Many health and federal officials are predicting that this week could be a pivotal moment in the response to the coronavirus. It is likely that we
will see a surge of cases and deaths across the nation, but there is also promising news that I’ve included in this newsletter. For more resources
on the federal and state coronavirus response, CARES Act provisions, and other information on managing the outbreak, please visit my Coronavirus Relief webpage.
Also, please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to my newsletter for reliable updates on the coronavirus outbreak.
Progress Towards a Solution
Yesterday, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Dr. Scott Gottlieb spoke with CBS Face the Nation to
provide updates on vaccine and therapeutic development and described how technology could be used to provide the best response strategy to help
return the American people to a more normal routine. Dr. Gottlieb emphasized that the best course of action to combat the coronavirus in the short-term
is to develop an effective therapeutic drug. In an expression of good news for the American people, Dr. Gottlieb said that he believes there are
two therapeutics showing potential to help in the fight against COVID-19. Once developed, these therapeutics could inhibit the virus in two distinct
ways: one therapeutic targets the virus and blocks its replication and the other utilizes antibody drugs to attack the virus.
Currently, there are no vaccines for the novel coronavirus. However, researchers are testing potential vaccines that could be used to protect individuals
from contracting COVID-19 in the future. Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle began evaluating a potential vaccine last month, and Bill Gates announced last week that his foundation will construct factories for the development of a vaccine.
President Trump announced the successful deployment of 3,000 military and public health professionals to help combat the outbreak. Additionally, hundreds
of ventilators have been sent to states to supplement their ongoing actions to treat infected individuals. Governor Jay Inslee of Washington state
also announced that he was returning 400 ventilators to the federal government so that they can be used in other hotspots across the nation as
the outbreak in the Evergreen State stabilizes.
According to the White House, FEMA’s Project Airbridge continues to bring millions of critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) into the country to be used in the coronavirus fight. Apple CEO Tim
Cook said Apple will produce 1 million face masks per week to support healthcare workers, and the company already has donated 20 million N95 masks.
The President has also been effective in his use of the Defense Production Act to ensure the private sector is producing needed PPE.
Paycheck Protection Program
On Friday, the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) launched for businesses to begin applying for low-interest loans.
Small businesses and sole proprietorships with less than 500 employees are eligible today to apply for the PPP, and independent contractors and
self-employed individuals will be able to apply for the PPP beginning this Friday, April 10th. These loans can be used to cover up to 8 weeks of
payroll and benefits costs, as well as rent, mortgage, and utility expenses. These loans are 100% guaranteed by the SBA, have 2-year terms, and
have interest rates of 1%. These loans are eligible for forgiveness if used to cover the costs outlined above during a timeframe of February 15th
to June 30th, 2020. Furthermore, the program provides flexibility for businesses that re-hire employees previously laid off.
While the SBA has experienced challenges with the launch of the program, we expect that these issues will continue to be addressed and corrected.
You can find more resources on the PPP and other small business assistance by clicking on the following links:
- Coronavirus.gov Small Business Resources Page
- Treasury Department PPP Guidance and Application Details
- SBA Coronavirus Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources Page
Unemployment Numbers and Job Loss
Recent numbers show that the United States lost 701,000 jobs in March, and unemployment numbers continue to climb. Congress anticipated large job loss
numbers and rising unemployment claims and have made resources available for those impacted. If you or someone you know becomes unemployed, you
might be eligible to file for an unemployment claim. Please contact the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) at 601-321-6000 for
assistance. You can also visit the MDES website to submit a claim.
As of Monday, April 6th, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 330,891 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the United States, 8,910 individuals have passed away as a result of infection, and 50 states,
the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have at least one case. Vice President Pence
announced that 1.67 million Americans have now been tested for the virus and received results, which is more than any other country. See below
for an infographic from the Mississippi State Department of Health on the number of cases in Mississippi.
Member of Congress