COVID-19 Federal Responses: Monday, November 30, 2020

COVID-19 Federal Responses: Monday, November 30, 2020


Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stated $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), or if he wants Congress to appropriate new funding.

Congress is nearing a deal on a bipartisan omnibus appropriations bill – ahead of the December 11 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 on COVID relief before the end of the year.

Two House Democrats have asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the risks of air travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

White House and Federal Agencies

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is temporarily allowing several hospital systems to care for patients at home instead of the usual hospital setting. This is intended to preserve hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients, while protecting and caring for non-COVID patients in their homes.

President-elect Joe Biden began receiving briefings from the Trump Administration on the COVID-19 pandemic response.

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 a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) that shared the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) initial thinking on prioritization recommendations for COVID vaccines. These are not their final recommendations.

  • ACIP will meet Tuesday night to finalize its recommendations for vaccine prioritization. The recommendations are non-binding but highly influential.

The CDC added a county tab to their COVID Data Tracker so that you can check your county’s rates of COVID-19 cases.

The CDC updated public health guidance for potential COVID-19 exposure associated with international or domestic travel.

The 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 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an emergency use authorization (EUA). Moderna’s vaccine, which was developed in partnership with the NIH, joins the vaccine candidate from Pfizer/BioNTech as the two vaccines seeking EUAs from the FDA.

  • The American Medical Association (AMA) published new CPT codes for each of the vaccines and their administration.

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 10 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.

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.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Defense (DoD) held a briefing with senior officials on Operation Warp Speed and COVID-19 vaccines.

The FDA published Face Masks, Including Surgical Masks, and Respirators for COVID-19, a comprehensive new page which provides answers to frequently asked questions about face masks, surgical masks, and respirators.