Coronavirus Update
July 6, 2020
Information and resources on federal responses to the coronavirus crisis for state, local, and regional government.
Top News
The NY Times reports the US surpassed 50,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day for the first time on July 2. At least eight states reported single-day case records including Alaska, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Montana, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Dr. Anthony Fauci testified to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee that the outbreak is moving in the wrong direction and expressed alarm about spikes in states he said may have relaxed social distancing and lockdowns too early so they could restart their economies. "Clearly, we are not in control right now," Fauci said. He suggested new cases could soar to 100,000 a day. A video of the hearing is here along with the testimony of Dr. Fauci, Dr. Robert Redfield (CDC), and Dr. Stephen Hahn (FDA).

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was extended an additional five weeks until August 8. President Trump signed the bill into law on Saturday. Nearly $130 billion remains available for loans, and PPP loans will be forgiven provided participants abide by certain rules, which were recently eased. The SBA has announced that it plans to resume accepting applications today (July 6).

Capitol Hill. Please visit our TFG Coronavirus Legislative Trackers public health & safety , local government relief , and business assistance for detailed information on recently introduced bills.

The House and Senate are not in session this week but the House will be holding “Committee Work Days” all week.

Senate Democrats introduced the American Workforce Rescue Act. The legislation includes extensions and expansions of CARES Act unemployment assistance.  Here is a press release from cosponsors Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) outlining bill provisions. Meanwhile, The Hill reports Senate Republicans are starting to draft their next coronavirus relief proposal ahead of their return to Capitol Hill on July 20.

The Congressional Budget Office reported that GDP will be 3.4% lower and unemployment will be 1.9% higher from 2020-2030 than projected in January 2020.

In July 1 Senate floor remarks, Sen. Charles Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, outlined relief funding already available for local and regional government. Sen. Grassley said, “I have to say that I’m somewhat sympathetic to the idea of giving states and localities more flexibility in how to use the $150 billion of direct relief provided in the  CARES Act . Beyond that, I’m more skeptical, but open to considering options.”

There are a few hearings this week, including: 


Oversight. The Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Federal Trade Commission announced the agencies are partnering to alert the public of emerging threats to steal money and sensitive information through contact tracing scams.

Administration.   The Coronavirus Task Force has held several  press briefings over the past week. On June 2, Vice President Mike Pence said, “… we’re very confident that if people will heed the guidance of state and local officials, if we’ll take personal responsibility to see to our own social distancing and protect the vulnerable among us, that we’ll do what other parts of the country have done: We’ll flatten the curve, we’ll slow the spread, we’ll save lives along the way.”

OSHA published an updated FAQs document that provides information on how to protect workers from the coronavirus, and information on workers’ rights, testing for the virus, worker training and procedures for returning to work.

HHS and Homeland Security issued joint guidance for the air travel industry to better protect passengers, crew, and airport workers from the coronavirus.

The White House reported 4.8 million jobs were created in June.

President Trump supports a new round of economic impact payments to individuals as part of another stimulus package, according to several news sources . The House-passed HEROES Act includes additional benefits and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate is likely to take up its own stimulus package in July.

The Treasury Department issued a June 30 updated Coronavirus Relief fund guidance document clarifying that for a cost to be considered to have been incurred, performance or delivery must occur during the covered period but payment of funds need not be made during that time (though it is generally expected that this will take place within 90 days of a cost being incurred).

The FDA issued Guidance for Industry related to COVID-19 vaccines. The Wall Street Journal reports FDA will require a vaccine to be at least 50% more effective than a placebo in preventing the disease before approval. Meanwhile, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn told ABC News could not predict when a vaccine will be available.

The Federal Transit Administration announced the apportionment of $25 billion in FY 2020 Transit Infrastructure Grants (TIG) made available by the CARES Act. Apportionments are here .

Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia   told Fox News on Sunday workplaces could be reopened safely if proper precautions are followed despite the increasing coronavirus cases.

The Federal Communications Commission approved an additional 70 funding applications for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. Health care providers in both urban and rural areas of the country will use this $31.63 million in funding to provide telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic.  
Advocacy
The American Medical Association wrote a letter to the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis regarding availability of PPE for health care workers and lessons learned moving forward.

The Consumer Brand Association sent a letter to President Trump urging that food supply workers be prioritized to receive a coronavirus vaccine once it is produced. The Trump Administration has signaled , as reported by The Hill, they will take a “tiered approach” to giving out the vaccine when it is ready. 
Webinars, Events and Resources
NACo WEBINAR: Interacting with Residents during COVID-19
July 9 – 2:00 PM-3:00 PM EDT

NACo WEBINAR: Telehealth and COVID-19
July 16 – 3:00 PM-4:00 PM EDT

ICMA BLOG POST: Coronavirus: Restroom Guidance for Local Leaders

CRS REPORT: COVID-19 Relief Assistance to Small Businesses: Issues and Policy Options

CRS REPORT: COVID-19 Liability Limitations for the Health Care Sector

CRS REPORT: Global Economic Effects of COVID-19
For more information please contact Mike Miller: mmiller@tfgnet.com (707) 224-8648