COVID-19 Update May 12, 2020

(prsubmissionsiteMay 13, 2020  The House of Representatives has released its bill for a potential CARES Act 4. Here is a link to the actual bill-in-progress. The Democrats have also created a condensed version, so you don’t have to read the entire 1,800 pages of the bill. You can breeze through their 90-page summary.

Our take is that this is a wish list of items from House Democrats, but most won’t get through the Senate. I just finished a call with our Federal Government Affairs Committee for NAPEO, our National Association for PEOs, and this bill was the major topic of discussion. We believe that the bill should get to the Senate in its current form, but most of it will not make it out.

One thing that has been floating around for a while is COBRA subsidy for terminated employees. It is currently proposed in the bill as a 100% subsidy for any laid-off employee.

On the surface, this seems like a great idea.

On one hand, it would eliminate the administrative burden associated with trying to obtain partial payment from an unemployed person. It would also encourage the adverse selection of this benefit. Normally sick people choose COBRA out of necessity; however, if it’s free, then everyone would take it.

On the other hand, it makes it enticing to employees to get laid off if their employer is currently only contributing a percentage of the premium during employment. Getting laid off, in essence, provides the worker with 100% paid healthcare. A similar issue currently exists with the increased unemployment benefits currently in place.

The White House has come out in favor of some sort of Payroll Tax reduction to provide businesses with some relief, but this doesn’t have much support on The Hill right now.

Senator McConnell and Senate Republicans are pushing for legislation to include some sort of indemnity for businesses in the event of a lawsuit should someone claim they contracted COVID-19 at your business. This would not be a complete blank check to get out of all liability, but it would cover businesses for anything other than gross negligence.

There is bipartisan support for a reduction in the 75% payroll expense rule in order to qualify for PPP loan forgiveness. The SBA is supposed to issue another 20 FAQ responses soon, and hopefully, this will not create as many questions as it answers.

There is also bipartisan support against the IRS ruling issued a few days ago. If you have not heard about it, the IRS statement says if you use the PPP loan toward payroll and other expenses and it gets forgiven, then expenses paid through the proceeds of the loan would not also be deductible to tax purposes. In essence, they don’t want the expenses on the P&L if the forgiven loan isn’t to be seen as taxable revenue.

Many organizations such as NAPEO that support all causes for small to medium-sized businesses believe the IRS ruling is contrary to the purpose of the law. The law was written to help business because of the impact of a government-mandated shutdown. The IRS position may be addressed in new legislation already in the works or from political pressure. Most agree that the IRS position counteracts the whole purpose of the PPP loan.

We as an association are starting to put together a grassroots campaign to all congressmen to help put pressure on reversing this IRS ruling. More to come soon on how you can help.

The bottom line is that this continues to be a very uncertain time, and the rules are changing daily. Depending on what gets through the Senate, this new legislation will change the rules as we currently understand them for many HR-related issues, as well as the disposition of the SBA loans.

Today’s downloads:

Alabama Governor Proclamation – this is a pro-business executive order proclamation that curtails potential liability of businesses and health care providers resulting from COVID-19 transmissions.

CARES Act 4 Bill – this is the actual bill in progress led by team Pelosi today from the House of Representatives. They have promised to vote on this by Friday.

Gov. Edwards Press announcement – Outlines his plans for lifting stay-at-home order for Louisianans and the Phase one implementation of businesses reopening.

10 Things Small Businesses Need to Know about Loan Forgiveness – really love this article from Forbes on the current issues with both the PPP and the EIDL. If you are participating in any of these programs, this is a must-read.

The Heroes Act – this is the name they’ve given the summarized version of the CARES Act part 4 bill that was released if you don’t want to read the whole bill. The summary is 90 pages, whereas the bill is 1,815. Pick your poison.

Will businesses get immunity – another article about the potential liability for businesses open to the public.

My biggest issue with all these CARES Act or HEROES Act bills stems from my background in Economics. The government can’t continue to print money without that tab needed to be paid at some point.

I read a great article about why the dollar has not been affected so far based on the amount of money that the United States government is going through. Its argument is that most of the world has followed the same processes in its issuance of new money.

This means as an example, that when you devalued the dollar by issuing 10% more money into the economy, normally it would lose at least 10% of its value against the Euro or other currencies. So, all the other major currencies around the world have been reducing their value at the same rate at the same time, thereby keeping the value of all currency against each other the same.

The Government is still going into massive debt to issue this new money, and this debt will need to be paid back eventually.

 

Exclusive Survey: Continue the Lockdown after 14th April say 97 % of India’s Best Medical Minds

(prsubmissionsite) April 13, 2020 : TheRightDoctors.com, India’s leading Medical Knowledge platform, released the results of a nationwide survey designed to track the opinion of the medical community on the extension of the 21 day COVID-19 lockdown curently underway in India.

 
The survey polled a representative sample of doctors in leadership positions of their specialty associations, medical journals, chairman of hospitals, thought leaders and leading practitioners. 
 
The COVID-19 Lockdown Extension Survey covered the following questions:
  1. Should the lockdown be extended? 
  2. If yes, for how long ?
  3. Do you believe the onset of summer offers protection against COVID-19?
  4. Your suggestions to the government and citizens?
  5. Are you happy with the availability of protective gear for doctors and medical staff? 
  6. What is the biggest challenge Indian healthcare faces from the COVID-19 pandemic?  

The results of the survey were declared on the TheRightDoctors website late on April  11th (https://bit.ly/2XtWqnm ).  Around 96.38% of respondents wanted the lockdown to be extend. Many Indian states like Odisha, Maharashtra,Telangana and Punjab have already extended the lockdown till April 30.

 
For the second question, 36.67% responded to extend the lockdown by one month or more. 33.33% wanted the lockdown to extend for three weeks. 23.33 wanted the lockdown to extend for two weeks since the incubation period of the virus is 14 days. The response for a one-week lockdown and no lockdown was the same (3.33%).   
 
53.33% responded negatively on being asked if summer offers protection against COVID-19 whereas 46.7% felt the summer could help stall the progression rate .
 

The respondents had a lot of suggestions for the government. They wanted the government to do more testing. They also advised the government to impose strict lockdown in COVID-19 hotspots. PPE kits should be provided to healthcare workers and the underprivileged should be fed, were the other big suggestions to Government.


For citizens, the survey participants advocated social distancing norms and regular washing of hands with soap & water, wearing masks when stepping out and to keep calm and stay indoors.

46.67 percent of the doctors believed that there was a shortage of protective gear with only 23.33 percent saying they were satisfied with the protective gear available for doctors and medical staff.
The respondents felt that India’s medical infrastructure is vulnerable in terms of ICU facilities, trained manpower, availability of PPEs, sanitizers, N95 masks and surgical masks for an epidemic of this scale.Other challenges mentioned by the respondents were fewer testing kits, urban slums with chances of community spread and financial distress. 

About TheRightDoctors:

TheRightDoctors, a Google Launchpad Digital Health StartUp, is India’s leading Medical Knowledge platform. We are leaders in the production and dissemination of Medical Information and bring Insights from the World’s Best Medical Minds to digital audiences worldwide.

We have three international recognitions: Google Launchpad ( USD200,000 in platform credit over two tranches), Berlin Bootcamp, Startupnetworkz Singapore (Start-Up of Substance) . We are also a NASSCOM Showcase Start-Up.


We are on Twitter  : https://twitter.com/therightdoctors
Our Channel on YouTube:  https://bit.ly/338Mpwl
 
Media Contact:  
Mobile : 9676401536

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COVID-19 Can Also Enter Through Eyes

(prsubmissionsite) March 29, 2020 : New Delhi, India: As COVID-19 spreads globally, leaving nearly two lakh people infected and claiming over eight thousand lives worldwide, health officials are urging everyone not only to wash or sanitise hands but to avoid touching face as well.

According to health experts, guarding your eyes is equally important to avoid the spread of COVID-19. 

Recent research published in the Lancet, a prestigious and peer-reviewed medical journal, has warned that there is ample evidence to prove that the corona virus is able to spread through the eyes.

The report stated that infectious droplets and body fluids can easily contaminate the human conjunctiva epithelium of the eye. Thus, wearing a mask alone isn’t going to be enough.

“Much like mouth and nose, the eye too contains a mucous membrane, through which the virus can spread to the rest of the body,” says Dr. Kamal Kapoor, Director, Sharp Sight group of Eye Hospitals, Delhi, India.

Here’s how COVID-19 spreads through eyes:

  • Risk of infection through eyes: When a sick person coughs, virus particles in the form of droplets can land in the eye and there can be a transmission.
  • Transmission through tears: People who have corona virus can also spread the illness through their tears. Touching tears or a surface where tears have landed can be the next potential site of infection.
  • Rubbing eyes is infectious: You can become infected if you touch something that has the virus on its surface and then touch your eyes. Remember, your hands are only clean until the next surface you touch.

What you should do to avoid COVID-19 transmission through eyes?

“Common sense precautions can significantly reduce your risk of getting infected,” says Dr. Kamal. 

So, as a precautionary measure wash your hands a lot, follow good contact lens hygiene and avoid touching or rubbing your eyes. “Strictly, abstain from touching your T zone,” Dr. Kamal adds. 

To prevent infection, it’s advisable to avoid going to crowded places, including hospitals, unless necessary. “And, if you have to go for an eye test or eye surgery that’s unavoidable, make sure you follow strict hygiene and health guidelines,” says Dr. Kamal Kapoor.

“This is important because even a minor eye test could expose you or your doctor to the deadly virus.” 

Eye doctors warn people to follow these precautions:

  • Adhere to health guidelines: If you have an appointment with your eye doctor, make sure you wait either outside or in your car. Avoid crowding in the waiting or lobby area. This is crucial to protect and keep yourself safe. Also, make sure you carry a mask during your doctor’s appointment and avoid touching any hospital doors, knobs or handrails with your hands. If possible, carry a sanitizer to disinfect your hands.
  • Choose to go contact-less for a while:Wearing contact lens means touching your eyes a little more than an average person does. “Switching to glasses, for the time being, is a practical solution because if you wear contacts you tend to touch your eyes a lot,” suggests Kamal Kapoor. However, if you still prefer to wear contact lens, make sure you follow proper contact lens hygiene and wash your hands thoroughly before handling your contacts.
  • Moisturise your eyes as often:Dry eyes can lead to more rubbing, so consider including moisturising eye drops to your eye routine. If you have to touch your eyes, even to administer eye medicine, make sure you wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Social Distancing: The practice of maintaining a greater than usual physical distance from other people or of avoiding direct contact with people or objects in public places during the outbreak of a contagious disease in order to minimize exposure and reduce the transmission of infection.

And, in case you come across someone who is persistently coughing, sneezing or has a respiratory infection, it’s important you stay at least 6 feet away.

“Guarding your eyes along with your hands and mouth will not only keep you safe but also, it will prevent the spread of the virus to others,” concluded Dr. Kamal.