COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: Antibodies & immunity; Talking about WHO; Telecommuting Survey Results; Mapping COVID – Update; & more!

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Pioneer staff share their top picks for COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders. We hope you are staying safe, and we welcome your thoughts; you can always reach out to us via email:  pioneer@pioneerinstitute.org.

Our Top Picks for COVID-19 Pandemic News:

William Smith, Visiting Fellow in Life Sciences: Gilead drugs seems to work for moderately ill patients also. The CDC is still not certain about the level of immunity that antibodies provide. Details on the clinical trial for remdesivir.

Joe Selvaggi, Host, “Hubwonk“: Who is WHO? Pioneer’s Josh Archambault and I talk with Hoover Institution’s Dr. Lanhee Chen about the role that the World Health Organization plays, what dysfunction may have contributed to the scale of the current COVID-19 epidemic, and what steps can be taken to bring back transparency and trust. Listen now!

Michael Walker, Senior Fellow in Government Data Transparency: Don’t forget to check out our interactive map of COVID cases in Massachusetts, updated every week with newly released city and town data!

  • NEW: With so many deaths occurring at long-term care facilities, in Massachusetts and other states, Pioneer has added a new COVID-19 tracker, with data from the state’s weekly Public Health Report. This data includes any nursing home, rehabilitation center or other long-term care facility with 2+ known COVID-19 cases and facility-reported deaths. It includes the number of licensed beds, ranges of case numbers, deaths, and deaths per bed for 320 facilities.  Pioneer will update the tracker weekly.

Jim Stergios, Executive Director: We are pleased to share the results and analysis of our recent telecommuting poll, and we are grateful to those of you who were among the 700+ participants. The poll results were covered in the Boston HeraldNECNCBS LocalState House News Service and additional news outlets.

What’s the latest on unemployment? Greg Sullivan, Research Director, crunched the most recent numbers.

Our Picks for Public & Private Sector Best Practices:

Rebekah Paxton, Research Analyst: This week marks the start of possible reopening of Boston’s office spaces – are they prepared? Check out our new report on one major consideration – social distancing in elevators.

Jamie Gass, Pioneer’s Education Policy Director: This week on “The Learning Curve” podcast, a new poll finds that 1 in 5 teachers say they are unlikely to return to their classrooms if schools reopen this fall. Also on the show, Cara and Gerard talked with Dana Gioia, a poet, writer, and the former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, on why the arts are so pivotal to the intellectual and civic development of America’s K-12 schoolchildren. Last week’s episode featured homeschooling expert, Kerry McDonald.

  • Also, Pioneer released a new report and video promoting computer science education in K-12 schools, important now more than ever given our increasing reliance on online technology.

Questions for Our Public & Private Sector Leaders:

Barbara Anthony, Senior Fellow in Healthcare & Mary Z. Connaughton, Director of Government Transprency: “As of this writing, about 60 percent of Massachusetts’ 5,000-plus Covid-related deaths are nursing home residents. Some of those residents were receiving temporary rehabilitative services, others were in long-term care. Apart from overall number of deaths, we know little about the faces behind the numbers.” Read more in WGBH News.

 

Andrew Mikula, Peters Fellow, has been taking an in-depth look at COVID’s impact on regions across Massachusetts. Read his analysis here:

POLL Results: In the last COVID Roundup, we asked: Do the reopening guidelines in your state make sense to you? Here are the results: 56% Yes; 44% No

Reader Question:
“How many towns in Massachusetts operating under open town meeting are having town meeting before July 1st, and how are they ensuring the safety of those in wishing to attend, or how are they ensuring that those that are part of a vulnerable population are not disenfranchised? Conversely, how many towns in Massachusetts operating under town meeting are deciding to postpone open time meeting until after the start of fiscal 2021, and how are they approaching their financials if so?”

  • Pioneer is all over this. Be all the lookout for our new Open Meeting Law Violation Hotline!

Do YOU have interesting questions and/or articles to share with us? Please email us, or message us through our social media channels below!

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Monarchs of the Sea – American Boats, Ships, & their Captains – 40 Resources for High School Students

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Celebrating American Boats, Ships, & their Captains.

Alzheimer Breakthrough Disillusionment: Confusion on FDA’s Approval of Expensive and Possibly Ineffective Drug

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with precision medicine expert Hannah Mamuszka and Pioneer Institute's Bill Smith about the promises and pitfalls of the newly approved Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, and the challenges presented when new, expensive drugs of dubious benefit are introduced to the nation’s formulary.

Umesh Bhuju Seeks a Fair Deal for Immigrants, Farmers & the Environment

This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Umesh Bhuju, owner of Zumi’s Espresso in Ipswich, Massachusetts, about how a business model based on selling nothing but fair-trade products can thrive in a world driven by profit. He describes his early experiences in his homeland of Nepal, where he witnessed child labor, and how that has shaped his pursuit of the American dream.

New York Times Best Seller Paul Reid on Winston Churchill, WWII, & the Cold War

This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara and guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Paul Reid, co-author, with William Manchester, of the New York Times best-selling biography of Winston Churchill, The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965. Reid shares how he was enlisted to complete William Manchester’s biographical trilogy on the greatest political figure of the 20th century, which became a best-seller.

Comparing Covid-19 Vaccination and New Infection Rates in Suffolk County: Is Vaccination Working?

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Massachusetts ranks fourth nationally for the highest percent…

The People’s House The U.S. House Representatives – 40 Resources for High School Students

American schoolchildren need to know more about the basic civics and history of our key democratic institutions. To remedy this, we’re offering a variety of resources to help parents, teachers, and high schoolers:

Dr. Babak Movassaghi on Winning in Football & Healthcare Innovation

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This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Dr. Babak Movassaghi, founder of InfiniteMD (acquired last summer by ConsumerMedical), which connects patients with top U.S. medical professionals through second-opinion video consultations, guiding patients to better care. When the world shut down due to COVID-19, Dr. Movassaghi's company was already prepared to serve patients via telehealth. In this episode, they discuss his fascinating pivot from physics and professional football in Germany, to healthcare and innovation here in the U.S., an extension of his ability to navigate multiple identities as an Iranian-German living the American Dream.

COVID-19 and Unemployment Rates in the Cape and Islands 

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  The COVID-19 pandemic has had a large impact on unemployment…

Nina Rees on the 30th Anniversary of Charter Public Schools in America

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara celebrate the 30th anniversary of charter schools with Nina Rees, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

This Is No Time for a Tax Increase

This is no time to threaten Massachusetts’ prospects for an immediate economic recovery and the long-term competitiveness of the Commonwealth’s businesses. As Massachusetts lawmakers prepare to vote on whether to send a proposed constitutional amendment that would impose a 4 percent surtax on residents who earn $1 million or more in a year to the statewide ballot in 2022, Pioneer Institute urges them to recognize that tax policy sizably impacts business and job location decisions and that jobs are more mobile than ever.

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In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Celebrating Classical Music.

Putting in the Extra Hours: The Spike in Mass. Department of Public Health Overtime Pay during COVID-19

During the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) payroll data presented a 29.09% increase in the average employee’s overtime pay from the previous year. Pioneer wanted to dig deeper into the Department’s compensation trends to put the $5M bump in 2020 DPH overtime pay into perspective.