Coronavirus Roundup: FEMA Amends Funeral Assistance Policy; Third Round of Stimulus Check Data Released 


The Supreme Court said on Tuesday it will allow the federal government’s temporary ban on evictions due to economic hardships from the pandemic to continue. Congress first instituted the moratorium last year, which lasted until July 2020, and then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its own temporary bans, which landlords and real estate groups have tried to challenge. Last week, the CDC extended it one more time, which would be until July 31.  

Justice Brett Kavanaugh explained in a concurring opinion his justification for siding with the liberal wing of the court in the 5-4 ruling. “I agree with the district court and the applicants that the [CDC] exceeded its existing statutory authority by issuing a nationwide eviction moratorium,” he said. “Because the CDC plans to end the moratorium in only a few weeks, on July 31, and because those few weeks will allow for additional and more orderly distribution of the congressionally appropriated rental assistance funds, I vote at this time to deny the application to vacate the district court’s stay of its order.” Here are some of the other recent headlines you might have missed. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency amended its coronavirus funeral assistance policy to help families who lost loved ones in the early months of the pandemic but whose death certificates didn’t specify the novel coronavirus as the cause of death. “This policy change was made after consulting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials and other health experts,” said FEMA in a press release on Tuesday. “Applicants who incurred COVID-19-related funeral expenses between Jan. 20 and May 16, 2020, will be able to submit a death certificate that does not attribute the death to COVID-19 along with a signed statement from the certifying official listed on the death certificate, coroner, or medical examiner linking the death to COVID-19.”

The draft of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s emergency temporary standard for the coronavirus submitted to the White House in April for review was meant to cover all workers, Bloomberg reported. The final version that was released on June 10 was only for the healthcare industry, promoting mixed reactions. “It’s not clear from the draft when OSHA dropped the idea of covering all workers in favor of a health-care-only standard,” said the report. “The emergency standard spent six weeks under review at [the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs], part of the Office of Management and Budget, where it was the focus of more than four dozen meetings with business and worker representatives.” 

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said on Tuesday an adjuvant (a substance that boosts a vaccine’s immune response) developed with funding from the National Institutes of Health helps increase the efficacy of India’s COVID-19 vaccine. The agency said about 25 million people in India and elsewhere have received this vaccine. 

The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service released on Tuesday the state-by-state data on the third round of economic stimulus payments, which came from the American Rescue Plan and totaled almost $390 billion. “All 50 states saw more total relief with this round of payments than in previous rounds,” said the agencies. 

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a gaggle on Air Force One on Tuesday that all attendees to the White House’s Fourth of July celebration received coronavirus guidance regarding testing beforehand and mask wearing. The guidance “may be updated” before the event, she said. 

The Government Employees Health Association, the second largest medical benefit provider for federal employees, is launching a vaccine incentive program for its members starting on Thursday. “Eligible members are GEHA medical plan members who are 18 years of age and older, enrolled in a GEHA wellness program and have not reached their annual wellness program reward limit,” said a press release. “When eligible members provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination, they will receive a $75 credit to their GEHA wellness account,” which they can use for “qualified medical expenses such as office visits, co-pays, prescription drugs, eyeglasses, contacts and X-rays.” 

Gen. Gustave Perna, a top official in the vaccine rollout, is going to retire at the end of the week and his deputy, retired Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski, is going to step down from his position as director of supply production and distribution and return to civilian service, the Pentagon announced on Tuesday. Perna was the co-leader of Operation Warp Speed under the Trump administration and then the chief operating officer for the Countermeasures Acceleration Group, which is what the program became under the Biden administration.

“[Perna and Ostrowski] have helped deliver over 390 million doses of COVID vaccines, and almost 1 million therapeutics for the American people,” said Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby. “As the country transitions to a new normal, the department will transition leadership of vaccine operational logistics under the Countermeasures Acceleration Group to [the Health and Human Services Department.] Both departments will maintain a strong partnership to ensure the seamless production and delivery of vaccines.”

Upcoming: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan will give a briefing at 1 p.m.

Today’s GovExec Daily podcast episode is about the federal eviction moratorium extension for the pandemic. 

Help us understand the situation better. Are you a federal employee, contractor or military member with information, concerns, etc. about how your agency is handling the coronavirus? Email us at

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