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Daily Briefing – 205

Post: Dec. 6, 2020

Cluster Focus to Shift to Hospitalizations

The State is now primarily focused on hospitalization rates and hospital bed availability rather than positivity rates, though they continue to use that metric to monitor and control outbreaks. “We’re closely monitoring hospital capacity and have implemented triggers to ensure hospitals have what they need.” The Governor said.

  • The Western New York and Finger Lakes regions continue to have the highest percentage of population hospitalized.
  • Hospital capacity can be increased by using a “surge and flex” system which ends elective surgeries, expands hospital capacity, and builds field hospitals.
  • Roughly 40% of the ICU beds in the State are currently available.
  • At the beginning of the pandemic the average stay in the hospital for a COVID patient was 11 days. It’s now five days thanks to improved treatments. In March, 23% of those hospitalized would pass away from COVID-19. Now, it is just eight percent.

Read the press release

COVID and Cluster Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release  yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday, December 5th. 

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

  • Clusters: 6.22%
  • Statewide: 4.71%
  • Mid-Hudson Region: 5.97%
  • Statewide excluding clusters: 4.24%
  • Rockland yellow zone: 5.80%
  • Westchester yellow-zones (Peekskill  10.59, Ossining 8.68, Tarrytown 5.70, Yonkers 5.76 New Rochelle 5.94, Port Chester 11.42)
  • Orange Yellow Zones – (Newburgh 7.88, Middletown 8.16)
  • Statewide hospitalizations: 4,063 (783 in ICU) 
  • Transmission Rate (R0): 1.11

Here are some useful websites:

US Economy Adds 245,000 Jobs, Unemployment Rate Falls to 6.7% – November Jobs Report

The U.S. Department of Labor released its monthly jobs report Friday morning.  Here were the main results from the report, compared to Bloomberg consensus data as of Friday morning:

  • Change in non-farm payrolls: +245,000 vs. +460,000 expected and a revised +610,000 in October
  • Unemployment rate: 6.7% vs. 6.7% expected and 6.9% in October
  • Average Hourly Earnings month-over-month: 0.3% vs. +0.1% expected and +0.1% in October
  • Average Hourly Earnings year-over-year: 4.4% vs. +4.2% expected and a revised +4.4% in October

Read more at Yahoo Finance

Manufacturers Add 27,000 Jobs in November

Manufacturing added 27,000 new jobs in November as compared to 33,000 in October. The number of new jobs created each month in manufacturing has trended downward each month. The manufacturing sector employs 599,000 fewer people than it did before February 2020.

In a troubling sign for the health of the economy and of employers still looking to hire, the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that the 0.2 point drop in the unemployment rate was mainly due to a loss in the number of people participating in the labor force, which means fewer people are looking for a job. About 3.9 million people in November reported that the COVID pandemic prevented them from looking for work, up from 3.6 million in October. That could exacerbate a key stumbling block for manufacturers. In the Institute for Supply Management’s December 1 survey of manufacturers, executives from multiple industries cited labor shortages and suppliers with labor shortages as a challenge in ramping up production while most other factors, including consumer demand, were favorable.

Read more at IndustryWeek

The Bipartisan Stimulus Bill Looks Pretty Close To What Top Economists Think Is Needed

With the slowing pace of the economic recovery and a winter without a widely-distributed vaccine, some economists are feeling exasperated with Capitol Hill: “C’mon, already!” exclaims Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi. “If we don’t get that help, [Friday’s unemployment] report suggests that the economy is going to start backtracking, we’re going to start losing jobs, and unemployment will start rising again,” Zandi tells Fortune.  

Michelle Meyer, head of U.S. economics at Bank of America, is slightly more optimistic: “There’s a clear economic case for the stimulus, but I think it’s important to remember that the economy has continued to recover, has continued to heal,” she tells Fortune. “Another round of stimulus will simply speed up that healing process in a way that could be very powerful for the trajectory of growth once we have the vaccine.”

But what’s on economists’ wish lists for a stimulus bill to bridge the gap between an ailing economy and a vaccine-liberated one?

Read more at Fortune

Meatpacker JBS Removed At-Risk Workers from Beef Plant Amid Covid-19 Surge

U.S. meatpackers are shoring up defenses to keep Covid-19 out of plants that collectively employ hundreds of thousands of workers, supplying meat to fast-food chains and supermarkets. Rapidly spreading infections associated with U.S. meatpacking plants last spring killed dozens of workers, forced widespread shutdowns and led to shortages in some meat products, while backing up livestock on farms.

JBS on Nov. 7 removed 202 Greeley plant workers considered vulnerable to the coronavirus due to age and other factors, a JBS spokesman said. Those workers are getting full pay and benefits and can return to work after community-infection rates decrease, he said. The step has had marginal effect on the plant’s beef production, according to the company.

Read more at the WSJ

States Forge COVID-19 Liability Shields

One of the factors for business owners who are making the decision of whether to reopen while the COVID-19 pandemic waxes and wanes is the prospect of legal liability claims filed by employees, vendors and customers who contract the virus in your premises.

On the federal level there isn’t much to report because partisan differences have reinforced legislative gridlock. States that have already jumped on the bandwagon are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming. Each has chosen to enact COVID liability shields either by taking legislative action or through executive orders issued by their governors.  Legislation is being considered in several other states, including Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and South Carolina, report attorneys Honore Hishamunda and Kevin M. Young of the Seyfarth Shaw law firm. 

Read more at EHS Today

Johns Hopkins Looks at Worldwide Case Fatality Ratio

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have focused separately on incidence and mortality, whether in terms of total or per capita values. Today, we will take a closer look at the relationship between these to metrics by discussing the case fatality ratio (CFR). CFR helps us understand how severe a disease is by determining what percentage of patients ultimately die. The CFR for the vast majority of countries remains below 3%. In fact, 86% of countries (163 of 190) and territories tracked by Our World in Data are reporting CFR of 3% or less, 63% (120) are reporting a CFR 2% or less, and 31% (59) are reporting a CFR of 1% or less. Globally, the cumulative CFR is currently 2.3%.

Johns Hopkins looks at Worldwide case fatality ratio (CFR)

Nat Geo Poll Shows 61 Percent of Americans Likely to Take COVID-19 Vaccine

A National Geographic and Morning Consult poll finds 61 percent of Americans surveyed are likely to do so as well. Of the 2,201 Americans polled, 37 percent responded “very likely” and 24 percent “somewhat likely.” Another 11 percent said “somewhat unlikely” and 19 percent “very unlikely.” Ten percent of respondents said they didn’t know. (The categories of responses were rounded to the nearest percentage).

Men who were polled were more likely (69 percent) to say they would take the vaccine than women (51 percent), with nearly 1 in 4 women responding “very unlikely.” Sixty-two percent of women identifying as Democrats supported taking the vaccine, as opposed to 45 percent of Republican women and 42 percent of female Independents.

Read more and see the charts at National Geographic