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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Get Our COVID-19 News, Tips & Resources!

Pioneer Report Spotlights Decade-long Building Boom in Massachusetts Construction Industry

In the lead-up to the COVID-19 crisis, the Massachusetts construction industry enjoyed a boom in select subsectors, though employment numbers had yet to recover from the setbacks of the Great Recession, according to a new report from Pioneer Institute that draws data from the MassEconomix web tool.

Contracting with private providers could avert MBTA cuts

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In response to a collapse in MBTA service in the winter of 2015, the newly formed Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) set the authority on a course of bold reforms. The COVID-19 pandemic is once again presenting new and significant challenges to T leadership that require a rethinking of how service is delivered to stave off painful service cuts.

Pioneer Institute Statement on MBTA Service Cuts

Even as MBTA ridership and revenue have been gutted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the system remains a lifeline for so many residents in the Greater Boston area, especially those working in essential services like health care or in industries most impacted by the pandemic such as the restaurant sector.  Facing a crisis of this magnitude, T leadership must first do its all to rethink how it delivers services before reflexively making cuts.

Pioneer Checklist Includes Steps for Policy Makers, Business Owners to Revitalize Hardest-Hit Industries

Combining the recommendations of studies published earlier this year, Pioneer Institute has released “A Checklist for How to Revitalize the Industries Hit Hardest by COVID-19.” The recommendations for policy makers are organized in three sections: Immediate Relief, Tax Policy Changes and Permanent Reforms.  Business owner recommendations are split into COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols, Expanded Services and Steps to Improve Cash Flow.

Capturing Voter Intent: What Polling Error Teaches Us About Electoral Trends

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Join Host Joe Selvaggi and Harvard Professor Chase Harrison as they discuss polling methodology and what errors in 2020 reveal about voting during COVID-19 and changing attitudes toward pollsters.

Pioneer Report Highlights Pre-Pandemic Employment Growth in Massachusetts’ Hospitality & Food Industry

In the lead-up to the COVID-19 crisis, the Massachusetts Hospitality and Food Industry enjoyed generally positive employment growth, according to a new report from Pioneer Institute that draws data from the MassEconomix web tool. Most of the Hospitality and Food Industry employment across the state is concentrated in full-service restaurants and hotels.

Ghost Dance – Native American Heritage Month – Resources for K-12 Education

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Introducing K-12 schoolchildren to Native Americans in U.S. history.

Targeted government help for small business is needed

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Covid-19 will frame economic policy discussions for years to come, just as the Great Recession did a decade ago. The economic impact of the pandemic includes widespread job losses, and millions of Americans are at risk of falling into poverty. Covid-19 is also accelerating pre-existing market trends – such as automation and online shopping – and their potentially devastating impact on the thousands of small businesses vulnerable to these market shifts. Will these businesses be able to adapt?

MCAS testing essential to address falling test scores

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Amid the chaos that was created by schools suddenly being shuttered in March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it made sense to cancel administration of Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests. But supporters of pending legislation that would place a four-year moratorium on using MCAS as a high school graduation requirement and create a commission to study alternatives to the tests are no longer responding to a crisis; they are using it to advance their anti-reform agenda.

Wall Street Journal Columnist Jason Riley on the 2020 Election, School Choice, & Race in America

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Jason Riley, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and columnist for The Wall Street Journal. Jason shares insights on the 2020 election, its implications for the next two years, and assuming Vice President Biden becomes president, how he may govern on K-12 education.

Disputing Democracy – 5 Contentious U.S. Presidential Elections – Resources for K-12 Education

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs, on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Introducing K-12 schoolchildren to the great, contentious presidential elections in U.S. history.

Pioneer Institute Statement on Governor Baker’s New COVID Restrictions

Read Pioneer Institute's public statement about Gov. Charlie Baker's new executive orders related to the state’s reopening plan that will go into effect on Nov. 6, issued in response to a significant uptick in COVID infections in Massachusetts,