Daily Briefing – 237

Super Bowl VI  Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defeats Kansas City Chiefs 31 – 9

Employers should remain diligent with safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 following the Super Bowl.  Many people gathered to enjoy the game in the company of friends and family yesterday new cases are likely. 

See the Highlights

COVID Update – Remain Diligent, Avoid Super Bowl Spread

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday February 6th. “It’s no accident that our positivity and hospitalizations are continuing to decline, this is happening because of the dedication and discipline shown by New Yorkers,” Governor Cuomo said. “While we are encouraged by these declining numbers, we must remain vigilant. Today, I urge New Yorkers to enjoy the Superbowl but be smart and don’t do anything to undo our progress: wear a mask, practice social distancing and avoid gatherings.”

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


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 7,649
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 853

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,411
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 420

Other Data

  • Statewide Transmission Rate (R0):  .91
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 4.00%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 5.20

Useful Websites:

NYS Vaccine Update 2.1 Million Vaccine Doses Administered

The state has administered over 2,136,209 vaccine doses through the state’s vaccination program. As of 11AM yesterday, New York’s health care distribution sites have received 1,874,975 first doses and already administered 87 percent 1,627,191 first dose vaccinations and 76 percent of first and second doses. Delivery of the week 9 allocation from the federal government begins mid-week. In the Mid-Hudson Region a cumulative total of 264,710 FIRST and SECOND doses have been distributed, 193,678 have been administered (73%).

The Governor announced Friday that, because COVID 19 has proven far more dangerous to individuals with certain underlying medical conditions the state has made these individuals eligible under the phase 1b of the vaccination program. Beginning February 15th New Yorkers of any age with qualifying underlying conditions will be eligible for the COVID vaccine beginning.. Eligible conditions include cancer, chronic kidney disease, pulmonary disease, diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2), heart conditions, pregnancy, obesity, sickle cell disease, liver disease and others. 

US Vaccination Progress – As U.S. Vaccinations Ramp Up, Some Recipients Struggle to Secure a Second Dose

In some American states, people who have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine have been experiencing maddening difficulties as they try to schedule their second.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two injections, given 21 days apart, while Moderna’s two injections should be given 28 days apart. But the C.D.C. said last month that the interval can be expanded to six weeks if giving the second dose sooner was “not feasible.”

Read more at the New York Times

J&J Seeks FDA Authorization for One-Shot Vaccine

Johnson & Johnson asked U.S. regulators Thursday to clear the world’s first single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, an easier-to-use option that could boost scarce supplies.

J&J’s vaccine was safe and offered strong protection against moderate to severe COVID-19, according to preliminary results from a massive international study. It didn’t appear quite as strong as two-dose competitors made by Pfizer and Moderna — a finding that may be more perception than reality, given differences in how each was tested.

Read more at AP

U.S. Employers Added 49,000 Jobs in January

U.S. employers added 49,000 jobs last month, returning growth to the labor market after a one month dip, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.3%.  Jobs grew strongly in business and professional services, the Labor Department said in its January report on U.S. employment. Many sectors, though, lost jobs last month. The leisure and hospitality sector lost 61,000 jobs in January, following a steep decline of 536,000 in December. Retailers, health-care companies and warehouses cut jobs in January.

The fall in the unemployment rate in part reflected the Labor Department’s annual update to population estimates used to calculate the unemployment rate and other measures. The new estimates show the civilian labor force was 200,000 lower than previously estimated, employment was 180,000 less, and unemployment 20,000 less.

Read more in the WSJ

Manufacturing Jobs Slip 10,000 in January 

The U.S. manufacturing sector shed about 10,000 jobs in January 2021, according to the latest figures from the Department of Labor. Durable goods manufacturing as a whole lost 17,000 jobs, but significant gains in nondurable chemical manufacturing pushed the figure of total manufacturing jobs lost significantly.

Of the 17,000 jobs lost in durable goods manufacturing, 6,400 jobs were in nonmetallic mineral products, 5,300 in motor vehicles and parts, and 4,300 in fabricated metal products. Semiconductors and electronic components led durable manufacturing in jobs gained, with 1,800, and wood products, computer and electronic products, and miscellaneous durable goods also saw gains. Nondurable goods manufacturing employed 7,000 more people in January than it had in December, driven almost entirely by gains in chemical manufacturing: Chemical manufacturers employed 10,500 more people in January than they had the month before.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Biden Does Not Expect Minimum Wage Hike to be in Relief Bill

U.S. President Joe Biden said in an interview released on Friday he does not expect his proposal for a hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour to be included in his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill because of Senate rules.

Increasing the minimum wage may run afoul of Senate rules on reconciliation, a tool Democrats plan to use to pass Biden’s coronavirus relief bill without Republican support in the closely divided  Senate. Biden said he would be prepared to negotiate the wage rise separately and the increase could be phased in.

Read more at Reuters

Budget Reconciliation Moves Forward in House

The House aims to pass a coronavirus relief bill within two weeks, as Democrats push ahead with the process that enables them to approve a rescue package with no Republican votes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday.

The Senate passed a budget resolution early Friday after a marathon of votes on dozens of amendments. The House followed in the afternoon in a nearly party line vote, starting the reconciliation process that would allow President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue package to get through the Democratic-held Senate with a simple majority which means a 50-50 vote with Vice President Camilla Harris casting the tiebreaking vote in her role as President of the Senate.

DiNapoli: Statewide Local Sales Tax Collections Declined 10 Percent in 2020

Local sales tax collections declined by $1.8 billion, or 10 percent, in 2020 over the previous year. By comparison, collections only dropped 6 percent in the 2009 recession compared with 2008. In the first quarter – mostly occurring before the economic impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic swept through New York – collections grew by 4.6 percent over the same quarter the previous year. 

However, collections plummeted by 27.1 percent in the second quarter (April-June) compared to the second quarter in 2019. State-mandated closure of non-essential businesses in late March led to a spike
in unemployment and a sharp decline in retail and food services sales in the following months.

Read more at the Comptroller’s website

DiNapoli: Sales Tax Collections Up in the Hudson Valley

In the Hudson Valley, total sales tax collections rose by 1.8 percent.  Increases in sales tax is attributable to online purchasing. Internet sales continued during the full pause of the economy early on in the pandemic and as brick-and-mortar stories gradually opened, consumer habits continued the shift to online sales as people continued to avoid crowded places.

Read more at Mid-Hudson News

How Vaccines are Made and Why it is Hard

Broadly, there are two ways of making antiviral vaccines. One, tried and trusted, involves growing, in tanks called bioreactors, cell cultures that act as hosts for viruses which are then used in one way or another to make the vaccine in question. The alternative method, developed recently and employed to make the mRNA vaccines, such as those of Moderna and Pfizer, that the pandemic has stimulated the invention of, requires culturing cells only at the beginning of the process. mrna is the substance that carries instructions about how to make a protein from a cell’s dna to the molecular factories, known as ribosomes, which do the actual manufacturing. 

But it is one thing to design and test vaccines. It is another to make them at sufficient scale to generate the billions of doses needed to vaccinate the world’s population, and to do so at such speed that the rate of inoculation can outpace the spread and possible mutation of the virus.

Read more (or listen) at The Economist