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Post: Dec. 9, 2020

Cuomo Outlines COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution in New York State

New York State is set to receive 170,000 doses of the initial Pfizer vaccine, as soon as this weekend. Nationwide, six million doses are set to be distributed within days.  The Mid-Hudson Region is slated to receive 19,200 doses.

Nursing home staff and nursing home residents will be the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, along with “high risk” hospital workers, which include those who work in the ICU, emergency room, or in pulmonary care. Rules have been established as to who gets the vaccine first in hospitals, and those rules have been sent to the hospitals. The hospitals will choose who will get the vaccine first, based on the high-risk guidelines.

Read more about the distribution protocol at Local Syracuse

COVID and Cluster ‘Surge & Flex’ Update

Governor Cuomo held a remote press briefing yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Monday, December 7th.  The State’s focus has shifted from positivity rates to regional hospitalization rates.  “Hospitals are going to have to be extraordinarily flexible and nimble to handle the additional case load. Not only will they have to work as a system and balance caseload among their hospitals, but they also need to be prepared to shift patients before they’re admitted, to other hospitals that have a greater capacity,” Governor Cuomo said.

If statewide and regional hospitalization rates do not stabilize indoor dining would be banned in New York City and capacity would be reduced from 50% to 25% for the rest of the state. 

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  (The State is no longer focused on positivity rates, instead it is closely monitoring hospitalizations and ICU capacity)

  • Hospitalizations Statewide
    • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  4993
    • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .003%
    • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 22%
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 
    • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  666
    • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .003%
    • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 25%
  • ICU Beds Statewide
    • Total ICU Beds   =  5975
    • Occupied ICU Beds =  3928
    • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 36%
  • ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 
    • Total ICU Beds   =  747
    • Occupied ICU Beds =  378
    • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 48%
  • Transmission Rate (R0): 1.18
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 5.44%

Here are some useful websites:

White House Return to Stimulus Talks Boosts Chance of Deal

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made a surprise re-entry into talks on a 2020 pandemic-relief package with a $916 billion proposal that opened a potential new path to a year-end deal despite objections from Democrats over elements of the plan.

After largely leaving the task to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell since Election Day, Mnuchin pitched a $916 billion stimulus plan to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a Tuesday afternoon telephone call, more than a week after she and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer retreated from their previous insistence on a $2.4 trillion bill.

Read more at Bloomberg

Latest Polling in Georgia Senate Runoff Elections – Both Democrats Own Slight Leads

No candidate in either of Georgia’s Senate races won a majority of the vote on Nov. 3, triggering a runoff for both seats, with the top two candidates in each race facing off.  With less than four weeks remaining until the January 5th election the latest polling show very tight races with Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock holding slim leads over their Republican opponents David Purdue and Kelly Loeffler.

Control of the Senate now hinges on the outcome of these two races.

See the polling at 538

Job Openings in U.S. Unexpectedly Rose to a Three-Month High – Mfg Among the Growing Sectors

U.S. job openings unexpectedly rose in October to a level that’s consistent with a gradual improvement in the labor market as employers seek to adjust headcounts against a backdrop of changing demand and coronavirus infection dynamics.  One measure of hiring—the share of LinkedIn members who added a new employer to their profiles, indexed to the monthly average in 2015-2016—rose 0.8% in November, compared with October. The index jumped 18.1% from September to October.

Year on year the number of job openings in October (not seasonally adjusted) decreased to 7.1 million (-596,000) reflecting the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the labor market. Job openings decreased in a number of industries with the largest decreases in retail trade, accommodation and food services, and finance and insurance. Only nondurable goods manufacturing and durable goods manufacturing had increases in job openings.

Read more at Livemint

Deloitte CFO Survey:  Vaccines Make for Optimism 

The percentage of CFOs rating the North American economy as “good” or “very good” rose to 18% in the latest survey from 7% a quarter earlier. That puts North America ahead of Europe, where only 5% of respondents rate the current economy as “good” or “very good,” but well behind China, where 47% see it as “good” or “very good.”

Looking a year out, a full 59% of CFOs expect the U.S. economy to be better. A majority (58%) expect the S&P 500 will be higher by the end of next year, and a similar majority (60%) believe the ten-year bond yield will stay below 2%.

Read more at Deloitte

US Steel to Acquire Big River Steel Entirely for $774 Million

U.S. Steel Corporation announced December 8 that it would purchase the remaining equity of Big River Steel Co. for $774 million in cash after ending November 2020 with about $2.9 billion in liquidity, $1.7 billion in cash. David B. Burritt, CEO of U.S. Steel, called the purchase “the cornerstone of our ‘Best of Both’ strategy.”

The deal, which is set to close in the first quarter of 2021, will combine U.S. Steel’s blast furnaces and steel intellectual properties with Big River Steel’s modern electric arc furnace (EAF) technologies and “mini mill” operations into the same company. U.S. Steel, in a statement, said this would expand U.S. Steel’s talent pool and make the overall company more competitive.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Respirators, Wearables, Social Distancing – A Look at The Top 10 Trends in EHS in 2020

As 2020 comes to a close, we look back on a year that we won’t soon forget (and will likely feel the reverberations of for years to come). Here are the top 10 issues impacting safety professionals in 2020, as reported in our print magazine, on our website, in one of our digital products, or on one of our social media channels. Our thanks to EHS Today’s editorial staff and all others who contributed to our coverage throughout the year.

Read more at EHS Today

FuzeHub Webinar: Experts from RIT, Cornell and RPI Discuss COVID-Impacted Manufacturing – Today at 11:00

COVID has altered the way many manufacturers do business. Whether that means changing materials to accommodate supply issues, redesigning product, or reusing and remanufacturing components to meet demand; the pandemic has forced organizations to innovate or fail.

Learn from our panel of industry experts how manufacturers have adapted to this chaotic new landscape during the next virtual workshop in the Manufacturing Reimagined series “Crisis Workarounds: Alternate Materials, Product Redesign & Remanufacturing.”

Learn more and register

Manufacturers Push for Tax Deduction Extension

The NAM is calling for Congress to temporarily extend a COVID-19 tax relief provision that would support manufacturers impacted by the pandemic.

Currently, the maximum deduction for interest on business loans is limited to 30% of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). When COVID-19 hit, however, many businesses saw their earnings fall, which also caused their allowable business interest deduction to decrease, even as firms were forced to take out loans to stay afloat. To support these businesses, Congress increased the allowable business interest deduction from 30% to 50% of EBITDA in the bipartisan CARES Act