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Daily Briefing – 240

Post: Feb. 10, 2021

COVID Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Tuesday February 9th. 

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


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 7,593
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 828

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,422
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 427

Other Data

  • Statewide Transmission Rate (R0):  .88
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 4.02%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 5.30

Useful Websites:

Major Stadiums and Arenas In New York Can Reopen with Limited Spectators Beginning February 23

Governor  Cuomo yesterday announced that sports and entertainment events in major stadiums and arenas with a capacity of 10,000 or more people can re-open with limited spectators beginning February 23. Following the model established as part of the successful Buffalo Bills pilot program, venues and events must follow similar guidelines, including Department of Health approval for venues and events, capacity limitations, testing requirements, mandatory face coverings, temperature checks, and assigned, socially distanced seating.

Let’s Go Rangers.

Read the press Release

NYS Vaccine Update – Mass Vaccination Sites Opened for “Equitable Vaccination Access”

Governor Cuomo & Biden Administration officials announced yesterday that mass vaccination sites to will open in New York State targeting equitable vaccination access. The state has administered over 2,341,255 vaccine doses through the state’s vaccination program. New York’s health care distribution sites have received 1,874,975 first doses and administered 92 percent (1,738,927) 65 percent of the 933,850 second doses (602,238) have been administered. 

In the Mid-Hudson Region a cumulative total of 264,710 FIRST and SECOND doses have been distributed, 213,180 have been administered (81%).

When Might a Majority of People Have Been Vaccinated?

Experts have estimated that 70 to 90 percent of the population needs to acquire resistance to the coronavirus to reach herd immunity, when transmission of the virus substantially slows because enough people have been protected through infection or vaccination.

A number of factors will determine how quickly this threshold is met, especially the pace at which newly vaccinated people join those who are immune after past infections. But the presence of more transmissible virus variants could complicate that progress. If the country maintains its current pace of administering first doses, about half of the total population would be at least partially vaccinated around early July, and nearly all around late November, assuming supply pledges are met and vaccines are eventually available to children.

Read more at the New York Times

U.K. Study: One Pfizer Dose Provided Protection Two-Thirds of the Time

Early findings from the U.K.’s vaccination program, due to be released within days, show that the first dose reduced the symptomatic infection risk among patients by 65% in younger adults and 64% in over-80s, a person familiar with the matter said.

The data, first reported by The Sun newspaper, showed that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine saw protection rise to between 79% and 84%, depending on age. The AstraZeneca vaccine offers similar protection, the newspaper said.

Read more at Fortune

Vaccine Hesitancy

The percentage of adults who say they’re willing to get the Covid-19 vaccine increased from September to December, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report published Tuesday. However, the report found that a significant percentage of Americans still remain hesitant about the vaccine: Only about half of adults under age 65 said they were “absolutely certain” or “very likely” to get the Covid-19 vaccination.

The biggest increases in support for inoculation came from adults 65 and older, among whom support grew from 49% to 66%. Support from essential workers grew from 37% to 46%, and adults under 65 with underlying health conditions increased their support from 37% to 42% in the same period.

Read more at the WSJ

Manufacturers and Vaccines

The NAM and The Manufacturing Institute have readied a solution to take direct aim at vaccine hesitancy: the “This Is Our Shot” project, which encourages manufacturers, families of manufacturers and manufacturing communities to get a COVID-19 vaccine (link below).

“We recognize that most manufacturers aren’t presently eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine,” said NAM Vice President of Brand Strategy Chrys Kefalas. “So we’re taking a phased approach on this vaccine awareness project—to have the industry ready for the challenge. Right now, we’re educating manufacturing executives and leaders about the COVID-19 vaccine and this project, building communications tools for broader use as the vaccine becomes more widely available and targeting limited public outreach where skepticism is pervasive to get a head start on the problem.”

Visit the NAM resource page

Manufacturing Job Openings Fall

There were 475,000 manufacturing job openings in December, pulling back for the second straight month from 531,000 in October (an all-time high) and 487,000 in November.  NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray says. “Durable goods manufacturers increased the number of postings in the sector in December, up from 246,000 to 263,000. Nondurable goods firms reduced openings to 211,000 from 241,000.”

In December, manufacturers hired 396,000 workers, the same pace as in November, with both being the best readings since June. At the same time, total separations increased from 366,000 to 374,000, also the highest since June. Net hiring (or hiring minus separations) was 22,000 in December, down from 30,000 in November but a net positive for the fifth consecutive month.

See the BLS Report

GM Extends Plant Downtime Due to Extended Semiconductor Shortage

On February 9, General Motors Co. announced that scheduled downtime at three of its plants would continue through to the middle of March as a sustained semiconductor shortage squeezes U.S. auto production. GM extended production downtime in three assembly plants in Fairfax, Kansas City; Ontario, Canada; and San Luis Potosí, Mexico.

According to GM, the company will extend the downtime for the rest of the month and reassess their options in the middle of March. In the meantime, the company plans to assemble vehicles without the relevant parts so they can be completed once the semiconductors become available.

Read more at IndustryWeek

For the First Time in a Year, Oil Prices Top $60 a Barrel

On February 8th the price of Brent crude rose above $60 a barrel for the first time in more than a year. Battery metals, too, are enjoying a run-up in value. The prices of cobalt, lithium and certain rare-earth metals have soared since late last year (see chart), with nickel and copper enjoying an even longer climb. It is tempting to see the recent surge as evidence of competing bets about the fuels of the future. For both oil and battery metals, the reality is more complex.

Some of the rise in oil prices is, of course, linked to expectations about demand. Oil investors have taken hope that rising Chinese demand might be matched elsewhere. In India, consumption of cooking fuels from liquefied petroleum gas is up. In America, President Joe Biden’s proposed stimulus of $1.9trn may bring a jump in economic activity and therefore oil demand. 

Read more at The Economist

Consumer Inflation Climbs at Fastest Pace in Five Months

The cost of food, another household staple, edged up a scant 0.1% last month.  The prices of groceries and food purchased from restaurants have both risen close to 4% over the past year, reflecting shortages of certain foods and higher costs tied to coping with the pandemic. A separate “core” measure of inflation that strips out often-volatile food and energy costs was flat in January.

Last month prices rose for clothing, medical care, rent and car insurance, but those increases were offset by lower costs of new and used cars, passenger fares and recreation.

Read more at MarketWatch

Gillibrand Wants $10B for Mental Health, Substance Abuse In COVID Relief Bill

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee urging them to include $10 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the next COVID-19 relief bill.

Half the funding would support the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant program, while the other $5 billion would boost the Substance Abuse Prevent and Treatment Block Grant program. Both programs provide direct aid to states for mental health services and substance abuse treatment.  
“The pandemic has exacerbated New York’s addiction crisis and we must do more to address the troubling trend of high rates of mental health and substance use disorders,” Gillibrand said in a statement.

Read more at The Auburn Citizen

The World Is Still Battling Polio. What That Warning Means for Covid-19

The decades long battle to eradicate polio around the world is one of the most ambitious and expensive public-health campaigns in history. The mass-vaccination drive and its progress toward arresting a malady that has disabled or killed millions of people point to the success possible in the efforts to inoculate people around the world against Covid-19.

But even with an established vaccine, billions of dollars invested and international support, the polio effort has struggled. And in a cruel twist, the coronavirus pandemic has pushed the polio fight off course. “The pandemic has been at least a one-year setback” to the polio eradication goal, said Bill Gates, whose charitable foundation is a major funder of the effort.

Read more at the WSJ