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Daily Briefing – 213

Post: Dec. 16, 2020

State Website Provides Vaccine Updates

NYS has launched a website to keep New Yorkers informed as vaccines become available.  The State is receiving its first delivery of 170,000 doses this week and the first New Yorkers have begun to be vaccinated. Additional doses of the vaccine will follow later this month.  The first New Yorkers to receive the vaccine will be high-risk hospital workers (emergency room workers, ICU staff and Pulmonary Department staff), nursing home residents, nursing home staff, followed by all long-term and congregate care residents and staff, EMS workers, other health care workers, coroners and medical examiners. Staff at every hospital will have access to the first vaccine allocation.

Visit the site

COVID and “Winter Plan” Update

Governor Cuomo held a press conference yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Tuesday, December 15th. “New York’s goal is to have the best vaccine program in the United States. It’s the most ambitious governmental operation that has been undertaken, period. We have been planning for the vaccine, now we’re implementing that plan and we’re ensuring New Yorkers can access the vaccine free of charge.” The Governor said.

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

  • Hospitalizations Statewide
    • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  6097
    • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .003%
    • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 24%
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 
    • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  722
    • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .003%
    • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 28%
  • ICU Beds Statewide
    • Total ICU Beds   =  5756
    • Occupied ICU Beds =  3815
    • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 33%
  • ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 
    • Total ICU Beds   =  725
    • Occupied ICU Beds =  409
    • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 46%
  • Transmission Rate (R0): 1.09
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 6.21%

Here are some useful websites:

Timmons Calls on Governors to Use Fed Definition of Essential

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons sent a letter to the National Governors Association calling on state leaders to rely on federal definitions of essential businesses when distributing COVID-19 vaccines.

“Manufacturers recommend that governors rely on the sound definitions of essential critical infrastructure workforce offered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. These terms are comprehensive and well understood by the manufacturing community. Moreover, the CISA explanations of the industry sectors that comprise the nation’s critical infrastructure can be applied uniformly in various emergency and response circumstances determined by states and their elected leaders”  It is unlikely New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will adopt this position.

Groundhog Day – Congress Closes in on a $900 Billion Covid Relief Deal

Congressional leaders closed in on a $900 billion coronavirus relief deal Wednesday. The developing aid agreement would not include liability protections for businesses or aid to state and local government, CNBC confirmed. Disagreements over those two issues have blocked lawmakers from crafting a year-end rescue package.

The measure would contain a direct payment to Americans in some amount, as well as enhanced federal unemployment insurance, NBC News reported. In addition, Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana told CNBC that the deal would have roughly $300 billion in small business aid including Paycheck Protection Program loans, money for Covid-19 vaccine distribution and testing and relief for hospitals.

Read more at CNBC

Manufacturing Fuels Industrial Production Rise

Manufacturing increased 0.8% in November, according to the Federal Reserve, following 1.1% growth in October. Production of motor vehicles and parts showed particular strength with an increase of 5.3%.  Overall industrial production rose less in November than October, when it grew by a revised 0.9% after an initial estimate of 1.1%. Output in November remained 5% below pre-pandemic levels.

Economists are seeing “healthy, but not overly impressive” industrial growth that could continue to slow as job growth falls and Congress considers a relatively small federal stimulus.

Read more at the WSJ

Fed Updates Plans for Bond Buying, But Makes No Changes to Asset Purchases

The Federal Reserve provided updated plans Wednesday for its purchases of large amounts of government debt to support the economy, but didn’t change the program to provide more stimulus.  Fed officials also released new projections showing most of them expected interest rates would remain near zero at least through 2023, as the labor market and economy regain their pre-pandemic health.

Since June, the Fed had been buying $80 billion in Treasurys and $40 billion in mortgage bonds per month and had pledged to buy assets at least at that pace for “the coming months.”

Read more at the WSJ

Retail Sales Dropped  1.1% in November 

The November decline, plus a revision that put October sales down slightly, marked the end of several months of growth in retail spending after sharp drops earlier this year when the pandemic triggered widespread business closures. Retail sales for October were revised to a decline of 0.1% from an earlier estimate of a 0.3% increase.  Restaurants, department stores and vehicle dealerships all reported sharp sales declines, with clothing and furniture purchases falling. Purchases of groceries and building materials increased, along with online sales.

Sales were up by 4.1% when compared with the same month a year ago.

Read more at the WSJ

NY Fed: Businesses Report Marked Deceleration in Wages and Benefit Costs

Supplementary questions to the December Empire State Manufacturing Survey and Business Leaders Survey focused on recent and expected changes in the prices paid by firms for several major budget categories, including wages, employee benefits, insurance, energy, and other commodities. In the current survey manufacturers reported an average increase of 3 percent. Looking ahead, Manufacturers said that they expected the prices they paid to rise by 3.3 percent in 2021. In last December’s survey they had anticipated increases of more than 4 percent in 2020.

For wages, service firms reported an average decrease of 1.2 percent—the first reported decline in
the twelve years the Fed has asked this question—while manufacturers indicated an average increase of 2.1 percent. Looking ahead to 2021, both groups projected an average rise of roughly 3 percent. In last December’s survey, increases had been expected to average around 4 percent overall in 2020—a bit higher among service firms, a bit lower among manufacturers.

Read more at the NY Fed

NAM Meets with Yellen

The National Association of Manufacturer’s Executive Committee met with Treasury Secretary–designee Janet Yellen and Deputy Treasury Secretary–designee Wally Adeyemo for a virtual roundtable on Tuesday afternoon.  According to a statement from Biden’s transition team, Yellen described President-elect Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan and his policies for addressing the COVID-19 crisis as well as longer-term problems facing the economy, including job loss, wage stagnation, the decay of critical infrastructure and the need for investment in skills training.

“Dr. Yellen thanked NAM’s leadership for its partnership and support for her and Mr. Adeyemo’s nominations, and expressed the incoming administration’s gratitude for the critical role that manufacturing has played and will continue to play in the recovery, including the production of PPE and consumer goods, maintaining the food supply, and supporting vaccination efforts,” according to the statement.

Read the statement from the Biden Transition

Latest Polling in Georgia Senate Runoff Elections – Both Democrats Still 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

Mayo Clinic New York (and other states) COVID-19 Tracker Map

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Mayo Clinic has been tracking COVID-19 trends and predicting hot spots to keep our staff and hospitals safe. Now, They’re sharing the data they monitor.

This map shows a rolling average of daily cases for the past week. This is the best sign of hot spots.

See the map at the Mayo Clinic