7-24-2020 Coronavirus Update

July 24, 2020
Press Release

Latest Coronavirus Update from Congressman Jeff Duncan: 

Due to restrictions on official congressional communications during election years, I will only be able to send these email updates to the folks who subscribe to my e-newsletter list HERE. If you have already subscribed, there is no need to fill out the form again. 

Quick Facts
 - Over 48.7 million COVID-19 tests have been performed in the United States, more than any other country in the world. 
 - For daily testing numbers in the United States, follow the COVID-19 Tracking Project HERE
 - HHS plans to distribute $15 billion in Provider Relief Funds to eligible Medicaid, dental, and CHIP providers. The deadline to apply is August 3, 2020. More information HERE
 - HHS announced it will begin distributing a second round of relief funding to hospitals in high impact COVID-19 areas HERE.
 - HHS launched Protect Public Data Hub which provides information on hospital capacity data across the United States HERE
 - HHS and DOD announced an agreement with Pfizer Inc. for large-scale production and delivery of a COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. following the vaccine’s successful manufacture and approval HERE
 - CMS announced additional resources they are deploying to protect nursing home residents from COVID-19 HERE.
 - The EPA added 32 additional surface disinfectants to their list of products expected to kill SARS-CoV-2 HERE
 - The Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on COVID-19 vaccine candidates. You can watch the hearing HERE and see my questions highlighted HERE
 - South Carolina DHEC continues to offer FREE mobile COVID-19 testing clinics across the state. View their list of available clinics HERE.
 - As of yesterday, a total of 699,445 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in South Carolina. More information HERE.
 - The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) announced a 6-week extension of state unemployment benefits HERE
 - Anderson City Council issued a mask ordinance that went into effect Thursday night HERE
 - Clemson University announced that due to COVID-19, they will begin the Fall semester with online classes HERE
 - Southeastern Grocers announced they will require customers to wear masks in their stores. This includes the Bi-Lo stores in Laurens and Clinton HERE
 - Governor McMaster implemented the SAFE Grants Program for students in South Carolina HERE
 - The murder of police officers surged 28% in the United States this year HERE
 - President Trump took action to ensure illegal immigrants will not be included in the census for the purposes of Congressional representation HERE

National Coin Shortage
I would like to address some of the concerns regarding a national coin shortage. Due to COVID-19, our economy slowed down for some time, and the United States Mint had to temporarily stop production of new coins. However, while there is not a physical shortage of coins, due to business closures, less deposits have been made, and therefore we have seen a decrease in coin circulation. As we’ve reopened more of the economy, we’re starting to see this issue work itself how. However, in the meantime, the Federal Reserve has been working with coin distributors and businesses to assist with the allocation of available coins, and many businesses are now requiring exact change if customers can provide it.

The United States Mint is also back up and running, however, they are currently having supply chain issues with gaining access to raw materials needed to make new coins. The Treasury Department continues to be vocal about this ongoing issue and believes it will soon be resolved. I will continue to stay engaged on this issue and update everyone further as more information comes my way. 

South Carolina Peaches


Successful peach delivery this week! A huge thank you to Titan Farms for bringing these delicious South Carolina peaches all the way up to Capitol Hill. This annual peach delivery is always a hit among Members and this year Titan Farms provided enough peaches to go around to every single Member of the House. Peaches are such a big part of South Carolina’s agriculture economy and this is a great way to raise awareness of that. 

COVID-19 Information for Veterans
Several of the VA clinics in South Carolina have reduced select in-person services due to the increase in COVID-19 cases our state is experiencing. However, telehealth services (by phone or video) are still available. Please visit the VA’s website for more information on in-person and telehealth services available in your area HERE.  

House Appropriations Bill
This week the House voted on H.R. 7608, the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2021. I voted against the 600+ page spending bill as it completely disregards budget caps and is utterly partisan. The bill was riddled with Democrat favored policy riders including-  removing pro-life protections that have been implemented by the Trump Administration, prohibiting funds from going towards the border wall, blocking efforts to improve transparency at the EPA, blocking energy regulation reforms from coming to fruition, propping up Obama’s WOTUS rule, mandating funding to the World Health Organization, and more. For more information on the bill, read HERE.

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