|Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)|
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Update
- It has been days since Democrat and Republican negotiators met to discuss the next COVID-19 relief bill. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who is one of the White House negotiators, indicated he is open to restarting talks and putting more funding on the table. However, he expects Democrats to make fair counter offers.
- Citing the lack of progress in negotiations, President Trump signed a series of Executive Orders intended to waive the employee share of the payroll tax and extend enhanced unemployment benefits. Critics of these actions question if the President has the authority to enact these policies by Executive Order.
- According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the FY 2020 budget deficit reached a record $2.8 trillion.
White House and Federal Agencies
- A study published in JAMA concludes that Provider Relief Fund (PRF) assistance is not reaching black communities in proportion to their need.
- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), awarded over $101 million to 116 organizations to combat substance use disorders (SUD) and opioid use disorders (OUD). According to HRSA, the public health emergency has exacerbated SUD and OUD.
- The CDC updated its resources and tools designed for youth and young adults.
- The CDC is examining a rare and mysterious syndrome “linked” to the coronavirus that has impacted about 600 children.
Reopening, Testing and Vaccine
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) said that political pressures to quickly develop a vaccine will not interfere with Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval process to determine that the vaccine is both safe and effective.
- Dr. Fauci also expressed optimism that a vaccine will be effective in controlling the pandemic.
- He also said the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is working with the National Academy of Medicine to develop a plan for distributing vaccines that prioritizes healthcare workers and at-risk patients, including racial and ethnic minorities that have been disproportionately impacted by the virus.
- The White House is planning a pilot vaccine distribution program to prepare for wide-scale distribution after a vaccine is developed.
- FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn wrote an op-ed that appeared in The Washington Post that articulates how the FDA will only approve a COVID-19 vaccine if it is safe.
- A new study published in JAMA examines asymptomatic spread of COVID-19.
- In addition to developing and manufacturing its own vaccine, Pfizer will help Gilead Sciences manufacture its remdesivir COVID-19 treatment.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) says the coronavirus is unaffected by seasonal change.