Congressman Walden COVID-19 update 5/01

The latest on the coronavirus: The situation is rapidly changing, but I wanted to share the latest information and news on the outbreak and relief efforts.

Searching for a Cure:

Earlier this week, the NIH shared promising information that showed patients in a clinical trial that used the antiviral drug remdesivir recovered from COVID-19 at an accelerated pace compared to those who did not use the drug. Learn more here.

New Guidance on Disinfecting Spaces:

Recently, the CDC and EPA released updated guidance to help facility operators and families properly clean and disinfect spaces.  The guidance provides step-by-step instructions for public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes, and falls in line with the Opening Up America Again guidelines. Learn more here.

An Update on Testing:

More than 6.2 million tests for COVID-19 have been performed in the United States. 

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention broadened its priority for testing, adding symptomatic first responders and people in long term-care facilities, prisons and shelters to the top tier. The priority list for the first time includes people without symptoms at a clinician or public-health authority’s discretion. 

The FDA has worked with over 380 test developers who have said they will be submitting emergency use authorizations (EUA) requests to FDA for tests that detect the virus. The FDA has issued  over 50 individual EUAs for test kit manufacturers and laboratories. 

SBA Provides more PPP Loans:

Starting this week, the Small Business Administration (SBA) began processing more Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans. This comes after President Trump signed into law more funding for the PPP.

As of Wednesday afternoon, SBA announced that they had approved over 960,000 loans for a total of nearly $90 billion from more than 5,300 lenders. This total is in addition to the first tranche of PPP loans, where over $340 billion went out to over 1.6 million small businesses. 

The average PPP loan is for $206,000 and nearly 75% of all loans have been for $150,000 or less. Wednesday, Secretary Mnuchin said that he expects the PPP to impact over 60 million workers, which is half the private workforce, and said that one million loans that have gone out so far are for companies with under 10 people. 

Learn more here.

More Funding for Health Care Providers & Hospitals:

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded over $40 billion to health care providers and hospitals – including $103,577,091 for providers in Oregon. The funding comes as a result of HHS distributing over $40 billion of the $100 billion that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act designated for provider relief. In addition to this funding HHS has already distributed $30 billion nationwide, including $291 million to Oregon. Read more here.

Watch out for COVID-19 Scams:

Both the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission are reporting a spike in coronavirus related scams including home testing kits, fake cures, and other malicious attempts to prey on COVID-19 fears. The Treasury Department will NOT ask you to pay anything for the payment most Americans will receive as a result of the CARES Act and will not contact you for your bank account information. If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the government asking for this type of information, please report it to www.ftc.gov/complaint. You can learn more about how to protect yourself from these types of scams here.