COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: COVID-19 treatments on the way?, a COVID-19 Manhattan Project, best practices at Best Buy, “Expert Mercy,” a shout-out to a local high school, & 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:

Jim Stergios, Executive Director, shares some hopeful news about COVID-19 treatments:

“The first US clinical trial of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate, which is Moderna’s mRNA-1273, has started at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle. Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the trial has dosed its first participant.” Read more.

“Based on results of clinical trials conducted with affected patients in both Wuhan and Shenzhen by Chinese medical authorities, Japanese-made flu drug favipiravir (also known as Avigan) has been shown to be effective in both reducing the duration of the COVID-19 virus in patients and to have improved the lung conditions of those who received treatment with the drug.” Read more.

And some concerns about testing: “Pioneer is a data-driven organization and we have concerns about policy making based on fear. That’s why the increase in COVID-19 testing is so important. As this Stat News article points out, “We don’t know if we are failing to capture infections by a factor of three or 300… The most valuable piece of information for answering questions about how many people are infected and how the epidemic is evolving would be to know the current prevalence of the infection in a random sample of a population and to repeat this exercise at regular time intervals to estimate the incidence of new infections.””

Bill Smith, Visiting Fellow in Life Sciences: Regarding the pharmaceutical chain, our dependence upon China is modest but growing.  And, there is a good deal we don’t know.  Here is some recent testimony from the FDA on the issue. Two more items of interest: “Duke University’s Margolis Center calls for a public-private ‘Manhattan Project’ to find answers to COVID-19” and “The New Yorker recounts the federal government’s missteps on coronavirus testing.  It isn’t pretty.

George Parker, Director of Individual Giving: An educational and emotional article. “Expert Mercy“: a term we should all be using and practicing!

Our Picks for Public & Private Sector Best Practices:

Barbara Anthony, Senior Fellow in Healthcare: Kudos to Best Buy for “best practices” when it comes to social distancing. Best Buy is limiting each store to 10 to 15 customers at a time and customers will be escorted by an employee who is six feet away. Of course, it will be important that Best Buy help to keep those in line waiting outside to enter six feet apart as they wait.

Jamie Gass, Education Director, shares some great resources: Florida Virtual School, winner of Pioneer’s 2008 Better Government Competition, is offering virtual teacher training to Florida school districts. FLVS’ founder Julie Young, a recent guest on Pioneer’s podcast, “The Learning Curve,” is now with Arizona State University (ASU), which is also offering terrific guidance and resources: ASU For You, which includes many learning tools at no cost such as virtual field trips; library access; video lessons, labs and simulations in K-12 subject areas; badge and certificate programs in areas such as health and well-being, smart cities and environmental science; tutoring, online courses and training videos for teachers or parents teaching from home; and courses for college credit.

Jamie also put together his own reading guide for parents seeking excellent materials on classic literature and historical figures to share with their children. And on our latest episode of The Learning Curve, Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson interviewed Former Ambassador to the Vatican and Mayor of Boston Ray Flynn, who shared his thoughts on how the world is reacting to COVID-19, and how it compares to other crises he has witnessed.

Mary Connaughton, Director of Government Transparency, gives a shout out to St. Joseph’s Prep in Brighton, MA for the great lengths they’re going to in order to adapt to remote learning and keep their students engaged. Take a look at their schedule:

She also joined The Boston Globe in reminding the public that, despite COVID-19 overshadowing everything, it’s Sunshine Week, when we promote open and accountable government – more important now than ever.

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

Get Our COVID-19 News, Tips & Resources!

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Easthampton High Scores A National Educational Victory During The COVID-19 Pandemic

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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.

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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.

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Elderly people were already vulnerable to COVID-19. Then it came to nursing homes.

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Last week, reports of mismanagement and negligence regarding…

Hospitality, Retail Trade, Healthcare Among ‘Most Vulnerable Industries’ in Terms of Unemployment due to COVID-19

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Mapping COVID-19 in Massachusetts Cities & Towns

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Kudos to he Massachusetts Department of Public Health for posting the count and rate (per 100,000) of confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Massachusetts by City/Town.

Transparency Needed at Long-term Care Facilities

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The anxiety of having a parent in a nursing home under the constant…

Christensen Institute Co-founder Michael Horn on Digital Learning & COVID-19

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard continue coverage of COVID-19’s impact on K-12 education, joined by Michael Horn, co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.

COVID-19’s Impact on Rental Housing

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The Massachusetts Legislature is currently debating a rental housing bill. What impact will it have on the many landlords for whom rental income is their only source of income?

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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.

Which industry’s workforce has been hurt the most from the COVID-19 outbreak?

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Unemployment claims have reached all-time highs in the U.S. recently…

New Study Calls for Re-thinking Massachusetts' COVID-19 Care Standards

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Will the COVID-19-related economic recession cause a spike in crime?

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Intuitively, it makes sense that people replace legitimate business…

New Report Offers Case Study for Transition to Online Learning

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The Institute for Justice's Tim Keller on Espinoza v. Montana DOR & ongoing school choice litigation

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard continue coverage of COVID-19’s impact on K-12 education, joined by Tim Keller, Senior Attorney with the Institute for Justice, which is representing the plaintiffs in the high-profile Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court,.

State Ranking: Michigan, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Nevada have been hardest-hit by COVID-19 jobless claims so far. Massachusetts ranks as 9th hardest-hit.

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The U.S. Department of Labor reported today that in the week ended April 4, the advance number of seasonally-adjusted initial jobless claims was 6,606,000. This follows 6,867,000 initial claims filed in the week ended March 28 and 3,307,000 in the week ended March 21.

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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.

COVID-19 unemployment surge is on pace to wipe out the MA Unemployment Reserve Fund within three months

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The unprecedented surge of COVID-19- related unemployment claims that began two weeks ago is on pace to wipe out the MA unemployment Reserve Fund within three months, which will force state leaders to turn to the federal government for a bailout loan.

Report: MA Likely to See Sharp Spike in Unemployment Rate

The COVID-19 recession could cause Massachusetts’ unemployment rate to skyrocket to 25.4 percent by this June, according to a new policy brief published by Pioneer Institute. The authors recommend that the state join others in lobbying Congress for large block grants to avoid a severe fiscal crisis.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: Antibodies & serology tests to the rescue; Why such wide-ranging forecasts?; the Droplets v. Aerosol debate; Crowdsourcing symptoms & 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.

Stanford Pulitzer Winner David Kennedy on Lessons for COVID-19 from the 1918 Flu Epidemic & Great Depression

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This week on “The Learning Curve” Cara and Gerard continue coverage of COVID-19’s impact on K-12 education, joined by Pulitzer-winning historian David Kennedy, the Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History Emeritus at Stanford University.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: Will we see a spike in crime?; Ranking states on social distancing; Ramping up remote learning; Secrecy about case numbers & 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.

New Report: Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALY) Methodology Discriminates Against Older Americans, Threatens to Deny Seniors Access to Life-Saving Care

New report asserts that with older americans more vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic, all health plans should avoid using the QALY methodology when assessing the value of care for older patients

Learning in the Time of COVID-19

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Parents are deeply frustrated with the loss of learning their children will be provided as a result of COVID-19. Here are some resources to help address this gap.

Pioneer Launches Report Series Highlighting Massachusetts Job Growth and Business Trends Since 1998

In “Some Big, Broad Economic Trends in Massachusetts,” Pioneer analysis of two decades of data shows fluctuating employment changes across the state, as well as firm size information and the largest employers. The report is part one of aa series that aims to provide deeper insight into COVID-19's economic impact.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: When will COVID-19 peak in MA?; Life in the aftermath; Tracking potential treatments; Getting America working again; Taking virtual learning to new heights & more!

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Pioneer staff (and readers) 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.

Students still need to learn during the coronavirus pandemic

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This op-ed appeared in The Boston Globe on March 31, 2020. State…

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: When should America re-open?, $2T federal relief impact, Tax deadline pushed, COVID-19 video contest & 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.

New Policy Brief on Federal Relief Act's Impact on Massachusetts

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Greg Sullivan and Charlie Chieppo review the impact of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act on Massachusetts' budget.

Congress should fix aid, provide block grants

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This op-ed by Greg Sullivan and Charlie Chieppo appeared in the…

New Brief Calls on the USED for School Closure Guidelines During COVID-19

Pioneer calls on the federal government to quickly release a single report identifying which federal laws - and which aspects of those laws - are relevant to the topic of school closure during the COVID pandemic, and providing concrete guidance on how schools can comply in the coming weeks.

Public Statement: Extend Massachusetts’ Income Tax Filing Deadline

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Massachusetts must extend the tax filing deadline, just as the federal government and 34 of the 41 states that tax income have done.

Why Are We So Scared And Impatient?

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This op-ed by Barbara Anthony appeared in WGBH News on March…

Financial Disclosures - As Important Now as Ever

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News sources report that certain senators sold stocks just before the market crashed when the economic impact of Coronavirus came to light. Now more than ever, financial disclosures must be accessible to the media and to the public.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: Tracking COVID-19 in MA, unemployment tsunami, cancel MCAS?, cell phone hygiene, salute to James Taylor, state tax filing & 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.

Baker needs to expand telehealth further

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This op-ed appeared in Commonwealth magazine on March 25th, 2020. Coronavirus…

7 Tools to Keep Your Child Engaged in Math During COVID-19

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Proven resources that every parent can and should make use of now and well beyond COVID-19.

Public Statement on Massachusetts' Emergency Order Aiming to Curb the Spread of the Coronavirus

Governor Baker’s issuance of an emergency order is a wake-up call to recognize the extraordinary actions needed at this moment to stem the upsurge in coronavirus infections. It is also a reminder to be vigilant about our liberties. 

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: How some countries are succeeding, Tips for maintenance staff safety, Shelter in place?, Equity in remote learning policies

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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.

5 Guidelines for Protecting Our Residential Building Maintenance Staff

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While we are now practicing physical distancing, we may not be giving a lot of thought to our supers or building managers and what we as residents should do to help keep them safe. Here aree some tips from Pioneer's Senior Fellow in Healthcare, Barbara Anthony.

Sunshine Week 2020 – When Government Transparency Is More Important Than Ever

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COVID-19 has overshadowed what was supposed to be Sunshine Week, but vigilance on behalf of open government is even more crucial during times like these, when the public has limited access. But government transparency is important at all times. Each year during Sunshine Week, Pioneer reviews some of its recent work to increase public accountability in Massachusetts government.

Ambassador Ray Flynn on Public Leadership During Global Crisis & the Case for Catholic Schools

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This week on “The Learning Curve” (St. Patrick’s Day edition), Cara and Gerard discuss COVID-19’s ongoing toll on families and K-12 education, and interview Raymond Flynn, former Ambassador to the Vatican and three-term Mayor of Boston, about the world-historical moment presented by the Coronavirus pandemic as well as his advocacy for religious education.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: potential drugs to stem COVID; remote learning guidance; drive-through COVID testing & more!

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Pioneer staff share their top picks for today's COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders.

5 Book Series Parents Can Explore During COVID-19 School Closings

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Looking for quality literature and books to share with your children while we’re all at home for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19? Here are some excellent options that will nurture a love for great classic literature and enduring historical figures:

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer

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A roundup of COVID-19 news articles, best practices, and other useful items of interest from Pioneer staff.

Pioneer Institute & COVID-19

Message from Jim Stergios sharing important steps and work we at Pioneer will be undertaking during the COVID-19 pandemic, to continue to provide quality programming, research, videos, podcasts, and social media content, and serve as a resource for media and the public, with a focus on issues such as telecommuting and telemedicine, online learning and homeschooling options, and innovation in the life sciences.