April 22 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 22, 2020) roundup:

Medical Response

  • UMass Memorial Sees Initial Success After Receiving Approval for Plasma Treatment with Initial Success – After receiving FDA approval to use convalescent plasma (plasma from the blood of a recovered patient) on COVID-10 patients, UMass Memorial Medical Center has already begun to see dramatic results in outcomes. Patients treated with the plasma have been weaned off ventilators, even after reaching critical status, offering further support for the potential treatment. Read more in the Worcester Business Journal.
  • Brandeis University Researchers Using Artificial Intelligence for Virus Research – At Brandeis University, researchers are using machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze the genomes of COVID-19 and other related viruses. The technology can be used to sift through and expose potential weaknesses in the virus’s DNA. Beyond potential treatments for COVID-19, the research could potentially predict future lethal viruses earlier. Read more.

Economic/Business Continuity Response

  • Southern New Hampshire University Launching Reduced-Cost Remote Learning – In response to the pandemic, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is developing a new model for on-campus learning with remote instruction. The university, already a leader in online learning, will offer reduced tuition for students utilizing this model to allow them to learn and still maintain an on-campus living experience while on a more affordable educational pathway. Read more in the Boston Business Journal.
  • Dartmouth-Hitchcock Launches Webinar Series on Mental Health During Pandemic Dartmouth-Hitchcock has announced a six-part webinar series on mental health in the age of coronavirus. The series, titled “Heads Up,” is aimed at several age groups, from parents of infants to college students and seniors, and will feature the discussions with mental health experts and tips for maintaining mental health and wellness while remaining physically distanced. Read more.

Community Response

  • McDonald’s Providing Free Meals for Healthcare Workers, First Responders with Free Meals – As a show of support McDonald’s is offering free meals to workers and first responders directly exposed to the virus. The initiative come after the restaurant chain also donated $3.1 million in food to communities as well as one million face masks to areas of the country hardest hit by the virus. Read the press release here.
  • City of Boston Deploying Sound Trucks to Encourage Safety – The City of Boston, through its Department of Public Works, is deploying a fleet of “sound trucks” to spread information and best practices on keeping safe during the pandemic. The trucks will focus on areas where cases of coronavirus are the highest and will use seven different languages to reach as many people as possible. More from WBUR.
  • New Balance, MIT Collaborating to Donate 10,000 Masks Weekly – After production of shoes grinded to a halt, New Balance factories converted to producing masks to combat the pandemic. In partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientists, the company has begun producing 10,000 masks a week to donate to hospitals and maintain operations and jobs at its factories. Read more from Business Insider

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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