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Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Update

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12/01/2020

HBMA COVID-19 Federal Response Update

Congress

  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) says $30 billion in federal funding is needed for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. It is not clear if he is referring to existing funds such as the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) of he wants Congress to appropriate new funding.
  • Congress is nearing a deal on a bipartisan omnibus appropriations bill ahead of the December 11th deadline to extend federal funding. Congress could also act to pass another short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) before the deadline if the deal on a larger appropriations package fails.
    • This bill, which funds the federal government, is different than bipartisan COVID-19 relief legislation over which Congress is at an impasse. It is not clear if Congress can reach an agreement before the end of the year.
  • Two House Democrats have asked the GAO to study the risks of air travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

White House and Federal Agencies

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Updates

  • The CDC is expected to recommend shorter quarantine periods for people who were exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • The CDC released an MMWR which shared Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) initial thinking on prioritization recommendations for COVID vaccines. These are not their final recommendations. However, they do outline a framework for considering priority, and do identify populations for prioritizing. 
    • The ACIP will meet Tuesday night to finalize its recommendations for vaccine prioritization. The recommendations are non-binding but highly influential.
  • CDC added a county tab to their COVID Data Tracker so that you can check your county’s rates of COVID-19 cases.
  • CDC updated public health guidance for potential COVID-19 exposure associated with international or domestic travel.
  • CDC updated information about COVID-19 data. CDC tracks COVID-19 illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths to monitor trends, detect where outbreaks are occurring, and determine whether public health measures are working. 

Economy, Vaccine, Testing and Treatment

  • Moderna submitted its vaccine candidate to the FDA for an emergency use authorization (EUA). Moderna’s vaccine, which was developed in partnership with the NIH, joins the vaccine candidate from Pfizer and BioNTech as the two vaccines seeking an EUA from the FDA.
    • The American Medical Association (AMA) published new CPT codes for each of the vaccines.
  • The federal government will allocate the first 6.4 million vaccines to states based on the size of their population.
  • The FDA announced more details about the December 10th Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting to discuss Pfizer’s EUA application for its COVID-19 vaccine. The meeting will be held virtually from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. EST on that date.
  • This article spotlights how many physician practices are struggling financially during the pandemic.
  • A new survey shows a slight increase in the number of people who are willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The FDA posted a new infographic The Path for a COVID-19 Vaccine from Research to Emergency Use Authorization, to explain a potential pathway for vaccines. 
  • The U.S. Supreme Court sided with religious organizations in their legal challenge to COVID-19 mitigation restrictions that limited in-person attendance of religious services.
  • HHS and DoD held a briefing with senior officials on Operation Warp Speed and COVID-19 vaccines.
  • FDA published Face Masks, Including Surgical Masks, and Respirators for COVID-19, a comprehensive new page on FDA.gov with answers to frequently asked questions about face masks, surgical masks, and respirators.