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Riddle News: Covid-19 June 2020

10 27 2020

Welcome to Riddle News which is published every Monday and Friday. This is a Special review of the Trump response to Covid-19.

In my book Trump an Outsider’s View I have a timeline showing the Trump Administration’s action right up to August 31, 2020. The Timeline begins November 17, 2019 with the first known case and provides a daily look worldwide on the cases and deaths. I am enclosing excerpts from June here:

JUNE 2020

(I am now focusing on the United States only)

02 June

  • United States Secretary of Energy Dan Brouilette announced Monday that the Department of Energy will enter the first phase of its reopening plan June 8, allowing some mission-critical personnel to return to work at facilities in Washington and Maryland.
  • Pandemic Challenges Highlight the Importance of the New Era of Smarter Food Safety: The FDA has issued a new piece, “Pandemic Challenges Highlight the Importance of the New Era of Smarter Food Safety.” and bylined by Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., Commissioner of Food and Drugs, and Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response. Plans for the New Era initiative were put on hold in order to prioritize the agency’s COVID-19 response. The FDA will release the blueprint in the coming weeks, outlining plans over the next decade to create a more digital, traceable, and safer food system.
  • CDC Releases Several COVID-19 Guidance Documents: The CDC has released several COVID-19 guidance documents for individuals with disabilities. The resources include: Guidance for Direct Service Providers, Guidance for Group Homes for Individuals with Disabilities, a resource for direct service providers, caregivers and parents of individuals with disabilities and a final resource for those with developmental or behavioral disorders including information on maintaining routine care, managing stress and mental health. 

03 June

  • COVID-19 Supplemental Funding: HHS has announced another round of funding that will help providers respond to COVID-19. The agency has disbursed $250 million, provided by Congress in the CARES Act, to go to providers to help expand telehealth services, train staff, procure supplies and personal protective equipment PPE and better coordinate their overall response. 
  • The FDA Provides New Web-based Resource, Testing Supply Substitution Strategies: The file contains information to help support labs performing authorized COVID-19 tests and an interactive ability that includes validated supply alternatives that labs can use to continue performing testing when there are supply issues. This information is not intended to alter any already issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for a COVID-19 diagnostic test.

05 June

  • President Trump signs into law the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act of 2020, modifying provisions for loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program.

08 June

  • FMCSA Updates Emergency Rules for Truck Drivers: The federal motor carrier safety administration extended and modified its emergency declaration in response to COVID-19 pandemic. While the agency will continue to allow commercial motor vehicle operators to disregard hours of service for delivery of certain medical products necessary to fight the pandemic, those operators delivering food will now have to abide existing requirements. The agency first issued a relaxation of requirements for operators back in March.

09 June

  • The Department of Defense announced that it was lifting travel restrictions on installations in 38 states, Washington D.C., and five countries (Bahrain, Belgium, Germany, the U.K., and Japan). Service members could travel between those areas without needing permission. Travel restrictions remained in place in 12 states.

10 June

  • DOD announces details for five Defense Production Act Title 3 COVID-19 actions: Bethel Industries, Inc. ($15M); GE Aviation ($20M); Spirit AeroSystems ($80M); Steel America ($19.5M); and Allied System ($500K). These actions will help sustain defense-critical workforce capabilities in body armor, aircraft manufacturing, and shipbuilding.

11 June

  • Based on analysis of local conditions and per the Administration’s guidelines for Opening Up America Again, DOD Chief Management Officer announces the Pentagon Reservation will move to Phase One (Restricted) of the Pentagon Reservation Plan for Resilience, effective June 15, 2020. Under Phase One, the Health Protection Condition for the Pentagon remains at Charlie.

15 June

  • FDA COVID-19 Update on EUA: The FDA revoked the emergency use authorization (EUA) that allowed for donation of certain drugs to the Strategic National Stockpile as a treatment for COVID-19 patients. The drugs, chloroquine, phosphate, and hydroxychloroquine have been determined as unlikely be effective in treating COVID-19 for the authorized uses in the EUA. 

16 June

  • the Department of Homeland Security and the Executive Office for Immigration Review announced that Migrant Protection Protocol proceedings and in-person document services would likely resume on July 20.

·     Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf announced that the U.S. would keep restrictions limiting non-essential travel to or from Mexico and Canada in place through July 21.

17 June

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a report for nonessential businesses planning on reopening, titled “Guidance on Returning to Work.” The guidance includes recommendations for a three-phased reopening strategy.

18 June

  • HHS Funds to Grow and Train the Health Workforce: HHS announced $107.2 million in funding to 310 recipients to help increase the health workforce in rural and underserved communities. 45 states and U.S. territories have received funding to help improve the quality, distribution, and diversity of health professionals. 

19 June

  • The Department of Defense lifted travel restrictions on additional installations in 46 states and eight host nations, allowing military and civilian personnel to travel to those locations.
  • The Internal Revenue Service released guidance for individuals participating in retirement plans that describes how they can take advantage of provisions in the CARES Act that related to retirement plans.
  • CDC Released COVID-19 Case Surveillance Report: The CDC report describes COVID-19 case surveillance in the United States and demographic characteristics, underlying health conditions, symptoms, and outcomes among the 1,320,4888 confirmed COVID-19 cases that were reported individually between Jan. 22 through May 30,2020. 
  • DOD, in support of the Department of Health and Human Services, has signed a $13.5M contract with Lydall, Inc., to increase U.S. domestic production of meltdown filtration media, a critical commodity component to produce N95 respirators and surgical masks.
  • DOD announces details for 5 Defense Production Act Title 3 COVID-19 actions: Austal USA ($50M), W International ($55M), Weber Metals Inc. ($25M), GE Aviation ($55M), and American Woolen Company ($2M). These actions will help to retain critical workforce capabilities throughout the COVID-19 disruption and to restore some jobs lost because of the pandemic.

22 June

  • Citing economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump (R) signed a proclamation restricting the issuance of some visas that permit immigrants to work in the United States. Visas affected include L-1s, H-1Bs, H-4s, H-2Bs, and J-1s. The restrictions take effect June 24 and expire December 31, 2020.
  • DOD Under Secretary for Acquisition and Sustainment signs Memorandum of Agreement with the CEO of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). The agreement formalizes the relationship between DOD and DFC to use $100M of DOD’s CARES Act spend plan to subsidize multiple federal loans for domestic industrial base capabilities to support national COVID-19 response.

23 June

  • Nursing Home Guidance for Visitors Released: CMS released guidance on reopening nursing homes to visitors using a FAQ sheet. Nursing homes can open up to visitors depending on incidence of COVID-19 cases in a 28-day period. The FAQ sheet discusses reopening before Phase III, compassionate care situations, factors to consider for visitation, and testing strategies.

24 June

  • Department of Health and Human Services ended support for 13 federal testing sites and encouraged states to take them over. The sites are spread across five states, including Texas.
  • Changes to Staffing Information and Quality Measures on Nursing Homes: CMS plans to end Medicare emergency blanket waiver requiring all nursing homes to resume submitting staffing data by Aug. 14, 2020. The reporting system CMS uses to collect nursing home staffing information impacts the quality of patient care. The waiver temporarily allows the agency to concentrate on combating COVID-19 and reduce administrative burdens on nursing homes. 
  • Treasury Updates the Coronavirus Relief Fund Frequently Asked Questions: The Department of Treasury has updated its guidance on the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) for state, territorial, local, and tribal governments. Through CRF, the CARES Act provides payments to state, local, and tribal governments navigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

25 June

  • Based on analysis of local conditions and per the Administration’s guidelines for Opening Up America Again, DOD Chief Management Officer reports Pentagon Reservation will move to Phase Two of the Pentagon Reservation Plan for Resilience, effective June 29, 2020. This transition lowers the Health Protection Condition for the Pentagon to Bravo.

26 June

  • Guidance Issued for Healthcare Facilities: In conjunction with the CDC, CMS issued guidance for healthcare facilities entering Phase II to begin preparing for their non-emergent, non-COVID-19 care, including visitation guidelines in buildings such as nursing homes and hospitals. CMS recommends that every visitor be screened for COVID-19 and complete reopening of facilities should wait until Phase III.

29 June

  • The Defense Department announced that it had lifted travel restrictions on military installations in ten more states, allowing service members to resume recreational travel and change-of-station moves. Restrictions were also lifted on troops in Guam, Puerto Rico, and South Korea.
  • New Supplies of Remdesivir for the U.S.: HHS announced an agreement that will secure large supplies of remdesivir from Gilead Sciences through September and will allow American hospitals to purchase the drug in amounts allocated by HHS and state health departments. 

30 June

  • The Treasury Department and the IRS announced that the tax deadline would not be extended beyond July 15. The deadline was postponed from April 15 to July 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The FDA took important action to help facilitate the timely development of safe and effective vaccines to prevent COVID-19 by providing guidance with recommendations for those developing COVID-19 vaccines for the ultimate purpose of licensure. The guidance, which reflects FDA advice has been providing over the past several months to companies, researchers, and others, describes the agency’s current recommendations regarding the data needed to facilitate manufacturing, clinical development, and approval of a COVID-19 vaccine.

[At this time, the total cases were 2,590,000 and total deaths were 126,140 for a death rate of 4.9%. Starting in July reporting data begins to shift in both W.H.O. & CDC reports. A move away from daily reports.]

Special Notice as of 10/27/20

If you watch TV and read the paper, you are aware of a resurgence in Covid-19 cases both abroad and here in the United States. They are calling it the second wave.

However, you need to take a closer look. It is not so much of a second wave as it is a continuation of the first wave. It is now hitting rural America and young people. If you insist on calling it a second wave, I won’t argue with you. But to include it into the worldwide resurgence is simply not ethical. And please take note that while the cases may be rising, the Death Rate continues to fall.

My book, Trump an Outsider’s View, covers Covid-19 and the Death Rate rather thoroughly. I still track the Death Rate and it is now down to 2.59%. That’s another 0.01% drop since Monday. And it is still going down. To dismiss this by noting there is a lag time between cases and related deaths is just being ignorant. We now have almost 11 months of tracking that clearly shows the Death Rate in decline!

Dr. Fauci and others agree that the Trump Administration saved thousands of lives by restricting China travel in January, a fact which embarrasses Biden who opposed the restrictions. This is interesting since Dr. Fauci seems to now be in Biden’s camp (probably because he’ll have job security with Biden).

Another factor to be considered. Many liberals claim that the President said this and said that. I don’t have the time to argue each point. The truth is that actions speak louder than words. January thru May were months of action that were wise and often. The Death Rate at the end of May represented the high point.

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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