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Daily Briefing – 232

Post: Jan. 14, 2021

NYT: Older New Yorkers Face Vaccine Red Tape

In the city, over a million older New Yorkers started the week with optimism that they would finally gain access to the vaccine after months of fearing they would fall victim to the coronavirus. But the reality of actually getting the shots has proved to be far more maddening.

Buggy websites, multiple sign-up systems that act in parallel but do not link together and a lack of outreach are causing exasperation and exhaustion among older New Yorkers and others trying to set up vaccination appointments. It is also stymying New York’s early efforts to get the vaccine to many of the city’s most vulnerable, creating a situation that elected officials say risks exacerbating the inequalities that Covid-19 has already laid painfully bare.

COVID and “Winter Cluster Plan” Update

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Wednesday, January 13th. 

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

Hospitalizations Statewide

  • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  8823
  • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .005%
  • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in State  = 32%

Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 

  • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  1015
  • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .004%
  • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 39%

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   =  686
  • Occupied ICU Beds =  446
  • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 39%

Other Data

  • Statewide Transmission Rate (R0): 1.08
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 6.42%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 7.80%

Useful Websites:

SBA Re-Opening Paycheck Protection Program to Small Lenders on Friday, January 15 and All Lenders on Tuesday, January 19

The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department, will re-open the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan portal to PPP-eligible lenders with $1 billion or less in assets for First and Second Draw applications on Friday, January 15, 2021 at 9 a.m. EST. The portal will fully open on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 to all participating PPP lenders to submit First and Second Draw loan applications to SBA.

Earlier in the week, SBA granted dedicated PPP access to Community Financial Institutions (CFIs) which include Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs), and Microloan Intermediaries as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to reach underserved and minority small businesses.

The World Bank Predicts 4% Growth in Global GDP in 2021

The World Bank predicts that the world GDP will grow by 4.0% in 2021, bouncing back after declining 4.3% in 2020. With that said, global output will remain 5.0% below pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year. While COVID-19 and its spread remain downside risks to the economic outlook, the prospects of a vaccine and a return to “normalcy” in spending and activity should help the overall recovery.

Read more at the World Bank

Germany’s GDP Lost 5 Percent in 2020

Today Destatis, Germany’s federal statistics office, reported that the country’s economy contracted by a smaller-than-expected 5% last year because of measures taken to contain the covid-19 pandemic. The slump in GDP is painful, but not as bad as the 9% plunge forecast for France and the 11.2% that Spain is expected to lose. Germany’s position is less dire because its stronger fiscal position meant it could afford more generous help for companies, families and freelancers. The country’s focus on high-quality manufacturing helped too. Most German factories stayed open during the two lockdowns in 2020, which limited the fall in output. Because the latest lockdown will probably continue into February, economists expect another contraction in the first quarter of this year. But then, they say, Germans can look forward to a strong rebound, once the weather becomes milder and more of them are vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Read more at MarketWatch

U.S. Unemployment Claims Rise as Pandemic Weighs on Economy

Worker filings for jobless claims jumped to nearly 1 million last week (965k) indicating rising layoffs amid a surge in Covid-19 cases. The report added to the evidence that the rapid rise in Covid-19 cases and fresh business restrictions in some places are weighing on the labor market. Employers cut 140,000 jobs in December, marking the first decline since the pandemic hit the country last spring. Leisure and hospitality workers bore the brunt of the decline, as a nationwide surge in coronavirus infections forced many restaurants and bars to close or scale back operations. 

The recovery in the number of available jobs posted online reversed course toward the end of December, according to job-search site Indeed’s measure of job-posting trends. Other recent economic data suggest a broader economic slowdown under way. Small-business optimism fell sharply in December. Household spending declined for the first time in seven months in November, with household income slipping too. 

Read more at the WSJ

Job Openings Decline

Overall job openings fell in the closing months of 2020, according to CNBC, while manufacturing openings also dropped somewhat. NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray has the manufacturing numbers from the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey:

“There were 498,000 manufacturing job openings in November, pulling back from 531,000 in October, which was an all-time high.” Nondurable goods manufacturers reported a record number of job postings in November, up from 236,000 to 250,000, but openings among durable goods firms dropped sharply, down from 296,000 to 248,000. Despite softening in the latest data, manufacturing job openings have firmed up in recent months from springtime weaknesses,” says Moutray.

Read more at CNBC

Machinery Buying Survey Shows Optimism for Recovery

After one of the most tumultuous and disruptive periods in memory, that optimism has rebounded. In PMM’s second annual survey, conducted in October, 61 percent of respondents (83 out of 136 total) plan to buy primary processing equipment in 2021, essentially equal to the pre-pandemic figure. 

Companies say new equipment is needed to expand capacity (69 percent), replace existing equipment (52 percent) and/or add new processing capabilities (17 percent). And an overwhelming 73 percent of respondents expect their business to improve in 2021, while only 2 percent believe it will be worse. 

Read more at Plastics Machinery Manufacturing

Boeing Jet Deliveries Fell Almost 60% in 2020

Boeing Co. reported its total commercial aircraft deliveries during 2020 totaled 157, a -59% drop from 2019 and the worst annual delivery total for Boeing since 1973, when it delivered 156 aircraft. The total reflects not only the Covid-19 pandemic’s influence on commercial aircraft demand, but also the lingering effect of the 737 MAX idling. For contrast, in 2019, prior to the start of the pandemic, Boeing delivered 380 aircraft; but in 2018, before the 737 MAX program was grounded, the OEM delivered 806 aircraft.

In detail, the 2020 deliveries for Boeing commercial jets included 43 of the 737 series; five 747s; 30 767s; 26 777s; and 53 787 Dreamliners. Also for 2020, Boeing’s new orders totaled 184 aircraft, and its order backlog slipped by 1,026 to 3,282 aircraft.

Read more at American Machinist

Future Coronavirus Vaccines May Harness Nanoparticles

Conventional vaccines that are based on inactivated, weakened, or genetically modified viruses can be highly effective and are easier to store and transport. However, they take a long time to develop and are more likely to cause side effects.

Biochemists at Stanford University, CA, have created a prototype of a nanoparticle-based COVID-19 vaccine that they believe would not only be cheap, safe, and effective but also remain stable at room temperature. They are even hopeful that their vaccine could be shipped and stored as a freeze-dried powder. The scientists recently published the results of a preclinical study of the nanoparticle vaccine in the journal ACS Central Science.

Read more at Medical News Today

State of the State Part IV- Infrastructure Investment

Governor Cuomo delivered part 4 of his 2021 State of the State address yesterday, this one focused on infrastructure investment proposing to invest billions into infrastructure improvements to build a new New York. As part of these efforts, Governor Cuomo has put forth a number of proposals focused on transforming Manhattan’s Midtown West neighborhood, including building a new Port Authority Bus Terminal, rebuilding the state’s airports, and improving transportation infrastructure to create jobs, spur economic development and bring existing infrastructure into the 21st century. 

Earlier this week, the Governor announced proposals to win the war against COVID-19, by addressing New York’s short-term economic issues, ensure social and racial justice, and reopen the state while growing the green economy. 

Read the press release