the potential connection between the condition and COVID-19.
  • According to the WHO, there are now 108 potential COVID-19 vaccines in development around the world, eight of which are approved for clinical trials.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line, one of the world’s largest cruise companies, said today that its chances of surviving the pandemic are slim.
  • Video game companies Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts have reported huge jumps in revenue, presumably due to the number of people seeking at-home entertainment while socially isolating.
  • Airbnb says it's cutting 1,900 employees — about 25 percent of its workforce — as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The U.S. trade deficit widened in March as the economic shock related to COVID-19 crippled both imports and exports. Analysts anticipate a sustained downward trend.
  • The deficit rose 11.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted $44.4 billion in March from $39.8 billion in February.
  • The New York Times has collected stories from nurses, doctors, and E.M.T.s from around the world about what keeps them up at night and what inspires them to keep fighting.
  • The National Academy of Medicine will host a free webinar on Thursday to discuss priorities and strategies to support the professional well-being of clinicians.
  • The Korean Baseball Organization’s opening day was today, and ESPN announced they would be broadcasting six of the games this season.
  • May 4: 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.
  • Tim Bray, an Amazon Cloud VP, quit this weekend over the company’s firing of workers who had protested against inadequate workplace safety measures. In his public explanation, Bray said he had quit “in dismay,” and criticized a number of recent firings by Amazon, including that of an employee in a Staten Island warehouse, Christian Smalls, who had led a protest in March calling for the company to provide workers with more protections.
  • After Warren Buffet announced he would be shedding his airline stock, the shares of the four biggest U.S. airlines — Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines — tumbled.
  • J. Crew filed for bankruptcy today, becoming the first major retailer to do so.
  • Costco is now limiting the amount of meat customers can buy at once as production in the meat industry slows after widespread illnesses in slaughterhouses across the Midwest and South. Beef, pork, and poultry products are “temporarily limited to 3 items” per member.
  • The Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro had a face mask projected on it this weekend with text on its torso which read, “#MascaraSalva” (masks save).
  • May 1: Today was college decision day but, of some 700 universities with a May 1st acceptance deadline, which include many of the country’s most competitive, about half have already given students an extra month to decide. Many students are hoping to wait to make their decisions until they know if campuses will be open in the fall. For some, the issue is purely because they want the true college experience. For others, it comes down to not wanting to pay full tuition for virtual classes.
  • After conversations about privacy with governments and public health app developers, Apple and Google plan to implement stronger privacy protections in their forthcoming COVID-19 contact-tracing tool. Tracking keys will be more randomly generated, Bluetooth will be encrypted, and apps that use the tool will limit the recording of the time people are exposed to an infected person to a maximum of 30 minutes.
  • When the Las Vegas Strip is cleared to reopen, MGM Resorts International will open two or three of its casinos, including the flagship Bellagio, as part of a gradual relaunch. Casinos will open with safety measures including social distancing, which the public can expect to see in a full plan in about two weeks.
  • U.S. auto sales fell an estimated more than 50 percent last month over the prior year. Additionally, the selling pace was its lowest on record since at least 1979. Specifically, Hyundai reported a 39 percent drop in its U.S. sales last month, while sales for Mazda declined 44 percent and Toyota said its U.S. sales dropped 54 percent.
  • April 30: 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.
  • Researchers from the Northwest Evaluation Association, a standardized testing company, predict students who received limited or no instruction during the school closures from March through August may only retain about 70 percent of their reading progress compared to a normal school year.
  • Airlines are starting to enforce stricter rules around mask use. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines announced today that they will start requiring all passengers and flight attendants to wear a face covering in the coming weeks. Lufthansa, JetBlue, and Frontier Airlines all made similar announcements earlier in the week.
  • Southwest Airlines said this week that its flight attendants would soon be wearing masks, joining United Airlines, which announced a similar policy late last week.
  • Macy’s announced today that they’ve come up with an ambitious plan to reopen all of its 775 locations, including Bloomingdales and Bluemercury, in the next six to eight weeks. Stores will start opening on Monday in Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
  • April 29: Following the NIH’s announcement of the promising remdesivir trial, the S&P 500 gained nearly 3 percent.
  • The Federal Reserve says it will do whatever it can to insulate the economy as COVID-19 lockdowns continue to inhibit economic growth.
  • According to the Commerce Department, U.S. GDP fell at an annual rate of 4.8 percent in the first quarter. This is the fastest quarterly decline in a decade.
  • As anticipated, multiple large companies revealed their first quarter earnings today. Microsoft’s revenue saw minimal impact from COVID-19, while Boeing saw nearly a 26 percent decline from last year.
  • The American Federation of Teachers, one of two national teachers’ unions, said it would release a plan outlining the conditions that they expect to be met before they would be comfortable with schools reopening. Within the plan, the Federation asks for 14 days of local cases declining with adequate testing, hand-washing stations at entry points, and the cessation of formal teacher evaluations until there are more established procedures for in-person and at-home learning.
  • Tyson Foods said on Wednesday that it was doubling bonuses, to a total of $120 million, for its 116,000 front-line workers and truck drivers in the United States. The company also said it was increasing short-term disability coverage for employees unable to work because of illness and putting additional health screening measures into place.
  • Lyft says they plan to lay off 17 percent of employees. Executives and Vice Presidents will take significant pay cuts.
  • Volkswagen will not be restarting production at its plant in Tennessee next Monday after all. A new start date has yet to be announced.
  • Argentina and France have both canceled the remainder of their soccer seasons. In Germany, players are back on the pitch, and England, Italy, and Spain all have plans to move forward soon.
  • April 28: Moderna said it has submitted a new-drug application with the FDA to evaluate the vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, in a more extensive study if supported by safety data from an initial study. The phase 2 study is expected to begin in the second quarter and will evaluate the safety and any adverse reactions and immune responses of two mRNA-1273 vaccinations given 28 days apart. Each person participating in the study will be assigned to receive a placebo or different doses of the vaccine candidate. The plan is to enroll 600 healthy adults and older adults in two cohorts. Participants will be followed through 12 months after the second vaccination.
  • The National Academies of Sciences held their annual meeting from April 25th-27th. During one panel discussion, Dr. Tony Fauci and other panelists explored the status of the pandemic, research underway, and the key role of vaccines in bringing the pandemic to an end. The video is available here.
  • A St. Louis health care system has implemented a process to disinfect disposable N95 respirator masks that allows health care workers to reuse their own mask for up to 20 cycles. The novel disinfection process uses vaporized hydrogen peroxide. Test results from a pilot program at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and two other hospitals that are also part of BJC HealthCare, showed that the disinfection process kills germs from N95 masks while ensuring that the only person who touches the mask is the original mask wearer.
  • Dr. Tony Fauci said it will be very difficult for professional sports teams to return to competition, with the key variable being the availability of access to tests. He said any resumption of play should be done gradually and carefully, and when cases begin to increase again, that “we have the capability of identifying, isolating and contact tracing.”
  • About 1 in 7 Americans say they would avoid seeking medical care if they experienced key symptoms associated with COVID-19 out of fear of the potential cost. Another six percent - representing about 15 million people - report that they or a family member have been denied medical care for some other health issue due to heavy volume brought on by the coronavirus outbreak. The findings, released today by the nonprofit West Health and Gallup as part of a series on the rising cost of healthcare in the U.S., come from a nationally representative survey of 1,017 U.S. adults conducted between April 1st and 14th.
  • A prominent model used by the White House to predict the trajectory of the coronavirus outbreak on Monday revised its estimated death toll sharply upward, and is now projecting COVID-19 could result in more than 74,000 deaths across the U.S. by early August. The model was produced by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and has been frequently referenced by top administration officials. Its forecast now projects 74,073 deaths in the U.S. by August 4th — with an estimate range of 56,563 to 130,666. Because the forecast cuts off before the fall, when many epidemiologists anticipate a second wave of the outbreak to hit the U.S., even that revised projection could be a gross underestimate.
  • Coronavirus patients with lung cancer, blood cancer, or cancer that has spread beyond its original site are at greater risk than cancer-free patients for severe COVID-19, according to a new study of patients in Hubei Province in China.
  • Simon Property Group, the biggest operator of malls in the U.S., has come up with a game plan for reopening 49 shopping centers across 10 states starting on Friday. Gap Inc., which owns its namesake brand as well as Athleta, Banana Republic, and Old Navy and is a tenant in some of the properties being reopened, said on Tuesday that it was not opening any stores this weekend. Macy’s, also a Simon Property tenant, currently has all of its stores closed.
  • Chinese scientists say the novel coronavirus will not be eradicated, adding to a growing consensus around the world that the pathogen will likely return in waves like the flu. According to the researchers, it’s unlikely the new virus will disappear the way its close cousin SARS did 17 years ago, as it infects some people without causing obvious symptoms like fever. This group of so-called asymptomatic carriers makes it hard to fully contain transmission as they can spread the virus undetected.
  • Colleges and universities are taking huge financial blows. The University of Michigan anticipates losses of $400 million to $1 billion this year across its three campuses. California’s university system suffered $558 million in unanticipated costs in March alone. By itself, the Boulder campus of the University of Colorado will lose at least $67 million through the summer.
  • WIRED recently published “ An Oral History of the Day Everything Changed,” which documents prominent Americans looking back at when they realized COVID-19 was a big deal.
  • April 27: 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.
  • Stocks rose Monday, with investors betting that stimulus measures and the easing of coronavirus-lockdown measures around the world could help kick-start economic activity. The Dow increased 1.5 percent and the S&P 500 followed suit.
  • Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and other U.S. companies are scheduled to report their Q1 results in the next few days. The reports are likely to provide insights on how leaders of the biggest American businesses view prospects for the rest of the year, though the pandemic still makes these forecasts less reliable than in previous quarters.
  • WIRED recently published “ An Oral History of the Day Everything Changed,” which documents prominent Americans looking back at when they realized COVID-19 was a big deal.
  • Demand for in-home care has increased as older adults shelter in place. The uptick in need is stretching thin an already burdened caregiver network.
  • April 24: 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.
  • Polls continue to show that Americans support COVID-19 lockdown restrictions (around 80 percent support, and 20 percent think it is doing more harm than good).
  • The Federal Reserve wants to make it easier for consumers to access cash in savings accounts and money-market funds during the pandemic, so it is eliminating a rule that generally limits individuals from making more than six withdrawals from such accounts each month without paying a fee. The move enables banks to allow for unlimited withdrawals and transfers each month, though lenders aren’t required to eliminate the existing limits and can retain their existing fees on transactions of more than six a month.
  • Earlier this week, 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.
  • Facebook is rolling out a new video-chat feature to rival Zoom, part of a suite of new offerings aimed at users kept home by the coronavirus. Facebook said today that it is launching Messenger Rooms, an invitation-based group video chat that can accommodate up to 50 people, along with additional video options for gamers and singles looking to chat with matches on Facebook Dating. They will also be expanding the Messenger Kids app, which includes parental restrictions, to new countries. Unilever says people are using personal-care products such as shampoo and deodorant less than usual, estimating 11 fewer uses in a typical week. Also, people are cooking more at home, which has increased demand for things like soup cubes, mayonnaise, and instant noodles.
  • U.S. grocers are struggling to secure meat, looking for new suppliers and selling different cuts, as COVID-19 cuts into domestic production. Outbreaks among employees have closed about a dozen U.S. meatpacking facilities this month and slowed production at many others.
  • April 23: 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.
  • The Treasury Department asked publicly traded companies to repay loans they received from the recent federal program intended to aid small businesses. 150 public companies ultimately received nearly $600 million in loans this month from the PPP, which was intended to help small businesses keep employees on payroll. Many of the large companies, such as Ruth’s Hospitality Group and Shake Shack, have said they will return the aid they received.
  • The United Automobile Workers Union, which represents more than 400,000 workers, said today that it is opposed to companies restarting auto production next month, saying it is not yet safe for its members to return to work.
  • The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security published a potential path forward for a national strategy for antibody testing. The report advises an increase in validated, accurate serological tests for essential workers and public health officials.
  • An abstract published in error on the website of the World Health Organization suggested that an experimental antiviral drug, remdesivir, was not helping coronavirus patients in a trial conducted in China. The abstract was quickly removed, but not before Stat, a medical news site, reported the findings. Gilead stocks went down 6 percent before they were able to explain that the trial was terminated because not enough patients could be enrolled.
  • April 22: The WTI rebounded and gained 20 percent after a devastating last two days.
  • The S&P 500 is also up today, climbing by more than 2 percent. Chipotle Mexican Grill came out on top today with an S&P gain of 14 percent, which really feels like a win for me as well because I love Chipotle.
  • Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg published a piece about “ How Data Can Aid the Fight Against COVID-19.”
  • New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) approved a benefits program for workers who die from COVID-19-related causes as the death toll among its workforce rose to 83. MTA officials have faced criticism from some workers who say the authority was slow to respond to the crisis. In particular, they are angry that some workers either weren’t allowed to wear face masks or weren’t provided with them during the first weeks of March. The benefit pays $500,000 to a spouse or beneficiary of a worker who dies because of the new coronavirus. It also provides three further years of health coverage for the person’s spouse and dependents.
  • Multiple large Universities, including Stanford and Princeton, have said they will not accept the funds allocated to them under the COVID-19 stimulus package. Harvard was set to receive nearly $9 million, but said the government should allocate it elsewhere after they faced extended criticism from the academic and small business sectors.
  • Two Tennessee brothers who stockpiled 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer have avoided prosecution and a fine, but they will not recoup the thousands of dollars they spent on the supplies under the terms of a price-gouging settlement that the state attorney general announced this week. The brothers, Matt Colvin and Noah Colvin, donated the supplies last month to people in Tennessee and Kentucky, which the authorities said on Tuesday was acceptable as restitution and was a factor in the settlement terms in the highly publicized case.
  • April 21: 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.
  • The historic bust in the oil market worsened today as traders were afraid crude oil output was still way too high without enough storage space. A panel of experts convened by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommends against doctors using a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19 patients because of potential toxicities. The NIH’s COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines states in the Therapeutic Options Under Investigation section that, “There are insufficient clinical data to recommend either for or against using chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19.”
    • Germany’s Oktoberfest and Spain’s Running of the Bulls both officially canceled today. Oktoberfest celebrations in Munich generated $1.33 billion for the city last year. This is the first time in 210 years it has been called off.
    • Roughly 33,000 workers at news companies in the U.S. have been laid off, furloughed, or had their pay reduced. Some publications that rely on ads have shut down. The New York Times is tracking media layoffs.
  • April 19: New data show accommodation and food service firms received less than 9 percent of the money from the SBA’s PPP program, about $30.5 billion, though they have suffered the largest job losses of any industry during this recession. Construction firms received the largest share, at just over 13 percent, or about $45 billion.
  • The U.S. has seen a rollout of blood tests for coronavirus antibodies in recent weeks. The tests, which are meant to detect past exposure and possible immunity, rather than current COVID-19 cases, have been widely viewed as crucial tools in assessing the reach of the panemic and reopening the economy. Unfortunately, the tests are proving to be problematic and not as reliable as scientists had hoped.
  • In Hollywood, shooting of TV shows and films is not expected to resume until August at the earliest, in part because of the time it will take to reassemble casts and crews after COVID-19 subsides. Hollywood supports 2.5 million jobs, according to the Motion Picture Association of America, and many of the workers are freelancers, getting paid project to project.
  • Several public school districts in the U.S. are now feeding adults and sending days’ worth of food home for entire families. It is estimated that the nation’s 12 largest school districts will spend $12 million to $19 million through the end of June to meet the demands of their pandemic meals operations.
  • Walmart said that it had hired 150,000 workers since March 19th, and it pledges to hire 50,000 more. The retailer said it had received more than a million applications since its initial hiring announcement. The new workers will be hired on a temporary basis as many have been furloughed from other companies and are just looking to bridge the gap until they return to their original jobs.
  • April 17: Americans can track the status of their stimulus payments and provide their bank-account information to get their money faster via direct deposit on a new IRS website.
  • At least 7,000 people in the U.S. living in or connected to nursing homes have died of the virus.
  • New car registrations in the E.U. fell 55 percent last month compared with a year earlier. Owners registered 570,000 new cars during the month, down from 1.3 million in March of 2019.
  • Doctors around the country continue to give patients hydroxychloroquine at various stages of COVID-19, and as a preventive measure to some if they’ve been exposed by family members or in health care settings, despite the drug still not showing clear results.
  • Retail sales, a measure of purchases at stores, gasoline stations, restaurants, bars and online, fell by a seasonally adjusted 8.7 percent in March from a month earlier, the most severe decline since record-keeping began in 1992.
  • April 16: Early research on underlying health conditions associated with COVID-19 is indicating that asthma is not one of the most important risk factors as originally predicted. Obesity, however, appears to be one of the most important predictors of severe illness. Data released this month by New York State shows that only about five percent of COVID-19 deaths in New York were of people who were known to have asthma.
  • Former Reps. Brian Baird (D-WA) and Bob Inglis (R-SC) hosted a mock remote hearing today with dozens of other former Congressional members and witnesses from Zoom Communications Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Former Head of the CIA, Gen. David Petraeus, was also in attendance.
  • Weekly jobless claims and first time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 5.245 million, a decrease of 1.37 million from last week. Over 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the last four weeks. A Federal Reserve Bank president has predicted that quarterly unemployment could hit 30 percent, which would spiral 15.4 percent of Americans into poverty for the year.
  • The stock market saw a small boost today, led for the most part by the tech industry. The Dow and S&P 500 both closed with posted increases, though neither gained a full percent. Netflix and Amazon each saw increases of more than 2.5 percent.
  • Americans can track the status of their stimulus payments and provide their bank-account information to get their money faster via direct deposit on a new I RS website.
  • April 15: Amazon said that it might temporarily halt its operations in France after a court ruled that it had failed to adequately protect workers from the virus and that it must restrict deliveries to food, hygiene, and medical products until it addressed the issue. Amazon contested the findings of the ruling.
  • Based on the news that Germany, Europe’s largest economy, was talking of easing its COVID-19 lockdown, and after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York had made advances on the virus testing front, the Dow fell 1.85 percent and both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq dropped, too.
  • College Board announced it will cancel the SAT college admission test on June 6th because of COVID-19. The idea of an at-home test format has been floated but is an unlikely alternative unless schools stay closed in the fall.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has forced hundreds of clinical trials to grind to a halt, stalling research into cancer, strokes, dementia, and more. Read about it here.
  • April 14: Although the standard has been to keep six feet of space between individuals to stop the spread of COVID-19 germs, researchers from M.I.T. found that a sneeze could send particles as far as 26 feet. This 3D simulator from the New York Times gives an incredible breakdown of how particles travel between humans.
  • Financial technology firms PayPal, Square, and Intuit, after winning approval to participate in the loans distribution effort, are starting to lend to small businesses that couldn’t get access to COVID-19 relief funds through big banks.
  • Johnson & Johnson will launch a live weekly original educational series called “The Road to a Vaccine.” The eight-episode original series, hosted by journalist and producer Lisa Ling, will uncover the incredible scientific efforts underway around the world to develop a vaccine at unparalleled speeds. In each episode, we will discuss how it is being made possible—and what we might expect from an approved vaccine. Each week, Ling will be joined by expert Johnson & Johnson guests such as Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels, M.D., as well as leading scientists, public health experts and community health workers who are working tirelessly in the fight against coronavirus. From the lab to the frontlines, this series will bring you behind-the-scenes to learn about the work being done to help end this pandemic. Learn more here.
  • After China reported a smaller-than-expected hit to trade and some countries began to take tiny steps to reopen their economies, the S&P 500 rose about 3 percent.
    • The IMF warned that the global growth is headed for its worst performance since the Great Depression, with a new forecast predicting the world economy will contract by 3 percent in 2020.
    • More than a dozen black leaders in academic medicine wrote an op-ed in USA Today describing why and how the pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on minority communities and especially the black community in the U.S. The authors also made recommendations for refining governmental and healthcare responses, including broadly recording and reporting demographic data on the virus’ spread and mortality; ensuring that minorities have access to current and emerging therapies and clinical trials; providing mobile testing sites for vulnerable urban and rural communities; communicating with disadvantaged communities through trusted local stakeholders and leaders; and organizing nationally, regionally, and locally to address the medical and social determinants of health.
    • The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) wants the federal government to implement a national COVID-19 diagnostic testing and support strategy. ASCP listed a series of recommendations including expanded laboratory testing infrastructure, prioritizing molecular testing for COVID-19, and enhancing existing surveillance programs to identify national outbreaks earlier.
    • Airlines for America reported that American airline carriers have idled 2,200 aircraft and passenger volume is down 95 percent from a year ago.
    • The COVID-19 pandemic has forced hundreds of clinical trials to grind to a halt, stalling research into cancer, strokes, dementia, and more. Read about it here.
  • April 13: Registration is now open for the next APHA webinar: Crisis Standards of Care During COVID-19, Wednesday the 15th at 5pm. Register here.
  • Industry data indicates that about two million homeowners are skipping their monthly mortgage payments. This figure is expected to increase as more Americans lose their jobs from COVID-19 lock downs. Approximately 3.74 percent of home loans are in forbearance as of April 5th, up from about 2.73 percent the prior week.
  • The S&P 500 opened the week by falling 1 percent. The Dow fell nearly 1.5 percent. Investors are anticipating the forthcoming reports of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of American, and Goldman Sachs.
  • Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the U.S. agreed to lead a multinational coalition in major oil-production cuts. As part of the agreement, 23 countries committed to withhold collectively 9.7 million barrels a day of oil from global markets. The deal is meant to address the overabundance of oil resulting from the impact of COVID-19 on demand.
  • Tomorrow, the IMF is set to release its primary look at global growth, the World Economic Outlook. Reports say the document will forecast a sharp shrinking of the world’s economy. The IMF is scheduled to release other reports this week including the Global Financial Stability Report, which will evaluate the health of the international financial system, and the Fiscal Monitor Report, which will tally the enormous fiscal-policy actions taken by individual countries to help them through the pandemic.
  • Smithfield Foods has reported that its Sioux Falls, S.D. plant, one of the nation’s largest pork processing facilities, will remain closed indefinitely after 293 workers tested positive for COVID-19. The plant employs 3,700 workers and produces about 130 million servings of food per week. This closure, combined with multiple others across the country, is posing a threat to the U.S. meat supply.
  • April 10: Apple and Google said they are teaming up to build software into smartphones that can tell people if they were recently in contact with someone who was infected with COVID-19. People would opt in to use the tool and voluntarily report if they became infected. The app would then alert phones that had recently come into proximity with that person’s device.
  • A new report on 53 COVID-19 patients given the antiviral drug remdesivir sheds little light on whether the drug works. The drug has been considered a promising candidate to treat coronavirus patients. It was developed for Ebola, but did not work well against that disease. Studies in mice and monkeys have suggested that it could fight COVID-19, and laboratory tests showed that it could stop the virus from invading cells. In the new report, because there was no control group of patients with matching symptoms who did not receive the drug, it is impossible to tell whether the remdesivir helped those who were treated.
  • Patrick Soon-Shiong, the owner of the L.A. Times, has purchased St. Vincent Medical Center and will reopen it as a COVID-19 treatment center.
  • As supply chain issues continue, shoppers may see more shortages of unexpected products, including laptops, toilet paper, and medicines. Now, manufacturers are experiencing a shortage of raw materials, which is leading to an already-existing shortage of products. Some shortages are also being caused by shoppers hoarding and stockpiling particular items while anticipating extended quarantines.
  • Health departments, hospitals, and companies around the world are rolling out the next wave in coronavirus tests, which look in a person’s blood for signs of past infection, in hopes of better gauging how widespread the pandemic is and who might be counted among the recovered. The new tests promise to give public-health and hospital officials a better idea of how widely the new coronavirus has spread and who can safely treat patients and stop social distancing.
  • April 9: The stock market is up yet again, posting the biggest week of gains since 1974. The S&P 500 added about 1.4 percent and the Dow increased by about 1.2 percent. One reason analysts have said stocks have proved to be more resilient than expected: central bankers have stepped in to provide unprecedented levels of support for the economy.
    • Many of the major stock markets in the world will be closed tomorrow for public holidays.
  • An additional 6.6 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week. The three-week total is now greater than 16 million which is more than we saw in the last recession over the course of two years.
  • COVID-19 is starting to creep into meat processing plants, where workers are confined to close quarters and are unable to take time off from work. Some plants have offered financial incentives to keep workers on the job, but the virus’s swift spread is causing illness and forcing plants to close, like Smithfield Foods’ pork plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who announced today that it would close temporarily after more than 80 workers tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Doctors and nurses across the country are being instructed by their employing health systems not to speak to news outlets about resource shortages.
  • The American Public Health Association (APHA) and the National Academy of Medicine have hosted a series of webinars to explore the state of the science surrounding the current outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. and globally, with a focus on the emerging evidence on how to best mitigate its impact. The transcripts of webinars 1 and 2 are available here, and webinar 3 should be ready soon since it happened this afternoon.
  • April 8: The WHO, Lady Gaga, and Global Citizen have announced a concert that will air on Saturday, April 18th titled “One World: Together at home.” This globally televised and streamed special will highlight unity among all people affected by COVID-19, celebrate the brave healthcare workers doing life-saving work, and raise funds for the response. More information is available here.
  • After starting the day up by quite a bit, the Dow ultimately dropped about 0.1 percent and the S&P 500 fell by about 0.2 percent.
  • Seven Yale University affiliates published an article in Social Science Research Network (SSRN) making the case for the universal adoption of cloth masks and policies to increase the supply of medical masks for health workers.
  • Multiple companies have announced blood-based immunoassay research in an effort to identify antibodies to the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the virus associated with COVID-19. The goal of this new series of research is to help clinicians determine if an individual has been infected by the virus and therefore has developed an immune response against SARS-CoV-2.
    • This article explains why researchers are researching antibodies from recovered COVID-19 patients as a possible means for treatment and prevention.
  • COVID-19 is impacting African Americans at significantly higher rates than any other racial group across the U.S. In Louisiana, even though only one-third of the population is black, 70 percent of people who have died are black. In Chicago, where less than a third of the population is African American, more than half of individuals with COVID-19 and 72 percent of people who have died from the virus are black. In addition to having more underlying health conditions that magnify the effects of COVID-19, black Americans are also more likely to be denied testing and treatment. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams addressed the issue more thoroughly this morning.
  • The American Public Health Association (APHA) and the National Academy of Medicine is hosting a series of webinars to explore the state of the science surrounding the current outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. and globally, with a focus on the emerging evidence on how to best mitigate its impact. The transcripts of webinars 1 and 2 are available here, as well as a link to webinar 3 on April 9th at 12:30pm.
  • Forbes is keeping a running list of all major international airline COVID-19-related change and cancellation policies.
  • The New York Times has started its own tracker of cases in the U.S. to fill in the gaps left by agency data.
  • Inovio Pharmaceuticals said today that it will begin a small safety test of a potential coronavirus vaccine in adults in Philadelphia and Kansas City, Missouri. Its product is the second vaccine candidate to begin early human trials in the U.S.
  • As some countries seem to be hitting their peak infection rates, investors are taking it as a sign that it’s a good time to buy. The S&P 500, which had an unsteady week last week, jumped up about 7 percent today.
  • Educators say that a subset of students and their parents have dropped out of touch with schools completely — unavailable by phone, email or any other form of communication, as families struggle with the broader economic and health impacts of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Domestic abuse is increasing around the world because of lockdowns. The United Nations is calling for urgent action to combat the worldwide surge in domestic violence with Secretary General Antonio Guterres tweeting, “I urge all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the pandemic.”
    • In Lebanon and Malaysia, the number of calls to domestic violence help lines was double that of the same month last year, while in China, they are three times higher.
  • In addition to lung damage, many COVID-19 patients are also developing heart problems, according to doctors.
  • The American Public Health Association (APHA) and the National Academy of Medicine is hosting a series of webinars to explore the state of the science surrounding the current outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. and globally, with a focus on the emerging evidence on how to best mitigate its impact. The transcripts of webinars 1 and 2 are available here, as well as a link to webinar 3 on April 9th at 12:30 pm.
  • The Department of Labor reported today that employers cut 701,000 jobs last month. The number is expected to worsen as more than 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment over the last week.
  • The S&P 500 remains unstable and dropped another 1.5 percent today.
  • The federal Bureau of Prisons is locking all its 146,000 inmates in their cells for the next two weeks in an unparalleled effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Keeping inmates in their cells is expected to disrupt educational programs such as the ones offered through Second Chance Pell, a federal pilot program the Obama administration initiated in 2015 to award financial aid for college classes in prisons.
  • American Airlines, Delta, United, and JetBlue all submitted applications for the government grants authorized under the recent $2 trillion stimulus package. The major airlines have said that government assistance likely will not be enough to get them through the current crisis.
  • According to a recent survey, about 50 percent of U.S. small businesses haven’t paid their full rent or mortgage yet this month as a result of the pandemic.
  • In addition to equipment shortages, hospitals and pharmacies across the country are experiencing drug shortages. The most commonly reported shortages are drugs used to keep patients’ airways open, antibiotics, antivirals, and sedatives. Last month, orders for antibiotics like azithromycin and antiviral medicines like ribavirin nearly tripled.
  • Hallmark Cards (which also includes Crown Media Family Networks and Crayola) is the latest large company to furlough employees and cut pay for corporate employees. They have also closed all manufacturing and distribution facilities for the time being.
  • Forbes is keeping a running list of all major international airline COVID-19-related change and cancellation policies.
  • The New York Times has started its own tracker of cases in the U.S. to fill in the gaps left by agency data.
  • Wimbledon, regarded as the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament, has been cancelled for the first time since World War II.
  • Lists of canceled conferences and events can be found here (music), here (tech), here (general), and here (sports/entertainment).
  • More than 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment over the last week, more than twice the number from the previous week (which was four times higher than the previous record).
  • Banks are warning that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a $350 billion lending program for struggling small businesses authorized by the CARES Act, will not be ready for its planned launch Friday. Lenders responsible for providing forgivable loans to small businesses under the PPP say they have not been provided necessary guidelines and caution that there may be delays in assistance to small businesses. A Treasury Department fact-sheet on PPP can be found here.
  • A clinical trial for hydroxychloroquine, the drug used to treat malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, will begin this week to see if it is also effective in treating COVID-19. The trial is set to begin later this month and will have around 15,000 participants.
  • Futures on Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, went down another 6.1 percent, which was ushered along by Saudi Arabia and Russia’s oil price war.
  • The severe shortage of tests and testing kits continues to be problem for health care providers; however, waiting for test results is also an issue. Quest Diagnostics in New Jersey recently had a backlog of as many as 160,000 COVID-19 tests (about half their total orders).
  • Abbott Laboratories shares surged in U.S. trading after the company unveiled a coronavirus test that can tell if someone is infected in as quickly as five minutes, and is so small and portable it can be used in almost any health-care setting. The stock gained as much as 13 percent in New York, the biggest intraday gain since 2002. The shares were up 9.9 percent to $81.94 this morning in New York.
  • After HHS announced partnerships with Johnson & Johnson and Moderna as they develop COVID-19 vaccines, NPR published this piece outlining how BARDA will support the companies in their work.
  • Oil prices continue to plunge around the world. In the U.S., the West Texas Intermediate was down more than 5 percent at $20.25/barrel. While some of this is due to the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, analysts say that it is mostly caused by the pandemic.
  • The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) released a road map for navigating the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. It outlines specific directions for adapting the public-health strategy and suggests milestones for identifying when the country should reopen.
  • Several sports companies have pledged to use their manufacturing capabilities to produce medical equipment for hospitals nationwide.
  • Health insurance companies Cigna and Humana have agreed to protect their customers from out-of-pocket costs if they require treatment for COVID-19. Last week, Aetna insurance said it would also waive cost-sharing related to hospital stays.

  • Producers and distributors of medical supplies across the country are raising red flags about what they say is a lack of guidance from the federal government about where to send their products, as hospitals compete for desperately needed masks and ventilators to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. To date, the Administration has not provided formal guidance about where manufacturers can distribute their products.

  • The New York Times has started its own tracker of cases in the U.S. to fill in the gaps left by agency data.

  • There were 3.3 million unemployment insurance claims filed last week, the highest since 1982 at which point there were 695,000 in a week. The 3.3 million figure is around five times more than during the peak of the Great Recession.

  • Forbes is keeping a running list of all major international airline COVID-19-related change and cancellation policies.Capital from seed-stage funding, often the first significant source of cash for startups, has declined by about 22 percent globally since January. A recent analysis puts total private-market funding for startups at $67 billion in the first quarter, down from an initial forecast of $77 billion.

  • Children's National Hospital has opened a drive-up/walk-up location where primary care doctors in the Washington, D.C. region can refer young patients (up to 22-years-old) for COVID-19 specimen collection and testing. The specimens are sent offsite to the program's laboratory partner, Quest Diagnostics, for analysis.

  • If you’re looking for a way to entertain your young children during these times of telework, check out #operationstorytime, where beloved children’s authors are reading their books and posting the videos.

  • The New York Times offers 10 ways to ease your COVID-19 anxiety in this article.

  • The CDC published this article on COVID-19 and cruise ships in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

  • The National Park Service is urging visitors to avoid the Tidal Basin in D.C. where tourists are ignoring social distancing to see the cherry blossoms in peak bloom.

  • A figure in Prevent Epidemics highlights the association between age and severity of COVID-19 illness.

  • Multiple grocery store chains, including Safeway, Whole Foods, and Walmart, are changing their store hours to accommodate shoppers over 60-years-old and to leave time for deep cleaning. A list of stores that have changed their schedules is here.

  • Amazon confirmed their first warehouse employee COVID-19 case.

  • President Trump cancelled the in-person Group of Seven summit scheduled for June at Camp David. It will be held by videoconference instead.

  • The Cannes Film Festival has been postponed. It might be shifted to June or July depending on the state of the pandemic.

    • Lists of canceled conferences and events can be found here, here, and here.

  • Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler decided to shut down all North American factories in order to alleviate the spread of COVID-19 until at least the end of the month. The closure of the factories will send about 150,000 workers home. These workers are likely to receive supplemental pay in addition to unemployment benefits, which combined will equal to what they normally make.

  • Police in India choreographed a dance and a recorded a video to encourage handwashing.

  • AARP is hosting a live Q&A tomorrow at 1pm to protect against coronavirus scams. Read background information and find a dial-in number here.

  • Colleges and universities continue to cancel in-person classes to switch to a virtual curriculum. Other schools have decided to cancel the remainder of the spring semester, having varied impacts on students and student-athletes. Continually updated lists of college/university decisions are outlined in this article and this article

  • A new analysis out of Harvard predicts that many parts of the U.S. would not have nearly enough hospital beds if COVID-19 does end up infecting up to 40 percent of adults. Hospitals have already begun canceling elective surgeries and sending home patients with milder ailments.

  • The American Public Transportation Association, which represents systems used by about 90 percent of public transit riders in the U.S. and Canada, released a statement asking Congress for $12.9 billion to help pay for system cleaning and to help offset lost fares and sales tax revenue.

  • The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) finally decided to suspend upcoming events, joining nearly every other professional sports organization.

  • St. Patrick’s Day parades in New York City, Boston, and – most importantly – Dublin were canceled. People were encouraged to celebrate the day online using the hashtag #StPatricksDayTogether.

Mental Health Helpful Articles/Media




Legislative Updates


5.15.2020. COVID-19 Legislative Update

Legislation

Supplemental IV – HEROES Act
Timeline/Process/Politics: This evening, the House passed the Heroes Act by a vote of 208-199, with 14 Democrats voting against and one Republican (Rep. Peter King) voting for the bill. Earlier today, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Pramila Jayapal announced that she would be voting no but would not be whipping votes against the bill. The majority of Democratic votes against the bill came from moderate Democrats. However, nine members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (including Jayapal) voted against the rule for the bill.
Leader McConnell has continued to assert that he does not see the need for moving forward with another relief package until CARES funding has been fully disbursed. However, Republican governors, local officials, and even the Chair of the Federal Reserve have urged Congress to pass a robust bill and move quickly with fiscal relief. With House passage of the bill, the ball is now in the Senate’s court, though it’s unclear how quickly it will move. After votes on the House bill, Leader Hoyer said the House will return for votes on May 27, adding pressure to finalize a deal before then. Policy: House Democrats introduced the long-awaited Heroes Act earlier this week and voted on the bill this evening. Notably absent was any provisions regarding liability protections for businesses. Leader McConnell is moving forward with drafting liability protection language. All liability protection issues are now flowing through Sen. Cornyn’s office, as his staff has begun to draft language. See text (as of 5/12/2020) here. Section by section here. One pager here. State and Local one pager here. NCAI’s summary on tribal provisions here. Democrats made some changes to the bill through a manager’s amendment yesterday in Rules Committee. Manager’s amendment here. House Rules Committee report here. See below for a summary of the changes the manager’s amendment made.
  • Adds $39 million for rental assistance in rural areas.
  • Provides greater flexibility for certain Labor and Health and Human services funding items.
  • Adds a risk mitigation program within HHS.Adds a non-discrimination provision for applicants for coronavirus relief legislation.
  • Prohibits the use of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding to be used for lobbyists salaries.
  • Removes eligibility to PPP and Main Street Lending Facility for 501(c)4s that have engaged in election and campaign activities.
  • Expands the forgiveness safe harbor for PPP.
  • Allows use of PPP funds for and and forgiveness of expenses for PPE/other equipment necessary to protect the safety of employees.
  • akes student debt cancellation provisions more targeted. Would provide $10,000 in student debt cancellation for “economically distressed borrowers”, defined as those who (as of March 12, 2020):
    • Had a monthly payment of $0 under income-based repayment;
    • Was in default;
    • Had a payment that was 90 days or more past due;
    • Payment was already suspended due to forbearance options already available like economic hardship, unemployment, or cancer treatment.
  • Reduces the additional amount for Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act benefits from $1 billion to $750 million, extends benefits for railroad workers to June 30, 2021.
  • Reduces the amount for grants to community financial institutions from $1 billion for $250 million.
  • Creates a wildlife-borne diseases epidemiology grant program through the Fish and Wildlife Service. Grants will go to States, Territories, Tribes, and DC.
  • Includes employers of domestic workers in the employee retention credit.
  • Alters treatment of DC to be treated as a county with regard to receiving local government relief funding.
  • Require the Director of National Science Foundation to conduct a study on the spread of COVID-19-related disinformation.
  • Requires every federal agency that funds or oversees scientific research to develop, adopt, and enforce a scientific integrity policy (Scientific 2 Integrity Act - Title XVI).
Passed Legislation
New Implementation Information and Guidance
  • 5/14 – Treasury issued a data request to disburse the second round of funding for tribes in the Coronavirus Relief Fund. The data request includes information on employees and expenditures. Portal will likely open sometime next week. More information here.
  • 5/15 – Treasury released the loan forgiveness application for businesses that have received loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. Application here.

Previously Reported Implementation Information and Guidance

Small Business Loans & Treasury Main Street Lending

  • 5/11 – White House released a summary of economic relief actions up to date here.
  • 5/11 – SBA released updated PPP statistics, including recent state by state information here.
  • 5/8 – SBA’s Inspector General released a report on the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program. The report found the Administration’s administration of the program did not align with the law in four ways: prioritization of underserved/rural markets, loan proceeds eligibility for forgiveness, guidance on loan deferment, and registration of loans. Report here.
  • 5/7 – The Washington Post reported that the SBA has imposed a new loan limit on the department’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), moving the loan limit from $2 million to $150,000. The department also announced that it would only be accepting applications from agricultural businesses onward.
  • 5/6 – Treasury released an updated FAQ for the Paycheck Protection Program. FAQ here.
  • 5/3 – Treasury and SBA released a data set for the most recent tranche of P3 funds. Data here.
  • 4/30 – The IRS issued guidance that most expenses funded by forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are non-deductible for federal income tax purposes.
  • 4/30 – The Federal Reserve released the term sheets and other information relating to its expansion of scope and eligibility of the Main Street Lending Program. Term sheets and other information here. Other information on other facilities and programs here.
  • 4/29 – SBA announced that from 4:00-11:49pm on 4/29, SBA systems will only accept loans from lending institutions with asset sizes less than $1 billion dollars. The move was aimed at ensuring access to the PPP loan program for smaller lenders and their customers.
  • 4/28 – SBA announced it would no longer accept PPP loan applications submitted by robotic processing systems.Treasury released an interim final rule for the Paycheck Protection Program on how lenders will calculate loan amounts for employers with seasonal employees. Rule here.
  • 4/24 – SBA issued a procedural guidance on participation sales here.
  • 4/24 – SBA released an interim final rule on requirements for Promissory Notes, Authorizations, Affiliation, and Eligibility. Interim Final Rule here. Additional eligibility criteria and requirements for certain loans here.
  • 4/24 – Data on Economic Injury Disaster Loans here, EIDL Advance here.
  • 4/23 – The Treasury Department asked all publicly traded companies that received funds under the program to return the funds within two weeks.The Treasury Department released an interim final rule on the small business provisions in the bill. See here for a memo Cornerstone put together on the interim final rule.
  • 4/20 – SBA/WH data on Economic Injury Disaster Loans here, EIDL Advance here.
  • 4/3 - The Treasury Department has released affiliation guidelines for the small business loan program.
  • The Treasury Department released an interim final rule last week on the small business provisions in the bill. See here for a memo Cornerstone put together on the interim final rule.
  • Treasury FAQs on the Paycheck Protection Program
  • Top-line overview of the program here
  • Lender information here, Borrower information here, borrower application here
  • Title April 8 FAQ here
Individual and Business Tax Relief
  • IRS guidance on deferral of payroll taxes here House Ways and Means factsheet on Economic Impact Rebate portal here
  • IRS has indicated that the earliest Americans could receive relief payments from CARES is next week. Those who will receive their relief through paper checks could take as long at 20 weeks to receive payment.
  • IRS’s FAQ page on individual economic relief here.
  • Treasury Guidance on Employee Retention Tax Credit here
  • 4/29 - Treasury FAQ on Employee Retention Tax Credit here (updated 4/29)
  • Senate Finance Committee FAQ on the Employee Retention Tax Credit here
  • House Ways and Means FAQ on Rebates here
  • House Ways and Means FAQ on Unemployment Compensation here
Public Health Systems, Education, and Healthcare
  • 5/13 – HRSA announced it awarded $15 million to organizations to train providers to use telehealth and increase telehealth capacity. Press release here.
  • 5/1 – As part of the $100 billion dedicated to hospitals and health providers in CARES, HHS has distributed funding to “hotspot” hospitals and providers. HHS distributed $12 billion to 395 hospitals who provided inpatient care for 100 or more COVID-19 patients through April 10, 2020. $2 billion of the funding was distributed based on low-income/uninsured data (Medicare and Medicaid disproportionate share and uncompensated care payments). Money went out on Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • 4/27 – Outline of the Provider Relief Fund with additions from COVID 3.5 here.
  • 4/27 – Education Sec. Betsy DeVos announced that more than $300 million in discretionary grant funds will be available for states to use to create adaptable, innovative learning opportunities for K-12 and postsecondary learners in response to COVID-19. The grants will be funded through the Education Stabilization Fund (ESF), authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
  • 4/26 – CMS announced that it is reevaluating the amounts that will be paid under its Accelerated Payment Program (AAP) and suspending its Advance Payment Program to Part B suppliers effective immediately. 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. For providers who have already applied for the program, the announcement doesn’t affect them. Press release here.
    • The announcement came as a surprise to Democrats, who were actively negotiating with the department officials on modifying the program.
  • 4/23 – As part of negotiations on 3.5, the Administration made commitments on how the next $60 billion in the health relief fund will be distributed. HHS has committed that it will send out an additional $60 billion dollars in the coming weeks, much of it coming within the next 10 days. That funding will be distributed as follows:
    • $10 billion for hotspots, which will be for the top 100 counties with Covid-19 cases to date. Payments are expected to be distributed by next Wednesday, April 29. The funding will be based on total ICU beds and Covid-19 patient admissions, cumulatively for the period from January 1 to April 10. An additional weighting factor, using Medicaid DSH status, will provide a greater proportion of this funding to those that treat underserved patients.
    • $10 billion in additional hotspot funding, expected to go out in the next 45 days.
    • $10 billion for rural health care.
    • $400 million for Native American health care systems. Payments are expected to be distributed on Friday, April 24.
    • $20 billion to reconcile the inequities from the initial $30 billion, which was based on Medicare fee-for-service payments and left out providers that rely heavily on non-FFS payers. When combined with the initial $30 billion, this total will be calculated based on the provider’s portion of 2018 net patient revenue. Of this total, $9.3 billion will be released by Friday, and the remaining $10.7 billion will require providers to submit an application attesting to their revenue. Those payments will go out weekly on a rolling basis.
    • $10 billion to cover the cost of providing treatment for the uninsured. Applications will be accepted within 10 days, with payments going out within 30 days.
  • 4/22 – CARES Act Provider Relief Fund overview here.
  • Factsheet on accelerated and advance payments for providers/suppliers here
  • 4/23 – As part of negotiations on 3.5, the Administration made commitments on changes to Medicare advance payment policies. The administration committed that, by the end of this week, Secretary Mnuchin and Chief of Staff Meadows will release a letter stating that they will:

  • Use their administrative authority to reduce the interest rate down from what is currently 10.25 percent to a rate that is more in line with a traditional federal interest rate.
  • Use their administrative authority to extend the repayment period beyond 12 months.
  • Work with Congress and support legislation in Corona 4 that will place the liability for these payments in Treasury’s General Revenue fund, rather than the Medicare Hospital Insurance and Supplemental Medical Insurance Trust Funds. The expansion of these programs must not adversely affect Medicare’s solvency or result in premium increases for seniors.
  • 4/10: HHS issued guidance last Friday announcing the formula and mechanism in which hospitals will receive the first $30 billion in relief funding. The money will not have to be repaid and can be used for a variety of uses. The first tranche will go to hospitals based on their Medicare FFS reimbursements in 2019. As total FFS payments were approx. $484 billion in 2019, a provider can estimate their payment by dividing their 2019 Medicare FFS (not including Medicare Advantage) payments they received by 484 and multiply that ratio by 30. If the providers total 2019 Medicare FFS payments were Y, then (Y ÷ 484) x 30 = amount of relief. State by state breakdown of first payment here.
    • HHS is working on developing a plan in the next seven to ten days for how to disburse another $30 billion for Medicaid-heavy providers and potentially a focus on pumping money to providers in hotspots.
  • Factsheet on accelerated and advance payments for providers/suppliers here
  • 4/9: Secretary DeVos indicated last week that she would be moving to "immediately distribute" the $6 billion in CARES for emergency financial aid grants to college students. The grants can be used by college students for technology, course materials, food, housing, and healthcare. DeVos will be distributing the funding to colleges, which will then distribute the aid among students. The Department did not issue guidance on how colleges are to structure the program, but colleges will be required to sign a form certifying that the funds were used in accordance with the law. See here for the specific allocations for each college.
  • House Energy and Commerce Republican Factsheet on relief for hospitals here

Economic Stabilization

  • 4/30 – Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced the FAA will begin awarding the AIP and other discretionary grants funding through the CARES Act. Press release here. Complete list of grants here. Map of airports receiving funding here.
  • 4/10 - Treasury Q&A on Loans to Air Carriers and Eligible Businesses and National Security Businesses here. Loan application here.
  • 3/30 - The Treasury Department released guidance on payroll support to airline industry employees, and on loans to the airline industry and businesses critical to national security. Guidance for payroll support here. Guidance on procedures and minimum requirements for loans here. Treasury press release here.

State, Local, and Tribal Government Funding

  • 5/14 – Treasury issued a data request to disburse the second round of funding for tribes in the Coronavirus Relief Fund. The data request includes information on employees and expenditures. Portal will likely open sometime next week. More information here.
  • 5/12 – Treasury released its list of payments to states and qualifying localities for the Coronavirus Relief Fund. List here.
  • 5/8 – Treasury still has a remaining $3.2 billion to distribute among tribes and plans plans to submit a new data request soon, with a portal open soon after. The next round of funding will be based on employment and expenditure data of Tribes and tribally-owned entities.
  • 5/5 – Treasury released distribution details regarding the tribal portion of the Coronavirus Release Fund. The first 60% of the fund will be distributed to tribes based on population used in the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) and will include a floor of $100,000. The remaining 40% will be distributed based on the number of individuals employed by the Tribe, including employees of tribally owned entities. Treasury still needs to collect and verify employment data before distributing the second round of funding. Amounts for ANCs will not be distributed, as litigation is still pending. Press release here. Details here.
  • More than a dozen tribes have sued the Treasury Department over its guidance identifying Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) as eligible entities for the fund. Last Wednesday, Secretary Mnuchin said that the department would not be releasing funding until Tuesday, April 28 – two days after the deadline outlined in the CARES Act. The court on Monday preliminarily enjoined Treasury from disbursing funds to ANCs.
  • 5/5 – Treasury released an updated FAQ regarding distribution of CARES Act state/local funds. FAQ here.
  • 4/27 – USDA announced that Kansas and Virginia have been approved to operate Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which provides assistance to families of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals dealing with school closures.

  • 4/22 – Treasury issued guidance on the state/local/tribal governments fund here. The guidance further defines what expenses qualify as “necessary expenditures” and provides examples as well as examples of ineligible expenses.

  • 4/13 - Treasury officially launched its web portal for payments to state, local, and tribal governments. Treasury announced that eligible government entities must provide required information by Friday, April 17 to receive payment within the 30-day window allowed under CARES and those that miss that deadline may not receive funding. Submission page here. Some highlights from the announcement below:

  • Funds are only allowed to be used for expenses which:

    • Are necessary expenses during the coronavirus emergency;

    • Were not accounted in the most recent budget (as of March 27, 2020);

    • Were incurred between 3/1/2020 – 12/30/2020.

  • Eligible local governments are those below the state level (county, municipality etc.) with a population higher than 500,000. See here for data sources and the distribution methodology. See here for a list of eligible local government units.
  • Amounts paid to governments will be based on population and the amounts allocated to states will be reduced by the total amount provided to local governments in the state.
  • Payments to Tribal Governments will be determined by the Treasury Secretary in consultation with the Interior Secretary and Tribes. Consultation has not yet been completed.

Oversight

  • 5/7 – Leadership announced the remaining members of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis. Speaker Pelosi had announced earlier the Democratic members of the Committee Members of the Committee are listed below:
    • Chair Jim Clyburn (D-SC) – Chair
    • Maxine Waters (D-CA)
    • Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
    • Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
    • Bill Foster (D-IL)
    • Jamie Raskin (D-MD)
    • Andy Kim (D-NJ)
    • Steve Scalise (R-LA) – Ranking Member
    • Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)
    • Rep Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)
    • Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN)
    • Rep. Mark Green (R-TN)
  • 4/29 – Speaker Pelosi announced the members of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, to be chaired by Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. The Democratic members are the following:
    • Chairwoman Maxine Waters (Financial Services)
    • Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (Oversight and Reform)
    • Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (Small Business)
    • Chairman Bill Foster (Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight of Science, Space, and Technology Committee)
    • Chairman Jamie Raskin (Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of Oversight and Reform Committee)
    • Chairman Andy Kim (Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access of Small Business Committee)

Other resources:

  • Speaker Pelosi COVID toolkit here
  • Updated Senate Republican Policy Committee memo here
  • Senate Republican COVID Policy Response overview here
  • Leader Schumer coronavirus resources page here

____________

Supplemental 3.5 – Interim Emergency Coronavirus Relief, formally titled “Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act” (HR 266)

The President signed the bill into law on April 24. Text here. Section by section here. Summary of hospital and testing provisions here. DPCC one pager here. Senate Democrats summary of health provisions. Overview of commitments regarding health funding and Medicare advance payments the Administration made as part of negotiations.

Supplemental III – Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

After a unanimous vote by the Senate, the House passed the bill on March 27 and the President signed the bill into law shortly after. Final text here. Democratic summary here. Republican section by section here.

Supplemental II – Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6201)

The Senate passed the House bill on March 18 and the President signed the bill into law that evening. Bill text here. Factsheet here. Bill section by section here. A summary of paid leave provisions, incorporating changes made by technical correction, is here.

Supplemental I –Coronavirus Supplemental

Signed by the President March 6. Text here, summary here.

Congress

Session: The Senate returned last week and the House has planned votes on Friday. After the vote, Leader Hoyer said the House would return to vote on FISA legislation and possibly coronavirus-related legislation the week of May 27.Hearings and Meetings: The Senate held the first in-person hearings last week, with limited attendance and required social distancing protocols.

Appropriations: While there is no specific markup schedule set, HAC still hopes to begin markups this month. The plan remains to move through COVID Phase 4 before turning to FY21. The bills are almost all of the way there and each subcommittee is due to give final briefs to the full committee front office this week, starting Wednesday. We still expect a rapid-fire markup process. The hope is that all 12 subcommittees can go through subcommittee markups over the course of a week – whenever the markups begin – with most of the full committee markups in the following week. Both majority and minority committee staff would like to rely minimally on remote procedures and are planning to do markups in larger than normal hearing rooms (Cannon Caucus Room or CVC theater) to accommodate proper social distancing. The expected order is the following: LHHS; AG; CJS; SFOPs; E&W; DOD; MilCon; FSGG; Interior; THUD; Homeland; and Leg Branch. HAC-D will be limited in marking up the classified portion of the bill, as staff cannot do so remotely and will need to complete it upon return to their offices.

The FY21 Senate Appropriations schedule has officially slipped. They are no longer saying bills will be marked up prior to July 4, and the timing is likely delayed a minimum of 3 weeks. Chairman Shelby late last week said he’d like to start marking up bills in June, but that the Homeland Security and VA/MILCON bills might not be marked up due to no agreement on 302b allocations. As for caps, Senate Republicans have reached an agreement among themselves to support exempting a Veterans Affairs health care program from budget caps. The agreement still needs sign off from the White House. This move could free up $11 billion for other non-defense discretionary spending priorities.

NDAA: HASC intends to schedule the markup once the House schedule is clear. Both HASC and SASC are looking to markup NDAA 2021 the week of June 8, with the goal to have a bill to floor before the 4th of July recess. Dates could slip depending on availability of floor time. No SASC hearings are expected until after NDAA markup. HASC finished drafting the Chairman’s Mark two weeks ago and SASC finished drafting last week. Both are reviewing the draft and will be making final tweaks over next two weeks.

Remote voting/virtual protocols: This evening, the House passed the McGovern-Lofgren resolution (H.Res 965) to allow proxy voting and remote hearings and markups. The House passed the bill by a party line vote (217-189). House Republicans have not been enthusiastic about the prospect of remote markups and Floor action.

Members of Congress in Quarantine or Treatment (new additions in bold)

Note: It has been over a month since a member of Congress has tested positive for COVID-19.

Tested Positive (0):

Currently Self-Quarantined (1): Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

Recovered (7): Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL)

Completed Quarantine (37): Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS), Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA), Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Vincente Gonzalez (D-TX), Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY), Rep. David Price (D-NC), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ), Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX), Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ)




Military / Defense


Military/Defense

  • May 15: 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.
    • The Navy did not say how the sailors could have retested positive after meeting the recovery criteria.
  • The Air Force Thunderbirds conducted flyovers in Southern California to honor health care providers and essential workers.
  • Arlington National Cemetery will remain closed to the general public over Memorial Day weekend. Families with loved ones buried at Arlington will be allowed to visit.
  • May 14:
  • May 13: House Democrats’ $3 trillion stimulus proposal includes support for homeless veterans, hazard pay for VA employees, and expanded medical and mental care for veterans and service members.
    • The proposed bill also provides aid to defense contractors, including a mandate that contractors are not given adverse performance ratings due to disruptions caused by the pandemic and a requirement that accelerated payments go to prime contractors within 15 days of submitting invoices.
    • The proposed bill does not include additional funds for the DoD.
  • The Army will resume large-scale exercises with COVID-19 precautions in Poland on June 5th. About 6,000 U.S. and Polish soldiers will take part in the exercise, called Allied Spirit.
  • VA cemeteries will open to the public on Memorial Day, but wreath-laying ceremonies will remain closed.
  • Tricare, the military’s health insurance providers, will cover telephone appointments and eliminate copayments for telehealth services.
  • The Joint Analytic Real-Time Virtual Information Sharing System (JARVISS), the Army’s software designed to target criminal activity, is being used to track COVID-19 cases.
  • May 12: The Senate Armed Services Committee will not begin deliberations on the National Defense Authorization Act until at least June 10, when subcommittee markups are scheduled to begin.
    • The House Armed Services Committee, meanwhile, has not rescheduled markups that were also postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Two Army hospital centers dispatched to New York City at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic are being ordered home as the region sees improving conditions.
  • The Army has cancelled ROTC Cadet Summer Training due to concerns over COVID-19.
  • DoD awarded a $138M contract with ApiJect Systems America for two projects that will create a U.S.-based, high-speed supply chain for prefilled syringes to be used when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.
  • The VA received 500,000 protective masks from South Korea as a symbol of “the appreciation of the Korean people who have never forgotten the American veterans’ service and sacrifice” nearly 70 years ago in the Korean War.
  • May 11: Lockheed Martin, DoD’s largest contractor, announced it has met its goal of accelerating $450 million to its supply chain as the company receives increased progress payments from the Pentagon.
    • Raytheon Technologies has accelerated $350 million to its supply chain, while BAE Systems has accelerated nearly $100 million.
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called on the VA to provide more information on its use of hydroxychloroquine on veterans with COVID-19.
  • Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday will quarantine this week after interacting with a family member who tested positive for COVID-19.

    • Chief of the National Guard Bureau Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.

  • VA Secretary Robert Wilkie has denied that veterans were used as test subjects for the drug but declined to provide details on VA guidance and how widely the drug was used.
  • VA officials warned that preliminary testing data has shown African American and Hispanic veterans are testing positive for COVID-19 at higher rates than other veterans.
  • DoD’s inspector general will evaluate the Navy’s infectious disease policies following two recent COVID-19 outbreaks aboard warships at sea.
  • May 8: Four defense industry groups sent a letter to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees outlining their opposition to several acquisition-related proposals pushed by the DoD.
  • Members of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs introduced legislation to address personal financial losses that military families have suffered as a result of the stop movement order issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Air Force Academy will begin reopening some facilities and lifting restrictions on visitors. The Academy will remain closed to non-DoD visitors and anyone entering must wear a face mask and follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Lt. Gen. Pat White, commander of Operation Inherent Resolve, said U.S. troop rotations to Iraq are still on schedule.
  • The number of active COVID-19 cases among VA patients dropped nearly 10 percent in recent days as DoD officials outlined plans to reopen some hospitals for non-urgent need and visitors in coming weeks.
  • May 7: 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.
  • A member of the military serving as one of President Trump’s valets has tested positive for COVID-19. Both the President and Vice President have since tested negative for the virus.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) deployed 120 National Guard troops to his state’s long-term care facilities, which have been overwhelmed by COVID-19.
  • The Air Force is developing a new method of transporting COVID-19 patients aboard military aircraft using a transport module called the Negatively Pressurized Conex (NPC).
  • May 6: Aerospace industry leaders testified in front of the Senate Commerce Committee on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aviation industry.
  • COVID-19 survivors are now prohibited from joining the military after the DoD designated any prior COVID-19 diagnosis as “permanently disqualifying” for accession. Recruits can apply for waivers for all permanently disqualifying conditions.
  • Defense Sec. Mark Esper pushed back at Senate Democrats who criticized the DoD’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in an April 27th letter, saying he was disappointed that members of Congress would write a letter with “misleading, false or inaccurate statements.”
  • The Center for American Progress released a report saying the DoD should not receive money from any future coronavirus stimulus bill. The report argues DoD’s FY21 budget should be “adequate to protect U.S. national security.”
  • Navy SEAL training has resumed after being suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • There are now 5,019 COVID-19 cases among service members. The rise in cases comes as military services increase testing of asymptomatic troops.
  • May 5: Defense Sec. Mark Esper and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley held a press conference to discuss the latest DoD response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Sec. Esper told reporters that if the DoD faces tighter budgets in coming years, departmental planners should preserve funding for modernization requirements by cutting legacy programs first.
  • The second Advanced Battle Management System demonstration, already delayed from April to June because of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been pushed back to August or September.
  • The Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium (MTEC) released a Request for Project Proposal for a wearable coronavirus detector. The award is $25 million and proposals must be submitted by May 13th.
  • Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Martha McSally (R-AZ) sent a letter to the Defense Healthy Agency (DHA) calling for it to cover the full scope of telehealth services, particularly mental health, under TRICARE amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • With 100 COVID-19-positive service members hospitalized so far, the military’s hospitalization rate of 2 percent is 50 times higher than the U.S. hospitalization rate reported by the CDC.
  • Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) is proposing a bill directing the DoD to provide tax-free hazard pay to national guardsmen and active duty troops fighting COVID-19.
  • The number of COVID-19 deaths in the VA health system rose more than 80 percent over the last week after the department updated their public accounting of cases. At least 770 patients have died from complications related to COVID-19 in VA health centers.
  • May 4: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.
  • Democrats on the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees sent a letter urging Sec. Esper to ease financial burdens on military families impacted by the stop-movement order issued due to COVID-19.
  • Some sailors returning to the USS Theodore Roosevelt are still showing virus symptoms despite a month of isolation. The Navy has stopped providing the number of active cases aboard the carrier.
  • There are now 46,500 Air and Army National Guard professionals supporting the COVID-19 response at the direction of their governors. In addition, 44 states, three territories and Washington, D.C. have been approved for use of federal funds for state mission under Title 32.
  • May 1: U.S. intelligence agencies have found no evidence that COVID-19 was created by humans or genetically modified in China.
  • Nearly 9,000 VA patients have tested positive for COVID-19 following a 2,000-case increase in the last five days. VA deaths have reached 512 while dozens of VA health sites have recorded more than 100 COVID-19 cases among patients.
  • After more than a month of isolating sailors and sanitizing the ship, there are 1,102 active cases of COVID-19 among USS Theodore Roosevelt sailors. An additional 53 sailors have recovered and one has died.
    • Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday today directed Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Robert Burke to “conduct a follow-on command investigation into the events surrounding the outbreak aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt”. The report should be completed by May 27th.
  • All DoD schools worldwide will remain closed for the rest of the school year with the possible exception of those in South Korea.
  • The Defense Commissary Agency announced that customers in military grocery stores will face limitations on the amount of meat they can purchase due to shortages in the country’s meat supply chain.
  • The Air Force Research Laboratory is modifying pararescue technology so healthcare providers can monitor up to two dozen COVID-19 patients’ vital signs from a smartphone.
  • There are now more than 95 COVID-19 cases aboard the destroyer USS Kidd, bringing the ship’s infection rate to 30 percent.
  • April 30: 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.
  • Top Army officials held a briefing to discuss the service’s role in the DoD’s COVID-19 response efforts.
    • In the briefing, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said the service has developed a rough framework to guide commanders through the process of safely returning to field training operations.
    • Army officials also defended their decision to bring 1,000 cadets back to West Point for graduation, where President Donald Trump is slated to speak, saying that despite the coronavirus risk students would have had to return anyways to prepare for their next duty assignment.
  • April 29: The Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), said he does not think upcoming COVID-19 stimulus packages should include more funding for the DoD.
    • The DoD has already signaled it will request billions in a future economic package under consideration by Congress. Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord said last week that the DoD is working with the White House budget office on a package to aid defense contractors hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Navy acquisition executive Hondo Geurts said the service has infused $600M into the shipbuilding industrial base during the COVID-19 pandemic by reducing retainers and withholds.
  • President Trump signed into law a second emergency GI Bill fix for student veterans whose studies have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Hundreds of sailors who were evacuated from the USS Theodore Roosevelt in recent weeks began returning to the aircraft carrier after completing their quarantine in Guam hotels.
  • 68 veteran residents at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Mass., have died from COVID-19, making the outbreak the deadliest at a long-term care facility in the U.S.
  • The Navy’s acting Sec. James McPherson ordered a wider investigation into the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which put the reinstatement of Capt. Brett Crozier on the backburner for now.
  • Nearly four dozen recruits aboard the Marine recruit depot in San Diego, California, have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The number of COVID-19 cases aboard the USS Kidd rose to 64 as the destroyer returned to homeport at Naval Base San Diego to undergo disinfecting.
  • The DoD announced this evening that they are set to invest $75.5 million in a Defense Production Act contract with Puritan Medical Products whereby the company will increase swab production by 20 million per month starting in May.
  • April 28: The DoD posted an updated infographic detailing the Department’s COVID-19 response.
  • The Navy has cancelled E-4 advancement exams for nearly 20,000 sailors currently holding the rank of E-3 to comply with social distancing measures. The service will instead rely on an advancement scoring formula that more heavily weighs job performance. The Army last week told soldiers to expect delays in monthly promotion announcements.
    • Ten Senate Democrats, led by Armed Services Committee members Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI), issued a letter faulting Defense Secretary Esper for the “DoD’s failure to adequately respond to the COVID-19 pandemic”.
    • Jets from the Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds flew over New York City in a tribute to medical personnel, first responders, and essential workers. Video of the flyover can be found here.
    • There are now nearly 45,000 Air and Army National Guard professionals supporting the COVID-19 crisis response at the direction of their governors, an increase of about 500 from yesterday. In addition, 43 states, three territories and Washington, D.C. have been approved for use of federal funds under Title 32.
  • April 27: 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.
    • VA officials say five million masks ordered by the Veterans Health Administration to protect staff at VA hospitals were taken by FEMA for the Strategic National Stockpile. After an appeal from VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to FEMA, the agency provided the VA with 500,000 masks last week.
    • The number of veterans and healthcare workers diagnosed with COVID-19 at VA hospitals and clinics continues to surge. Over the weekend, cases among veterans topped 6,900 while cases among VA employees reached 1,900. 435 VA patients have died from the virus.
    • The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York will test and “soft quarantine” all cadets returning to graduate in June. President Trump is slated to serve as the commencement speaker.
    • Some states, including New York, Virginia, and Michigan, have begun to scale back construction of Army Corps of Engineers makeshift hospitals as already-built Army Corps hospitals see low occupancy rates and social distancing measures lower estimates of hospital overload.
    • Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley wants a “full-blown investigation” into the USS Theodore Roosevelt incident, which will likely delay a final decision by Defense Secretary Esper on whether to restore Capt. Crozier as commander of his former carrier.
  • April 24: 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 researchers at the service’s Combat Capabilities Development Command say the best material for homemade face covering to protect against COVID-19 transmission is four-ply microfiber cloth. The material filters out more than 75 percent of particles and can be found in the cleaning section of most big box stores.
  • The Army announced seven unit rotations to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Europe scheduled for late spring and summer. An official with 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters, which is headed to Europe, said they plan to quarantine before departure and test troops for COVID-19 upon arrival.
  • DoD spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman held a press conference to discuss the Department’s plans for resumption of normal operations after the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • April 23: 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 commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa declared a public health emergency for several thousand U.S. troops stationed across the Djibouti base cluster.
  • Three soldiers from the 94th Military Police Battalion were reduced in rank and docked pay after breaking health protection condition orders in a visit to an off-post bar in Daegu, South Korea.
  • There are now 43,300 Air and Army National Guard professionals supporting the COVID-19 crisis response at the direction of their governors. In addition, 40 states, three territories, and Washington, D.C. have now been approved for use of federal funds for state missions under Title 32.
  • April 22: The DoD announced a tiered COVID-19 testing plan with a goal of testing 60,000 service members a day by June. Tier one includes critical national capabilities, tier two includes deployed forces, tier three includes forward-deployed or redeploying forces, and tier four is the remainder of the force.
  • The Army is testing all new recruits arriving at the service’s four initial training centers for COVID-19. New recruits began arriving yesterday after a two-week hold on new arrivals gave the Training & Doctrine Command time to prepare testing kits and social distancing measures.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has begun construction on 32 facilities housing a total of 15,800 beds for COVID-19 patients. USACE has also designed 52 more facilities for states to build that will house a total of 17,260 beds.
  • The Marine Corps has cut the number of recruits shipping to boot camp in half while also asking recruits to self-isolate for 14 days before arrival.
  • President Trump will serve as the commencement speaker at West Point’s Class of 2020 graduation ceremony. Cadets were sent home during spring break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but West Point officials are planning how to bring the soon-to-be-graduates back for the ceremony.
  • April 21: 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.
  • A COVID-19 outbreak on the French carrier Charles de Gaulle has surpassed the USS Theodore Roosevelt with over 1,000 confirmed cases of the virus.
  • There are now more than 38,700 Air and Army National Guard professionals supporting the COVID-19 response effort at the direction of their governors. In addition, 39 states, three territories and Washington, D.C. have now been approved for use of federal funds for state missions under Title 32.
  • The Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. announced it is postponing the 2020 parade season due to COVID-19 concerns.
  • The USNS Comfort will be leaving New York City after Gov. Andrew Cuomo told President Donald Trump today that it was no longer needed to treat COVID-19 patients. The Navy hospital ship arrived in New York at the end of March and docked on Manhattan’s West Side, but was slow to take in patients and never came close to its full capacity during its time in New York.
  • April 20: 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.
    • The DoD’s top acquisition official Ellen Lord said reimbursements to industry for payments to employees who are unable to work due to the pandemic, an authority given to DoD under Section 3610 of the CARES Act, will potentially be in the “billions.”
  • The Air Force is assembling an Expeditionary Medical Support System (EMEDS) facility at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam to accommodate USS Theodore Roosevelt sailors with COVID-19.
  • VA patient deaths have risen to 339 – a 13 percent increase over the weekend.
    • Five Senate Democrats sent a letter to VA Sec. Robert Wilkie requesting information on the use of PPE by VA employees. Their letter follows another from the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs last week.
  • The USNS Comfort has begun admitting patients from hospitals in New Jersey in an effort to expand its support of the region’s COVID-19 response efforts.
  • April 19: Nearly 1,000 cadets graduated Saturday from the Air Force Academy in a scaled-down ceremony that capped a trying semester of virtual classes and solitary dorm-room meals due to COVID-19. The cadets marched 6 feet apart to seats that were spread across the center of the Colorado Springs campus to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.
  • One month after “going virtual” because of COVID-19, Army recruiters are gearing up for increased use of Army recruiting stations in the coming weeks to get back to the job of shipping recruits to Army training. Military Entrance Processing Stations will begin shipping recruits April 27th.
  • The Pentagon is extending its ban on most military and domestic travel, including permanent change of station moves, by nearly two months.
  • The Navy is coordinating with the CDC to investigate the COVID-19 outbreak on board the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. The outbreak on the Roosevelt is the single largest in the military, with 660 members of its crew testing positive for the virus, seven of whom are in the hospital, and one sailor who died last week.
  • Starting this coming week, one of the Army's largest training posts — Fort Jackson, South Carolina — will be able to conduct about 700 tests each day for the virus after receiving new machines to increase its throughput.
  • April 17: 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.
  • Panacea, a research project under Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is assessing nearly 22,000 chemical compounds for a possible coronavirus treatment.
  • Nineteen Senate Democrats sent a letter to acting Navy Secretary James McPherson urging the Navy to better protect personnel following the USS Theodore Roosevelt COVID-19 outbreak.
    • 655 sailors on the aircraft carrier have now tested positive for the virus, six have been hospitalized, and one has died.
  • VA leaders promised additional protective masks for health care staffers following reports of medical equipment rationing at VA health centers.
  • U.S. Forces Korea has banned a U.S. contractor from access to any U.S. military installations in Korea for two years after the contractor failed to comply with an order to quarantine following exposure to COVID-19.
  • April 16: 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.
    • Democrats on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee sent a letter to Vice President Pence saying the Office of Management and Budget has blocked their requests for information relating to equipment shortages at VA hospitals.
    • The letter comes amid reports of mask rationing and other equipment shortages at several VA medical sites.
    • 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.
    • A training battalion at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, had a cluster of 50 positive COVID-19 cases. The cluster hasn’t grown and the service plans to take new recruits for basic combat training next week, following a 14-day pause that started on April 6th.
    • Marine recruits arriving in San Diego, California, for boot camp will now have to undergo a 14-day quarantine before training even commences.
  • April 15: 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.”
  • Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said the USS Theodore Roosevelt could be back at sea in weeks while the Navy reported COVID-19 cases among the ship’s crew increased to more than 600 sailors.
    • Former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said the Navy should bring all ships into port, quarantine the majority of crews, and sanitize the ships to avoid a COVID-19 outbreak similar to the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Veterans homes in 16 states have reported at least one case of COVID-19. The VA reported 4,468 positive COVID-19 cases across its health system.
  • Seven medical crew members of the USNS Mercy docked off Los Angeles have been infected with COVID-19, according to the Navy. More than 100 others are quarantined off the ship after officials determined they worked in close contact with those who are sick.
  • April 14: Four more USS Theodore Roosevelt sailors with COVID-19 have been hospitalized in Guam, one day after a fellow crew member died from the illness.
    • The Navy is holding the carrier USS Harry S. Truman, which has been operating in the Arabian and Mediterranean Seas, at sea indefinitely to protect the crew from COVID-19.
  • DoD has confirmed it will extend the 60-day ban on all nonessential military travel that is set to end May 11th. Final details of the modified stop-movement order will be released later this week.
  • With thousands of unused beds in New York’s Javits Center and on the USNS Comfort, hundreds of military health workers are directly assisting New York’s medical centers where hospital-acquired COVID-19 cases have sidelined civilian staff.
  • A man in Atlanta was charged with wire fraud for attempting to sell 125 million nonexistent N95 masks to the VA for $750 million.
  • Defense Sec. Mark Esper and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will host a virtual meeting tomorrow to discuss the alliance’s efforts to defeat COVID-19.
  • April 13: 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.”
  • DoD’s pricing and contracting office late last week set up procedures based on the CARES Act to reimburse defense contractors who are paying employees who cannot work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pentagon’s framework carries out a provision of the CARES Act that allows agencies to reimburse contractors for providing paid leave to employees who cannot work during the pandemic.
  • DoD is finalizing a $415 million contract with Battelle to purchase 60 sterilization units that can clean up to 80,000 N95 masks per day.
  • The Air Force conducted the first operational use of the Transport Isolation System (TIS) to medevac three U.S. government contractors with COVID-19 from Afghanistan to Germany. The TIS, developed during the 2014 Ebola outbreak, is an infectious disease containment unit designed to protect aircrew and medical attendants while allowing medical care to be provided in-flight.
  • April 10: The Army is offering up to $100,000 cash prizes for low-cost, rugged ventilator ideas from any American business in a competition dubbed the “COVID-19 Ventilator Challenge.”
  • There are now 2,031 confirmed COVID-19 cases among service members after the Pentagon today reported a new 24-hour-case-increase record. Of the 245 new cases reported since yesterday, 144 came from the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Nine Army Reserve medical task forces totaling 760 soldiers are mobilizing to support the federal COVID-19 response in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Michigan.
  • The VA reported 26 fatalities since yesterday, its largest one-day increase in COVID-19-related fatalities. 3,700 patients in VA care have tested positive for COVID-19 and 200 patients have died from the virus.
  • Air Force Lt. Gen. Marshall “Brad” Webb held a phone briefing on the Air Force’s efforts to continue training while protecting airmen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 25,000 former soldiers have volunteered to support the Army’s COVID-19 response effort after the service sent a request for help last month to nearly 800,000 retired “gray-area” and Individual Ready Reserve soldiers.
  • Senior military health officials held a briefing to discuss the Military Health System’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • April 9: A sailor with COVID-19 aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt has been moved to the ICU after being found unconscious in isolation. Roughly 400 sailors aboard the ship have tested positive for the virus.
    • Deputy Defense Sec. David Norquist said the outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt is unlikely to be a “one-of-a-kind issue.”
  • DoD’s command triad held a virtual town hall meeting to answer questions from service members on a host of issues including travel, facemasks, and deployments.
  • During the town hall, Defense Sec. Mark Esper warned that U.S. adversaries are seeking to exploit the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The Army field hospital dispatched to Seattle less than two weeks ago will be returned to the federal government after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said his state’s hospitals should have adequate surge capacity. The soldiers deployed to Washington will prepare for new assignments as the Army Corps of Engineers attempts to build overflow facilities in cities that have yet to see their peak in coronavirus cases.

  • DoD’s command triad held a virtual town hall meeting to answer questions from service members on a host of issues including travel, facemasks, and deployments.

    • During the town hall, Defense Sec. Mark Esper warned that U.S. adversaries are seeking to exploit the coronavirus pandemic.
  • 1,400 masked Air Force trainees graduated from Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland a day after the Air Force shorted the length of Basic Military Training (BMT) to enhance social distancing measures.

  • At least 24 exercises involving Marines have been canceled or scaled back over concerns of COVID-19, despite voicings from the Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger that Marines “must continue to train.”

  • April 8: Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly submitted his resignation after leaked audio revealed him calling ousted aircraft carrier commander Capt. Brett Crozier “stupid” in an address to the ship’s crew. Capt. Crozier was relieved of duty last week following the leak of his memo pleading to Navy officials for help with a COVID-19 outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
  • A crewmember onboard the USNS Comfort has tested positive for coronavirus. The hospital ship, docked in Manhattan, is set to accept coronavirus patients after initially serving only non-COVID-19 patients.
  • House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) called on DoD to play a larger role in coronavirus testing, citing the Department’s wartime experience and infrastructure.
  • DoD officials held a phone briefing on the Department’s COVID-19 pandemic response. A recording of the briefing can be found here.
  • The armed services released updated guidance for how service members wear face coverings, instructing military personnel to keep masks “conservative” and “not offensive”.
  • Following a one-day increase of 5,000, there are now 27,000 Air and Army National Guard troops supporting the COVID-19 response at the direction of their governors. In addition, 21 states, two territories and D.C. have now been approved for use of federal funds for state missions under Title 32, with another 20 requests moving through the approval process.There are now 1,435 confirmed COVID-19 cases among service members, up from 978 on Friday. The military’s infection rate is 683-per-million, compared to the general U.S. rate of 932-per-million.
  • The Army has halted the shipment of new recruits to basic combat training. The pause will not affect those already at basic training locations, where drill sergeants continue to practice social distancing and medical screening of recruits.
  • Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger said Marines “must continue to train” amid the coronavirus pandemic. Marine Corps recruiting efforts have gone virtual, but Gen. Berger has left COVID-19 decisions to local commanders.
  • TSA has implemented changes in its cybersecurity policy for employees working from home, including allowing employees to use their own keyboard and mouse.
    • Across DHS, IT officials are rushing to increase the capacity of its virtual private networks in an effort to avoid system-wide crashes.
  • Parachute riggers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, plan to sew 1,000 surgical masks per week. The sewing machines, typically used to repair parachutes, have been repurposed to produce masks for COVID-19 patients.
  • DoD is expanding its medical support to include treating COVID-19 positive patients at convention centers in New York City, New Orleans, and Dallas.
  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said he is reassessing whether the Navy’s hospital ships will serve COVID-19 positive patients. Both hospital ships are currently only serving non-COVID-19 patients.
    • DoD announced COVID-19 screening for care on the USNS Comfort will take place pier-side to relieve overwhelmed NYC hospitals.
  • The Army is assembling a 250-bed field hospital at CenturyLink Event Center in Seattle that will serve non-COVID-19 patients.
  • The Navy and Marine Corps have partnered with FEMA and manufacturing institute America Makes to 3-D print and distribute medical face shields.
  • The USNS Comfort, docked on the West Side of Manhattan, began treating patients on Wednesday. The ship is serving as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to land-based hospitals.
  • The Pentagon confirmed it is seeking 100,000 military-style body bags for potential civilian use as projections for U.S. deaths in the coronavirus outbreak lie between 100,000 to 240,000.
  • The U.S. Army is working on plans to continue training large groups of troops amid the escalating coronavirus pandemic by creating “safety bubbles” around groups of healthy soldiers. The plan would require testing an entire company or battalion of soldiers for COVID-19 and, if none test positive, send them into the field for a month with prepackaged meals to do the kind of collective training exercises that social distancing guidelines have made risky on military bases throughout the U.S.
  • The Navy is evacuating the USS Theodore Roosevelt for disinfecting one day after the aircraft carrier’s commanding officer sent a plea for help controlling a COVID-19 outbreak. A skeleton crew will man critical stations while the carrier is disinfected in Guam.
  • The Pentagon has not yet sent the 2,000 ventilators it offered to HHS because the department has not yet provided a shipping location.
  • Flight testing and other priority test programs are ramping up again at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and other locations, after a pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Acting Defense Department inspector general Glenn Fine will oversee spending of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package. Fine will chair the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, which is composed of other inspectors general from throughout the federal government.
  • A 450-person Navy medical unit has been put on “ prepare to deploy” orders to ship out to Texas and New Orleans over the next several days to aid in COVID-19 relief efforts.
  • The USNS Comfort arrived in New York this morning. The 1,200-person vessel will take on non-COVID-19 patients facing life-threatening ailments to alleviate the burden of the city’s increasingly overflowing hospitals. The Navy’s other hospital ship, the Mercy, arrived in Los Angeles Friday with an identical mission.
    • The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is contributing over $2 million in pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, 975,000 gallons of fuel, as well as food and repair parts for both the USNS Comfort and Mercy.
  • The USS Theodore Roosevelt, a 5,000-person aircraft carrier that usually patrolls the Pacific and South China Sea, remains docked in Guam as the number of infected sailors continues to rise. Infections started cropping up after an early March port call in Vietnam, which Pentagon leaders say had about 16 known virus cases at the time. Defense Sec. Mark Esper says he will leave key decisions about how to address the outbreak to local commanders.
  • V.A. officials in New York will open up 50 beds to non-veteran patients in New York City as part of the department’s attempt to backstop community health needs in the event of a national emergency.
  • The Pentagon’s logistics agency has modified an existing contract and will spend $84.4 million to buy 8,000 ventilators from Zoll Medical Corp., Combat Medical Systems LLC, Hamilton Medical Inc., and VyAire Medical Inc., with an initial delivery of 1,400 by early May.
  • DoD’s Office of Industrial Policy has a website offering resources for industry navigating responses to COVID-19.
  • The Navy has begun testing all 5,000 people aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt after eight sailors tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • There are 227 cases of COVID-19 among active duty service members, up from 133 on Monday. The rate of service member cases is about 175 per million troops, which surpasses the U.S. at a large rate of 135 per million.
  • The Air Force Academy upped its Health Protection Condition to level Charlie, indicating substantial risk and sustained community transmission of the COVID-19 disease. Cadets are moving to online classes for the remainder of the school year.
  • Defense Sec. Mark Esper has issued a stop movement order halting all travel and movement abroad for up to 60 days. The order applies to U.S. troops, civilian personnel, and family members. Sec. Esper said that U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will continue.
  • The 1,000-bed USNS Comfort hospital ship will head to New York City in less than two weeks. Defense Sec. Esper highlighted the DOD’s effort to help with the COVID-19 response, including the departure of the USNS Mercy from Naval Station San Diego on Monday. Comfort’s mission will be to alleviate the burden on New York’s hospital system by providing non-coronavirus healthcare.
  • Production of the Air Force’s KC-46 refueling tanker and the Navy’s P-8 maritime surveillance plane will stop as Boeing shuts down all facilities in the Seattle area.
  • The Army said last week it does not currently expect COVID-19 to have an impact on planned contract awards, while also identifying several rescheduled efforts, including delivery of Humvee ambulances and updates to training simulators.
  • In response to yesterday’s increase to HPCON level Charlie, the Pentagon is shutting down a number of entrances beginning tomorrow at noon. The closed entrances include: Metro entrance, visitor screening, corridor 5, library & conference center, athletic center, mall annex vehicle access point, memorial gate, and river pedestrian booth.
  • V.A. Secretary Robert Wilkie writes about how the Department is responding to COVID-19 here.
  • The Naval Base San Diego hospital ship Mercy will arrive at the Port of Los Angeles later this week to take pressure off LA area hospitals. The ship will have more than 1,100 personnel and will be able to offer a broad range of critical care and other care. The Mercy has 1,000 beds and 12 operating rooms, but it cannot follow the necessary isolation protocol to prevent the spread of the virus so it won’t be taking COVID-19 patients.
  • The DOD is soliciting information from industry about how COVID-19 is disrupting businesses. The Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy has established an email address for industry to submit tips and leads.The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq has suspended its training mission for 60 days. Additionally, the U.S. military has stopped deployments to Afghanistan, which will extend deployment for some service members.
    • In Afghanistan, the training mission is continuing, though it is being adapted to mitigate risks. When possible, the coalition and Afghan forces are conducting training via teleconference and other “technical means,” while bases reorganize to create physical distance, with limited access to mission-essential personnel.
  • The U.S. commander in Afghanistan is halting American and allied troops from entering Afghanistan and, in turn, preventing some troops from leaving, for the next month. About 1,500 multinational troops, civilians, and contractors who arrived in Afghanistan within the past week are now living in screening facilities to limit movement.
    • As of March 19, 21 Resolute Support personnel have shown flu-like symptoms and are receiving medical care in isolation.
    • There are roughly 12,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But under an agreement signed between the Taliban and American diplomats last month, that number is set to decrease to 8,600 within the next 100 or so days. NATO and coalition forces, with roughly 8,700 troops in the country, were set to draw down a commensurate amount. With the new order from Gen. Miller, it will be difficult to reduce troops to the agreed upon number if troops are not allowed to move in or out of the country.
  • In addition to sending the USNS Mercy and Comfort to pandemic hotspots, active duty troops could help staff up to 1,000 beds’ worth of field hospitals around the country, the Joint Staff surgeon told reporters Wednesday, in response to requests from civilian public health agencies. Thousands of National Guard troops have been activated across more than a dozen states in the past week, though not necessarily medical units, and tasked with running mobile testing centers and compiling care packages to deliver to vulnerable residents, for example.
  • The Air Force has postponed the second round of tests for its next-generation battle management system due to COVID-19, moving the exercise from April to June.
  • A Navy hospital ship will not be ready to deploy to the New York City area in the next few days because it is undergoing maintenance in Norfolk, VA. According to a Pentagon spokesperson, it will be “weeks,” not days, until the DOD is able to deploy the Comfort.
    • There is another Navy hospital ship, the Mercy, that could be ready within days to service the West Coast.
  • The Pentagon announced that the Air Force moved 500,000 virus testing swabs to the U.S. from Italy. An Air National Guard unit transported the swabs to Memphis, TN, at which point they were distributed around the country as directed by HHS.
  • The Association of Defense Communities, Blue Star Families, and participants from the White Oak Collaborative are hosting a COVID-19 Military Support Town Hall Meeting tomorrow at 3pm. Register here.
  • All battle assemblies for U.S. Army Reserve units have been suspended indefinitely.
  • The Pentagon announced earlier this week that it will create a COVID-19 task force which will work closely with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff and other agencies to develop policies and recommendations for the disease.
  • DOD officials cautioned against overestimating the Department’s capacity to provide medical support in the fight against COVID-19, citing capabilities designed for trauma care, not infectious diseases. The Pentagon assured that it is “ready, willing and able to support civilian authorities to the greatest extent possible.”
  • Defense Sec. Mark Esper said the DOD would provide 5 million N95 air-filtering masks and 2,000 ventilators to assist the COVID-19 response. He added that the Pentagon can also make the Mercy and the Comfort available as hospital ships.
  • Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, sent a letter signed by 65 other members of the House to President Trump, calling on him to marshal DOD resources to protect against COVID-19. The letter highlights a number of ways DOD authorities, resources, and capabilities could be used to support the response to COVID-19, citing current authorities and past precedent. Some of these options include constructing mobile hospitals, aiding vaccine research and development, manufacturing emergency equipment, and making some equipment – like ventilators – available when possible.
  • A total of 670 National Guard members from 15 states have been activated as of yesterday morning in support of states’ responses to COVID-19, according to the National Guard Bureau. Any state that declares a state of emergency is authorized to call up its state’s Guard troops, according to a NGB release.




International Affairs


International Affairs Global Cases: 4,338,658 Total Deaths: 297,119 (Updated May 15)

  • May 15: Slovenia declared an end to its COVID-19 pandemic late Thursday night. Along with lifting social distancing measures, Slovenia also removed the mandatory 7-day quarantine for travelers arriving from Europe that had been in place since mid-April.
  • Africa could face as many as 250 million COVID-19 cases and 190,000 deaths across Africa in the first year of the pandemic, according to a recently published modeling study. As of April 29th, 45 of the 47 countries in the WHO Africa Region have reported cases of COVID-19.
  • Chile's capital city, Santiago, has been placed under complete lockdown with a mandatory quarantine imposed for the entire city after a 60 percent increase in COVID-19 incidence.
  • COVID-19 cases have reportedly been detected in individuals living in or near Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. These camps are home to nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees, and one expert estimates that the population density could be 8 times that of Wuhan, China.
  • Italy's Lombardy region will begin to open shops, restaurants, and hair salons on Monday.
  • In Haiti, the stigma surrounding COVID-19 has become the "greatest danger" in controlling community transmission.
  • May 14:
  • May 13: On Saturday, Germany, France, Austria, and Switzerland will start easing emergency restrictions on their border crossings.
  • Brazil's Ministry of Health reported 11,385 new cases of COVID-19 in 24 hours, the highest number in a single day in the country since the start of the pandemic.
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tested negative for COVID-19 three separate times. The test results were released to the public this afternoon.
  • In Turkey, Children 14 years of age and under were allowed to go outside on the street today for the first time since early April. The children were allowed to be outside between 11 AM and 3 PM.
  • Sweden's Foreign Affairs Ministry announced it is extending “advice against all nonessential travel to all countries” until July 15th.
  • Saudi Arabia has announced a total lockdown for the end of Ramadan after new cases increased dramatically during the holy month.
  • Health officials in Hong Kong are investigating how a 66-year-old woman and her granddaughter tested positive for COVID-19 after the city had 23 days without a locally transmitted case. The woman reportedly has no recent travel history and hasn’t had contact with known carriers of the disease.
  • South Sudan is one of the countries at risk of a serious food shortage. The FAO recently published data that show prices for wheat have shot up 62 percent and tapioca prices have increased 41 percent since February. The country was already facing famine before the COVID-19 pandemic because they do not have local food production. Now, the situation is even worse.
  • According to the 2020 World Health Statistics published by WHO today, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing significant loss of life, disrupting livelihoods, and threatening the recent advances in health and progress towards global sustainable development goals.
  • May 12: Countries around the world have seen increases in numbers of reported cases as they ease social distancing restrictions.
  • The UK will begin reopening tomorrow with Step 1 of its three phase plan. Most restrictions will remain in place, but a few will be eased.
  • Russia is now reporting the second highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world behind the U.S. They now have over 232,000 cases.
  • Iceland is anticipated to lift travel restrictions in mid-June. Travelers are expected to have to choose between taking a COVID-19 test or quarantining for two weeks once arriving.
  • The Canadian government is looking at administering questionnaires, using contact tracing apps, taking temperatures, and performing medical history checks on individuals who enter the country from the U.S.
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a $260 billion economic rescue package, but did not provide many details beyond that it would help all classes of business, from farms and laborers to big companies.
  • Following the emergence of a new cluster of cases in Wuhan, China, all residents have been ordered to get tested for COVID-19 in the next 10 days.
  • In Uruguay, crew members from the COVID-19-infected cruise ship "Greg Mortimer" have been allowed to disembark after almost two months at sea. More than half of the 60 crew members have tested positive.
  • May 11: Global COVID-19 cases have topped 4 million.
  • New clusters of COVID-19 have been reported in Wuhan, China. Authorities reported five new cases today, following a case on Sunday which was the first to be reported since early April.
  • Germany has begun lifting restrictions, but Chancellor Angela Merkel has made it clear that an ''emergency brake'' will be applied anywhere in the country that exhibits a surge in new infections.
  • Russia will begin easing lockdown measures tomorrow, despite a growing number of cases in the country. President Vladimir Putin has said the "non-working period" is over, but that mayors and regional leaders can still impose local restrictions.
  • Starting yesterday in Belgium, people living in the same household are allowed to have up to four people visit their home, but those four people will not be allowed to visit anywhere else.
  • In France, residents no longer have to provide travel certificates for trips within a radius of up to 100km from home. Longer trips will still require a certificate and, during the rush-hour in Paris, an employer's authorization or a "compelling reason to travel" will be required.
  • Multiple countries, including Italy, Ireland, and Spain, have closed schools until September.
  • May 8: Saudi Arabia continues to report daily increases in COVID-19 cases. Since mid-April, their numbers have tripled.
  • Recent data indicate that Mexico could be massively underreporting COVID-19 deaths in Mexico City. Officials say the true number of deaths could be up to three times as many as are being reported.
  • Today, Russia reported 10,699 new cases, continuing its recent trend of more than 10,000 new cases per day. At this pace, Russia could potentially overtake the UK, Italy, and Spain by early next week to reach #2 globally, behind the U.S.
  • According to the Brazilian Health Ministry, Brazil reported a record daily increase of 751 COVID-19 deaths on Friday, bringing them to a nationwide toll of nearly 10,000. At least 2 million Canadians lost their jobs in April, adding to the 1 million who were already unemployed through March. Canada’s unemployment rate stands at 13 percent, the second highest ever recorded.
  • The European Commission is encouraging countries in the EU to extend restrictions on nonessential travel and to keep external borders closed until June 15th. Kuwait’s government announced today it will impose a nationwide lockdown starting Sunday that will stay in place until the end of this month.
  • May 7: The world recorded its highest number of new cases in more than two weeks.
  • After the U.S. FDA issued an emergency use authorization for treating COVID-19 patients with remdesivir, Japan approved the drug for treatment as well.
  • Data from England and Wales show that black individuals are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as white people. Britain’s Office of National Statistics found two of the major factors to be social determinants of health and underlying health issues.
  • Afghanistan’s health minister, Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz, has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Poland has postponed its presidential election, which was originally supposed to take place this Sunday. It is now expected to be put off until June at the earliest, and officials are still debating how to conduct the contest safely and fairly amid the pandemic.
  • Canada is sending hundreds more troops to long-term care centers in Quebec and Ontario as COVID-19 outbreaks contribute to a growing crisis in senior homes.
  • French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said students will be able to start returning to school on Monday. Primary schools will open across the country Monday, with classes limited to 15 students, Blanquer said. Middle-school students from regions where the rate of infection is slowing down — categorized as “green” by the French government — will be returning to school on May 18th. But middle schools in areas where the virus is still actively circulating — categorized as “red” — will not reopen.
  • While many in Italy have been allowed to go back to work, schools will remain closed until September. In a country where just over half of women are in the workforce, many are concerned they will have to choose between their jobs and caring for their children. The Italian networks that normally support families — like church, after-school programs and sports centers — have also shut down, which doesn’t make things any easier.
  • May 6: In Germany, the Bundesliga will be allowed to return, according to Chancellor Angela Merkel. Matches will resume on May 15th behind closed doors. Schools, day care centers, stores, and restaurants will be allowed to reopen within the next few days, and hotels will be able to open by the end of the month.
  • Brazil’s health ministry recorded at least 10,503 new cases of COVID-19 and 615 deaths in the past 24 hours. The country currently has the highest number of cases in Latin America. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro continues to face criticism for downplaying the threat of the virus and attending rallies calling for an end to quarantine measures.
  • Poland’s governing coalition parties have agreed to postpone this Sunday's presidential election due to COVID-19 concerns. A new date has not yet been scheduled.
  • The EU’s Commission is anticipating a COVD-related economic downturn not seen since the Great Depression. Some estimates project decreases in economic activity of 7.5 percent. Greece, Spain, and Italy are expected to be hit hardest.
  • Researchers in the UK say a cluster of eight children, some who tested positive for COVID-19, seem to have symptoms of the rare Kawasaki disease. “We suggest that this clinical picture represents a new phenomenon affecting previously asymptomatic children with SARS-CoV-2 infection manifesting as a hyperinflammatory syndrome with multiorgan involvement similar to Kawasaki disease shock syndrome,” the researchers wrote.
  • Chinese officials continue to push back against U.S. allegations that China has not been fully forthcoming with details about the origin of COVID-19.
  • As India as moved to lift social distancing restrictions, the number of cases is doubling every 9.5 days, and the daily death toll has increased by more than 100. New Delhi and Mumbai, two of the most crowded areas, account for a third of all reported infection in India.
  • Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are will effectively be creating a “travel bubble”. The neighboring countries will lift travel restrictions between them starting May 15th, a move that will be the first of its kind in the EU since its members began to limit travel in March.
  • May 5: The U.K. has surpassed Italy in total number of deaths, now at 32,000, making it the highest in Europe. The U.S. still has the most deaths globally, with over 70,000.
  • Disneyland in Shanghai will reopen on May 11th, making it the first Disney theme park to reopen since the parks closed for the pandemic. Overall Disney revenue has plummeted over the last few months.
  • France reported its second consecutive day of increased deaths.
  • French doctors are saying a patient treated in late December had COVID-19. If true, the finding suggests that the virus was present in Europe almost a month earlier than previously thought. This week, doctors tested samples taken from patients in late December and early January. One of those, taken on December 27th from a patient who had pneumonia, tested positive.
  • The Indian government is set to begin repatriating hundreds of thousands of migrant laborers who were stranded due to COVID-19. Starting later this week, India will deploy military ships and its national airline for the effort, while Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates will use civilian airliners. According to Indian officials, the first wave of repatriations could bring 192,000 individuals back to India by the middle of next month, with about 100,000 of them returning from Persian Gulf countries where many have lost their jobs because of the pandemic.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing a homegrown antiviral medication that has not been proven to help prevent or treat COVID-19. He has allocated nearly $130 million to triple a stockpile of the medication and offered to provide it for free to dozens of other countries.
  • Baseball is returning to Korea and Taiwan, though there will be no live spectators allowed. In Taiwan, the stands are filled with cardboard cutouts and mannequins, locker rooms are stocked with bottles of sanitizer, and players and coaches have been warned to keep a distance from each other.
  • The Philippine Supreme Court has ordered the release of nearly 10,000 inmates in one of the world's most congested prison systems. At least 330 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • May 4: Tomorrow, May 5th, is World Hand Hygiene Day. In observation of the day, UNICEF is mobilizing global RCCE partners to scale up handwashing outreach for COVID-19 prevention and Operationalization of the interim recommendations on obligatory hand hygiene against transmission of COVID-19.
  • More than a dozen countries began lifting social distancing restrictions today.
  • Markets and malls will reopen in Israel on Thursday, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Additionally, citizens will no longer be required to remain within 100 meters of their homes, and gatherings of up to 20 people will be permitted, as well as weddings of up to 50 people. Kindergarten and daycares will open on Sunday, and sports and leisure facilities will gradually reopen by mid-June. PM Netanyahu said all of this is dependent on cases remaining on a downward trend.
  • In India, businesses, local transportation, and activities like weddings are allowed to resume in areas that have minimal or no known infections. Liquor stores were also allowed to open today, which led to massive crowds. India is anticipating more of these occurrences as their lockdown has been one of the most serious in the world.
  • Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has extended the country’s state of emergency through the end of the month.
  • Four Chinese companies have started testing their vaccine candidates on humans.
  • World leaders have pledged a total of $8 billion for the development and deployment of diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines against COVID-19. The E.U., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Norway, Spain, and the UK co-hosted a virtual pledging conference today.
  • New Zealand continues to be a symbol of success and recently reported no new cases of COVID-19. Because of this, and because Australia has also proven to have tackled COVID-19 head-on, the two countries are in talks of a “travel bubble,” to allow individuals to travel between the two countries without quarantining.
  • May 1: The U.K. set a goal at the beginning of April to test 100,000 people a day for COVID-19 by the end of the month. Today, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the U.K. had accomplished that goal.
  • As Israel lifts restrictions aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19, the government is considering a points-based system to help determine who should consider isolating even after measures are removed. Clalit Health Services, a semipublic health care provider that serves about half of the Israeli population, has proposed a system that would assign points to help people determine their risk level and decide whether to remain at home after restrictions are lifted. Risk would be assigned based on the person’s health and age, and pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure would be worth a point each on one’s risk profile, as would a history of smoking, obesity, or hospitalizations.
  • Doctors in Italy and the U.K. are concerned about a small but growing number of children displaying symptoms of a rare blood-vessel disease, Kawasaki disease, that may be linked to COVID-19. In both countries, doctors have alerted their colleagues to look out for symptoms associated with the inflammatory condition that typically affects young children and has symptoms including stomach pain, skin rashes, and a high fever.
  • After authorities banned the annual May Day protest organized by trade unions in Hong Kong, a city which has imposed a law prohibiting more than four people gathering, riot police used pepper spray to clear a large group of demonstrators from a shopping mall.
  • Nigeria’s economy is struggling as crude oil demand remains low. At least seven vessels carrying 12 million barrels of unsold Nigerian oil—seven days of production—are currently stranded at sea.
  • India’s lockdown has been extended for an additional two weeks.
  • Some residents in Indonesia are refusing to allow bodies of those who have died from COVID-19 to be buried in their communities, despite government assurances that doing so is safe. In the capital, Jakarta, special police units have been formed to guard burial processions for COVID-19 victims, after protesters blocked streets in several cities in the world's largest Muslim-majority country to prevent the dead from being transported to cemeteries.
  • April 30: Singapore reported 528 new COVID-19 cases, 488 (92.4 percent) of whom are residents in dormitories. Migrant workers living in these dormitories continue to drive Singapore’s accelerating epidemic; however, community transmission outside of these facilities remains low (9 new community cases reported).
  • WHO AMRO/PAHO Director, Dr Carissa F. Etienne, has urged for vaccination programs to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic: “If we fall behind on routine immunizations, particularly for children, we risk outbreaks, thus overwhelming hospitals and clinics with preventable diseases in addition to COVID-19.” Her full statement is available here.
  • The World Bank is predicting that global poverty rates will rise for the first time in over 20 years. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic lockdowns could land nearly 8 percent of the world’s population in poverty.
    • On a similar note, the top relief official at the United Nations says it will probably take $90 billion in humanitarian aid to protect vulnerable populations from the economic devastation of the pandemic.
  • Russian prime minister Mikhail Mishustin has tested positive for COVID-19. Mr. Mishustin made the announcement during a video conference with President Vladimir Putin that was broadcast on national television. He is the highest-ranking Russian official known to have been infected with COVID-19.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to lay out a road map next week for reopening the British economy, schools, and offices, but has not mentioned a timetable for putting it into effect and has expressed concern about reopening prematurely. He listed a set of conditions that must be met, including solving problems in obtaining enough PPE.
  • After Germany began easing its restrictions last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel said today that houses of worship, playgrounds, museums, zoos, and botanical gardens can now reopen. She will not be making any major decisions about reopening schools until after May 6th.
  • France’s government has announced plans to begin easing limits on movement and business on May 11th.
  • April 29: The global COVID-19 case total is expected to reach 3 million today.
  • As mentioned previously, the pandemic is disrupting immunization efforts around the world. It is now being estimated that up to 12 million children will be delayed in receiving their polio vaccinations in Africa, and 41 countries will not receive their malaria vaccines.
  • Calabria, a region in southern Italy, will begin the second phase of its emergency restriction rollback tomorrow. Bars, bakeries, restaurants, and pizzerias will be allowed to open.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he will not mandate that meat processing plants remain open. Two plants in Alberta, which combined provide about 70 percent of beef products in the country, have suffered from COVID-19 outbreaks.
  • Germany has extended its warning against international travel until June 14th.
  • Spanish authorities sprayed a beach with bleach in an attempt to protect children from COVID-19. The moved has caused irreparable damage to the local ecosystem. Authorities have since apologized.
  • Yemen has confirmed its first expansion of COVID-19, a cluster of five cases. This may seem low, but it is a serious threat for a country already dealing with hunger and a cholera outbreak.
  • Ventilators appear to be the newest black market item in Russia. Russian law enforcement officers confronted a gang suspected of trafficking the devices and ended up detaining eight people after a shootout. It was reported last month that wealthy Russians were buying ventilators for their own homes just in case family members caught COVID-19.
  • Border lockdowns around the world seem to have helped stall the trade of illegal wildlife. Conservationists see this as an opportunity to permanently damage criminal networks of traders, but are also wary of an increase in poaching.
  • April 28: WHO has published the R&D Blueprint: COVID-19 Experimental Treatments, which lists drug and non-drug experimental treatments for COVID-19.
    • Spain is launching a nationwide seroprevalence study of 36,000 randomly selected households. The study will measure the level of COVID-19 throughout the population, and will use two kinds of serology tests: a finger-stick rapid test and a laboratory-based test.
    • New Zealand has now transitioned its COVID-19 response to “Alert Level 3,” which lifts some of the strictest movement measures and allows certain businesses to reopen. The country’s success in controlling the spread of COVID-19 is due in part to its rapid response, strict enforcement of boarder closure, social distancing, and testing capacity.
    • The United Arab Emirates is beginning to relax social distancing measures despite cases nearly doubling over the past 10 days. The country will use a smartphone app to support contact tracing efforts, but using the app appears to be voluntary.
    • Colombia will reportedly extend its national social distancing measures until May 11th, but began allowing construction and manufacturers to return to work on April 27th. Mass transit services may not exceed 35 percent capacity until further notice.
    • Chilean President Sebastián Piñera unveiled the country’s “Plan for Safe Return,” which plans for the return of civil service workers and private industry employees to work, and students to schools.
    • Ecuador is beginning to asses ways to relax social distancing policies, despite being among the most severely affected countries in the Pan American Health Organization.
    • Today, Turkey sent a military cargo plane loaded with personal protective equipment and other medical supplies to the U.S. Turkey’s COVID-19 epidemic has been on the decline since early April, and the Turkish government has sent similar shipments to at least 55 countries
  • April 27: More than a million Australians have downloaded a coronavirus contact tracing app within hours of it being released by the government. The COVIDSafe smartphone app uses a Bluetooth wireless signal to exchange a "digital handshake" with another user when they come within five feet. The app then logs this contact and encrypts it.
  • Users will be notified if they have had more than 15 minutes of close contact with another user who tests positive.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new rent subsidy program which would provide financial resources to property owners and businesses to cover rent payments. The program would pay 50 percent of the rent for three months to the building owners, but it requires them to reduce the rent cost and refrain from evicting tenants. The businesses themselves would be required to cover the remaining rent.
  • National and local health officials in South Korea published a case study of a COVID-19 outbreak at a call center. The cluster of COVID-19 cases was originally reported in early March, in a “commercial-residential mixed-use building,” and the outbreak resulted in 97 confirmed cases at the time of the investigation.
  • Paraguay President Mario Abdo Benitez announced Monday that in-person classes will remain closed through December. Benitez said that although there is “scientific evidence suggesting children are less vulnerable to the virus,” the government has a “constitutional obligation” to care for the health of its citizens.
  • Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has extended the country’s coronavirus lockdown in three major states —Abuja, Lagos and Ogun — for another week until May 4th.
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned to work, several weeks after being diagnosed with and hospitalized for COVID-19. He addressed the country from 10 Downing Street, thanking first responders and citizens for their dedication, support, and cooperation. He emphasized that, while the economic and other hardships resulting from social distancing are difficult, the UK must resist the urge to resume normal activities too soon.
  • As serological testing capacity increases worldwide, countries and businesses are developing plans to implement broader testing programs and evaluating mechanisms to use the available data. One particular tool that has been mentioned by health and elected officials in multiple countries is “ immunity passports/certificates” that could enable those with antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 to resume normal activities; however, this concept presents a myriad of technical, social, ethical, and legal challenges. The WHO published a statement regarding the use of serological tests for this purpose. The WHO notes that there is not currently sufficient evidence to determine whether individuals who have been previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 are immune to future infections.
  • Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin would meet tomorrow with regional governors to discuss the spread of COVID-19 around the country. On a conference call, Peskov was asked when Russians could expect their self-isolation orders to end, and he responded that it was too early for predictions.
  • The Russian military reported 2,090 cases of the coronavirus among its personnel, cadets and civilian employees, according to the country's defense ministry.
  • A village in India’s southern state of Kerala is distributing 10,000 umbrellas to residents to help maintain social distancing. The idea is to stand next to one another with open umbrellas to maintain a distance of at least a meter.
  • April 24: The Italian Association of Doctors said today that at least 150 doctors have died of COVID-19 and health care professionals account for about 10 percent of the country’s infections.
  • Leaders of the EU have yet to come to an agreement on an economic recovery program for member states. Member countries met virtually yesterday to review a number of proposals, and made significant progress toward an agreement.
  • Today the WHO announced the initiation of the global Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) accelerator to promote the rapid development of vaccines and therapeutics, as well as equitable access to those treatments. The U.S. will not be a formal member of the partnership, but will support international efforts to develop and produce a vaccine.
  • WHO has published an interim guidance “ COVID-19 and Food Safety: Guidance for competent authorities responsible for national food safety control systems.” The guidance document provides advice and recommendations for national food safety authorities to optimize food control functions and prioritize critical services that preserve the integrity of food safety systems.
  • Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès has announced a detailed plan to gradually lift the country's coronavirus restrictions. Under the new rules, all shops will be allowed to open their doors starting May 11th. Schools will reopen the following week with a cap on the number of students allowed in each class.
  • The Czech Republic's ban on free movement has been lifted. Czechs will be able to gather outside in groups of up to 10 as the COVID-19 situation has improved. They can leave home whenever they want, but social distancing rules and face masks remain compulsory. The country's lockdown began on March 16th.
  • Air France-KLM Group and Air France have secured $7.5 billion in financing to help it remain solvent during the pandemic. The financing comes in two parts: a French state-backed loan of roughly $4.3 billion (4 billion euros) granted by a syndicate of six banks (guaranteed by the French state up to 90 percent) and a direct shareholder's loan of roughly $3.2 billion (3 billion euros) from the French state to the airline group.
  • The U.K. will host a "Global Vaccines Summit" on June 4th in an effort to encourage the international community to “come together” to support the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • April 23: According to the WHO situation report, Japan updated its reporting for COVID-19 deaths to include both confirmed cases as well as cases whose “data matching and verification are in progress” which presumably corresponds to suspected COVID-19 deaths. The notable increase in number of deaths reported from Japan can be attributed to this change.
  • WHO has published guidance “ Addressing Human Rights as Key to the COVID-19 Response.” The guidance document highlights the importance of integrating a human rights-based approach into the COVID-19 response and highlights key considerations in relation to addressing stigma and discrimination, prevention of violence against women, support for vulnerable populations, quarantine and restrictive measures, and shortages of supplies and equipment.
    • The Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) has launched a GOARN COVID-19 Knowledge hub. The hub is designed as a central repository of quality public health information, guidance, tools, and webinars which can be accessed freely at any point.
    • The death toll from COVID-19 is likely 15 times higher than what is being reported, according to recent analysis. The country’s death rate has fallen following the lockdown put in place in March.
    • German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned the governors of the country’s 16 states against loosening restrictions on public life too quickly, saying that it could jeopardize the nation’s ability to keep the spread of COVID-19 under control.
    • At least one person has died after police confronted looters at a supermarket in Venezuela, where the pandemic and a dire economic crisis have left millions in desperate need of food. The death was the latest sign of the escalating civil unrest gripping the country in the second month of a national lockdown ordered by President Nicolás Maduro.
    • Despite Iranian leaders having significantly lessened their dependence on foreign purchases of Iran’s oil, it remains a key industry for a country with the third-largest reserves among the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
    • Ukraine is struggling to control COVID-19 outbreaks in several medieval monasteries that hold the relics of saints, because worshipers continue to risk infection to visit them. Police this week sealed the gates of the Pochaiv monastery, a 13th-century cluster of churches in western Ukraine that is a traditional pilgrimage site for the sick.
    • After new outbreaks started popping up, Chinese officials have imposed new travel restrictions in some northern parts of the country. Harbin, a city of 10 million in northeastern China, and multiple other cities in the region are preventing outsiders from visiting neighborhoods and warning residents to stay away from high-risk areas.
    • The leaders of the E.U. agreed today to make plans for a recovery fund to help rebuild their battered economies. The European Commission has been tasked with drafting a proposal that balances their competing demands. Southern European countries (led by Italy and Spain) are calling for a recovery fund of more than a trillion euros that will be able to extend grants to nations rather than loans.
    • Kenya has vowed to arrest and isolate about 50 people who escaped from a COVID-19 quarantine center in Nairobi.
    • The Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, one of the holiest sites in Islam, will be closed to the public throughout the fasting month of Ramadan to stem the spread of the coronavirus, in what scholars believe is the first time in centuries that it has been shut to Muslims during the holiday
  • April 22: WHO has launched a new online course on Standard precautions: Hand hygiene. The module has been prepared to help summarize the WHO guidelines on hand hygiene, associated tools and ideas for effective implementation. To date, there has been more than 1.5 million enrolments in the platform's courses to support the COVID-19 response.
  • All of Germany’s states have now made it mandatory to wear masks, however the rules about where masks will be required varies by state. For example, it will not be mandatory to wear a mask in Berlin while shopping.
  • Also in Germany, a biotech company said today that a COVID-19 vaccine candidate it had developed with Pfizer has been approved for clinical testing in Germany. It would be what is believed to be the fourth trial to get underway internationally in the race for a vaccine.
  • India has seen a drastic clearing of pollution since implementing a lockdown. The deadliest particle in Delhi's air is particulate matter (PM) 2.5, which increases the likelihood of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. PM 2.5 come from combustion like fires, cars, and power plants. One research group found that the levels of PM 2.5 in Delhi during the lockdown plummeted to 20 micrograms per cubic meter with a 20-day average of 35. To put this into context, between 2017 and 2019, the monthly average of PM 2.5 in the capital was up to four times higher.
  • Amazonas has been among the hardest-hit states in Brazil with over 2,270 confirmed cases and nearly 200 deaths. Elsewhere in Brazil, officials in Manaus have had to create a mass grave at the edge of a cemetery. The mayor of Manaus said, “The health care system no longer has the capacity to provide care to the patients that need it and people are starting to die at home.”
  • Haitian government officials are admitting they are unprepared to deal with COVID-19. The country has only 60 ventilators for 11 million people. The government has recently attempted to buy much-needed equipment (including tens of thousands of masks from Cuba) but health officials say it’s too little, too late.
  • Officials in Taiwan are looking to turn their success in battling COVID-19 into a geopolitical win, sending millions of masks marked with “made in Taiwan” to countries hit hard by the crisis and launching a diplomatic and public relations campaign. The island is promoting itself as a model of democracy to try to undercut China’s own campaign to use the crisis to tout the strength of its authoritarian system, though Beijing has waved off the effort as an attempt to “seek independence under the pretext of the pandemic.”
  • Eight infants and toddlers at a care center in Tokyo have tested positive for COVID-19, raising concerns about a wider outbreak at care facilities in the country for neglected or abused children.
  • April 21: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said today that the country was likely to begin easing lockdown measures starting May 4th. Officials in the south, where there is a higher concentration of poor individuals, fear that easing travel restrictions will expose their region. Before COVID-19, unemployment in southern Italy was already at 18 percent.
  • According to a report by the World Food Program, the number of people facing acute hunger this year could likely double as a result of COVID-19. About 265 million people in low- and middle-income nations could face starvation by the end of 2020, a doubling of the 135 million who already faced acute food insecurity in 2019.
  • Ecuador’s inability to test and track people coming to the country from Europe is perceived to be what has caused the biggest hotspot in Latin America. It took the country 13 days to diagnose Patient 0 with COVID-19. Meanwhile, she infected at least 17 other people. Ecuadorian health officials also assume that the lack of testing means the official figure of 520 deaths is much higher in reality.
  • Britain’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, said on Tuesday that trials of a coronavirus vaccine will begin on people this week. The government has given $24.5 million to an Oxford University team to accelerate its work and is funding vaccine development at Imperial College London.
  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said public gatherings, including the professional soccer league’s games, are canceled in the Netherlands until September 1st, but elementary students will be able to return to school next month, attending on alternating days.
  • The last three cruise ships still sailing with passengers returned to port this week, releasing the thousands onboard into a new reality of a world under lockdown where economies have plunged into recession and social distancing is the norm. The three ships — MSC Magnifica (disembarked in Marseille, France), Pacific Princess (disembarked in Los Angeles), and Costa Deliziosa (disembarked in Genoa, Italy) — all embarked on their journeys before the pandemic.
  • At least 150 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at a hotel being used to temporarily host migrants in Greece.
  • Singapore has extended its lockdown until June 1st.
  • President Joko Widodo of Indonesia announced that he will ban millions from returning to their home villages next month for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, known as Idul Fitri. The holiday marks the end of fasting for the month of Ramadan.
    • Pakistan is urging mosques to obey social distancing rules ahead of Ramadan’s start on Thursday.
  • April 20: In Germany, smaller stores were allowed to open for the first time in nearly a month, under initial measures to ease restrictions imposed back in March. Individuals still must stay at least five feet from one another at all times until the end of this month.
  • Norway, the Czech Republic, and Denmark each also lifted some social distancing restrictions today.
  • Singapore’s COVID-19 cases have more than doubled in the last few days, totaling more than 8,000 as of today. The majority of new infections have come from crowded dormitories where low-paid migrant laborers from South Asia and China live.
  • Turkey has surpassed China in its number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, with the tally passing 90,000 today. The death total is now at least 2,140 but, as is the case with most countries’ data at this point, the true death toll may be much higher.
  • The Iraqi government decided today to loosen a curfew that has been in place for almost five weeks. Lifting the curfew will allow some government employees to return to work, as well as some private sector workers, including those working in clothing stores and on construction sites. Iraqis will be allowed to leave their home and neighborhoods from 6 am to 7 pm for work, buying food, going to pharmacies, or attending medical appointments.
  • Several Israeli hospitals have begun to break bans and allow deathbed visits by family members of COVID-19 patients. Proponents say that one or two relatives making short bedside visits in full protective gear is manageable for hospital workers, and that the benefits outweigh the costs.
  • Spain has seen some positive indicators lately, such as an increase in recoveries and an increase in the number of hospital discharges. However, Spain’s central bank has still warned that the country’s economy could decrease by up to 13.6 percent this year, and unemployment could get as high as 22 percent. While Spain’s lockdown will continue into next month, some restrictions have been lifted to allow the reopening of construction sites and factories.
  • India recorded its biggest single-day spike in coronavirus cases today as the government eased one of the world’s strictest lockdowns to allow some manufacturing and agricultural activity to resume. Epidemiologists predict the peak may not be reached before June.
  • April 19: The U.S.-Canada border restrictions will be extended for another 30 days.
  • India has taken their lockdown in stride, with volunteer virus patrol squads popping up everywhere and neighborhoods imposing extra rules and sealing themselves off. However, the term “social distancing” has caused lower castes to be shunned even more than usual, and people are taking the lockdown very seriously. In one case, in Delhi, a son turned in his own father for stepping outside. In another, in a West Bengal State, some families who wanted to maintain social distancing asked their loved ones to sleep in trees.
  • About 100,000 people in Bangladesh ignored a nationwide lockdown to attend the funeral of Maulana Jubayer Ahmed Ansari, a senior member of an Islamist party, amid fears that the virus could spread quickly through the densely populated country.
  • French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said today that the country’s lockdown had slowed COVID-19 infections but that the health crisis is not over and life is unlikely to return to normal for quite some time, even after restrictions are officially lifted on May 11th.
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro continues to support demonstrators in his country who are protesting to demand an end to business shutdowns and quarantine guidelines imposed by governors around the country.
  • Chile is set to become the first country to issue “immunity cards” to those who have recovered from the coronavirus, allowing holders to return to work, despite questions about whether those who have recovered are in fact immune, how long any immunity might last, and the accuracy of antibody tests. To qualify, Chileans have to take a test that shows they have antibodies for the novel coronavirus. Those who have had the disease must be free of symptoms for at least 14 days — or 28, if they have a compromised immune system. Under those criteria, 4,338 people are eligible.
  • Britain recently said the millions of rapid tests it had ordered from China were not sensitive enough to detect antibodies except in people who were severely ill.
  • Rather than a peak — which would be followed by a sharp decrease in casualties and cases — Italy, Spain and France seem to have reached a high plateau that is slowly decreasing over time but still threatens to rebound. The three countries are devising plans to exit their lockdowns, which have been extended into May.
  • Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, extended a nationwide lockdown on Sunday for an additional two weeks but said that mines in the country could reopen, citing “the need to keep the economy running.”
  • At least 40 staff members in Afghanistan’s presidential palace have tested positive for COVID-19, forcing President Ashraf Ghani to isolate himself and attend events via video conference.
  • April 17: China’s official death toll from COVID-19 skyrocketed today when Wuhan announced a major revision that added nearly 1,300 fatalities to its total. The new figures resulted from an in-depth review of deaths resulting in health officials raising the official toll in Wuhan by 50 percent to 3,869 deaths. While China has yet to update its national totals, the revised numbers push up China’s total to 4,632 deaths from a previously reported 3,342.
  • Germany’s public health institute said the country’s rate of COVID-19 spread had dropped below a crucial threshold, potentially indicating control over spread. This week, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the first steps to ease restrictions, allowing some stores to reopen on Monday and high school students to return to classrooms to prepare for or take exams.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron has said his country is considering using a COVID-19 tracing app, similar to those used in parts of Asia, to help get infection rates under control. Those who argue in favor of the app say that it is fair to infringe on the privacy of people who are infected rather than inhibit the freedom of society as a whole. There remain concerns that the app, relying mainly on a sense of civic duty, will be so watered down in France that it will prove ineffective.
  • Nearly half of the 2,300 sailors from France’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier group have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Canada Day, July 1st, will celebrated online this year. Steven Guilbeault, the minister of Canadian Heritage, said the government will work with artists and performers to have a great virtual celebration.
  • April 16: British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who has assumed the duties of Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he recovers from COVID-19, announced a three-week extension to the current lockdown. Mr. Raab set out five prerequisites for easing restrictions: a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rates; confidence that hospitals can cope with the flow of patients; increased testing capacity; more PPE; and a judgment, with input from government health experts, that there would not be a second wave of infections.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a national emergency today, giving governors the authority to call on businesses to close and residents to stay inside.
  • Hospitals in Canada are reportedly beginning to stockpile used N95 respirators and other PPE, in the event they need to be sterilized and reused. As the global demand for respirators remains high (or possibly increasing), health systems around the world are looking for alternate solutions to supplement existing supply chains. Hospitals across the country are evaluating prospective options for decontaminating various types of PPE, in the event they are unable to procure supplies in the future. Several techniques have been documented for decontaminating respirators; however, they are not yet in widespread use. Canada’s Chief Medical Officer Theresa Tam recommended that hospitals start retaining used PPE, including N95 respirators, in case they can be disinfected in the future. Reportedly, supply-related challenges increased after the United States restricted the export of certain supplies.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has postponed a military parade and flag-waving celebrations marking the Red Army’s defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.
  • The WHO published an update to its COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Among the changes is a new section that includes guidance regarding conditions and considerations that should inform decisions regarding efforts to relax existing social distancing measures. The document emphasizes that countries must eliminate or maintain low levels of community transmission in order to contain the pandemic and that community transmission necessitates “exceptional measures” to rapidly suppress it. Notably, the WHO explicitly states that the decisions regarding implementing and relaxing social distancing measures should be made at the lowest levels of government to ensure “a tailored and appropriate response depending on the situation and capacities to respond.” The guidance outlines 6 principal considerations and capacities to consider in order to maintain suppressed community transmission.
  • Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has fired his health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta. Mandetta had previously won widespread public support by advocating broad-based social isolation in line with recommendations from the World Health Organization and many other medical and scientific experts.
  • Singapore announced a record jump in coronavirus cases with most of the 447 new confirmed cases coming from crowded dormitories for migrant laborers.
  • Kenyans held in quarantine on the Kenyatta University campus in the capital, Nairobi, have protested over being held for long periods even after testing negative for the coronavirus and finishing 14-day quarantines. Some said they were presented with bills in order to be allowed to check out.
  • Greece will move 2,380 of the most vulnerable asylum seekers from overcrowded camps on the Aegean Islands to less cramped facilities on the mainland to curb the risk of an outbreak. The relocation is expected to take around two weeks and will start after the Greek Orthodox Easter this weekend.
  • A news article published by Nature discusses emerging reports that the Chinese government is providing direct oversight of scientific publications related to COVID-19 research.
  • The majority of China’s reported COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks have been imported from other countries, as opposed to the result of local transmission. The journal China CDC Weekly published an assessment of the country’s risk of importing COVID-19 cases from various countries and regions, based on existing public data on national and sub-national COVID-19 incidence around the world. China has reported 1,101 total imported cases of COVID-19 (through April 8th), including 262 in the previous week. Among the recently imported cases, 125 (47.7 percent) were imported via land border crossings from Russia. China CDC also reported the proportion of imported cases by region: 77 percent from Asia, 8 percent from Europe, 6 percent from North America, 5 percent from Oceania, and 2 percent from Africa.
  • April 15: South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s governing party won in a landslide victory today. Voters were encouraged by the government’s response to COVID-19 and their efforts to control the spread of the virus. It is the first time in 16 years that left-leaning parties ​secured a parliamentary majority.
  • Around the world, opinion polls show boosts in approval ratings for leaders who were unpopular before the pandemic, like Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy and Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz of Austria. Even those who were already highly regarded, like Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, have seen an increase in their approval ratings.
  • WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he is “reviewing the impact on our work of any withdrawal of U.S. funding” and is working with partners to fill financial gaps. “The United States has been a long-standing and generous friend to WHO, and we hope it will continue to be so,” he added.
  • A study by researchers at the London School of Economics found that as many as half of COVID-19-related deaths in Italy, Spain, France, and Ireland were in nursing homes.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the first steps for lifting COVID-19 restrictions, with some nonessential stores to open next week and schools to start again next month. The social distancing standards of only being allowed to meet with one non-family member will stay in place until May 3rd.
  • Guatemala’s health minister retracted a claim he made yesterday that more than half of all deportees from the U.S. carry the virus. Instead, Hugo Monroy said 75 percent of deportees on a single flight in March had tested positive for COVID-19, which concerned the Guatemalan government.
  • President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro continues to reject the urges from his health minister and country’s governors to take strong action against COVID-19, arguing that any form of a shutdown would create severe economic hardship and unemployment. Bolsonaro continues to interact with supporters on the streets, often drawing crowds.
  • Denmark reopened schools and day care centers today.
  • Romania is the first E.U. nation to ban the export of agricultural goods (specifically barley, oats, corn, rice, wheat flour, oilseed, and sugar) to countries outside the bloc in order to secure domestic supply during the pandemic.
  • Over 650 French sailors from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle have contracted Covid-19, according to the French defense ministry.
  • Belgium now has the second highest death rate in the E.U. for COVID-19. With a population of only 11.5 million, the country’s 4,440 deaths from the virus puts their death rate at 383.1 per million residents. They now trail only Spain.
  • April 14: President Trump announced today that the U.S. will halt funding to the WHO until his administration has had an opportunity to review the WHO’s response to COVID-19.
  • Britain’s Office of National Statistics released figures indicating that deaths could be at least 10 percent higher than the official toll — 12,107 as of today — which does not take into account many people who die in nursing homes or at home. More than 2,000 nursing homes, about 13 percent of the country’s total, have had coronavirus cases.
  • Italy today started to reopen some bookshops and children’s clothing stores.
  • Austria is now allowing thousands of hardware and home improvement stores to reopen, as long as workers and customers wear masks.
  • In Singapore, new lock down rules have been instituted after a second wave of COVID-19 hit. Anyone who breaks the rules, including spending time with anyone not in their household, can be imprisoned, fined the equivalent of $7,000, or both.
  • Chinese exports of N95 respirators, surgical masks, and other PPE have been delayed again as China’s customs agency hasn’t resolved a critical regulatory issue. After complaints came in from Europe stating that some medical supplies had quality problems, China’s customs administration issued a new regulation last week that each shipment of medical supplies must be inspected for quality before it can be exported. Consequently, the shipment of millions of masks, thousands of ventilators, and other equipment has been sorely delayed.
  • There are now 70 candidate vaccines in development globally, up from to 44 on March 20th. Of the 70 Covid-19 vaccines in development, only three are currently in clinical trials, meaning they are being tested on humans. China’s CanSino Biological, in partnership with the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology, is in the lead, with the only candidate vaccine currently in phase two trials. U.S. players Moderna and Inovio Pharmaceuticals are the other two developers testing vaccines on humans and both are currently in phase one. The remaining 67 potential vaccines are still only in the pre-clinical trial stage.
  • Measles immunization campaigns in 24 countries have been delayed, with more expected to be postponed. The Measles and Rubella Initiative stated they agreed with the WHO’s new guidelines recommending pausing preventative immunization campaigns where there is no active outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease as long as unvaccinated children are tracked.
  • A group of scientists, physicians, funders, and manufacturers from around the world have pledged to collaborate, in coordination with WHO, to help speed up the availability of a vaccine against COVID-19. Their statement can be found here.
  • April 13: French President Emmanuel Macron said today that his country’s lock down will be extended through May 11th, at which point they will be taking steps to lift social distancing measures starting with the reopening of schools and daycare centers.
  • Turkey’s Parliament passed a law to release tens of thousands of prisoners to protect detainees from being infected by COVID-19. The bill will allow for the temporary release of about 45,000 prisoners, but excludes those jailed on terrorism charges.
  • Armed supporters of Khalifa Haftar in Libya have attacked medical warehouses belonging to a hospital in the capital Tripoli that is treating COVID-19 patients. Last week’s “humanitarian pause” in fighting is said to have lasted a matter of minutes.
  • Between the rapid spread of COVID-19 and oil demand plummeting, Venezuela is having a particularly difficult time. Oil is the country’s top export and, after its biggest Russian trading partner halted operations, the country’s oil output collapsed. Now, Venezuela is dealing with a struggling economy and an overwhelmed health care system.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was released from the hospital this weekend after falling ill with COVID-19 last week and ultimately being treated in ICU.
    • England’s lock down measures were originally set to expire today, but government and health officials have indicated it is still too soon to ease up on their lock down.
  • Yesterday, Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, declared a state of emergency for a second time and called on residents to stay at home for all but the most essential outings. Hokkaido’s governor issued the order upon reporting a second wave of COVID-19 cases.
  • China has seen a spike in cases as infected citizens have begun returning from Russia.
  • April 10: Turkey’s government imposed an around-the-clock weekend curfew in 31 cities, but the announcement came so close to the start of the curfew that thousands of residents went to stores and formed the exact kinds of crowds the policy is attempting to avoid.
  • Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has extended his country’s lock down until May 3rd (my 26th birthday). The strict social distancing measures were originally supposed to be lifted on April 14th.
  • A violent mess broke out in an already poor area of Nairobi, Kenya, where many people’s incomes have disappeared during the pandemic. A crowd of people tried to force through the gate of a food distribution site in Kibera, a crowded slum where many people live without basic amenities like running water. Security forces fired tear gas and injured several people.
  • Thousands of Muslims attended Friday Prayer in defiance of the Pakistani government’s orders to stay at home to try to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Pakistan has more than 4,600 confirmed cases and 68 deaths, but little testing has been done and the real number is likely higher.
  • South Korean voters were required to stand at three-foot intervals, rub their hands with liquid sanitizer, and put on disposable plastic gloves that​ officials were distributing outside voting booths for Friday’s election. Officially, the election for South Korea’s 300-member National Assembly takes place on Wednesday. But millions of voters were allowed cast ballots on Friday and Saturday, in advance voting that served as a kind of dress rehearsal.
  • In a historic move, every pub in Britain is closed in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.Yemen reported its first case of COVID-19 today.
  • April 9: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved out of intensive care today. He is reportedly in good spirits.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel is cautiously optimistic about her country’s prevention of COVID-19 spread. She will not be lifting the restrictions on social distancing, however.
  • OPEC and the other oil-producing countries agreed to cut about 10 million barrels of oil per day, or about 10 percent from normal production levels, in May and June. The Group of 20 nations will meet tomorrow to discuss furthers cuts.European Union finance ministers agreed today on the outlines of a loan package worth more than half a trillion euros to help the bloc’s nations relieve the severe economic blow from the pandemic. The agreement includes 100 billion euros to fund unemployment benefits, €200 billion for loans to smaller businesses, and up to €240 billion lent by the Eurozone’s bailout fund to member states, to cover potentially crippling health care-related costs.
  • As millions of Christians, Jews and Muslims celebrate Easter, Passover and Ramadan, WHO has released guidance for religious leaders and faith-based communities in the context of COVID-19.
  • All members of Botswana’s Parliament have been confined to mandatory quarantine due to possible COVID-19 exposure.
  • April 7: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is carrying out the prime minister's duties in his absence, said Johnson was "receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any assistance. He's not required any mechanical ventilation."
  • The months-long lockdown in Wuhan, China, where the virus originated, has been lifted. Anyone who has a "green" code on a widely used smartphone health app is now allowed to leave, for the first time since January 23rd. Approved residents will be able to use public transport if they are also to provide a QR code for scanning. The code is unique for each person and links to their confirmed health status.
  • Southern EU nations, led by Italy and Spain, have accused northern nations, led by Germany and the Netherlands, of not providing enough financial support to combat COVID-19 in poorer countries. Italy, Spain, France, and some other EU states want to share out coronavirus-incurred debt in the form of "corona bonds" (or eurobonds) - mutualised debt that all EU nations help pay off.
  • Moroccans who venture outside their homes without wearing face masks risk prison sentences of up to three months and a fine of up to $126.
  • Latest figures show 10,238 people have died from COVID-19 in France since March 1st. In the past 24 hours, 607 deaths were recorded in French hospitals. Director of Health Jérôme Salomon has said the country has not yet reached its peak.
  • Turkey ordered everyone to wear masks when shopping or visiting crowded public places, and said it would deliver free masks to every family.
  • Nearly 60 percent of people on an Aurora Expeditions cruise ship off the coast of Uruguay tested positive for COVID-19. Of the 217 people on board, many are from the U.S., Australia, and Europe.
  • Italian authorities said today that there were 3,039 new cases and 600 deaths in a 24-hour period, bringing the totals to 135,586 and 16,523 respectively. Italy hasn’t seen such a low daily number of COVID-19 cases since the early weeks of the outbreak.
  • After being admitted to the hospital for tests, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now in intensive care being treated for COVID-19. He was taken to a hospital in London this weekend with a temperature and persistent symptoms and has asked the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, to stand in for him if necessary.
  • Iran will lift a nationwide business shutdown and the majority of the work force will return to work by Saturday. The return to business as usual this week covers all provinces except Tehran, the capital, which will follow suit a week later. As of this evening, Iran has reported 60,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 3,739 deaths, but health experts speculate the true numbers are likely several times higher.
  • France reported 833 deaths in 24 hours, its highest daily total since the beginning of the outbreak.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responded to the country’s rapid increase in cases by announcing that he will declare a state of emergency in seven prefectures that include the country’s largest population centers. Abe also said there would be an economic stimulus package worth nearly $1 trillion. The government will suspend $240 billion in tax and social security payments and pay about $55 billion to households whose incomes have been affected by COVID-19.
  • In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated that schools and shops will remain closed and social distancing measures will stay in place until at least April 19th.
  • Israeli Jews will spend the first night of Passover under curfew, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Even though Passover begins on Wednesday night, the curfew will start at 7 pm on Tuesday, when travel between cities will be temporarily banned and residents of certain parts of Jerusalem will be confined to their neighborhoods.
  • The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) launched an appeal yesterday for funds towards priority public health measures to help Latin American and Caribbean countries. The funds will be used to implement PAHO's COVID-19 Response Strategy. Further information is available here.
  • England’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock said at a briefing today that staying at home this weekend is not a request for Brits, it is an instruction. The remarks came after the first of the country’s emergency field hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients opened in east London’s ExCel centre. The temporary NHS Nightingale Hospital will be able to hold as many as 4,000 patients.
  • A police robot has been deployed to patrol areas of Tunisia's capital, Tunis, to ensure that people are observing a coronavirus lockdown. If it spies anyone walking in the largely deserted streets, it approaches them and asks why they are out. They must then show their ID and other papers to the robot's camera, so officers controlling it can check them.
  • A Russian doctor has been detained after she challenged the country’s official count of COVID-19 cases.
  • A German cruise ship, the Artania, is defying orders to leave a port in Western Australia following a COVID-19 outbreak onboard. The Australian Border Force ordered the Artania to depart Fremantle after most of the ship's passengers were evacuated and flown home. Around 450 people remain on board, most of them crew, and they are asking to remain docked for another two weeks to ensure there are no further cases.
  • French authorities have boosted police checks to prevent anyone from trying to go away for the Easter holiday.
  • The remaining countries without reported cases of COVID-19 are: Comoros; Kiribati; Lesotho; Marshall Islands; Micronesia; Nauru; North Korea; Palau; Samoa; Sao Tome and Principe; Solomon Islands; South Sudan; Tajikistan; Tonga; Turkmenistan; Tuvalu; Vanuatu; and Yemen.
  • China has rejected the American intelligence community’s claim that Beijing concealed the extent of coronavirus, instead accusing the U.S. of seeking to shift the blame for its own handling of the outbreak.
  • After German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the coronavirus as the greatest challenge facing her country since the end of World War II, Germany’s parliament made it possible again to suspend patent rights. Germany’s law stipulates that patent holders must be indemnified, part of long-standing legislation allowing the government to use a patent for the “public good.” The association representing Germany’s biggest research-focused drug makers has argued that patent protection limits would be unnecessary as market forces are already a positive dynamic.
  • Russia sent a giant An-124 Russian military transport plane full of masks and ventilators to the U.S. The plane landed at Kennedy International Airport yesterday. Today, the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said that the U.S. and Russia had evenly split the cost of the medical goods and that Russia could depend on future COVID-19 aid from the U.S.
  • Global COVID-19 cases are nearing one million.
  • Iran has called for the U.S. to lift trade sanctions to make it easier for them to acquire medical equipment. Although the U.S. reiterates that the sanctions exempt the sale of medicine and medical devices, American secondary sanctions on financial institutions and companies that do business with Iran have made it difficult for Iran to buy items like ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients.
    • Yesterday, 33 American senators and representatives sent a letter to the Trump administration, urging it to suspend sanctions as “a humanitarian gesture to the Iranian people” and to “find a way” to deliver direct aid.
  • The WHO has updated operational planning guidelines in balancing the demands of responding directly to COVID-19 while maintaining essential health service delivery, and mitigating the risk of system collapse. Countries should identify essential services that will be prioritized in their efforts to maintain continuity of service delivery and make strategic shifts to ensure that increasingly limited resources provide maximum benefit for the population.
    • Examples of essential health services include routine vaccination, reproductive health services (care during pregnancy and childbirth), management of mental conditions, and managing auxiliary services (basic diagnostic imaging, laboratory services, blood bank services).
  • One of Russia’s lead doctors for COVID-19 coordination has tested positive less than a week after meeting (and shaking hands) with President Vladimir Putin. A Kremlin spokesman has said that Mr. Putin has been tested regularly and remains healthy. Russia’s cases have increased fivefold in the last week.
  • Austria will require all residents to wear face masks when they shop for groceries starting this week, joining the growing ranks of experts who have questioned the prevailing guidance that healthy people don’t need to wear masks. The WHO has asserted from the beginning that masks should only be worn by the sick and health care providers, which has caused tension all over the world because of the PPE shortage. On the other hand, places like Hong Kong, where wearing masks started almost immediately, have managed to contain outbreaks.
  • In Israel, COVID-19 is spreading nearly eight times faster in ultra-Orthodox communities than in others. In the Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak, where 95 percent of the residents are ultra-Orthodox, the number of confirmed cases nearly doubled in the last three days, from 267 on Friday to 508 today.
  • India is facing serious challenges with their country-wide lockdown. Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers are now homeless and jobless and have begun traveling on foot to get home. Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologized to the country for having to implement the lockdown, but emphasized the need to take precautions against COVID-19.
  • Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, has banned the sale of alcohol after authorities noted a rise in domestic abuse since the government ordered people to stay home to stave off the coronavirus.
  • Syria reported its first death from COVID-19. It came close to a week after the country announced its first confirmed case. Before officially reported cases, the Syrian government closed schools, limited working hours, banned gatherings, postponed elections, and built quarantine centers. There is now an evening curfew between 6pm and 6am.
  • The U.S. now has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases globally (more than both China and Italy).
  • China has closed its borders to foreign nationals who live there starting Saturday at midnight. The government announced that it would suspend entry for nearly all foreign nationals holding valid visas and residence permits, including all visa-free transit policies. It does not apply to visas issued to diplomats or flight crew, or to people traveling to China for “necessary economic, trade, scientific or technological activities or out of emergency humanitarian needs.”
  • At a joint virtual press briefing, Secretary-General António Guterres, UN Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Lowcock, UN Children’s Fund Executive Director Henrietta Fore, and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, launched a $2 billion coordinated global humanitarian response plan to fight COVID-19 in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries in a bid to protect the millions most at risk.
  • Italy’s daily death toll increased again today after two days of stunted growth, leading the Italian government to fear the worst is not over yet. The country has now reported 69,176 cases of the illness and 6,920 deaths from COVID-19.
  • Spain has now joined Italy in surpassing China’s COVID-19 death toll.
  • 71-year-old Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a weeklong national holiday starting this Saturday to mitigate COVID-19 spread and announced the postponement of a referendum next month on whether he can rule until 2036. He said of the virus today, “Don’t think that, ‘this doesn’t concern me.’ It concerns everyone.”
  • The WHO has delivered a new shipment of emergency medical supplies to the Islamic Republic of Iran as part of COVID-19 response measures. The shipment is the seventh sent to Iran since they first reported cases in February. Read more here.
  • Almost 14 percent of Spain’s cases are medical professionals.
  • Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz said all visitors inside the country will be banned from walking outside and taxi drivers will be prohibited from transporting them anywhere starting today. Tourists staying in private homes will be moved into hotels in an effort to protect visitors and the locals renting out their houses. Hotels are under strict surveillance and will be screening employees and tourists for symptoms twice daily.
  • The Hubei province in China will begin easing its two-month lockdown restrictions tomorrow. Wuhan will remain sealed off until April 8th, but the public transportation system will be up and running again within a day.
  • India extended its lockdown to the whole country (population 1.3 billion), grounding all domestic flights. Prime Minister Narendra Modi commented that people in the country are still not taking the lockdown seriously, and took to Twitter to plead with individuals to stay home.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced today that the country would enter a virtual lockdown. All nonessential shops will close, meetings of more than two people are banned, and people are required to stay in their homes, except for trips for food or medicine.
  • French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said the government would tighten the lockdown rules starting tomorrow. The lockdown will make it so most people would be able to leave their homes once a day, for a maximum of one hour, and they will be required to stay within a kilometer of their homes.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s COVID-19 test came back negative.
  • A new study shows that the COVID-19 death rate in China may have actually been lower than originally published. Previous estimates had the death rate as high as 2-3.4 percent. The study in Nature Medicine calculated it to be closer to 1.3 percent. This is still a high death rate, but not nearly as dire as 2-3.4 percent.
  • Brazil closed its borders today in an effort to mitigate spread of the virus. President Pair Bolsonaro has not implemented as restrictive measures as Peru, Chile, and Argentina, but the border closing is a significant step.
  • Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered most Israelis to stay in their homes except when buying groceries or medicine, and said there would be police enforcement. The order will last for one week.
  • Italy remains in the spotlight today as COVID-19 deaths have now exceeded the toll in China at 3,405. Cemeteries in the northern city of Bergamo are so overwhelmed that troops were called in to transport bodies elsewhere to be cremated. The army sent 120 doctors and health professionals to help in Bergamo and nearby Lodi, while field hospitals and emergency respiratory units are being set up elsewhere in the north.
  • The State Department is suspending routine visa services in South Korea, in accordance with travel advisories issued following the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • The Embassy will cancel all routine immigrant and non-immigrant visa appointments as of March 19. The policy does not affect visa-waiver programs, but it does apply to all countries with a level 2, 3, or 4 travel advisory. Operations will continue as usual for U.S. citizens.
  • The U.S. and Canada have agreed to close the border to non-essential traffic. President Trump and Canadian President Justin Trudeau have not said when the border will reopen.
  • The E.U. voted to bar most travelers from outside of Europe for the next 30 days. Exceptions will be made for E.U. citizens coming home, scientists, medical professionals, and people commuting between two European countries for work.
  • For the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, China reported zero local infections. The 34 reported cases today all involved individuals who came from outside China.
  • Today, the WHO called on Member states in the South-East Asia Region to urgently scale-up aggressive measures to combat COVID-19. Eight out of the 11 countries in the region share a confirmed 480 cases between them. According to Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, the South-East Asia regional director, more clusters of the virus are being confirmed and some of the region's countries are getting closer to crossing the community transfer threshold.
  • Germany has spent more than $55 million on logistics and flights to bring home citizens as countries around the world tighten border restrictions.
  • French government officials announced a relief package that would include postponing or slashing taxes, a government guarantee of loans for companies, and more than $1.1 billion for small businesses and independent contractors.





Johns Hopkins University Real-Time Coronavirus Tracker

  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey YouTube Icon
  • Grey LinkedIn Icon
  • Grey RSS Icon

999 Peachtree St. NE c/o Georgia Bio Suite 1800 
Atlanta, GA 30309

©2020-2021 Georgia Global Health Alliance. All rights reserved

Finfrock Web Design