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!

“The Business of America is Business” – 25 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 Free-Market Capitalism.

Georgetown’s Dr. Marguerite Roza on K-12 School Finance, Spending, & Results

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Dr. Marguerite Roza, Research Professor and Director of the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University. Professor Roza describes the three distinct phases of how American K-12 education has been funded over the last 40 years, and implications for equity and overall student achievement.

Massachusetts Should Disclose More Information about Its Recent Reduction in the Official Count of Long-term Care Deaths

The public -- particularly in Massachusetts, where COVID-19’s toll on elders has been so great -- has a right to know how many deaths occurred in state-regulated eldercare facilities, and how that compares to the total number of deaths. But the state's new counting standard clouds this information, and should be corrected or at least disclosed.

Preparing For Disaster: Health Readiness Expert’s Performance Review

Hubwonk Host Joe Selvaggi talks with Emergency Preparedness expert Dr. Paul Biddinger about how experts plan for disasters, and what went right and wrong in this pandemic.

Study Warns Massachusetts Tax Proposal Would Deter Investment, Stifling the “Innovation Economy”

A state constitutional amendment promoted by the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the Service Employees International Union adding a 4 percent surtax to all annual income above $1 million could devastate innovative startups dependent on Boston’s financial services industry for funding, ultimately hampering the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 economic recession, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

“Be Strong, Saith My Heart” – National Poetry Month – 40 Resources for K-12 Students

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

Stanford’s National Humanities Medal Winner Prof. Arnold Rampersad on Langston Hughes & Ralph Ellison

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Professor Arnold Rampersad, the Sara Hart Kimball Professor Emeritus in Humanities at Stanford University and recipient of the National Humanities Medal for his books including The Life of Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison: A Biography.

Study Shows the Adverse Effects of Graduated Income Tax Proposal on Small Businesses

The state constitutional amendment promoted by the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the Service Employees International Union to add a 4 percent surtax to all annual income above $1 million will adversely impact a significant number of pass-through businesses, ultimately slowing the Commonwealth’s economic recovery from COVID-19, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker

Pioneer is proud to present a new vaccine tracker, the newest tool in our COVID-19 tracking project. Pioneer distilled the vaccination data down to those who are either fully vaccinated or partially vaccinated, by all the demographic categories published by the DPH. Use the new tool below to compare rates among groups, by municipality and by county. We will update the data every week.

The Washington Post’s Jay Mathews on An Optimist’s Guide to American Public Education

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Jay Mathews, an education columnist for The Washington Post and author of the recent book, An Optimist's Guide to American Public Education. Jay describes the three key trends in K-12 schooling that he views as cause for hope.

Grading Education in a Pandemic: Survey Finds Teachers Pass, Administrations Fail & Students Incomplete

This week on Hubwonk, Joe Selvaggi discusses a recently released survey from Pioneer Institute and Emerson Polling, "Massachusetts Residents’ Perceptions of K-12 Education During the Covid-19 Pandemic," with Emerson's lead analyst, Isabel Holloway, and Pioneer Institute’s Charlie Chieppo.

Poll Finds Mixed Views About Schools’ Pandemic Performance

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts residents have mixed opinions about how K-12 education has functioned, but they tend to view the performance of individual teachers more favorably than that of institutions like school districts and teachers’ unions, according to a poll of 1,500 residents commissioned by Pioneer Institute.