Daily Briefing – 189

COVID and Cluster Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release detailing New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Monday November 9th. Tracking data for the Clusters and the rest of the State are below.  

  • Clusters: 5.9%
  • Rockland Red zone: 2.86%
  • Westchester yellow-zone: 14.66
  • Orange Orange zone: 2.62%
  • Statewide: 3.09%
  • Statewide excluding clusters: 2.56%
  • Statewide hospitalizations: 1,548 (296 in ICU) 

We urge all our members to remain diligent in their efforts to prevent the spread of the virus. With the holidays coming up, colder weather in the offing and pandemic fatigue settling in it is more important than ever to stay focused on safety.  Our members have thus far done an excellent job keeping their people safe from the virus at work.  Let’s keep it that way!

Here are some useful websites:

New York’s Travel Advisory 2.0: BSK Has Updated Their Frequently Asked Questions

New York’s travel advisory has been substantially altered during the past two weeks. On October 31, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 205.2, which revised the New York State Travel Advisory for domestic travel. On November 3, the New York State Department of Health issued an updated guidance document (the November 3 Guidance). The changes made by Executive Order 205.2 and the November 3 Guidance have generated confusion.

Bond Schoeneck & King discusses frequently asked questions they have received about the updates

US Job Openings Climb Slightly in September But Miss Expectations

US job openings rose by 84,000 to 6.4 million through September, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, data published Tuesday. Nearly 480,000 were in manufacturing The reading lands below the 6.5 million openings expected by economists. The largest gains emerged in the transportation and warehousing, business services, and financial industries.

Openings decreased the most in the accommodation and food services, the retail trade, and construction industries.

Read more at Business Insider

Machine Tool Orders Surged in September

U.S. machine shops and other manufacturers purchased $373.7 million worth of machine tools during September, +26.4% more than the August total, the highest monthly purchase value to date for the current year, as well as the highest monthly unit count at 2,354 metal-cutting and metal-forming/fabricating machines.

However, the September result is -3.2% lower than the September 2019 total and brings the nine-month total value for 2020 “manufacturing technology” orders to $2.32 billion, -24.3% lower than the January-September 2019 order. The results are provided by the AMT – the Assn. for Manufacturing Technology in its monthly U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report.

Read more at American Machinist

NAM: Remember the Regulators

While everyone is talking about the election results, let’s not forget about the slow and steady slog for better government—by which we mean, a stable and predictable regulatory system that encourages manufacturing growth instead of hampering it.

Recently, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons made the case for government-wide regulatory reform in a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Here’s what he had to say.

McConnell Taking the Lead on Stimulus Negotiations 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to take a larger role in coronavirus relief talks while the Trump administration sidelines itself, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.

President-elect Joe Biden may also jump into the negotiations over a new stimulus package in the coming weeks, according to The Post. The political dynamics around coronavirus relief could be shifting in the wake of Biden’s election victory against President Donald Trump, who has refused to concede. Biden’s transition team is starting talks with congressional Democrats this week over priorities to pursue during the lame-duck session, The Post reported.

Read more at Business Insider

Evidence of PPP Fraud Mounts, Officials Say

Congress and the Trump administration designed the PPP to give small businesses fast and easy access to taxpayer funds, and it worked: About $525 billion in loans were distributed to 5.2 million companies between April 3 and Aug. 8. Many business owners say it was a lifeline in turbulent times.

But evidence is growing that many others took advantage of the program’s open-door design. Banks and the government allowed companies to self-certify that they needed the funds, with little vetting.  The Small Business Administration’s inspector general, an arm of the agency that administers the PPP, said last month there were “strong indicators of widespread potential abuse and fraud in the PPP.

Read more in the WSJ

Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s Vaccine is the Start of the End of the Pandemic

On November 9th Pfizer and BioNTech, two pharmaceutical firms, announced that the vaccine on which they have been collaborating is more than 90% effective in preventing symptomatic cases of covid-19. This is an astonishing result for a first-generation vaccine. Many had not dared to hope for efficacy of anything over 70%.

Three important questions about the vaccine remain. One is the extent to which it works in elderly people, one of the groups most vulnerable to covid-19, and who may not respond as well. Another is whether it prevents infectiousness (it remains possible that a vaccine could prevent someone from getting the symptoms of covid-19, but not from spreading it to others). And its long-term efficacy is entirely unknown.

Read more at The Economist

How Canon’s Pandemic Pivot Paints a Different Picture

Just a few weeks into the pandemic lockdowns, as toilet paper and Clorox wipes were becoming a rarified luxury, another shortage quietly emerged: webcams. Lots of people, suddenly thrust into the now-familiar world of constant Zoom calls, remote classrooms, and videoconferences, were scrambling to buy what had previously been a sleepy product, and there weren’t enough webcams to go around.  Canon, the camera-maker, spotted this shortage early — and saw an unexpected opportunity.

Canon did not make webcams, and has no plans to start. But within three weeks its engineering and software teams developed free software that would make it easy for Canon owners to convert their cameras into webcams. 

Read more about this customer driven pivot at Medium