COVID-19 Federal Responses: Thursday, August 6

August 7, 2020
Key points in this update:
  • Congress and the House continue to negotiate new COVID-19 legislation, but little progress has been made.
  • The 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) proposed rule would permanently adopt some of the temporary Medicare telehealth coverage policies that have been enacted during the COVID-19 PHE.
  • The Centers for Disease and Control updated many of its COVID-19 resources.
  • COVID-19 vaccine development and clinical trials continue to move forward.

Congress

Congress and the White House are still negotiating a new COVID-19 relief bill. According to reports, little progress has been made towards a compromise. There is still optimism among House and Senate leadership that a deal can be reached. However, President Trump is preparing to take executive action if a deal is not reached soon.

White House and Federal Agencies

The 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) proposed rule would permanently adopt some of the temporary Medicare telehealth coverage policies that have been enacted during the COVID-19 PHE.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci says he does not think another nationwide shutdown is necessary if COVID-19 cases increase.

The National Institutes of Health launched a new artificial intelligence initiative to analyze lung scans to detect COVID-19.

President Trump extended the federal deployment of the National Guard through the end of 2020. He is also asking states to contribute to the cost of deploying the National Guard.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) updated its FAQs for COVID-19.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people aged 15-24 with COVID-19 increased over the last five months.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Updates

CDC updated:

Reopening, Vaccine and Testing

Dr. Fauci estimates that drug manufacturers will produce at least 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021.

A vaccine being developed by Novavax has shown promising results in early trials with 100 patients.

The vaccine the NIH is developing with Moderna showed promising results in a study with mice.

Johnson and Johnson agreed to provide 100 million doses of its vaccine to the government for $10 per dose.

Patients admitted with COVID-19 at selected hospitals may now volunteer to enroll in an NIH clinical trial to test the safety and efficacy of a potential new treatment for the disease.

The NIH began a new clinical trial to test remdesivir in combination with Multiple Sclerosis treatment Interferon Beta-1a to treat COVID-19.

The CDC developed a new test to diagnose and differentiate if a patient’s symptoms are due to COVID-19 or the flu.

FDA posted frequently asked questions for patients and consumers about antibody (serology) testing during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

HHS announced that more than 59 million COVID-19 tests have now been completed nationally – averaging over 810,000 per day over the past seven days.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched a Public Service Campaign, seeking to dramatically increase donations of convalescent plasma by the end of August.

The NIH is investing $248.7 million in new technologies to address challenges associated with COVID-19 testing.