August 4 Biweekly 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. Twice weekly, 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 twice weekly 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 Federal Agency COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses page. 

Here is today’s (August 4, 2020) roundup:  

Medical Response

  • BIDMC Vaccine Candidate Shows Promising Results in Non-human Primates – A group of scientists, led by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) immunologist Dan H. Barouch, MD, PhD, have seen some promising results in early testing of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate, developed in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson.  Specifically, the so-called “single shot” vaccine was found to raise neutralizing antibodies and robustly protect non-human primates (NHPs) against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This study builds on the team’s previous results and is published in the journal Nature. Read more here.  
  • MGH Study Examines the Prevalence of COVID-19 Infections in Pregnant Women About to Give Birth –  A team led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital released a report on the prevalence of infections with the virus in women admitted to such units in several Boston hospitals. The study examined the results from COVID-19 tests conducted over 18 days in which 757 women were tested. The study found that of the 20 women who tested positive for COVID-19, nine were asymptomatic. The study also found that the newborns of all asymptomatic mothers tested negative for the virus, and the researchers suggested universal testing as a useful method to reduce the risk of transmission in healthcare facilities. The findings are published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. Read more here.

Economic/Business Continuity Response

  • New Prudential Insurance Program Aims to Ease Pandemic-related Financial Stress in the Workplace Prudential Financial, Inc. has created a new workplace package designed specifically for concerned employees and time-strapped human resources teams. Many workers recognize the need to manage their finances differently moving forward, and employers play a big role in providing the right education and tools to do so. Read more here.  

Community Response

  • Amica Announces COVID-19 Auto Refund Program – Rhode Island-based Amica Insurance has announced its COVID-19 Auto Refund Program, under which the company will refund up to 10% of customers’ monthly auto insurance premiums over a period of four months, pending regulatory approval. New customers that purchase Amica auto policies before the end of 2020 will also be eligible for the program. Read more here.  
  • Aflac Incorporated Donates $5 Million as Part of Company’s Overall COVID-19 Pandemic ResponseAflac Incorporated, a national leader in supplemental insurance at U.S. worksites, recently donated $5 million to two organizations that are providing assistance for health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 global pandemic. The $5 million donation includes $2 million for the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) and $3 million for Direct Relief. Read more here.  
  • MIT Medical Offers Guidance for Air TravelMIT Medical is advising those considering air travel that, even with appropriate precautions, a relatively short domestic flight still carries moderate risks and should not be undertaken lightly. continues to recommend that travelers postpone nonessential travel at this time, but advises that if travel is necessary, individuals are careful to travel thoughtfully, safely, and with deliberate attention to their safety and the safety of others. 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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