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COVID-19 Federal Responses: Thursday, March 11, 2021

COVID-19 Federal Responses: Thursday, March 11, 2021
  • On March 18, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee will hold a hearing on the Federal COVID-19 response featuring National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Chief Science Officer Dr. David Kessler and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Dr. Peter Marks.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) developed a COVID-19 Vaccine Resources website of the many Federal resources on the COVID-19 vaccines and organized them for health care professionals, partners, consumers, and for assistance in additional languages.
  • New research from the CDC found that half of patients who were hospitalized for COVID-19 were obese, which indicates obesity is a risk factor for more severe symptoms.
  • The CDC updates many of its guidances including Training for Healthcare Professionals; Updated Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations in Response to COVID-19 Vaccination; and COVID-19 Published Science and Research.

Congress

  • The House of Representatives passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP), which provides new COVID-19 relief and includes other policies such as expanding access to ACA premium assistance subsidies and new incentives for states to expand Medicaid. President Biden signed the bill into law this afternoon.
  • Congress will vote on a bipartisan bill to extend the application deadline for new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans from March 31 to May 31.
  • On March 18, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee will hold a hearing on the Federal COVID-19 response featuring National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Chief Science Officer Dr. David Kessler and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Dr. Peter Marks.

White House and Federal Agencies

  • President Biden addressed the nation outlining the “next phase” of the COVID-19 response.
  • 200,000 people have enrolled in health insurance through the federal health insurance exchange (healthcare.gov) since the February 15 special enrollment period (SEP) began. President Biden directed HHS to create a three-month SEP in an Executive Order he signed soon after his inauguration.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) developed a COVID-19 Vaccine Resources website of the many Federal resources on the COVID-19 vaccines and organized them for health care professionals, partners, consumers, and for assistance in additional languages.
  • CMS issued new guidance for nursing home visitation requirements. According to the updated guidance, facilities should allow responsible indoor visitation at all times and for all residents, regardless of vaccination status of the resident, or visitor, unless certain scenarios arise.

Economy, Vaccines, Testing and Treatment

  • The Federal Government ordered an additional 100 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.
  • A new study found that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was effective against three COVID-19 variants.
  • Eli Lilly & Co. released new data that shows its COVID-19 antibody combination treatment bamlanivimab-etesevimab was 87% effective at preventing patients from developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. This combination therapy already received an emergency use authorization from the FDA.
  • New research shows very low rates of allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines.
  • New unemployment claims fell by 42,000 to 712,000 the first week of March.

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