After Unprecedented, Raucous Day US Congress Accepts Electoral College Result
Hours after hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a harrowing assault on American democracy, a shaken Congress on Thursday formally certified Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.
Immediately afterward, the White House released a statement from Trump in which he pledged an “orderly transition” when Biden is sworn into office on Jan. 20, although he repeated his false claim that he won the November election. On Wednesday, the Republican president had seemingly encouraged his followers to swarm the Capitol.
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 Tuesday, January 5th.
Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.
- Hospitalizations Statewide
- Patients Currently in Hospital in Region = 8665
- 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 = 984
- COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population = .004%
- Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region = 33%
- ICU Beds Statewide
- Total ICU Beds = 5,716
- Occupied ICU Beds = 1408
- Percent of ICU Beds Available = 29%
- ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region:
- Total ICU Beds = 699
- Occupied ICU Beds = 398
- Percent of ICU Beds Available = 40%
- Transmission Rate (R0): 1.12
- Statewide Positivity Rate: 8.41%
Here are some useful websites:
NYS Vaccine Rollout Phase “1B”
NYS is working with the public and private sectors to develop a “retail network” of vaccination provider sites. Similar to operations for the annual distribution of the flu vaccine and like with our ongoing COVID-19 testing, these sites will help ensure access to the vaccine in multiple locations in each of the state’s 10 regions. The network of sites will include pharmacies, federally-qualified health centers, local health departments, private urgent care clinics, private doctor networks, and other sites capable of vaccinations. More sites continue to be added to the network every day.
In addition to hospitals and the “retail network,” the State will undertake special efforts to supplement these sites with pop-up locations, including at the Javits Center, SUNY and CUNY locations, community centers, and houses of worship—with a special emphasis on reaching underserved communities.
County Leaders Seek Cooperation from Cuomo Administration to Carry Out Vaccination Plan
County leaders in New York said Tuesday that their health departments have been developing vaccination plans for years and can help smooth the rocky rollout of the state’s vaccination program, but they need more cooperation from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his administration. The county executives said their health departments are required by state law to have mass vaccination plans, and they have been updating them regularly with test runs of their systems and investment in staff training.
But they said Cuomo and the state health department are not providing data that they need and are leaving them out of key meetings. They said that makes it more difficult to coordinate the distribution of the vaccines in their communities when the doses arrive.
Democrats Take Senate Control
Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock defeated Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in Georgia’s two Senate runoffs. The outcome of the high-profile and costly elections will put Democrats in control of both chambers of Congress and influence the scope of President-elect Joe Biden’s legislative agenda.
New York State Senator Charles Schumer will be the new Majority Leader. The Council of Industry and The New York Manufacturing Alliance look forward to working with his office to strengthen manufacturing in New York in the Hudson Valley.
Workplace Lawsuits Hit Record High in 2020
A record 1,548 rulings were made in 2020 related to workplace lawsuits, up more than 5% from 2019, and 61 were class-action suits related directly to the pandemic, according to an annual report from Seyfarth Shaw. The 10 largest settlements — spanning sexual misconduct along with race, gender and age discrimination — cost employers $1.58 billion, and trends identified for 2021 include the pandemic’s continued effect, increased class actions, and a rise in lawsuits related to wages and hours.
U.S. Factory Orders Beat Expectations in November
New orders for U.S.-made goods increased more than expected in November and business investment on equipment was solid, pointing to sustained recovery in manufacturing. The Commerce Department said on Wednesday that factory orders rose 1.0% after increasing 1.3% in October. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast factory orders increasing 0.7% in November.
Orders fell 7.3% year-on-year. Manufacturing, which accounts for 11.9% of the U.S. economy, is being supported by a shift in demand towards goods from services because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Institute for Supply Management reported on Tuesday that its index of national factory activity increased in December to the highest level since August 2018.
December Manufacturing PMI Beats Expectations, Climbs 3.2%
The Institute for Supply Management reported that its Purchasing Manager’s Index for manufacturing rose 3.2% in December to 60.7%. The latest PMI indicated that manufacturing is growing at a faster rate than in November, when the PMI registered 57.5%.
December now marks a seventh month of growth for the manufacturing sector as it continues to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic alongside the overall economy, which has grown each of the past eight months. The ISM’s indexes for new orders and production both grew at a faster rate than in November, and its employment index, which contracted two months ago, returned to growth territory.
Manufacturers Await Possible COVID-19 Safety Regulations
Manufacturers should be prepared for a possible Emergency Temporary Standard that could be issued at the outset of the Biden administration. An ETS is a set of mandatory rules and regulations for employers, issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Department of Labor. While manufacturers are encouraged to follow CDC guidance as they develop and implement their own tailored plans to protect against COVID-19, an ETS could impose compulsory requirements on manufacturing operations, HR departments and safety protocols.
There’s no concrete information yet about the text of an ETS, but possible new requirements for manufacturers might include:
- Written plans for stopping the spread of COVID-19;
- A comprehensive assessment of COVID-19 hazards throughout the workplace and a clear plan for diminishing or eliminating those hazards;
- Expanded definitions of terms like “positive COVID-19 case,” “high-risk exposure period” and “physical distancing”;
- Requirements that employees are tested for COVID-19 in some scenarios and paid for the time taking tests;
- Increased recordkeeping and reporting on safety procedures; and
- Additional requirements for employees to receive paid leave and testing.