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Daily Briefing – 288

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 – 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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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).

Read more ad BDO


 

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Daily Briefing – 277

Budget Talks: Cuomo, Legislature Hash out Wealth Tax Hikes, Big Issues Still Remain

Legislators were briefed Saturday on the deal, which raises personal income taxes for those with more than a million dollars in annual income to 9.65 percent, a hike of 0.83 percentage points, the Journal reported and Buffalo News reported. The deal would also create two new tax brackets for those making more than $5 million and more than $25 million. Income from $5 million to $25 million would be taxed at 10.3 percent, and above $25 million would be taxed at 10.9 percent. These rate changes are expected to raise more than $4 billion in annual revenue for the state.

Discussions over a $2 billion fund for “excluded workers” continue and are mucking up negotiations according to sources.

Read more at the Times Union


NYS Vaccine Update – New Yorkers 16 and Older Eligible Today

New Yorkers 16 years of age and older can begin to schedule appointments and get vaccinated beginning today. The Governor announced a “Roll Up Your Sleeve” ad campaign to encourage New Yorkers to get vaccinated. The ads will be shown on television and online statewide beginning April 7. The ads were directed by Contagion screenplay writer Scott Burns, and shot at New York City’s Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

As of 11 am Monday 6,647,220 (plus 63,556 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 4,133,847 are fully vaccinated (Plus 62,048).  In the Hudson Valley 679,788 (plus 7,174) have at least one dose and 383,255 (plus 5,650) are fully vaccinated. 


COVID Update – 11 PM Curfew Lifted for Casinos, Movie Theaters, Bowling Alleys, Billiard Halls, Gyms and Fitness Centers

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Sunday April 4th. The governor also announced that beginning yesterday (Monday) the 11 p.m. curfew currently in place for casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, billiards halls, gyms and fitness centers will be lifted. The 11 p.m. curfew for food and beverage establishments and the 12 a.m. curfew for catered events remains in effect. Both curfews will be evaluated later this month.

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

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,434
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 512

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,010
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 370

Other Data

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

Useful Websites:


US Vaccine Rollout – 4 Million Doses Saturday

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the U.S. administered 4,081,959 vaccine doses since Friday, bringing the seven-day average of vaccinations to 3,072,527 per day.  

In total, over 161.6 million vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S. thus far, according to the agency’s vaccine tracker. Over 104 million people have received at least one dose, and nearly 60 million have been fully vaccinated.

Read more at The Hill


J&J Takes Over Contractor’s Covid-19 Vaccine Manufacturing Plant

Johnson & Johnson said it will assume full control of the Baltimore factory where millions of covid-19 vaccine doses were ruined by mixing ingredients for its vaccine with those from AstraZeneca’s jab, made on the same site. The Emergent plant hadn’t yet been cleared by regulators when J&J discovered the quality problem during a routine inspection, and none of the batch had been shipped for use to make vaccines.

J&J and U.S. health authorities have looked forward to the plant coming online and producing the key ingredient to bolster the overall supply of vaccine doses. Under the changes, J&J is assuming full responsibility for operations and manufacturing of its vaccine’s key ingredient at the Emergent plant, including installing a new leadership team and boosting the number of technical, quality and other workers.

Read more at the WSJ


J&J has Begun Testing its Vaccine in Adolescents

Researchers have begun testing the drug maker’s vaccine in adolescents 12 to 17 years old, the company announced. Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Wednesday that their coronavirus vaccine is extremely effective in young adolescents, perhaps even more so than in adults. Results from a similar trial of Moderna’s vaccine are expected in the next few weeks.

Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna are also testing their vaccines in children younger than 12. Johnson & Johnson has said it would wait for results from trials in older children before following suit.

Read more in The New York Times


Taiwan’s TSMC Plans $100 Billion Investment to Meet Demand

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company said Thursday it was planning to invest $100 billion over the next three years to meet soaring demand as a global shortage of chips hits the auto and other industries. TSMC, the world’s largest contract microchip maker, said its new investment plans will increase capacity to keep up with demand. It did not specify where the new foundries would be built.

Taiwanese high-tech chip foundries are some of the world’s biggest and most advanced, and European and US car manufacturers have been reaching out to Taipei for help plugging the shortages. 

Read more in IndustryWeek 


February Factory Orders Drop 0.8%

The Commerce Department said on Monday that factory orders dropped 0.8% after surging 2.7% in January. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast factory orders slipping 0.5% in February. Orders increased 1.0% on a year-on-year basis.

Severe weather blanketed large parts of the country, including winter storms in Texas and other parts of the densely populated South region, in the second half of February, disrupting consumer spending, production at factories, home building and sales.

Read more at Reuters


Tesla’s Quarterly Electric Vehicle Deliveries Top Expectations

The company said early Friday it delivered 184,800 vehicles to customers worldwide in January through March, more than double the year-earlier figure when the outbreak of Covid-19 briefly halted production at its plants in California and Shanghai. Still, the increase from 2020’s fourth quarter was just 2.2%. The company had been expected to report deliveries of about 172,000 units, due to factors including the global shortage of chips and electronic components that’s pounded the auto industry this year.

Read more at Forbes


From the Pessimist Camp: Five Reasons Why COVID Herd Immunity is Probably Impossible

The once-popular idea that enough people will eventually gain immunity to SARS-CoV-2 to block most transmission — a ‘herd-immunity threshold’ — is starting to look unlikely.

Most estimates had placed the threshold at 60–70% of the population gaining immunity, either through vaccinations or past exposure to the virus. But as the pandemic enters its second year, the thinking has begun to shift. In February, independent data scientist Youyang Gu changed the name of his popular COVID-19 forecasting model from ‘Path to Herd Immunity’ to ‘Path to Normality’. He said that reaching a herd-immunity threshold was looking unlikely because of factors such as vaccine hesitancy, the emergence of new variants and the delayed arrival of vaccinations for children.

Read more in Nature


We Need to Ensure that Employee Mental Health is a Top Priority

Studies have shown that more workdays are lost to mental-health-related absenteeism than any other illness or injury. Those studies, by the way, were conducted before the pandemic; as you can imagine, the incidences of anxiety and depression among workers isolated from friends, family and co-workers have only gotten worse since COVID-19 reared its ugly head. And while there are now vaccines for COVID-19, there’s no vaccine or PPE or any kind of off-the-shelf equipment that offers mental health protection.

Read more at EHS Today


Can You Steer a Ship Through the Suez Canal?

Navigating the Suez Canal is a high-stress, complicated feat that requires master piloting skills. To demonstrate, CNN worked with Master Mariner Andy Winbow and Captain Yash Gupta to produce this simulated passage.

Try your hand at traversing one of the most highly trafficked nautical thoroughfares in the world.

Try the simulation at CNN


 

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Daily Breifing – 276

NYS Budget Talks Stall over “Excluded Workers Fund,” Revenue Raisers and Other Issues

Both houses of the Legislature prioritized a $2.1 billion dollar “Excluded Workers Fund” in their one house budget resolutions released several weeks ago aimed at providing checks to an estimated 300,000 New Yorkers impacted by the coronavirus who were ineligible to receive federal unemployment benefits and pandemic-related aid due to issues like immigration status. But internal budget talks blew up over the last several days in both chambers, creating a split between progressive New York City Democrats backing the proposal and moderate Democrats representing suburban and upstate districts. 

Sources said the fund is even more of a hard sell amidst proposed tax hikes on wealthy New Yorkers and businesses pushed by both houses and Gov. Andrew Cuomo — despite the state receiving over $12 billion from the Biden administration via the American Rescue Plan.


NYS Vaccine Update – More Than 10 Million Doses

Governor Cuomo yesterday announced more than 10 million total COVID vaccine doses have been administered across New York. 187,964 doses were administered across the state in the 24 hours ending Sunday morning at 11:00, and more than 1.4 million doses have been administered over the past seven days. 

As of 11 am Monday 6,583,664 (plus 102,422 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 4,071,799 are fully vaccinated (Plus 103,253).  In the Hudson Valley 672,614 (plus 12,106) have at least one dose and 377,605 (plus 13,379) are fully vaccinated. 


COVID Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday April 3rd. 

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

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,373
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 521

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,040
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 386

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.56%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.78%

Useful Websites:


More U.S. States Expand Vaccine Eligibility as Pace of Inoculations Accelerates

Alabama will allow everyone ages 16 or older to sign up for a Covid-19 vaccine on Monday, joining more than 40 states that have already broadened access in an effort to make all adults eligible by the end of the month. New York will expand that eligibility tomorrow.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that about 101.8 million people — nearly one-third of the total U.S. population — had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Read more at the New York Times


New York Officially Lifts Travel Quarantine Requirement for Domestic Travelers

On April 1, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) officially updated its Interim Guidance for Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers Arriving in New York State to remove the quarantine requirement for domestic travelers arriving in New York State from other U.S. States or territories. This updated guidance document has been anticipated since Governor Cuomo announced on March 11, 2021, that the domestic traveler quarantine requirement would be lifted on April 1. 

In addition to removing the domestic traveler quarantine requirement, the updated NYSDOH guidance document also provides other important information.


FDA Probes Cause of Failed Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccine Batch

The Food and Drug Administration is investigating what caused a batch of the active ingredient for Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ -0.92% Covid-19 vaccine to be scrapped for failing to meet quality standards at a contract manufacturing plant, according to a person familiar with the matter.  The FDA may send an inspection team to assess the situation at the Baltimore plant operated by contractor Emergent BioSolutions Inc., EBS -13.40% the person said.

The regulatory scrutiny follows J&J’s disclosure Wednesday that a batch of the main ingredient for its Covid-19 vaccine manufactured at the Emergent plant didn’t meet standards. The batch didn’t reach the vial-filling and finishing stage, and no doses from it were distributed.

Read more at the WSJ


Manufacturing Grew for a Tenth Straight Month in March 

The ISM’s manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index rose 3.9 points from February to reach 64.7%, making March the tenth month of an expanding industrial economy following a sharp downturn in April 2020. 

The indexes tracking manufacturing production (up 3.2 points to 68.0%) and new orders (up 4.9 points to 68.1%) notched ten-month growth streaks, while the index tracking order backlogs reached nine months of growth as it rose 3.5 points to 67.5%. The employment index, which rose 5.2 points to 59.6%, continued to grow for a fourth month.

Read more at IndustryWeek


March Jobs Report: Payrolls Rise by 916,000, Unemployment Rate Drops to 6.0%

The U.S. economy brought back more jobs than expected in March, presaging even faster employment growth in the coming months as more Americans become vaccinated and jobs across industries return. The Department of Labor released its March employment report Friday. Here were the main metrics in the report, compared to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg: 

  • Change in non-farm payrolls: +916,000 vs. +660,000 expected and a revised +468,000 in February 
  • Unemployment rate: 6.0% vs. 6.0% expected and 6.2% in February 
  • Average hourly earnings, month-over-month: -0.1% vs. +0.1% expected and a revised +0.3% in February 
  • Average hourly earnings, year-over-year: 4.2% vs. +4.5% expected and a revised +5.2% in February 

Read more at Yahoo Finance


Manufacturers Add 53,000 People to Payrolls March

Manufacturing added 53,000 jobs in March after adding 18,000 in February. The most recent results suggest that the 10,000 manufacturing jobs lost in January was a temporary blip in manufacturing employment growth, which has otherwise grown in the months since April 2020, when manufacturing lost 1.3 million jobs all in one month. The manufacturing sector currently employs about 515,000 fewer people than it did in February 2020, before the first effects of the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact employment. 

New hires in manufacturing were split almost evenly between the durable goods and nondurable goods sectors, which added 30,000 and 23,000 jobs, respectively.

Read more at IndustryWeek


Corning Inc.’s Valor Glass Vials a Key Part of COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

From the time work began about a decade ago, to receiving a total of $261 million in federal funding to significantly expand production, Valor Glass vials developed by Corning Inc. are playing a critical role in the fight against the pandemic, according to the company.  Corning Inc. officials say in late 2020 alone, the company shipped enough Valor Glass vials to deliver more than 100 million vaccine doses. 

The company last week was awarded a $57 million expansion of federal funding to increase domestic manufacturing capacity of pharmaceutical glass tubing and vials used for COVID-19 vaccines. 

Read more at The Leader (Corning)


How Pfizer Went From 0 to 100 Million Doses of mRNA Vaccine

Before last year, no vaccine based on messenger RNA had ever been produced on a large scale, but Pfizer has delivered over 100 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine in the US and plans to reach 2 billion “as soon as possible” this year, says Mike McDermott, president of Pfizer Global Supply. Pfizer repurposed some equipment at its Kalamazoo, Mich., plant, invested in modular rooms and automated impingement jet mixers, and worked with lipids suppliers to expand capacity, McDermott says.

Read more at CNN


Almost One Billion Doses of COVID-19 Vaccines Have Been Produced

COVX was established last year to promote the supply of vaccines to countries that might otherwise struggle to obtain them. Some 192 nations joined. Each was promised enough jabs to inoculate 20% of its people. But on March 24th India put a temporary halt on vaccine exports. Since it provides 86% of supplies for covax, this has thrown a spanner in the works.

It is in the world’s interest to suppress transmission everywhere at the same time. New variants may emerge wherever the virus is able to spread unchecked by vaccines. The founders of COVAX started planning early.  They worked quickly to bring so many countries on board. By the end of 2020, it looked as if the extraordinary scientific effort that had produced vaccines in record time would be followed by an unprecedented co-operation to vaccinate one-fifth of the world. And yet even as growing quantities and varieties of vaccine are coming online, COVAX is now struggling to deliver.

Read more at The Economist


We Still Don’t Know the Origins of the Coronavirus. Here Are 4 Scenarios.

Last week, the World Health Organization released a report from a team of international researchers that traveled to China to investigate four possible scenarios in which the SARS-CoV-2 virus might have caused the initial outbreak. In the days since, however, world governments have expressed concern that the investigators lacked access to complete data, while scientists say that the report has shed little light on how the virus got jumpstarted.

Here’s a look at the evidence the report lays out for each of the four theories—and what experts make of them as possible origin stories for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Read more at NatGeo


 

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Daily Briefing – 275

Biden Proposes 2.3 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

President Biden unveiled a $2 trillion plan Wednesday to rebuild the nation’s aging infrastructure, support electric vehicles and clean energy and boost access to caregivers and their pay in a massive undertaking that would be the centerpiece of his economic agenda. Biden billed the sweeping jobs proposal, dubbed the American Jobs Plan. The plan  would pump billions into rebuilding roads, bridges and rail with a dual goal of creating millions of “good-paying union jobs.”

The plan is to raise taxes on corporations to pay for the eight-year spending package. He proposed increasing the corporate tax rate to 28% and overhauling how the United States taxes multinational corporations by increasing the minimum tax on U.S. corporations to 21%. Senate Minority Leader McConnell called it a “Trojan horse” for borrowed money, debt and tax increases on “the most productive parts of our economy.” 

Read more at USA Today


COVID Update – Hospitalizations Fall, More Rapid Testing Sites Open

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Tuesday March 30th. 

The state is expanding the New York Forward Rapid Testing Program to help businesses and events safely reopen. Twenty-five new sites will open Thursday, April 1, and 10 sites will open within the next two weeks for a total of 70 sites statewide. The New York Forward Rapid Test Program provides affordable rapid (30 minutes or less) COVID tests at locations across the State. 

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

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,651
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 539

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,124
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 408

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.47%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.75%

Useful Websites:


NYS Vaccine Update – 30.4 percent of New Yorkers Have Had at least One Dose

Governor Cuomo yesterday updated New Yorkers on the state’s vaccination program. 192,853 doses have been administered across the state’s vast distribution network in the last 24 hours, and more than 1.3 million doses have been administered over the past seven days. The week 16 allocation from the federal government is in the process of being delivered to providers.

As of 11 am Monday 6,068,998 (plus 97,603 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 3,566,509 are fully vaccinated (Plus 102,773).  In the Hudson Valley 610,947 (plus 12,900) have at least one dose and 319,156 (plus 9,001) are fully vaccinated. 


Survey: Covid-19: U.S. Vaccine Confidence Rises Though Skeptics Remain

A new poll shows a continuing increase in the number of Americans, particularly Black adults, who want to get vaccinated. But it also found that vaccine skepticism remains stubbornly persistent, particularly among Republicans and white evangelical Christians. By now, roughly 61 percent of adults have either received their first dose or are eager for one, up from 47 percent in January, according to the latest monthly survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The shift was most striking among Black Americans, some of whom have previously expressed hesitancy but who have also had access issues. Since just February, 14 percent more Black adults said they wanted or had already gotten the vaccine. 

Read more at the New York Times


Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine 100% Effective in Study of 12- to 15-Year-Olds, Company Says

The Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE safely protects kids 12 years and older, the companies said. The vaccine was 100% effective in protecting against symptomatic disease in a study of more than 2,200 children, the companies said Wednesday.

Researchers also didn’t find any safety concerns, Pfizer and BioNTech said. Given the results, Pfizer said it would ask U.S. health regulators in the coming weeks to expand use of the shots to 12- to 15-year-olds. The timetable for authorization in the U.S. could mean the children will be able to be vaccinated before the next school year begins in the fall.

Read more at the WSJ


NYS Senate Approves Marijuana Legalization – Vote Along Party Lines

The New York Senate, Tuesday, voted to approve the recreational use of marijuana with the vote along party lines as Democrats supported it and Republicans opposed it. In the Hudson Valley, all Democrats voted for the measure, including Harckham, Hinchey, Mayer, Reichlin-Melnick, Skoufis and Stewart-Cousins. The two Republicans in the region, Serino and Martucci, voted against it.

The Democrat-controlled Assembly is also set to approve the new law with the governor promising to sign it.

Read more at Mid-Hudson News


DiNapoli: Some New York Industries Are Not on the
Path to Recovery

Even as overall job growth has resumed in New York, some industries — educational services, government, and financial activities — have continued to lose jobs. The high-wage finance and insurance industries, within the broader category of financial services, lost about 7,000 jobs since May 2020, in addition to the 8,100 job decline in March and April, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The leisure and hospitality sector was the most significantly impacted by the economic shutdown, suffering 30 percent of the State’s total employment decline despite representing only 9.8 percent of total employment. Jobs within this sector have low average annual wages. Fortunately, since May 2020, the leisure and hospitality sector has recovered the largest number of jobs, nearly 260,000; however, these gains represent only 43 percent of the jobs lost in the industry.


Suez Canal Opens, but Shipping Will Be Snarled for Months

Late Tuesday, ships were again moving through the Suez Canal, a day after engineers freed the Ever Given, a 1,300-foot container ship, and cleared the waterway for global traffic. Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, which runs the 120-mile shipping route, said at a press conference that 113 ships had crossed in both directions since the route reopened late Monday, and another 95 are expected to pass through in the evening, up from the typical 50 or so daily passages. 

Egyptian officials say the logjam will be cleared in three to four days. Shipping executives say it will take days longer. Leth Agencies, a ship’s services provider in the Suez, said 352 vessels are still awaiting transit.

Read more in the WSJ


Private Payrolls Grow at Fastest Pace Since September: ADP

Private payrolls in March expanded at the fastest pace since September 2020 as anticipation of a strong economic rebound coupled with aggressive vaccination rates pushed companies to hire, according to a report Wednesday from payroll processing firm ADP.

Companies added 517,000 workers for the month, a healthy spike from the 176,000 in February though just below the 525,000 Dow Jones estimate as well as some fairly highly optimistic calls for the government’s nonfarm payrolls count. The February total was revised sharply higher from the originally reported 117,000.

Read more at CNBC


Pending Home Sales Plunge

The National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Pending Home Sales Index, which tracks the number of homes that are under contract to be sold, fell 10.6% in February from a month earlier — falling for the second straight month. The results missed analysts’ expectations of pending home sales declining 3%, according to Bloomberg consensus estimates. Sales for the first time after eight consecutive months of annual gains, slid 0.5% in February from the same month a year ago.

Read more at Yahoo Finance


Chicago PMI Jumps

The jump in the Chicago PMI to its highest level since July 2018 makes the massive surge in the Philly Fed index look a bit less of an outlier, though it’s not clear how much of the increase represents a real strengthening of the trend and how much represents a post-storm catch-up, or is a reaction to the passage of the massive Covid relief bill.  Either way, the surveys signal that the manufacturing sector continues to recover strongly.  Prices continue to rise too; the Chicago prices paid index rose for a seventh straight month, to its highest level since August 2018.

Read more at MarketWatch


 

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Dily Briefing – 273

New York Expands Covid Vaccine Eligibility – Aged 30 Plus Today, All Adults Starting April 6

New York is expanding its Covid vaccine eligibility to everyone 30 and older beginning Tuesday, followed by all residents 16 and older on April 6, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday.

“Today we take a monumental step forward in the fight to beat COVID,” Cuomo said in a statement. “As we continue to expand eligibility, New York will double down on making the vaccine accessible for every community to ensure equity, particularly for communities of color who are too often left behind.”


COVID Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Sunday March 28th. There were 57 COVID-19 deaths. 

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

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,575
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 546

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,002
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 388

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.46%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.80%

Useful Websites:


NYS Vaccine Update – 9 Million Doses, Eligibility Expanded

Governor Cuomo yesterday announced a new expansion of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in New York. Beginning Tuesday, March 30 at 8 a.m., all New Yorkers 30 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine. Beginning April 6, universal eligibility goes into effect and all New Yorkers 16 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine. 

As of 11 am Monday 5,898,278 (plus 74,960 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 3,359,196 are fully vaccinated (Plus 97,386).  In the Hudson Valley 591,167 (plus 8,028) have at least one dose and 297,557 (plus 6,725) are fully vaccinated. 


Biden Admin Is Weighing Vaccine Passport Rollout

The Biden administration has been considering how to implement a complicated and ethically fraught program, commonly referred to as a “vaccine passport,” as other countries, private interests, and nongovernmental organizations do the same.

The Post reports that the Department of Health and Human Services has been leading the push, which will require an immense level of coordination between government agencies, businesses requiring vaccine passports, and companies that create the services. White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients is in charge of the process; he reportedly intends to brief governors on the plan in the coming week.

Read more at the New York Magazine


CDC Director Describes Feeling of ‘Impending Doom’ – Urges Covid-19 Precautions

CDC chief Rochelle Walensky said Monday that the most recent data shows the seven-day average growing to about 60,000 cases a day, which she said was a 10% increase compared with the prior seven-day period. She said hospitalizations were up to 4,800 admissions in the seven-day average, compared with 4,600 admissions in the prior seven-day average.

She said she has a feeling of “impending doom” with Covid-19 cases rising recently in the U.S., as Biden administration officials urged Americans to continue taking precautions against the virus.

Read more at the WSJ


NAM Economy Report: Manufacturing Contributed $2.35 Trillion in Value-Added Output to GDP 

The U.S. economy grew 4.3% at the annual rate in the fourth quarter. Overall, real GDP was boosted by business investment, but consumer spending, particularly for goods, was held back by rising COVID-19 cases and renewed restrictions in many areas. The U.S. economy is expected to rebound in 2021, especially as more Americans get vaccinated and market participants resume some semblance of normalcy in their actions. The current forecast is for 6.8% annual growth in 2021.

Monday Economic Report 0329 2021


Traffic in Suez Canal Channel Resumes After Stranded Ship Refloated

A 1,300-foot, 220,000-ton container ship that has been blocking traffic in the Suez Canal for nearly a week is finally free and once again underway, onboard tracking sites and livestreamed video from the scene indicate.

The successful effort to free the ship means at least 369 vessels backed up waiting to transit the canal, including dozens of container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels, can now move, Rabie said, according to Reuters.

Read more at NPR


Xinjiang Cotton: Western Clothes Brands Vanish as Backlash Grows

Several major brands including H&M, Nike, Burberry, Adidas and Converse, among others have expressed concern over allegations that members of the mostly Muslim Uighur minority group are being used as forced labor. Some of these companies’ online shops are blocked and their stores have vanished from some digital maps. It comes after several Western countries imposed sanctions on China.
 
The challenge for foreign brands has always been about how to sell your stuff to China’s 1.4 billion at the same time as satisfying your global customers’ growing demands to get your ethics right.

Read more at The BBC


Tai: U.S. Isn’t Ready to Lift China Tariffs

The U.S. isn’t ready to lift tariffs on Chinese imports in the near future, but might be open to trade negotiations with Beijing, according to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.   In her first interview since Senate confirmation, Ms. Tai said she recognized that the tariffs can exact a toll on U.S. businesses and consumers, though proponents have said they also help shield companies from subsidized foreign competition.

Read more at the WSJ


Blinken: Aspects of U.S.-China Ties are ‘Increasingly Adversarial’

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday he sees “increasingly adversarial” aspects to the United States’ relationship with China. “There are clearly increasingly adversarial aspects to the relationship, there are certainly competitive ones,” Blinken told CNN, adding that there were also areas of cooperation between the two countries. The United States on Saturday condemned China’s sanctions against two U.S. religious rights officials and a Canadian lawmaker.

Read more at Reuters


Webinar: How to Respond to OSHA’s COVID Enforcement

Manufacturers now find themselves in the crosshairs of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) amped-up enforcement of its COVID-19 guidelines and need to take immediate action to avoid the potential flood of citations and penalties expected to result.

Council Associate Member Walden Engineering presented a webinar on this topic March 26th providing tips and resources to Council member firms. 

Presentation slides can be found here


Boeing Resumes 787 Dreamliner Deliveries

Boeing delivered the first 787 Dreamliner long-range aircraft on March 26, after a five-month pause prompted by the discovery of some structural flaws in several jets. A 787-9 jet was delivered to United Airlines and a second is expected to be delivered there soon.

In October 2020, Boeing stopped deliveries of 787s following the report that the Federal Aviation Administration had initiated a historical review of quality-control issues at the North Charleston, S.C., assembly operation. At that time, Boeing grounded eight aircraft which had been recently completed and undertook inspections of more 787s for signs of structural defects.

Read more at American Machinist


 

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Daily Briefing – 272

COVID Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday March 27th. ICU patients dropped to 877, a new low since December 6 and a 46 percent decline from the post-holiday peak. Intubations dropped to 530, a new low since December 8 and a 49 percent decline from the post-holiday peak. There were 64 COVID-19 deaths. 

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

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,529
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 523

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,091
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 390

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.45%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.76%

Useful Websites:


State Launches “Excelsior Pass” New Yorkers Can Use it to Demonstrate Vaccine or Negative Test

Governor Cuomo Friday announced the launch of Excelsior Pass — a free, voluntary platform developed in partnership with IBM, which utilizes proven, secure technology to confirm an individual’s recent negative PCR or antigen test result or proof of vaccination to help fast-track the reopening of businesses and event venues in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidelines.

Similar to a mobile airline boarding pass, individuals will be able to either print out their pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass Wallet app. Each Pass will have a secure QR code, which participating businesses and venues can scan using a companion app to verify proof of COVID-19 negative test results or proof of vaccination. An individual’s data is kept secure and confidential at all times.

Read the press release


NYS Vaccine Update – 14.6% of New Yorkers Fully Vaccinated

Governor Cuomo announced that 194,837 doses have been administered across the state’s distribution network in the last 24 hours, and more than 1 million doses have been administered over the past seven days. The week 15 allocation of 1,565,080 first and second doses was expected to finish arriving Sunday.

As of 11 am Tuesday 5,823,318 (plus 91,907 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 3,261,810 are fully vaccinated (Plus 106,397).  In the Hudson Valley 583,139 (plus 9,223) have at least one dose and 290,832 (plus 9,617) are fully vaccinated. 


U.S. Update – Covid-19: About a Third of U.S. Adults Have Received at Least One Dose of a Vaccine

The U.S. vaccination campaign is accelerating rapidly, with more than 91 million people — roughly a third of the adult population — having received at least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccination by Saturday. And nearly every state has announced that it will meet President Biden’s directive to make all adults eligible by May 1.

But as of Saturday afternoon, two states — Arkansas and New York — still had not declared a timeline for their residents.


Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine Starts Testing in Young Children

Researchers administered the first doses of the vaccine to children enrolled in the study, which is evaluating the shots in children six months to 11 years. Pfizer expects initial results by the end of the year. Children make up about 13% of Covid-19 cases in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The vaccine, which Pfizer developed with BioNTech SE, is authorized for use in people 16 years and older. Pfizer had earlier started testing the vaccine in children ages 12 years to 15 years. Children appear to be at lower risk of contracting the coronavirus than adults. When they are infected, they tend to experience milder symptoms, though some get seriously ill and can spread the virus.

Read more in The WSJ


Covid-19 Shots for Children Hold Key to Herd Immunity

To achieve the vaccination rates that health authorities are aiming for, the shots must eventually reach the arms of children and teenagers, too. Children aren’t going to be vaccinated for several months at least, however, because drugmakers are still testing shots in younger ages.

That means health authorities can’t be confident of securing community protection against the virus, known as herd immunity, until later this year at the earliest, because children under 18 make up a significant proportion of many countries’ populations.

Read more at the WSJ


Global Chip Shortage Continues to Take its Toll on Automotive, Other Sectors

The global shortage of semiconductors remains in focus after China’s Nio Inc. announced it would temporarily halt production at one of its factories due to the chip shortage. The global auto industry was already struggling for supply before last week’s fire at a Japanese manufacturer of automotive chips exacerbated the problems. Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen AG and Honda Motor Co. all have had production problems due to the shortage. 

Read more at Bloomberg


Global Auto Production Dropped 16% Last Year Thanks to COVID-19

According to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, global automotive production fell by 16% last year thanks to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to suppress it. OICA President Fu Bingfeng called 2020 “the worst crisis ever to impact the automotive industry.”

Regionally, the United States saw automotive production drop by 19%, slightly more than average worldwide, and produced a combined 8,822,399 cars and commercial vehicles. In Europe, production fell by 21% on average, with its main producing countries reporting drops between 11% and almost 40%. South America saw production fall more than 30% as Brazil took the impact of COVID hard, and vehicle production in Africa slid more than 35%.

Read more at IndustryWeek


Work Continues to Free Ship, Open Suez Canal

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said on Sunday that tugging and dredging operations to free a grounded container ship blocking the waterway would continue around the clock, according to wind conditions and tides.

As of Saturday, 321 boats were waiting to transit the canal, including dozens of container ships, bulk carriers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels. Shipping rates for oil product tankers nearly doubled after the ship became stranded, and the blockage has disrupted global supply chains, threatening costly delays for companies already dealing with COVID-19 restrictions.

Read more at Reuters


We Need to Ensure that Employee Mental Health is a Top Priority

Studies have shown that more workdays are lost to mental-health-related absenteeism than any other illness or injury. Those studies, by the way, were conducted before the pandemic; as you can imagine, the incidences of anxiety and depression among workers isolated from friends, family and co-workers have only gotten worse since COVID-19 reared its ugly head. And while there are now vaccines for COVID-19, there’s no vaccine or PPE or any kind of off-the-shelf equipment that offers mental health protection.

Read more at EHS Today


PPP Extension Passes Senate; Awaits President’s Signature

The PPP Extension Act of 2021 (the PPP Extension Act) passed the Senate yesterday with overwhelming bipartisan support (92-7). The PPP Extension Act now awaits President Biden’s signature.

It is all but certain that the PPP deadline of March 31, 2021 will be extended to May 31, 2021. 

Read more at Bond Schoeneck and King


Covid-19 Has Brought Together Biomedical Technologies That Will Transform Human Health

The first virus to have its genome read was an obscure little creature called ms2; the 3,569 rna letters it contained were published in 1976, the hard-won product of some ten years’ work in a well-staffed Belgian laboratory. The sars-cov-2 genome, almost nine times longer, was published just weeks after doctors in Wuhan first became concerned about a new pneumonia.

It is hardly remarkable that medical science has moved on since 1976. But the covid-19 pandemic has brought the sharp joy of seeing decades of cumulative scientific progress in sudden, concerted action. The spate of data, experiments and insights has had profound effects on the pandemic—and, indeed, on the future of medicine. It is also an inspiration. Around the world, scientists have put aside their own work in order to do their bit against a common foe. Jealously guarded lab space has been devoted to the grunt work of processing tests. Covid-19 has led to some 350,000 bits of research, many of them on preprint servers that make findings available almost instantaneously.

Read more at The Economist (COVID coverage remains free) 


 

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Dily Briefing – 271

COVID Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Tuesday March 23rd. 

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

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,600
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 549

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,218
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 408

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.37%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.74%

Useful Websites:


State Lawmakers Reach Deal to Legalize Marijuana

After years of false starts, New York state lawmakers said Wednesday that they had reached an agreement to legalize the sale of marijuana for recreational use by adults starting next year. State Sen. Liz Krueger said lawmakers were finalizing a bill that would create a new state regulator for cannabis products and decriminalize the possession of up to three ounces of marijuana. New Yorkers will be allowed to cultivate marijuana for personal use and the state will study a new system for determining whether drivers are inebriated because of marijuana use, she said.

The bill is set to be taken up next week by the state Assembly and Senate, lawmakers said. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has proposed legalizing marijuana in the state budget that is due by next week. He put marijuana legalization into his budget proposals in 2019 and 2020, but it was taken out after disagreements with Democrats who dominate the state Assembly and Senate.

Read more at the WSJ


NYS Vaccine Update – 14.6% of New Yorkers Fully Vaccinated

Governor Cuomo announced that for the first time more than 200,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered over a 24-hour period in New York State. 202,123 doses have been administered in the last 24 hours, and more than 1 million doses have been administered over the past seven days. 27.5% of New Yorkers have at least one dose, 14.6% are completely vaccinated.

As of 11 am Tuesday 5,496,075 (plus 122,121 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 2,920,527 are fully vaccinated (Plus 90,351).  In the Hudson Valley 546,113 (plus 13,857) have at least one dose and 258,584 (plus 6,792) are fully vaccinated. 


U.S. Update – Cases Hit 30 Million – Vaccines 95 Million – as Infections Rise in Most States

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States was nearing the 30 million mark Thursday as new infections continued to trend upward in a majority of states despite an escalating vaccination campaign. Cases rose by 4 percent nationwide over the past week with states such as Michigan, Colorado and Connecticut all reporting spikes of more than 30 percent, according to data compiled by The Washington Post. 

At least 85.5 million people have received one or both doses of a coronavirus vaccine in the United States. More than 546,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the country, out of almost 30 million confirmed cases.

Read more at the Washington Post


NAM Webinar: Employer COVID-19 Vaccination Communications: Do’s and Don’ts

We know manufacturers are working hard to communicate effectively with their teams about the need to be vaccinated against COVID-19. As part of our “This Is Our Shot” project, the National Association of Manufacturers and The Manufacturing Institute continue rolling out resources to support these efforts. And next up: 

  • What: Webinar on Employer COVID-19 Vaccination Communications: Do’s and Don’ts
  • When: Wednesday, March 31, 12:30-1:30 p.m. EDT
  • Who: Ann Christiano, Director, Center for Public Interest Communications, University of Florida

Register here


India Delays Big Exports of AstraZeneca Shot, Including to COVAX, as Infections Surge

India has put a temporary hold on all major exports of the AstraZeneca coronavirus shot made by the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s biggest vaccine-maker, to meet domestic demand as infections rise, two sources told Reuters.The move will also affect supplies to the GAVI/WHO-backed global COVAX vaccine-sharing facility, through which 64 lower-income countries are supposed to get doses from SII, the program’s procurement and distributing partner UNICEF told Reuters.

There have been no vaccine exports from India since Thursday, the foreign ministry’s website shows, as the country expands its own immunization effort.

Read more at Reuters


AstraZeneca Revises Vaccine Efficacy Down to 76% After Criticism of U.S. Trial Data

Following U.S. criticism of the data it provided from its local trials, AstraZeneca has revised the efficacy rate of its vaccine down from 79% to 76% (which is still really good as vaccines go, but not the 90+% being touted by BioNTech/Pfizer, Moderna and Sputnik V.) For people over 65, the efficacy rate actually increased from 80% to 85%.

The latest twist created another layer of uncertainty for a product already facing dwindling public support in Europe following months of confusion and missteps. The data kerfuffle may delay the shot’s ability to win U.S. regulatory clearance, although it will likely still play a crucial role in curbing the global pandemic.

Read more at Fortune


Ship in a Bottleneck: The Suez Canal

The ship that has completely blocked the Suez Canal remains stuck in place. While operations to free the channel continue today, the best chance to move the vessel may not come until Sunday or Monday when the tides are highest. The blockage is halting $9.6 billion a day of traffic, and the knock-on effects of closing one of the world’s most important transit points is likely to worsen for ships carrying everything from crude oil to cement to live animals. 

Read more at Bloomberg


IHS Markit: U.S. Factory Activity Picks Up in March; Cost Pressures Building

U.S. factory activity picked up in early March amid strong growth in new orders, but supply chain disruptions because of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to exert cost pressures for manufacturers, which could keep inflation fears in focus. Data firm IHS Markit said on Wednesday its flash U.S. manufacturing PMI increased to 59 in the first half of this month from a final reading 58.6 in February, when activity took a step back after a cold snap hit large parts of the country.

Britain’s overall PMI was also strong, at 56.6.

Read more at Reuters


Deloitte: CFOs Express Increased Optimism and Expectations for Economic Growth

CFOs’ outlooks appear to be improving overall and shifting upward for key operating metrics, with the exception of earnings growth. Despite myriad internal and external risks, including the well-being of talent, ongoing concerns over the pandemic, and the potential for increased taxes, CFOs have a greater appetite for risk-taking.

CFOs’ perceptions of the North American economy are growing more positive, with 29% citing current conditions as good,  Their perceptions of China’s current economy are more positive, with 51% considering it good, and 6% as very good. Perceptions of Europe’s current economy are far less positive: Only 7% consider it good, and 48% view it as bad and 1% as very bad. 

Read more at Deloitte


Jobless Claims: 684,000 Americans Filed New Unemployment Claims

U.S. states saw a bigger than expected drop in initial unemployment claims filings last week as claims fell to a fresh pandemic-era low. 

The Department of Labor released its weekly report on new jobless claims on 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 March 20: 684,000 vs. 730,000 expected and a revised 781,000 during the prior week.
  • Continuing claims, week ended March 13: 3.870 million vs. 4 million expected and a revised 4.134 million during the prior week.

Read more at Yahoo Finance


Replay: County Execs Reflect on a Year of COVID – What They Learned and What’s Next In Pattern For Progress Webinar 

Pattern For Progress CEO Jonathan Drapkin The County Executives of Dutchess, Orange and Ulster Counties in this hour long webinar.  Marcus Molinaro, Steve Neuhaus and Pat Ryan reflect on the past year and look toward what is next for the region.

If we might editorialize a moment…. We believe the Hudson Valley is fortunate to have such effective leadership at the County level. In addition to the three on this webinar we acknowledge Ed Day in Rockland, MaryEllen Odell in Putnam and George Lattimore in Westchester. Our CE’s have proven themselves time and again to the be pragmatic, humble, caring, non-partisan, collaborative and most of all effective. We appreciate their leadership.

See the webinar here (60 minutes)


 

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Daily Briefing – 270

COVID Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Monday March 22nd. 

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

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,641
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 551

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,242
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 415

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.34%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.76%

Useful Websites:


Cuomo: Budget Might Be Late, “Significant” Tax Hikes Not Needed

Governor Cuomo’s administration on Monday signaled there isn’t a need for “significant” increases in taxes for the state budget this year. The stance potentially puts Cuomo at odds with Democratic state lawmakers, who have proposed measures to increase taxes on upper income earners and the financial industry that would generate $7 billion.

Whether the spending plan can be put to bed by next week is up in the air, Cuomo said Wednesday, pointing to the recent COVID-19 diagnosis of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. the COVID-19 diagnosis and quarantining of the speaker’s staff would lead to a delay in a basic function of the state government was rebuked by Heastie.

Read more at Spectrum News


NYS Vaccine Update

154,705 doses have been administered across New York in the last 24 hours, and more than 1 million doses have been administered over the past seven days. Delivery of the week 15 allocation begins mid-week.   

As of 11 am Tuesday 5,373,954 (plus 88,344 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 2,860,176 are fully vaccinated (Plus 71,334).  In the Hudson Valley 532,256 (plus 10,711) have at least one dose and 251,792 (plus 6,327) are fully vaccinated. 


Vaccine Update – Texas and Georgia Join Growing List of States Making All Adults Eligible for Vaccine

Texas, Indiana and Georgia announced Tuesday that residents 16 years and older will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations starting Thursday for Georgia residents, Monday for Texans and on March 31 for Indianans. 

West Virginia, Alaska and Mississippi are the only states where all adults are eligible to receive shots. Widening the eligibility for vaccines comes at a time when federal health officials have warned of a possible fourth surge of the virus as troubling new variants spread, urging Americans to get vaccinated. About 25 percent of the total U.S. population has received at least one shot, and 14 percent are fully vaccinated

Read more at the New York Times


With $9 Billion Coming to NYS to Help Schools With COVID – More in the Hudson Valley Are Reopening

As area school districts get ready for more in-person learning, hundreds of millions of federal dollars are coming to the region to help with the fallout of Covid-19. The American Rescue Plan will provide $130 billion to support education nationwide, and $9 billion is coming to New York State.

Newburgh Free Academy, and the city school district will be getting $30-$31 million in relief coming over the next few years. The Middletown School District will be getting $17.7 million to help recover from the pandemic.

Read More at Mid-Hudson News


U.S. Durable Goods Orders Fall in February

New orders for key U.S.-made capital goods unexpectedly fell in February, suggesting some cooling in business spending on equipment after recent strong growth.

Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, dropped 0.8% last month, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. These so-called core capital goods orders gained 0.6% in January. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast core capital goods orders rising 0.5% in February.

Read more at CNBC


Richmond Fed: Growth of Mid-Atlantic Manufacturing Activity Quickens in March

Manufacturing activity across the central Atlantic region of the U.S. expanded in March at slightly quicker pace than that of the previous month, data from a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond showed Tuesday. The index is compiled by surveying manufacturing firms across the Fifth Federal Reserve District, which encompasses the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and most of West Virginia. Positive readings signal expansion, while negative readings indicate contraction.

Manufacturing activity in the area has been expanding uninterruptedly since July 2020, but the expansion pace has slowed significantly in recent months from a record-high peak reached in October.

Read more at Morningstar


PPP Expires March 31, 2021; SBA Issues Updated First and Second Draw Applications

Since President Biden has taken office, eligibility to obtain a First and Second Draw Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been expanded. As such, the Small Business Association (SBA) recently updated First and Second Draw PPP applications. Changes to these forms include the “per location” exception for certain entities as established in the American Rescue Plan of 2021.

As of now, the PPP is set to expire on March 31, 2021. However, the PPP Extension Act of 2021 – which would extend the PPP to May 31, 2021 – was passed with bipartisan support in the House of Representatives and is awaiting action in the Senate.

Read More at Bond Schoeneck and King (includes links to 1st and 2nd draw forms)


SBA to Increase Lending Limit for COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration is increasing the maximum amount small businesses and non-profit organizations can borrow through its COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Starting the week of April 6, 2021, the SBA is raising the loan limit for the COVID-19 EIDL program from 6-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $150,000 to up to 24-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $500,000.

Read more at SBA


Egypt’s Suez Canal Blocked by Huge Container Ship Further Disrupting Global Logistics

Dozens of vessels are stuck after a giant container ship became wedged across Egypt’s Suez Canal, one of the world’s busiest trade routes. Egypt says it has reopened the canal’s older channel to divert traffic, amid fears it could remain blocked for days. The incident has already created long tailbacks on the waterway, stopping dozens of other vessels from passing.

About 12% of global trade passes through the Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and provides the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe. The Ever Given, registered in Panama, was bound for the port city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands from China and was passing northwards through the canal on its way to the Mediterranean.

Read more at BBC


Pfizer Testing A Pill To Treat Covid

Pfizer, which brought the first U.S.-approved Covid-19 vaccine to market, is conducting a stage one clinical trial on an oral antiviral therapy that a Covid-19 patient could take when they first develop symptoms, which would make it the first oral antiviral treatment of its kind for coronavirus. Pfizer will share details on the study and pre-clinical data on April 6 during an American Chemical Society meeting

Vaccinations and therapeutic treatments could be the way to return to normal activities. The U.S. has granted emergency use authorizations for other treatments such as antibody treatments developed by Eli Lilly and Regeneron, and a combination treatment using Remdesivir and baricitinib (an anti-inflammatory).  

Read more at Forbes


Intel Announced ‘IDM 2.0’ Strategy for Manufacturing, Innovation and Product Leadership

Intel said it would spend $20bn on two new chipmaking factories in Arizona. Under a turnaround plan unveiled by its new boss, Pat Gelsinger, the firm will start making chips for other manufacturers. That will put it more directly into competition with the dominant Asian chipmakers, Taiwan’s TSMC and Korea’s Samsung Electronics. Investors took heart; shares rose in after-hours trading.

Read more at Businesswire


Germany’s Merkel Reverses Plans for Easter Lockdown

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has cancelled plans for a strict lockdown over Easter, just a day after the measures were announced. Calling the plan a “mistake”, Mrs. Merkel said she took “ultimate responsibility” for the U-turn.

The proposed lockdown was agreed with regional leaders in talks overnight on Monday, with restrictions set to be tightened between 1-5 April. But the plan was reversed following a crisis meeting on Wednesday. It had been widely criticised by business leaders and scientists. The lockdown would have been Germany’s strictest yet, with most shops closed and gatherings limited.

Read more at the BBC


 

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Daily Briefing – 268

COVID Update – 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Sunday March 21st. 

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

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,370
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 499

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,085
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 396

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.29%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.62%

Useful Websites:


NYS Vaccine Update – Vaccine Eligibility Expands to 50-Plus Age Group Today

The governor announced at a press event yesterday that the age requirement for COVID-19 vaccines was dropping from 60-plus to 50-plus, beginning Tuesday.  “Tomorrow morning, 50 and above, make your appointment and get your vaccine,” Gov. Cuomo said. 

 As of 11 am Monday 5,198,113 (plus 65,947 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 2,692,691 are fully vaccinated (Plus 38,557).  In the Hudson Valley 511,939 (plus 8,134) have at least one dose and 242,125 (plus 2,231) are fully vaccinated. 


U.S. Cases Falling Overall, But Rising in Several Northern States

The Johns Hopkins database reports 33K new cases yesterday, down
13% from Sunday last week. Hospitalizations and deaths are still falling, thanks to vaccination. There is some upward pressure  concentrated in northern states where the weather is still cool. Michigan remains the most troubling state; cases have almost tripled over the past month, and the rate of increase is accelerating. Cases are rising steadily in New Jersey, up 36% from their late February low, and the trend also is clearly increasing in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Delaware, and New Hampshire. 

The most open southern states are performing better, with cases flat in Florida and falling in Texas and Mississippi. It seems likely that warmer weather is helping,

Read more at US News and World Report


AstraZeneca Vaccine Is Safe, 79% Effective in U.S. Trials

AstraZeneca’s vaccine was shown to be safe and 79% effective in preventing symptomatic disease in U.S. clinical trials involving more than 32,000 people, the U.K. drugmaker said.

The company said it would prepare to request emergency authorization in the U.S., a move that—if approved—will add another vaccine available for Americans.

Read more at the AP


Chip-Plant Fire Spreads Concerns About Global Auto Production

A fire at a factory of one of the world’s leading auto chip makers has added to the troubles of car makers that already have slashed production because of a semiconductor shortage. The fire Friday left a swath of charred equipment in the factory owned by a subsidiary of Renesas Electronics Corp.  in Hitachinaka, northeast of Tokyo. The company said it would take at least a month to restart the damaged operations.

Car makers have already been struggling with a shortage of semiconductors stemming in part from an unexpectedly strong comeback after the coronavirus pandemic hit last year. That left factories ill-prepared to increase production quickly.

Read more at the WSJ


Covid-19 Vaccine Manufacturing in U.S. Expanding

After a slow start, Pfizer Inc., its partner BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc. have raised output by gaining experience, scaling up production lines and taking other steps like making certain raw materials on their own.  Pfizer figured out how to stretch scarce supplies of special filters needed for the vaccine production process by recycling them. Moderna shortened the time it needed to inspect and package newly manufactured vials of its vaccine. The companies—along with Johnson & Johnson, which recently launched a Covid-19 vaccine—also are teaming up with other firms to further increase production.

In addition, the U.S. government has helped vaccine makers access supplies under the Defense Production Act, suppliers and government officials say. The Biden administration this month said it used the act to provide $105 million in funding to help Merck & Co. make doses of J&J’s Covid-19 vaccine and to expedite materials used in its production.

Read more at the WSJ


Vaccine Battle Heats Up With EU Ready to Halt U.K. Shipments

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said that the EU will not share its vaccine supply with poorer countries until it has achieved “a better production situation”. Her volte-face on the spirit of the bloc’s commitment to COVAX, an international initiative to provide poor countries with vaccines, comes as many EU members face a third wave of covid-19 infections (see main stories). Meanwhile, Britain will reportedly go on a diplomatic drive this week to persuade individual member-states to veto any move to block exports of vaccines across the English Channel.

Read more at Bloomberg


Stimulus Checks Have Left U.S. Households Flush to Spend

Last week a third round of relief payments started showing up in the accounts of millions of Americans, $1,400 payments so far sent to roughly 90 million adults totaling about $242 billion. That is on top of $600 per recipient payments sent in December and $1,200 sent earlier last year and in all will add up to more than $800 billion.

It turns out there is a lot we already know to answer that. Americans have spent some of it, saved a lot of it and used large portions to pay down burdensome debt. That leaves the economy primed for a consumer boom once business fully reopens and poses risks that worry some people on Wall Street, including higher inflation and an asset bubble. Moreover, it leaves a different debt overhang — federal debt — that poses new uncertainties for business, households and Uncle Sam himself.

Read more at Morningstar


DOL Creates New Whistleblower Protocols

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that OSHA will now be responsible for overseeing worker retaliation complaints that are filed under the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act (CAARA) and the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA). In addition to enforcing whistleblower protections for workers regarding federal health and safety laws, over the years OSHA also has been made responsible by Congress for overseeing the enforcement of the whistleblower provisions of 25 different statutes. In fact, only about 62% of the whistleblower claims OSHA investigates deal with safety and health violations.

OSHA’s staff handles complaints of retaliation arising from—among other things—employees reporting violations of securities and tax laws as well as violations of consumer product, food, nuclear industry, motor carrier, pipeline and maritime safety, and health insurance reform laws.

Read more at EHS Today


McMahon: Tax Increases On The Highest Earners 

A year after the Empire State was clobbered by the coronavirus, New York’s Legislature confronts an embarrassment of revenue riches. State taxes have rebounded more strongly than expected from the pandemic meltdown — capped by a massive injection of $12.6 billion in no-strings-attached federal stimulus funds. 

Yet among their budget priorities for the fiscal year starting April 1, the Democratic super-majorities in the state Assembly and Senate want to raise $7 billion or $8 billion more in new taxes — mostly from a few thousand multimillionaire earners.

Read more at the Empire Center


NY Income Tax Deadline Extended

The Department of Tax and Finance will be extending the New York State income tax deadline to May 17. This aligns with the federal decision to do the same and provides New Yorkers still coping with the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic ample time to file. 

Read more at the Department of Taxation and Finance


Some Schools Have Been Open for Months – Here’s What They Learned

Teachers and administrators whose buildings have been open for many months have come to some hard-earned conclusions about how to make it all work. Some of what they learned is consistent with what many scientists have been touting—that masking, ventilation, distancing and regular testing when possible are effective ways to reduce transmission of Covid-19 in schools. Other once-lauded tactics, such as daily temperature checks and deep cleaning of surfaces, have become lower priorities.

They also have learned that teachers, not their students, are likely the primary transmitters of the virus in grade schools, that children are likely most at risk of infection during lunch time, and that tools such as portable air cleaners and carbon-dioxide monitors can help.

Read more at the WSJ


 

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Daily Briefing – 267

COVID Update – NY Forward Safe Office Initiative 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday March 20th. Friday the Governor  announced  the New York Forward COVID-Safe Offices partnership with major commercial real estate partners to expand access to COVID-19 testing for employers. As part of the initiative, 21 participating landlords have committed to provide space and facilitate access to testing services for tenants interested in conducting regular diagnostic testing of their employees.

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

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,355
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 477

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,136
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 397

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.30%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.63%

Useful Websites:


First Brazilian Variant Discovered in New York State Resident

Governor Cuomo Friday announced the discovery of the first case of a COVID-19 P.1 variant, commonly referred to as the Brazilian variant, in a New York State resident. The case was identified by scientists at Mount Sinai hospital in New York City and verified by the Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center Laboratories. The patient is a Brooklyn resident in their 90’s with no travel history. DOH is working with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to learn more information about the patient and potential contacts.

The P.1 variant was first detected in the United States at the end of January, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently reporting 48 cases nationwide. The P.1 variant has been designated a “variant of concern,” which means there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease and the potential for reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines. However, while additional research is warranted, researchers at the University of Oxford recently released non-peer reviewed data that indicates the P.1 variant may be less resistant to the current vaccines than originally thought. 

Read the press release


NYS Vaccine Update – 7.5 Million Doses

7.5 million total COVID vaccine doses have been administered across New York State. 139,209 doses have been administered across New York’s vast distribution network in the last 24 hours, and more than 1 million doses have been administered over the past seven days. The week 14 allocation of 1,284,565 first and second doses was expected to finish arriving yesterday. Delivery of the week 15 allocation begins mid-week.  As of 11 am Sunday 5,132,166 (plus 92,393 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 2,654,134 are fully vaccinated (Plus 51,815).  In the Hudson Valley 503,805 (plus 10,612) have at least one dose and 239,894 (plus 3,242) are fully vaccinated. 


US Vaccine Rollout – Jabs Leveling Off at 2.2 Million Per Day

The US CDC reported 151.1 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses distributed and 115.7 million doses administered. This includes 75.5 million people (22.7% of the entire US population; 29.2% of the adult population) who have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine, and 41.0 million (12.3%; 15.9%) who are fully vaccinated. Among adults aged 65 years and older, nearly two-thirds (66.3%) have received at least 1 dose and 38.6% are fully vaccinated.

The average doses administered appears to be leveling off at approximately 2.2 million doses per day, including 902,781 individuals fully vaccinated. In terms of full vaccination, 20.5 million individuals have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 19.4 million have received the Moderna vaccine, and 2.0 million have received the J&J-Janssen vaccine.

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security


Crystal Run Healthcare Provides Some Vaccine Facts

For the last several months, we’ve been looking forward with a hopeful gaze as some of the smartest brains in the world worked to develop vaccines to help stem the pandemic. And to our relief, they’ve been approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). We signed up to get vaccinated ourselves and have encouraged family, friends, and colleagues to get the vaccine as soon as they are able.

What we weren’t expecting is how much concern about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, also known as vaccine hesitancy, we’d be faced with. The country’s history with past vaccines can’t be overlooked – and we understand why people may be hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, but it is important for us to overcome vaccine hesitancy, together. The state of immunity of the world is determined by all of us, and while we wait for the widespread availability of vaccine, whether eagerly or reluctantly, We’d like to take this opportunity to talk about some of the recent good news vaccine studies have been showing.

Crstal Run Health – Vaccines are safe and effective


US Loans AstraZeneca Vaccine to North American Neighbors

The US government is finalizing plans to ship millions of doses of its available AstraZeneca-Oxford SARS-CoV-2 vaccine supply to Mexico and Canada. During a March 18 press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the US has 7 million available doses and plans to send 2.5 million doses to Mexico and 1.5 million doses to Canada. She noted that the shipments would amount to a loan, with the US expected to receive doses of the same or a different vaccine in the future, and that the US government’s first priority remains vaccinating the US population. The US has faced increasing pressure to share its supply of vaccines with other countries, particularly the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which is not yet authorized for use in the US.

Ms. Psaki said the White House continues to engage in conversations regarding requests from other countries, but providing the vaccine to US neighbors to the north and south is in the country’s best interest. The plan could be finalized as soon as today.

Read more at the US News


CDC Eases Physical-Distancing Recommendation for Schoolchildren

In guidelines updated Friday, the nation’s public-health agency said K-12 students should remain at least 3 feet apart in classrooms rather than the 6 feet it had recommended previously, a change it said was made possible by new scientific findings.  The agency also removed a recommendation that schools install physical barriers such as sneeze guards, partitions or tape and urged schools to consider Covid-19 symptom screening for sports and extracurricular activities.

The reduced distance applies to students only, not teachers and staff, the CDC said, because transmission rates of Covid-19 are higher among adults. Also, students should remain 6 feet apart in communities where transmission of Covid-19 is high if they cannot be divided into cohorts, the CDC said.

Read more at the AP


Forecasters Raised Growth Predictions for US Economy As Consumers Gain Confidence

The U.S. economic recovery is picking up steam as Americans increase their spending, particularly on in-person services that were battered by the coronavirus pandemic. The rising number of Covid-19 vaccinations, falling business restrictions, ample household savings and injections of federal stimulus funds into the economy are fueling the surge, economists say.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal this month raised their average forecast for 2021 economic growth to 5.95%, measured from the fourth quarter of last year to the same period this year, from a 4.87% projection in February’s survey. The higher figure would mark the fastest such pace in nearly four decades.

Read more at the WSJ


DiNapoli: Four Out of Five Small Businesses in NY Continue to Report a Negative Overall Impact From COVID-19

One year since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York’s small businesses continue to suffer, even as the economy reopens gradually and employment growth resumes. Seventy-eight percent of small businesses (with less than 500 employees) surveyed reported an overall negative impact in their business in the first week of March 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The share has declined from 94 percent in April 2020 when data were first reported, but has plateaued at approximately 80 percent since October 2020.

The share of New York’s small businesses reporting negative impacts has been consistently greater than the national average, which has also declined more quickly. In April 2020 almost 90 percent of small businesses nationally reported a negative impact; by the first week of March that figure declined 18 percent to 72 percent.

Read more at the Comptroller’s website


New COBRA Subsidy Requires Quick Action by Plan Sponsors

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, includes a number of provisions designed to assist workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them is a new COBRA premium subsidy that pays for 100% of the applicable COBRA premium for eligible individuals with respect to coverage periods beginning April 1, 2021 and ending Sept. 30, 2021.

In order to comply with the law, employers will face a number of challenges and additional administrative responsibilities, including the identification of premium subsidy eligible individuals, contacting previously terminated employees not currently enrolled in COBRA but who are eligible for the premium subsidy, revising or supplementing existing COBRA notices, and satisfying new notice requirements. 

Read more at Bond Schoeneck & King


The Old Have Become Happier and the Young More Miserable

Covid-19 threatens the old far more than the young, with the risk of death after contracting the disease doubling for every eight years of life. Yet the old have cheered up. Globally, between 2017-19 and 2020 happiness was boosted by 0.22 points on the Cantril ladder among people over the age of 60. Meanwhile the young have had a rough year. Many lost their jobs—in America the unemployment rate for people aged 20 to 24 shot up from 6.3% in February 2020 to 25.6% two months later (it fell back to 9.6% last month). In some rich countries young women have had a particularly hard time. They often work in sectors, such as hospitality, which have been shut down. When schools close, many are lumbered with more than their fair share of child care.

Read more at The Economist


 

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Daily Briefing – 266

COVID Update – Travel for Sports and Fans In-Person for Baseball Season

Governor Cuomo held a press briefing yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Wednesday March 17th. The Governor also announced New York Yankees and New York Mets (Let’s Go Mets) to Start the Season with Fans in the Stands Beginning April 1 at 20% capacity. Also, beginning March 29, statewide travel for sports and recreational activities will be permitted. Currently, travel for sports and recreation is limited to contiguous counties and regions in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidance.  

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

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,536
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 499

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,229
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 397

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.28%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.66%

Useful Websites:


New York State Launching “Excelsior Pass” to Securely Present Proof of Vaccination or Negative Test 

In the coming days, New York State will be launching Excelsior Pass, a tool that allows New Yorkers and visitors to securely present proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results. This unique app provides venues and patrons with a secure method to easily present, scan and confirm test and vaccine information to ensure convenient event flow-through.

Additionally, to make COVID-19 diagnostic testing even more available for New Yorkers, the State recently launched the New York Forward Rapid Test Program. This is a unique public-private partnership to make low-cost rapid testing available to the public to support enhanced economic activity, including weddings, catered events and arts and entertainment venues.


NYS Vaccine Update 

As of 11 am Wednesday 4,790,894 (plus 99,637 from yesterday) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 2,493,242 are fully vaccinated (Plus 53,165).  In the Hudson Valley 463,752 (plus 13,313) have at least one dose and 229,619 (plus 3,721) are fully vaccinated. 


US Vaccine Rollout – Vaccines Across America

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday about 73.7 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, including about 40 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 2.47 million doses per day on average. Figures show the date shots were reported, rather than the date shots were given.

Read more at the New York Times Vaccine Tracker


Another 770,000 Americans Filed New Unemployment Claims

The Department of Labor released its weekly report on new jobless claims on yesterday. Here were the main metrics from the report, compared to consensus data compiled by Bloomberg:

Initial jobless claims, week ended March 13: 770,000 vs. 700,000 expected and an upwardly revised 725,000 during the prior week
Continuing claims, week ended March 6: 4.124 million vs. 4.034 million expected and 4.144 million during the prior week.

Read more at Yahoo Finance


UK Vaccine Supply Hit by India Delivery Delay

An expected reduction in the UK’s Covid vaccine supply in April is partly due to a delay in a delivery from India of five million Oxford-AstraZeneca doses.
The shipment, produced by the Serum Institute of India, has been held up by four weeks, NHS England warned of a reduction in supply in April in a letter to local health organizations on Wednesday.
 
A spokesperson for the Serum Institute said: “Five million doses had been delivered a few weeks ago to the UK and we will try to supply more later, based on the current situation and the requirement for the government immunization program in India.”

Read more at the BBC


AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 Vaccine Cleared by EU After Blood-Clot Concerns

The European Union’s health agency said that the Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca PLC was “safe and effective” and didn’t increase the risk of blood clots, a decision that could clear the way for the resumption of inoculation campaigns that have been halted in much of the region.

The European Medicines Agency said that new expert analysis concluded that the benefits of using a Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca outweigh its potential risks and inoculations with it should proceed.

Read more at the WSJ


The Fully Vaccinated Employee: What the New CDC Guidelines Mean for Employers

As employers consider whether to require vaccinations for employees and how to handle employees who refuse to be vaccinated, the CDC has given employers some clarity … and new issues to navigate. On March 9, the CDC issued its first set of recommendations for fully vaccinated people, providing guidance for everyone who has been patiently wondering what types of pre-COVID activities they can safely resume now that vaccines are here.

For employers navigating the constantly changing landscape of COVID-19 policies, the guidelines offer new options and potential new challenges, whether due to easing workplace restrictions or continuing them.

Read more at the National Law Review


CDC Issues Interim Guidance for Testing in Non-Healthcare Workplaces

The purpose of the guidance is to provide employers with considerations for incorporating testing for SARS-CoV-2 into a workplace COVID-19 preparedness, response, and control plan in select non-healthcare workplaces. The guidance includes descriptions of different types of SARS-CoV-2 tests; scenarios where SARS-CoV-2 testing may be used;  considerations for screening testing (testing asymptomatic workers with no known or suspected exposure to SARS-CoV-2)

The guidance says that screening testing could be effective in helping to prevent transmission for select workplace settings and are based on what is currently known about the transmission and severity of COVID-19 

Read the guidance at the CDC website


COVID-19 “Extension” of COBRA Deadlines May End Sooner Than Expected

In recently issued joint guidance, the Department of Labor, the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service confirmed the indirect extension of the COVID-19-related deadlines for electing and paying for COBRA coverage that were first announced in March 2020. In what may have been a surprise to some, the agencies also confirmed that the mandated extensions do not extend beyond 12 months. For former employees who faced one or more COBRA deadlines early in 2020, the mandated extensions may have already expired or may expire sooner than expected. 

Read more at Bond Schoeneck & King


CFOs Express Increased Optimism and Expectations for Economic Growth

Deloitte’s quarterly CFO Signals survey is out this morning, and while financial chiefs are usually a dour lot, their confidence currently is soaring.  Some 67% report rising optimism about their company’s financial prospects—the highest in a decade.

Fewer than one-fifth (18%) of CFOs say they plan to require employees to get a vaccine before returning to on-site work. 41% say they won’t require vaccinations. 35% are still undecided.  More than a third said they expect post-COVID travel expenditures to remain at 60% or lower than pre-COVID spending.

Read the results at Deloitte


Democrats, Republicans Hope Biden Will Take a Harder Line on China as Summit Begins

As the Biden administration holds its highest-level meetings with China since taking office, it enjoys broad bipartisan support for taking a tough stance toward Beijing but also faces skepticism about whether the talks will bring real policy changes.  The Biden administration plans to use that rare consensus as leverage when Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan meet Thursday and Friday in Alaska with China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Senior administration officials said the U.S. plans to outline some specific areas where China must take steps to change course before the relationship can move forward in a substantive way.

Read more at NBC News


SMIC Is Building a New Factory in Shenzhen Costing $2.35 Billion.

Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), China’s largest and most important chipmaker, is building a new factory in Shenzhen that will cost $2.35 billion.  The company and the government of the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen will jointly put capital into the project. Shenzhen is known as a huge technology hub in China and houses the headquarters of giants such as Tencent and Huawei.

SMIC is key to China’s plans to boost self-sufficiency in the semiconductor industry amid tensions with the U.S., which has exposed the world’s second-largest economy’s reliance on foreign technology in the field.

Read more at CNBC


Honda to Briefly Suspend ‘Most’ North America Auto Production

Japanese automaker Honda will be “suspending production” for one week at most of its plants in the United States and Canada due to factors that include a shortage of parts, the company said Tuesday.

The company is dealing with “a number of supply chain issues related to the impact from COVID-19, congestion at various ports, the microchip shortage and severe winter weather over the past several weeks,” especially in Texas, a Honda spokesperson in Japan told AFP. Since the situation is “fluid,” the timing and length of “production adjustments could change.”

Read more at IndustryWeek


 

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Daily Briefing – 265

COVID Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Tuesday March 16th.  

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

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,624
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 494

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,185
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 375

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.28%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.67%

Useful Websites:


Budget Negotiations Start in Albany With Cuomo Under Scandal

Both the state Senate and Assembly have approved their own fiscal plans, each proposing to raise billions of dollars in revenue through new tax increases on the wealthy, including hikes on the personal income tax for high-income earners, a surcharge on capital gains, and an increase in the estate tax.

The governor has proposed his own surcharge on the state’s top earners, but he is targeting those who make above $5 million. The legislature is looking at taxing those that make $1 million or more. This week, even amid scandal, Cuomo raised a red flag on the legislature’s tax proposals, which are much broader than his own. “How you raise revenue can actually raise revenue or it can cost you revenue,” Cuomo said.

Read more at Spectrum News


NYS Vaccine Update – Appointments Now Available at Ten New State-run Mass Vaccination Sites

Governor Cuomo yesterday announced that appointments are now available at ten new state-run mass vaccination sites across the state. All ten sites will open on Friday, March 19 and will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily.  Sites in the Hudson Valley are located at:

  • SUNY Orange, Diana Physical Education Center.
  • Ulster Fairgrounds, New Paltz

As of 11 am Wednesday 4,691,257 (plus 101,227 from yesterday) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 2,440,077 are fully vaccinated (Plus 56,256).  In the Hudson Valley 450,439 (plus 10,897) have at least one dose and 225,898 (plus 3,905) are fully vaccinated. 


US Vaccine Rollout – State Distributions Evening Out

The US CDC surpassed 100 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses administered on March 9. In total, the US has distributed 135.8 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and administered 109.1 million doses nationwide.  As the US SARS-CoV-2 vaccination program continues to scale up, vaccination administration and coverage are becoming more even between states. Currently, the median state-level doses delivered is 41,289 doses per 100,000 population, and most states are within approximately 5% of that total. In terms of doses administered, the median state-level total is 34,066 doses per 100,000 population. The variation is only slightly larger for administered doses, with most states falling within 7-8% of that total.

The US once again surpassed 2 million doses administered per day*, including 829,356 individuals fully vaccinated (i.e., second dose of a 2-dose vaccine or a single dose of a 1-dose vaccine). Broken down by manufacturer, both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines surpassed 50 million cumulative doses, and the J&J-Janssen vaccine is approaching 1.5 million doses.

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security


IRS Postpones April 15 U.S. Tax Deadline to May 17

The IRS and Treasury Department will postpone the April 15 tax-filing deadline to May 17, the agencies announced Wednesday. In addition, taxpayers can also delay payment of any money owed the IRS until May 17. If payers still need more time to submit their returns, they can request an extension (but not taxes owed) until Oct. 15 by filing Form 4868.

The extended deadline applies only to federal income returns and taxes, meaning that taxpayers will need to check to see if due dates for state taxes have been changed. Not all states follow the same filing deadline as the federal government.

Read more at CNBC


President  Biden is Under Increasing Pressure to Share the Nation’s SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Supply

U.S. President Joe Biden is under increasing pressure to share the nation’s SARS-CoV-2 vaccine supply with other countries. On Friday, President Biden met virtually with the leaders of Japan, India, and Australia—members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, an alliance to address mutual concerns about China—and agreed to work together to increase production of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in India to bolster the Indo-Pacific region’s supply.

The summit committed to supplying at least 1 billion vaccine doses to the region by the end of 2022. Though not the focus of the agreement, the leaders hope these efforts will challenge China’s growing influence in the region and other parts of the world, as China’s ability to produce millions of vaccine doses and ship them to low- and middle-income countries has offered it advantages in terms of strengthening diplomatic and economic relations.

Read More at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security


DOL Inspector General Critical of OSHA – Calls for COVID ETS

The Department of Labor (DOL) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has criticized the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for inadequate COVID-19 enforcement and advocated for the adoption of Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), which OSHA is expected to issue very soon.

The OIG notes that restrictions on onsite inspection and travel led to a dramatic decrease in inspections, which dropped from more than 26,000 in an eight-month period in 2019 to approximately 13,000 inspections in the same timeframe in 2020. OSHA received 15% more complaints but performed 50% fewer inspections in a 10-month period in 2020. The report also found that states operating OSHA state plans did better than the federal agency.

Read more at EHS Today


Jackson Lewis Provides Details on NYS Time Off for Vaccine Law

Effective immediately, New York State employers must provide employees with up to four hours of paid time off per COVID-19 vaccination. The new law sunsets on December 31, 2022.

The new law provides that:

  • All New York employees must receive a paid leave of absence for “a sufficient period of time” not to exceed four hours per vaccine injection. In other words, employees may be entitled to up to eight hours of paid time off if receiving a two-injection COVID-19 vaccine;
  • This leave must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay; and
  • Employers cannot require employees to use other available leave (such as sick leave or vacation time) before providing this leave.

The new law applies to both public and private employers, with potential carveouts for employees subject to a collective bargaining agreement.

Read more from Council Associate Member Jackson Lewis


Fed Holds Steady on Interest Rates, Bond Purchases

The Federal Reserve kept its easy-money policies in place and vowed to maintain them until the U.S. economy recovers further from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, while also highlighting the brightening outlook for growth. They plan to continue buying at least $120 billion per month of Treasury debt and mortgage-backed securities until “substantial further progress” is made toward those objectives. 

The officials also expect stronger economic growth, higher inflation and lower unemployment this year than they did in December. Their median projection showed the U.S. gross domestic product rising 6.5% in 2021, up from their December expectation of 4.2%. They expect unemployment to fall to 4.5% by year’s end, from 6.2% in February.

Read more at the WSJ


Chip Shortage Continues to Negatively Impact Automakers

The global shortage of semiconductors is starting to have serious effects for automakers, with Honda Motor Co. saying it will suspend production at some U.S. plants while Toyota Motor Corp. has already scaled back production due to the lack of chips. Industry leaders told a Senate committee yesterday that more incentives are needed for domestic production to reduce the reliance on foreign supplies of semiconductors. Samsung Electronics Co. warned that the supply crunch may delay the launch of its latest phone while Volkswagen AG said it has lost production of 100,000 cars worldwide. There is little good news on the immediate horizon, with Renesas Electronics Corp.’s top executive warning the shortage may last into the second half of this year. 

Read more at WLNS (Michigan) 


Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins Predicts Recreational Marijuana Legalization This Spring

Senator Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D, Yonkers) said it is not a matter of if, but when. The governor would like it passed as part of the state budget, which would translate into millions in new revenue for the state. The budget deadline is April 1.

“We’re trying to figure a way forward so that there will be a way of some understanding of vehicle safety. I am pretty sure that we will be able to work through and that the Assembly will as well. I am optimistic that it will be resolved sooner than later,” she said.

Read more at Mid Hudson News


In Senate Testimony Timmons Defends Tax Reform, Advocates Investment Incentives

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons testified before the Senate Committee on Finance yesterday to push forward a post-partisan consensus on a number of key manufacturing priorities.  Timmons asked a series of questions about whether America would meet its moment—including by ensuring competitive tax rates, investing in infrastructure, developing trade agreements that protect American workers and enacting comprehensive immigration reform that offers a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

“If the answer to those questions is ‘yes,’ if we tackle these fundamental issues, then I’m certain that this Next World that we are building in the aftermath of the pandemic will be built by American workers in American factories, restoring American leadership in the world.”

Read the testimony 


Coming ‘Vaccine Passports’ Aim for Simplicity

The first digital “vaccine passports” for post-pandemic travel have been designed as easy-to-use applications that will one day merge into other travel platforms, like airline apps, their developers say.  Though popularly known as vaccine passports, the apps also include information like Covid-19 test status, and are in trial runs in several places around the world.

Health pass apps aim to guide users through the data-entry process step-by-step and keep the amount of information they need to enter to a bare minimum, partly by investing in functions like passport-chip scanning.

Read more in the WSJ


 

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Daily Briefing – 263

COVID Update 

Governor Cuomo held a press briefing yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Monday March 15th.  

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

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,517
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 463

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,086
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 376

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.22%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.62%

Useful Websites:


Assembly, Senate Pass One House Budgets – Part of the Annual NYS Budget Process

The two legislative chambers posted their one-house budget bills online over the weekend, planning for more than $200 billion of spending. These budgets are meant to plant a flag for each chamber about their policy priorities and goals, and they are subject to negotiation between the leaders or representatives of the Executive Chamber, Assembly and Senate. Stark differences remain between their proposals for raising taxes on the wealthy and legalizing online mobile sports betting and what Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said he supports.

The governor, constitutionally, has tremendous sway over how the budget is written and edited, but it remains to be seen how his politically-weakened stance — as a result of the COVID-19 nursing home deaths and sexual harassment allegations facing him — will influence negotiations.

Read more at the Olean Times Herald


NYS Vaccine Update 

As of 11 am Monday 4,493,757 (plus 77,598 from yesterday) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 2,317,552 are fully vaccinated (Plus 52,789).  In the Hudson Valley 428,102 (plus 6,954) have at least one dose and 216,718 (plus 2,524) are fully vaccinated. 


US Rollout: Cases Down, Vaccines Success Means Another Case Spike Like Europe Unlikely

Coronavirus developments in Europe are likely no longer early indications of what will happen weeks later in the U.S., due partly to America’s progress vaccinating its population, Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Monday. The former Food and Drug Administration commissioner’s comments on “Squawk Box” come one day after White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said the situation in Europe shows why U.S. states should not completely ditch pandemic precautions right now. Newly reported Covid-19 cases in the U.S. dropped below 40,000 for the first time since early October, 

“Earlier I said we were sort of four to maybe six weeks behind Europe, and we pretty much were,” Gottlieb said, referring to previous phases of the global health crisis. “Everything that happened in Europe eventually happened here. Now I think the tables have turned. We’re ahead of Europe.”

Read more at CNBC


AstraZeneca Defends Vaccine After More Countries Suspend Use Over Blood Clot Concerns

AstraZeneca said a review of data from 17m people vaccinated with its covid-19 jab, developed with Oxford University, found no increased risk of blood clots. Over the weekend Ireland and the Netherlands joined a growing list of European countries in halting use of the jab, after reports of clotting. The review, conducted alongside European health authorities, found fewer clotting cases than would be expected to occur naturally.

Read more at Market Watch


SBA Extends Deferment Period for all COVID-19 EIDL and Other Disaster Loans until 2022

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced extended deferment periods for all disaster loans, including the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, until 2022.

All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2020, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 24-months from the date of the note. All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2021, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 18-months from the date of the note. 

Read more at the SBA


March Empire State Manufacturing Survey – Highest Reading Since Last July

Manufacturing activity grew substantially in New York State in March. The general business conditions index rose five points to 17.4, its ninth consecutive positive reading, and its highest level since July of last year. Delivery times again rose at the fastest pace in a year, and inventories edged higher.

The index for number of employees was little changed at 9.4, indicating ongoing modest gains in employment, and the average workweek index inched up to 10.9, signaling an increase in hours worked. The prices paid index rose seven points to 64.4, again reaching its highest level in a decade, pointing to sharp input price increases. The prices received index was little changed from last month’s two-year high, pointing to ongoing selling price increases.

Read more at the NY Fed


NAM Manufacturing Economy Report – Cost Top Concern for Manufacturers

In the latest NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, 87.6% of respondents said they feel either somewhat or very positive about their company’s outlook, the highest level in two years. The outlook bounced back from the 33.9% reading in the second quarter of 2020, which was the worst reading since the Great Recession. Medium and large manufacturers were more upbeat in their outlook than smaller firms.
 
Roughly two-thirds of manufacturers expect to return to pre-pandemic levels of revenue by the end of 2021, with one-third saying that their revenues had recovered by the end of 2022. Cited by 76.2% of respondents, rising raw material costs topped the list of primary business challenges in the first quarter. Although 65.8% of those completing the survey consider the inability to attract and retain talent as their top challenge, this issue dropped to second place.

NAM Manufacturing Economy Report 0315 2021


White House Weighs How to Pay for Long-Term Economic Program

The Biden administration is looking past its $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill and starting to consider how to pay for the next round of programs. The challenges are twofold. Officials face a decision over how much of the bill to pay for with tax increases and which policies to finance with more borrowing. In a narrowly divided Congress, they must also craft a bill that can win support from nearly every Democrat. The decision will help determine how much of President Biden’s Build Back Better economic agenda he can advance in his first year in office.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday that the Biden administration hasn’t decided whether to pursue a wealth tax, and that while the administration intends to issue proposals to rein in deficits over time, U.S. borrowing costs are manageable right now.

Read more at the WSJ


Southwest, JetBlue Expect Leisure Bookings to Help Revenue

Southwest Airlines Co and JetBlue Airways Corp pointed to a steady rise in leisure bookings as signs of a slowing pandemic due to vaccine rollouts drove more people to go on vacations or visit their friends and relatives.

Southwest also forecast lower cash burn in the first quarter on Monday and said operating revenue for March and April was expected to improve as a rise in leisure bookings countered a lag in business travel.

Read more at Reuters


Boeing, Southwest Near Deal For Massive 737 Max Order: Report

A source told Reuters late Wednesday that the deal could potentially include 130 firm orders plus significant options for 170 more. At list prices, 130 737 Max jets would be about $13 billion, though carriers typically get steep discounts for large deals. However, another source said the firm orders could come in less than 100, according to Reuters.

The order would be for the Boeing 737 Max 7, which is a smallest variant of the narrowbody family of planes that received clearance late last year to return to service again.

Read more at Investors Business Daily


When CEOs Really Think We’ll Come Back to Work

Top executives are seeing light at the end of the pandemic tunnel as the U.S. vaccination efforts continue to ramp up and more states expand eligibility for shots. But corporate leaders are still split on what the workplace will look like in 2021 and beyond.

“Given the global rollout of vaccines, we are currently planning on the basis that schools and [SAT] test centers will reopen in a socially distant fashion during March, and that normal operations will resume in the second half of 2021.…We will occupy a significantly smaller corporate office square footage.”

—Sally Johnson, financial chief, Pearson 

Here is what some other top executives are saying about coming out of Covid-19 lockdowns, widening vaccinations and bringing people back into the workplace.

Read more at the WSJ

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Daily Briefing – 262

COVID Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Sunday March 14th.  

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

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,486
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 458

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,175
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 408

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.15%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.54%

Useful Websites:


Through January, New York Was Still Down 1 Million Jobs

New York’s post-pandemic recovery continued to lag far behind the national average in January, with total private employment in the Empire State remaining a million jobs below the level of a year earlier.

The latest establishment payroll headcount from the state Labor Department—reflecting an important annual “benchmark” re-estimate based on employer unemployment insurance filings—also shows the state’s job count took a bigger dip than originally reported in December, when Governor Cuomo tightened some restrictions in response to a second wave of coronavirus infections. The updated December number was down 1.062 million, reflecting a net loss of nearly 100,000 more jobs that previously estimated.

Read more at the Empire Center


NYS Vaccine Update – 6.5 Million Doses, 2.26 Million Fully Vaccinated

As of 11 am Sunday 4,416,159 (plus 86,114 from yesterday) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 2,264,763 are fully vaccinated (Plus 50,651).  In the Hudson Valley 421,118 (plus 7,766) have at least one dose and 214,194 (plus 3,820) are fully vaccinated. 


US Passes 100 Million COVID-19 Vaccinations

The United States has passed 100 million vaccine doses administered, a big milestone that shows the pace of the vaccination campaign is accelerating.

The U.S. also set a new record for shots administered in a day on Friday, at 2.9 million, according to the White House, with the seven-day average up to 2.3 million per day. About 35 million people have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while about 65 million have received at least one dose. Almost 65 percent of people over age 65 have received at least one dose, up from 8 percent when President Biden took office, the White House said.

Read more at The Hill


EU Approves Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

The European Medicines Agency said that the J&J vaccine is safe and effective against Covid-19, and hours later EU authorities formally authorized its use. Distribution is set to begin in the second quarter.

The J&J vaccine has the potential to significantly bolster vaccination drives over time. It can be kept in refrigerators instead of freezers, making it easier to store and distribute than some vaccines already approved, and recipients need only one dose rather than the two administered for other vaccines, often many weeks apart.

Read more at the WSJ


Novavax Vaccine 96% Effective Against Original Virus 

Novavax Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine was 96% effective in preventing cases caused by the original version of the coronavirus in a late-stage trial conducted in the United Kingdom, the company said on Thursday, moving it a step closer to regulatory approval. The vaccine was 100% effective in preventing serious illness and death.

The vaccine was also about 86% effective in protecting against the more contagious virus variant first discovered and now prevalent in the UK. It was only around 55% effective in a separate, smaller trial in South Africa, where volunteers were primarily exposed to another newer, more contagious variant that is widely circulating there and spreading around the world. 

Read more at Yahoo Finance


Some Key Details of the American Rescue Plan from PKF O’Conner Davies

The House of Representatives passed a final version of H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), on March 10, 2021. This version of the bill has now passed both the House and Senate and was signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021. Among a broad array of stimulus provisions, the legislation includes an extended timeframe for the employee retention credit through the end of 2021, as well as credits for paid family and sick leave for employees and dependent children. There are also enhancements to the PPP loan program, and additional assistance availability to shuttered venue operators and restaurant businesses.

This article updates their previous article, which covered the original version of the bill before changes were made in the Senate. A brief summary of the tax highlights of ARPA follows.

Read more at PKFOD


Onshoring Vaccine Production – Vaccine Nationalism Deepens

The vaccine crunch in Europe has shown that states that depend on deliveries from multinationals can be vulnerable. In January, AstraZeneca cut supplies to the bloc by more than half for the first and second quarters, and told Brussels it was not able to divert Belgian-made drugs that were earmarked for the United Kingdom. The cut heightened tensions between London and Brussels and prompted European leaders to set curbs on exports of vaccines made in the EU – starting this month, when Italy blocked exports of AstraZeneca’s shot.

After these manufacturing setbacks deprived European Union members of drugs made on their own soil there is a push to build domestic capacity.  From Australia to Thailand, states planning home-based vaccine plants are starting to reshape the industry.

Read more at Reuters


What You Can and Can’t Do if You’ve Been Vaccinated – What You Need to Know

For now, people who have gotten their shots must navigate decision-making in a world where the vaccinated and unvaccinated will coexist for months, even within the same household.

So what should and shouldn’t you do? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines Monday. Fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with others who are also fully vaccinated without taking extra precautions, the CDC said. And vaccinated people may gather with one other unvaccinated family without masks and distancing as long as the unvaccinated members are healthy and aren’t at risk for developing a more serious case of Covid-19. But the CDC urged fully vaccinated people to continue taking precautions in public, and in medium or large private gatherings.

Get the answers at the WSJ


Chronogram Guide to Getting Vaccinated in the Hudson Valley

The River, a publication of Chronogram, partnered up with the healthcare journalism experts at ClearHealthCosts to create a local guide to getting a COVID-19 vaccine in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills. The guide includes the latest official guidelines and criteria from New York State and local governments, and also some insider tips on navigating the process, an interactive map of all of the vaccine sites in the region, and more.

Vaccine information changes all the time. New sites are popping up weekly. New groups of people are becoming eligible. The state’s rules for who can get vaccinated where might change without warning. They’re keeping this guide updated and here is the latest update as of March 12

Read the guide


NAM Global Manufacturing Economic Report

The J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI picked up from 53.6 in January to 53.9 in February, the fastest pace in three years. Overall, manufacturers remain very upbeat in their outlook for production over the next six months. The index for future output rose to its highest level since May 2014. Supply chain disruptions helped push input prices higher, with raw material costs jumping at the swiftest rate since April 2011.

In February, eight of the top nine markets for U.S.-manufactured goods had expanding manufacturing sectors, up from seven in January. Many markets experienced notable milestones in the PMI data, including Germany (best since January 2018), Japan (best since December 2018), the Netherlands (best since July 2018) and South Korea (best since April 2010). At the other extreme, Mexico contracted at the slowest pace of decline in 11 months.

Global Economic Update 03 2021


The Economist: Biden’s Stimulus is a High-Stakes Gamble for America and the World

When the pandemic struck it was natural to fear that the world economy would stay in the doldrums for years. America is defying such pessimism. Having outrun gloomy growth forecasts from last summer, it is adding fiscal rocket fuel to an already fiery economic-policy mix. President Joe Biden’s $1.9trn stimulus bill takes to nearly $3trn (14% of pre-crisis gdp) the amount of pandemic-related spending passed since December, and to about $6trn the total paid out since the start of the crisis. On current plans the Federal Reserve and Treasury will also pour some $2.5trn into the banking system this year, and interest rates will stay near zero. Mr Biden’s spending will provide welcome relief to those whose lives have been upended—today America is still missing 9.5m jobs. Thanks to extra cash for most parents, the country’s persistent and widespread child poverty will fall dramatically.

Yet, though today’s policymakers have a guaranteed place in economic history, they may not come to be seen as heroes. That is because America is running an unpredictable three-pronged economic experiment that features historic levels of fiscal stimulus, a more tolerant attitude at the Fed towards temporary overshoots in inflation, and huge pent-up savings which no one knows if consumers will hoard or spend. This experiment has no parallel since the second world war. The danger for America and the world is that the economy overheats.

Read more at The Economist (Subscription) 


Covid-19 Cases Can be Shaped by Medical Conditions and Demography

Covid-19 threatens everyone, but its risk is concentrated among particular groups of people. To help readers understand how the disease interacts with demography and with other illnesses (“comorbidities”), we have built a statistical risk model, using records in the Covid-19 Research Database from 425,000 people in America who tested positive. For any group of unvaccinated people of a given age, sex and mix of comorbidities, our model estimates the share that would be hospitalized or die within 30 days of a covid-19 diagnosis.

This interactive tool lets you explore the model’s output for any combination of variables. It assumes that comorbidities not selected are not present, even if they often appear together. For example, if you enter only Type 2 diabetes, you will receive an estimate for people with Type 2 diabetes but not hypertension. 

This tool is free to use at The Economist


 

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Daily Briefing – 261

COVID Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Wednesday March 10th.  

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

Hospitalizations

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,735
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 451

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,168
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 405

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.11%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.34%

Useful Websites:


Quarantine for Domestic Travel Will No Longer Be Required Starting April 1st

Governor Cuomo announced yesterday that domestic travelers will no longer be required to quarantine after entering New York from another U.S. State or U.S. Territory starting April 1st. While no longer required, the NYS Department of Health still recommends quarantine after domestic travel as an added precaution. Mandatory quarantine remains in effect for international travelers. All travelers must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form. Individuals should continue strict adherence to all safety guidelines to stop the spread – wearing masks, socially distancing and avoiding gatherings.

Read the press release


NYS Vaccine Update – More Than 20% of New Yorkers Have at Least One Dose

As of 11 am Thursday 4,073,412 (plus 101,312 from yesterday) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 2,191,058 are fully vaccinated (Plus 122,086).  In the Hudson Valley 385,958 (plus 11,300) have at least one dose and 199,241 (plus 20,2931 ) are fully vaccinated. 


US Vaccination Rollout – US To Buy Another 100 Million J&J Doses

As of March 10, nearly one-tenth (9.9%) of the U.S. adult population, a total of 32.9 million people, had been fully vaccinated according to CDC data. 62.5 million individuals, or 18.8% of U.S. adults had received at least one dose of a vaccine, up from 52.9 million a week ago. When it comes to the nation’s at-risk senior population, 61.2% of people 65 and older have so far received at least one dose.

In total, 127.9 million doses of the three available vaccine have been distributed across the country; 95.7 million of those doses or 74.8% have been administered. While the vast majority of fully-vaccinated individuals received either the two-dose Moderna or Pfizer vaccine (32.4 million people), roughly of 458,000 vaccine recipients have gotten the newly authorized J&J shot. On Wednesday afternoon, President Joe Biden announced plans to purchase another 100 million doses of the J&J vaccine.

Visit the Fortune Vaccine Tracker


Assembly Speaker OK’s Committee Impeachment Investigation into Cuomo Allegations

The speaker of the state Assembly authorized the judiciary committee to begin an impeachment investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct and dozens of Democratic New York state lawmakers called for Cuomo to resign.  State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie made the decision after meeting with the Assembly Majority Conference, a meeting he announced earlier Thursday.

The committee led by Democratic Assemblyman Charles Lavine is authorized to subpoena documents, interview witnesses and evaluate evidence, the statement says. Heastie said he has the “outmost faith” that Lavine and the committee will conduct an “expeditious” investigation. In a statement, New York Attorney General Letitia James said the Assembly’s action will have “no bearing” on her investigation.

Read more at CNN


New York Passes Bill Giving Employees Paid Time Off to Get Vaccinated

New York has just passed a bill requiring employers to provide employees with “a sufficient period of time”, up to a maximum of four hours of paid leave per shot, to obtain COVID-19 vaccines. If an employee gets a vaccine that consists of two separate shots (like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine), employees will be eligible for up to four hours of paid time off for each injection.  Employees would be paid at their regular rates of pay for up to the four hours to get vaccinated.

While the bill has not yet been signed by Governor Cuomo, he is expected to sign it shortly and it will take effect immediately upon his signature. The law would expire December 31, 2022, so if it is signed it will remain in effect until the end of next year.

Read more at Greenwald Doherty


NAM Webinar: Vaccine Presentation with CDC

On Tuesday, March 16 at 11:00 am EST please join the NAM for their second webinar in the “This is Our Shot” series. Dr. Margaret Kitt, MPH, MD, Deputy Director at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will discuss COVID-19 vaccines.  Dr. Kitt, a Rear Admiral (Retired) in the United States Public Health Service, is currently the Team Lead for the Essential Workers Team as part of the Vaccine Implementation Unit within the CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. She will offer expert insights into the science and rollout of these lifesaving defenses.

As our nation approaches 100 million vaccines administered, this presentation will be important for all members of the manufacturing community.

Register here


CEOs Are Optimistic About the Economy

A PwC survey of 5,000 CEOs around the world, out fresh this morning, finds they are more optimistic about the economy than they’ve been since the company started asking the question nine years ago. 76% of them predict economic growth will improve in 2021, compared to 22% last year (pre-pandemic) and 42% in 2019.

Optimism is particularly strong in the U.S., where 86% foresee growth. Moreover, the U.S. was selected as the top market for growth by 35% of the CEOs, widening its lead over China, chosen by 28%. Last year, the U.S. was only one percentage point ahead of China.

Read the report at PWC


ECB Plans to Ramp up Bond Buying

The ECB opted on Thursday to leave its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program, or PEPP, unchanged, at a total of 1.85 trillion euros ($2.21 trillion) due to last until March 2022.  However, the central bank’s bond purchases in the first quarter have been lower than usual and the Frankfurt-based institution said it expected to ramp up its purchases going forward.

Bond yields in the euro zone have been rising since February, following their United States counterparts higher after President Joe Biden announced a massive fiscal stimulus plan. It has led to fears that rising yields could derail the economic recovery in Europe by raising borrowing costs for countries already struggling with the coronavirus crisis.

Read More at CNBC


Employers Need to Address Women’s Mental Health

Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that almost 41% of adults in the United States were struggling with mental health challenges and fallen prey to drug and alcohol abuse. Women especially have faced significant mental health challenges arising from the pandemic and lockdowns. 

We have learned that physical and emotional abuse are not the only threats to women’s mental health, and the impact of isolation and the burdens of extra responsibilities at home appear to be driving many women out of the workforce, perhaps permanently, and this could limit the ability of businesses to recover fully.

Read more at EHS Today


New Unemployment Claims Reach 4 Month Low – Still Elevated

U.S. states saw new jobless claims fall more than expected to reach a four-month low last week, as impending spring weather and more vaccine-driven business reopenings allow hiring to pick up. Continuing claims, which count the total number of Americans still receiving state unemployment benefits, also fell for for an eighth straight week last week, reaching the lowest level in nearly one year.

  • Initial jobless claims, week ended March 6: 712,000 vs. 725,000 expected and a revised 754,000 during the prior week
  • Continuing claims, week ended February 27: 4.144 million vs. 4.200 million expected and a revised 4.337 million during the prior week

Read more at Yahoo Finance


 

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