April 20 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 20, 2020) roundup:

Medical Response

  • MIT Leads Global Efforts for Smartphone Tracking – Around the world, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is supporting and leading efforts to track COVID-19 infections. Using Bluetooth signals emitted from smartphones to conduct “contact tracing” on those with access to phones could eliminate much of the work for state and local governments to identify infected individuals. Read more in The Boston Globe
  • Sanofi Enters Partnership to Speed Development of Vaccine Prototype Sanofi has partnered with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to work together in developing a vaccine for the coronavirus. The two pharmaceutical companies will combine their existing supply chains and resources to expedite both clinical trials of their vaccine candidate and production should theirs prove effective. BioPharma Dive has more.
  • Boston University Medical School Students Graduate Early to Aid Local Hospitals – Students from Boston University’s medical school have graduated early to begin their residencies in the midst of the global pandemic. Those newly-minted doctors who choose to remain in Massachusetts will receive automatic 90-day provisional licenses to allow them to begin practicing immediately. Read more in The Boston Business Journal.

Economic/Business Continuity Response

  • MEMIC Releases Workforce Guidance Hub – The Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Company (MEMIC) has launched a resource center for employees to inform them of proper safety precautions and legal protections offered to them as they navigate working during the pandemic. Additionally, the site offers additional aid to policyholders, including the suspension of non-renewals and adjustments to payment plans. Read more.
  • UMass Memorial Launches Employee Monitoring Program – To ensure that the hospital can remain open safely, UMass Memorial Medical Center has initiated a new program requiring all staff to log if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 before starting a shift. The measures aim to protect patients and staff as they work to contain the spread of the virus. The Worcester Business Journal has more.
  • Verizon Continuing to Expand 5G Network – Despite suspending marketing launches, Verizon is still on-track to launch 5G internet service in 60 cities by the end of the year. The provider will be using state-of-the-art technology to expand and improve access across the country, with cities such as Providence and Chicago already seeing 5G being implemented. Read more from PC Magazine.

Community Response

  • Assumption College Establishes $3 Million Financial Aid Fund for Students – As its families and students are affected by the pandemic, Assumption College has established a $3 million fund to help its community offset tuition and room costs. The Assumption Coronavirus Financial Aid Relief Fund provides grants for those affected by the virus through job loss, furloughs, reduced hours, or caring for someone with COVID-19. Read more from The Worcester Business Journal.
  • Bank of America Gives $100,000 to Nonprofits Serving Homeless PopulationBank of America has provided a grant of $100,000 to Father Bill’s and MainSpring, a nonprofit based in Brockton, MA that operates a shelter for the homeless. The funds will be used to maintain the 60 beds in heated tents for shelter clients. The Enterprise has more.

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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