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Daily Briefing – 200

Post: Nov. 29, 2020

Be Extra Diligent in the Workplace This Week to Prevent Post Thanksgiving Spread

We encourage you to be mindful and extra diligent this week as employees return to the workplace following the Thanksgiving holiday.  Masks, social distancing, hand washing and surface cleaning can help you keep your people safe and your factory running. 

COVID and Cluster Update 

Governor Cuomo held a press briefing yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday, November 28th. 

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

  • Clusters: 5.83%
  • Rockland yellow zone: 3.94%
  • Westchester yellow-zones (Peekskill  7.23, Ossining 9.96, Tarrytown 7.85, Yonkers 4.84 New Rochelle 5.44, Port Chester 7.21)
  • Orange Yellow Zones – (Newburgh 8.57, Middletown 3.81)
  • Statewide: 4.27%
  • Statewide excluding clusters: 3.75%
  • Statewide hospitalizations: 3372 (667 in ICU) 
  • Transmission Rate (R0): 1.09

Here are some useful websites:

New York’s Cluster Zones: BSKs Updated Frequently Asked Questions (11/25)

There have been significant changes to New York’s cluster action initiative. On November 23rd Governor Cuomo updated the already-existing cluster zones and added new cluster zones in Long Island, New York City, as well as in Monroe and Onondaga Counties. Below, BSK Attorneys discuss frequently asked questions about the clusters and updated maps for the cluster zones.

See the Updated FAQs and Maps at BSK

America Will be the First Country to Roll Out a Covid-19 Vaccine – Here’s How the Federal Government and States Plan To Do It

From the Economist  – Organizing America’s supplies of covid-19 vaccines is the task of Operation Warp Speed, a program set up by the current administration in May. It pre-purchased 100m doses of both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines this summer, and large quantities have already been made. Each firm expects to have about 20m doses ready to distribute in America by the end of this year. This amount is roughly what would be needed to inoculate all America’s health-care workers, who are a priority group for the first vaccine supplies.

Next will come groups particularly vulnerable to the disease, including essential workers at high risk of infection (such as police officers, teachers and bus drivers), care-home residents, people with high-risk medical conditions and those over 65. The order of priority between these groups, which are suggested by the CDC and other national health agencies, may vary somewhat from state to state. The current plan is that vaccine supplies, as they become available, will be divvied up among states and six big metropolitan areas proportionately to their population. Each state will decide how to distribute them. At the current pace of vaccine production, widespread vaccination of the elderly is not on the cards until February.

Read more at the Economist (COVOD Coverage remains free)

CDC Finalizing Recommendation to Shorten Covid-19 Quarantines

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may soon shorten the length of time it recommends that a person self-quarantine after potential exposure to the coronavirus, hoping that such a step will encourage more people to comply, a top agency official said.

CDC officials are finalizing recommendations for a new quarantine period that would likely be between seven and 10 days and include a test to ensure a person is negative for Covid-19, said Henry Walke, the agency’s incident manager for Covid-19 response. Agency officials are discussing the exact time period and what type of test a person would be given to exit quarantine, he said.

Read more at the WSJ

Weekly Jobless Claims Higher Than Expected, Continuing Claims Fall

Claims totaled 778,000 for the week ended Nov. 21, ahead of the 733,000 expectation from economists surveyed by Dow Jones and up from 742,000 the previous week, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.  Continuing claims for those collecting benefits for at least two weeks maintained their decline, falling to 6.07 million, a drop of 299,000.

The news comes amid an ongoing rise in coronavirus cases and worries that the national health system is becoming stressed. New daily cases have averaged 174,225 over the past week, and health officials worry that Thanksgiving could send that level higher as families across the country travel to celebrate the holiday.

Read more at CNBC

Holiday Sales to Grow Between 3.6%- 5.2% Says Industry Group

Continued consumer resilience is helping retail sales rebound, the National Retail Federation said on Nov. 23. This caused the industry group to forecast that holiday sales during November and December will increase between 3.6% and 5.2% over 2019 to a total between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion.

The numbers compare with a 4% increase to $729.1 billion last year and an average holiday sales increase of 3.5% over the past five years.

Read more at Material Handling & Logistics

Consumer Spending Up a Slight 0.5% as Virus Maintains Grip

U.S. consumers increased their spending by a sluggish 0.5% last month, the weakest rise since April, when the pandemic first erupted, and a sign that Americans remain wary with the virus resurging across the country and threatening the economy.

The October gain reported Wednesday by the Commerce Department followed a seasonally adjusted 1.2% increase in September. It suggested that consumer spending, the primary driver of the U.S. economy, is being restrained by a weakened economy and by the failure of Congress to provide another stimulus package to struggling individuals and businesses.  The government’s report also showed that income, which provides the fuel for spending, fell 0.7% in October.

Read more from the AP

United Begins Flying Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine

United Airlines Holdings Inc. UAL -0.74% on Friday began operating charter flights to position doses of Pfizer Inc.’s PFE 1.92% Covid-19 vaccine for quick distribution if the shots are approved by regulators, according to people familiar with the matter.

The initial flights are one link in a global supply chain being assembled to tackle the logistical challenge of distributing Covid-19 vaccines. Pfizer has been laying the groundwork to move quickly if it gets approval from the Food and Drug Administration and other regulators world-wide.

Read more at the WSJ

Bipartisan Policy Center Survey: Women Leaving the Workforce at Unprecedented Rates

A new survey conducted by Morning Consult for the Bipartisan Policy Center finds that nearly one quarter of the women who have left work since the coronavirus pandemic began did so to manage their caregiving responsibilities.

The September monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics found that, among people over 20, four times more women than men left employment. Specifically, 865,000 women dropped out of the U.S. workforce, while 216,000 men did the same.

Read more at the Bipartisan Resource Center

What Exit Polls Say About Georgia’s Senate Runoffs

It’s hard to predict how many will vote — and by what means — in January, but the U.S. Elections Project says nearly 825,000 people had so far requested mail-in ballots by Wednesday morning. Georgians have until January 1 to send their requests, although the U.S. Postal Service recommends sending requests as early as possible. Voters can register for the runoff until December 7, and early voting will take place beginning December 14.

Most Georgians have likely already made their decisions about who’s getting their vote. No voter who spoke with CBS News planned to switch votes in the January contests. A week before the November election, CBS News polling showed just 4% of likely voters were undecided in the Perdue-Ossoff race. Perdue led with 49.7% to Ossoff’s 47.9%, falling just 0.3% short of outright victory. Libertarian Shane Hazel was eliminated with 2.3% of the vote. 

Read more at CBS News