Here’s today’s COVID-19 update:
- The Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed, a historic effort to speed development and delivery of a COVID-19 vaccine, continues to show encouraging signs of progress. The goal is ambitious: facilitate the safe testing and production of 300 million doses of a safe, thoroughly-researched vaccine no later than the end of January. The average time to develop a vaccine under the old protocols was 10 to 15 years. What’s different with this? Earlier this year Congress included $10 billion in the CARES Act to spur investments — more than all the other nations combined are spending — to help facilitate the testing and development process. Additionally, companies with vaccine candidates are being permitted to run certain steps of the process on parallel tracks – dramatically speeding up development without impacting that vaccine’s safety or effectiveness. No vaccine will be delivered to patients without thorough, complete testing by apolitical experts.
- For more about Operation Warp Speed and the latest progress being made on vaccine development, read this recent op-ed by Secretary Alex in USA Today.
- More encouraging news: medical testing company LabCorp said this week that it is launching the first combined test for COVID-10 AND influenza A/B – as well as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). As we approach flu season, this test will enable doctors to administer one single test for COVID-19 and the flu – critical to mitigating the expected surge in testing necessary as patients begin to show symptoms of the flu. More information from LabCorp here.
- North Carolina so far has experienced 179,532 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 2,958 deaths have been attributed to the virus statewide. As of earlier this week, 156,652 patients are presumed to be recovered from the virus. You can always find the latest statistics on the virus in North Carolina here.
- UNC-Wilmington has announced a change to its housing policy. Starting this week, administrators will begin working to move first-year students living on campus with a roommate to open single-occupancy rooms. More information available here.One non-COVID item of note: this past week I was one of more than 130 members of Congress to sign the Police Pledge, which affirms that I stand with our police and will oppose any measure that “defunds” the police. Our law enforcement personnel are under fire right now, and I’m honored to stand with them and support them as they work day and night to keep our communities safe. Learn more about the pledge here.For today’s good news story, I’m highlighting the filming of Hallmark’s newest upcoming holiday movie, USS Christmas, which is taking place in Wilmington this week. So if you see snow in Wilmington this week, just know it’s manufactured and not one more for the list of crazy things of 2020! Instead, it is a sign that things are getting a little more back to normal, and it’s a great way to show off North Carolina to a national audience, too!As always, stay tuned to Coronavirus.gov and the NC Department of Health and Human Services’ website for the latest on the outbreak.