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Daily Briefing – 132

Post: Aug. 19, 2020

Cuomo: Decision on Fall High School Sports Will Come Next Week

Governor Cuomo said in a press briefing Wednesday that he expects to decide the fate of scholastic sports in the next week. Those athletics have been prohibited since the coronavirus shut down schools in the spring.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has pushed the start of fall season to Sept. 21, at the earliest. The NYSPHAA has also established a Plan B that would try to jam all three sports seasons into a post-Jan. 1 schedule. It is also possible that some lower-risk sports could get the green light this fall while others, such as football, are delayed.

Read more at Syracuse.com

Senate GOP Drafts Scaled-Back Coronavirus Relief Measure – Talks Remain Stalled

With negotiations over the next coronavirus stimulus package at an impasse and Republicans divided among themselves, Senate leaders held conference calls with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows last week. The output from those calls is a redefined plan that is expected to help unite the Republican caucus by lowering the $1 trillion price tag of the HEALS Act. By drawing more support, it will also strengthen the Republican negotiating position in talks with Democrats. Senate leadership informed Republican aides that text of the “skinny” bill would be released by Tuesday afternoon, according to Politico, who first reported on the pared down proposal, but it appears the bill may now be released later this week.

There is also some discussion that progress could be made after the party conventions conclude.

Read More at Forbes

FEMA Approves 7 States for Extra $300 Jobless Benefit

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has authorized $300 a week supplementary unemployment benefits in Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, New Mexico, Colorado, Missouri and Utah. Some of the approved states say they are uncertain about how soon they can start paying out the funds.

Under Mr. Trump’s order, states can also use their own funds to provide another $100 a week for a total supplemental payment of $400, though it’s unclear whether any states will do so since many face cash crunches. Governors in states such as New York and New Jersey have indicated they are unlikely to fund the extra $100.

Read more in the WSJ

U.S.-Swiss Pact to Triple Supply of Emerging Covid-19 Treatment

Roche Holding AG has agreed to help develop and market an experimental Covid-19 treatment from Hudson Valley firm Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., the latest collaboration aimed at scaling up production of promising measures against the pandemic.

The pact is expected to more than triple the supply of the therapy, with Regeneron handling sales in the U.S. and Roche assuming responsibility for distribution elsewhere in the world. Regeneron’s antiviral candidate is being studied in two phase 2/3 clinical trials for treating Covid-19 along with a phase 3 trial for the prevention of the disease in people living with others who are already infected, the companies said in a statement.

Read more at Bloomberg

Gates: If 30-60% of Americans Take Coronavirus Vaccine, ‘Exponential Spread’ Will Stop

Microsoft founder Bill Gates said Tuesday that even if a minority of the U.S. population gets a coronavirus vaccine once available, that will be enough to slow its spread within the country.

Gates has been critical about the United States’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying in a Tuesday interview with The Economist that part of the reason it failed in the beginning was due to slow initial testing efforts and some Americans’ refusal to wear masks because “we believe in freedom, individual freedom.”

But the country has hope, he said, because he thinks that by 2021, once the Food and Drug Administration approves an effective vaccine, “it will bring the pandemic to an end.” He added that even if only 30 to 60% of the population willingly receive a vaccine, that could be enough to slow and eventually stop the spread.

Read More at FoxBusiness

Johns Hopkins Vaccine Allocation Report

In support of planning efforts for future vaccination campaigns, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security published a framework for vaccine allocation and distribution in the US. The report, focuses on challenges early in the vaccination campaign that stem from limited availability as production capacity increases. There will inevitably be initial vaccine shortages, so it will be critical to identify who will be eligible for the first available doses in advance of the start of a vaccination campaign. 

The report outlines numerous “candidate groups that should be given serious consideration” for priority access, with the highest priority groups divided between 2 tiers. In Tier 1, the highest priority, the researchers included 3 groups of individuals.

Visit the report page at Johns Hopkins

Remote Virtual Verification Continues for I-9 Compliance During COVID-19 Pandemic

Council Associate member and friend Jackson Lewis reports that ICE has announced it is extending the remote virtual verification option for completion of I-9 employment verification an additional 30 days, until September 19, 2020, due to continued precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pursuant to the original guidelines for virtual verification, eligible employers may continue to inspect Section 2 documents without an actual in-person physical inspection (e.g., over video link, fax, or email). As before, the policy applies only to employers and workplaces that are in fact operating remotely. The latest announcement states that if any employees are physically present at the worksite, in-person physical inspection of the I-9 documentation must occur. In past announcements, however, ICE has indicated that it would use a case-by-case analysis to determine if the virtual I-9 review was reasonable.

Read more at Jackson Lewis

SUNY New Paltz’ Benjamin Center Blog: We Can No Longer Pretend Schools Are Only About Schooling

“Everything connects to everything,” Leonardo Da Vinci is said to have concluded from his life’s work. Nowhere is this lesson more evident than in K12 education this year. In the face of a pandemic, we closed our school buildings to protect the health of students and teachers, and were immediately confronted with the need to feed hungry children and with parents scrambling to find childcare so that they could work.  

Read more at the Benjamin Center

The Pandemic is Shaping Perceptions of Benefits

A study conducted by The Hartford in June found that 73% of workers value their organization’s insurance benefits, a drop from 80% from the same study conducted in March. The research also reveals that the pandemic is spurring employer interest in certain benefits, such as employee assistance programs, paid time off, wellness and mental health.

Read the more at Human Resource Executive