Coronavirus Update
June 22, 2020
Information and resources on federal responses to the coronavirus crisis for towns and townships
Top News
Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota told NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday he does not believe the coronavirus pandemic in the US will ease over the summer or in the fall. “I don’t think we’re going to see one, two and three waves. I think we’re just going to see one very, very, difficult forest fire of cases,” said Osterholm. Axios reported that as of June 21 the US has reported more than 2.2 million coronavirus cases with at least 119,744 deaths.

A senior CDC official told CNN the CDC will soon make an updated recommendation on the public health benefits of wearing masks. The official said researchers are studying whether masks are not only “good for source control -- and keeping you from giving it to others -- but we're also seeing if masks are going to protect you from getting (COVID-19) yourself.”

The New York Times reports Peter Navarro, White House director of trade and manufacturing policy, said Sunday the White House is working to replenish the national stockpile of medical equipment and supplies in preparation for another surge of the virus this fall. 

A dozen states have seen record highs of new COVID-19 cases since June 19, according to an ABC News analysis . States with the increase are Florida, Texas, Utah, South Carolina, Nevada, Georgia, Missouri, Montana, Arizona, California, Tennessee, and Oklahoma, according to the analysis of state-released data compiled by the COVID Tracking Project . ABC News also found that hospitalizations for COVID-19 are increasing in 17 states across the country: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.

Oversight. The Treasury Department and SBA came to an agreement with the Senate Small Business Committee to make public additional data related to the PPP. SBA will disclose the identities of businesses receiving $150,000 to $10 million in loans and the number of jobs supported by those loans. 

Capitol Hill. There are numerous hearings this week, including:


Administration.   SBA launched a dedicated online tool, Lender Match , for small businesses and nonprofits to be matched with Community Development Financial Institutions, Minority Depository Institutions, Certified Development Companies, Farm Credit System lenders, Microlenders, as well as traditional small asset size lenders in the PPP.

DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued guidance to assist employers reopening non-essential businesses and their employees returning to work during the pandemic. OSHA recommends employers continue focusing on strategies for basic hygiene, social distancing, workplace control, and flexible remote policies.

The FCC Chairman Ajit Pai sent a letter to Congress calling for legislation to help consumers and small businesses stay connected over the coming months after the end of the Keep Americans Connected Pledge (expires June 30). Chairman Pai informed Congress he asked companies not to disconnect consumers and small businesses who are behind on their bills due to the pandemic, but instead offer the option of extended payment plans and deferred payment arrangements.

FEMA started releasing FY 2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grants—COVID-19 Supplemental Program (AFG-S) awards . FEMA will continue to roll out AFG-S awards until all funding is exhausted.

HHS announced $107.2 million in awards to 310 recipients to increase the health workforce in rural and underserved communities.

FEMA announced   the agency will not conduct a national test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The CDC provides an informative coronavirus cases tracker.
Advocacy
NACo submitted a s tatement to the House Committee on Financial Services on the state of the economy. NACo outlines the budgetary and economic challenges counties face and urges bipartisan support for a new round of direct, flexible aid for local governments of all sizes.

A coalition of almost 2,500 organizations sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urging the Senators to increase federal food assistance funding in the next coronavirus relief package. The groups called for a 15 percent increase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit.

Twenty-two advocacy groups – including the National Taxpayers Union Foundation and the Tea Party Nation – wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking him to delay 2020 tax collection until 2021 to give the economy “some breathing room. The group wrote, “… these tax payments are a fiscal cliff endangering our economic recovery. Potentially, over $1 trillion in tax payments will suddenly be transferred from the private economy to the Treasury. This would represent an enormous financial burden at a time when many individuals and businesses are struggling to make ends meet due to the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and the recent civil unrest.” Federal taxes are due July 15.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce called on Congress to increase federal aid to states and cities. According to Politico, the Chamber said states and cities will likely lay off more workers, cut services and raise taxes, deepening the current economic crisis without federal assistance. 
Webinars, Events and Resources
Eno Center for Transportation Webinar: Mobility Innovations: Rethinking Transit During and After COVID-19
June 23, 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm ET

NACo WEBINAR: Maximizing Value on Every Public Dollar During & After COVID-19
June 24, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET

NLC WEBINAR: How Cities Can Help Renters Navigate the Eviction Cliff
June 25, 12:00 pm – 1:15pm ET

NLC WEBINAR: Voting and Elections in a Pandemic
June 25, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm ET

NACo WEBINAR: How Counties are Investing CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund Dollars
June 26, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm ET

FEMA WEBINAR SERIES - COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season
June 23, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm ET
June 24, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm ET
June 25, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET

ICMA WEBINAR: Supporting Small Businesses During & After COVID-19
June 30, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm ET
For more information please contact NATaT Federal Director Jennifer Imo at jimo@tfgnet.com