Daily Briefing – 194

COVID and Cluster Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Monday, November 16th.  “We all have a part to play – wear a mask, stay socially distant, avoid gatherings large and small, and wash your hands religiously. Our actions today determine our rate of positive cases tomorrow – it’s that simple.” The Governor said.

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

  • Clusters: 4.89%
  • Rockland Red zone: 5.28%
  • Westchester yellow-zone: 7.42%
  • Orange Orange zone: 2.01%
  • Statewide: 3.18%
  • Statewide excluding clusters: 2.82%
  • Statewide hospitalizations: 2124 (408 in ICU) 
  • Transmission Rate (R0): 1.32

Here are some useful websites:

U.S. Manufacturing Output Picks Up in October

U.S. manufacturing production accelerated in October, though exploding new COVID-19 infections across the country could cause disruptions at factories and leave the recovery in jeopardy.

Manufacturing output increased 1.0% last month, the Federal Reserve said on Tuesday. Data for September was revised up to show production at factories gaining 0.1% instead of decreasing 0.3% as previously reported. Factory production remains below its pre-pandemic level. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast manufacturing output rising 1.0% in October.

Read more at Reuters

Fed Supplemental Survey: Service Firms Report Weaker Labor Market than Manufacturers

35 percent of service firms and 44 percent of manufacturers said they expected their workforce to
increase over the next twelve months; conversely, 20 percent of service firms and 15 percent of manufacturers anticipated declines in the total number of workers. These balances are not much different, overall, than in the November 2019 survey—somewhat less positive among service firms, somewhat more positive among manufacturing firms (see table). Among service sector respondents, the most positive balances tended to come from businesses in retail, wholesale, education & health, and
professional & business services; the least positive balances came from those in leisure & hospitality, and real estate & construction (not shown in table).

Almost half of service-sector respondents and just over a third of manufacturers reported that they did not expect employment at their establishment to reach or surpass pre-pandemic levels within the next twelve months.

Read more at the NY Fed

CDC Releases Contact Tracing Video: “Answer the Call” 

The CDC’s Contact Tracing and Innovation Section within the State, Tribal, Local & Territorial Support Task Force has released a new video titled “Answer the Call” describing the contact tracing process. This video can be found on CDC’s Contact Tracing Resources for Health Departments webpage as well as in the Contact Tracing Communications Toolkit for Health Departments. This one-minute animated video informs the public about contact tracing and why they should answer and respond to a call from a public health worker.

Watch and share the video

How to Help Employees with Mental Health Issues

In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that almost 41% of all adults in the United States are struggling with their mental health or substance use. This is double what had been historically reported pre-pandemic. Another analysis has reported that 25% of adolescents said they had contemplated suicide.

Mental health experts have come up with a new term for the aggravating factor: allostatic overload. This term describes what happens to a brain that has to process stress signals nonstop, which ends up consuming mental resources faster than a person can replenish them.  Get some timely advice for employers who may find themselves dealing with employees who find themselves in this situation.

Read more at EHS Today

Jackson Lewis – The Future of Workplace Law Under President-Elect Joe Biden

As President-elect Joe Biden selects members of his Cabinet and prepares for his transition into the presidency, he and a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives may pursue a number of significant pieces of federal workplace legislation. Many of these employment law measures successfully passed the House in 2019 and 2020.

Moreover, as with any transition from the President of one party to the President of another party, presidential appointments to the administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the National Labor Relations Board are likely to have further effect for employers. 

DOD Awards $6.18 Million Contract to Medline Industries, Inc. to Increase Domestic Production Capacity of Surgical Masks 

The Department of Defense, in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services, awarded a $6.18 million contract to Medline Industries, Inc. to increase domestic production capacity of surgical masks. This industrial base expansion effort will allow Medline to increase production capacity in Lithia Springs, Georgia by 36 million surgical masks per month by May 2021.

This effort was funded through the HHS Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to support domestic industrial base expansion for critical medical resources.

Read the DOD press release

Free Online Platform for New Yorkers to Learn New Job Skills, Earn Certificates & Advance Their Careers

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of a new online training platform which will enable unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers weathering the COVID-19 pandemic to learn new skills, earn certificates, and advance their careers at no cost. The new course offerings are provided through a partnership between the New York State Department of Labor and Coursera, the world’s leading online learning platform.

The new tool will provide access to nearly 4,000 online programs taught by leading professors and industry professionals on Coursera, with a focus on high-growth and in-demand sectors like advanced manufacturing, technology, and health care, among others.  New Yorkers can request a free account on the New York State Department of Labor website.

Read the press release (includes a link to set up an account)

Asia Forges Massive Trade Deal

Fifteen countries across Asia have created the world’s largest trade deal. The agreement, dubbed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, cuts tariffs on a wide range of Asian goods and builds supply chains across a new trade zone that covers about 30% of the global population and around the same share of global economic output.

The deal includes the 10 countries within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) plus Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.  The agreement is the second major deal in two years that has left the United States out of the mix. 

Read more at Reuters

Rolls-Royce Testing 100% Sustainable Jet Fuel

Rolls-Royce is planning to conduct ground tests on a high-bypass turbofan engine using 100% sustainable aviation fuel for the first time, aiming to establish that unblended SAF can be used in current engine models in place of current jet-fuel formulations.

The SAF to be tested will be produced by World Energy, a California-based low-carbon fuel specialist, and supplied by Shell Aviation and SkyNRG. “This unblended fuel has the potential to reduce net CO2 lifecycle emissions by over 75% when compared to traditional jet fuel, and by an even greater amount in the years to come,” according to Rolls-Royce.

Read more at American Machinist