Federal Update: Infections Rising Among Kids and Teens, U.S. Says Russian Hackers are Trying to Steal COVID-19 Vaccine Research, ‘Sole Source’ Contract for COVID-19 Database Draws Scrutiny

July 16, 2020

  • As the school year draws near and debates continuing about how--and if--schools should reopen, state data show children and teens represent an increasing percentage of cases, including more than a third of all kids tested in Florida being infected. 
  • The National Security Agency, as well as its counterparts in Britain and Canada, all said Thursday that they're seeing persistent attempts by Russian hackers to break into organizations working on a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The Western intelligence agencies say they believe the hackers are part of the Russian group informally known as Cozy Bear. The intelligence agencies refer to it as APT29. That group has been linked to Russian intelligence and was blamed for hacking Democratic Party emails in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
  • A $10.2 million “sole source” contract to run a centralized COVID-19 database for the Trump administration drew sharp criticism from congressional Democrats, who demanded that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention be reinstated as the primary repository of coronavirus data. The contract drew scant public attention when it was awarded in April to TeleTracking Technologies, a Pittsburgh company whose core business is helping hospitals manage the flow of patients. But it drew scrutiny after the administration ordered hospitals to report coronavirus information to the new database, housed at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, instead of to the CDC.

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