CI News

Daily Briefing -300

Governor Cuomo Signs HERO Act Into Law

Bond Schoeneck and King report that on May 5, 2021, Governor Cuomo officially signed the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (HERO Act) into law. The HERO Act effectively imposes significant obligations on covered employers to provide and maintain a safe workplace in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and for future airborne infectious disease outbreaks.

The HERO Act amended the New York Labor Law by adding two new sections: (1) Section 218-b, which governs development and adoption of an airborne infectious disease prevention policy; and (2) Section 27-D, that requires employers to permit the creation of workplace safety committees. Both sections only apply to private sector employers. However, Section 27-D specifically only applies to private employers with at least 10 employees

Read more at BSK


Business Council Has “Concerns” With HERO Act

“We appreciate efforts by the administration and some lawmakers to make the so-called HERO act more workable for employers, especially small employers. However, we still see this legislation as going well beyond what is necessary to assure that workplaces are safe for employees and customers during public health crises.

State data that shows New York’s employer’s – operating under NYForward protocols and existing OSHA standards — had a strong record in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. Requiring employers to have plans in place and to be ready to respond to similar future emergencies makes sense.  But this new law places significant new burdens on businesses. The Business Council, while advocating on behalf of New York’s employers, has several concerns with the way the law is written.”

Read the full statement and list of concerns


NYS Vaccine Update 

As of Thursday morning 9,476,044 (plus 55,000 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 7,371,065 are fully vaccinated (Plus 115,540).  In the Hudson Valley 1,004,692 (plus 5,033) have at least one dose and 759,145 (plus 12,546) are fully vaccinated. 


NYS COVID Update 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Wednesday May 5th.  There were 23 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,185. Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,335
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 223

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,029
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 397

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.62%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.67%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – 3 States Have Already Reached Biden’s New Vaccination Goal

In three states, more than 70% of adults have already received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, federal data showed Wednesday, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont. Three others are very close, with more than two-thirds of adults vaccinated with at least one dose: Connecticut, Maine and Hawaii.

This comes as vaccination rates have fallen: While the US averaged 3.38 million doses administered per day across a week in mid-April, the current seven-day average is 2.19 million doses per day, according to CDC data. The most recent numbers as of Wednesday show daily vaccinations have dropped by nearly 20% from last week.

Read More at CNN


Canada Authorizes Pfizer Vaccine for Children Aged 12 to 15

Canada has authorized the use of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15. It is the first country to do so for that age group. The country’s health ministry made the decision based on data from phase three clinical trials on children that age.

“The department determined that this vaccine is safe and effective when used in this younger age group,” an adviser at the ministry said. Pfizer says its jab works well in the age group.

Read more at the BBC


Moderna Says Its Covid-19 Booster Shots Show Promise Against Variants

Booster shots under development by Moderna Inc. MRNA -6.19% helped improve immune responses against some variants among people given the company’s Covid-19 vaccine in an early study, the biotech company said Wednesday. The company tested giving people boosts with either a single dose of its original vaccine, mRNA-1273, or a new vaccine, mRNA-1273.351, which was modified to better match a virus variant first identified in South Africa and known as B.1.351.

The results, though preliminary, are a sign that adding booster shots several months after original vaccinations could bolster people’s immunity against more contagious strains of the virus.

Read more at the WSJ


Moderna Says Early Data Shows Vaccine is 96% Effective in Teens

Moderna said its Covid-19 vaccine is 96% effective in kids ages 12 to 17, according to early data released with the company’s first-quarter earnings Thursday. The  company also said it plans to submit data on its vaccine for adults to the FDA for full approval later this month.

Similar to adults, the shot in teens was also generally well tolerated with no serious safety concerns identified to date, the company said.

Read more at CNBC


Moderna Reports Frist Quarterly Profit

Here’s how Moderna did compared with what Wall Street expected, according to average estimates compiled by Refinitiv:

  • EPS: $2.84 per share versus $2.39 per share expected
  • Revenue: $1.94 billion versus $2.03 billion expected

Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine generated $1.7 billion in sales, according to the earnings report.

Read more at CNBC


Jobless Claims – A Fresh Pandemic-Era Low of 498,000 Last Week

New weekly jobless claims set a new pandemic-era low last week, falling below 500,000 for the first time since March 2020, with initial filings trending decidedly lower in recent weeks amid the pick-up in economic activity. 

The Department of Labor released its weekly report on new jobless claims Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET. Here were the main metrics from the report, compared to consensus data compiled by Bloomberg:

  • Initial jobless claims, week ended May 1: 498,000 vs. 538,000 expected and a revised 590,000 during the prior week.
  • Continuing claims, week ended April 24: 3.690 million vs. 3.620 million expected and a revised 3.653 million during the prior week

Read more at Yahoo Finance


Bank of England Raises 2021 Growth Forecast, Slows Bond Buying Program

The BoE kept its benchmark interest rate at an all-time low of 0.1% and the total size of its bond-buying program unchanged at 895 billion pounds ($1.24 trillion). The central bank said it would slow its bond-buying to 3.4 billion pounds a week, down from its current pace of 4.4 billion pounds a week.

The BoE raised its forecast for British economic growth in 2021 to 7.25% from a previous estimate of 5.0% made in February. The increase reflected a smaller-than-feared hit from a third coronavirus lockdown which began in January. The BoE said it now expected unemployment to rise only slightly to a peak of almost 5.5% in the third quarter of this year.

Read more at Reuters


Regional Housing Market Data From Pattern For Progress 

The Center for Housing Solutions and Community Initiatives, a unit of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, released the Q1 2021 edition of the Regional Housing Market Report. Take a look at how New Listings, Closed Sales, Median Sales Prices, and Housing Inventory in the Hudson Valley fared in the first quarter of 2021.

“The Hudson Valley region was facing a housing crisis as we entered 2020 and the pandemic has only exacerbated the challenges. Over the past 14 months, the region has witnessed skyrocketing home prices, a decimated inventory, the continuation of historically low interest rates, and an apparent demographic shift from the NYC Metro area. The demand for housing seems to be endless.

Read the report at Pattern for Progress


Economist Expect Big Numbers from Today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Report

Today’s jobs report is expected to show strong payroll growth through April as the US reopened. The median estimate from economists surveyed by Bloomberg for April payroll growth sits at 1 million payrolls. That would mark a pickup from the 916,000 jobs added in March and the strongest month of job growth since August.

Aneta Markowska of Jefferies, however, stands out in her bullishness. She forecasts that the economy added 2.1 million jobs last month. Not only is that more than double the median forecast, but also 800,000 payrolls greater than the next highest projection from a top economist. The unemployment rate will fall to 5.2% from 6% and beat the forecast of 5.8%, according to the bank.

Read more at Business Insider


DOL Withdraws Independent-Contractor Rule

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is officially withdrawing the prior administration’s independent-contractor rule, which would have made it easier for businesses to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees.

Employers shouldn’t expect a new independent-contractor rule any time soon. “We are going back to the decades-old analysis and we really feel that this is the space where we can best protect workers,” said Jessica Looman, principal deputy administrator for the DOL Wage and Hour Division, on a call with reporters. “When it comes to digital workers we want to make sure that we continue to look at their needs, how they are interacting with their individual employers and whether or not they have the protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

Read more at SHRM


 

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Daily Briefing – 299

U.S. Backs Waiver of Intellectual Property Protection for Covid-19 Vaccines

The Biden administration said it would back a proposal at the World Trade Organization to waive intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines to help speed up global production. Developing nations led by India and South Africa have been pushing for the waiver, saying it is needed to stem the coronavirus pandemic. The waiver is also supported by more than 100 members of Congress.

Pharmaceutical companies and other business groups have opposed the waiver, however, saying it wouldn’t supply short-term supply production problems because contract producers lack certain needed technical knowledge. Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said in an interview Tuesday that it doesn’t make sense to share patents because it wouldn’t lead to increased production of vaccine doses. “It is so wrong,” Mr. Bourla said of forcing the patent sharing. He said the limited supply of Covid-19 vaccines stems from how before the pandemic, there weren’t any approved products using the new gene-based mRNA technology that is used in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Read more at the WSJ


NYS Vaccine Update 

As of Wednesday morning 9,421,044 (plus 64,781 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 7,255,525 are fully vaccinated (Plus 132,042).  In the Hudson Valley 999,659 (plus 8,738) have at least one dose and 746,599 (plus 20,840) are fully vaccinated. 


NYS COVID Update –Broadway to Fully Reopen Its Doors This September

Governor Cuomo announced yesterday that Broadway will fully reopen its doors this September, in accordance with the State’s health and safety guidance. Beginning May 6, and throughout May, tickets for Broadway shows – which begin September 14, 2021 – will be made available for sale at 100 percent of theater capacity. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday May 4th.  There were 31 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,161. Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,458
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 249

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,060
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 402

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.71%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.71%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – 2 in 5 American Adults Fully Vaccinated

About 2 in 5 American adults are now fully vaccinated for Covid-19, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows, as the rate of new coronavirus infections continues to decline. The U.S. is averaging 2.4 million reported vaccinations per day over the past week, down from a high point of 3.4 million daily shots on April 13.

The rate of new infections is also declining. The country is reporting an average of 49,000 cases per day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, down from more than 70,000 just a few weeks ago.

Read More at CNBC


Why Vaccine Doubters Change Their Minds, and Not

Longtime GOP Pollster Frank Luntz has been convening focus groups of vaccine-hesitant people, giving political leaders and health experts insight into how they think.

Some people got the shots after realizing it would make travel easier and allow everyone to get back to pre-pandemic life sooner. Some of them said they were swayed by persuasive and empathetic doctors or local health workers, who helped talk them through their anxiety or explained things more clearly. However, some skeptics, on both sides of the aisle, have only gotten more determined.


Europe’s Troubled Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout Turns the Corner

A spring surge in Covid-19 cases is beginning to recede in Europe as the continent’s vaccine rollout is finally gathering pace, boosting hopes of a broad reopening of the region’s economy before the summer.

Unlike the U.S., the U.K. or Israel, which brought the coronavirus somewhat under control earlier this year thanks in part to an early and rapid vaccine rollout, continental Europe faced a late-winter rebound in infections as governments there struggled to get shots to people. This is rapidly changing as rising vaccine deliveries to European Union member states and the lifting of bureaucratic and logistical hurdles that gummed up the effort early on are rapidly expanding access to vaccines.

Read more in the WSJ


Euro Zone Business Growth Accelerated in April as Services Expanded -PMI

Euro zone business activity accelerated last month as the bloc’s dominant services industry shrugged off renewed lockdowns and returned to growth, according to a survey on Wednesday that also showed firms were facing soaring costs for raw materials.

IHS Markit’s final composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), seen as a good gauge of economic health, climbed to 53.8 last month from March’s 53.2. That was just ahead of the preliminary 53.7 reading and comfortably above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction.

Read more at NASDAQ.com


COVID’s Baby Bust: U.S. Fertility in 2020 Reaches Lowest Rate Since the 1970s

The fertility rate in the U.S. dropped by 4% last year compared to 2019, the lowest it’s been in nearly 50 years, according to provisional data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

The data corroborates previous surveys that predicted a “COVID baby bust,” with women reporting they were postponing pregnancy and having fewer children, as well surveys indicating less sexual activity overall. There were 55.8 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 last year. It is the sixth straight year the number of births in the U.S. have fallen, CDC data shows.

Read more at Yahoo News


Battle For Talent a Growing Concern

A Russell Reynolds survey of 1300 executives finds the battle for talent is becoming a growing business concern—overtaking health fears. 59% of leaders cited the availability of key talent as one of the top factors that may impact their business in the next 12-18 months. The survey also found that 61% of C-suite executives and 73% of next-generation leaders say they would be willing to change their employer for the right opportunity—up 5 and 8 percentage points from pre-pandemic.

Read the survey results


Infineon Warns of Chip Supply Issues Until 2022

German semiconductor producer Infineon Technologies AG warned Tuesday that microchip supply bottlenecks could continue into 2022, in a blow to the automobile industry. “We predict that the imbalance between supply and demand will continue for a few quarters yet, with the risk that it lasts into 2022,” said Infineon CEO Reinhard Ploss in a virtual press conference.

He added that the “bottlenecks” are a particular problem for the Munich-based company in areas where they do not produce the chips themselves but buy them from subcontractors in order to equip microcontrollers for cars or smart appliances.

Read more at IndustryWeek


NY Fed: Many Small Businesses in the Services Sector Are Unlikely to Reopen

Many small businesses in the services sector were forced to close by the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors examine the state of these firms using micro data from Homebase, a scheduling and time tracking tool used by around 100,000 businesses, mostly small firms, in the leisure and hospitality industry, and in retail. The data reveal that 35 percent of businesses that were active prior to the pandemic are still closed and that most have been inactive for twenty weeks or longer.

Results point to a slow recovery of the small business services sector, with a substantial fraction of businesses still closed. This finding is consistent with the U.S. Census Bureau Small Business Pulse Survey. Based on that survey, the share of small businesses closing permanently in February and March 2021 was about 1.8 percent per week, compared to reopenings of about 2.1 percent of businesses.

Read more at the NY Fed


PPP General Funding Exhausted

Yesterday the Small Business Administration made the following announcement:

“After more than a year of operation and serving more than eight million small businesses, funding for the bi-partisan Paycheck Protection Program has been exhausted. The SBA will continue funding outstanding approved PPP applications, but new qualifying applications will only be funded through Community Financial Institutions, financial lenders who serve underserved communities. The SBA is committed to delivering economic aid through the many COVID relief programs it is currently administering and beyond.”

Read more at the CNBC


 

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Daily Briefing – 298

Who Would Pay Biden’s Corporate Tax Increase Is Key Question in Policy Debate

The Biden administration says the greater tax burden would fall largely on high-income shareholders of profitable companies that wouldn’t reduce investments even if taxes rose. “In the short run, it’s just shareholders, shareholders, shareholders,” said Steve Rosenthal of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, who described Republicans’ 2017 corporate tax cuts as an enormous giveaway to foreign investors. “The corporate tax is like the best way to collect revenue from foreigners and rich guys,” he said.

However, even models that show most of the corporate tax burden falling on capital affect middle-income households with retirement funds. They also show a modest longer-term effect on workers.  The bottom 80% of households pay more than one-quarter of corporate taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center. 

Read more in the WSJ


NYS Vaccine Update 

As of Tuesday morning 9,356,263 (plus 48,608 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 7,123,483 are fully vaccinated (Plus 103,889).  In the Hudson Valley 990,921 (plus 5,819) have at least one dose and 725,759 (plus 13,772) are fully vaccinated. 


NYS COVID Update – Improving Numbers

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday May 3rd.  There were 39 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,129. Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,573
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 253

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 3,927
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 398

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.76%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.77%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – Daily Doses Administered Continues to Decrease

The US has distributed 313 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and administered 247 million doses. Daily doses administered* continues to decrease, down from a high of 3.3 million (April 11) to 2.3 million. Approximately 1.3 million people are achieving fully vaccinated status per day.

A total of 148 million individuals have received at least 1 dose of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, equivalent to 44% of the entire US population and 56% of all adults. Of those, 106 million are fully vaccinated, which corresponds to 32% of the total population and 41% of adults. Among adults aged 65 years and older, progress has largely stalled at 83% with at least 1 dose and 70% fully vaccinated. In terms of full vaccination, 54 million individuals have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 44 million have received the Moderna vaccine, and 8.3 million have received the J&J-Janssen vaccine.

Read More at Johns Hopkins Center For Health Security


First Doses Declining at a more Rapid Rate Than Overall Doses

As daily vaccinations continue to decline in the US, the impact is not distributed equally between first and second doses. At the national level, the total doses administered has decreased from a high of 3.26 million doses per day on April 11 to 2.30 million on April 28, a 29% decline over that period. In terms of full vaccination, the average fell 24% from the peak on April 12—1.77 million doses per day to 1.35 million. In contrast, the average for first doses decreased by half from its peak on April 11—from 1.93 million doses per day down to 965,421.

The steep decline in first doses is being masked in the overall national data due to the continued progress by those obtaining their second dose. As we reach 3-4 weeks past the peak in first doses—when those individuals will receive their second doses—we can expect a sharper decline in the number of fully vaccinated individuals each day.

Read More at Johns Hopkins Center For Health Security


White House to Shift how Vaccines are Allocated to States

The federal government plans to make a shift in the way vaccine doses are allocated amongst states, allowing some governors to turn down doses they don’t need or want, as President Joe Biden is expected to lay out plans to get at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to 70 percent of adults by July 4.

Administration officials told governors on Tuesday that if a state doesn’t want all of its allocation, then the vaccines will go into a pool and be redistributed to other states in more need of additional doses, a senior administration official said. The move comes as Biden is also aiming to have 160 million Americans vaccinated with both doses by Independence Day. 

Read more at NBC News


Pfizer’s Vaccine Drove a Big Earnings Beat

The drug giant beat earnings expectations and raised its full-year outlook, as revenue expectations for its COVID-19 vaccine jumped 73%.  Net income rose to $4.88 billion, or 86 cents a share, from $3.36 billion, or 60 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding nonrecurring items, adjusted earnings per share increased to 93 cents from 63 cents, and beat the FactSet consensus of 77 cents. Revenue grew 45% to $14.58 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $13.54 billion.

Vaccine revenue tripled, to $4.89 billion from $1.61 billion, while oncology revenue rose 18% to $2.86 billion and internal medicine revenue grew 11% to $2.59 billion. 

Read more at MarketWatch


SUNY New Paltz 2021 Virtual Engineering Design Expo

Their students have worked for years to plan, design and build these Senior Design projects, and today they are sharing them with the world. Click the link below to see the culmination of their efforts, including brief video presentations and full abstracts describing each team’s design processes.

Please feel free to leave words of encouragement and professional feedback in the YouTube comments sections – Also take a moment to acknowledge the terrific sponsors of this program.

See the projects


Employees Need Help with Mental Health

Even after so many years of public declarations by well-known people who have dealt with mental health issues, there is still a stigma associated with this range of diseases.  “The stigma of mental illness, therapy and mental health at work can keep many employees from using resources,” said Dr. George James, a licensed marriage and family therapist and member of the CNBC Financial Wellness Council. “So it has to be driven, encouraged and supported from the top down.”

And that’s where EHS professionals can step in. Unfortunately, they have a strong case to make in creating a workplace program since almost half of the American workers are suffering from mental health issues due to COVID-19, according to a report, 2020 Behavioral Health Impact Update.  

Read more at EHS Today


2.1 Million Manufacturing Jobs Could Go Unfilled by 2030

The manufacturing skills gap in the U.S. could result in 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030, according to a new study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce development and education partner of the NAM. The cost of those missing jobs could potentially total $1 trillion in 2030 alone.

The study’s dramatic findings come from online surveys of more than 800 U.S.-based manufacturing leaders, as well as interviews with executives across the industry and economic analyses. All told, they paint a worrying picture of manufacturing’s labor shortage. : Manufacturers surveyed reported that finding the right talent is now 36% harder than it was in 2018, even though the unemployment rate has nearly doubled the supply of available workers.

Read the report


EPA Proposes Emissions Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking a major step to battle climate change with the formal proposal of a rule phasing down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are used as refrigerants, the agency announced Monday. The agency said it will create an allocation and trading program under which it will issue an allowance for how much of the gases can be used for 2022 by Oct. 1. 

The reduction will decrease HFC production and use in the U.S. by 85 percent over the next 15 years. The rule is being issued under a law passed last year by Congress.  The EPA said that phasing down the use of the gases globally would avoid up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by 2100.

Read more at The Hill


What’s in Biden’s paid family leave proposal?

The Biden administration’s family and medical leave proposal would require employers to provide 12 weeks of paid leave by year 10 of the initiative. The proposal appears to list additional reasons for taking FMLA leave and would be funded by tax increases.

Read more at CNBC


TSA Extends Mask Mandate Aboard Flights Through Summer

The federal mask mandate, which was set to expire on May 11, will remain in effect through Sept. 13, according to updated guidance issued by the Transportation Security Administration on Friday.  The rule, which also applies to buses and rail systems, was first put in place by President Biden shortly after he took office in January.

For about a year, major U.S. commercial airlines have required all passengers who are older than 2 to wear face masks on flights. The policy has sparked some backlash from people refusing to keep their masks on, often delaying flights. The TSA’s extension comes as the average number of confirmed U.S. cases of COVID-19 and deaths as a result of the coronavirus continue to decline.

Read more at NPR


 

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Daily Briefing – 297

Governors Cuomo, Murphy and Lamont Announce Easing Of COVID-19 Pandemic Restrictions on Businesses, Gatherings and Venues

  • Effective May 19, most business capacities—which are currently based upon percentage of maximum occupancy—will be removed in New York and New Jersey. Businesses will only be limited by the space available for patrons or parties of patrons to maintain the required social distance of 6 feet. 
  • In New York beginning May 10, the outdoor social gathering limit will increase from 200 to 500 people. Beginning May 19, the indoor social gathering limit will increase from 100 to 250 people. 
  • The outdoor residential gathering limit of 25 people will be removed, reverting to the social gathering limit of 500 people with space for appropriate social distancing, and the indoor residential gathering limit will increase from 10 to 50 people. 
  • Starting May 19, large-scale indoor event venues will operate at 30 percent capacity, which is an increase from the current 10 percent capacity limit. Large-scale outdoor event venues will operate at 33 percent. Social distancing, masks, and other applicable health protocols will still apply, including the requirement of attendee proof of full vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test result.

NYS Vaccine Update 

As of Monday morning 9,307,6551 (plus 28,004 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 7,019,594 are fully vaccinated (Plus64,493).  In the Hudson Valley 985,102 (plus 2,335) have at least one dose and 711,987 (plus 6,110) are fully vaccinated. 


NYS COVID Update – Vaccines Driving Down Infections

Governor Cuomo yesterday that the numbers are declining as we make progress fighting this pandemic and as vaccination rates go up.

The Governor  updated COVID data through Saturday May 2nd  There were 37 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,088. Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,539
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 253

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 3,900
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 402

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.79%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.77%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – Daily Doses Administered Continues to Decrease

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday about 147 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, including about 104.8 million people who have been fully vaccinated by Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine or the two-dose series made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Providers are administering about 2.42 million doses per day on average, about a 29 percent decrease from the peak of 3.38 million reported on April 13.

Read More at The New York Times


FDA expected to approve Pfizer vaccine for ages 12-15 this week

The FDA could expand COVID vaccines for 12- to 15-year-olds as early as this week. Health experts say any day now, the agency is expected to authorize Pfizer’s drug for that younger age group. The decision would allow middle school students and all high school students to get the shots.

Pfizer says clinical trials showed the vaccine was, “100% effective for 12 to 15-year-olds” that have that good immunity. If authorized, that age group may start receiving the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

Read more Yahoo News


U.S. to Restrict Travel from India Effective Today

The Biden administration will restrict travel from India as that country grapples with a gigantic surge in coronavirus cases, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday. The policy will take effect Tuesday, May 4, Psaki said in a statement. The administration made the decision on the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she said.

India reported record daily death tolls from Covid on Wednesday and Thursday. The country is averaging about 3,050 Covid deaths per day, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, though media reports indicate the official figure is being understated.

Read more at CNBC


Next Generation of Covid-19 Vaccines Could Be Pill or Spray

These newer vaccines, from U.S. government labs and companies including Sanofi SA, Altimmune Inc. and Gritstone Oncology Inc., also have the potential to provide longer-lasting immune responses and be more potent against newer and multiple viral variants, possibly helping to head off future pandemics, the companies say.

New vaccines could “constitute some improvement” over those limitations and more easily accommodate vaccination efforts in rural areas, said Gregory Poland, professor and vaccine researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “You will see second-generation, third-generation vaccines,” he said.

Read more at the WSJ


ISM: Manufacturing Economic Activity Increases in April

The manufacturing economy grew in April and the overall economy showed an 11th consecutive month of growth, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s monthly Manufacturing ISM Report on Business. The April PMI of 60.7% was four percentage points lower than the March reading of 64.7% but well above the 50% level that indicates a generally expanding economy. 

While the report projected strong economic activity among manufacturers, survey members expressed a number of concerns.

“Survey committee members reported that their companies and suppliers continue to struggle to meet increasing rates of demand due to coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts limiting availability of parts and materials,” Timothy R. Fiore, chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee said. “Recent record-long lead times, wide-scale shortages of critical basic materials, rising commodities prices are continuing to affect all segments of the manufacturing economy. Worker absenteeism, short-term shutdowns due to part shortages, and difficulties in filling open positions continue to be issues that limit manufacturing-growth potential.”

Read more at IndustryWeek


Do Manufacturers Need to Create Better Jobs?

For the National Fund for Workforce Solutions the answer is “yes.”  The organization works with a network of 30 collaboratives across the country in an effort to improve both business practices and public policies that strengthens the workforce. It also funds specific programs and companies.

Read the four solutions they employ  to advance workforce strategies at IndustryWeek


US Steel Ends Plans for $1.5B Pennsylvania Plant Upgrades

Pittsburgh-based United States Steel Corp. said Friday that it is canceling a $1.5 billion project to bring a state-of-the-art improvement to its Mon Valley Works operations in western Pennsylvania, saying the world has changed in the two years since it announced its intentions. Project permits initially stalled by the pandemic never came through, U.S. Steel has added capacity elsewhere, and now it must shift its focus to its goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from its facilities by 2050, it said.

The loss of what would have been one of the largest industrial investments in Pennsylvania quickly led to recriminations by Pittsburgh-area politicians, labor unions and business organizations over why the project could never secure permits. Some worried it will diminish the future of steelmaking there.

Read more at the AP


EU Pushes to Ease Travel Restrictions 

The European Union’s executive arm recommended welcoming tourists from countries with relatively low infection rates as well as those who are fully vaccinated. The European Commission’s new travel proposals require approval from member states. A Commission official said he was hopeful they would be adopted by the end of this month.

The new parameters would replace a current blanket ban for non-essential travel to the EU for residents of all but a handful of countries that has been in place for more than a year. The bloc is working on the introduction of a vaccine passport system.

Read more at Bloomberg


OSHA COVID-19 ETS Coming Soon

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) will issue Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) that employers will be expected to adhere to regarding COVID-19 in the workplace.  It is estimated that the ETS will be published no later than June.

Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh was believed to have held up the OSHA standards because the “emergency” they were designed to address no longer exists. Walsh said he suspended the rules’ issuance because the proposed standard did not “reflect the latest scientific analysis of the state of the disease.” It is not known why the change of mind occurred.

Read more at EHS Today


 

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Daily Briefing – 296

Biden, Republicans Set Talks Over Competing Infrastructure Plans

Lawmakers and administration officials signaled on Sunday that they expected negotiations over an infrastructure package to ramp up this week, as Republicans and President Biden work to see if a bipartisan agreement is within reach.

White House chief of staff Ron Klain said that Mr. Biden had invited Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, one of the lead GOP negotiators on the infrastructure package, and others to meet this week. Republicans said they wanted to see that Mr. Biden was willing to make some concessions to prove his willingness to work across the aisle. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a centrist Republican involved in the discussions, said it was up to Mr. Biden to make the next offer in negotiations with GOP lawmakers.

Read more at the WSJ


NYS Vaccine Update 

As of Sunday morning 9,279,651 (plus 36,506 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 6,955,111 are fully vaccinated (Plus 59,101).  In the Hudson Valley 982,767 (plus 2,878) have at least one dose and 705,877 (plus 4,674) are fully vaccinated. 


NYS COVID Update – Single Day Positivity Rate Below 1.5%

Governor Cuomo yesterday announced that the statewide COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to 1.49 percent yesterday, dropping below 1.5 percent for the first time since October 28.

The Governor  updated COVID data through Saturday May 1st.  There were 33 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,051. Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,535
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 268

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,032
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 407

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.84%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.88%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – Daily Doses Administered Continues to Decrease

The US has distributed more than 300 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and administered 237 million doses. Daily doses administered* continues to decrease, down from a high of 3.2 million (April 11) to 2.5 million. Approximately 1.4 million people are achieving fully vaccinated status per day.

A total of 144 million individuals have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine, equivalent to 43% of the entire US population and 55% of all adults. Of those, nearly 100 million (99.7 million) are fully vaccinated, which corresponds to 30% of the total population and 38% of adults. Among adults aged 65 years and older, progress has largely stalled at 82% with at least 1 dose and 68% fully vaccinated. In terms of full vaccination, 50 million individuals have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 41 million have received the Moderna vaccine, and 8.1 million have received the J&J-Janssen vaccine.

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center is reporting 32.3 million cumulative cases and 575,213 deaths in the U.S. as of 10:15am EDT on April 30.

Read More at The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security


Survey: Most U.S. Companies Will Require Proof of Covid Vaccination From Employees

More than 60% of companies in the U.S. will require proof of vaccination from their employees, according to a new survey conducted by Arizona State University with support from the Rockefeller Foundation.

A broad majority of U.S. employers, 65%, plan to offer employees incentives to get vaccinated and 63% will require proof of vaccination, according to the survey. Overall, 44% will require all employees to get vaccinated, 31% will just encourage vaccinations and 14% will require some employees to get vaccinated.

Read more at CNBC


Vaccines Are Effective Against the Dominant Virus Strain in U.S

The highly contagious U.K. variant of the Covid-19 virus, now the dominant virus strain in the U.S., is making the pandemic harder to control. But it also comes with a silver lining: The authorized vaccines work well against it.

The variant, called B.1.1.7, is better able to exploit lapses in mask wearing and social distancing, and requires more people to develop an immune response to slow it down. Yet vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and its partner BioNTech SE, Moderna Inc., and Johnson & Johnson, along with safety precautions, still remain effective, and health authorities say the shots are starting to slow down Covid-19 cases in the U.S.

Read more at the WSJ


Personal Income Shot Up 21.1% in March, a Record Dating Back to at Least 1946

Income for American households in March surged by the largest amount ever, fueled by massive fiscal stimulus released by the US government to limit the economic damage from the COVID-19 health crisis.

Personal income soared by an estimated 21.1% last month, or by $4.21 trillion, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Friday. The figure compares to a 20.3% increase expected in an Econoday survey of economists. The March figure marked a swing from February’s income decline of 7%.

Read more at Business Insider


US Retail Sales Way Up In March

Warmer weather, reopening, and stimulus support converged in March to drive the strongest month of retail spending the US has ever seen.  Retail sales increased 9.8% last month to a record $619.1 billion, according to Census Bureau data published Thursday. The leap nearly doubles the median economist estimate of a 5.8% gain from economists surveyed by Bloomberg. February’s decline was revised higher to a 2.7% contraction.

The March reading sits 27.7% higher than that seen exactly one year ago. Sales dipped in March 2020 and hit their pandemic-era floor in April as initial lockdowns and fears of COVID-19 kept Americans from spending at physical stores.

Read more at Business Insider


A Bottleneck at CA Ports Squeezes Manufacturers

The ship stuck in the Suez Canal may have gotten all the attention, but it’s not the biggest shipping problem of the year. That honor goes to the massive traffic jam at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which has dragged on since late 2020.

NAM Director of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Ben Siegrist says, this bottleneck is a huge problem for manufacturers in the U.S.—and one that is costing our economy many billions of dollars. Dozens of ships are waiting in the harbor for days before being able to unload, exporters are struggling to get their goods out of the country, and other manufacturers are waiting months for parts or finished goods.

Read more at NAM


E-Z Pass Tolls Increased on Mid-Hudson Bridges

E-Z Pass tolls on the five bridges across the Hudson River operated by the New York State Bridge Authority increased effective May 1. Cash tolls for a vehicle with four tires remain the same at $1.75; however, E-Z Pass tolls increased 10-cents, from $1.35 to $1.45.  Drivers on the commuter plan are now also paying 10-cents additional, from $1.10 to $1.20 per round trip.

The toll revision is being phased in over the course of four years, starting on May 1, 2020. Full toll rates will be in place on May 1, 2023. At the conclusion of the toll hikes, passenger vehicles will see tolls raised to $2.15 per round trip crossing.

Read more at Mid-Hudson News


DiNapoli Issues Analysis of Enacted State Budget

The Enacted State Budget for State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2021-22 is boosted by a substantial influx of new resources, totaling an estimated $26.7 billion in SFY 2021-22. Revenue actions including increases to top personal income tax rates and corporate franchise tax rates are expected to generate $3.7 billion in SFY 2021-22, growing to $4.8 billion by SFY 2024-25. Increases to the corporate franchise rates expire after 2023 while higher personal income tax rates will expire after 2027.

Revenue actions including increases to top personal income tax rates and corporate franchise tax rates are expected to generate $3.7 billion in SFY 2021-22, growing to $4.8 billion by SFY 2024-25. Increases to the corporate franchise rates expire after 2023 while higher personal income tax rates will expire after 2027.

Read more at the Comptroller’s website


Researchers Are Closing in on Long COVID – The Results are Alarming

A wave of what has become known as “long covid” is emerging in countries where acute cases have been falling. Formally, the condition is called “post-covid syndrome” (pcs). But even the official definition of its symptoms is fluid, because knowledge of its details is still evolving. 

Broadly speaking, there are three types of long-covid patients, says Avindra Nath of America’s National Institutes of Health. The first are characterized by “exercise intolerance”, meaning they feel out of breath and exhausted from even small tasks involving physical activity. The second are characterized by cognitive complaints in the form of brain fog and memory problems. The third are characterized by problems with the autonomic nervous system, a set of nerves that control things like heartbeat, breathing and digestion. Patients in this group suffer from symptoms such as heart palpitations and dizziness.

Read more at The Economist


 

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Daily Briefing – 295

Indian Point Closes Today

Indian Point will permanently stop producing nuclear power Friday, capping a decades-long battle over a key source of electricity in the heart of New York City’s suburbs that opponents have called a threat to millions living in the densely packed region.

The retirement of the Indian Point Energy Center along the Hudson River could increase New York’s short-term reliance on natural gas plants, despite the state’s goal of reducing carbon emissions. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo and others who fought for its shutdown argue any benefits from the plant are eclipsed by the nightmare prospect of a major nuclear accident or a terror strike 25 miles north of the city.

Read more at ABC News


NYS Vaccine Update – All State Mass Sites To Accept Walk-ins Starting Today 4/29

As of Thursday morning 9,902,794 (plus 98,145 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 6,655,923 are fully vaccinated (Plus 158,550).  In the Hudson Valley 966,997 (plus 9,716) have at least one dose and 679,541 (plus 14,763) are fully vaccinated. 


NYS COVID Update 

Governor Cuomo announced yesterday that the 12 a.m. food and beverage service curfew will be lifted for outdoor dining areas beginning May 17 and for indoor dining areas beginning May 31.

The Governor  updated COVID data through Tuesday April 27th.  There were 38 COVID related deaths for a total of 41,948 Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,934
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 319

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,125
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 393

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.98%
  • Mid-Hudson: 2.28%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – 2.63 Million Doses Per Day

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday about 143.8 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, including about 99.7 million people who have been fully vaccinated by Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine or the two-dose series made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Providers are administering about 2.63 million doses per day on average, about a 22 percent decrease from the peak of 3.38 million reported on April 13.

Read More at The New York Times


Vaccines Appear to Be Slowing Spread of Covid-19 Infections

Vaccines appear to be starting to curb new Covid-19 infections in the U.S., a breakthrough that could help people return to more normal activities as infection worries fade, public-health officials say.

By Tuesday, 37.3% of U.S. adults were fully vaccinated against Covid-19, with about 2.7 million shots each day. Data from Johns Hopkins University shows the seven-day average for new U.S. cases has fallen below the 14-day average for more than a week, which epidemiologists said is a strong signal that cases are starting to slide again after a recent upswing. When the seven-day average is higher than the 14-day average, it suggests new cases are accelerating.

Read more at the WSJ


Moderna Says COVID-19 Vaccine Can be Stored at Refrigerator Temperatures for 3 Months

The Massachusetts-based drug maker said in a statement that the extended shelf life could facilitate easier distribution to doctor offices and other smaller settings if authorized.

Moderna’s vaccine is currently approved for storage of up to 1 month at refrigerated temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees celsius, or 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit, and for up to seven months in a standard freezer at -20 degrees celsius, or -4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Read more at The Hill


Biden’s Ambitious Plans Face Skeptics in His Own Party

Democrats are scrambling to figure out how they can get President Biden’s $4 trillion spending plan through Congress. Biden unveiled a $2.3 trillion infrastructure package late last month and a $1.8 trillion families package Wednesday night during his first address to Congress — presenting congressional Democrats with the herculean task of unifying their razor-thin majorities behind historically eye-popping figures.

“We have to go through the process … Let the committees work them,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), asked about wrapping up one massive reconciliation bill. “Put them on the floor individually and see where they go there.” Manchin told reporters he was “very uncomfortable” with the spending levels. Combined with the recent $1.9 trillion coronavirus package, passage of the two infrastructure plans would bring spending to roughly $6 trillion since Biden took office.

Read more at The Hill


US GDP Grew 6.4% in the First Quarter

The US’ gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of 6.4% through the quarter that ended in March, the Commerce Department announced on Thursday. The expansion ranks as the second-strongest pace of quarterly growth since 2003, dwarfed only by a record-breaking rebound in the third quarter of 2020.

The median estimate from economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an expansion of 6.7% over the three-month period. The jump follows a 4.3% expansion in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Read more at Business Insider


Jobless Claims:  553,000 Americans Filed New Jobless Claims Last Week

New weekly jobless claims dropped from the prior week’s upwardly revised level to a fresh pandemic-era low last week, with the accelerating pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in the U.S. helping support the labor market’s recovery. 

Here were the main metrics from the report, compared to consensus data compiled by Bloomberg:

  • Initial jobless claims, week ended April 24: 553,000 vs. 540,000 expected and an upwardly revised 566,000 during the prior week.
  • Continuing claims, week ended April 17: 3.660 million vs. 3.590 million expected and a downwardly revised 3.651 million during the prior week

Read more at Yahoo Finance


New York Expanded Recycling Bill Makes Progress in Legislature

New York State is considering an extended producer responsibility (EPR) bill (S1185B) that, if passed, will require brands of consumer packaging and paper products to pay to recycle these materials. This includes plastics #1-7, metals, glass, as well as paper from packaging and items like flyers. If the bill passes, producers could sell only what state regulators deem acceptable.

The bill is proceeding rapidly through the Democratic controlled legislature.  The bill would require producers to fund collection, processing, education and cost for the state to run and enforce the program. There would also be differentiated fees, intended to incentivize producers to create packaging with both recycled content and recyclability, while penalizing them for not doing so.

Read more at Waste 360


6 Causes of the Global Semiconductor Shortage

The global semiconductor shortage is causing headaches for many industries. Manufacturers of PCs, mobile devices, gaming consoles, vehicles, networking devices, and industrial machines are all scrambling to buy enough chips to use in their products amid surging demand for those same products.

Investors and purchasers looking to navigate this situation and avoid a problems stock would be smart to know what’s going on. That starts with being familiar with the six root causes of this ongoing crisis.

Read more at the Motley Fool


Paid Training Could Address Unfilled Manufacturing Jobs

The manufacturing worker shortage could be mitigated through training programs such as the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education program, which offers paid apprenticeships to adults who have completed high school or an equivalent. “These manufacturers are willing to pay for a person’s education — pay for them to work, and the individual comes out with a certificate,” says Ellen Redding, president of the Henderson Chamber of Commerce in Kentucky.

Read more at the Evansville Courier & Press


Job Satisfaction Remains High, Despite Pandemic

Despite the fallout from the pandemic — an economic crisis, mass layoffs, and high unemployment — the percent of employees reporting overall satisfaction with their jobs remained high in 2020, according to a new survey from The Conference Board released on April 26.

Job satisfaction did however vary by age group: Those under 35 experienced a drop in satisfaction, while those 55+ experienced an increase. In addition, the percent of workers reporting engagement in their work increased from 53.2% in 2019 to 54.3% in 2020, indicating a heightened connection between employees and their jobs. Remarkably, the results show that the job satisfaction of those working remotely was not significantly different from the satisfaction level of other workers.

Read more at EHS Today


Early Delivery for Boeing’s New F-15

A Boeing-led consortium delivered the second F-15EX fighter aircraft to the U.S. Air Force on April 27, ahead of schedule and one month after the first jet was delivered.

The F-15EX is a single-seat variant of Boeing’s F-15 series fighter jet. Improvements over the previous-generation F-15C/Ds include an expanded weapons rack to carry up to 22 air-to-air missiles, infrared search-and-track functions, advanced avionic and electronic warfare systems, and AESA radar. The revised aircraft structure has a projected a service life of 20,000 hours.

Read more at American Machinist


Today! 3D Experience Stratasys Tour arrives at SUNY New Paltz, 10:00 – 2:00

Friday, April 30th
SUNY New Paltz, Route 32 Lot (across from the main entrance) 
10 a.m. –  2:00 p.m.

The mobile showroom is a unique demonstration of a variety of 3D printing applications and technologies including FDM, PolyJet, SLA and SAF as well as software enablers like GrabCAD Print. The truck is also expected to feature new products from Stratasys, launching just days before and giving you the opportunity to see it in person, first! 

The Allegheny team will be onsite to meet and greet, be your socially distant guide, answer questions and even demo some companion technology like handheld 3D scanners. 


 

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Daily Briefing – 294

Biden Lays Out Ambitious $1.8 Trillion Spending and Tax Plan

President Joe Biden proposed a sweeping new $1.8 trillion plan in a speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, pleading with Republican lawmakers to work with him on divisive issues and to meet the stiff competition posed by China.

Pushing a vision of more government investment funded by the wealthy, the Democratic president urged Republicans who have so far resolutely opposed him to help pass a wide array of contentious legislation from taxes to police reform to gun control and immigration..


NYS Vaccine Update – All State Mass Sites To Accept Walk-ins Starting Today 4/29

Today, April 29, all New York State mass vaccination sites will be Open to eligible New Yorkers for walk-in vaccination on a first come first serve basis for all. The walk-in appointments are reserved for first doses only with second doses to be scheduled automatically after administration of the initial shot. Additionally, all vaccine providers are encouraged to likewise allow walk-in appointments and for eligible New Yorkers.

As of Tuesday morning 8,994,649 (plus 86,491 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 6,497,373 are fully vaccinated (Plus 134,489).  In the Hudson Valley 957,281 (plus 8,924) have at least one dose and 664,778 (plus 13,925) are fully vaccinated. 


NYS COVID Update – Bar Curfew to End in May

Governor Cuomo announced yesterday that the 12 a.m. food and beverage service curfew will be lifted for outdoor dining areas beginning May 17 and for indoor dining areas beginning May 31.

The Governor  updated COVID data through Tuesday April 27th.  There were 32 COVID related deaths for a total of 41,910 Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 3,117
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 321

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,127
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 396

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 2.02%
  • Mid-Hudson: 2.28%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – Majority of States Have Half of Adults Vaccinated

The United States is reporting an average of 2.7 million daily Covid-19 vaccinations over the past week, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about equivalent to levels one month ago. Daily reported vaccinations peaked at 3.4 million on April 13.

More than 40% of Americans have received at least one shot, and that figure is roughly 54% for those age 18 and older. Half of the adults are at least partially vaccinated in a majority of states.

Read More at CNBC


Moderna is Working Toward a Single Shot for Both COVID and Flu Protection

Come for the COVID immunization. Stay for protection against the seasonal flu. That’s the goal that Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel has set out for his company, one of the pioneering developers of effective COVID vaccines, which he shared during a discussion at Fortune’s 2021 virtual Brainstorm Health conference on Tuesday.

Bancel said the company hopes to use its messenger RNA (mRNA)-based technology, which can be more adaptable to changing viral strains, to knock out several pathogenic birds with one stone.

Read more at Fortune


At-Home Covid-19 Tests Might Cost Too Much for Regular Use

Many health authorities have been looking forward to the introduction of the fast-acting tests, which people could take at home to see if they are infected. The paper-strip tests also could help curb the spread of the coronavirus, supporters say, if people used them a few times a week.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently cleared over-the-counter sales of two of these rapid at-home screening tests, one from Abbott Laboratories and another from Quidel Corp. Yet it appears the tests will cost consumers at least $20 for a pack of two, which health experts say is probably too pricey for frequent use.

Read more at the WSJ


Fed Holds Interest Rates Near Zero, Sees Faster Growth and Higher Inflation

As expected, the U.S. central bank decided to keep short-term interest rates anchored near zero as it buys at least $120 billion of bonds each month. The latter part of policy is a two-pronged effort to support an economy that grew strongly to start 2021 as well as to support market functioning at a time when 30-year mortgages still go for around 3%.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the recovery is “uneven and far from complete.” While he noted that inflation pressures could rise in the coming months, these “one-time increases in prices are likely to only have transitory effects on inflation.” Powell added that it’s still not time to talk about reducing policy accommodation, including the asset purchases.

Read more at CNBC


U.S. Consumer Confidence Reaches to 14-Month High

U.S. consumer confidence jumped to a 14-month high in April as increased vaccinations against COVID-19 and additional fiscal stimulus allowed for more services businesses to reopen, boosting demand and hiring by companies.

The upbeat survey from the Conference Board on Tuesday, which also showed a strong increase in vacation plans, suggested the economy continued to power ahead early in the second quarter after what appears to have been robust growth in the first three months of the year, believed by many economists to have been the second strongest since 2003. Growth this year is expected to be the best in nearly four decades.

Read more at Reuters


EEOC Sets July Deadline for EEO-1

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that qualifying employers must submit EEO-1 Component 1 data for 2019 and 2020 starting on April 26 with a deadline of July 19. In 2020, the commission decided to postpone collection of 2019 data to this year because of the massive disruptions to the economy that resulted from the Coronavirus pandemic.

The EEO-1, Component 1 form collects workforce data from employers with 100 or more employees and federal contractors with 50 or more employees. These employers are expected to submit demographic information about the race, gender and the ethnicity of members of their workforce, broken down by job category.

Read more at EHS Today


Executive Order on Increasing the Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors Issued

Jackson Lewis reports that on April 27, 2021 President Biden issued an Executive Order directing the minimum wage for certain federal contractors be increased to $15 per hour.  The Executive Order on Increasing the Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors states that the minimum wage for certain hourly workers be increased to $15 per hour beginning January 30, 2022.  The Executive Order also dictates that wages for tipped workers be increased to $10.50 per hour, beginning January 30, 2022.

Pursuant to the Executive Order, the Secretary of Labor, “shall, consistent with applicable law, issue regulations by November 24, 2021, to implement the requirements of this order.” As such, we will need to await the regulations before have the full understanding of applicability and implementing obligations.

Read more at Jackson Lewis


Brexit Trade Deal Gets a Final OK From E.U. Parliament

The European Parliament has overwhelmingly backed the post-Brexit trade deal between Britain and the European Union, clearing the last hurdle towards its ratification, while expressing clear mistrust of the British government.

EU lawmakers cleared the trade and cooperation agreement (TCA) by 660 votes to five, with 32 abstentions, the parliament announced on Wednesday, a day after the vote. Parliament’s consent brings to an end over four years of acrimonious negotiations and debate as Britain ended 47 years of EU membership, but mistrust lingers.

Read more at Reuters


Boeing Posts its Sixth Quarterly Loss in a Row

In its first-quarter 2021 earnings, the aerospace manufacturer revealed a net loss of $561 million or $0.92 per share, its sixth consecutive quarterly loss. Boeing’s loss from operations was $83 million, its operating margin was -0.5%, and its operating cash flow was negative $3.4 billion.

According to Boeing, the loss was mainly driven by lower deliveries of the company’s 787 jet, partially offset by more deliveries of the company’s 737. The company delivered 77 planes in the first quarter for $4.3 billion in revenue, but lost $856 million in operating costs to deliver an operating margin of -20.1%.

Read more at IndustryWeek


 

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Daily Briefing – 293

CDC Issues New Outdoor Mask Guidance

NEW YORK (AP) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased its guidelines Tuesday on the wearing of masks outdoors, saying fully vaccinated Americans don’t need to cover their faces anymore unless they are in a big crowd of strangers. And those who are unvaccinated can go outside without masks in some situations, too.

For most of the past year, the CDC had been advising Americans to wear masks outdoors if they are within 6 feet of one another.

Governor Cuomo announced that New York State will follow the new CDC outdoor mask guidelines.


Vaccine Hesitancy Poses Risk to Herd Immunity, U.S. Health Officials Say

Top health officials warned that vaccine hesitancy posed a risk to getting enough Americans inoculated to stop the spread of Covid-19, and they encouraged individuals to get vaccinated.

“If we’re going to be able to put Covid-19 behind us, we need to have all Americans take part in getting us to that point,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Read more at the WSJ


NYS Vaccine Update – All State Mass Sites To Accept Walk-ins Starting Tomorrow 4/29

Governor Cuomo yesterday announced that beginning Thursday, April 29, all New York State mass vaccination sites will be Open to eligible New Yorkers for walk-in vaccination on a first come first serve basis for all. The walk-in appointments are reserved for first doses only with second doses to be scheduled automatically after administration of the initial shot. Additionally, all vaccine providers are encouraged to likewise allow walk-in appointments and for eligible New Yorkers.

As of Tuesday morning 8,908,158 (plus 61,138 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 6,362,884 are fully vaccinated (Plus 92,851).  In the Hudson Valley 948,357  (plus 7,141) have at least one dose and 650,853 (plus 10,023) are fully vaccinated. 


NYS COVID Update 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday April 26th.  There were 26 COVID related deaths for a total of 41,875 Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 3,184
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 313

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,030
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 387

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 2.06%
  • Mid-Hudson: 2.35%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – Pace Continues to Slow

The US has distributed 291 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and administered 231 million doses. Daily doses administered continue to decrease, down from a high of 3.2 million (April 11) to 2.6 million. Approximately 1.4 million people are achieving fully vaccinated status per day.

A total of 141 million individuals have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine, equivalent to 43% of the entire US population and 54% of all adults. Of those, 96 million (29% of the total population; 37% of adults) are fully vaccinated. As of April 19, all US states expanded vaccination eligibility to all individuals aged 16 years and older, but the pace of vaccinations is beginning to taper off.  Even with everyone aged 16 years and older now eligible and with sufficient supply, progress toward herd immunity will slow considerably over the coming weeks for a variety of reasons. Some reasons include vaccine opposition and hesitancy, barriers to accessing the vaccine, and dwindling unvaccinated population. 

Read More at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security


Senate Majority to Take Action on Executive Orders to Continue Reopening New York State

Tomorrow, the Senate Democratic Majority will move to suspend several executive orders placed by the Governor at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Included in these repeals are food sales in bars and restaurants will no longer be required with alcoholic beverage purchases. The Senate Majority will continue to review existing directives that can be removed as session continues. 

The Senate Majority is taking steps to ease COVID-19 restrictions as New York continues recovering and New Yorkers get vaccinated and regain a sense of normalcy as the state reopens. The repeal of these directives will enhance the quality of life for volunteers, patrons, and business owners.

Read more at NBC News


EU Sues AstraZeneca

As forecast last week, the European Commission has initiated legal proceedings against AstraZeneca over the delivery of just a third of its contractually agreed vaccine volume to the EU. Meanwhile, Politico reports that Deloitte warned the Belgian government back in August—before the EU’s AstraZeneca contract was signed—that the contract included no harsh consequences for failure to deliver what was promised.

Read more at Politico


Politicians and Political Experts React to New York Census Results

Losing a congressional seat means the map of New York’s districts will have to be redrawn. How that will look remains to be seen but that power will now fall to the state legislature which has a Democratic supermajority.  “So it’s a law made by the Assembly and by the Senate. They need to agree on the terms of the redistribution of seats, and then Governor Cuomo needs to sign whatever bill is sent to him by the legislature,” Gerald Gamm, a political science professor at the University of Rochester, said.

“That might even mean even though New York, a heavily Democratic State, has lost a seat. It might even mean that legislators and Albany figure out a way to merge two Republican seats, push two incumbent Republican members of Congress into the same district, so that ultimately the state doesn’t lose the Democratic member of Congress.”

Read more at WHAM News


Nearly 1.5 Million Mothers Are Still Missing From the Workforce

In March 2021, almost 1.5 million fewer moms of school-aged children were actively working than in February 2020, according to Misty Heggeness, principal economist and senior adviser at the Census Bureau. During the depths of last year’s economic crisis, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show, women’s participation in the workforce fell to levels not seen since the mid-1980s. 

In March 2021, almost 1.5 million fewer moms of school-aged children were actively working than in February 2020, according to Misty Heggeness, principal economist and senior adviser at the Census Bureau. During the depths of last year’s economic crisis, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show, women’s participation in the workforce fell to levels not seen since the mid-1980s. 

Read more at the WSJ


Manufacturing Economy Report – U.S. Manufacturing Activity Expanded at Record Pace in April

The IHS Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI expanded at a record pace in April, buoyed by new orders growth that was the best since April 2010 and by exports rising at an all-time high for the series. Output and hiring strengthened for the month, but lingering supply chain disruptions in the sector limited production growth. Yet, raw material costs soared once again, growing at the fastest rate since the question was added in May 2007.

The good news was not limited to U.S. manufacturing. There were also all-time highs reported for the U.S. services sector and for manufacturing in the Eurozone , according to preliminary survey data from IHS Markit. Outside the Eurozone, the United Kingdom’s manufacturing sector expanded at rates not seen since July 1994.

Read more here


Kabbage Survey: Business Recovery is Happening

Kabbage recently released a survey it conducted around business recovery progress. One key insight revealing 57% of small businesses are now fully open as pandemic shutdowns ease. It also has other interesting findings as it tracks recovery in several industries (manufacturing, restaurant, retail, construction, healthcare, etc.) key business performance metrics including headcount, total revenue, profit, online strategies, as well as future outlooks, across all-sized small businesses.

Kabbage co-founder Kathryn Petralia tells IndustryWeek, according to its Small Business Recovery Report, 49% of small businesses in professional and business services, including the manufacturing industry, say their businesses are now fully open as pandemic shutdowns ease.

Read more at IndustryWeek


DLA Prepared to Increase Overseas Vaccine Distribution as DOD Allotment Grows

The Defense Logistics Agency is helping military health officials prepare for a surge in COVID-19 vaccinations available to the Defense Department starting this month. The department expects to begin receiving about 390,000 doses weekly — up from an average of 155,500 a week — with DLA continuing to receive, pack, ship and track vaccines for individuals outside the continental US or deployed with the Navy, said Army Col. Anthony Bostick, head of DLA’s operational planning team for vaccine operations.

Read more a the DOD website


NAM: OSHA Sends COVID ETS to COVID-19 White House for Review

On Monday evening, OSHA formally moved its proposed COVID-19 emergency temporary standard to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for final review. This move signals that OSHA has finished writing the ETS and the standard is in the final stages of review before it is issued.  In a letter to OSHA Acting Administrator Jim Frederick, the NAM outlines four major recommendations in the event that OSHA issues an ETS:

  • A standard should align with guidance from federal health officials and should respond quickly to evolving CDC guidance, especially as more Americans receive the COVID-19 vaccine;
  • A standard should recognize the vast differences in physical characteristics of workplaces;
  • Any new employer mandates should consider the nationwide supply and manufacturing capability of COVID-19 tests and personal protective equipment; and
  • OSHA should consider good-faith efforts of employers to comply with a potential ETS

Read the Letter:


 

read more »

Daily Briefing – 292

In Person Capacities Increase for New York Outdoor Events and More

Governor Cuomo yesterday announced that spectator capacity at large-scale outdoor event venues, including professional and collegiate sports and live performing arts and entertainment, will increase from 20 to 33 percent beginning May 19. This increase will coincide with the previously announced increase in large-scale indoor event venue capacity. Social distancing, masks, health screenings and all other State health and safety protocols remain in effect.

The Governor also announced that capacities would be increased throughout several industries that have proven to safely reopen in accordance with the State’s COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

Starting May 15:

  • Gyms and fitness centers outside of New York City will increase from 33% to 50% capacity.
  • Casinos and gaming facilities will increase from 25% to 50% capacity.
  • Offices will increase from 50% to 75% capacity. 

Read the press release


Vaccine Hesitancy Poses Risk to Herd Immunity, U.S. Health Officials Say

Top health officials warned that vaccine hesitancy posed a risk to getting enough Americans inoculated to stop the spread of Covid-19, and they encouraged individuals to get vaccinated.

“If we’re going to be able to put Covid-19 behind us, we need to have all Americans take part in getting us to that point,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Read more at the WSJ


NYS Vaccine Update

As of Monday morning 8,847,020 (plus 47,302 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 6,270,033 are fully vaccinated (Plus 68,803).  In the Hudson Valley 941,216  (plus 7,064) have at least one dose and 640,830 (plus 9,223) are fully vaccinated. 


NYS COVID Update 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday April 25th.  There were 41 COVID related deaths. Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 3,174
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 315

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,001
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 385

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 2.13%
  • Mid-Hudson: 2.47%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – The End of U.S. Mass Vaccination Is Coming Sooner Than Later

After three months of vaccination across the U.S., a majority of American adults have gotten shots, and the effort will soon shift from mass inoculation to mop-up. 

As of Saturday, 138.6 million people in the U.S. have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot. About 1.3 million more are getting a first dose every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost all of those who get a first dose are likely to get their second. On top of that, more than 80% of people age 60 or over — the most vulnerable group — have had a dose and will likewise complete vaccination.

That may be sufficient, at least to see a significant impact on U.S. caseloads. The U.S. is currently about where Israel’s vaccine campaign was in mid-February, three weeks before cases there began to plunge. (Israel has, in total, vaccinated just under 60% of its population.

Read More at Bloomberg


US Agrees To Export COVID Vaccine Raw Materials To India, Lifts Embargo Amid Rising Cases

As India battles the devastating second wave of COVID-19 pandemic with the nation clocking more than 300,000 cases every day and making a new high in single day spike of COVID-19 infections, the US government has decided to lift the export ban on the essential raw materials required by the vaccine manufacturer in India for production of COVID-19 vaccine.

“The United States has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India. To help treat COVID-19 patients and protect front-line health workers in India, the United States has identified supplies of therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that will immediately be made available for India,” the statement read.

Read more at Republicworld.com


2020 Census: Slowest Population Growth Since Great Depression, NY Loses Congressional Seat

The U.S. population has increased by 7.4% since the last Census, to a total of 331,449,281 people. That’s a slower growth rate than recorded in 2010 and the second slowest growth rate in Census history.

In total, seven seats shifted affecting 13 states. Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon each gained one seat in addition to Texas. California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia each lost one seat. The shift could affect the 2022 midterm elections and whether Democrats can hold onto control of the House, where they hold a narrow majority. It’s also part of a broader shift to the South and West of the U.S., with 84 seats shifting toward those states since 1940.

Read more at USA Today


U.S. to Export Entire AstraZeneca Vaccine Supply after Clearing Safety Regs

The U.S. will share its entire supply of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines with world nations once the shot is approved by federal safety regulators, White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients told the Associated Press on Monday.

The U.S. is expected to produce up to 60 million AstraZeneca doses that can be exported in the coming months. The news comes as coronavirus spread continues to ravage large nations including India and Brazil.

Read more at National Review


SUNY New Paltz Expects Mostly in-Person Classes in Fall

College President Donald Christian said vaccinations have helped in the decision-making process. “We are planning to have the great majority of our courses be on-campus and face-to-face, greater fill rate of our residence halls,” he said. “The vaccines that are now available and that people are taking advantage of will make a great difference for us.”

Christian also said the college is awaiting CDC guidelines about the possible lessening of distancing between students from six feet to three feet like what has been approved for K-12 schools. That, he said, will make a great difference in classroom capacity.

Read more at Mid-Hudson News


Steel Output Rising, but Slowly in US

Worldwide production increased 15.2% year-over-year in March and is 10.0% higher year-to-date, but the domestic industry’s output is up just 1.0% year-over-year — and is down -6.3% through Q1 2021.

Steel production worldwide is dominated by the Chinese industry, which produces well over half of all the raw steel in any given month. For March, China’s steelmakers produced 94.0 million metric tons, +19.1% more than their comparable total for March 2020. Through the first quarter of 2021, Chinese raw-steel output totaled 271 million metric tons, or 15.6% more than last year’s January-March total.

Read more at American Machinist


U.S. Durable-Goods Orders Rebound Following Dip

New orders for durable goods—products designed to last at least three years, such as computers and machinery—increased 0.5% to a seasonally adjusted $256.3 billion in March when compared with February, the Commerce Department said Monday.

Orders have increased 10 out of the last 11 months. Low business and retail inventories have translated to increased demand for manufacturers for much of the past year. But supply-chain issues continue to constrain production and delay some shipments.

Read more at the WSJ


Second Chance Business Coalition Launches

The Business Roundtable and a host of its members, including everyone from Visa and JPMorgan to Microsoft and Walmart, have launched the Second Chance Business Coalition that’s aimed at “providing employment opportunities to individuals with a criminal record, supporting their reentry into the workforce and improving equity in employment.”

Visit the program site


Measuring Financial Hardship In the Hudson Valley

The ALICE project by United for ALICE identifies households that are struggling financially but not usually captured by traditional measures of poverty such as the federal poverty level. “ALICE” is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed. ALICE households represent working families who earn enough that they have limited eligibility for government assistance, but are still struggling to afford basic living essentials.

In the Hudson Valley, Greene County has the highest percentage of ALICE households and the second highest percentage of households in poverty. On the other end of the spectrum, Putnam county has the highest percentage of households that are neither ALICE households nor in poverty.

Read more at Pattern for Progress


Companies Should be Worried about Retention in the Second Half of 2021

Instead of doubling down on productivity in the second half of 2021, companies should consider easing up pressure on employees who have been going full speed for over a year, lest they lose them to other jobs or quitting without anything lined up, writes Lara Hogan. “What’s more risky: losing the people you’ve invested in and needing to start up a lengthy hiring and onboarding process which will cost you a ton of time, or slowing down the pace and creating more breathing room?” she writes.

Read more at Lara Hogan


 

read more »

Daily Briefing – 291

Governor Cuomo Considers Vetoing The “NY Hero Act” – Bill Would Be Costly to Small Business

S.1034-B(Gianaris)/A.2681-B(Reyes), amends the labor law for preventing occupational exposure to an airborne infectious disease,  The legislation known as the “NY Hero Act” seeks to put strict health and safety procedures into statute for COVID and additional airborne infectious diseases. The bill passed the State Legislature and will be delivered to the Governor for his consideration.

Required measures in the bill  include “workplace health and safety committees” with ambiguous functions and authority. As a result, the bill also could expose employers, especially small businesses, to punitive fines, new liability, and higher insurance costs.  The Manufacturing Alliance of New York, the New York State Business Council,  and NFIB are all encouraging Governor Cuomo to veto the bill. 


NYS Vaccine Update – State Resumes Use of J&J Vaccine

Beginning Saturday the state, following the CDC recommendations, (see related story below) resumed delivery and use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

As of Saturday morning 8,7,37,667 (plus 86,928 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 6,123,528 are fully vaccinated (Plus 102,986).  In the Hudson Valley 926,622  (plus 9,941) have at least one dose and 622,823 (plus 12,500) are fully vaccinated. 


NYS COVID Update –Statewide COVID-19 Positivity Rate Drops Below 2%

The Governor  also updated COVID data through Saturday April 24th.  There were 45 COVID related deaths. The governor also announced that the statewide 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to 1.88 percent, the lowest since November 12. 

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 3,189
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 324

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,112
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 394

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 2.19%
  • Mid-Hudson: 2.52%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – Fully Vaccinated Population Increasing by 1.4 Million per Day

The US has distributed 282 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and administered 219 million doses. Daily doses administered* has decreased over the past several days, down from a high of 3.2 million (April 11) to 2.8 million. The fully vaccinated population is increasing by 1.4 million people per day.

A total of 136 million individuals have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine, equivalent to 41% of the entire US population and 52% of all adults. Of those, 89 million (27% of the total population; 34% of adults) are fully vaccinated. Progress among older adults has slowed considerably. Among adults aged 65 years and older, 81% have received at least 1 dose, and 66% are fully vaccinated. In terms of full vaccination, 44 million individuals have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 37 million have received the Moderna vaccine, and 8.0 million have received the J&J-Janssen vaccine.

Read More at the Johns Hopkins Center for health Security


U.S. Lifts Pause on J&J’s Covid-19 Vaccine- Benefits far Outweigh the Risks

Vaccinations with Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 shot should resume, U.S. health regulators said after investigating rare blood-clotting cases, restoring a key tool for filling gaps in the mass vaccination campaign. To alert doctors and recipients to the condition that led to a pause in the vaccine’s use last week, J&J and regulators plan to add language to the shot’s label and fact sheets warning of the clotting condition risk.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday lifted their recommendation to pause use of the shots, saying the benefits outweigh the risks. Their decision followed a vote by a federal vaccine advisory committee that recommended restarting use of J&J’s Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S.

Read more in the WSJ


CDC: Yes, Vaccines Block Most Transmission of COVID-19 

New data from the CDC shows that COVID-19 infections do occur in vaccinated people, but they appear exceptionally rare.  As of April 14, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had received reports that 5,814 fully vaccinated people had developed COVID-19 infections. Nearly half of these infections (45 percent) were in people at least 60 years old. Seven percent of people with breakthrough infections—infections that occur after complete vaccination—were hospitalized and one percent died.

With more than 85 million people in the United States fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the CDC has been cautiously expanding guidelines about what those fully vaccinated people can safely do. The expansion has been gradual as experts awaited data on not just how well the COVID-19 vaccines prevent disease, but also whether a fully vaccinated individual could develop an infection—without symptoms—and unknowingly pass the virus along to someone else.

Read more at NAT GEO


CDC Issues Guidance On Worksite Vaccination Programs/ US Chamber Vaccine Resource Guide

Now that all individuals over the age of 16 in the United States are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines, employers can play a part in helping ensure their workforce has easy access to the vaccine by hosting an on-site vaccination clinic. The CDC recently issued new guidance to help businesses determine if on-site vaccination is an option for them.  To assist your members, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has prepared some new resources and best practices for hosting a vaccine clinic.


EU To Allow U.S. Travelers To Visit This Summer, If Fully Vaccinated

It is the news that many Americans have been waiting for; that they will be able to visit the EU over summer. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, told The New York Times in Brussels on Sunday that Americans who have been fully vaccinated, will be allowed to visit European countries over the summer.

With President Biden reportedly eyeing up May as the month when he might rescind the ban on EU travel, and with this new statement by the president of the European Commission, the hope would be that after one year of travel bans, a beleaguered travel industry might just be able to kick back into life and families might be reunited again after such a long time apart.

Read more at Forbes


DiNaploi: Local Sales Tax Collections Down 3.9 Percent for First Quarter of 2021

Sales tax revenue for local governments in New York State declined by 3.9 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period last year, according to State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Sales tax collections from January through March totaled $4.3 billion, which was $173 million less than the first quarter of 2020.

This is the fourth consecutive quarter that statewide collections have dropped year-over-year.

Read more at the Comptroller’s website


Centrist Senators Signal Progress on Infrastructure Talks

Two centrist senators key to negotiations over infrastructure spending signaled progress in talks but made clear they don’t support President Biden’s expansive $2.3 trillion proposal.  Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, also from West Virginia, said she had received positive feedback from the White House after she helped craft a $568 billion infrastructure proposal, which was cast as a starting point for bipartisan negotiations.

Despite flickers of bipartisanship, the parties remain far apart on infrastructure and other issues as Mr. Biden nears his 100th day in office. Mr. Biden, who during the election campaign said he would seek compromise, faces continued questions over whether he plans to advance his agenda on a party-line basis or with some support from Republicans.

Read more at the WSJ


Jobless Claims Fall to 547,000

The number of Americans applying for unemployment aid fell last week to 547,000, the lowest point since the pandemic struck and an encouraging sign that layoffs are slowing on the strength of an improving job market.

The Labor Department said Thursday that applications declined 39,000 from a revised 586,000 a week earlier. Weekly jobless claims are down sharply from a peak of 900,000 in early January. At the same time, they’re still far above the roughly 230,000 level that prevailed before the viral outbreak ripped through the economy in March of last year.

Read more at the AP


FDA: Litany of Issues at Baltimore Botched-Vaccine Plant

The FDA released an inspection report last week that detailed a multitude of process and facility problems at Emergent BioSolutions’ Bayview plant in Baltimore, the contract manufacturer that botched the production of 15 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses due to a batch mixup first reported on March 31.  

Some of the problems detailed in the 12-page report were related to inadequacies in the aging manufacturing facility, including overcrowding in the warehouse, doorways too small to move containers between rooms in a way to prevent contamination, and peeling paint and damaged walls that make thorough cleaning difficult to impossible. Others involved improper training and protocols, such as employees not signing in and out as they completed procedures or moved through the plant.

Read more at IndustryWeek


India’s Giant Second Wave is a Disaster for it and the World

The number of people testing positive for covid-19 in India has continued to surge reaching 315,000 last week —the highest daily figure in any country at any point during the pandemic. Deaths, too, are beginning to soar, and suspicions abound that the grisly official toll is itself a massive underestimate.

This horrifying second wave is a catastrophe not only for India but for the world. Allowing the virus to circulate unchecked increases the risk that dangerous new strains will emerge. One worrying variant first detected in India, called the “double mutant”, has already been found in several other countries, including America and Britain. Even as scientists labour to understand how big a threat it poses, more variants are appearing. A more immediate consequence of India’s second wave for the rest of the world is a disruption to vaccine supplies. India had hoped to be the world’s pharmacy. But with case numbers exploding the government has restricted exports of vaccines. 

Read more at The Economist


 

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Daily Briefing – 290

Earth Day Climate Summit: Biden Promises 50% Reduction in US Greenhouse Emissions

President Joe Biden pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas pollution in half by 2030 at a virtual climate summit Thursday, outlining an aggressive target that would require sweeping changes to America’s energy and transportation sectors. The White House’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52% percent, from a baseline of 2005 emissions, is nearly double the target set by Obama administration in 2015. 

An administration official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity, did not detail how the White House plans to achieve the 50% reduction in emissions. 

Read More at USA Today


NYS Vaccine Update – Walk-In Vaccinations for New Yorkers 60 and Older

Beginning Today, April 23rd, 16 mass vaccination sites in NYS will set aside a vaccine allocation allowing New Yorkers over the age of 60 to walk-in and get vaccinated. As of 11 am Thursday 8,574,845 (plus 79,491 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 5,918,965 are fully vaccinated (Plus 99,548).  In the Hudson Valley 905,700  (plus 10,044) have at least one dose and 594,395 (plus 13,752) are fully vaccinated. 


NYS COVID Update –Positivity Rate Continues to Drops, Hudson Valley Rate Below 3%

The Governor  also updated COVID data through Tuesday April 20th.  There were 45 COVID related deaths. The governor also announced that the statewide 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to 2.14 percent, the lowest since November 12. 

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 3,567
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 352

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,221
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 397

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 2.57%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 2.94%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – Slowdown Could Threaten Recovery

The slowdown in the daily pace of COVID-19 vaccinations has sparked concerns from health experts that it could slow the recovery from the pandemic. The U.S. hit a peak in early April of getting 4.63 million COVID-19 vaccines into arms in a single day before Tuesday saw a total of 1.81 million doses administered, according to Our World in Data. Overall, the seven-day average reached a highpoint of 3.38 million vaccines per day last week before it declined to 3.02 million on Tuesday.

Josh Michaud, the associate director for global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, called the overall downward trend “concerning if not entirely surprising,” warning that places with less “vaccination coverage” could be at risk to face additional variants of COVID-19 that could be more transmissible or severe. “If adults can’t be vaccinated at high levels then we might fall short of the level of population immunity that we need to really tamp down outbreaks and might play out as sort of the patchwork of immunity across the country,” he said. 

Read More at The Hill


Third Shot Will Be Needed as Immunity Will Wane

The chief medical officer of BioNTech told CNBC on Wednesday that people will likely need a third shot of its two-dose Covid-19 vaccine as immunity against the virus wanes, agreeing with previous comments made by Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

Dr. Ozlem Tureci, co-founder and CMO of BioNTech, which developed a Covid vaccine with Pfizer, said she also expects people will need to get vaccinated against the coronavirus annually, like for the seasonal flu. That’s because, she said, scientists expect vaccine-induced immunity against the virus will decrease over time.

Read more at CNBC


Europe Has Finally Turned a Corner on Covid-19 Vaccinations

The inflection point came this month, with Germany nearly doubling the pace of vaccinations after an increase in supplies and the decision to let general practitioners administer doses in their regular offices. France, Italy and Spain are following a similar trajectory.

The bloc has had to overcome multiple hurdles, including delays to vaccine deliveries from AstraZeneca Plc and health concerns because of a blood clot risk associated with some shots. Earlier this month, Johnson & Johnson halted deliveries of its vaccine, but reversed course on Tuesday after the EU’s drug regulator said the benefits outweigh the risks.

Read more at Bloomberg


The CDC and FDA are Leaning Toward Resuming Use of the J&J Vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are leaning toward resuming use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with a warning about blood clots, sources told CBS News. A decision is expected today, more than a week after the vaccine’s distribution was paused following reports of rare but dangerous blood clots in eight people under the age of 50. 

Read more at CBS News


Biden to Propose Capital Gains Tax of 39.6%

President Joe Biden will seek to raise taxes on millionaire investors to fund education and other spending priorities as part of the administration’s effort to overhaul the U.S. economy.

As part of the plan, Biden will seek an increase in the tax on capital gains to 39.6% from 20% for those Americans earning more than $1 million, according to multiple outlets, including Bloomberg News and The New York Times.

Read more at CNBC


U.S. Adds 116 Countries to its ‘Do Not Travel’ Advisory List

The U.S. State Department has added at least 116 countries this week to its “Level Four: Do Not Travel” advisory list, putting the UK, Canada, France, Israel, Mexico, Germany and others on the list, citing a “very high level of COVID-19.”

The State Department said on Monday the move did not imply a reassessment of current health situations in some countries, but rather “reflects an adjustment in the State Department’s Travel Advisory system to rely more on (the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s) existing epidemiological assessments.”

Read more at Reuters


A Controversial Proposal for a Waiver on Intellectual Property has Pitted Countries Against one Another

Global trade negotiators are deadlocked on a proposal to suspend intellectual property rights on coronavirus medical products so that less-wealthy countries can develop life-saving vaccines and other goods on their own.

A months-long debate at the World Trade Organization has led to little, if any, movement. On Thursday, diplomats meet again and will likely rehash their positions, with the EU, U.K, and Switzerland in the wealthy camp opposing the proposal.  But the proposal, pitched by South Africa and India at the WTO, is still gaining traction politically as the gap in vaccination rates between rich and poor countries grows by the day. Meanwhile, manufacturers have struggled to keep up with demand. 

Read more and listen to the story at Politico


GOP Senators Release Outline of $568 Billion Infrastructure Plan

The two-page Republican plan—which includes spending on roads, transit systems, and broadband internet over five years—doesn’t provide specifics on how it would cover the cost of the bill, a central issue in the talks. The GOP proposal calls for collecting user fees for electric vehicles and repurposing existing federal spending, while opposing Mr. Biden’s proposed tax increases on companies.

Of the $568 billion in the outline, $299 billion would go toward roads and bridges, an increase from the $115 billion the Biden administration’s plan proposes. The GOP plan also dedicates $61 billion to public transit systems, $20 billion to rail and $65 billion for broadband.

Read more at the WSJ


Automakers Continue Chip Shortage Induced Pause

Ford will prolong the idling of five factories in North America, because of a global shortage of semiconductors. The pause will affect production of the American firm’s Explorer SUVs, F-150 pickup trucks and Transit vans. Renault, a French carmaker, said that revenues were roughly flat year-on-year in its first quarter, partly because its production plans were affected by the chip shortage.

Read more at The Detroit News


NAM Pitches Infrastructure Funding Solutions

Improving our infrastructure is critical for the manufacturing industry, but it also presents an opportunity for manufacturers to build and maintain equipment and to employ the people who put it all together. That’s why the NAM has been calling for the United States to upgrade its infrastructure through Building to Win—a plan that highlights the importance of building these resources, as well as our suggestions for how to fund them.

  • Private investment: Private sector and industry investment through public infrastructure bonds and municipal infrastructure bonds offers an opportunity for the government and industry to work together.
  • National infrastructure bank: Under this proposal, an institution backed by federal dollars would share some of the risk of infrastructure investment but provide much-needed capital for the development of projects with public benefit. 
  • User fees: The NAM has talked about different ways to update the user fee model, designing a system so that users of roads continue to pay their fair share. 

Read more at NAM


Feel Like a Lot of City Folk Moved Into the Region Last Year?  You’re Right

An analysis of address changes recorded in credit reports, by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, shows  an increase in net out-migration specifically from urban neighborhoods in 2020, and a broader acceleration of moves out of large, high-cost metros. But the starkest changes were limited to two regions.

“Consistently, in all of those, New York and San Francisco stand out,” said Stephan Whitaker, an economist with the Cleveland Fed who conducted the research. “It really is a remarkably higher level of out-migration appearing in those two areas. 

Metros with the biggest change in net in-migration (Out of 926 metro areas)

  2019 Chg2020 ChgShift
1Hudson, N.Y.-1.0%+8.7%+9.7 pts.
2Kingston, N.Y.-1.6%+3.6%+5.2 pts

Read more and see lots more data in the NY Times


Climate Change is Becoming Ever More Important to Business

A new survey out this morning from IBM underscores the point. The survey covered 14,000 people in nine countries. Among its findings:

  • More than 70% of people now say they are more likely to work for, or stay with, a company with a good record or reputation on the environment.
  • 55% say they are “willing to pay more for brands that are sustainable and environmentally responsible.”
  • 48% of investors say their portfolio “already takes environmental sustainability into account,” and another 21% say they will likely add sustainability as a factor for investment decisions in the future.

In a separate IBM survey 84% of CEOs said  that sustainability will be important to their strategy in 2022—up from just 32% who said the same in 2018. 

Read more at IBM


 

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Daily Briefing – 289

The U.S. is Approaching the Vaccine Hesitancy “Tipping Point”

The U.S. will probably run out of adults who are enthusiastic about getting vaccinated within the next two to four weeks, according to a KFF analysis published yesterday. Vaccine hesitancy is rapidly approaching as our main impediment to herd immunity.

  • “It appears we are quite close to the tipping point where demand for rather than supply of vaccines is our primary challenge,” the authors write.
  • “Federal, state, and local officials, and the private sector, will face the challenge of having to figure out how to increase willingness to get vaccinated among those still on the fence, and ideally among the one-fifth of adults who have consistently said they would not get vaccinated or would do so only if required.”

Read More at Axios


NYS Vaccine Update

As of 11 am Wednesday 8,495,354 (plus 89,326 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 5,819,417 are fully vaccinated (Plus 83,278).  In the Hudson Valley 895,656  (plus 12,678) have at least one dose and 580,643 (plus 11,452) are fully vaccinated. 


NYS COVID Update –Positivity Rate Continues to Drops to 

The Governor  also updated COVID data through Tuesday April 20th.  There were 53 COVID related deaths. The governor also announced that the statewide 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to 2.14 percent, the lowest since November 12. 

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 3,757
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 382

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,245
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 400

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 2.69%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 3.04%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – 3 Million Doses a Day

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday about 134.4 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, including about 87.6 million people who have been fully vaccinated by Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine or the two-dose series made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

The C.D.C. is now reporting people fully vaccinated by county of residence. This data is not available for all states, and is incomplete in others, artificially lowering the published vaccination rates for some counties.

Read more at The New York Times


EU Calls for J&J Covid-19 Vaccine Warning on Blood Clots, but Says Benefits Outweigh Risks

Europe’s health agency said a warning should be added to the product information of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine that unusual blood clots are a very rare possible side effect, but said the benefits of taking the shot outweigh the risks.

The move by European officials comes as use of the shot has been paused in both Europe and the U.S., where an advisory committee to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is scheduled to meet Friday to advise about the next course of action.  It also comes as the number of U.S. cases of blood-clot disorders linked to the shot has risen to nine, up from the six initially reported, according to a senior U.S. health official.

Read more at the WSJ


Ford, UAW to Offer COVID-19 Vaccines at Work

Ford Motor Co (F.N) on Monday said it would provide on-site COVID-19 vaccines to its hourly and salaried employees at manufacturing facilities in three states, stepping up efforts to keep its workers safe from the coronavirus.

Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers (UAW) have secured contracts allowing them to provide the vaccines at the company’s manufacturing facilities in Southeast Michigan, Missouri and Ohio, starting Monday, the automaker said.

Read more at Reuters 


Taiwan’s Worst Drought in Decades Deepens Chip Shortage Jitters

Taiwan is home to some of the world’s biggest and most advanced high-tech foundries, a linchpin of a global $450 billion industry that provides the computing power for essential devices, but is extremely water-intensive. The coronavirus pandemic sparked a global run on microchips as consumers snapped up electronics — causing a dearth that Taiwan’s microchip factories were struggling to plug even before the drought hit.

Those foundries are already running at full capacity trying to meet demand. But the sudden lack of rain is making a bad situation worse for a manufacturing process that uses billions of gallons of water a year to stave off contamination of its products.

Read more at IndustryWeek


Weed and the Workplace: A Closer Look

Cannabis, or marijuana, is the most consumed illicit substance. And now, roughly one in three Americans live in a state where cannabis is legal for either medical or adult-use (sometimes called recreational use).

That, combined with outdated policies and testing capabilities, have resulted in a hydra of concerns for companies caught between following the law and ensuring employee safety.

Read a roundup of recent articles on how to navigate these murky waters at EHS


$400 Signing Bonus for Workers? It’s Happening in Florida

Hospitality experts argue the drought in employees can be explained with three theories: fear of returning to closed spaces during a pandemic, ex-employees leaving the restaurant world for good, and the ease of collecting unemployment benefits.

South Florida restaurants are so desperate to fill critical jobs they are taking a page from the playbook of Silicon Valley headhunters: signing bonuses.

Read more at the Sun Sentinel


NY Fed Survey: Benefit Costs Again Top the List of Problems Along With Rising Pressure on Wages

Supplementary questions in the April 2016 Empire State Manufacturing Survey and
Business Leaders Survey focused on the extent to which certain business issues posed problems for firms.

As in previous surveys, the cost of employee benefits was cited most frequently, by far, as a major problem for manufacturers. The second most widespread problem among manufacturers was finding qualified workers, followed by government regulation.  While most of this month’s results closely paralleled those from October 2014, one issue that seems to have grown increasingly problematic—among both manufacturing and service firms—is employee wage costs.  Nearly two thirds of manufacturing expected employee wage costs to grow increasingly problematic. Among manufacturers, weak sales were also more widely cited as a problem than last time.

Read the Supplemental Report at the NY Fed


 

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Daily Briefing – 288

Ulster County to Fast-Track Manufacturing Job Opportunities

The pandemic has resulted in a shift in jobs as some occupations have recovered faster than others. As a result, Ulster County is joining forces with other organizations to identify job opportunities, said County Economic Development Director Tim Weideman. 
 
“We are working with the Council of Industry and our partners at SBDC, SUNY Ulster, and the SBA, on a new program that we are tentatively calling the Fast-Track Workforce Platform that will help to be able to identify the jobs that are available in these manufacturers and related businesses, identify the skills that they need, both for entry-level positions and experienced positions to be able to start recruiting the candidates that can fill those positions,” he said.
 

NYS Vaccine Update

As of 11 am Tuesday 8,406,028 (plus 79,596 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 5,736,139 are fully vaccinated (Plus 76,722).  In the Hudson Valley 882,978  (plus 9,223) have at least one dose and 569,191 (plus 8,949) are fully vaccinated. 


NYS COVID Update –Positivity Rate Drops to 2.80%

The Governor  also updated COVID data through Monday April 19th.  There were 45 COVID related deaths. The governor also announced that the statewide 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to 2.80 percent, the lowest since November 12. 

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 3,873
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 396

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,120
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 383

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 2.80%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 3.19%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – 3 Million Doses a Day

The US has distributed 265 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and administered 211 million doses. Daily doses administered* remains steady at approximately 3 million, including 1.6 million people fully vaccinated.

More than half of all adults have received at least one dose of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, and one-third are fully vaccinated. A total of 132 million individuals have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine, equivalent to 40% of the entire US population and 51% of all adults. Of those, 85 million (26% of the total population; 33% of adults) are fully vaccinated. Among adults aged 65 years and older, 80% have received at least 1 dose, and 65% are fully vaccinated. In terms of full vaccination, 42 million individuals have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 35 million have received the Moderna vaccine, and 7.9 million have received the J&J-Janssen vaccine.

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security


Analysis: 3 Things Scientists Have Learned About Vaccine Hesitancy

As of Monday, all adults in the country — not just those most vulnerable to the virus — are eligible to get vaccinated. As of Monday, all adults in the country — not just those most vulnerable to the virus — are eligible to get vaccinated. But a troubling challenge remains in a country that has access to millions of doses while some nations still have none. A sizable portion of the population has what experts call “vaccine hesitancy.”

According to an ABC News analysis of the county-level data, vaccine hesitancy is estimated to be higher in rural parts of the country, especially in western states including Wyoming, North Dakota and Idaho, as well as in southern states like Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia. Hesitancy is also estimated to be higher where COVID-19 cases are the highest — and in some of the most underserved parts of the country where vaccines are needed the most.

Read more at ABC News


Return to “Normalcy” – Lesson for the U.S. From Three Countries With Rapid Vaccination Rollouts

Rapid Covid-19 vaccination rollouts in Israel, the U.K. and Chile hold an important lesson for the U.S. as it navigates back to normalcy: Risks remain, even after inoculating a significant share of your population. The three countries have so far had contrasting experiences. Israel has reopened its economy and is closing down its Covid-19 treatment wards. Chile, by contrast, has locked down again and shut its borders. The U.K. is taking it slow, with a staged reopening planned over the next few months.

Epidemiologists say the risk is real of a so-called exit wave of new infections as countries drop their guard while shots increase, since vaccines don’t provide 100% protection against contracting Covid-19. New coronavirus variants that can evade the immunity conferred by vaccination or past infection heighten the risk of another surge.  Ease restrictions too rapidly and the virus will seize its chance, scientists say.

Read more at the WSJ


NIH-Funded COVID-19 Testing Initiative Aims to Safely Return Children to In-Person School

The National Institutes of Health is awarding up to $33 million over two years to fund projects at 10 institutions across eight states to build evidence on safely returning students, teachers and support staff to in-person school in areas with vulnerable and underserved populations. This funding was made available by the American Rescue Plan.

Known as the Safe Return to School Diagnostic Testing Initiative, the awards are part of the NIH Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program, which aims to increase COVID-19 testing access and uptake for vulnerable and underserved populations. Projects will combine frequent COVID-19 testing with proven safety measures to reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Read more at NIH


State Department To Issue Travel Warnings Amid ‘Unprecedented’ COVID-19 Risks

The U.S. State Department on Monday announced plans to expand travel advisories, urging U.S. citizens to stay home as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose “unprecedented risks” around the globe. The updated travel guidelines are intended to curb visits “to approximately 80% of countries worldwide” that are experiencing dramatic spikes in cases, the department said in a statement. New guidance is expected be released later this week.

The latest recommendations come as the coronavirus “continues to pose unprecedented risks to travelers,” and the new guidelines “better reflect the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s science-based Travel Health Notices,” according to the notice.

Read more at NPR


Union Accuses Amazon of Illegally Interfering with Vote

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union has filed objections to the National Labor Relations Board regarding the Alabama Amazon union vote, accusing the retailer of illegally skewing results by threatening employee layoffs and warehouse closure if workers voted to establish a union. Workers  overwhelmingly voted against forming a union, with 1,798 rejecting it and 738 voting in favor of it. A total of 3,117 votes were cast, about 53% of the nearly 6,000 workers at the warehouse.

“Rather than accepting these employees’ choice, the union seems determined to continue misrepresenting the facts in order to drive its own agenda,” said Amazon spokeswoman Heather Knox.

Read more a the Associated Press


UAW Workers at Volvo Trucks Go On Strike in Virginia

The United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) revealed on April 17 that over 2,900 UAW workers have gone on strike at Volvo Truck’s New River Valley (NRV) truck plant in Dublin, Va. According to UAW’s statement, the UAW members, who voted 96.8% in favor of striking if a deal was not reached by March 15, want a new agreement that protects their families through job security and adequate wages and benefits, as well as their health and safety.

Volvo’s reaction to the strike was also that of surprise and disappointment. “Progress was being made, and we had offered substantial increases in our employees’ compensation,” said Franky Marchand, NRV vice president and general manager. “We don’t understand why the UAW won’t allow our employees to continue building trucks while we continue negotiations.”

Read more at IndustryWeek


Greenwald Doherty on COVID-19 Leaves “2.0”

With all the recently enacted federal and state laws that provide employees with COVID-19 sick and vaccine-related leaves of absences, employers may be uncertain of their obligations.  Some provisions are voluntary, but others are mandatory.  The federal government extended the ability for employers to receive tax credits if they provide certain COVID-related voluntary leave, but doing so could require the company to then provide extensive leaves of absence. 

Council Associate Member Greenwald Doherty writes that employers should strategically consider how to approach these voluntary leave provisions and how to remain compliant with the mandatory components of applicable local laws and offers some guidance.

Read more at Greenwald Doherty


 

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Daily Briefing – 287

Biden Pitches Infrastructure Bill to Legislators 

During his meeting with a bipartisan group with lawmakers today the president said: “I am prepared to compromise… It’s a big package but there are a lot of needs,” according to a White House pool report.  The president added, the group would discuss how the infrastructure plan would be paid for.

In another sign that negotiations are still open the President said “That’s what we’re going to try to figure out today…” 

Read more at CNBC


NYS Vaccine Update – Plenty of Appointments 

New Yorkers can schedule an appointment at a state-run mass vaccination site on the Am I Eligible App or by calling 1-833-NYS-4-VAX. People may also contact their local health department, pharmacy, doctor or hospital to schedule appointments where vaccines are available, or visit vaccinefinder.org to find information on vaccine appointments near you. 

As of 11 am Monday 8,326,462 (plus 68,687 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 5,659,417 are fully vaccinated (Plus 63,224).  In the Hudson Valley 873,755  (plus 8,302) have at least one dose and 560,242 (plus 6,937) are fully vaccinated. 


NYS COVID Update –Movie Theaters,  Museums, Aquariums,  Zoos and Botanical Garden Capacity Will Increase April 26

At a briefing yesterday afternoon Governor Cuomo announced that: “Museum and zoo capacity will be raised to 50 percent starting next Monday. The weather is nice. We have magnificent zoos in this state. You want to get outside, you want to take the family somewhere, museums and zoos will be at 50 percent. Movie theater capacity will go to 33 percent, that will also start next Monday, April 26. Indoor large arenas, basically sports arenas, will be raised to 25 percent. That begins May 19.Governor

The Governor  also updated COVID data through Sunday April 18th.  There were 44 COVID related deaths.

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 3,783
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 397

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,191
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 385

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 2.94%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 3.37%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – More Than a Quarter of Americans Are Now Fully Vaccinated

More than a quarter of the U.S. population has now been vaccinated against Covid-19, and nearly 40% of people have received at least one shot, but the average number of newly reported cases each day remains high. Some 25.4% of those in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated, according to data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least 39.5% of the population has received one shot, the CDC data show.

States including Connecticut, Maine, New Mexico, Vermont and South Dakota have more than 30% of their populations vaccinated, the data show, while 24 states have reported more than 40% of their populations have received at least one dose. 

Read more at the WSJ


J&J Vaccine Manufacturing Halted at U.S. Plant That Had Contamination Issue

Production of Johnson & Johnson’s  COVID-19 vaccine at a U.S. manufacturing plant was halted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration while the agency investigates an error that led to millions of doses being ruined last month. Johnson & Johnson said it would work with Emergent and the FDA to address any findings at the end of the inspection.

Emergent BioSolutions Inc, the company that owns and runs the Baltimore plant that had been making the J&J vaccine, said in a regulatory filing that the FDA requested a pause on April 16 in production of new drug substance for the shot pending completion of the inspection. “At this time, it is premature to speculate on any potential impact this could have on the timing of our vaccine deliveries,” J&J said

Read more at Reuters


Moderna Sees Shortfall in Britain COVID Vaccine Shipments

Last week the billionth dose of a covid-19 vaccine was produced. Thanks to the massive expansion of manufacturing capacity, the next billion could be produced by May 27th. But that ambition is at risk from American export controls on raw materials and equipment. Production lines in India, home to the world’s largest vaccine-maker, the Serum Institute of India, will come to a halt in the coming weeks unless the United States supplies 37 critical items.

The problem stems from the Biden administration’s use of legislation that grants the president broad industrial-mobilization powers to bolster domestic vaccine manufacturing. That has hindered the export of essential components. European companies have also complained of difficulties in getting supplies from America. In theory, the world could produce 14bn vaccine doses this year. But for that, raw materials must arrive when and where needed. 

Read more at The Economist


CDC Tightens Its N95 Guidance

The CDC has updated its guidance documents aimed primarily at healthcare industry employers in regard to N95 masks, ending changes it had made during the period when the masks were in short supply last year. Last year, the CDC worked with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to allow usage of some kinds of masks exceeding the manufacturer-designated shelf life in times of increased demand and decreased supply, so long as appropriate storage practices were followed.

In addition, the CDC released a strategic document that deals with appropriate use of respirators when they are available at various types of “surge” capacities (that is, conventional capacity, contingency capacity and crisis capacity).


Manufacturing Economic Report 

Fueled by stimulus payments and pent-up demand, consumer spending at retailers jumped 9.8% in March, the largest monthly gain in 10 months. Excluding gasoline and motor vehicle sales, retail spending rose 8.2% in March. More than anything, the data speak to the increased willingness of Americans to leave their homes — thanks to increased vaccination rates–and to spend much of the additional dollars in their pockets from stimulus checks. That growth should be largely sustained in the coming months, with the U.S. economy expected to continue rebounding very strongly.

Read more at NAM


Ingenuity Takes Flight

NASA successfully launched Ingenuity, a miniature helicopter, on the surface of Mars today. The 1.8kg whirligig will climbed three meters above the Martian surface for 39 seconds—more than twice the duration of the first controlled flight on Earth, which was achieved by the Wright brothers in 1903.

There are significant challenges to flying on Mars and Ingenuity has to contend with a planet that particularly enjoys killing spacecraft. Should it succeed in getting off the ground, it will pave the way for future missions, deeper in the cosmos.

Read why Ingenuity is so ingenious at CNET


NASA Chooses SpaceX to Take Humans Back to Moon

NASA has selected SpaceX to land the first astronauts on the surface of the Moon since 1972, the agency said Friday, in a huge victory for Elon Musk’s company. The contract, worth $2.9 billion, involves the prototype Starship spacecraft that is being tested at SpaceX’s south Texas facility. NASA wants to use the Space Launch System rocket to launch four astronauts on board an Orion crew capsule, which will then dock with a lunar space station called Gateway.

For its Moon lander bid, SpaceX put forward its reusable Starship spacecraft, which is designed to carry large crews and cargo for deep space voyages, and land upright both on Earth and other celestial bodies.  Prototypes of the vessel are currently being put through their paces at the company’s south Texas facility, though all four versions that have so far attempted test flights have exploded.

Read more at IndustryWeek


Should You Make Your Office Pet Friendly

The proliferation of pets during the pandemic was one way workers eased the stress and loneliness of work from home. But what will happen to those animals when people return to the office?

Petco CEO Ron Coughlin has one answer: people should take their pets with them. His company, which saw double-digit growth during the pandemic, announced yesterday that it is developing a new playbook and tool kit for pet-friendly offices, including pet runs, gates for maintaining pet-free areas, clean up stations, insurance and more.

Read more and get the toolkit from Petco


In Trials, China’s Sinovac Underperforms

Results for China’s CoronaVac vaccine, developed by Sinovac Biotech, a Beijing-based pharmaceutical company, were disappointing for the aspiring scientific and technological powerhouse. Phase-three trials, which were conducted on health-care workers in Brazil, yielded an efficacy rate of just 50.7% (with a 95% confidence interval of 35.7% to 62.2%), just barely above the 50% threshold set by the World Health Organization for covid-19 vaccines (see chart). The results of a real-world trial released a week earlier were even worse: the vaccine was estimated to be just 49.6% effective (11.3% to 71.4%) against symptomatic covid-19 cases; when asymptomatic infections were included, this figure dropped to a dismal 35.1%.

Read more at The Economist


Walk-in Site for Vaccinations is Up and Running in Kingston

Ulster County today (Thursday, April 15, 2021) is operating its first-ever walk-in clinic for COVID-19 shots. No appointment is necessary to receive the Moderna vaccine at the Andy Murphy III Midtown Neighborhood Center, 467 Broadway, Kingston. The site is operating from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Anyone who wants to be vaccinated will need to bring identification, but County Executive Pat Ryan said earlier this week that the ID does not have to be “official,” such as a driver’s license, and that immigration status will not be checked.

Read more at the Kingston Daily Freeman


 

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Daily Briefing – 286

GOP Open to Smaller Infrastructure Bill

Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) on Sunday said he and his colleagues could support an infrastructure bill of around $800 billion, underscoring GOP interest in a bipartisan fix for the nation’s aging roads and patchy broadband service. The comments signal that Senate Republicans are seeking a compromise on infrastructure, ahead of President Biden’s meeting with lawmakers on Monday to push his own $2.3 trillion plan.

Republicans generally have raised concerns that Mr. Biden’s package is too costly, and has too many what they see as non-infrastructure elements. Sen. Chris Coons (D., Del.), also on Fox News Sunday, said that Democrats should work to find a bipartisan agreement with Republicans on elements of the White House infrastructure plan before pivoting to a second, broader package that Democrats pass along party lines.

Read more at the WSJ


NYS Vaccine Update – Steady Progress

As of 11 am Sunday 8,257,745 (plus 90,952 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 5,596,193 are fully vaccinated (Plus 84,881).  In the Hudson Valley 865,453  (plus 9,945) have at least one dose and 553,305 (plus 7489) are fully vaccinated. 


NYS COVID Update – Positivity Rate Falls Below 3%

Governor Cuomo issues a press release yesterday afternoon with data through Tuesday April 14th.  There were 46 COVID related deaths for a total of 41,347.

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 3,754
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 397

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,191
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 385

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 2.92%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 3.37%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – 48% of US Adults have at Least 1 Dose

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center is reporting 31.5 million cumulative cases and 565,318 deaths as of 10:15am EDT on April 16. The US has distributed 255 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and administered 198 million doses. Daily doses administered* has leveled off at approximately 3 million, including 1.6 million people fully vaccinated.

A total of 126 million individuals have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine, equivalent to 38% of the entire US population and 48% of all adults. Of those, 78 million (24% of the total population; 30% of adults) are fully vaccinated. Among adults aged 65 years and older, 80% have received at least 1 dose, and 64% are fully vaccinated. In terms of full vaccination, 38 million individuals have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 32 million have received the Moderna vaccine, and 7.7 million have received the J&J-Janssen vaccine.

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security


While Variants Fuel Surge, Scientists Voice Optimism for Vaccines

Covid-19 cases are surging across the world, fueled by highly contagious variants of the coronavirus that are popping up far from where they were first detected. The spread of these variants, scientists say, highlights how tiny, random changes in the virus’s genetic code threaten to undo progress in beating back a global pandemic that has killed at least three million people. Concerning variants are spreading in the U.S. and Canada, Europe and Latin America.

Scientists say variants can be brought under control with now-familiar public health measures such as mask wearing and social distancing. They are also hopeful that the current crop of vaccines will at least limit the numbers of people falling gravely ill and dying of Covid-19, even if the variants weaken the vaccines’ effectiveness at preventing infection. Vaccine makers are already testing new versions of their shots that are retuned to attack variants.

Read more at the WSJ


Fauci Says U.S. Will Likely Resume Use of J&J Vaccine With a Warning or Restriction

White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday he believes the U.S. will likely resume use of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine with a warning or restriction attached.  Fauci said he anticipates a decision on the J&J vaccine as soon as Friday, when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine advisory panel meets to discuss resumption. 

“I don’t think it’s just going to go back and say, ‘Okay, everything’s fine. Go right back.’ I think it’ll likely say, ‘Okay, we’re going to use it, but be careful under these certain circumstances,’” Fauci continued.

Read more at CNBC


Pfizer CEO Says Third Dose Likely Needed Within 12 Months

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said people will “likely” need a booster dose of a Covid-19 vaccine within 12 months of getting fully vaccinated. His comments were made public Thursday but were taped April 1.  Researchers still don’t know how long protection against the virus lasts once someone has been fully vaccinated.

Pfizer said earlier this month that its Covid-19 vaccine was more than 91% effective at protecting against the coronavirus and more than 95% effective against severe disease up to six months after the second dose. Moderna’s vaccine, which uses technology similar to Pfizer’s, was also shown to be highly effective at six months.

Read more at CNBC


Economist Podcast: How to Persuade the Vaccine Sceptics

Around 30% of those polled in the country are hesitant to take the jab. A shortage of vaccines will soon become a shortage of arms. What is the best way to persuade reluctant citizens to get inoculated?

The Economist Speaks to Heidi Larson, anthropologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and founding director of the Vaccine Confidence Project, about the similarities between vaccine hesitancy today and the 19th century. And also Crystal Son, director of healthcare analytics at Civis Analytics, on why vaccine safety messaging is ineffective.

Listen here (39 minutes) 

McMahon: NY Job Recovery Picks Up Steam, Still Lags Rest of U.S.

The Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon reports that New York’s private-sector job recovery accelerated in March—but remained far behind the national pace on a year-to-year basis, according to the latest monthly figures from the state Labor Department.

Compared to the same month in 2020, New York’s statewide private employment in March was down 823,100 jobs, or 10.1 percent. New York’s relative recovery rate looks stronger based on a seasonally adjusted basis, which reflects statistical adjustments reflecting assumed historical hiring patterns. On a seasonally adjusted basis, New York’s March statewide private employment total was up 61,000 jobs from the February level, an increase of 0.8 percent, while the nation gained jobs at only half the pace, or 0.4 percent, last month.

Read more at the Empire Center


OSHA’s COVID ETS Remain in Limbo

Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a major COVID-19 enforcement program aimed at employers in high-risk industries, it has yet to publish the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) regulations President Biden had ordered it to issue no later than mid-March.

It appears that the standards have been held up either by OSHA’s ultimate boss in the Department of Labor (DOL), Secretary Marty Walsh, or by White House staffers concerned about whether the content will stand up to legal scrutiny and political heat. Why this turned out to be the case has inspired growing speculation by agency observers.

Read more at EHS Today


U.S. Consumer Sentiment Rises to One-Year High in Early April

The University of Michigan said its preliminary consumer sentiment index rose to 86.5 in the first half of this month from a final reading of 84.9 in March. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index rising to 89.6.

The survey’s barometer of current economic conditions increased to a reading of 97.2 from 93.0 in March. Its measure of consumer expectations was unchanged at 79.7.

Read more at Reuters


Analysis of the Paycheck Protection Program in New York

SBA reporting for the first three rounds of funding through April 11, 2021, indicates $755 billion in loans have been approved for 9.6 million borrowers across the country. Detailed data are available for $679 billion in loans made through the end of February. Below are the key findings for New York, with the associated figures available as a printable PDF.

  • New York entities received 489,100 loans totaling $51.0 billion, or 7.5 percent of the total nationwide loan amount. Only California and Texas received more. 
  • Most of the loans were made to entities downstate: 47 percent of borrowers were located in New York City and an additional 24 percent were located in Westchester, Suffolk, and Nassau counties, reflecting both population patterns and the early and severe impact of the pandemic in these regions. For a detailed analysis of PPP loans in New York City, read the Comptroller’s report.
  • The average loan was $104,200, ranging from a low of $50,300 on average in Greene County to a high of $153,600 on average in Manhattan (New York County). The median loan was about $86,800.

Read more at the Comptroller’s website


 

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Daily Briefing – 285

J.P.Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI Rises to Ten-Year High 

The J.P.Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI™ – a composite index produced by J.P.Morgan and IHS Markit in association with ISM and IFPSM – rose to 55.0 in March, a 121-month high and its best reading since February 2011. The level of the PMI was supported by stronger growth of output, new orders and employment. A slower decrease in stocks of purchases and lengthening of vendor lead times also had a positive impact.

Manufacturing production increased at one of the quickest rates over the past decade, underpinned by the strongest expansion of incoming new work for just over a decade.
International trade flows also picked up pace, with growth of new export business the steepest since January 2018. Efforts to raise production further were stymied by supply chain disruptions in March, with input delivery schedules delayed by longer vendor lead times. The increase in supplier delivery times was the second-greatest extent on record, surpassed only by April last year.

Read more at J.P.Morgan


NYS Vaccine Update – 50% Of New York Adults Have At Least One Dose

Governor today announced that more than 50 percent of New Yorkers 18 years of age and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and more than one in three in the same age group have been fully vaccinated. More than 12.5 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in New York State.

As of 11 am Thursday 7,912,401 (plus 101,317 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 5,273,4991 are fully vaccinated (Plus 99,808).  In the Hudson Valley 830,372  (plus 11,819) have at least one dose and 522,628 (plus 13,928) are fully vaccinated. 


COVID Update – Lowest Hospitalizations in 4 More Than Months

Governor Cuomo issues a press release yesterday afternoon with data through Tuesday April 14th.  There were 46 COVID related deaths for a total of 41,347.

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 3,963
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 433

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 3,258
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 422

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.05%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 3.63%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – Officials Say Johnson & Johnson Pause Won’t Slow Rollout

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows 2.6 million vaccine doses reported administered across the U.S. Tuesday, bringing the daily average of shots given over the past week to a fresh high of 3.4 million. More than 75 million Americans are now fully vaccinated, according to CDC data, nearly 23% of the total population. About 122 million people, or 37% of the population, have received at least one dose.

U.S. officials say the Food and Drug Administration’s recommended pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will not slow down the vaccination campaign. 
Jeff Zients, the White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator, told reporters Tuesday that the Johnson & Johnson announcement “will not have a significant impact on our vaccination program.”

Read more at CNBC


Three Northern States Account for Most of the Rise in U.S. Cases

U.S. Covid cases are rising slowly but steadily. Three northern states—Michigan, Minnesota, and Illinois—account for most of the increase in national cases. By contrast, the March upturns in several other large northern states, including New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, have either flattened or partially reversed, though the trend is still rising, albeit quite slowly, in Pennsylvania.

Cases in the open states in the South are flat or, in the case of Florida, rising slowly but steadily. 

Read more at the New York Times


The EU is Going mRNA All the Way 

“We need to focus on technologies that have proven their worth: mRNA vaccines are a clear case in point,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated Wednesday, announcing that the Commission is in talks to buy another 1.8 billion coronavirus vaccine doses from BioNTech/Pfizer. These doses, to be distributed between 2021 and 2023, are expected to help the bloc in the event Europeans need booster shots or retooled vaccines to fight coronavirus variants, von der Leyen said.

This decision leaves the adenovirus camp—notably AstraZeneca and J&J—in the dust. The Russian maker of the Sputnik V vaccine, however, is trying to differentiate its adenovirus-based jab from those other two, stressing there are no indications of a link between Sputnik V and blood clots.

Read more at Politico


576,000 Americans Filed New Unemployment Claims Last Week, a 52 Week Low

U.S. unemployment claims sank by 193,000 in early April to a fresh pandemic low, an unusually large decline that reflects an improving economy but also ongoing problems in processing applications for jobless benefits. Initial jobless claims filed traditionally through the states fell to a seasonally adjusted 576,000 from 769,000 in the prior week, the government said Thursday. That’s the largest decline since August.

The number of new claims dropped below 600,000 for the first time since the pandemic began 13 months ago and touched a new low. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal had forecast new claims would fall to 710,000 in the seven days ended April 10, partly because of the Good Friday holiday. Claims usually decline around Easter.

Read more at MarketWatch


Retail Sales Explode in March

A fresh batch of stimulus checks sent consumer purchases surging in March as the U.S. economy continued to get juice from aggressive congressional spending.

Advance retail sales rose 9.8% for the month, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. That compared to the Dow Jones estimate of a 6.1% gain and a decline of 2.7% in February. Sporting goods, clothing and food and beverage led the gains in spending and contributed to the best month for retail since the May 2020 gain of 18.3%, which came after the first round of stimulus checks.

Read more at CNBC


Fed: Pace of US Economy Accelerating

The U.S. economic recovery accelerated to a moderate pace from late February to early April as consumers, buoyed by increased COVID-19 vaccinations and strong fiscal support, opened their wallets to spend more on travel and other items, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday. The labor market, which was decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, also improved as more people returned to work, with the pace of hiring picking up the most in the manufacturing, construction, and leisure and hospitality sectors.

The beige book report, based on information from business contacts supplied by the Fed’s 12 regional banks, said that manufacturing activity continued to expand, with half of the Fed districts reporting robust manufacturing growth. Those gains came despite supply-chain disruptions in such critical areas as computer chips.

Read more at PBS


Empire State Manufacturing Survey: “Sturdy Pace” of Growth

Manufacturing activity grew at a sturdy pace in New York State in April.

  • The general business conditions index rose nine points to 26.3, its highest level since well before the pandemic began. 
  • The new orders index shot up eighteen points to 26.9 and the shipments index climbed to 25.0, pointing to strong gains in orders and shipments.
  • Unfilled orders were notably higher.
  • The delivery times index surged seventeen points to 28.1, breaking the previous record by twelve points, pointing to significantly longer delivery times.
  • Inventories moved higher.
  • The index for number of employees increased five points to 13.9, and the average workweek index edged up to 12.7, indicating ongoing gains in employment and hours worked.
  • The prices paid index rose ten points to 74.7, its highest level since 2008, pointing to sharp input price increases.
  • The prices received index rose eleven points to 34.9, a record high, indicating that selling prices increased at the fastest pace in more than twenty years.

Read the full report


March Industrial Production Rose 1.4%, Below 2.5% Consensus

February output was hugely depressed by the massive mid-month storm so a rebound was inevitable in March, but it was not clear how much of the lost ground would be recovered. None, is the answer, given that manufacturing output dropped 3.7% in February and rose only 2.7% in March.

Vehicle output was hardest hit, plunging 10.0% in February and rising only 2.8% in March. This is hard to fathom, given the strong rebound in auto sales and the astonishing strength of the business surveys, so we have to expect catch-up gains over the next couple months. 

Read more at MarketWatch


UK Economy Grew in February as Firms Readied for Lockdown Easing

Britain’s economy grew by 0.4% in February from January as companies prepared for the lifting of a third coronavirus lockdown, according to official data which also showed a partial recovery in post-Brexit trade with the European Union.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected growth of 0.6%. However, the data also showed that the fall in gross domestic product in January was not as severe as previously estimated, down by 2.2% compared with the initial reading of a 2.9% drop.

Read more at Reuters


Chinese Economy Grew More Than 18% in First Quarter

China’s economy surged 18.3% in the first quarter from a year earlier, a record rate of growth that reflected the recovery from a deep coronavirus-induced trough in early 2020 and the continued momentum of the world’s second largest economy.

The rate of gross domestic product growth in the first three months of 2021 was sharply higher than the 6.5% year-over-year growth recorded in the final quarter of 2020, though it fell short of the 19.2% growth expected by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal. Analysts had anticipated GDP growth in the first three months of the year to jump sharply when compared with the year-earlier period, when the Chinese economy suffered a historic 6.8% contraction as the coronavirus’ initial emergence forced Beijing to shut down large swaths of the country.

Read more at the WSJ


 

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April Empire State Manufacturing Report: “Sturdy Pace” of Growth

gettyimages 1156873334 612x612

Manufacturing activity grew at a sturdy pace in New York State in April.

  • The general business conditions index rose nine points to 26.3, its highest level since well before the pandemic began. 
  • The new orders index shot up eighteen points to 26.9 and the shipments index climbed to 25.0, pointing to strong gains in orders and shipments.
  • Unfilled orders were notably higher.
  • The delivery times index surged seventeen points to 28.1, breaking the previous record by twelve points, pointing to significantly longer delivery times.
  • Inventories moved higher.
  • The index for number of employees increased five points to 13.9, and the average workweek index edged up to 12.7, indicating ongoing gains in employment and hours worked.
  • The prices paid index rose ten points to 74.7, its highest level since 2008, pointing to sharp input price increases.
  • The prices received index rose eleven points to 34.9, a record high, indicating that selling prices increased at the fastest pace in more than twenty years.

Read the full report

 

gettyimages 1156873334 612x612

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Daily Briefing – 284

Census Survey: COVID-19 Fears Keep People from Getting Jobs

A year after the pandemic burst onto the U.S. economy, 8.4 million fewer Americans hold jobs. There are many reasons, but one of the most important and least appreciated is the one that keeps Ms. McLaurin at home: fear. A U.S. Census survey conducted in the second half of March found that about 4.2 million adults aren’t working because they are afraid of getting or spreading the coronavirus.

The large number helps explain why some companies say labor is scarce even though the unemployment rate is 6%. It suggests that even with generous fiscal and monetary stimulus, the U.S. labor market might not fully heal until the virus is tamed. What’s more, if fear of the virus keeps people out of the work force, it could add inflation pressure as employers seeking to meet stimulus-fueled demand are forced to raise wages to hire enough workers or keep those they have, and pass those costs on to customers. 

Read more at The WSJ


NYS Vaccine Update 

As of 11 am Wednesday 7,811,084 (plus 105,997 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 5,173,691 are fully vaccinated (Plus 88,476).  In the Hudson Valley 818,553  (plus 12,935) have at least one dose and 508,700 (plus 11,828) are fully vaccinated. 


COVID Update

Governor Cuomo announced that effective Monday, April 19, the curfew for bars and restaurants will be extended. The current curfew will be extended from 11pm to midnight. The curfew for catered events will also move from midnight to 1am. He also announced that spectators will be allowed at horse and auto races at 20 percent capacity, beginning Thursday, April 22.

Governor Cuomo issues a press release yesterday afternoon with data through Tuesday April 13th.  There were 43 COVID related deaths for a total of 41,301.

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,091
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 468

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,238
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 424

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.12%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 3.72%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – J&J Pause Risks Hesitancy Even as U.S. Sees Ample Shots

Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine represents only a sliver of the current U.S. supply, but pausing its use could present new hurdles for an immunization campaign that needs to overcome wider vaccine hesitancy to outpace fast-spreading variants. “This is going to scare a lot of people, and rightfully so,” said Noel Brewer, professor of health behavior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “We should all be concerned about the safety of medicines we receive. In this case, there’s not a lot of reason for concern. The actual risk is vanishingly small.”

The sidelining of J&J, however temporary, leaves the U.S. with two other shots that already made up the bulk of its vaccination campaign — from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. Vaccines from those two companies account for 95% of the shots allocated in the U.S. this week.  

Read more at Bloomberg (subscription) 


J & J Vaccine Remains on Pause as CDC Panel Requests More Information

An advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declined to make any new recommendations on the use of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, which will remain paused as the investigation into rare reports of severe blood clots continues. It will be at least a week until the panel is scheduled to reconvene.

Many of the experts on the committee said they did not have enough information at this time to make a decision, particularly while the other two Covid-19 vaccines authorized in the U.S. are widely available and have no such safety concerns.

 Read more at NBC News


Are Vaccine Passports Legal in the US? the Christian Science Monitor Asks Five Questions

With about 20% of the U.S. having been vaccinated to date, some states, businesses, and schools are considering tools to track individuals’ status – also known as “vaccine passports.” Supporters say it would help schools and businesses reopen safely. Critics say it infringes on individuals’ health choices. Israel has implemented them, and many European nations are looking to do the same as summer approaches.

Here in the U.S., the law is relatively clear. The ethics are not. 

Read more at the CS Monitor


More Colleges Make COVID Vaccines Mandatory for Students

The number of colleges and universities that will require students be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 is suddenly escalating. All 50 states have at least some vaccine mandates for children attending public schools and even those attending private schools and day-care centers. In every case, there are medical exemptions, and in some cases there are religious or philosophical exemptions, as well.

In just the last few days, Duke University, Brown, Northeastern University, the University of Notre Dame, Syracuse University and Ithaca College all announced that students returning to campus in the fall must be fully vaccinated before the first day of class. Cornell University, Rutgers University, Nova Southeastern University, Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, have also said vaccinations will be mandatory for the fall of 2021.

Read more at CNBC


NAM Has Resources to Promote Vaccination to Your Employees

Getting manufacturers—and more Americans—to receive their shot is one of the most important steps toward ending the pandemic, getting back to life and powering recovery and renewal. To accomplish this essential mission, the National Association of Manufacturers and The Manufacturing Institute—the workforce development and education partner of the NAM—are providing the resources below to ensure that manufacturers, their teams and their communities know that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and available.

#ThisIsOurShot. We can get through this pandemic, but only if we roll up our sleeves and get armed against COVID-19.

Read more and use the resources


Fake COVID-19 Certificates Hit Airlines

The documents are often the Covid-19 test results required by many countries on arrival. The International Air Transport Association industry body says it has tracked fake certificates in multiple countries, from France to Brazil, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Border control authorities and police forces have also reported arrests of people selling documents in the U.K., Spain, Indonesia and Zimbabwe, among others.

The problem is hitting international flights more than domestic ones, which typically don’t require certification at the moment. Airlines that are more dependent on cross-border travel, particularly those operating in Europe, are growing increasingly alarmed as they look to the summer, when they still hope demand will start to return.

Read more at the WSJ


What’s Behind the Global Jump in Personal Saving during the Pandemic?

The NY Fed notes that household saving has soared in the United States and other high-income countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors of this study highlight the role of fiscal policy in driving the saving boom. They argue that the larger scale of government assistance in the United States, Japan, and Canada helps explain why saving in these countries has risen more strongly than in the euro area. How freely households spend out of their newly accumulated savings will be a key factor determining the strength of economic recoveries.

Read more at the NY Fed


Big Bank Earnings – JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs Earnings Crush Views; Wells Fargo Also Beats

Big bank stocks are on the upswing again buoyed by Biden’s massive stimulus package and the continued vaccine rollout. Treasury yields are picking up too, with the 10-year rate above 1% again. Investment banking activity is also brisk as SPACs explode, while trading desks benefited from a surge in volatility in the first quarter.

  • JPMorgan earnings skyrocketed 477% to $4.50 a share. Revenue climbed to $33.12 billion. But earnings got a big boost from JPMorgan releasing $5.2 billion from credit loss reserves.
  • Goldman had EPS of $18.60 on revenue of $17.7 billion. Investment banking revenue jumped 73% to $3.77 billion. Fixed income trading revenue climbed 31% to $3.89 billion, and equities trading revenue surged 68% to $3.69 billion. 
  • Wells Fargo had EPS of $1.05 on revenue of $18.06 billion. Provision for credit losses decreased $5.1 billion. Consumer banking revenue was flat at $8.65 billion.

Read more at Investors Business Daily


Boeings Q1 Deliveries Jump

The return of the 737 MAX to service boosted Boeing’s first-quarter plane deliveries compared with a year ago. The aviation giant reported 77 commercial plane deliveries in the quarter ending March 31.  That is an increase from the 50 delivered in the year-ago period, but barely half the 149 planes delivered in 2019 before dual crises over the MAX grounding and the Covid-19 travel industry downturn. 

In the first quarter, the 737 accounted for 63 of the 77 commercial planes delivered, including 58 of the MAX model.  Boeing in March also notched a second straight month of net positive orders for the MAX after achieving the milestone in February for the first time since November 2019.

Read more at IndustryWeek


RV Sales Hit Record In February, On Pace For Blowout 2021

According to the recent study commissioned by RVIA, RV wholesale shipments appear to be headed to their highest levels in 2021. Those projections show total RV shipments ranging between 523,000 units and 543,000 units for the coming year, representing a 23% increase over the 2020 year-end total of 430,412 units. It suggests a 5% gain over the record high of 504,600 units shipped in 2017.

Read more at Zerohedge.com


 

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Daily Briefing – 283

Governor Visits Walden to Announce Initiative to Vaccinate Farm and Food Production Workers 

Governor visited Angry Orchard in Walden, Orange County to announce a new targeted effort to vaccinate workers at New York State farms and food production facilities. The state will coordinate with local health departments and Federally Qualified Health Centers to bring pop-up vaccination sites to workers, including migrant workers, at their places of employment.

As part of the new vaccination effort, New York State will provide 500 doses to Sun River Health, a local health care network, to administer to Angry Orchard employees, as well as farm and food production workers from other facilities in the Orange County area. Vaccines will be administered beginning Wednesday, April 21.

Read the press release/watch the video


Indoor and Outdoor Graduation Ceremonies Can Occur After May 1

Governor Cuomo yesterday announced new updated guidance for graduation and commencement ceremonies organized by schools, colleges and universities. Effective May 1, indoor and outdoor graduation and commencement ceremonies will be allowed with limited attendee capacity, depending on the event size and the location (e.g., stadium, arena, arts and entertainment venue). All event organizers and venues hosting ceremonies must follow the State’s strict health and safety protocols, including requiring face masks, social distancing, health screenings and collection of contact tracing information.

Read the guidance for graduation events 


NYS Vaccine Update 

As of 11 am Tuesday 7,705,087 (plus 133,538 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 5,085,215 are fully vaccinated (Plus 118,842).  In the Hudson Valley 805,618  (plus 14,392) have at least one dose and 496,872 (plus 15,066) are fully vaccinated. 


COVID Update –New Data Was Not Available at Publication Time Below is Data From Sunday

Governor Cuomo issues a press release yesterday afternoon with data through Sunday April 11th.  There were 58 COVID related deaths for a total of 41,197.

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,118
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 458

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,111
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 398

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.20%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 3.88%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – From Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

The US has distributed 238 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and administered nearly 190 million doses. The US is currently administering an average of 2.9 million doses per day, including 1.4 million people fully vaccinated.

A total of 121 million individuals have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine, equivalent to 36% of the entire US population and 47% of all adults. Of those, 74 million (22% of the total population; 29% of adults) are fully vaccinated. Among adults aged 65 years and older, 79% have received at least 1 dose, and 62% are fully vaccinated.

Read more at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security 


Abundance of Caution: U.S. to Pause J&J Shot After Rare Blood-Clot Cases

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the move Tuesday, after finding that six women between the ages of 18 and 48 years who got the vaccine had developed blood clots. More than 6.8 million doses have been administered in the U.S., the agencies said.

A panel of outside experts will meet Wednesday to review the matter for the CDC, while the FDA will also conduct an investigation. The FDA said it was recommending a pause in the use of the J&J vaccine “out of an abundance of caution.”

Read more at the WSJ


Similarities Between J&J and AstraZeneca Vaccines are “Plainly Obvious”

“It’s plainly obvious to us already that what we’re seeing with the Janssen vaccines looks very similar to what was being seen with the AstraZeneca vaccine,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said during a virtual briefing on Tuesday. 

The mechanism behind the blood clotting events among those who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine remains unknown – but may be similar to the mechanism behind possible events connected to the AstraZeneca vaccine, Marks said. “We don’t have a definitive cause, but the probable cause that we believe may be involved here – that we can speculate – is a similar mechanism that may be going on with the other adenoviral vector vaccine,” Marks said. 

Read more at CNN


Study: U.K. Strain Doesn’t Result in More Severe Covid-19 Among Hospitalized Patients

The coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom spreads more easily than older strains but doesn’t lead to more severe disease among hospitalized patients, a new study found. The findings add to scientists’ understanding of B.1.1.7’s impact, which has become especially important now that the strain has come to dominate cases in the U.K., U.S. and some other countries.

People infected late last year with the variant, known as B.1.1.7, had more virus in their bodies than patients infected with older strains, a sign the newer variant is more infectious, according to the study published online Monday by the medical journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases. But the patients hospitalized with B.1.1.7 didn’t die at higher rates or have worse outcomes overall. 

Read more in the WSJ


WHO Sounds Alarm as Coronavirus Cases, Deaths Climb Worldwide

Data show a worrisome uptick in coronavirus cases and deaths in all regions of the world, with Africa slightly less affected than other regions. The World Health Organization attributes this rise to several factors, including an increase in coronavirus variants, failure to practice public health measures and the resumption of so-called normal life when people emerge from lockdown.  
 
Another problem says WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris is a growing complacency that the availability of vaccines will soon end the crisis.

Read more at Voice of America


White House Holds Semiconductor Summit with Executives to Explore Government Response

President Joe Biden yesterday told more than a dozen CEOs that he had bipartisan support for his $50 billion proposal to boost semiconductor manufacturing and research in the U.S. The CEOs included the likes of GM’s Mary Barra and Ford’s James Farley, both of whose companies are feeling the pain of the current global chip crunch. Intel’s Pat Gelsinger was also there, voicing support for the plan. Taiwan’s TSMC, which is building a $12 billion Arizona plant with government incentives, is also a fan

Read more at IndustryWeek


US Budget Deficit Jumps to Record $1.7 Trillion This Year

The U.S. government’s budget deficit surged to an all-time high of $1.7 trillion for the first six months of this budget year, nearly double the previous record, as another round of economic-support checks added billions of dollars to spending last month.

In its monthly budget report, the Treasury Department said Monday that the deficit for the first half of the budget year — from October through March — was up from a shortfall of $743.5 billion in the same period a year ago. The deficit has been driven higher by trillions of dollars in support Congress has passed in successive economic rescue packages since the pandemic struck in early March 2020. The latest round came in a $1.9 trillion measure that President Joe Biden pushed through Congress last month.

Read more at US News & World Report


Producer Prices Rise at Fastest Annual Rate Since 2011

Prices charged by producers rose 4.2 percent over the past 12 months, the fastest increase since 2011, as the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic drives a surge in demand, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Most economists expect inflation to keep increasing throughout 2021 as the U.S. rebounds from the depths of the coronavirus recession.

The producer price index (PPI) rose at its fastest annual rate in a decade due largely to the massive and abrupt economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The PPI without prices for food, energy and trade services — which are typically more volatile — rose 3.1 percent over the past 12 months, the fastest rate since 2018.

Read more at The Hill


Consumer Prices Rise More Than Expected

Consumer prices shot higher in March, given a boost both by a strong economic recovery and year-over-year comparisons to a time when the Covid-19 pandemic was about to throttle the U.S. economy, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. The consumer price index rose 0.6% from the previous month but 2.6% from the same period a year ago. The year over year gain is the highest since August 2018 and was well above the 1.7% recorded in February.

Core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, increased 0.3% monthly and 1.6% year over year. While the inflation numbers look high, many economists as well as policymakers at the Federal Reserve expect the increase to be temporary. 

Read more at CNBC


The NFIB Index: Small Business Activity and Sentiment Rose to 98.2 From 95.8

The increase in the headline index was driven economic expectations, up 11 points, and sales expectations, up eight points. The “good time to expand” measure increased by five points. The jobs-hard-to-fill measure rose to a record high, but this is not new data; the numbers were released in the NFIB jobs report back on April 1. The labor market is tight and tightening, though the rebound in hiring and compensation, both planned and actual, is yet to feed through into the official data. 

There was also a disappointing three-point dip in capex plans, which appeared to have stabilized.  The index is now just two points above its pandemic low, and about eight points off its pre-Covid trend. Overall, the survey is less encouraging than the headline jump, and the headline itself remains well below last fall’s level, before the election of President Biden. 

Read more at NFIB


Machine Tool Orders Increase in February

Machine tool orders posted broad gains in February, AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology said today.  Orders totaled $377.6 million for the month. That represented an increase of 18 percent from an adjusted $320.6 million in January and a 34 percent gain from $281.3 million in February 2020.

In February, machine tool order gains took place in the oil and gas industries as well as medical equipment, Woods said. For the first two months of 2021, orders totaled $698.2 million, a 22 percent gain from the same period a year earlier. The figures are from companies participating in AMT’s U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) program.

Read more at SME


 

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Daily Briefing – 282

Some in GOP Willing to Negotiate Smaller Infrastructure Bill

Despite many Republicans signaling they do not support President Joe Biden’s infrastructure proposal, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., said on ABC’s “This Week” that the GOP is willing to negotiate on a smaller package.

Wicker’s comments to Host George Stephanopoulos echo the sentiment of 10 moderate Senate GOP lawmakers who signed a joint statement on Thursday, accusing Biden of “roundly dismissing” bipartisan talks during his last bipartisan meeting on the COVID relief bill.

Read more at The Hill


NYS Vaccine Update – College Student Allocation Announced

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State will provide a new, separate allocation of 35,000 vaccines to address the college student population at SUNY schools and private colleges. The vaccines will be administered to residential and non-commuter students who are leaving for the summer. “We’re now focusing on students, and we want to get students vaccinated before the end of the school year. The 18 to 24 population is growing in positivity, and many of them are in colleges and universities. It makes all the sense in the world to use the schools as the base for the vaccine.” Governor Cuomo said.

As of 11 am Sunday 7,571,549 (plus 98,739 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 4,966,373 are fully vaccinated (Plus 95,255).  In the Hudson Valley 791,226  (plus 9,608) have at least one dose and 481,806 (plus 9,075) are fully vaccinated. 


COVID Update – Flat Data

Governor Cuomo issues a press release yesterday afternoon with data through Sunday April 11th.  There were 58 COVID related deaths for a total of 41,197.

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,118
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 458

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,111
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 398

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.20%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 3.88%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – 50% of US Adults Expected to Have at Least One Dose By End of This Week

Over the past week, more than 3.1 million doses of vaccine have been administered each day on average, according to data reported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those doses could be first doses, second doses or single doses.

The latest data from the CDC shows that nearly 46% of adults in the US have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine and about 28% are fully vaccinated. But an average of more than 1.8 million people have been added to the total number of people with at least one dose of vaccine each day. That adds about 1% to the share of the US adult population with at least one shot each day, putting the US on track to reach 50% within days.

Read more at CNN


Rise in U.S. Covid-19 Cases Driven by Younger People

Epidemiologists and public-health authorities have pointed to school sports as a major source of Covid-19 transmission as younger people who haven’t been vaccinated are helping drive a rise in new Covid-19 cases.

For the third straight week, new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are increasing, according to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “Cases and emergency room visits are up,” Walensky said Friday. “We are seeing these increases in younger adults, most of whom have not yet been vaccinated.” 

Read more at CNN


Regeneron Drug Stops Symptomatic Covid-19 in Study

An antibody drug from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. REGN -0.25% reduced the risk of developing symptomatic Covid-19 infection by 81% compared with a placebo in people living with someone infected by the new coronavirus, a study found.

The results point to potential new preventive applications for the drug, which is already in use to treat earlier Covid-19 cases.  Regeneron said Monday it would ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to expand the drug’s authorization among people exposed to the virus who haven’t yet been vaccinated, which could provide temporary stopgap protection as people await vaccines.

Read more at the WSJ


U.K. Shoppers Show Pent-Up Demand on Release From Lockdown

Consumers flocked to shopping streets across England on Monday as non-essential retailers reopened after almost 100 days of lockdown, along with pubs and restaurants with outdoor space. Shoppers lined up outside retailers on London’s famous Oxford Street, including the luxury department store Selfridges and outlets of sneaker retailer JD Sports Fashion Plc. Businesses are hoping the pent-up demand following England’s third lockdown will translate into bumper sales.

Early data suggest Britons were eager to visit physical stores, even after growing used to the ease of e-commerce during the pandemic. The number of people at stores in England had more than tripled as of 10 a.m. Monday from the previous week, when only food and other essential businesses were open, according to Springboard.

Read more at Bloomberg


COVID-19 Travel Insurance Becoming a Staple

COVID-19 insurance policies are increasingly joining passports and sunscreen as vacation staples, creating opportunities for insurers as more countries require mandatory coverage in case visitors fall ill from the coronavirus. “Travel insurance and protection services are taking off at pace with travel as it resumes, said Dan Richards, chief executive for travel risk and crisis management firm Global Rescue.

COVID-19 insurance benefits typically cover treatment up to $100,000, and could include coronavirus testing costs and services like evacuation or local burial or cremation. These benefits, introduced by insurers in mid-2020, are sold either as add-ons or as separate policies with coverage for illness or quarantine.

Read more at Carrier Management .com


Mailboxes and Traffic Lights – Union to Challenge Amazon on Warehouse Worker Vote with NLRB

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union is challenging Amazon Inc., alleging the corporation interfered in a highly-publicized vote by its warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, to form a union. 

There are three outcomes from the NLRB hearing the RWDSU is calling for. The first is that the NLRB finds some evidence of foul play, and orders a second election be held. Another, if the NLRB finds that Amazon egregiously violated labor practice laws, is that it could simply reverse the results of the election and force Amazon to allow a union to be formed. Or it could discard the RWDSU’s complaint and allow the results of the election to stand.

Read more at IndustryWeek


COVID-19 Timeline: Portrait of a Pandemic

It’s been nearly a year and a half since the world first learned of SARS-CoV-2, and our lives haven’t been the same since. Sometimes, the days, weeks and months feel like a blur. With that in mind EHS Today highlighted some notable findings, developments and milestones related to the Pandemic since December 2019.

We all hope this historical event is a once-in-a-century pandemic, but it’s safe to say there have been many lessons learned around creating a culture of safety, gathering employee feedback and ideas, establishing safe protocols and developing best practices in pursuit of a safer workplace for all.

View the gallery timeline


 

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Daily Briefing – 281

President Biden Unveils First Budget Proposal – 5 Takeaways

President Biden’s first budget request calls for raising annual discretionary spending to $1.52 trillion. That amount includes a 15.7 percent increase in domestic spending and a 1.7 percent boost in defense. Although the spending plan omitted details on taxes and mandatory spending programs, as well as the usual 10-year projection for spending and revenues, it nonetheless offers valuable insights into Biden’s priorities.

Here are five key takeaways from the Biden budget proposal from The Hill

Read more at The Hill


NYS Vaccine Update – Nearly 25% of New Yorkers fully Vaccinated

As of 11 am Sunday 7,472,810 (plus 110,114 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 4,871,118 are fully vaccinated (Plus 1104,476).  In the Hudson Valley 781,618  (plus 8,950) have at least one dose and 472,731 (plus 9,975) are fully vaccinated. 

The week 17 allocation of 1,727,225 first and second doses, New York’s highest allocation to date, was expected to finish arriving Sunday.      


COVID Update – Positivity Rate Drops

Governor Cuomo issues a press release yesterday afternoon with data through Saturday April 10th.  There were 53 COVID related deaths for a total of 41,139.

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,083
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 447

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,171
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 394

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.27%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 3.88%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – 3.11 Million Shots Per Day

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Saturday about 117.1 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, including about 70.7 million people who have been fully vaccinated by Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine or the two-dose series made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Providers are administering about 3.11 million doses per day on average. Experts are Predicting all adults might be vaccinated by the end of June.

Read more and view the New York Times Tracker


States Shut Down Johnson & Johnson Vaccine After Adverse Reactions

Georgia is the third state to temporarily shut down a vaccine site after eight people suffered adverse reactions to the shot. Earlier this week, 18 people in North Carolina reported side effects, while 11 people in Colorado reacted to the shot with symptoms ranging from dizziness, nausea and fainting. 

“This is a really potent vaccine, and what we’re seeing is some of that potency relating at a very rare side effect that we just have to be aware of,” said Dr. David Agus, a CBS News medical contributor.  All three major U.S. vaccines produced adverse reactions in more than 60,000 people nationwide. For each manufacturer — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — just one-tenth of 1% of all people have reported side effects. 

Read more at CBS News


Another Problem Facing Johnson & Johnson is Distribution

Next week, the number of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines allocated to states and other jurisdictions by the federal government is expected to drop 84%, according to a CNN analysis of data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In contrast, the supply of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines remain steady for next week.

Since the vaccine was authorized in February, Johnson & Johnson fell short of its February goal, but it was able to meet its commitment to deliver 20 million doses in March. Thursday J&J told CNN it is on track to meet its target of producing 100 million doses of vaccine for the United States by the end of May. 

Read more at CNN


The Pandemic’s Terrible Toll on Kids

Rarely have America’s children suffered so many blows, and all at once, as during the pandemic’s lost year. Many have experienced social isolation during lockdowns, family stress, a breakdown of routine and anxiety about the virus. School closures, remote teaching and learning interruptions have set back many at school. Some parents have had job and income losses, creating financial instability—and exacerbating parental stress. Thousands of children have lost a parent or grandparent to the disease.

The looming question for this generation is: What will the long-term effects of the lost year be?  That question will take years to answer.  Psychologists and researchers say that the more major traumas and stressful situations a child experiences, the deeper the impact will be. Children with pre-existing problems such as anxiety and depression or learning disabilities likely face greater challenges. And children living in poverty may have an especially difficult time.

Read more at the WSJ


Recognizing and Managing Pandemic Fatigue

By now, most of us are exhausted by the near mention of the pandemic. Our lives have been disrupted in unprecedented ways, and coupled with prolonged uncertainty, it has led to Pandemic Fatigue. The World Health Organization defines pandemic fatigue as a “lack of motivation to follow health protocols which develops slowly over time as a natural response to a prolonged health crisis.”

Here are some signs of fatigue and tips to deal with it. 

Read more from Associate member Emergency One


Union Defeat at Amazon Warehouse Turns Spotlight to Congress and Pro Act

The battle over organized labor’s clout will be focused more squarely on Capitol Hill . Supporters and opponents of legislation that would significantly bolster unions were refining their arguments on Friday. “Without knowing it, [Amazon is] igniting a movement to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act and return workers in Alabama, Michigan and all corners of this land to their rightful place as drivers of broadly shared prosperity that represents America at its best,” Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) said.

“Labor bosses should understand that when workers vote against forming a union, it signifies that the arguments made by organizers were not compelling or persuasive,” said Kristen Swearingen, chair of the business-backed Coalition for a Democratic Workplace said.


GM, Ford Extend Chips-Related Production Pauses

Ford and General Motors will continue to limit production at some North American plants because of a shortage in semiconductor chips. However, GM will resume production of Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups next week.

Semiconductors are key components used in the infotainment, power steering and braking systems, among other things. As multiple plants shut down last year due to Covid, suppliers directed semiconductors away from automakers to other industries, creating a shortage after consumer demand snapped back stronger than expected.

Read more at CNBC


Distance, Duration, and Intensity – When to Wear a Mask Outside

A systematic review published in February found that fewer than 10 percent of reported SARS-CoV-2 infections occurred outdoors. Indoor transmission, by comparison, was more than 18 times more likely. Infections that did occur outside usually involved other risks, such as people mixing indoor and outdoor activities.

Still, the risk isn’t zero, The three key factors to consider are distance, duration, and intensity, she says. The closer people are, the more droplets an activity is generating, and the longer people are close to one another, the more the risk increases and the more important a mask becomes. As with so much else in the pandemic, infection risk—and the need to wear a mask—hinges on the context.

Read more at Nat Geo


With Millions Vaccinated, Rare Side-Effects Are Emerging – The Challenge is to Sort Them from the Medical Emergencies that Happen Every Day

As millions of jabs of various covid-19 vaccines are administered every day, rare adverse reactions will inevitably emerge. On April 7th both Britain’s health officials and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which regulates drugs in the European Union, said there is strong evidence that AstraZeneca’s covid-19 vaccine may be linked with very rare blood clots, often in the brain or the abdomen. The EMA experts reached their conclusion based on a review of 86 reported cases, 18 of which were fatal.

The investigation of the suspected clots from the AstraZeneca jab has been a prime example of the challenge of sorting the signal of a vaccine’s side-effects from the cacophony of medical emergencies that happen to millions of people every day. Vaccine-safety experts have two ways to untangle whether a rare medical problem is caused by a vaccine, They can compare its rate in vaccinated people against the “background” rates of it that are observed in the unvaccinated. And they can look for unusual features of the medical condition being investigated.

Read more at the Economist (COVID coverage remain free)


 

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Access: Business Solutions–A Leader in Hearing Protection Products and Disability Employment

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Access: Business Solutions (A:BS) is a hearing protection product manufacturer and a Council of Industry member. It is a division of Access: Supports for Living, which provides social services, mental health care, drug counseling, and more, for people with various disabilities. For over 20 years, A:BS has offered product solutions–mostly for the Department of Defense–as well as small and large businesses, with an ultimate goal of bringing in revenue to support these social programs. The company manufactures safety products like electronic earplugs and headsets, eyewear, hardhats, among others. 

The company co-brands with 3M and is required to meet 3M’s quality standards in production, ensuring solutions are up to date with the highest standards. Some of the company’s most innovative solutions are the 3M Peltor™ hearing protection items. The technology includes filters that suppress high frequency noises, such as loud bangs or hammering. Voices, which are low frequency, can still be heard through the headphones. The microphones compress sound to allow for clear audio. These headsets allow for clear communication within a mile range, ideal for large construction sites or production spaces.

With changes in the future of manufacturing workplaces becoming reality, Erich Fulmer, Project Manager and Business Development at A:BS, says the company’s products can help make adapting much simpler. “If there needs to be some kind of separation at work, these products allow for communication while maintaining hearing protection,” he says. “We’re very competitive price-wise and produce high quality products. We are ISO 9001:2015 registered.”

A:BS is a part of AbilityOne, a federal program designed to help people with disabilities locate employment. Because Access: Supports for Living was started by families who wanted to have resources for family members with disabilities, it remains a company goal to provide employment for those with disabilities. Fulmer says the organization’s mission is simple: help people. “We want to help and support local businesses. Being able to support other manufacturers and members of the Council of Industry is very important to us,” he says.

To learn more about Access: Business Solutions, click here.

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Daily Briefing – 280

Final Thoughts on the $212 Billion New York State Spending Plan From MACNY and the Manufacturing Alliance 

Both Houses of the New York State Legislature have finalized and passed a 2021-22 State Budget. The budget agreement was reached between the Legislature and Governor Cuomo earlier this week. The $212 billion spending plan includes $5.5 billion in federal aid. 

We are very thankful that the State Senate restored funding of our apprenticeship program (MIAP) in its one-house budget resolution, and that this funding was included in the final state budget agreement. And while we and the business community oppose the budget’s temporary corporate tax increase, we are relieved that state legislators heard our pleas to have qualified manufacturers remain exempt. 


NYS Vaccine Update – 11 Million Doses Delivered

As of 11 am Thursday 7,015,8313 (plus 143,968 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 4,452,131 are fully vaccinated (Plus 112,718).  In the Hudson Valley 727,384 (plus 18,638) have at least one dose and 424,308 (plus 14,128) are fully vaccinated. 


COVID Update

Governor Cuomo issues a press release yesterday afternoon with data through Wednesday April 7th.  There were 47 COVID related deaths for a total of 40,970.

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,422
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 518

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,296
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 419

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.40%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.14%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – A Quarter of US Adults Are Fully Vaccinated

As of Wed. April 7, 110 million Americans—roughly a third of the population, and 42.4% of adults, had received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  That number is up from 97.6 million people last Wednesday; on average, the U.S. administered more than 3 million doses daily in the past week.

Nearly a quarter of all adults, a total of 64.3 million, and 57.4% of Americans over the age of 65, have been fully vaccinated. The vast majority of vaccinated individuals received one of the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines; about 4.5 million Americans have received the one-shot product developed by Johnson & Johnson.

Read more and view the tracker at Fortune


“In Rare Instances” – AstraZeneca’s Vaccine Linked to Blood Clots, Regulators Say

he European Medicines Agency has concluded there is a link between AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine and “very rare” but dangerous clotting events reported in a number of countries where the vaccine has been used, events which in some cases have been fatal. A safety committee, the agency said Wednesday, concluded that “unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects” of the vaccine.

Regulators stressed that the benefits of the vaccine, which was shown to be 76% effective at preventing Covid infections in a large U.S.-based study, still outweigh its risks. “This vaccine has proven to be highly effective to prevent severe disease and hospitalization,” said Emer Cooke, the EMA’s executive director. “And it is saving lives.”

Read more at Statnews


India Could Resume Vaccine Exports by June

The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine-maker, will resume vaccine exports in June if infections in its home country fall. The company paused foreign shipments of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine last month as covid-19 cases in India rocketed. India recorded more than 126,000 new infections on Wednesday, the most yet in a single day.

Read more at the AP


NAM Study—Tax Increases Will Cost 1 Million Jobs in Two Years

Tax increases under consideration in Congress would cost 1 million jobs two years following their implementation, according to a new study published by the National Association of Manufacturers.

The study found that proposed tax increases would cause a loss of an average of 600,000 jobs each year over the next decade, while reducing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by hundreds of billions of dollars. The study comes as talk of reversing portions of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act heats up in Washington. That legislation, which was supported by manufacturers and organizations across
the business community, was like rocket fuel for manufacturers in the U.S., prompting companies to create jobs, increase wages and benefits and invest in local communities. In 2018, manufacturers created 263,000 jobs — the best year for job creation in two decades.

Read the study at the NAM site


Amazon Takes Commanding Lead in Union Vote at Alabama Warehouse

With about half the ballots counted Thursday evening, Amazon held a commanding lead in the historic union election at one of its Alabama warehouses. Out of the 3,215 ballots cast, there were 1,100 votes against unionization and 463 votes in support. The preliminary results put Amazon ahead by more than a 2-1 margin.
 
Counting will resume on Friday, when the National Labor Relations Board will have more than a thousand ballots left to count. There are also hundreds of contested ballots, most of which were challenged by Amazon.
 

744,000 Americans Filed New Claims Last Week

New weekly jobless claims unexpectedly held above 700,000 last week to extend a rise from late March, despite other signs that rehiring has been taking place across the recovering economy. New weekly jobless claims data have generally been following a downtrend over the course of 2021, though they still remain elevated relative to historical trends. Here were the main metrics from the report, compared to consensus data compiled by Bloomberg:

  • Initial jobless claims, week ended April 3: 744,000 vs. 680,000 expected and a revised 728,000 during the prior week
  • Continuing claims, week ended March 27: 3.734 million vs. 3.638 million expected and a revised 3.750 million during the prior week

Read more at Yahoo Finance


Biden Rule on Covid-19 Workplace Safety Misses Deadline

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has yet to act on an emergency temporary standard that President Biden directed the agency to consider by March 15. The directive, issued as one of Mr. Biden’s first actions after taking office, could require employers to develop mandates on masks, physical distancing and air ventilation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently provides guidelines on these measures, but they aren’t mandatory.

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh “reviewed the materials, and determined that they should be updated to reflect the latest scientific analysis of the state of the disease,” a Labor Department spokeswoman said. “He has ordered a rapid update based on CDC analysis and the latest information regarding the state of vaccinations and the variants. He believes this is the best way to proceed.”

Read more at the WSJ


Fed Minutes Show Expectations for Stronger Economic Recovery

Recent weeks have brought a steady stream of encouraging signs for the economy. One-third of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, a ratio that should rise to 75%Hiring surged in March and unemployment fell, trends that are expected to continue in the months ahead as more businesses reopen to full capacity and consumers return to restaurants, airports and entertainment venues.

While some Fed officials said the scenario could drive employment and spending up faster than anticipated, most didn’t see an outsize risk of inflation becoming a The central bankers want to see more improvement before they dial back the easy-money policies implemented early last year to counter the pandemic’s economic fallout.

Read more at the WSJ


Chip Shortage Could Cut US Vehicle Production by More than a Million, AAI Warns

The shortfall in semiconductor availability could stall U.S. vehicle production by as many as 1.27 million vehicles in 2021, says the Alliance for Automotive Innovation. In a letter to the Commerce Department, John Bozzella, CEO of the AAI, said that a recent survey of AAI member companies produced the figure. The AAI represents almost 99% of all manufacturers who sell cars and light trucks in the U.S.

“The chips that are generally used in vehicles are not the same chips used in consumer electronics devices,” explained Bozzella. But semiconductor foundries are costly to run and maintain, and computer chip manufacturers commonly operate on contracts to keep production running as consistently as possible. When automotive factories shut down in 2020, the foundries changed their production lines to adapt to the whipsaw in demand.

Read more at IndustryWeek


 

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Daily Briefing – 279

More on the $212 Billion New York State Spending Plan 

  • State Operating Funds spending is $111 billion
  • All Funds spending $212 billion for FY 2022
  • Applies $5.5 billion in federal aid
  • Provides $29.5 billion in School Aid, a $3 billion, 11% increase.
  • Provides $7.7 billion in State support for higher education in New York
  • $311 billion infrastructure plan
  • $29 Billion in Public and Private Green Economy Investments
  •  $800 million in grant funding for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A surcharge on corporate tax rate that increases the business income tax rate from 6.5% to 7.25% for three years for taxpayers with business income greater than $5 million. It also increases the capital base method of liability estimation to 0.1875% from the 0.025% rate in effect last year.   The capital base method increase continue to exempt qualified manufacturers.
  • $50 million for training in high-growth industries, employer-driven training for low-income workers.

 


NYS Vaccine Update – More Than 20% of New Yorkers Are Fully Vaccinated

All New Yorkers 16 years of age and older are now eligible in  New York. As of 11 am Wednesday 6,871,863 (plus 123,968 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 4,339,413 are fully vaccinated (Plus 105,950).  In the Hudson Valley 708,746(plus 14,589) have at least one dose and 410,180 (plus 13,741) are fully vaccinated. 


COVID Update

Governor Cuomo issues a press release yesterday afternoon with data through Tuesday April 6th.  There were 59 COVID related deaths for a total of 40,922.

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,526
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 514

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,141
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 384

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.48%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.34%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – New U.S. Cases Fall as Vaccine Rollout Ramps Up

The U.S. reported more than 61,000 new cases for Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University that was published early Wednesday. The data may update later. Not all states report data on new cases daily. Tuesday’s figure was lower than Monday’s revised tally of 77,794, when several states resumed reporting data after the Easter weekend.

About 19% of people in the U.S. are now fully vaccinated, with an average of 3 million doses administered each day over the past week. Vaccination levels vary by state. In New Mexico, 26.3% of residents are fully vaccinated, while in Georgia, the figure is 13.4%, according to CDC data.

Read more at the WSJ


Oxford Pauses Trial of Covid 19 Vaccine on Children

The University of Oxford said no safety concerns have arisen from the children’s trial and Sage adviser Professor Calum Semple said the decision to pause had been made out of “exceptional caution”, as he urged people to continue accepting Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs.

Assessments are under way into a very rare and specific type of blood clot in the brain, known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), occurring together with low levels of platelets (thrombocytopenia) following vaccination in adults.

Read More at the Oxford Mail


Manufacturing Openings Keep Improving

The number of job openings edged up to 7.4 million on the last business day of February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires also edged up to 5.7 million while total separations were little changed at 5.5 million. Within separations, the quits rate and layoffs and discharges rate were unchanged at 2.3 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

There were 538,000 manufacturing job openings in February, up from 537,000 in January. Meanwhile, manufacturers hired 387,000 workers, up from 351,000 in January, while layoffs in the industry declined from 90,000 in January to 84,000 in February, the lowest reading since August 2014.


JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon Sees ‘Goldilocks Moment’ for U.S. Economy

In his annual letter to shareholders Wednesday, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said strong consumer savings, expanded vaccine distribution and the Biden administration’s proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan could lead to an economic “Goldilocks moment”—fast, sustained growth alongside inflation and interest rates that drift slowly upward. The U.S. government’s rapid and deep monetary and fiscal intervention over the past year helped prevent many of the worst outcomes, said Mr. Dimon, who has since made a full recovery from the aortic tear he suffered in March 2020.

Mr. Dimon called for laying the foundation for long-term economic growth with a yearslong, nationwide “Marshall Plan” Affordable child care, streamlined safety-net programs and job training that leads to higher-wage jobs would increase labor-force participation.


NY Fed Study: How Households Are Using Stimulus Checks

A NY Fed Study found that households reported using or planning to use an average 16 percent of the second-round stimulus funds for essential spending, an average 6 percent for non-essential spending, and to donate 3 percent, resulting in a total MPC of 26 percent. They also reported saving or planning to save an average 37 percent of their stimulus checks and use 37 percent to pay down debt. These shares are very similar to those we found for the first round of stimulus checks, where households reported spending 29 percent, saving 36 percent, and using 35 percent to pay down debt. (See the table below.)

The reported allocations are also in line with those that households reported back in August for a potential future second round of stimulus checks. At that point in time, they expected to use a slightly lower share for consumption (24 percent) and debt paydown (31 percent), with more expected to be saved (45 percent).

Read more at the NY Fed


IMF Revises Forecast Again

The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and vast sums of government aid will accelerate global economic growth to a record high this year in a powerful rebound from the pandemic recession, the International Monetary Fund says in its latest forecast. The 190-country lending agency said Tuesday that it expects the world economy to expand 6% in 2021, up from the 5.5% it had forecast in January. It would be the fastest expansion for the global economy in IMF records dating back to 1980.

In 2022, the IMF predicts, international economic growth will decelerate to a still strong 4.4%, up from its January forecast of 4.2%.

Read more at the AP


IRS Issues Guidance for ERTC

On Friday, the Internal Revenue Service issued important guidance to help employers determine their eligibility for claiming the Employee Retention Tax Credit for the first half of 2021.  The latest guidance from the IRS addresses a range of issues for the first two calendar quarters of 2021, including:

  • The increase in the maximum credit amount,
  • The expansion of the category of employers that may be eligible to claim the credit,
  • Modifications to the gross receipts test,
  • Revisions to the definition of qualified wages, and
  • New restrictions on the ability of eligible employers to request an advance payment of the credit.

Read more at the Internal Revenue Site


One Third Of Millennials Plan To Quit Their Jobs After The Pandemic

One third of millennials intend to seek a new job when the pandemic ends, and about 26% of all employees will look to change jobs, with 80% of them anxious about career growth, according to a Pulse of the American Worker Survey from Prudential. The Labor Department found that about 3.4 million US employees left their jobs in February, and almost 50% of the employees surveyed who intend to leave their jobs said they’d give their employer a grade of “C” or lower for their workplace culture efforts during the pandemic.

Read more at Forbes


Side Conversations are Powerful — and Missing Right Now

Social distancing has meant fewer side conversations, which means fewer offhand comments that provide insight into larger issues, writes Michael Wade. “Savvy chief executives have long known that it is wise to watch for ‘by the way’ remarks that people make at the conclusion of a one-on-one meeting and especially while the departing colleague is standing in the doorway,” he writes.

Read more at Execupundit blog


 

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Daily Briefing – 278

Budget Deal Reached: The $212 Billion Spending Plan is Nearly 10% More Than Last Year

New York State leaders announced they had reached an agreement on Tuesday on a $212 billion state budget that includes tax increases on the wealthy as well as substantial relief for renters, undocumented immigrants and business owners hit hardest by the coronavirus.

It includes $2.3 billion in federal funds to help tenants late on rent and a $2.1 billion fund to provide one-time payments for undocumented workers who did not qualify for federal stimulus checks or unemployment benefits, according to budget highlights released by the governor’s office. New tax hikes on the rich and increases to corporate taxes are expected to generate more than $4 billion in additional revenue each year. 

Read more at the New York Times


NYS Vaccine Update – Everyone 16 and Over Eligible

New Yorkers 16 years of age and older became eligible in  New York Yesterday. As of 11 am Tuesday 6,747,895 (plus 100,675 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 4,233,463 are fully vaccinated (Plus 99,616).  In the Hudson Valley 694,157 (plus 14,369) have at least one dose and 396,439 (plus 13,184) are fully vaccinated. 


COVID Update – Essential Worker Monument In the Works

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Monday April 5th.  The Governor also announced the creation of the Essential Workers Advisory Committee to provide design input and recommendations for a monument in New York City honoring the service and sacrifice of New York’s essential workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Essential Workers Monument will recognize the 17 essential worker groups whose members continued selflessly serving their fellow New Yorkers during the State’s coronavirus pandemic response. These groups include: Nurses, Doctors, Hospital Staff, Teachers, Transport Workers, Police, Ambulance/EMT, Firefighters, Corrections, Sanitation, National Guard, Store Employees, Government Employees, Building Service Workers, Utility Workers, Delivery Drivers, and Construction/Manufacturing.

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,533
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 519

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,060
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 371

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.57%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.63%

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – 3.1 Million Shots Per Day

The U.S. administered an average of 3.1 million Covid-19 shots per day over the last seven days and hit a new record over the weekend with more than 4 million shots administered in a single day as vaccine manufacturing picks up pace and more mass vaccination sites open, White House senior advisor for Covid-19 Andy Slavitt told reporters Monday.

He added that 75% of seniors have now received at least one shot, and more than half are fully vaccinated.  The daily coronavirus death toll in the U.S. is at its lowest level in months as the country ramps up the pace of vaccine administration.

Read more at CNBC


CDC Issues Updated Guidance on Travel for Fully Vaccinated People

Last Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its travel guidance for fully vaccinated people to reflect the latest evidence and science. Given recent studies evaluating the real-world effects of vaccination, CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves.

A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last recommended dose of vaccine. Fully vaccinated people can travel within the United States and do not need COVID-19 testing or post-travel self-quarantine as long as they continue to take COVID-19 precautions while traveling – wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, socially distancing, and washing hands frequently


ISM : America’s Services Sector Hit an All-Time High in March

The upbeat survey from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) on Monday followed news on Friday that the economy added 916,000 jobs last month, the most since August. Economic growth this year is expected to be the best in nearly four decades.

The ISM’s non-manufacturing activity index rebounded to a reading of 63.7 last month also due to warmer weather. That was the highest in the survey’s history and followed 55.3 in February.

Read more at Reuters


U.K. to Ease Lockdown as Covid-19 Vaccination Campaign Turns the Tide

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.K. will begin to relax more public-health restrictions starting next week and remains on course to fully reopen its economy by the summer, after months of lockdown and a speedy vaccination campaign turned back a deadly tide of infection.

The U.K.’s changing fortunes contrast with a worsening picture in other parts of Europe, where rising caseloads and faltering vaccine rollouts mean governments are under pressure to tighten controls to beat back a resurgent pandemic. France imposed a new nationwide lockdown last week, while in Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel is pushing powerful regional governments to implement tougher measures to curb infections.

Read more at the WSJ


Port Authority Predicts Stewart Airline Growth Post-COVID

The executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey predicts airline growth at New York Stewart International Airport post-COVID. Rick Cotton acknowledges while airlines have tightened their belts since the pandemic struck, they will be critical in their selection of new markets, and he believes the Hudson Valley will be one of them.

Regional economic development officials are counting on new attractions like Legoland and existing facilities like Resorts World Catskills and the adjacent waterpark to be factors that will entice airlines to grow service in the region.

Read more at the Mid-Hudson News


FAA Approves Design of 737 MAX 8200 Variant

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Wednesday it had approved the design for the Boeing 737-8200, part of the Boeing 737 MAX series, a necessary step before the U.S. planemaker can begin delivering the airplanes to Ryanair.

The FAA said the 737-8200 incorporates all of the design improvements that were part the 20-month review of the 737 MAX that led to the ungrounding of the MAX in November, more than a year after two fatal crashes killed 346 people.

Read more at Reuters


Congressional Research Service Report on State and Federal Authority to Mandate Vaccination: Police Powers vs. Free Exercise Clause

This report provides an overview of state and federal authority to mandate vaccination. The first part of the report discusses the Supreme Court’s long-standing recognition of state and local authority to mandate vaccination as an exercise of their police power, as well as modern courts’ analyses of more recent challenges to state vaccination mandates based on the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause. The first part of the report closes with a look at how the COVID-19 vaccines’ EUA status may affect a court’s analysis of a potential mandate.

The second part of the report provides an overview of federal authority to mandate vaccination. It discusses one possible source of existing federal authority, Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA), and reviews the extent of Congress’s constitutional authority under the Constitution’s Spending and Commerce Clauses to potentially mandate vaccination.

Read the analysis at CRS


Covid-19 Vaccine Developed by U.S. Army Begins Human Testing

The U.S. Army will start testing among adult volunteers an Army-developed Covid-19 vaccine that researchers say may protect against a variety of coronavirus variants. Army doctors plan to start testing on Tuesday the protein-based shot in as many as 72 adults ages 18 to 55 at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md., the institute said. The team will test whether the vaccine safely induces the desired immune response in study subjects.

Initial results of the study could become available by midsummer. If the data are positive, the Army likely would try to join with a drug company to further test and develop the vaccine, said Kayvon Modjarrad, director of the institute’s emerging infectious-disease branch.

Read more at the WSJ


The Interplay of  PPP and ERC With the R&D Tax Credit

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA), contains a number of provisions to assist businesses and individuals that have suffered economically from the coronavirus pandemic. Included in the CAA are beneficial provisions for businesses that obtained or qualify to obtain a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and employers that qualify for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). The CAA also addresses the interplay for businesses that intend to claim both the ERC and the research and development (R&D) tax credit. Specifically, the CAA:

  • Confirms that business expenses (that normally would be deductible for federal income tax purposes) paid out of forgiven PPP loans may be deducted for federal income tax purposes, thus rejecting the position previously taken by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that expenses paid with forgiven PPP loan proceeds are not deductible for income tax purposes.
  • Clarifies that wages taken into account in determining a taxpayer’s 2021 ERC may not be considered in determining the R&D tax credit. Taxpayers, therefore, may deduct and take an R&D tax credit for expenses that otherwise qualify as qualified research expenses (QREs).

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