April 16 Daily Round-Up: NEC Members Contribute to COVID-19 Crisis Response

As our region and our nation continue to grapple with the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, The New England Council is using our blog as a platform to highlight some of the incredible work our members have undertaken to respond to the outbreak.  Each day, we’ll post a round-up of updates on some of the initiatives underway among Council members throughout the region.  We are also sharing these updates via our social media, and encourage our members to share with us any information on their efforts so that we can be sure to include them in these daily round-ups.

You can find all the Council’s information and resources related to the crisis in the special COVID-19 section of our website.  This includes our COVID-19 Virtual Events Calendar, which provides information on upcoming COVID-19 Congressional town halls and webinars presented by NEC members, as well as our newly-released Federal Agency COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses page.

Here is today’s (April 16, 2020) roundup:

Medical Response

  • NEC Members Form COVID-19 Research ConsortiumBiogen, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have joined together in a new consortium to study the coronavirus and research potential treatments. The two hospitals will provide blood samples to be studied by the consortium. The Boston Globe has more.
  • Boston Scientific Developing Low-Cost Ventilator – A new ventilator developed by Boston Scientific and researchers at the University of Minnesota has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to serve as a low-cost alternative for hospitals facing the nationwide shortage. The ventilator is being sold for a fraction of the cost of traditional ventilators and is both more portable and easier to manufacture. The device’s specifications and design plans will be made open source to encourage global adoption of the new technology. Read more from Bloomberg.

Economic/Business Continuity Response

  • MassMutual Announces Free Life Insurance for Healthcare Workers – MassMutual is providing no-cost policies of up to $25,000 to frontline healthcare workers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The $3 billion of insurance coverage is an extension of the insurer’s LifeBridge program to provide free insurance to income-eligible families and will be available to workers directly exposed to the virus. Read more.
  • Travelers Insurance Offers Billing Relief for Customers – Insurer Travelers is providing billing relief for all U.S. customers and suspending cancellation of plans due to nonpayment. The company is also giving a 15% credit to auto insurance customers and using virtual platforms for telehealth, auditing, and inspection services. Read more.
  • New England Aquarium, Museum of Fine Arts Request Emergency Relief – The New England Aquarium and the Museum of Fine Arts, in partnership with other Boston cultural institutions, wrote a letter to the Massachusetts congressional delegation asking for a $6 billion increase in emergency relief funding to support them as they continue to provide resources for the community despite revenue losses. Read more in the press release and in the Boston Business Journal.

Community Response

  • Stop & Shop Providing 5,000 Meals Daily to First Responders – Grocer Stop & Shop (owned by Ahold Delhaize) has committed to provide 5,000 meals daily to first responders treating COVID-19 patients in greater New York City and Boston, two of the nation’s hardest-hit communities. The retailer has also increased hourly wages by 10% for union associates, provided$500,000 to its associate care fund to assist employees and their families, and contributed another $500,000 to support vaccine research at Boston Children’s Hospital. Read more in Supermarket News.
  • JetBlue Offering Humanitarian Flights for Medical Staff, Students – While commercial operations have slowed, JetBlue is using its expansive global network to deliver medical professionals and supplies to locations where they are needed most. The airline is also helping students have been displaced from college housing and need assistance in finding safe residence by offering flights to them. Read more here.

Stay tuned for more updates each day, and follow us on Twitter for more frequent updates on how Council members are contributing to the response to this global health crisis.

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