March 20, 2023

Maryland Secures 500,000 COVID Tests

COVID-19 Tests
Gov. Larry Hogan and first lady Yumi Hogan at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport on April 18 when a Korean Air flight landed in Maryland with kits to perform COVID-19 tests. Maryland Governor’s Office photo

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After “22 straight days” of negotiation by MD Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) and first lady Yumi Hogan, the state of Maryland  purchased 5,000 COVID-19 testing kits, capable of administering 500,000 tests, from a South Korean company for $9 million, reports Maryland Matters. “It removes the most serious obstacle to safely reopening our state,” Gov. Hogan said. President Donald Trump blasted Hogan for going to Korea to get testing supplies.

The military continues to diagnose more than 100 new COVID-19 cases a day, reports Military Times. Senior Defense officials acknowledge that asymptomatic carriers could mean hundreds or thousands of unknown COVID-19 cases among the ranks, prompting a new push for more thorough testing.

What is the negative price of oil? The New York Times explains. The per-barrel price of oil typically reflects a futures contract for the ensuing month. So when crude oil fell in the US to negative $37.63, if you are in position to take delivery of 1,000 barrels of oil in May, you will be paid $37,630 to accept the oil. Supply and demand are already re-balancing, nevertheless, in the meantime, there are only so many storage tanks.

Publicly traded firms got $300M from a small-business loan fund, reports APNews. At least 75 companies receiving the small business funds made available during the DOVID-19 pandemic are publicly traded. Some with market values well over $100 million and 25% having announced their viability in question months before the pandemic.

The Pentagon announced it was bracing for a three-month slowdown on major defense equipment, reports Defense News, the result of workforce and supply chain issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Pentagon is urging Mexico to reopen COVID-closed factories that supply US weapon makers, who depend to a surprising degree upon them, reports Defense One. After discussing the supply problem with Christopher Landau, US ambassador to Mexico, Ellen Lord, defense undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, said she would write Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard “to ask for help to reopen international suppliers” in Mexico.



DoD has issued more specific exemptions as it extends the military-wide coronavirus travel ban, reports Military Times. The travel ban has been extended through June. Exemptions now include combatant deployment, patients, recruitment, and those stuck mid-move as a result of the ban, among others.

A Belgian F-16 fighter intercepted more Russian jets “overflying” the USS Donald Cook, a destroyer, off the Lithuanian coast, reports Business Insider. “The Belgian F-16 conducted a professional intercept and left the scene, demonstrating that NATO remains ready, vigilant and prepared to respond to any potential threat,” NATO’s air command said in a brief statement.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard brags of upgraded, higher-range anti-warship missiles, reports Military Times, with a range as high as 430 miles.

The Army resumes sending recruits to basic training after a two-week pause, reports The Hill, but only allowing recruits from areas considered low risk to continue on to the Army’s four training bases. Recruits from “high risk areas will be rescheduled for future dates,” according to the Army.

DoD and the Norway Defense Ministry agree to partner on ramjets for Navy hypersonic missiles, reports Breaking Defense. Both the US Navy and Army have been eyeing ramjet propulsion technologies to power hypersonic missiles.

The Air Force is building a medical facility in Guam to accommodate Roosevelt sailors with COVID-19, reports Air Force Times. The Expeditionary Medical Support System is near completion at US Naval Hospital Guam to support crew members from the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt as the ship recovers from a COVID-19 outbreak.

Military Times says a Kim Jong Un demise could destabilize the region, create a massive refugee flow, and force the US and regional allies into a military reaction, reports Military Times.


II Corps Consultants Inc., Fredericksburg, Virginia, is awarded a $68,650,500 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (M-00264-20-D-0005) for the Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning program. Work will be performed in Fredericksburg, Virginia (50%); Bahrain (25%); and Afghanistan (25%). The Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning ensures Marines deploy with an operational understanding of the local military and partner cultures and regional dynamics relevant to the mission, with select Marines being language-enabled, in order to facilitate mission success. Work is expected to be complete by April 2025. This contract has a five-year ordering period with a maximum value of $68,650,500. Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance (Marine Corps) in the amount of $1,997,452 will be obligated at the time of award for the first task order and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively solicited via the Federal Business Opportunity website, with one proposal received. The Marine Corps Installation National Capital Region – Regional Contracting Office, Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

Cape Fox Facilities Services LLC, Manassas, Virginia, has been awarded a definitive contract for heating ventilation and air conditioning repair and replace construction services. This contract provides for the complete replacements and/or repair of air handling units at the Tinker Air Force Base Sustainment Center, Oklahoma. Work will be performed at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, and is expected to be complete by Aug. 30, 2021. Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $27,419,359 are being obligated at the time of award. The 72nd Air Base Wing Civil Engineer Directorate, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, is the contracting activity (FA8137-20-C-0012).

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