Walden COVID-19 Update 5/20

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.

Expanding U.S.-Based Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is partnering with a U.S.-based pharmaceutical company to address manufacturing for the COVID-19 response. HHS is working with the corporation to expand pharmaceutical manufacturing for use in producing medicines needed for COVID-19 and future public health emergencies. 

An Update on the PPP and EIDL:

As of yesterday, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has approved loans to over 4.3 million small businesses for a total of more than $513 billion. In Oregon, the SBA has approved loans for over 55,880 small businesses for a total of more than $6.8 billion.

The SBA also released an updated report with information about both the number and the amount of Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) it has approved. As of yesterday, across the country, more than 250,000 of these loans have been approved for a total of nearly $25 billion. In Oregon, more than 3,900 loans have been approved for a total of over $350 million.

New Coronavirus Vaccine Shows Promise:

A new coronavirus vaccine that is in preliminary trials has shown promising results. These results come from a Phase 1 study of the vaccine which is primarily focused on whether or not the vaccine is safe. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the study moving forward to a Phase II study, with hopes of beginning a Phase III study by July. Read more here.

House Votes on HEROES Act:

On Friday, the House voted on the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. The over 1,800 page bill, drafted by Speaker Pelosi without any input from House Republicans, was released last Monday with the House holding a vote on it just days later.

Read Walden’s statement on the legislation here.

Watch Rep. Walden’s floor remarks on the legislation here.

Increased Funding for Testing in Oregon:

Last week, President Trump announced $11 billion of CARES Act funding will be distributed to states to increase testing capacity, including $86 million for Oregon. The state will also receive 80,000 new swabs in May.

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.