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Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Update

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02/02/2021

HBMA COVID-19 Federal Response Update

Congress

  • This afternoon, ten Republican Senators met with President Biden to discuss their $618 billion COVID-19 stimulus bill proposal. This bill would be an alternative to the $1.9 trillion bill proposed by President Biden. Democrats are planning to advance most of the Biden proposal using a legislative process called Budget Reconciliation which will not require any Republican support if all Democrats plus Vice President Harris vote for the bill.
    • The fact that ten Senators support this bill is notable because it will take at least 10 Republicans (in addition to all 50 Democrats) to reach the 60 votes likely needed to pass a bill without using reconciliation.
    • However, it appears Democrats will not support the Republican bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) rejected the Republican proposal.
  • On Thursday, February 4th, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing on public transportation and COVID-19.
  • On Thursday, February 4th, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on the need for new COVID-19 stimulus legislation.
  • On Thursday, February 4th, the House Small Businesses Committee will hold a hearing on the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses.

White House and Federal Agencies

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Updates

Economy, Vaccine, Testing and Treatment

  • Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is 66 percent effective in preventing moderate cases of COVID-19 and 85 percent effective against severe cases. Though less effective than the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines (both exceed 90 percent efficacy), the J&J vaccine was 100 percent effective in preventing hospitalization and death.
    • The J&J vaccine only requires one dose and can be stored more easily than the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
  • This article explains the challenges of increasing vaccine manufacturing capacity.
  • This article explains why some people can still get infected after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • FEMA asked the Department of Defense to prepare to mobilize as many as 10,000 National Guard troops to support federal vaccination sites.
  • NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning that new COVID-19 strains could make the pandemic worse. Some of the strains are more contagious and more resistant to the vaccines.
  • The CDC and NIH will jointly study the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines against new strains of the virus.
  • The FDA is creating a streamlines process to update its approval for vaccines based on changes made to protect against new strains of the virus.
  • Pending FDA approval of its vaccine, Novavax is preparing to produce 150 million doses per month by May.
  • Common over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medications such as Advil and Tylenol are appropriate for relieving soreness from COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts the U.S. economy will recover to pre-pandemic levels in 2021.