COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: The race for a vaccine; Unemployment Tracker; Reopening reactions; Grading BPS on remote learning; Holyoke Soldiers’ Home understaffing; & 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: The Federal government awarded a $354 million contract to a Richmond company who will be manufacturing Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) for COVID-19 treatments, APIs that are now manufactured in China and India. An update on Moderna’s vaccine progressPfizer is chasing Moderna to secure a vaccine. And, more on the race for a vaccine.

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!

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: Pioneer’s new COVID Unemployment Tracker provides an interactive look at how economic shutdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are affecting jobs and lives across the state of Massachusetts. Read media coverage of the tool herehere and here.

Joe Selvaggi, Host, “Hubwonk”: Yesterday, Pioneer researcher Rebekah Paxton and I interviewed Christopher Carlozzi of NFIB, and Jon Hurst of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, about their reaction to Massachusetts Governor Baker’s reopening plans.

Jamie Gass, Pioneer’s Education Policy Director, shares two videos from a recent Thomas More College Zoom event on homeschooling, parental rights, and school choices, which had over 1,000 viewers online. It featured noted Princeton University professor (and past Lovett C. Peters Lecture keynote speaker) Dr. Robert GeorgeJamie provided the closing remarks on Blaine Amendments and the U.S. Supreme Court’s Espinoza case. In addition, here’s a Boston Globe editorial: “How well is remote learning working in Boston schools? We don’t really know.”

Questions for Our Public & Private Sector Leaders:

Andrew Mikula, Peters Fellow: Pioneer’s new report shows that standards enforced at the federal and state levels are insufficient to address chronic staffing issues reported by staff and residents’ families at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, making that facility and other long-term care facilities particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the report, and media coverage here and here.

Poll Results: In the last COVID Roundup, we asked: When we re-open, are you going to be more or less likely to take the T than pre-COVID? Here are the results: 18% More Likely; 82% Less Likely

Get Our COVID-19 News, Tips & Resources!

Related Analysis

Pandemic Dead Reckoning: Unseen Casualties of Public Health Interventions

Hubwonk host Host Joe Selvaggi talks with Pioneer Institute’s Senior Fellow Dr. Bill Smith about new evidence that during the past two years of the pandemic, there were as many unseen excess deaths from non-Covid-related diseases as seen from Covid. They discuss the need for public health leaders to pivot their messaging to address this hidden mortality.

Why the jump in non-COVID deaths?

The Wall Street Journal echoes our warning about the rise of non-COVID-related deaths.

Mandate’s Constitutional Collision: Court Offers Civics Lesson with Vaccine Rulings

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with Cato Institute Vice President Ilya Shapiro about the recent Supreme Court vaccine mandate rulings and what they tell us about the limits of executive branch power and the sitting justices’ views on the guidance of the U.S. Constitution.

How did COVID impact Massachusetts’ long-term care facilities?

Pioneer Institute has filed a Public Records Act request related to COVID's impact on Massachusetts’ long-term care facilities because the Institute believes this is a matter of obvious importance, both on principle (the public has a right to know the facts), and for purposes of evaluating – and where possible improving – public policy. 

Massachusetts Telehealth Report Card: Are We Embracing Disruption for Better Quality of Care?

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with Pioneer Senior Fellow in Healthcare Josh Archambault about his newest research paper, produced with the Cicero Institute and the Reason Foundation, on states' success in implementing telehealth to improve healthcare outcomes. They discuss how Massachusetts has used remote medicine to better reach patients and serve their needs.

Am I Contagious? Divining Covid’s Community Conundrum

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Virtual Learning Grows During COVID

Virtual learning in K-12 education continues to grow due to the health threat caused by coronavirus variants and the assistance this learning model can provide to at-risk students, according to two papers released today by Pioneer Institute.

Study rates every state’s telehealth laws for patient access and ease of providing services

A new report from Reason Foundation, Cicero Institute and Pioneer Institute rates every state’s telehealth policy for patient access and ease of providing virtual care. The report highlights telehealth policy best practices for states.

COVID Tracker for Long-Term Care Facilities

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Long Term Care Facilities With 2+ Known COVID Cases and Facility-Reported Deaths in Massachuetts

Face Masks Lifted: Scientists Weigh In With Comprehensive Efficacy Studies

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with Harvard Medical School professor, Dr. Jonathan Darrow, about the observations of his recent paper, Evidence for Community Cloth Face Masking to Limit the Spread of SARS-CoV-2: A Critical Review, in which he examines the range, quality, and scientific observations of mask wearing efficacy studies.

Urban Institute’s Dr. Matthew Chingos on the Year of School Choice & the Student Loan Debt Crisis

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Dr. Matthew Chingos, who directs the Center on Education Data and Policy at the Urban Institute. They discuss the “Year of School Choice,” the welcome 2021 trend of states across America expanding or establishing private school choice programs; as well as the student debt crisis in higher education.

COVID’s Unintended Victims: Traditional Diseases Overlooked at the Public’s Peril

This week on Hubwonk, host Joe Selvaggi talks with Pioneer Institute’s Visiting Fellow in Life Sciences, Dr. Bill Smith, about his newest research paper, “An “Impending Tsunami” in Mortality from Traditional Diseases,” which sounds the alarm that the public health community’s focus on COVID-19 has caused many to avoid seeking medical attention for other illnesses. As a result, more Americans are dying from fear of COVID than from the disease itself.