Daily Briefing – 232

Vaccine Update: New York’s Health Care Distribution Sites Have Administered 83% of Doses Received from Federal Government 

As of Saturday afternoon the state had administered 772,399 doses of the 934,925 that it has received from the Federal government., or 83%.  Another 250,00 doses are expected this week. More than 7 million New Yorkers are eligible in Phase 1B. 

COVID and “Winter Cluster Plan” Update

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday, January 16th. 

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

Hospitalizations Statewide

  • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  8771
  • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .004%
  • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in State  = 32%

Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 

  • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  1013
  • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .004%
  • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 40%

ICU Beds Statewide

  • Total ICU Beds   =  5,764
  • Occupied ICU Beds =  4239
  • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 27%

ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 

  • Total ICU Beds   =  684
  • Occupied ICU Beds =  440
  • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 38%

Other Data

  • Statewide Transmission Rate (R0): 1.02
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 5.61%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 6.3%

Useful Websites:

A Look at What’s in Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Plan

The president-elect is rolling out a large spending package aimed at helping battle the virus and alleviate the economic toll it has taken.  That $1.9 trillion figure is a lot of money, to put it mildly. Congress passed a $900 billion relief program in December, and its package in March was also about $2 trillion. By way of comparison, the major financial crisis spending package — the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — clocked in around $800 billion.

The New York Times runs through a few of the biggest provisions, how they would work and what they might mean for the United States economy as it struggles through a winter of surging coronavirus cases and partial state and local lockdowns.

Read more at the New York Times

Joe Biden’s Covid-19 Vaccine Plan Intends to Speed Up Distribution

Mr. Biden wants to quicken the pace of vaccinations, setting a target of administering 100 million doses of the vaccine during the first 100 days of his presidency. He would spend $20 billion on the national vaccination program.

To accelerate vaccinations, he said his administration would work with federal, state and local officials to set up thousands of community vaccination centers across the country and deploy mobile units to rural and underserved areas. Mr. Biden promised 100 federally supported centers by the end of his first month in office. The Federal Emergency Management Agency would help set them up, and the federal government would reimburse states deploying the National Guard to help with vaccinations. Mr. Biden also said he aims to increase the pace of vaccinations by making shots available at independent and chain pharmacies.

Read more at the WSJ

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Shows Promise

Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that the new single-dose coronavirus vaccine from Johnson & Johnson “looks like a good profile for a vaccine.”

The results of early-stage trials for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday. It showed that all trial participants had neutralizing antibodies in their system after 57 days. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine would allow for more vaccines to be dispersed and would only require one shot, whereas the current COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two. 

Read more at The Hill

DiNapoli: Tax Revenues Through December Were $2.5 Billion Lower Than Last Year

State tax receipts through the first nine months of the state fiscal year were $2.5 billion lower than last year, but were $1.8 billion higher than anticipated by the state Division of the Budget (DOB), according to the monthly State Cash Report released by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Tax receipts in the month of December totaled $8.4 billion, $422.5 million above last year, and $1.4 billion above DOB’s latest projections.

“December’s tax receipts were better than expected, but the revenue challenge is still with us,” DiNapoli said. “President-elect Biden’s proposed stimulus plan, with new aid to help states and localities fill gaps created by the COVID-19 pandemic, is another hopeful sign. We still have a long way to go, and it’s essential that leaders in Washington act on a robust plan of assistance as quickly as possible.”

January Empire State Manufacturing Survey – Little Growth, Increasing Prices

There was little growth in manufacturing activity in New York State in January. The general business conditions index was similar to last month’s level at 3.5. Twenty-seven percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 23 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index rose three points to 6.6, indicating a small increase in orders, and the shipments index fell to 7.3, pointing to a modest increase in shipments. Delivery times were somewhat longer, and inventories held steady.

The prices paid index rose eight points to 45.5, its highest level in two years, indicating a pickup in input price increases. This index has risen a cumulative 41 points since May. The prices received index climbed five points to 15.2, its highest level in a year, pointing to an acceleration in selling prices.

Read the report

US Industrial Production Jumps 1.6% in December

U.S. industrial production rose 1.6% in December, a third straight monthly gain, but remains below its pre-pandemic level.  The December gain in industrial output followed a 0.5% increase in November and a 1% increase in October, the Federal Reserve reported Friday. Even with those gains, industrial output is still about 3.3% below its level in February before the pandemic hit.

Manufacturing increased 0.9%, its eighth straight monthly gain, even as production of motor vehicles and parts declined 1.6%. That follows a string of gains for the auto sector, including last month’s strong 5% increase. Without the drag in the auto sector last month, manufacturing posted gains of 1.1%.

Read more at the AP

IRS Reverses Position on Deductibility of Paycheck Protection Program Loan Expenses

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Pub. L. No. 116-136, (the CARES Act) modifies several tax provisions in the Internal Revenue Code (the Code). The modifications are designed to provide relief to businesses and individuals adversely affected by the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis.

Following the enactment of the COVID-Related Tax Relief Act of 2020, the IRS published Rev. Rul. 2021-2, which reverses their position in Notice 2020-32, noting that such conclusions are “no longer accurate statements of law” and are now “declared obsolete.” This change is retroactive and thus applies to PPP loans already funded under the existing PPP loan program during 2020. Taxpayers may deduct eligible business expenses paid for with a PPP loan received during 2020.

The Economist: The Rich World Has Become Better at Mitigating the Economic Cost of Lockdowns

The lockdowns of the spring, which at their peak covered more than half of the world’s population, provoked an almighty downturn. In April global economic output was 20% below where it would have been otherwise.

The latest round of lockdowns will hit the economy again—but, perhaps, not as hard. Analysts at Goldman Sachs have argued that in Britain’s case “the sensitivity of economic activity to covid-19 restrictions has diminished significantly since the first lockdown.” In research published on January 8th HSBC noted that German industrial output “extended its recovery in November, undeterred by the renewed lockdown”. America’s jobs report for December, released on the same day, showed that employment fell for the first time since April—a depressing result when millions of people are still out of work. Yet other high-frequency economic indicators, such as those for consumer spending, are in better shape than they were in the spring.

Read more at The Economist