May 8 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 8, 2020) roundup:

Medical Response

  • Jackson Labs Preserving Mouse Strain for COVID-19 Research – Researchers at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) are preserving the strain of virus used to study COVID-19 in mice to ensure it remains usable for future treatments. JAX is providing labs worldwide with both mice infected with a similar virus to COVID-19 and the equipment to preserve it, to allow future study using the technique. Read more in the Mount Desert Islander
  • Takeda Pharmaceutical to Begin Clinical Trial for Plasma-Derived Treatment Takeda Pharmaceutical has announced a clinical trial, in coordination with other pharmaceutical companies, of a plasma-derived treatment for COVID-19. The company has accumulated enough plasma from recovered patients to begin clinical manufacturing and will continue to procure plasma should the treatment yield results. Read more in MarketScreener.
  • UMass Develops Forecast Hub – To unify multiple models to project the virus’s spread and effects, the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Influenza Forecasting Center of Excellence has developed a forecast hub to centralize and compare projections from various sources. The projections from the lab include hospitalizations and new cases at both state and national levels. The Boston Globe has more.

Economic/Business Continuity Response

  • SMCC Launches Training Program for Needed Skills – Students at Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) are now eligible to enter short-term programs designed to provide in-demand skills during the pandemic. Virtual programs to train students in fields ranging from pharmacy technology to human resources have begun enrolling students, with plans to offer more courses in the future. More from WMTW.
  • ML Strategies Offering Weekly Business Insights ML Strategies has launched a new series highlighting business guidance, federal updates, and relief opportunities for individuals and businesses. The weekly review offers summaries of the most important, and relevant, happenings related to business continuity and relief measures.

Community Response

  • Keolis, Boston Celtics Partner to Honor Essential Workers Keolis and the Boston Celtics thanked public transit workers in the Boston area by providing them with free meals as part of the ‘Food for Heroes” campaign. Through the campaign, the essential workers, as well as those in hard-hit communities, were provided with free lunches purchased from local restaurants. Read more.
  • Unitil Creates Customer Assistance Fund, Donates $225,000Unitil has launched a Customer Assistance & Recovery Fund to support its customers affected by job loss or reduced wages as a result of the pandemic, in addition to offering personalized payment plans and suspending all shutoff activities. The energy company has also donated $225,000 to organizations in New England supporting its service areas. Read the press release here.
  • Polar Beverages Offers $500 Grants to Restaurant Workers Polar Beverages is offering restaurant workers $500 grants for sharing their best tips on how to order safely from bars and restaurants. The campaign is aimed at supporting both individual workers and local restaurants facing lost revenue due to stay-at-home orders. Read more from This Week in Worcester.

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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