4/22/20 COVID-19 Update

  • S. Senate passes $480 billion economic relief bill for small businesses
  • Governor Baker closes schools for remainder of the school year; daycares through June
  • MA House passes bill mandating daily COVID-19 reporting from long term care facilities
  • Massachusetts lawmakers vow to fight temporary immigration ban
  • Lack of federal guidance for COVID-19 testing widens gap between states
  • CDC Director warns of potential worse second wave of COVID-19
  • Today’s COVID-19 bright spot: The return of family dinner.

 

  1. The U.S. Senate passed a $480 billion economic relief bill that includes a provision replenishing the Payroll Protection Program with and additional $310 billion. Other aspects of the bill include $60 billion for a separate small business emergency fund program and $75 billion for direct aid to hospitals for COVID-19 testing. The House plans to vote Thursday and President Trump acknowledged he would sign it into law.

 

  1. Governor Charlie Baker announced schools across the Commonwealth will not reopen this academic year. Joining with 30 other states including neighboring New Hampshire, Baker acknowledged the less than ideal circumstances. Education Commissioner Jeff Riley emphasized the goal of minimizing learning loss as much as possible by turning to expanding remote learning opportunities. Residential schools for students with serve special needs will continue to operate. Day cares centers will also remain closed through the end of June.

 

  1. The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a bill requiring nursing homes and assisted living facilities to submit daily reports on COVID-19 cases and deaths. The bill, H4663, was filed by Rep. Ruth Balser (D-Newton), Chair of The Joint Committee on Elder Affairs, after more than 7,000 residents in housing facilities across the state have tested positive for COVID-19 and after it was discovered that long-term care facilities have returned under one-third of testing kits deployed. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

 

  1. Members of Massachusetts congressional delegation voiced their outrage at President Trump’s attempt to block entry of all immigrants and asylum seekers and using COVID-19 pandemic as cover. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey and Representatives Joe Kennedy (D-Newton), Richard Neal (D-Springfield), Ayanna Pressley (D-Boston) and Katherine Clark (D-Melrose) took to Twitter to voice their displeasure over Trump’s 60 day executive order.

 

  1. What do Rhode Island and Kentucky have in common? They’ve done comparable numbers of diagnostic tests for COVID-19 and lost a similar number of residents to the pandemic. However, Kentucky has almost four times the population of Rhode Island. The contrast offers a clear illustration of the challenges posed by a state-by-state testing strategy rather than a coordinated federal program.

 

  1. As states make plans to reopen, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), warned that a second wave of the coronavirus could be far more deadly as it is likely to coincide with the start of next winter’s flu season. Having two simultaneous respiratory illness outbreaks would yet again put unimaginable strain on the health-care system and its first-line responders.

 

  1. In today’s Boston Globe, Devra First explores how her life, like many Americans pre-pandemic, resembled a “logistical game of whack-a-mole punctuated by stolen moments of joy and togetherness.” Now, her family – like so many others – has found peace in their daily family dinner.

 

2020-04-22T08:57:59+00:00