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Daily Briefing – 211

Post: Dec. 14, 2020

“Winter Plan” Strategy Laid Out by DOH

Governor Cuomo and the state’s COVID Task Force have worked in consultation with global public health experts, local governments and other stakeholders to create a Winter Plan to combat a COVID-19 surge in New York.  The Winter Plan consists of five targeted strategies focused on mitigating the spread of the virus and bolstering New York State hospital preparedness.

Read the plan

COVID and “Winter Plan” Update

Governor Cuomo held a press briefing yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Sunday, December 13th.  He noted the increasing hospitalization rates may cause some regions’ hospital systems to become overwhelmed if rates do not stabilize. Currently, the areas with the highest risk of hospital systems becoming overwhelmed are New York City and Central New York, as well as Erie and Monroe Counties. Governor Cuomo warned that New York could see 11,000 COVID patients hospitalized (double the current number) if the current infection rate continues.  He warned that if the trajectory of hospitalization rates does not change the State could enter a second shut down of all non-essential businesses. 

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

  • Hospitalizations Statewide
    • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  5712
    • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .003%
    • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 23%
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 
    • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  705
    • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .003%
    • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 26%
  • ICU Beds Statewide
    • Total ICU Beds   =  5731
    • Occupied ICU Beds =  3781
    • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 33%
  • ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 
    • Total ICU Beds   =  741
    • Occupied ICU Beds =  394
    • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 48%
  • Transmission Rate (R0): 1.12
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 5.66%

Here are some useful websites:

First Covid-19 Vaccinations Administered to U.S. Public

A nurse in New York was among the first to receive the shot Monday morning, and health workers throughout the U.S. were also set to receive the newly authorized vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE. Pfizer shipped vaccine vials out Sunday, and hospitals and health departments across the country received them early Monday.

Some 145 U.S. hospitals and other sites were slated to receive vaccine doses Monday, followed by 425 on Tuesday and 66 on Wednesday, according to Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, the federal initiative to deliver Covid-19 vaccines.

Read more at the WSJ

Major Shippers Start Historic Vaccine Distribution

FedEx Express, UPS and Boyle Transportation trucks rolled out Sunday from a Pfizer manufacturing facility in Michigan, with security escorts, carrying shipments of 2.9 million US COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines were expected to arrive today at 145 of 636 distribution centers, with the doses to arrive at the remaining distribution centers by Wednesday.

Read more at Reuters

Cuomo Issues Executive Order 202.82 Which Sets Parameters for Administrations of COVID Vaccines.

The Executive Order is  in force through January 12th and (among  many other provisions) makes the following suspensions and modifications of law:

  • Modifies the Insurance Law to ensure health coverage for COVID-19 immunizations and its administration, including visits necessary to obtain the vaccine.
  • Permits licensed physicians, certified nurse practitioners to issue non-patient specific regimens to nurses, physician assistants, specialist assistants, pharmacists, or other permitted by this Order, as well as non-nursing staff, permitted by law or Executive Order and upon completion of training deemed adequate by the Commissioner of Health, to: (1) collect throat, nasal, or nasopharyngeal swab specimens, as applicable and appropriate, from individuals suspected of being infected by COVID-19 or influenza, for purposes of testing; (2) collect blood specimens for the diagnosis of acute or past COVID-19 disease; (3) administer vaccinations against influenza or COVID-19, and (4) where applicable and to the extent necessary, to perform tasks, under the supervision of a nurse, otherwise limited to the scope of practice of a licensed or registered nurse to provide care for individuals diagnosed or suspected of suffering from a COVID-19 or influenza infection.

Read the full order

US Purchase Another 100M Doses of Moderna Vaccine

The Trump administration announced on Friday that it will purchase another 100 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, according to a release from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  

The vaccine is still pending emergency authorization from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) but approval appears likely. The U.S. had previously ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine earlier this year, and those will begin shipping immediately upon FDA authorization, with 20 million expected by the end of December.  The second batch of 100 million doses purchased by the U.S. will be delivered in the second quarter of next year, according to HHS.

Read more at The Hill

Bipartisan Negotiators Unveil Stimulus Bill as Clock Ticks Down

A bipartisan group of senators finally hit paydirt in its long-running coronavirus relief negotiations. Nearly a dozen centrist senators will present their much-anticipated product on Monday afternoon in two pieces: a $748 billion package boosting funds for education, vaccine distribution, transportation and other areas, and a $160 billion add-on of state and local aid coupled with a short-term liability shield for employers, according to four people familiar with the talks.

McConnell has not commented directly on the bipartisan proposal, though it does meet his general framework after he relented on previous demands for liability reform in any new stimulus measure. Pelosi wouldn’t say Monday whether she’s open to dropping Democrats’ demands for additional state and local funding.”I very much support state and local,” Pelosi said. “We are in negotiations,” she added when asked by reporters if it was still a “red line” for Democrats.

Read more at Politico

Manufacturing Economic Report – Consumer Confidence, Producer and Consumer Price Indexes

The Small Business Optimism Index declined from 104.0 in October to 101.4 in November, with owners continuing to worry about short-term political and COVID-19 uncertainties. Despite some slippage in confidence, the headline index continued to reflect overall strength, with workforce challenges topping the “single most important problem” list once again. Consumer confidence rose in December, according to preliminary data from the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters, but confidence remains well below the levels seen before the pandemic. There were wide disparities along partisan lines.

Consumer and producer prices rose in November, but core inflation remains largely in check for now. Indeed, the Federal Reserve has pursued extraordinary monetary policy measures to help prop up the economy, with little worry about inflation, and it remains committed to its stimulative stance for the foreseeable future. The Federal Open Market Committee meets this week on Dec. 15–16.

Monday Economic Report 2020-1214

De Blasio: NYC Should Prepare for Full Shutdown Possibility

“The governor said we should prepare for the possibility for a full shutdown, I agree with that,” de Blasio said Monday. “We need to recognize that that may be coming, and we need to get ready for that now.”

A shutdown would ultimately be a decision that comes from Cuomo, but “what’s increasingly clear is that all forms of restrictions are on the table,” de Blasio said. “At the current rate we’re going, you have to be ready now for a full shutdown, a pause like we had back at the end of the spring. That’s increasingly necessary to break the back of the second wave, to stop it from growing, taking lives, threatening our hospitals.”

Read more at Bloomberg

U.K., EU Leaders Extend Marathon Brexit Talks

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and top European Union officials decided not to pull the plug from Brexit negotiations Sunday, with officials signaling last-minute progress on some of the issues that have bedeviled the talks. With time running short—a deal has to be in place by Jan. 1 to prevent huge disruption to trade and security cooperation—officials on both sides said negotiators appeared to be finding some common ground though they cautioned much work needed to be done.

Officials on both sides said they were narrowing differences over the question that lies at the center of their dispute: How much will the U.K. be tied to EU norms as the price for a tariff-free trade deal with its largest trading partner? On that question hangs trade worth close to $900 billion a year.

Read more at the WSJ