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Daily Briefing – 192

Post: Nov. 15, 2020

COVID and Cluster Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday, November 14th.  A total 133,202 COVID-19 tests were reported to the State Saturday.

Tracking data for the Clusters and the rest of the State are below.  

  • Clusters: 4.05%
  • Rockland Red zone: 3.21%
  • Westchester yellow-zone: 4.05
  • Orange Orange zone: 2.34%
  • Statewide: 2.74%
  • Statewide excluding clusters: 2.45%
  • Statewide hospitalizations: 1,845 (378 in ICU) 

Here are some useful websites:

New York State Transmission Rate Bumps Up – Now 3rd Highest in the Nation 

The average number of people who become infected by an infectious person with COVID-19 is 1.32 in New York State making it 3rd highest in the U.S. as of November 11th.  New York’s rate is only slower than those of Maine (1.48) and Vermont (1.36.) A number below 1 indicates the spread of the virus is slowing, above 1 means it is accelerating.

See the transmission rates by State at Statista

Consumer Prices Stay Flat

U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in October, the lowest reading in five months, suggesting that a price spike over the summer is beginning to fade as coronavirus cases spread. The flat reading for last month followed a gain of 0.2% in September. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, also showed no changed in October, another indication that inflation remains well-behaved, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Over the past 12 months, overall inflation is up a moderate 1.2% while core inflation is up 1.6%. Both readings are well below the Federal Reserve’s 2% target for annual price gains.

Read more at the AP

DiNapoli: After Five Months, Jobs Recovery Varies Across New York

Total employment in New York State fell in March, and again—much more sharply—in April, with a combined loss of more than 1.9 million jobs. After five months of partial employment recovery since then, figures for September show significant if not severe lingering damage to job counts in every one of the State’s fifteen metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs).

New York City, an early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to feel the sharpest loss, with a net decline of 648,000 jobs, nearly 14 percent of its February total. Figures for the Orange-Rockland-Westchester MSA also show a large decline of 10.7 percent. 

Read more and see the numbers at the Controller website

Moderna Says its Vaccine is 94.5% Effective 

Moderna Inc said on Monday its experimental vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19 based on interim data from a late-stage clinical trial, becoming the second U.S. company in a week to report results that far exceed expectations.
Together with Pfizer Inc’s vaccine, also shown to be more than 90% effective, and pending more safety data and regulatory review, the United States could have two vaccines authorized for emergency use in December with as many as 60 million doses of vaccine available by the year’s end. Next year, the U.S. government could have access to more than 1 billion doses just from the two vaccine makers, more than needed for the country’s 330 million residents.

Smaller, Faster, Cheaper – Fast Tests for COVID-19 are Coming

To try to slow the pandemic many countries are starting to deploy tests which, at some cost in accuracy, deliver their results much more rapidly than the polymerase-chain-reaction (pcr) tests that were commonplace at the pandemic’s beginning. These rapid tests will allow greater numbers of infected people than previously possible to be detected and quarantined before they can spread the contagion. They are therefore being used in increasing numbers to screen people for the presence of sars-cov-2, the virus that causes covid-19, in settings ranging from airports to nursing homes. In Europe, indeed, they are sometimes used to blitz entire neighborhoods, cities and even small countries, like Slovakia. But will they change the course of the pandemic?

PCR tests look for the genetic sequence of the virus in nose and throat swabs. These swabs have to be processed in laboratories and require machines that take hours to come up with a result. They are extremely accurate. But the delay involved can hobble test-and-trace systems.

Read more at The Economist

Coronavirus Surge Tests the Smallest Employers

Small-business owners are grappling with how to manage their workers as the numbers of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. surge. The questions include everything from reopening the office lunchroom to policing employees’ personal lives.

Delta Systems Inc., a maker of components for outdoor power equipment, thought it had all the proper safety measures in place. The Streetsboro, Ohio, company gives workers the option of cloth masks or plastic face shields. It checks employees’ temperatures daily and asks a handful of questions—about out-of-state travel, exposure to someone diagnosed with the virus and changes in their own health. But after cases jumped again in Ohio and two of Delta’s roughly 200 employees tested positive for the virus in recent weeks, executives have begun looking at next steps. As a manufacturer, the company doesn’t have the luxury of shutting down or sending production workers to do their jobs from home.

Read more at the WSJ

Pfizer Readies ‘Herculean Effort’ to Distribute Coronavirus Vaccine, Corning Ramps Up Vial Production

Pfizer is marshaling a massive new cold-storage supply chain to handle the delicate dance of transporting limited doses of its coronavirus vaccine from manufacturer to any point of use within two days. Experts say it will be a “Herculean effort” requiring several new technologies to work in flawless concert to safely deliver every dose of the drug.

The vaccine will be formulated, finished and placed in cold storage in the pharmaceutical giant’s Kalamazoo, Michigan, facility, its largest such plant in the country. During the shipment and storage, the vaccines must be kept at 94 degrees below zero Fahrenheit in order to maintain optimal efficacy. Each package can contain 1,000 to 5,000 doses. Corning, Inc. has ramped up production of a specialized glass that can withstand such a temperature. Hundreds of millions are in production at the moment. Corning says the $2.4 million deal also added 100 jobs.

Read more at NBC

Cuomo Threatens Trump With Legal Action Over Vaccine Distribution Plan

Governor Cuomo repeated his threat to sue the Trump administration as he invoked Martin Luther King, Jr. during Sunday remarks about the COVID outbreak at historic Riverside Church in Manhattan.

The governor went on to repeat his criticism of the Trump administration’s plans for distributing the coronavirus vaccine once it becomes available, saying that relying on hospitals and the private sector will perpetuate inequalities during the outbreak, which has affected communities of color at disproportionately high rates.

Read more at Yahoo News

Dozens of COVID-19 Vaccines Are in Development – Here Are the Ones to Follow

More than 150 coronavirus vaccines are in development across the world—and hopes are high to bring one to market in record time to ease the global crisis. Several efforts are underway to help make that possible, including the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed initiative, which has pledged $10 billion and aims to develop and deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective coronavirus vaccine by January 2021. The World Health Organization is also coordinating global efforts to develop a vaccine, with an eye toward delivering two billion doses by the end of 2021.

Though it’s too soon to say which candidates will ultimately be successful, here’s a look at the prospects that have reached phase three and beyond—including a quick primer on how they work and where they stand.

Read more at NatGeo