Daily Briefing – 162

Cuomo: State Will Up Enforcement In “Hot” Zip Codes

The Governor issued a press release Sunday announcing New York State will increase enforcement in zip codes with high positivity rates (hotspots). The new enforcement effort will fine and potentially close local businesses found to be out of compliance. This effort is modelled on the State Liquor Authority and State Police Task Force that has been enforcing State guidance at bars and restaurants. Infection rates:

  • 20 hotspot zip codes: 4.8%
  • orange County Zip 10950: 13.7 (3 day average is 21.2%)
  • Statewide: 1.10%
  • Statewide excluding hotspots: 0.91%

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President Trump Received Regeneron Experimental Antibody Treatment

President Trump has received a dose of an experimental antibody cocktail being developed by the Hudson Valley drug maker Regeneron, in addition to several other drugs, including zinc, vitamin D and the generic version of the heartburn treatment Pepcid, according to a letter from his doctor that was released by the White House Friday afternoon.

There are no approved treatments for Covid-19, but the Regeneron treatment is one of the most promising candidates, along with another antibody treatment developed by Eli Lilly. Both are being tested in patients around the country. Initial results have suggested that they can reduce the level of the virus in the body and possibly shorten hospital stays — when they are given early in the course of infection.

Read more in the New York Times (subscription)

U.S. Economy Plunged 31.4% in Q2 But a Big Rebound is Expected

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that the gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services, fell at a rate of 31.4% in the April-June quarter, only slightly changed from the 31.7% drop estimated one month ago.  Economists believe the economy will expand at an annual rate of 30% in the current quarter as businesses have re-opened and millions of people have gone back to work. That would shatter the old record for a quarterly GDP increase, a 16.7% surge in the first quarter of 1950 when Harry Truman was president.

The government will not release its July-September GDP report until Oct. 29, just five days before the presidential election.

Read more at CNBC

New York State’s Second Quarter Economic Crash Was the Worst on Record, Well Above National Average

Seasonally adjusted at annual rates, New York State’s second-quarter GDP crashed 36.3 percent—easily the biggest drop on record, among the biggest decreases in any state, and considerably worse than the 31.4 percent decrease in national GDP during the same period, according to BEA estimates released today. New York’s economic performance ranked 44th out of 50 states.

The new GDP figures also included an adjustment to the annual state GDP estimates for 2019. New York’s GDP increase for last year was adjusted slightly downward, to 1.6 percent, compared to a national GDP growth of 2.2 percent. This ranked New York in the middle of the pack among the 50 states.

Read more at the Empire Center

Consumer Spending Rose in August, but Incomes Pose Hurdle for U.S. Recovery

The Commerce Department said that household income—what people receive in wages, investments and government benefits—fell by 2.7% in August from the previous month because emergency unemployment payouts came to an end. Consumer spending continued to grow (see main stories), but at a slower rate, which could dampen the country’s economic recovery.

Read more at the WSJ

Jobs Report Shows Fewer Hires as Recovery Loses Momentum

Nonfarm payrolls rose by a lower than expected 661,000 in September and the unemployment rate was 7.9%, the Labor Department said Friday in the final jobs report before the November election.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting a payrolls gain of 800,000 and the unemployment rate to fall to 8.2% from 8.4% in August. The payrolls miss was due largely to a drop in government hiring as at-home schooling continued and Census jobs fell.

Read more at CNBC

Jackson Lewis: OSHA COVID-19 Enforcement on the Rise

OSHA began opening many COVID-19 inspections in April 2020, and it has six months in which to issue citations. The ending of OSHA inspections in these cases and OSHA’s inclination toward issuing citations means that all employers, particularly those in the healthcare, personal care, and residential and group living spaces, should be prepared for possible citations.

To date, federal OSHA and its state counterparts have issued citations related to the selection of respirators, medical evaluations, and fit testing, as well as recording-and-reporting violations, and even under the general duty clause for failure to follow industry guidance on COVID-19-related precautions, such as social distancing.

Read more at Jackson Lewis

OSHA Issues Additional COVID-19 FAQs

OSHA’s new FAQs provide information to help employers apply the agency’s existing injury and illness recording and reporting requirements to the coronavirus. In particular, the FAQs provide guidance on how to calculate reporting deadlines for in-patient hospitalizations and fatalities and clarify the meaning of the term “incident” as it relates to work-related coronavirus in-patient hospitalizations and fatalities.

.These FAQs are the latest effort by OSHA to provide employers and employees with more information about how it will enforce its standards and regulations during the pandemic. 

DHS Announces Relaxing Travel Restrictions to U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is making it a little easier for some foreign nationals to fly to the United States by lifting certain restrictions in place following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the restrictions, any airplanes carrying passengers who had recently travelled to or had been present in China, Iran, the 26 countries in the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Brazil but were exempt or received waivers to enter the U.S. were required to land at a limited number of U.S. airports. At those designated airports, there were public health resources for conducting enhanced entry screening. Now, those restrictions have been lifted. This change should make it easier for covered travelers, as they will have more flights, more airlines, and more U.S. arrival destinations to choose from for international travel.

Read more at Jackson Lewis

Deeper Dive From The Economist – Will COVID-9 Kill Globalization?

Covid-19 has been the third major disruption to globalisation within the past twelve years. The pandemic will not kill globalization off, but it will deepen the cracks.  The Economist offers a brief history of modern globlaization and the impacts of COVID-19.

Watch the 15 minute film