Countdown to Election Day: 27 days

Important Indiana Election Dates:

October 22 - Deadline to Request Mail-In Ballot

November 3 -  General Election Day

November 14 - Military/Overseas Ballots Must be Received (must be postmarked by November 3)

Local, state, and federal highlights in today’s memo include:

  • President Trump Calls Off Stimulus Negotiations

  • Lilly Seeks Emergency Use of Its Antibody Drug for COVID-19

  • Trump Administration to Penalize Hospitals for Gaps in Pandemic Data

  • Federal Appeals Court Rejects Request for ‘No-Excuse’ Absentee Voting by Mail in Indiana

  • Small Businesses Worry About Survival

  • Why Some Say Indiana’s School COVID-19 Dashboard is Missing Critical Information

  • Early Voting in Indiana: Long Lines and Big Crowds as Early Voting Begins

  • Chicago Residents ‘Strongly Advised’ to Avoid Indiana, Which May Make Quarantine List Next Week

  • So Far, 99.9 Percent of Hoosier Households Have Been Counted in 2020 Census

  • Why Did Hundreds of Thousands of Women Drop Out of the Workforce?

  • Important Dates

  • Daily Numbers

    Let’s dive in.


President Trump Calls Off Stimulus Negotiations

An illustration of Donald Turmp in front of the White House with the Coronavirus molecule.

President Trump appeared to call off stimulus talks Tuesday afternoon, tweeting that he had instructed his representatives to stop negotiating until after the election. The directive appeared to end ongoing discussions between Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin on a fifth relief package for COVID-19. 

Later in the day, the president again began tweeting, calling for stand-alone relief bills for the airline industry, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and another round of $1,200 direct economic income assistance payments. The president indicated he would like to see $25 billion in support to the airlines and $135 billion for PPP, all of which would be payed for with unused funds from the CARES Act. Democrats have previously been opposed to passing piecemeal legislation, pushing instead for a more comprehensive agreement. 

The calls from the president to halt negotiations came hours after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned of dire economic consequences if Congress and the White House fail to provide additional support to American families and businesses impacted by the pandemic. The president's decision was impacted in part by information he received on a call Tuesday afternoon with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sec. Mnuchin, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). During the call, Leader McConnell indicated any deal reached by Speaker Pelosi and Sec. Mnuchin would have a difficult time passing the Senate. 

It is unclear if negotiations between Speaker Pelosi and Sec. Mnuchin will resume today.


Lilly Seeks Emergency Use of Its Antibody Drug for COVID-19

Eli Lilly

Eli Lilly and Co. says it has asked the U.S. government to allow emergency use of an experimental antibody therapy based on positive early results from a study that suggested the drug reduced symptoms, the amount of virus, hospitalizations and ER visits for patients with mild or moderate COVID-19.

The Indianapolis-based drug company announced the partial results Wednesday. The results have not yet been published or reviewed by independent scientists.

Lilly shares jumped 2.2% on the news after the market’s opening bell, to $147.43 each.

Its drug is similar to one that President Donald Trump received on Friday from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. These medicines supply concentrated versions of specific antibodies to help the immune system clear the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. They’re given as a one-time treatment through an IV.

Lilly has already started making one of the two antibodies in its drug, betting that ongoing studies would prove it worthwhile.

It’s not clear if the evidence will be viewed as strong enough for the Food and Drug Administration to grant emergency use authorization, as it has done for the antiviral drug remdesivir.

The results are an interim look at a mid-stage study in which 112 people received the antibodies and 156 got a placebo.

The amount of virus was significantly lower 11 days later in those given the drug, meeting the main goal of the study. The virus also was lower at earlier time points as well. Symptom scores were better at three days.

About 5.8% of patients given a placebo required hospitalization or an emergency room visit versus 0.9% of those given the antibodies.

The company said there were no serious drug-related side effects. (Indianapolis Business Journal)


Trump Administration to Penalize Hospitals for Gaps in Pandemic Data

Illustration of a pill bottle and a large red cross atop a pile of money

The Trump Administration will penalize hospitals that fail to provide data to the federal pandemic response effort. Hospitals will be expected but not required to report on flu patients and deaths starting mid-October. Hospitals will be required to report the data in the coming months, with penalties for failing to do so beginning in January. 

The move is seen as an effort to give public health officials a more comprehensive understanding of what is happening hospital to hospital, which is expected to better direct resources and medications as the flu begins to circulate with the coronavirus. 

Letters from federal health officials will notify hospitals of missing data, and hospitals will have 14 weeks to correct mistakes and report the required information. Failure to do so will result in hospitals losing payment from Medicare and Medicaid.


Federal Appeals Court Rejects Request for ‘No-Excuse’ Absentee Voting by Mail in Indiana

An illustration of a I Voted button covered by a face mask

A federal appeals court on Tuesday rejected a request to expand voting by mail to all Indiana voters, saying that Indiana’s absentee voting laws do not violate the Constitution. 

The Tuesday ruling said that restrictions on Indiana’s absentee voting do not impact the fundamental right to vote, but instead “a claimed right to receive absentee ballots” and noted that Hoosiers can vote on “Election Day, or during the early-voting period, at polling places all over Indiana.”

The ruling comes after a federal district court in Indianapolis rejected the request.

The Indiana Election Commission extended absentee-voting privileges to all registered and qualified Indiana voters for the June primary election but did not renew that order for the Nov. 3 general election, instead “allowing Hoosiers in all counties to vote during a twenty-eight-day period before the election” and “implementing safety guidelines and procuring protective equipment for election day,” the ruling said.

The June primary had been delayed a month due to the coronavirus pandemic. (WISH TV)


Small Businesses Worry About Survival

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Small business owners and employees have been less sanguine about a delay in fiscal spending than stock traders.

Driving the news: A new survey from Alignable finds that many small businesses are growing more worried about "a severe cash crunch," with 42% saying they could collapse by the end of the fourth quarter.

  • Small business owners' top concern was that they would completely run out of financial reserves. 

  • 45% of all small businesses have earned 50% or less of their pre-pandemic revenue — eight months into the pandemic.

  • When asked what would help them the most right now, 35% said reducing the COVID-19 case levels to increase consumer confidence.

Heads up: Goldman Sachs economists estimate that winter weather will reduce total restaurant spending by 3%–4% and consumption by 0.2 percentage points. 

This translates to a 0.3 percentage point hit to real GDP growth in Q4 and a 0.1 percentage point hit in Q1 next year, followed by a rebound as temperatures rise. (Axios)


Why Some Say Indiana’s School COVID-19 Dashboard is Missing Critical Information

An illustration of a the coronavirus being examined by 6 hands with magnifying glasses

Indiana education leaders this week reported 2,845 coronavirus cases in schools since the beginning of the fall semester, according to the state’s new school COVID dashboard. That’s 491 cases more than last week — thanks largely to more schools contributing data.

But while the database gives a peek at the number of cases in schools across the state, the dashboard lacks other data that public health experts and superintendents say would put into context the spread of COVID-19 in schools and would be more useful to them.

For instance, it doesn’t list the percentage of people in schools testing positive, known as the positivity rate. That depicts the extent of the pandemic and helps gauge the relative safety of opening campuses. Indiana’s seven-day positivity rate has been between 4% and 5%. If it reaches 10%, that could cause concern, said Thomas Duszynski, a epidemiology professor at IUPUI’s Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. 

The school COVID database, which is a part of a statewide coronavirus data website, lists newly reported and total COVID-19 cases related to schools. The dashboard, made public last Wednesday, is a collaboration of the Indiana State Department of Health and schools across Indiana. It lists the current week’s new and total coronavirus cases for students, teachers, and school staff.

But the webpage offers only a partial picture because it lacks data from 1,067 schools, nearly 40% of those in the state. In the past week, 396 more schools reported their data, bringing the total up to 1,755 schools submitting case numbers.

The influx of data bumped up the total cases among students, teachers and school staff since school began. Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said that health department officials are working to remove duplicate entries from multiple sources. (Chalkbeat Indiana)


Early Voting in Indiana: Long Lines and Big Crowds as Early Voting Begins

A masculine black person in a sweater with an 'I Voted' sticker

The first day of early voting in Indiana brought out big crowds of Hoosiers looking to cast their ballots around the state.

Social media posts shared early Tuesday showed long lines at locations like the City-County building in downtown Indianapolis; the Hamilton County Judicial Center; the Johnson County Courthouse in Franklin; the Tippecanoe County building in downtown Lafayette; the Old National Events Plaza in Evansville and an early voting site in Bloomington.

Before 10 a.m., two hours after the polls opened, the line of voters at the Indianapolis City-County Building had snaked around the block. Many of the voters had arrived as early as 7 a.m., waiting hours to get inside. By day's end, over 1,200 people had cast their ballots. (Indy Star)


Chicago Residents ‘Strongly Advised’ to Avoid Indiana, Which May Make Quarantine List Next Week

Indiana Flag

Indiana is again in danger of being added to Chicago’s quarantine travel order next week, Chicago’s top doctor announced Tuesday while disapproving of the neighboring state’s recent reopening.

 Though Indiana is still just at a warning level, Chicago residents are “strongly advised” to avoid traveling there, according to a city news release. Chicago adds a state to its quarantine list if it averages more than 15 new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over a seven-day period. People who have spent more than 24 hours in the high-risk states are required to self-quarantine for 14 days after entering Chicago.

Indiana already has passed that threshold, but to allow Chicagoans enough time to rearrange their travel plans, the city will wait to see if it improves its numbers next week. (Chicago Tribune)


So Far, 99.9 Percent of Hoosier Households Have Been Counted in 2020 Census

Census 2

More than 99 percent of homes across the country have now been counted in the 2020 Census.

Almost 67 percent of homes in the country responded to the census online, by phone or by mail. Another nearly 33 percent were counted by census takers and other field operations. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s housing unit completion rate, 99.9 percent of Indiana residents have filled out the census, 70 percent of those responded online, by phone or by mail. 

The Census count helps determine billions of dollars in funding for Indiana every year. (Indiana Public Media)


Why Did Hundreds of Thousands of Women Drop Out of the Workforce?

Illustration of a bar chart arranged like stair steps, with high heeled feet walking up them.

The September jobs numbers, released by the Labor Department on Friday, confirmed what economists and experts had feared: The recession unleashed by the pandemic is sidelining hundreds of thousands of women and wiping out the hard-fought gains they made in the workplace over the past few years.

While the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 7.9 percent in September, far below the record high of nearly 15 percent in April, a large part of that drop was driven not so much by economic growth — though there were some job gains — but by hundreds of thousands of people leaving the job market altogether.

A majority of those dropping out were women. Of the 1.1 million people ages 20 and over who left the workforce (neither working nor looking for work) between August and September, over 800,000 were women, according to an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center. That figure includes 324,000 Latinas and 58,000 Black women. For comparison, 216,000 men left the job market in the same time period.

From the start of the pandemic, the job losses among women have been a direct result of the collapse of female-dominated industries like hospitality, education, entertainment and even some parts of the health care system.

But even as parts of the economy stirred back to life, recent data suggests that some women are actually beginning to opt out. One of the key factors in their decision? The persistent gender wage gap, experts said. (New York Times)


Important Dates


Thursday, October 8 -  10:00 am - Fiscal Policy Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Thursday, October 8 - 10:00 am - Roads and Transportation Interim Study Committee - Room 233

Tuesday, October 13 - 1:30 pm - Legislative Council Audit and Financial Reporting Subcommittee - Room 233

Wednesday, October 14 - 10:00 am - Pension Management Oversight Study Committee - Room 404

Wednesday, October 14 - 12:00 pm - Public Health, Behavioral Health, and Human Services Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Thursday, October 15 - 10:00 am - 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force - House Chamber

Friday, October 16 - 10:30 am - Courts and the Judiciary, Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Monday, October 19 - 10:00 am - Indiana Standards and Assessment Accommodation Taskforce - Senate Chamber

Monday, October 19 - 10:00 am - Code Revision Commission - House Chamber

Tuesday, October 20 - 9:00 am - Legislative Continuity Committee - Room 233

Wednesday, October 21 - 10:00 am - Probate Code Study Commission - Senate Chamber

Tuesday, October 27 - 10:00 am - Employment and Labor Interim Study Committee - House Chamber - CANCELLED

Wednesday, October 28 - 1:00 pm - Roads and Transportation Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Thursday, November 12 - 10:00 am - 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force - House Chamber

Thursday, November 19 - 10:00 am - 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force - House Chamber


By The Numbers …

An illustration of the olympic rings made up of coronavirus

COVID-19 Cases

*New cases: 1,302

Total cumulative cases reported Wednesday: 128,227

Total cumulative cases reported Tuesday: 126,946

Increase in cumulative cases: 1,281

Increase in cases reported Sept. 1-Oct. 1: 26,285

Increase in cases reported Aug. 1-Sept. 1: 27,769

Increase in cases reported July 1-Aug. 1: 21,170

Increase in cases reported June 1-July 1: 11,122

Increase in cases reported May 1-June. 1: 16,065

COVID-19 Deaths

New deaths: 17

Total deaths: 3,500

Increase in deaths reported Sept. 1-Oct. 1: 325

Increase in deaths reported Aug. 1-Sept. 1: 322

Increase in deaths reported July 1-Aug. 1: 315

Increase in deaths reported June 1-July 1: 480

Increase in deaths reported May 1-June. 1: 914

Increase in deaths reported April 1-May 1: 997

COVID-19 Testing

New tested individuals: 7,473

Total cumulative tested individuals reported Wednesday: 1,440,917

Total cumulative tested individuals reported Tuesday: 1,432,219

Increase in cumulative tested individuals: 8,698

Cumulative positivity rate unique individuals: 8.9%

Seven-day positivity rate unique individuals: 9%**

Cumulative positivity rate all tests: 5.8%

Seven-day positivity rate all tests: 5%**

Increase in unique tested individuals reported Sept. 1-Oct. 1: 303,966

Increase in unique tested individuals reported Aug. 1-Sept. 1: 325,159

Increase in unique tested individuals reported July 1-Aug. 1: 268,890

Increase in unique tested individuals reported June 1-July 1: 223,820

Increase in unique tested individuals reported May 1-June 1: 166,257

Increase in unique tested individuals reported April 1-May 1: 85,264

** The health department reports the 7-day positivity rates with a six-day lag to allow time for more comprehensive results.

County Numbers

Marion County cumulative cases: 22,560 (increase of 120)

Marion County new deaths: 2

Marion County cumulative deaths: 772

Marion County 7-day positivity rate unique individuals: 7.9%

Hamilton County cumulative cases: 5,285

Hendricks County cumulative cases: 2,881

Johnson County cumulative cases: 2,532

Madison County cumulative cases: 1,902

Boone County cumulative cases: 1,068

Hancock County cumulative cases: 989

Morgan County cumulative cases: 786

Shelby County cumulative cases: 703

Indiana Intensive Care Unit Usage

Available ICU beds: 33.4%

ICU beds in use by COVID-19 patients: 14.9%

Available ventilators: 79.7%

Ventilators in use for COVID-19: 3.5%

U.S. and Worldwide Numbers

As of Wednesday, from Johns Hopkins University:

U.S. cases: 7,504,116

U.S. deaths: 210,972

Global cases: 35,882,378

Global deaths: 1,051,138