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Daily Briefing – 167

Post: Oct. 11, 2020

New York State Cluster Action Initiative Update and COVID-19 Numbers

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday, October 10th. Hotspots in Brooklyn, Queens, Rockland, and Orange Counties have driven higher positivity and hospitalization rates in the State. Tracking data for the hotspots as compared to the rest of the State is below.
Positivity rates:

NYS COVID-19 Cluster Initiative Takes Shape

The initiative divides clusters and the areas around them into three categories with successively higher restrictions within each one: Red Zone – cluster Itself; Orange Zone – warning zone; and Yellow Zone – precautionary zone. The enforcement of the zones went into effect between Wednesday, October 7 and Friday, October 9.

A chart on the Cluster Initiative website (link below) has a summary of restrictions but it is not exhaustive. For full details see Empire State Development’s Guidance Related to New York’s Cluster Action Initiative.

Initial Unemployment Claims At 840K

First-time unemployment claims edged downward to 840,000 last week but remained above the pre-pandemic peak. Continuing claims also dropped, but some of the decrease is attributed to the fact that some people have reached the maximum available through regular state programs.

Claims have been above 800,000 every week since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic, leading to the shutdown of the U.S. economy. However, continuing claims again fell sharply, dropping by just over 1 million to 10.98 million, according to the Labor Department release. Continuing claims trail the headline weekly claims number by a week.

Read more at CNBC

SBA and Treasury Announce Simpler PPP Forgiveness for Loans of $50,000 or Less

The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Treasury Department, Friday released a simpler loan forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $50,000 or less. This action streamlines the PPP forgiveness process to provide financial and administrative relief to America’s smallest businesses while also ensuring sound stewardship of taxpayer dollars.

“The PPP has provided 5.2 million loans worth $525 billion to American small businesses, providing critical economic relief and supporting more than 51 million jobs,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.  “We are committed to making the PPP forgiveness process as simple as possible while also protecting against fraud and misuse of funds.  We continue to favor additional legislation to further simplify the forgiveness process.”

Coronavirus Stimulus Talks at Impasse

The latest, beefed-up White House offer on a new coronavirus package hit resistance from both Democrats and Republicans over the weekend, deflating hopes that a bipartisan agreement was imminent.

Democrats criticized the nearly $1.9 trillion offer from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as insufficient, particularly in its funding and strategy for coronavirus testing and tracing. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, balked at the offer’s cost and its proposed expansion of the Affordable Care Act. The concerns from both sides of the Capitol lowered expectations that had risen Friday when President Trump approved the most generous GOP offer to date in the negotiations.

Read more in the WSJ

Airbus Adds Biz Jet Model to A220 Series

While commercial aviation struggles with diminished demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, private aviation is having a more visible recovery track. Airbus corporate jets president Benoit Defforge explained that private aviation has regained about 90% of its pre-pandemic rate of order volume.

The A220s are twin-engine, narrow-body jets for regional and medium-range service, with seating for 108 to 130 passengers. The new business jet variant will be designed for 18 passengers. The ACJ TwoTwenty is offered with a flexible cabin layout, according to the requirements of heavy and long-range business-jet operations.

Read more at American Machinist

Survey: 76% of Workers Want More Mental Health Support

A new study by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence reveals that 68% of those surveyed would prefer to talk to a robot over their manager regarding stress and anxiety at work. 76% of respondents believe that companies should be doing more to support their workers’ mental health.

The disintegration of boundaries between work and life due to remote work is being reported as the biggest driver of this dip in emotional well-being.  While many companies have started providing new-age benefits that address the emerging issues related to mental health, employees have higher expectations from their companies. Companies may believe that reimbursing counseling costs or covering mental health under insurance might be enough. Still, employees think there is scope for more intervention and technology utilization for their mental wellness.

Read more at ToolboxHR

What You Need to Know About Workplace COVID-19 Testing

Dr. Caesar Djavaherian of Carbon Health discusses types of coronavirus tests available to employers and best practices for maintaining safe workplaces. Djavaherian emphasizes the importance of prevention education, recommends implementing an employee daily symptom tracker — and identifies which symptoms to watch for — and explains why a positive result doesn’t necessarily mean a workplace must shut down.

Read more at Reset Work

Winners and Losers – The Pandemic Has Caused the World’s Economies to Diverge. A Series of Articles in the Economist Looks at the Trends and the Possibilities

In February the coronavirus pandemic struck the world economy with the biggest shock since the second world war. The crash was synchronized. As a recovery takes place, however, huge gaps between the performance of countries are opening up—which could yet recast the world’s economic order. By the end of next year, according to forecasts by the OECD, America’s economy will be the same size as it was in 2019 but China’s will be 10% larger. Europe will still languish beneath its pre-pandemic level of output and could do so for several years—a fate it may share with Japan, which is suffering a demographic squeeze.

It is not just the biggest economic blocs that are growing at different speeds. In the second quarter of this year, according to UBS, a bank, the distribution of growth rates across 50 economies was at its widest for at least 40 years.

Read more in The Economist

National Geographic COVID-19 Data Tracker

Nat. Geo. provides an interesting page with plenty of information and graphics to track the spread of COVID-19 – on page for the United States and another for Europe and the rest of the world.