March 26 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 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 26, 2020) roundup:

Medical Response

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology Developing Low-Cost Ventilator Alternative – The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has begun work on a low-cost alternative to ventilators—already in high demand with supply decreasing—using supplies many hospitals already have. The device uses an Ambu bag, used to resuscitate patients and common in large quantities in hospitals. The MIT E-Vent is being developed by a team of the school’s researchers, which will post all updates and concerns in order to support the rapid production and distribution of the devices. Read more.
  • Biogen Begins Developing Antibody Treatment – Joining other New England biomedical companies leading the worldwide search for a potential COVID-19 cure, Biogen has partnered with Vir Biotechnology and WuXi Biologics to begin clinical trials on a new treatment. The potential treatment uses antibodies that would slow or prevent the spread of the virus within a patient, and is being tested as both preventative vaccine or a treatment. The Boston Business Journal has more.

Economic/Business Continuity Response

  • College Board Moves Advanced Placement Tests Online – In order to alleviate the effects of the virus on students and educators, the College Board has announced that all Advanced Placement (AP) exams, which offer college credit for high-schoolers enrolled in the college-level class, will be held online. This will ensure that students who enrolled in the courses can still obtain credit and allow institutions of higher education to follow suit as they shift to online instruction. Read more in the Washington Post.
  • Arent Fox Forms Legal Response Team – A group of lawyers from Arent Fox’s practice areas, ranging from construction and automobiles to hospitality and sports, will be available to address questions from businesses as they navigate changing employment laws and logistics of continuing operations during this crisis. Read more.
  • Verizon Gives Mobile Customers Extra Cellular Data – Verizon has announced that it will automatically add an additional 15GB of high-speed date to its customers’ plans to allow families and communities to stay connected. The provider has also committed to waive overage charges and late fees. Read more in The Verge.
  • JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo Offers Mortgage Payment Relief – Under a new agreement, eligible homeowners whose mortgage is managed by four of the nation’s largest banks, including JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo, could defer mortgage payments for up to three months. The Los Angeles Times has more.

Community Response

  • Massachusetts Colleges Donate Supplies to Hospitals – Although they have suspended classes for the semester, colleges across Massachusetts have begun donating medical supplies usually used for healthcare instruction to UMass Memorial Health Care and other area medical centers. Becker College, Assumption College, and College of the Holy Cross are sending dozens of boxes of supplies to the hospital as infections rise. The Worcester Telegram
  • UMass Memorial Health Care Sets Up Online Protective Gear Donation Site – To better coordinate donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) for its healthcare workers potentially exposed to COVID-19, UMass Memorial Health Care has set up a website to guide those with donations. The site was established after FLEXcon donated 1,000 shields, hazmat suits, and more PPE to the hospital. Read more in the Worcester Telegram.

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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