May 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 (May 20, 2020) roundup:

Medical Response

  • Beth Israel Studies Suggest COVID-19 Antibodies Provide Immunity – Two new studies from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) indicate that antibodies resulting from COVID-19 infection provide immunity to reinfection. The studies tested antibody levels in monkeys and suggest that antibodies from either infection or vaccination provide immunity, indicating that the spread of COVID-19 could be mitigated by a vaccine. The Boston Globe reports.
  • URI Opens Mobile Testing Site – The University of Rhode Island’s (URI) Rhode to Health mobile unit is offering tests to vulnerable areas of the state in an attempt to reach communities without access to other testing sites. Rhode to Health can provide residents with test results in as little as 20 minutes and offer further insight on how the virus has spread in Rhode Island. Read more.
  • Sanofi Expands Pandemic Response Plan – In addition to its existing vaccine efforts, Sanofi has outlined its more detailed COVID-19 response plan, including clinical trials, new diagnostic technology, and supply chain continuity efforts. The company also announced plans to develop new facilities in the United States for development of new products to prepare for future pandemics. Read more in the Pharmacy Times.

Economic/Business Continuity Response

  • JetBlue Announces New Physical Distancing Protocols for Resuming Flights JetBlue is enacting new safety protocols to keep passengers safe, such as blocking middle seats on aircraft, through July. Other measures include touchless mobile check-in and pre-sealed meals as part of the airline’s new safety program. Boston.com has more.
  • MassMutual Expands Life Insurance Program to Healthcare Workers MassMutual has announced it is expanding its new HealthBridge program, which provides free life insurance policies to healthcare workers, to the hardest-hit states across the country. Originally available only in Massachusetts and Connecticut, the program offers another source of financial support to healthcare providers. Read more.

Community Response

  • Aflac Donates $5 Million to Relief EffortsAflac has donated $5 million to organizations that provide protective equipment and assistance to healthcare workers. The donation comes after Aflac launched several support programs for employees and policyholders. Read the release here.
  • Tufts Health Plan Announces Third Wave of Grants Tufts Health Plan, in the third installment of its $1 million commitment to New England community relief efforts, has donated another $170,000 in grants. Ten nonprofit organizations across the region will receive the grants to address food and housing inequities, especially in vulnerable communities. The Laconia Daily Sun 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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