|Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)|
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Update
HBMA COVID-19 Federal Response Update
- The House of Representatives will expand COVID-19 testing for Members. It is not yet known if the Senate will also expand testing.
- Neither political party was dealt a stronger hand from the 2020 election results. House Democrats are set to have a smaller majority in 2021 and control of the Senate will be decided by two Georgia run-off elections. Depending on the outcome of those elections, Republicans will either hold a one or two-seat majority or each party will control 50 Senate seats. Now that it is clear that many of the same dynamics will exist in the new Congress, there is renewed interest in trying to pass bipartisan COVID-19 relief legislation before the end of the year.
White House and Federal Agencies
- On Saturday, November 7th, all major news networks declared former Vice President Joe Biden (D) as the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election. Today, President-elect Biden announced a 12-person COVID-19 task force that will advise his transition team before he takes office.
- President-elect Biden has outlined his COVID-19 response plan during his campaign.
- President-elect Biden gave remarks today on the importance of continuing public health measures such as wearing masks and social distancing because it will be months before a vaccine is widely available to the public.
- The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) presented its recommendations for what temporary Medicare telehealth coverage policies should be made permanent.
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is holding virtual COVID-19 office hours on November 17th from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. eastern.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Updates
- CDC updated limitations and considerations on screening K-12 students for symptoms of COVID-19. CDC also added a flowchart and scenarios to provide clarity for what to do when a student has symptoms of COVID-19 and incorporated updated guidance for schools and when to quarantine.
- CDC updated information for children, teens, and young adults to stay healthy and cope with stress during COVID-19.
- CDC updated information on what factors to consider before performing daily activities and going out.
- CDC released an MMWR on Telework Before Illness Onset Among Symptomatic Adults Aged ≥18 Years With and Without COVID-19 in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities in the U.S. during July in 2020. Adults who received positive test results for SARS-CoV-2 infection were more likely to report exclusively going to an office or school setting in the 2 weeks before illness onset, compared with those who tested negative, even among those working in a profession outside of the critical infrastructure.
Economy, Vaccine, Testing and Treatment
- Pfizer announced preliminary results from its COVID-19 vaccine candidate that indicate a 90-percent effectiveness at preventing COVID-19 symptoms. More safety and efficacy data is set to be released later in November.
- Citing the need for more economic recovery to reach pre-pandemic strength, the Federal Reserve announced it will continue holding interest rates at or near zero percent.
- U.S. daily COVID-19 cases reached a new high of over 125,000.
- The head of an advisory committee to the CDC says that health workers will be the top priority for COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
- The VA is recruiting volunteers for phase three COVID-19 vaccine trials.
- Regeneron expects to have 300,000 doses of its antibody treatment by the end of the year and will continue manufacturing the treatment throughout 2021. The FDA has not yet issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the treatment. Regeneron stopped testing its treatment on severely ill patients after reported safety concerns. AstraZeneca, is also testing an antibody therapy, is continuing to test its candidate on severely ill trial subjects.
- A new study published in JAMA found that during the initial phase of the COVID-19 epidemic in March and April of 2020, patients significantly reduced use of preventive and elective care and increased use of telemedicine but not enough to offset reductions in in-person care.