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Daily Briefing – 242

Post: Feb. 14, 2021

COVID Update 

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

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


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 6,593
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 698

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,352
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 434

Other Data

  • Statewide Transmission Rate (R0):  .88
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.83%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.67

Useful Websites:

NYS Vaccine Update 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Saturday  announced that individuals with comorbidities and underlying conditions can start using the ‘Am I Eligible’ website starting Sunday morning. As of 11AM Saturday, New York’s health care distribution sites have received 2,129,135 first doses and already administered 90 percent or 1,923,259 first dose vaccinations and 83 percent of first and second doses. The week 9 allocation from the federal government continues being delivered to providers for administration.      

In the Mid-Hudson Region a cumulative total of 305,865 FIRST and SECOND doses have been distributed, 242,666 have been administered (79%).

US Vaccination Rollout – Feds Deliver Vaccines Directly To Drug Store Chains

The U.S. vaccine program will enter a new phase Friday when the federal government starts to deliver doses directly to drugstore chains and pharmacies, in an effort to get more jabs into arms as new variants of the virus continue to spread. The program involves 21 national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and household names such as Walgreens,  CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart, Kroger and Costco. 

The initial plan is to send a million doses to 6,500 pharmacies, White House officials said this week. The program is expected to greatly expand the number of sites that offer vaccines and speed up the overall program.

Read more at MarketWatch

Deal Finalized for 200 Million Doses

Days after taking office, President Joe Biden said his administration planned to buy another 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses — 100 million from Pfizer and 100 million from Moderna. That purchase went through late last week, the president said, marking a 50% increase in the nation’s total vaccine supply.

Added to the 400 Million secured by the previous administration the US has now ordered 600 million total doses from the companies — enough to vaccinate 300 million Americans. That gives the country enough doses for all of its adult population: about 255 million people.

Read more at Business Insider

CDC Presses K-12 Schools to Reopen

Federal health and education officials urged the nation’s elementary and secondary schools on Friday to reopen safely as soon as possible, saying they can operate by strictly adhering to safety precautions to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission in classrooms and in their communities.

In new guidelines for schools, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said students, teachers and staff should be required to wear masks at all times and should maintain distances of at least 6 feet from one another as much as possible, with students divided into small groups that don’t mix with one another. Also essential, the agency said, are proper hand-washing practices, cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, and working with health departments to use contact tracing, isolation and quarantine to reduce the risk of transmission once someone has been infected.

Read more at the WSJ

Global Manufacturing Economic Update – U.S.-Manufactured Goods Exports Fell More Than 14% in 2020

According to seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S.-manufactured goods exports totaled $1,171.37 billion in 2020, dropping roughly 14.21% from $1,365.33 billion in 2019 to the lowest level since 2010. Among the top 10 markets for U.S.-manufactured goods, China (our third largest market) was the only market with increased activity in 2020, with exports up 2.17%.

Global Economic Update Feb 11

U.K. Economy Suffers Biggest Slump in 300 Years Amid Covid-19 Lockdowns

The U.K. economy recorded its biggest contraction in more than three centuries in 2020, according to official estimates, highlighting the Covid-19 pandemic’s economic toll on a country that has also suffered one of the world’s deadliest outbreaks. 

Gross domestic product shrank 9.9% over the year as a whole, the Office for National Statistics said Friday, the largest annual decline among the Group of Seven advanced economies. France’s economy shrank 8.3% and Italy’s contracted 8.8%, according to provisional estimates. German GDP declined 5%. The U.S. shrank 3.5%. However, the data showed the U.K. economy grew at an annualized rate of 4% in the final quarter of the year, aided by government spending and a small uptick in business investment.

Read more at the WSJ

Many Covid-19 Workers’ Comp Claims Are Being Rejected

Insurance carriers and business groups feared at the start of the pandemic that they would be overwhelmed by workers’ comp claims related to Covid-19. That concern intensified as more than a dozen states passed laws giving some employees including nurses and firefighters a presumption of eligibility, or access to workers’ comp coverage without requiring them to prove infections occurred on the job. Those fears turned out to be unfounded. 

The data also suggest that carriers are denying a significant percentage of claims related to Covid-19, even in states with the so-called presumptive-eligibility rules. Through these measures, insurers are directed to accept the Covid-19-related claims of some front-line workers, bypassing the usual step in which workers have to prove their accident or illness occurred while at work.

Read more at the WSJ

Area Lawmakers Join Call for End to Governor’s Emergency Powers

State Senators James Skoufis (D, Cornwall) and Elijah Reichlin-Melnick (D, Nyack) joined 12 other Democratic state senators in releasing a statement calling for an end to Democratic Governor Cuomo’s emergency powers that he has been using since March 3, 2020.  The lawmakers now say that those powers are inappropriate and are seeking to have them rescinded.

Skoufis and his colleagues noted that during the early months of the pandemic, state government had to restructure the decision-making process to render rapid, necessary public health directives. “It is clear that the expanded emergency powers granted to the Governor are no longer appropriate.”

Read more at Mid-Hudson News

2nd Democratic Senator Comes Out Against the $15 Minimum Wage in Biden’s Stimulus Package

“What’s important is whether or not it’s directly related to short-term Covid relief. And if it’s not, then I am not going to support it in this legislation,” Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona told Politico in an interview published Friday. “The minimum wage provision is not appropriate for the reconciliation process.” She went on: “It is not a budget item. And it shouldn’t be in there.”

Sinema, a moderate, isn’t alone among Democrats in her resistance to the $15 wage bump. Sen. Joe Manchin told reporters last week that he favored a smaller increase to $11, saying “it’s responsible and reasonable.”

Read more at Business Insider

New U.S. Data From the Census Bureau Shows 7.8% of Workforce Have Multiple Jobs

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Census Bureau said on Thursday it will present new data next week that will show 7.8% of the country’s workforce hold multiple jobs, a trend that has been on the rise during the past 20 years.  Census Bureau said the data next Wednesday will also show that earnings from secondary jobs, on average, account for 27.8% of a multiple jobholder’s total quarterly earnings.  “Multiple jobholding occurs at all levels of earnings, with both higher- and lower-earnings multiple jobholders earning more than 25% of their total earnings from multiple jobs,” it said. “These new statistics tell us that multiple jobholding is more important in the U.S. economy than realized.”

The data could contribute to the heated debate on President Joe Biden’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour from the current rate of $7.25 by 2025.

Read More at Reuters

COVID-19 May Become Endemic. Governments and Businesses Need to Think About How to Cope

The Economist notes that even miracles have their limits. Vaccines against the coronavirus have arrived sooner and worked better than many people dared hope. Without them, the pandemic threatened to take more than 150m lives. And yet, while the world rolls up a sleeve, it has become clear that expecting vaccines to see off covid-19 is mistaken. Instead the disease will circulate for years, and seems likely to become endemic. When covid-19 first struck, governments were caught by surprise. Now they need to think ahead.

Across the world governments will have to work out when and how to switch from emergency measures to policies that are economically and socially sustainable indefinitely. The transition will be politically hard in places that have invested a lot in being COVID-free. Nowhere more so than China, where vaccination is slow. The Communist Party has defined every case of covid-19 as unacceptable and wide circulation of the disease as a sign of the decadence of Western democracies.

Read more at The Economist