COVID-19 Update 03 August, 2020

COVID-19 Update 03 August, 2020

Senate under growing pressure to reach coronavirus relief deal

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to force votes this week on renewing expired federal unemployment payments and other policy issues. Democrats also are asking for hundreds of billions of dollars in new aid to state and local governments to prevent a wave of employee layoffs, which Republicans have rejected.
  • McConnell wants to renew enhanced unemployment at 66 percent of lost wages, or $200 per week. 

U.S. lacks plan for getting the vaccine to communities of color devastated by virus

  • For decades, communities of color have been underrepresented in clinical trials, faced greater barriers to getting vaccinated, and have a deep mistrust of a health care system that often overlooks or harms them.
  • Right now the national government has no strategy and local groups are trying to fill the gap. The CDC is conducting focus groups to understand public attitudes toward Covid-19 vaccination. In addition, Pharmaceutical companies are starting their own outreach campaigns, partnering with groups like the National Urban League. 

HUD Updates: 

HUD Releases Three Housing Notices Implementing Funding Provisions for CARES Act Appropriations  On July 23, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the availability of supplemental operating funds for Section 8, Section 202, and Section 811 properties to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the Covid-19 pandemic via Covid-19 Supplemental Payments (CSP). Appropriations provided under the CARES Act are available to fund supplement payments to Section 8, Section 202, and Section 811 properties currently under rental assistance contracts administered by the Office of Multifamily Housing. The guidance covers eligibility requirements and applicability and outlines eligible activities and purchases for which costs may be reimbursed with CSP funds. Eligible activities for CSP funds include paying for the increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting common areas, purchasing office technology and other equipment needed to facilitate social distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and residents using common areas, and temporary staffing increases to cover a variety of needs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The submission deadline to be considered for these payments is 11:59 PM local time on August 5. On July 31, HUD announced two
additional Housing Notices, PIH 2020-17 and PIH 2020-18, which together provide guidance for CARES Act funds designated for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program totaling $1.25 billion. The notices provide guidance for PHA’s seeking to access these funds. PIH 2020-17 outlines submission and eligibility requirements for $400 million in Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) funding, including two eligible categories for adjustments to renewal funding allocations: Extraordinary Circumstances and Shortfall Funds. PIH 2020-18 outlines award allocation methodology for the portion of the administrative fees of the CARES Act, $850 million in total.

State 

COVID-19: The Pennsylvania Department of Health is reporting 565 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, August 3 bringing the statewide total of positive cases to 114,155. There are 7,209 total deaths attributed to COVID-19, an increase of 0 new deaths reported. 

Pennsylvania suspends requirements for childhood immunizations, and that has pediatricians worried

  • The PA Dept of Health announced that it will temporarily be suspending requirements for children’s immunizations for a two month period.  COVID-19 has made it difficult for families to make scheduled checkups.
  • Many pediatricians are worried about the potential for families to not immune their children going forward. Pediatricians are urging families to set up appointments.
  • While the Department of Health’s suspension announcement stresses the importance of childhood immunizations, some experts think it’s sending a message that can easily be misunderstood or even used to argue against vaccination in general. 

After a dismal June, Pa. took in $4.1B in July

  • After finishing the 2019-2020 budget almost $3.2 billion in red, the state collected $4.1 billion mostly coming from taxes. 

Pennsylvania Supreme Court tosses challenge to eviction ban

  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a challenge to the governor’s statewide moratorium on foreclosures and evictions.
  •  The lawsuit was filed by the Pennsylvania Residential Owners Association who were challenging Gov. Wolf constitutional authority to prevent evictions. 

Philadelphia 

Philadelphia is averaging 152 new cases/day, 1% higher than a week ago. That’s out of about 2,645 average daily tests (down from a week ago). The seven-day average positivity rate is 4.9%, a third of a point lower than a week ago. In the city, 1,690 people are known to have died of COVID-19. The city’s average of 2 deaths/day, same as a week ago.

The pandemic has led to an uptick of worker complaints filed with Philadelphia’s labor office

  • Philadelphia workers have filed almost double the number of complaints to the Office of Benefits and Wage Compliance, which is responsible for enforcing the city’s growing slate of labor laws. 
  • The uptick in complaints comes as labor advocates have waged a campaign to increase the city’s labor enforcement action and outreach. 
  • Many of the worker complaints have regarded unpaid sick leave for their accrued sick leave as they were laid off or furloughed due to the pandemic. 

Across the Philadelphia region, coronavirus cases are rising fastest in Delaware County

  • The county has gone from an average of 15.7 new cases a day on June 27 to 78.3 new cases a day on Tuesday — an increase of 398%. 
  • Delaware County was one of three in the state — along with Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties — to see days with more than 100 new cases in recent weeks.

Good News of the Day

10-Year-old Mini-Monet Fetches Tens Of Thousands For Her Paintings – And Donates All The Money

Via the Good News Network –

A ten-year-old ‘mini Monet’ in England paints stunning floral landscape paintings that can sell for up to £10,000.

Daisy Watt only started painting four years ago when two of her grandparents were diagnosed with cancer and she painted a picture to cheer them up.

Beginning with that moment in 2017, she has earned £50,000 through her artwork—and donated it all to charity.

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