Daily Briefing – 173

Who Will be First in Line for the Vaccine?

Healthcare workers who treat patients, nursing home staff and their most vulnerable residents would be first in line for coronavirus vaccines under a preliminary plan released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Sunday.

Police officers, firefighters, teachers, grocery workers, transit employers and other public health workers come next.  Seniors are in the third group, though those with any comorbidity — such as diabetes or pulmonary disease — would move up in the line. Healthy adults and children would be at the end.

This prioritization list is a draft, and it comes weeks if not months before any vaccine is ready for public dissemination.

NYS COVID-19 Numbers and Cluster Initiative Update

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Sunday, October 18th.  Tracking data for the hotspots and the rest of the State is below.
Summary of positivity rates:
  • 20 hotspot zip codes: 3.3%
  • Orange Hot Zone: 1.35%
  • Rockland Hot Zone: 2.68
  • Statewide: 1.2%
  • Statewide excluding hotspots: 1.1%
Here are some useful links:

Time for NYS Employers to Post Election Notices

Greenwald Doherty reminds us that New York employers are required to post the required election rights notice at least 10 working days before Election Day. For the upcoming November 3, 2020 election, this means that employers with a 5-day (Monday through Friday) workweek should post this notice by tomorrow, October 20, 2020. The notice can be found here. Employers with remote employees should consider how they will provide the required notice.

The notice can be found here

Will a Stimulus Deal be Struck by Tuesday? Negotiations Continue

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set a Tuesday (Today) deadline for both sides to come together to restore urgently needed benefits before Election Day. Both sides are struggling to cut a deal just weeks before the election, with Democrats and Republicans hundreds of billions of dollars apart in their proposals and unable to resolve major policy differences on COVID-19 testing, child tax credit provisions, and funding for state and local governments.

After months of negotiations, Democrats and Republicans remain billions of dollars apart in their proposals. Democrats want about $2.2 trillion in funding, and the White House has proposed about $1.8 trillion. Senate Republicans, on the other hand, are set to act on a $500 billion plan Wednesday. Trump, for his part, has said he wants more funding than Democrats are offering. 

Read more at USA Today

Monday Economic Report: Start-Ups, Mfg Production and Capacity Utilization

Total new business applications soared from 883,018 in the second quarter to 1,566,373 in the third quarter. This suggests that the number of employer business formations jumped sharply, with Americans likely pursuing entrepreneurial ventures as a means of supplementing their income, especially in a challenging economy and labor market.

Manufacturing production declined 0.3% in September. This suggests that production slowed after progress over the past four months following the 20.1% decline in manufacturing production experienced between February and April due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite progress in recent months, output remained 6.4% below the pre-pandemic pace in February. Meanwhile manufacturing capacity utilization edged down from 70.7% in August to 70.5% in September. For comparison purposes, it registered 75.2% in February

Monday Economic Report 2020-1019

“Ambiguous” That Is the Likely Result When COVID-19 Vaccine Makers Release Early Data 

Five vaccines—from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax—have already begun or are beginning Phase III trials that seek to recruit tens of thousands of volunteers in the U.S.

With the FDA’s two months of required safety data, mid-November is the earliest companies might seek emergency approval for a COVID-19 vaccine, assuming the required number of infections is met. The interim data in a small number of people may or may not offer clear results, but the bigger picture is worth keeping in mind: Many, many candidates are in the pipeline. The first vaccine will make news, but it might not be the most effective, the easiest to deploy, or ultimately even the most widely used.

Read more in The Atlantic

Global Steel Recovery is Underway, But Slow and Uneven

The World Steel Association issued an updated semi-annual Short Range Outlook for 2020 and 2021, and now predicts that that steel demand will drop by -2.4% year-over-year for the current year, to 1.725 billion metric tons. For 2021, the group foresees steel demand then recovering 4.1% year-over-year, to 1,795.1 million metric tons.

Although the 2020 output has been significantly reduced by “lockdowns” imposed to contain the pandemic, the new forecast assumes that nationwide lockdowns will not be repeated but that selective and targeted measures will be able to contain the “second wave” of the pandemic.

Read more at American Machinist

Flexible Working is Changing Workers’ Relationship With Time

Bartleby writes in The Economist that two hundred years ago, a device began to dominate the world of work. No, not the steam engine—the gadget was the clock. With the arrival of the factory, people were paid on the basis of how many hours they worked, rather than their material output. In the “putting out” system that prevailed before the factory era, merchants would deliver cloth to be woven, spun, stitched or cut to a worker’s home. Each worker would then be paid for the items they produced.

The clock’s authoritarian rule may at last be weakening. Remote working has brought a greater degree of freedom. A survey of 4,700 home-workers across six countries commissioned by Slack, a corporate-messaging firm, found that flexible working was viewed very positively, improving both people’s work-life balance and productivity. Flexible workers even scored more highly on a sense of “belonging” to their organization than those on a nine-to-five schedule.

Read more at The Economist