COVID and Cluster Update
Governor Cuomo held a press briefing yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Tuesday, December 2nd. The Governor also discussed the logistics of vaccine delivery, and that he would extend rent relief into the new year.
Tracking data for the Clusters and the rest of the State are below.
- Clusters: 5.91%
- Statewide: 4.63%
- Mid-Hudson Region: 5.17%
- Statewide excluding clusters: 4.49%
- Rockland yellow zone: 5.05%
- Westchester yellow-zones (Peekskill 10.10, Ossining 9.77, Tarrytown 4.56, Yonkers 4.69 New Rochelle 5.77, Port Chester 8.58)
- Orange Yellow Zones – (Newburgh 7.33, Middletown 6.30)
- Statewide hospitalizations: 4,063 (783 in ICU)
- Transmission Rate (R0): 1.11
Here are some useful websites:
- Read the press release
- See the cluster maps
- Check your site address (State will ask to track your location)
- See the school districts dashboard
- See the SUNY Dashboard
- State transmission rates (R0)
Cuomo Executive Order Modifies to Allow In-Person Learning for Schools in Red and Orange Zones
“The directive contained in Order 202.68 that required the Department of Health to determine areas in the State that require enhanced public health restrictions based on cluster-based cases of COVID is hereby modified to provide that schools located within geographic areas designated by the Department of Health as “red zones” and “orange zones” may conduct in-person instruction during the period of time that the zone is designated “red” or “orange,” subject to compliance with guidance and directives of the Department of Health.”
CDC Shortens Its COVID-19 Quarantine Recommendations
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revised its guidelines for people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. Now, instead of the standard 14-day quarantine it has been recommending, the CDC says that potential exposure warrants a quarantine of 10 or seven days, depending on one’s test results and symptoms.
If individuals do not develop symptoms, they need only quarantine for 10 days; if they test negative, that period can be reduced to just one week. The revision marks a significant change from the CDC’s recommendations since the start of the pandemic earlier this year. While the agency says a 14-day quarantine remains the safest option, it acknowledged this length placed difficult demands on people.
Coronavirus Stimulus Talks Moving in Right Direction, Party Leaders Say
One day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) signaled they would accept a smaller relief package than they had previously targeted, both sides indicated that shift could help move them closer to reaching an agreement on aid for businesses and families before the year’s end.
“That is at least movement in the right direction,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said Thursday on the Senate floor. “Compromise is within reach. We know where we agree. We can do this.” Mr. McConnell also noted that Democrats’ shifting stance hadn’t eliminated many of the policy divisions that have stymied negotiations for months. Some of the most stubborn sticking points include funding for state and local governments prioritized by Democrats, but derided by President Trump as a bailout for Democratic-run states, as well as legal protections Republicans are seeking for businesses and other entities operating during the pandemic.
Jobless Claims Hit Pandemic-era Low as Hiring Continues
New jobless-claim filings last week reached their lowest level of the pandemic crisis, providing a sign that hiring is continuing if at a slower pace.
First-time claims for unemployment benefits totaled 712,000 last week, compared with 787,000 a week earlier and the Dow Jones estimate of 780,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Continuing claims also fell sharply, dropping 569,000 to 5.52 million.
NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray Breaks Down the Changing Economy
“The manufacturing sector has experienced solid growth in recent months, but lingering uncertainties about COVID-19 and supply chain disruptions continue to challenge businesses. Despite progress, there are roughly 600,000 fewer manufacturing workers today than before the pandemic, with production still down 4.8%. Activity has slowed of late, largely because of renewed virus outbreaks; although, the new restrictions have hit the service sector harder than manufacturing.”
Boeing 737 MAX Takes Flight Again
An American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX airliner took to the skies for a short flight from Dallas, Texas to Tulsa, Oklahoma on December 2, as part of a Boeing publicity event hailing the return of the jet to service.
The plane carried about 90 people, including journalists, flight attendants, and American Airlines employees, making the 45-minute jaunt the first time the 737 has flown since the first half of 2019 with members of the public on board. According to the AP, American Airlines plans on returning the 737 to normal service December 29 with round trips from New York to Miami.
OPEC Plus Agree to Increase Output by 500,000 Barrels a Day in January
Oil prices rose after The Wall Street Journal first reported the that OPEC and a group of Russia-led oil producers agreed to increase their collective output by 500,000 barrels a day next month ending a standoff over oil policy among the two sides and promising a modest boost to global supplies as oil markets tighten.
The agreement marks a compromise among some of the world’s biggest producers after disagreement this week over whether or not to start raising output again. Members of the Organization of the Exporting Countries and a group of other big oil producers led by Russia agreed to the small increase, amounting to about a half percent of pre-pandemic global demand, during an online meeting Thursday, these people said.
Pandemic Spurs drug, Alcohol Use at Work
The pandemic is accelerating alcohol and drug addiction with one-third of employees since March admitting to using drugs or alcohol while working, according to alcohol.org, and over 40 states report increased death rates because of opioid abuse. American Addiction Centers says addiction costs employers $740 billion each year in health care expenses and lost productivity, and Standard Insurance Company’s Dan Jolivet offers advice on how employers can spot and help workers who might be struggling.
Children’s Museum Partners with NASA To Develop “Pop-up” Museum
The Mid Hudson Children’s Museum recently purchased a van and is partnering with NASA to create a new mobile “pop up” museum to bring STEM and space science programming into communities throughout the Hudson Valley. This new “Space Science at Your Doorstep” initiative is made possible with the support of local businesses.