Daily Briefing – 235

“The Terms of the President and the Vice President Shall End at Noon on the 20th Day of January…”

So reads the 20th amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. Today being the 20th day of January we will see a new President and Vice President sworn into office.  In 1865 – before passage of the 20th amendment, Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office for the second time on March 11th. His second inaugural address, delivered as the Civil was was winding to its conclusion, focused on the end of that bloody conflict and the challenges a reunited nation will face. 

“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”

Let us hope our elected leaders will hear these wise words.

COVID and “Winter Cluster Plan” Update

Governor Cuomo held a press briefing  yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Sunday, January 17th. Governor Cuomo expressed concern that a true “second wave” will occur now that the U.K. strain is present in the community. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has said it is possible the U.K. strain will be the dominant variant in the community by March. There are additional strains being discovered across the globe, including the South Africa and Brazil variants. 

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

Hospitalizations Statewide

  • Patients Currently in Hospital   =  9,236
  • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Population =  .005%
  • Percent of Hospital Beds Available = 32%

Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 

  • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  1061
  • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .005%
  • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 40%

ICU Beds Statewide

  • Total ICU Beds   =  5,847
  • Occupied ICU Beds =  4270
  • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 27%

ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 

  • Total ICU Beds   =  684
  • Occupied ICU Beds =  422
  • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 37%

Other Data

  • Statewide Transmission Rate (R0): 1.02
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 7.06%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 7.25%

Useful Websites:

Vaccine Update: New York State Launches Vaccine Tracker Site

To date, New York’s health care distribution sites have administered 79 percent of first doses received from the federal government, and 77 percent of first and second doses.

New York is offering a way for the public to see how many doses are going where. Secretary to the Governor of New York Melissa DeRosa announced on Twitter that New York has “soft” launched its COVID-19 vaccine tracker. The website allows users to see where and how much of the vaccine has been distributed, including in respect to how much has been administered relative to the allocation provided.

Covid-19 Vaccines Are Getting Stuck at the Last Step

The biggest challenge in America’s Covid-19 vaccination effort is getting shots into the arms of the right people. By Friday morning, some 31 million vaccine doses had been distributed nationwide, but only about 12 million administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Providers across the country said they have thus far received little guidance for how to implement eligibility criteria, no funding to manage staffing and planning and no indication of how many doses they will receive at any time. Oscar Alleyne, chief program officer for the National Association of County and City Health Officials, said long lines and jammed phones show how responsibility was thrown on local officials without preparation.

Read more at the WSJ

Yellen Tells Lawmakers That American Workers Would Be Her Focus

Janet Yellen told lawmakers Tuesday she would make the needs of America’s workers her core focus if confirmed as the next U.S. Treasury secretary and ensure the U.S. has a competitive economy that offers good jobs and wages workers in cities and rural areas.

Ms. Yellen said that additional spending that provides relief for struggling families and businesses could provide the most “bang for the buck” for the economy as a whole, including extended jobless benefits and nutrition assistance.  Ms. Yellen also affirmed the U.S.’s commitment to market-determined exchange rates, and she made clear the U.S. doesn’t seek a weaker dollar for competitive advantage. 

Read more at the WSJ

NY Fed Business Leaders Survey – Service Economy Continues to Shrink

Activity in the region’s service sector declined at an accelerated pace.  The survey’s headline business activity index fell five points to -31.8. The business climate index fell three points -63.3, indicating that the vast majority of firms continued to view the business climate as worse than normal. Employment levels declined at a faster clip than last month, though wage increases picked up. Both input prices and selling prices increased at a faster pace than in December. Capital spending fell for a tenth consecutive month. Looking ahead, firms expect business conditions to improve over the next six months.

The index for future business activity rose seventeen points to 21.6, its highest level in several months, and the future business climate index rose to 16.7, signaling that firms expect conditions to improve over the next six months. Employment levels, wages, and prices are all expected to increase, while capital spending is expected to be flat.

Read more at the NY Fed

Biden’s First 100 Days: Here’s What is on the Agenda

Over the past several weeks, Biden has laid out several things he wants to do in his first 100 days in office. The proposals include tackling the pandemic, reversing immigration policies put in place under President Donald Trump and addressing criminal justice reform. 

USA Today has a list of some of the issues Biden has said he wants to address in his first 100 days in office.

Read more at USA Today

5 Ways Leaders Can Communicate Their Care to Employees

Employees perform better when they feel emotionally connected to their leaders, writes Yolanda Knight, who offers five practices for leaders to better understand and coach their people. “Coaching will produce more innovation, and innovation is what your business needs to remain competitive in a shaky economy,” she writes.

Read more at Real Leaders

Survey: 45% of US Adults Considering Mental Health Treatment

Forty-five percent of US adults have thought about seeking treatment for mental health because of the pandemic, and 88% report mental health symptoms, such as difficulty with sleeping or feelings of hopelessness, according to a Vida Health survey that is the latest to indicate the significant impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on employees’ mental health. Other reports have found that rates of depression, anxiety, stress and burnout have soared as a result of the pandemic.

The survey found that one out of every six Americans started therapy for the first time in 2020—in sessions that primarily took place virtually due to the pandemic. Fifteen percent are also taking medication for mental health for the first time as of 2020, and another 15% have changed or increased an existing prescription during that same timeframe.

Read more at Human Resource Executive

Think Productivity With Work From Home Is Improving? Think Again

Productivity is important to organizations, of course. But it’s also important to individuals. When people are efficient, they have a greater claim to recognition, rewards and career growth—at least if their company doles out these goodies equitably. Productivity is a measure of how much people get done in a period of time. The problem with some of the new work-from-home productivity reports is they’re not accounting for the increasing hours people are working. Employees may report they’re more productive, but we also know they’re working more hours.

It is also worth mentioning that productivity isn’t the only evidence of success—or even the most important. Performance is probably the better, bigger concept—based partially based on productivity—but also including engagement, commitment, learning, growth, innovation and contributions to community as a whole. Productivity is part of a broader whole of overall performance.  

Read more at Forbes