March 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 will be 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’ll also be 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 also check our COVID-19 Virtual Events Calendar for information on upcoming COVID-19 related programming – including Congressional town halls and webinars presented by NEC members.

Here is today’s (March 20, 2020) roundup:

Medical Response

  • Brigham & Women’s and Massachusetts General Hospitals Begin Clinical Trials – In keeping with Boston’s tradition of medical leadership, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital have begun trials of an experimental drug, remdesivir, as a treatment for the novel coronavirus. The hospitals join 50 sites across the country conducting similar trials aiming to relieve virus-related symptoms. The Boston Globe has more.
  • Boston Medical Center Utilizes Malaria Treatment on Patients Boston Medical Center (BMC) has been using chloroquine, an anti-malaria drug also used to treat arthritis, on COVID-19 patients in what “could be a game changer” in the battle against the virus, according to President Trump. The FDA has been investigating the drug as it fast-tracks potential treatments for COVID-19. The Boston Herald
  • Boston University Lab First in Region to Conduct Research on Live Samples of Virus – Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) became the first lab in Boston to begin working with live samples of COVID-19. The lab plans to use thousands of drugs against infected lab cultures to determine the most effective options to treat the virus. Read more in The Brink.

Economic/Business Continuity Response

  • Cyberbit Offers Scenario Training to Protect New England Businesses – With the market increase in companies allowing employees to work remotely, Cyberbit is offering free scenario training for New England businesses in order to ensure safe and continuous operations many states order non-essential businesses to close. The company’s cyber-defense simulation platform, Cyberbit Range, will be free to companies in the region to improve response time and cybersecurity as they rely on technology more for continuity.
  • City of Portland Suspends Bus Fares – The City of Portland, ME, has suspended fees in addition to other measures being taken to reduce financial hardship on those forced to travel as the virus spreads. The state’s largest public transit operators will also increase sanitary and social distancing measures and reduce service as the city works to flatten the curve. Read more in WGME.

Community Response

  • Pine Street Inn Provides Aid to Boston’s Homeless Population – Boston’s homeless population is particularly vulnerable to the virus outbreak given their lack of access to water and housing, and therefore often lack a place to self-quarantine. Pine Street Inn is partnering with the city and Boston Medical Center to offer testing sites, quarantine locations, and medicated-assisted treatment for substance use disorders, WGBH has more.
  • Big Papi Helps Launch Fundraising Tool for Virus Relief – Retired Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz of the has teamed up with athletes from a dozen different sports to raise money for community relief. When fans donate to The Center for Disaster Philanthropy, they can be entered into a lottery to win signed gear and other prizes from the star-studded list of athletes supporting the philanthropy. Read more in CNBC.

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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