News from Representative Upton

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May 4, 2020

@MyKitchenTable: Monday, May 4, 2020

Dear Friend:

Winston Churchill said, “The price of greatness is responsibility.”  I think those words can be linked to what former President Bush said this weekend, “We are not partisan combatants. We are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God. We rise or fall together, and we are determined to rise." In this time of need, partisan one-up-manship needs to be cast aside.

A few notes:Image

  • More than seven million tests for COVID-19 have been performed in the U.S - with more than 305K on Friday alone.  And, in our Energy and Commerce tele-hearing today, Admiral Giroir, Asst. Secretary of HHS, reiterated how important testing was and the plan to continue more than one million tests/week, as they hit that target for the first time last week. You can read more HERE and look at each state by state total.
  • Johnson & Johnson is in the process of ramping up capacity and will be manufacturing at risk before the trial results for a vaccine are known.  They hope to have an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the first half of 2021. They announced collaborations with Emergent to support manufacturing of their lead vaccine candidate for COVID-19 as they prepare for large-scale commercial manufacturing in Bloomington, IN.  You can find their press release HERE.
  • The White House, CDC, and FEMA have established a web portal with questions and answers from “How to prepare and protect yourself” and other frequently asked questions.  You can see it HERE.
  • You can track critical data trends collected by Johns Hopkins with questions answered on demographics, where the outbreak is increasing, has the curve flattened, how do mortality rates differ - in essence, an encyclopedia of information that is updated constantly for any statistician. It is the “boxscore” of the pandemic and you can find it HERE.
  • FDA issued an EUA for Remdesivir and Gilead Sciences committed to donating 1.5 million vials. Remember that this drug was proven in clinical trials to both reduce the mortality rate and shorten the hospitalization time by 3-4 days for survivors. You can see more HERE.
  • FDA updated its guidance on convalescent plasma, reducing the time of complete resolution of symptoms from 28 to 14 days with a negative diagnostic test.  See HERE for more information.
  • The Office of Minority Health at HHS announced the National Infrastructure for Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 within Racial and Ethnic Minority Communities Initiative to seek to develop and coordinate a network of organizations that will mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on racial and ethnic minorities. You can see more HERE.
  • FEMA will coordinate two shipments totaling a 14-day supply of PPE to more than 15K nursing homes across the country including more than 7M masks, 32M gloves, 900K goggles and 9M gowns based on staff size of the facility. See HERE for more information.
  • The SBA released a report on the second round of the PPP program.  2.2M loans have been made with the total exceeding $175B with the average loan size of $79K.  Nearly 500K loans were made by lenders with less than $1B in assets and 850K were made by lenders with $10B of assets or less.  Both rounds so far have processed over 3.8M loans for more than half a trillion dollars in less than one month.  You can read the full SBA report HERE.
  • I announced that FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program will allocate $323K to the counties in our congressional district.  The money came from the CARES legislation the president enacted and will assist organizations with economic emergencies. You can find the county totals HERE.

The bipartisan Problem Solver’s caucus Zoomed with former Treasury Secretary Paulson, who served under President Bush.  He confirmed that as long as the Fed keeps interest rates low, we have to do all we can to provide the resources to our employers, large and small, to return to a growing economy.  He confirmed that this economic crisis is worse than ’08 and it would be hard to overshoot and lament later (as two other former Treasury Secretaries said the same in the last two weeks).  He added that we needed to continue to act fast as going too long will increase bankruptcies, which will only make it tougher to recover. 

Also, I shared my sorrow with colleague Dan Kildee (D-MI).  He told me that this was one of the saddest stories he had ever heard — senseless.  Apparently a Dollar Store employee confronted a woman for not wearing a mask in that store over the weekend in Flint. Thirty minutes later, her two companions came back to the store and killed the employee with a gunshot to the head, leaving a widow and eight children.  A Go Fund Me page was established for the survivors and you can find the link and perhaps contribute HERE.  Breaks all our hearts, for sure. 

One last item is Governor Whitmer extended existing safety measures to protect consumers and employees at grocery stores and pharmacies until May 29, 2020. Under her order, customers who can medically tolerate a face covering must wear one when entering a grocery store or pharmacy. Grocery stores and pharmacies must allocate at least two hours per week of shopping time for seniors and other vulnerable populations.  Indiana’s Governor has also announced a similar order.

More tomorrow.

God bless,


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Fred

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