President Trump Signs the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act
On Friday, President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act into law. The new law decreases the proportion of a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan that a small business must put toward payroll from 75 percent to 60 percent. The law also triples the time frame during which the funds must be spent from 8 weeks to 24 weeks for the loan to be forgiven. Under the new law, businesses have five years instead of two years to repay any part of the loan that isn't forgiven. And it extends until December 31 the deadline to rehire workers.
Administration Narrows COVID-19 Vaccine Search to Five Firms
The Trump administration has selected Moderna, Merck, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and an AstraZeneca-Oxford collaboration as finalists in the search for a novel coronavirus vaccine, according to administration officials. The firms will receive additional government funding and clinical trial support as well as financial and logistical assistance for scaling up manufacturing. The United States is planning massive clinical trials involving 100,000 to 150,000 volunteers in total, with the goal of delivering an effective vaccine by the end of this year. To make that deadline, the government aims to start mid-stage testing in July.
U.S. Should Have 100 Million Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine by Year-End, Fauci Says
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said the U.S. should have 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate by year-end, and a "couple hundred million doses" in early 2021. Speaking during a live session with the Journal of the American Medical Association on Tuesday, Fauci said a COVID-19 vaccine candidate from biotech firm Moderna is expected to enter Phase III trials by the first week of July, and it will be tested in about 30,000 people.