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Daily Briefing – 176

Post: Oct. 22, 2020

NYS COVID and Micro Cluster Update

Governor Cuomo issued a press release providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Wednesday, October 21th.  Tracking data for the hotspots and the rest of the State is below.
Summary of positivity rates:
  • 20 hotspot zip codes: 3.20%
  • Orange Hot Zone: 5.32%
  • Rockland Hot Zone: 2.02%
  • Statewide: 1.20%
  • Statewide excluding hotspots: 0.96%
Here are some useful links:

New York’s Cluster Update: Frequently Asked Questions

This week has brought some major changes to New York’s cluster action initiative. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has released guidance about how cluster zones are designated and how the cluster zone designation may be changed. Further, the Governor has updated the already-existing cluster zones and added new cluster zones. Bond Schoeneck and King attorneys discuss frequently asked questions about the clusters and updated maps for the cluster zones.

Read more at BSK

Talks Continue on Relief Package, Doubts Remain

Negotiators on both sides of the House pledged to continue talks to provide further coronavirus relief measures, despite opposition to the move from Senate Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has urged the White House to avoid reaching a deal before the election, while other Republican voices in the Senate played down the prospects for an agreement.

Read the full Story at CNN

Vaccine Trials Near Finish Line

In just a few weeks, we will begin to see results from late-stage trials for possible COVID-19 vaccines, A Amid all the challenges and chaos of the U.S. pandemic response, the vaccine development process has actually been relatively quick and smooth. Biopharmaceutical manufacturers and scientists have managed to move forward at an unprecedented speed, largely keeping politics out of the process and maintaining confidence in the eventual results. Ultimately, six different vaccine candidates have so far been developed, tested and scaled on a timeline that had previously been unthinkable.

Today, independent advisers to the Food and Drug Administration will meet to have their first formal discussion about whether and how they will recommend specific vaccines for use by the public. Those decisions will take place after the vaccine candidates complete their late-stage trials and are submitted for approval. The next big challenge—assuming at least one of the vaccine candidates is deemed successful—will be producing the astronomical number of vaccine doses that will be needed to inoculate the public in the United States and around the globe.

Read more at the Washington Post (subscription) 

Chappaqua’s Ishana Kumar, 12, Wins Top Award For Research Into ‘Imaginary Colors’

Ishana Kumar, 12, from Chappaqua, New York, won the coveted $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize, the top award in the Broadcom MASTERS®, the nation’s premier science and engineering competition for middle school students.

Through her project, Ishana investigated whether retinal fatigue changes our perception of “imaginary colors,” an illusion of color most commonly seen from a spinning black and white disk, called a Benham’s disk. She had her subjects look at the Benham’s disk, and then stare at a red, blue or green light. Next, her subjects stared back at Benham’s disk, and determined whether the imaginary colors changed as a result of retinal fatigue, the phenomenon that occurs when someone stares at a brightly lit, colored area for a while. Ishana’s research could lead to a better understanding of eye disease, our neural pathways as well as both color and cognitive processing.

Listen to the story at NPR

Coronavirus Threatens to Push the Child-Care Industry Over the Edge

The coronavirus pandemic has plunged U.S. day cares into a financial crisis.  Child-care centers across the country—big chains, tiny in-home operations, nonprofits—are teetering. Enrollment slumped in the spring and never fully recovered. Extra expenses, like protective gear and deep cleaning, are piling up. By some estimates, some 40% of U.S. day cares are closed. Many of those that are open have half the number of children they did.

Lawmakers and economists are warning that many child-care providers will fail without government help. If that happens, parents who struggled to find a day-care slot before the pandemic would have to compete for even fewer spaces when it is over. Already, the pandemic is forcing many mothers out of the workforce, a decision likely to hurt their career prospects for years. And if parents can’t work, the economy can’t flourish.

Read more in the WSJ

SLC 2020 Q&A:  How Amazon Manages Risk with Better and Faster Data

Heather MacDougall, Amazon worldwide vice president of workplace health and safety, will speak at the at the 2020 Safety Leadership Conference, which takes place Nov. 10-12 virtually. She will discuss how Amazon is leveraging technology to keep workers at a growing network of fulfillment centers safe while meeting customer demand.

MacDougall previews her session, “Safety Technology: Using Innovation to Solve Challenges and Drive Improvement,” in a Q&A with EHS Today.

Read the Q&A at EHS Today

America After Covid: What Demographics Tell Us

The pre-pandemic migration from large American cities to the suburbs and small towns is continuing, write demographers Wendell Cox and Joel Kotkin. The most expensive cities, such as New York, will continue to be attractive but will also face competition from less expensive alternatives around the country, they argue.

Read the full story at Chief Executive online