On Monday, MassBio issued best practices for life sciences essential workers to voluntarily, safely return to labs as the first phase of MassBio’s RESET (Restart Economy Safely through Employee Training and Testing) initiative. For more coronavirus information, please visit MassBios’s COVID-19 Resource Page.
On Tuesday, Governor Baker officially ordered all public and private schools to remain closed through the rest of the academic year. In his announcement he also ordered most day care centers to remain closed until June 29th.
In Federal news, Congress passed a $484 billion economic relief package for small businesses, hospitals, and coronavirus testing. The new relief bill allocates an additional $320 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). President Trump signed the bill on Friday.
On Wednesday, President Trump issued a proclamation that temporarily suspends the “entry of immigrants who present risk to the U.S labor market during the economic recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak.” The order suspends new immigrant visas for 60 days, but includes an exception for physicians, nurses, and healthcare professionals, as well as medical and other researchers who are working on COVID-19. MassBio President & CEO Bob Coughlin released the below statement on the executive order:
“Disease knows no borders and neither does scientific innovation. We need the best and brightest from around the world working to solve the toughest unmet medical needs for patients, not just for COVID-19, but for all of the other diseases out there with no single treatment. If we further restrict immigration as a country, we’ll not only threaten the long-term sustainability and growth of the life sciences industry throughout the U.S., especially in Massachusetts, we risk losing valuable talent to other countries.
“We will continue to work with our partners in government to advocate for and advance policies that will allow the best and the brightest people from across the world to join our cluster – and doing so in the safest way possible – and we encourage all companies in all industries to do the same.”
As of Monday, the Massachusetts House of Representatives appears to have finalized plans to hold virtual sessions that allow members to vote remotely. The first formal session is scheduled to take place on Thursday.
With Governor Baker’s non-essential business mandate and stay-at-home advisory set to expire on May 4th, state leaders and their advisors are watching testing and hospitalization rates as they consider whether to extend the order and what a phased reopening of the economy might look like.
The FDA rolled out a new coordinated effort to promote convalesce plasma donation from patients who have fully recovered from COVID-19. To learn more and find out how you can donate, visit the FDA website.