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Daily Briefing – 177

Post: Oct. 25, 2020

NYS COVID and Micro Cluster Update

Governor Cuomo held a press briefing via phone call yesterday providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday, October 24th.  Tracking data for the hotspots and the rest of the State is below.  In addition to the COVID update the Governor also spoke about early voting and again called one the federal government to help the state with its budget challenges. 

Here is a summary of positivity rates:

  • 20 hotspot zip codes: 3.10%
  • Orange Hot Zone: 1.21%
  • Rockland Hot Zone: 2.78%
  • Statewide: 1.30%
  • Statewide excluding hotspots: 1.06%

Here are some useful links:

DiNapoli: Halfway Through the Year, Revenue Hole Persists

Halfway through the state’s fiscal year, state tax receipts are trailing last year by $2.8 billion, according to the September State Cash Report released by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

State tax revenues totaled $8.8 billion in September, $922.3 million higher than the latest projections by the state Division of the Budget (DOB). Total tax revenues in September were a net $364.1 million higher than those in 2019, primarily due to a $440 million increase in personal income tax collections resulting partly from an additional day in September of withholding collections and lower refunds.

Read more at the controllers website

Jobless Claims Fall

Weekly initial claims for jobless benefits, a proxy for layoffs, fell by 55,000 to a seasonally adjusted 787,000 in the week ended Oct. 17, the Labor Department said Thursday. Claims for the prior two weeks were revised lower, reflecting new data from California. The revised level of claims for the week ended Oct. 3—767,000—was the lowest since the March 14 week, when less than 300,000 new claims were filed.

The number of people collecting unemployment benefits through regular state programs, which cover most workers, decreased by 1 million to about 8.4 million for the week ended Oct. 10, also the lowest since March. That is consistent with many employers recalling workers furloughed earlier this year, and some, such as online retailers and logistics firms, adding staff.

Read more in the WSJ

Workers Who Lost jobs Because of COVID-19 Find New Careers in These Fields

As the health crisis continues to rage across the country and more temporary job losses become permanent, a small but growing number of laid-off and working Americans in hard-hit industries like restaurants, retail and travel are switching to new careers or occupations. Many are transitioning to sectors that have thrived during the pandemic, such as technology, health care, real estate, banking, and warehousing and delivery.

Sixty-three percent of workers who lost jobs because of the outbreak have changed their industry and 4% have changed their field or overall career path, according to a Harris Poll survey for USA TODAY. Community colleges haven’t seen much of an uptick in students due to social distancing, but enrollment in online skills courses such as web development and financial analysis are up significantly.

Read more at USA Today


AstraZeneca, J&J Resuming US Tests of COVID-19 Vaccines

The Food and Drug Administration has given AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson permission to resume Phase 3 trials of their respective covid-19 vaccines. Both drug makers had paused the process after participants fell ill. The FDA concluded that there was no evidence that the subjects’ illnesses were caused by the vaccines.

Read more at the AP

Can Employers Require Mandatory Vaccinations?

The discussion from Greenwald Doherty relates to flu vaccination issues, which may be instructive for when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available. They do note that the circumstances, law, and guidance relating to a COVID-19 vaccine may be different than those that apply to flu vaccination and could compel a different analysis.

In industries where employees serve and interact with populations who are more susceptible to contracting the flu (such as healthcare or early education), employers are likely permitted to (or required to in some states) require flu vaccination. Employers outside of these industries, however, face the challenge to articulate the basis (other than the general intention to keep the workplace safe) of the need for such a policy.

Read more at Greenwald Doherty

Survey of Supply Chain Pros Reveals Biggest Pandemic Concerns

According to a new survey by Supplyframe, 32% of surveyed supply chain professionals who work at North American medical supply companies anticipate it will take six to 12 months for global supply chains to return to full capacity for vaccine distribution.

A majority of respondents were concerned with how U.S.-China relations might impact supply chains: specifically, 82% worried that tariffs with China could impact the availability of personal protective equipment and medical devices, and 26% said medical gear will be more difficult to source. A fifth of respondents anticipate continued product shortages, and 30% said U.S. manufacturing capacity needs to be higher.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Cuomo: Eight Additional NYS Companies to Start Producing COVID-19 Related Equipment and Supplies to Support In-State Needs

Governor Cuomo Friday announced that eight additional State companies have received support from New York to produce needed supplies to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. These grant funds will help alleviate product shortages due to supply chain issues that could lead to unfair pricing practices. These companies will also increase the State’s manufacturing capacity while creating new jobs and market opportunities. To date, more than $16 million in grants have been awarded to 28 qualifying New York-based companies to retool their business lines and pivot to manufacturing vital supplies for ongoing response and recovery efforts.

Read more and see the recipients

“Glocalisation” Opportunity Out of Crisis in Asia

While globalization may be under threat, so-called glocalisation looks set to resurge. In essence, to be “glocal” means making the most of both global and local resources—creating standalone ecosystems in individual markets.

By many accounts, the advent of COVID-19 promises to accelerate an end to the globalized world taken for granted in the 21st century. Boston Consulting Group (BCG), for example, forecasts global trade to drop by 20% in 2020 and doesn’t expect trade to return to the US$18trn recorded in 2019 until 2023. With supply chains thrown into chaos, countries are turning their gaze inwards with a new appreciation for self-sufficiency. Symbolic of this shift, the world’s two largest economies appear to be on a path to decouple their economies and technology ecosystems.

Read more at The Economist Intelligence Unit

Deeper Dive: Should Covid Be Left to Spread Among the Young and Healthy?

As new waves of covid-19 sweep the world, lockdowns are back in fashion. This time, though, they are a harder sell. They certainly save lives. But it is now clear that the lost jobs, the disruption to education and medical services, and the harm to mental health that they cause all exact tolls of their own—and these are paid not just in misery, but in deaths. Systems of “test and trace”, intended to stop those exposed to the virus from passing it on, seem to have worked in some places, but not in others.

In the absence of a vaccine, or of effective drug treatments, the question of how much longer this can go on for is thus being asked more insistently. And on October 4th a trio of public-health experts from Harvard, Oxford and Stanford universities put out a petition calling on governments to change course in a radical way.

Read more in The Economist