Pentagon Chief Management Officer Lisa Hershman answers questions during a briefing in May. Hershman told Federal News Network the Defense Department is more open to telework after seeing its success during the pandemic.

Pentagon Chief Management Officer Lisa Hershman answers questions during a briefing in May. Hershman told Federal News Network the Defense Department is more open to telework after seeing its success during the pandemic. Marvin Lynchard / Defense Department

Coronavirus Roundup: Defense Has Warmed to Telework; HHS Launches New Data Site

There's a lot to keep track of. Here’s today’s list of news updates and stories you may have missed.

Tuesday marks six months since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first coronavirus case in the United States. The individual was in Washington state. Now half a year later there have been over 3.8 million cases and nearly 141,000 deaths in the country, according to Johns Hopkins University’s data. On Monday, three laboratories released positive results of their respective vaccine trials. However, Professor Sarah Gilbert of Oxford, who is leading development of one of the vaccines, told The New York Times, “There is still a long way to go.” Here are some other recent headlines you might have missed.

On Monday, the Congressional Oversight Commission, established by the CARES Act, released its third report. “The Treasury and the Federal Reserve have announced how they plan to use $195 billion of the $454 billion Congress allocated in the CARES Act to support emergency lending facilities established by the Federal Reserve,” said the summary. “As of July 15, 2020, these facilities have made a total of $13.6 billion in purchases and loans, up from a total of $6.7 billion in purchases as of our last report on June 18. Since our last report, the Treasury has also made one loan, totaling $700 million, to a business it decided was critical to maintaining national security. As of today, all of the Federal Reserve facilities funded by the CARES Act are operational.” 

On Monday, the Health and Human Services Department restored public access to the government’s coronavirus data after it replaced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s reporting system, Politico reported. “The [new] HHS Protect ecosystem is a secure platform for authentication, amalgamation and sharing of health care information,” said the department. “More than 200 disparate data sources are brought together into one ecosystem that integrates data across federal, state and local governments and the health care industry [and] it provides a holistic view of the U.S. health care system so decision makers informed by [HHS] Protect have near-real-time information to guide action and save lives with a data-driven COVID-19 response.”

Due to the pandemic, the Marine Corps Marathon was cancelled for the first time in its 45-year history. The event was supposed to take place in October in Washington, D.C., but there will be a virtual option, Military Times reported on Monday. 

Following the extended tax-filing day (July 15), the Internal Revenue Service published guidance on what tax filers who missed the deadline should do. Read more here

The Defense Department is now much more open to telework after seeing how successful it was during the pandemic. “What we learned very quickly was that not everyone works with classified information, and even those that do, it’s not 100% of the time,” Lisa Hershman, Defense chief management officer, told Federal News Network. “We have started to relook at what is the mix, if we look at certain positions and the position descriptions, how much of it is feasible to do in a telework situation?”

The Smithsonian announced on Monday that it plans to reopen the National Zoo and National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, on Friday with proper health and safety measures. All other locations will remain closed for the time being. 

Upcoming: President Trump will hold a news conference at 5 p.m. He said on Monday he will likely bring back the regular coronavirus briefings as the country is experiencing spikes in cases. 

Today’s GovExec Daily podcast episode is about how federal employees can navigate supporting issue-based causes while complying with the Hatch Act, which still applies during telework.  

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