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Daily Briefing – 199

Post: Nov. 24, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving

The Daily Briefing will be taking a few days for the Thanksgiving holiday returning Monday, November 30th.  We wish all of our readers a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

COVID and Cluster Update 

Governor Cuomo held a press briefing yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Monday, November 23rd. The Governor also acknowledged the passing of former Mayor David Dinkins, Criticized the NRC’s approval of the sale of Indian Point, and announced plans to distribute Thanksgiving meals to those in need across the State. 

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

  • Clusters: 4.13%
  • Rockland yellow zone: 3.15%
  • Westchester yellow-zones (Peekskill  6.47, Ossining 10.51, Tarrytown 7.47, Yonkers 4.35 New Rochelle 4.99, Port Chester 7.71)
  • Orange Yellow Zones – (Newburgh 8.82, Middletown 3.65)
  • Statewide: 2.96%
  • Statewide excluding clusters: 2.62%
  • Statewide hospitalizations: 2856 (559 in ICU) 
  • Transmission Rate (R0): 1.13

Here are some useful websites:

New York Democrats Declare Supermajority in State Senate

Preliminary election results on November 4 showed New York state Senate Democrats trailing behind in numerous key races.  However, absentee ballots have weighed heavily in Democrats’ favor this year, helping them to slowly gain ground across the state when results were finally tallied.

On Monday, state Senate Democrats triumphantly declared that they will be walking into Senate chambers next year with a supermajority for the first time in history. Democrats will now have the ability to override any vetoes that Governor Andrew Cuomo issues and be in charge of redrawing district lines.

Read more at Spectrum News

Hudson Valley Unemployment Figures

The NYS Department of Labor reported that the October 2020 unemployment rate for the Hudson Valley Region is 6.5 percent.  That is up from 6.4 percent in September 2020 and up from 3.6 percent in October 2019.  In October 2020, there were 71,900 unemployed in the region, up from 71,200 in September 2020 and up from 41,800 in October 2019. 

Year-over-year in October 2020, labor force decreased by 48,200 or 4.2 percent, to 1,099,600.

Labor Market Profile (Hudson Valley) OCT 2020

What a Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen Would Mean – Dow Closes Above 30,000 on News of Her Selection

Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will face an enormous challenge if she is confirmed by the Senate to serve as Treasury Secretary: pulling the U.S. out of the deepest recession since the Great Depression.

With COVID-19 cases rising and a vaccine still months away, markets appear to be focused on what a Treasury Secretary Yellen would mean for a prospective stimulus deal. On the day after the Wall Street Journal initially reported that President-elect Joe Biden picked Yellen for the job, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) climbed to break 30,000 for the first time.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

General Motors Drops Objections to California Fuel Standards

In a letter to the leaders of various environmental groups sent November 24, CEO Mary Barra announced that General Motors  Co. was switching sides in the struggle to define U.S. auto efficiency standards. The letter said GM would remove its support for the EPA’s rollback on efficiency limits and commit to “an all-electric, zero emission future.”

According to the Detroit Free Press, President-elect Biden spoke with Barra and UAW President Rory Gamble last week about his “Build Back Better” plan, which involves plans to expand vehicle electrification, install new charging stations, and support EV manufacturers.

Read more at the Detroit Free Press

Operation Warp Speed Refines Vaccine Delivery Plan

Charged with developing and delivering a vaccine to 300 million Americans, Operation Warp Speed paired military planners with experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work the details of a monumental plan. At the core of the distribution plan are the basic tenets of visibility, coverage, uptake and traceability, Ostrowski explained. Visibility of the vaccine is essential, particularly since the number of doses up front will be limited. 

Read more at DOD

COVID-19 Travel Health Notice Levels and Testing for International Travelers

On November 21, CDC revised the Travel Health Notice system for COVID-19 and released new recommendations for testing before and after international air travel to help the public make informed decisions for safer, healthier, and more responsible travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For most diseases, the Travel Health Notices have 3 levels. This new 4-level travel health notice system is specific to COVID-19 and details the level of COVID-19 in international destinations and U.S. territories. The COVID-19 Travel Health Notices now indicate low, moderate, high, and very high levels of COVID-19 for each destination and are based primarily on incidence rate (or new case counts in destinations with populations of 200,000 or less) and trajectory of new cases (whether new cases over the past 28 days are increasing, decreasing, or stable). CDC has and will continue to review data daily to ensure travelers have the most up-to-date information to inform their decisions.

Read more at CDC.gov

EU to Clear 737 MAX to Fly in January

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will lift its grounding order on Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft in January 2021, the panel’s executive director has confirmed. Such a decision, which would parallel one delivered by the Federal Aviation Administration on November 18, will allow Boeing to resume deliveries of the narrow-body jets to EU customers, and allow those carriers to proceed with updating their current 737 MAX fleets and complete pilot training for the revised flight-control system.

EASA will issue a directive soon proposing how the grounding order will be lifted, to be followed by a 30-day comment period. FAA took the same approach in October, leading to the clearance earlier this month.  

Read more at American Machinist

GE Plans More Job Cuts in Aviation Division

In an internal video message delivered a week before the Thanksgiving holiday, new GE Aviation boss John Slattery said business conditions are difficult and the unit would need to shrink over the next 18 months, according to people familiar with the matter.

More jobs would be lost, he said, but the cuts would be more focused than two rounds of layoffs earlier this year that ultimately eliminated 25% of the division’s 52,000 global employees. Mr. Slattery didn’t disclose the number of jobs that would be cut in the video, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Read more at the WSJ

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Approves Indian Point Sale to Holtec

Holtec International’s purchase of the Indian Point nuclear power plant was approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Monday over the objections of state and federal officials. The five-member commission signed off on an NRC staff recommendation from last week, which gave Indian Point’s owner, Entergy, permission to transfer its license to Holtec when the plant shuts down next year.

The commission did, however, agree to “rescind, modify, or condition the transfer” after it decides whether to grant the state of New York and the Hudson River environmental group Riverkeeper a hearing to air their concerns with the sale.

Read more at LoHud