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Daily Briefing – 195

Post: Nov. 18, 2020

COVID and Cluster Update – Orange County Zone Removed from Cluster Watch List

Governor Cuomo held a press briefing yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Tuesday, November 17th.  The Governor announced the Orange County Zone has met the metrics to be removed from the Cluster watch list.  

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

  • Clusters: 4.73%
  • Rockland Red zone: 3.52%
  • Westchester yellow-zone: 5.41%
  • Orange Orange zone: Met metrics to be removed
  • Statewide: 3.43%
  • Statewide excluding clusters: 3.102%
  • Statewide hospitalizations: 2202 (423 in ICU) 
  • Transmission Rate (R0): 1.23

Here are some useful websites:

Pfizer: COVID-19 Shot 95% Effective, Seeking Clearance Soon

Pfizer said Wednesday that new test results show its coronavirus vaccine is 95% effective, is safe and also protects older people most at risk of dying — the last data needed to seek emergency use of limited shot supplies as the catastrophic outbreak worsens across the globe.

The announcement from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech comes as the team is preparing within days to formally ask U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of the vaccine. Anticipating that, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel is on standby to publicly debate the data during the second week of December.  The companies also have begun “rolling submissions” for the vaccine with regulators in Europe, the U.K. and Canada and soon will add this new data.

Read more at the AP

Colleges Make Thanksgiving and Post Thanksgiving Plans

Ahead of the US Thanksgiving holiday, schools and students are preparing for travel and instruction plans. Some universities, such as the University of South Carolina, Emory University, and Syracuse University are planning to end in-person instruction prior to the break so that students do not have to return to campus between Thanksgiving and the traditional end of the term, which typically falls later in December. In a different approach, Boston University is asking students to refrain from traveling and remain on campus during the Thanksgiving holiday break.

The State University of New York (SUNY) announced a new policy as part of its testing program that requires all on-campus students to have a negative SARS-CoV-2 test within 10 days of leaving campus, which will require the 64 SUNY colleges and universities to test approximately 140,000 students.

Read the press release

Canadian Thanksgiving Bell Weather 

Canada celebrates Thanksgiving the second Monday in October. A surge in COVID-19 incidence following Canadian Thanksgiving is a cautionary reminder for the coming US Thanksgiving and other winter holidays. Canadians were advised to limit celebrations to household contacts only or host remote/virtual events, but the extent to which Canadians adhered to that guidance is not fully known. A month after the holiday, COVID-19 incidence continues to rise in Canada, but the largest increase was observed 2 weeks following the holiday, which is consistent with the epidemiology.

Read more at the Washington Post

Pelosi and Schumer Ask McConnell to Restart Coronavirus Stimulus Talks as Cases Surge

n a letter to McConnell on Tuesday, Schumer, D-N.Y., and Pelosi, D-Calif., asked the Kentucky Republican to “join us at the negotiating table this week so that we can work towards a bipartisan, bicameral COVID-19 relief agreement to crush the virus and save American lives.” As they called for money for schools, small businesses, state and local governments and unemployment insurance, the Democrats wrote that the “pandemic and economic recession will not end without our help.”

Both McConnell and Pelosi have signaled they want to pass legislation this year, before Biden takes office. But neither leader has showed willingness to yield ground, making it unclear what could get through the GOP-controlled Senate and Democratic-held House.

Read more at CNBC

U.S. Retail Sales Lose Speed as Pandemic, Lack of Fiscal Stimulus Weigh

 U.S. retail sales increased less than expected in October and could slow further, restrained by spiraling new COVID-19 infections and declining household income as millions of unemployed Americans lose government financial support.

While other data on Tuesday showed production at factories accelerating last month, output remained well below its pre-pandemic level and the uncontrolled coronavirus outbreak could disrupt production. The public health crisis and frail economy are major challenges confronting President-elect Joe Biden when he takes over from President Donald Trump in January.

Read more at Reuters

FAA Recertifies Boeing 737 Max for Flight

Federal Aviation Administrator Steve Dickson signed an order November 18 that rescinded its earlier March 13, 2019 grounding order. Boeing models 737-8 and 737-9 were grounded worldwide after two of the planes, Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, crashed shortly after takeoff due to a software error. The planes were officially grounded for 20 months.

Despite the rescinded grounding order, the FAA said its actions “do not allow the MAX to return immediately to the skies.” The administration says it must approve new training programs for each U.S. airline operating the plane, individually certify all new planes manufactured since the grounding order was issued for airworthiness and export worthiness, and require airlines with parked 737 MAX planes to perform required maintenance tasks before they can return to the skies.

Read more at IndustryWeek

‘Banner Year’ for Cargo at Stewart Airport

The coronavirus pandemic has all but wiped out passenger service at New York Stewart International Airport; however, cargo tonnage carried through the Newburgh area facility has increased substantially.

Airport Business Development Director Michael Torelli told the Stewart Airport Commission on Tuesday that when freight and mail are combined, 10.5 million tons were transported at the airport during the months of July and August.

Read more at Mid-Hudson News

Cutting Tool Orders Signal a Rebound

Machine shops and other U.S. manufacturers purchased $156.1 million worth of cutting tools during September, +14.7% more than during August but -20.5% below the September 2019 total. As cutting-tool consumption is an index to the current rate of overall manufacturing activity, the September results reinforce the impression that domestic manufacturers are beginning the process of recovery from a recession that has been in process for about 12 months, but made more complicated by the halt in industrial activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through September, cutting-tool consumption totals $1.4 billion, meaning that the 2020 purchases trail the January-September 2019 volume by -23.1%.

Read more at American Machinist

Wi-Fi to Get 5G Airwaves Boost as Carmakers Lose Choice

Depending on which member of the Trump administration you ask, the Federal Communications Commission will vote today to either enhance Wi-Fi speeds, cause preventable traffic accidents or threaten the country’s technological competitiveness. The Commission is expected to approve a plan to reallocate part of the wireless spectrum that was reserved in 1999 for carmakers, giving it instead to cable and telecoms firms and device-manufacturers to accommodate the growing number of Wi-Fi-enabled gadgets.

The agency points out that carmakers have barely used that swath of frequency, intended to let vehicles communicate with each other. But the Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, insists the spectrum could still be used to prevent car crashes and save lives. The Treasury Department has sided with Ms Chao, adding that the portion of spectrum left for cars is insufficient to keep America’s smart-vehicle technology ahead of China’s. Unfortunately for them, the FCC is on a different wavelength.

Read More at Bloomberg

HBR: 10 Leadership Lessons from Covid Field Hospitals

The pandemic has forced leaders to be more accessible, bureaucracies to become more flexible and decisions to be made – and reversed – more quickly, write medical professionals who oversaw COVID-19 field hospitals in the UK and US. Even after the pandemic, leaders should recognize how much knowledge is untapped among junior staff, especially if there’s structure and clear goals.

Read more at the Harvard Business Review