COVID-19 Updates 04/09/2020
Senate unable to reach agreement on COVID-19 additional funds
- Today the Senate adjourned without a deal to deliver coronavirus aid.
- First, Senate Democrats blocked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s attempt to deliver an additional $250 billion for small businesses, arguing that McConnell wasn’t negotiating and money was needed urgently elsewhere. Then, McConnell stifled Democrats’ attempts to pass a bill marrying the small business aid to $250 billion for hospitals and local governments.
- The Federal Reserve on Thursday unveiled emergency programs that could dole out more than $2 trillion in loans to businesses of all sizes, as well as to struggling city and state governments, in a bid to keep the economy afloat as it is ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
- The Fed is committing to buy up to $600 billion in loans from banks to medium-sized businesses that had up to 10,000 employees or $2.5 billion in revenue in 2019, in what it is calling its “Main Street” lending facility.
- The goal of the program is to encourage the banks to lend more to mid-sized companies.
- The American Federation of Government Employees and workers at the Bureau of Prisons, the Agriculture Department, and the Veterans Affairs Department are suing the federal government for not providing hazardous duty pay for workers who are exposed to COVID-19 through their jobs.
- Unions, Democratic lawmakers, and advocates hope to secure funding for hazard pay for healthcare workers in the next stimulus package. The fund would be called a “Heroes Fund” and would provide $13 per hour hazard payments for frontline workers.
- Governors across the U.S. are asking the Trump administration to make widespread retainer payments to Medicaid providers during the coronavirus pandemic, worried that the health care safety net could collapse from lost business during the virtually nationwide shutdown.
- Officials expressed concern that small Medicaid providers, including behavioral health and substance use disorder specialists, could go bankrupt during the crisis without the lifeline.
- The jobless claims are mounting as the federal government struggles to release waves of aid to the economy and businesses.
- The 16.8 million unemployment claims, filed between March 15 and April 4, translate to more than one in 10 workers seeking jobless benefits.
Here is a look at COVID-19 economic damage: Metro areas with the most jobs at stake
- The metropolitan areas hardest hit by the coronavirus-driven economic downturn are those with jobs heavily concentrated in mining/oil and gas, transportation, employment services, travel arrangements, and leisure and hospitality, according to an analysis by Brookings.
COVID-19 Updates: 18,228 cases in all 67 counties and 338 known fatalities.
-11% of the state’s total case count has required hospitalization.
-105,602 COVID-19 tests have been performed and reported to the Department of Health
- All schools, public and private, will close for the rest of the school year.
- This order does not affect a school districts’ online programs, but there is currently no requirement in state law that a district must offer online classes to students.
- Summer programs may still be offered depending on COVID-19 impact.
- Hospitals are continuing to ask the state for financial assistance through a COVID-19 relief fund. The $30 billion in funds for hospitals from the CARES Act has still not been disbursed to states.
- The COVID-19 relief fund would only be accessed “only after all sources have been tapped,” Andy Carter, CEO of the Hospital and HealthSystem Association of Pennsylvania,
- The Fund is part of a push that hospitals in PA are hoping for that includes tax forgiveness and liability protection for frontline physicians and providers.
- Hospitals statewide are losing $1.5 billion to $2 billion a month through the cancelation of elective surgeries and other actions.
- “It is very important to have hope,” Health Secretary Rachel Levine said. “But it will not be one grand day in Pennsylvania. That would be extremely dangerous. It’s going to be over time. It’ll have to go in a slow, progressive fashion, perhaps community by community, county by county, watching the situation carefully for any increases that would require us to reinstitute something like social distancing.”
Bills and Co-Sponsorship filled related to COVID-19
- CO3445 Markosek, Brandon (D)
Exempts cash payments to individuals/couples under the CARES Act from state and local taxation.
- CO1501 Dinniman, Andy (D)
Requires insurers to cover COVID-19 losses for holders of business disruption insurance plans up to the policy limits.
COVID-19 Update: 5,271 total cases and 104 deaths
- The William Penn Foundation along with other donors have created a new emergency fund of $3.4 million.
- The money will go to organizations experiencing financial difficulties during the coronavirus crisis as well as individual artists who have seen their livelihoods evaporate.
- The funds are aimed at small and midsize organizations with budgets up to $15 million.
- Today was the first day that businesses who applied for the PPP received their loans/grants from the federal government. Organizations and businesses that receive their check include the Please Touch Museum, 1SEO and Micah’s Printing in Philly.
- Republic Bank in Philadelphia had so far approved 1,500 applications from past customers and new ones, including “very small to midsize businesses, nonprofits, medical practices, restaurants, all types,” said Vernon Hill, executive chairman of Philadelphia-based Republic Bank.
- Only a small portion of businesses who applied have received their checks, but more checks should be coming now that SBA has streamlined the process and the Federal Reserve has set up a cheap source of funding.
- District administrators have already distributed 40,000 Chromebooks to more than 140 schools across the district. Schools began distributing the laptops last week, and eight schools have already given out all their laptops. The school district plans on buying an additional 10,000 Chromebooks.
- Classes — with grading and attendance — are scheduled to begin the first week of May.
- Comcast is making Xfinity WiFi free for families in the city where Xfinity WiFi is available.
Good News of the Day
By Good News Network – 16-year-old TJ Kim may not have his driver’s license yet, but he has been flying planes all over Virginia in order to deliver medical supplies to rural hospitals fighting the novel coronavirus.
The teen, who is a sophomore at Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland, was inspired to embark on his delivery missions after his classes were canceled as a result of COVID-19.
From all of us here at Bellevue, stay safe and stay healthy!