White House IGA Weekly Recap
for State, Local, and Tribal officials | January 8, 2021
On behalf of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA), we are pleased to provide you with a readout of this week's 33rd COVID-19 National Briefing Call with Senior Administration Officials.We appreciate your partnership and will continue to share pertinent updates as they become available. As a reminder, IGA is the primary liaison between the White House and America's State and Local elected officials and Tribal governments. Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can ever be of assistance.Sincerely,The White House Office of Intergovernmental AffairsWilliam F. Crozer
Special Assistant to the President & Deputy Director
Readout from the 33rd National COVID-19 Briefing Call
Thank you for your efforts in the whole-of-America approach to responding to COVID-19. In addition to this week's recap, we would like to highlight several additional items and announcements.
- On January 5th, Vice President Mike Pence led a White House Coronavirus Task Force Meeting. The Task Force meeting focused primarily on vaccine distribution and implementation.
- HHS Secretary Alex Azar renewed the COVID-19 national public health emergency declaration, effective January 21, 2021. Read more about the declaration here.
- FEMA's Public Assistance program is supporting vaccine distribution and administration. Learn more here.
- SBA, in consultation with Treasury, announced that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will reopen the week of January 11 for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers. Read more here.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched a vaccination data page with jurisdiction-level data. The page tracks the total number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in the United States. You can find the tracker here.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that the deadline to apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program for the COVID-19 pandemic disaster declaration is extended through December 31, 2021.
- The U.S. Department of Education announced more than $4 Billion in emergency education grants for Governors to help students continue learning.
- HHS finalizes unprecedented regulatory reform through retrospective review - new rule requires Department to assess its regulations every 10 years
Vice President Mike Pence hosts Coronavirus Task Force Meeting on January 5th.
Participants on the January 6th National COVID-19 Briefing Call included:
- Dan Kowalski, Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury
- Ambassador Deborah Birx, M.D., White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator
- ADM Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary of Health, HHS
- Paul Mango, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, HHS
- Lt. General Paul Ostrowski, Principal Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army & Director of the Army Acquisition Corps
- Governor Jim Justice, State of West Virginia
HHS Secretary Alex Azar: It's important to continue taking steps to protect ourselves & loved ones:
✔Wash your hands
✔Watch your distance
✔Wear a mask
✔Ask your doctor about antibody therapies if you test positive & are 65+or at risk for severe disease
✔Get vaccinated when you canDan Kowalski, Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury: Dan reported that on December 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law H.R. 133, an Act making consolidated appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2021, providing coronavirus emergency response and relief. Among other provisions, the legislation extends the deadline for the expenditure of CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund monies from December 30, 2020 to December 31, 2021.On December 29, 2020, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced that it began delivering a second round of Economic Impact Payments to millions of Americans as part of the implementation of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021. The initial direct deposit payments began that night with paper checks to follow in the weeks ahead. This second round of payments will provide critical economic support to those who, through no fault of their own, have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more: Treasury Is Delivering Millions of Economic Impact Payments by Prepaid Debit Card. You and your constituents may check the status of payments at IRS.gov/GetMyPayment. For more information about Economic Impact Payments, please visit IRS.gov/EIP.Dan noted that Treasury launched a $25 billion emergency rental assistance program established by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The ERAP assists households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are provided directly to States (including the District of Columbia), U.S. Territories, local governments with more than 200,000 residents, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, and Indian tribes (defined to include certain Alaska native corporations) or the tribally designated housing entity of an Indian tribe (collectively, “eligible grantees”). Eligible grantees must use the funds to provide assistance to eligible households through existing or newly created rental assistance programs. Read more here.Ambassador Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator: Dr. Birx provided a brief recap on her travel over the past year. She travelled the country consulting with medical professionals in every corner of States from coast to coast to help them with their pandemic response. Dr. Birx also provided an update on trends we are currently seeing across the nation. She noted that more testing is being conducted, which is driving the high test positivity. The rate of rise in COVID-19 cases is about 2 times more than this past spring and summer. We are also possibly seeing the United Kingdom’s variant that could have a higher rate of transmission. Overall, much more aggressive actions need to take place as 30 states are now seeing high rates of hospitalizations, particularly in AZ, CA, OK, SC, and NV to name a few. Dr. Birx’s final thought on the call was that it is important for states to have pro-active vaccination plans in place for young individuals because they are often spreading the virus even unknowingly. ADM Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary of Health, HHS: ADM Giroir provided an update on testing and protecting our most vulnerable citizens. Approximately 251 million tests have been completed nationally with likely another 70-80% of the tests not yet reported to the CDC. The Federal Government has the capacity to provide 170 million tests during the month of January alone and a significant amount of more tests will need to be used by the end of the month. Additionally, as of January 5, 2021, 310 tests and sample collection devices have been authorized by the FDA under emergency use authorizations (EUAs). These include 235 molecular tests and sample collection devices, 64 antibody tests, and 11 antigen tests. There are 32 molecular authorizations that can be used with home-collected samples. There is one molecular prescription at-home test, one antigen prescription at-home test, and one over-the-counter (OTC) at-home antigen test.Paul Mango, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, HHS & Lt. General Paul Ostrowski, Principal Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army & Director of the Army Acquisition CorpsAs key leaders in the operations and logistics of Operation Warp Speed, Lt. General Ostrowski and Paul Mango discussed the whole-of-America response to the COVID-19 pandemic which requires coordinated reporting to track and analyze data. This data is reported to state and jurisdictional health departments in accordance with applicable state or local law and in accordance with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The HHS Protect Public Data Hub provides through up-to-date information on hospital reporting, therapeutics, and national testing. 📖 Read More: More Than 15.9 Million Shots Given: Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker, The U.S. has administered 5.48 million doses; Europe’s rollout begins📺 Watch: January 6 update from General Gustave Perna and HHS Secretary Alex Azar on Operation Warp Speed.
On Thursday, January 7, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced two upcoming actions by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide more than $22 billion in funding to states, localities, and territories in support of the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as directed by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.Funding will provide critical support for testing and vaccination-related activities to jurisdictions before January 19, 2021:
- More than $19 billion will be allocated to jurisdictions through the existing CDC Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) cooperative agreement. These awards will support testing, contract tracing, surveillance, containment, and mitigation to monitor and suppress the spread of COVID-19. Award recipients will include 64 jurisdictions including all 50 states, the District of Columbia, five major cities, and U.S. territories/islands. Consistent with Congressional direction, funds will be allocated by a population-based formula.
- Over $3 billion will be made available in an initial award to jurisdictions through the existing CDC Immunization and Vaccines for Children cooperative agreement. These awards will support a range of COVID-19 vaccination activities across jurisdictions. Award recipients will include 64 jurisdictions including all 50 states, the District of Columbia, five major cities, and U.S. territories/islands. Consistent with Congressional direction, funds will be allocated by a population-based formula.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams: OWS will send vaccinations to where States want to and tell us. Many have not only expanded to phases beyond 1A but are using pharmacy chains and other sites to expand vaccination locations. We will continue to work with States to expand and accelerate vaccinations!Governor Jim Justice, West Virginia: The Governor discussed practices implemented in West Virginia that other State and local leaders may want to consider for vaccine distribution rates. Governor Justice noted that he immediately directed first responders administering COVID-19 tests to utilize local pharmacies. He also ensured the state established schools in vaccinating teachers and school personnel in order to allow kids to return to school sooner. The Governor said the key is to keep the vaccine distribution messaging and coordination simple and focus on getting vaccines actually administered to senior communities.