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Daily Briefing – 225

Post: Jan. 5, 2021

Updated Plan to Expedite New York Vaccine Process Focuses on Nursing Homes, Hospitals and “Special Efforts” 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo detailed an updated plan to expedite the vaccine process in New York after saying that the process was moving too slowly.  According to the governor, who shared the state’s updated plan Tuesday despite it being his usual on-cam off day, the new distribution process consists of three focus areas: nursing homes, hospitals and what Cuomo calls “special efforts.”

The “special efforts” part of the distribution process will focus on state-sponsored efforts, according to Cuomo, which include setting up vaccination drive-thrus and pop-up locations in churches, community centers and other locations as well as social equity efforts to reach the most vulnerable populations, including the Black and Hispanic communities.

COVID and “Winter Cluster Plan” Update

Governor Cuomo held a press briefing yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Monday, January 4th. 

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

  • Hospitalizations Statewide
    • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  8590
    • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .004%
    • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in State  = 29%
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 
    • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  986
    • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .004%
    • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 34%
  • ICU Beds Statewide
    • Total ICU Beds   =  5,716
    • Occupied ICU Beds =  4061
    • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 29%
  • ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 
    • Total ICU Beds   =  689
    • Occupied ICU Beds =  398
    • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 39%
  • Transmission Rate (R0): 1.12
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 8.31%

Here are some useful websites:

A New Web Application Will Help New Yorkers Determine if They are Eligible to Get a Vaccine

By answering a series of simple questions, New Yorkers can find out if they are eligible for the vaccine and, if so, where to make an appointment.

Visit the site

Democrats On Brink of U.S. Senate Control, Win One Georgia Race and Leading in Second

Democrats won one U.S. Senate race in Georgia and surged ahead in another on Wednesday, moving closer to a stunning sweep that would give them control of the chamber and the power to advance President-elect Joe Biden’s policy goals.

Raphael Warnock beat Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler to become the first Black senator in the history of the deep South state. Jon Ossoff held a narrow lead over incumbent David Perdue in the other race, with a final outcome not expected until later on Wednesday at the earliest.

Read more at Reuters

More than 2 million individuals are now eligible to be vaccinated as part of Phase 1A

Monday, the list of eligible New Yorkers was expanded again to include all doctors, nurses and health care staff who come in contact with the public; ambulatory centers staff; and all public health care workers who provide direct in-person care, including those who conduct COVID-19 tests and handle lab specimens. Beginning this week, eligibility will also be expanded to include home care workers, hospice workers, and nursing home and other congregate setting workers who have yet to receive a vaccine through the federal nursing home vaccination program. 

See the full list including

New COVID Vaccines Need Absurd Amounts of Material and Labor

Early vaccines are relying on mRNA, and the chemicals, containers and worker skills required for such production have never been deployed at such a large scale. 

“There aren’t any facilities in the world that have manufactured mRNA at such a large scale before,” says Maria Elena Bottazzi, a virologist at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. Pfizer and Moderna have been building supply networks to shift from clinical to large-scale production. But each step in the manufacturing process requires raw materials that, before COVID, were only produced in the amounts needed for clinical research.

Read more at Scientific American

Workers Are Calling Out Sick in Record Numbers Affecting Supply Chains

Nearly 1.8 million employees were absent from work because of illness in November, according to the Labor Department.  Whether it’s because they have COVID-19 themselves, are worried about getting it or are taking care of someone who already has it, the number of workers who’ve missed days on the job has doubled in the pandemic.

What’s more, unlike the jobless rate, which has steadily declined from its April peak, the rate of absenteeism — as it is called by economists — has remained stubbornly high. Almost 1.8 million workers were absent in November because of illness, nearly matching the record 2 million set back in April, according to Labor Department data.

Red more at Employee Benefit News

England, Scotland Return to Lockdown – Germany Considers Tightening

England has gone into full lockdown for the third time, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson made one of his many U-turns on the subject. Other U.K. nations have taken similar measures, as COVID-19 case numbers soar. Businesses are getting a new $6.2 billion package to help them through the coming months. Johnson’s new order also included the cancellation of this year’s crucial end-of-schooling exams, after education officials were reportedly told the opposite just hours before.

Read more at Fortune

World Bank: ‘Lost Decade’ for Global Economy Possible 

Even before Covid-19, the World Bank had lowered its projections for global growth in the 10 years that began in 2020. The pandemic is exacerbating that trend, raising the prospect of a “lost decade” ahead, the World Bank said Tuesday, as it also cut its forecasts for the coming year.  

Before the pandemic, the bank projected that potential global growth between 2020 and 2029 would slow to a yearly average of 2.1%, from 2.5% in the previous decade, as a result of aging populations and lower productivity growth. On Tuesday the bank lowered its projection to 1.9%. Potential output assumes the world economy is operating at full employment and capacity. The bank attributes the long-term downgrade to lower trade and investment caused by uncertainty over the pandemic, along with disruptions in education that will hamper gains in labor productivity.

Read more at the WSJ

General Motors’ US Sales Fall in 2020 Despite Strong Q4

The biggest U.S. automaker cited continued consumer hunger for pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles and other large cars, enabling GM to score record average transaction prices in the fourth quarter and full year. But overall sales for 2020 still fell 11.8% to 2.5 million compared with 2019, reflecting the hit from a nearly two-month disruption to auto manufacturing due to the initial US Covid-19 outbreak in the spring.

In the fourth quarter, GM reported a 4.8% increase in U.S. auto sales to 771,323, topping analyst estimate. Despite elevated unemployment, U.S. auto sales have been relatively strong in the second half of 2020.  Analysts have pointed to the lift from federal support programs to consumers, as well as the shifting of funds from travel and other discretionary items to autos and bigger-ticket purchases, such as home improvement.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Five Metro Areas With Highest 2020 Move Outs Located in NY, NJ: United Van Lines Study

The five metro areas with the highest move outs in 2020 were located in New York and New Jersey, according to a study from moving company United Van Lines.

The Nassau-Suffolk area in New York and the Bergen-Passaic area in New Jersey were the top two areas that experienced the greatest outbound migration, each seeing 81 percent outbound migration, according to the company’s 44th Annual National Migration Study.  Trenton, N.J., saw 76 percent outbound, while New York City and Newark, N.J., both saw 72 percent outbound migration.

Read more at The Hill