Daily Briefing – 243

COVID Update – First South African Variant Case In New York

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Sunday February 14th.  As part of that update, the Governor notified New Yorkers that a Connecticut resident who is a patient in a New York City hospital has tested positive for the South African variant. There is no evidence of any spread in New York State to date.

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


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 6,623
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 688

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,247
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 446

Other Data

  • Statewide Transmission Rate (R0):  .88
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.53%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.53

Useful Websites:

NYS Vaccine Update 

As of 11AM Sunday, New York’s health care distribution sites have received 2,192,675 first doses and already administered 89  percent or 1,957,681 first dose vaccinations. In total the state has administered  and 83 percent of first and second doses (2,798,676) of the 3,371,025 received. 

In the Mid-Hudson Region a cumulative total of 316,155 FIRST and SECOND doses have been distributed, 249,035have been administered (79%).

US Vaccination Rollout – 53.8 Million Doses Have Been Administered

More than 173 million doses have been administered across 77 countries, according to data collected by Bloomberg. The latest rate was roughly 5.96 million doses a day.

In the U.S., more Americans have now received at least one dose than have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began. So far, 53.8 million doses have been given, according to a state-by-state tally. In the last week, an average of 1.68 million doses per day were administered. Across the U.S., 16.4 doses have been administered for every 100 people, and 77% of the shots delivered to states have been administered 

Read more at Bloomberg Virus Tracker  (Free Subscription)

Moderna Wants to Pack 50% more COVID Vaccine per Vial

Moderna is seeking clearance with regulators around the world to put 50 percent more coronavirus vaccine into each of its vials as a way to quickly boost current supply levels.

“In order to better maximize resources as well as maximize opportunities to deliver more doses into each market faster, Moderna has proposed filling vials with up to 15 doses of vaccine versus the previous 10 doses,” a spokesperson said in a statement to AFP. The spokesperson added the company was engaging in discussions with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and authorities in other countries, and the increased level of doses wouldn’t require different vials to those currently in use.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Israeli Study: 94% Drop in Symptomatic COVID-19 Cases With Pfizer Vaccine

Israel’s largest healthcare provider on Sunday reported a 94% drop in symptomatic COVID-19 infections among 600,000 people who received two doses of the Pfizer’s vaccine in the country’s biggest study to date. The comparison was against a group of the same size, with matching medical histories, who had not received the vaccine.

Health maintenance organization (HMO) Clalit, which covers more than half of all Israelis, said the same group was also 92% less likely to develop severe illness from the virus.

Read more at Reuters

Obamacare Exchanges to Re-Open

President Biden last month ordered the launch of a three-month special enrollment period as a key part of his effort to rebuild the Affordable Care Act. To help raise awareness of Obamacare coverage options — and the federal subsidies to help pay for premiums — the administration is pouring $50 million into marketing and outreach.

Read more at CNN

Japanese Economy Recovers from Pandemic Slump

The Japanese economy grew at an annual rate of 12.7% in October-December, marking the second straight quarter of growth, amid a recovery from the slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to government data released Monday.

The world’s third-largest economy saw growth in consumption, government spending and exports for the final quarter of last year, compared to the previous quarter, the Cabinet Office said. Japan’s seasonally adjusted gross domestic product had grown at a dramatic annualized rate of 22.9% in the July-September period.

Read more at the AP

White House Says Biden Planning Order on Semiconductor Shortage

Last week President Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the White House intends to sign an executive order to try and help improve U.S. automaker’s access to semiconductors, which have been in short supply. The order, which Psaki said Biden would sign “in the coming weeks,” will identify “immediate actions” to spur domestic production of critical goods and “working with allies to develop a coordinate response to the weaknesses and bottlenecks.”

A group of U.S. chip companies had sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to provide “substantial funding for incentives for semiconductor manufacturing” as part of his economic recovery and infrastructure plans.

Read more at Reuters

Ethan Allen’s Provides an Update on the Latest CDC Vaccine Guidance and Recommendations

Our friends and Associate Members at Ethan Allen Personnel Group write that on February 10, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated guidance stating that fully vaccinated persons who have been exposed to COVID-19 are no longer required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine);
  • Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series; and
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.

Notwithstanding the ability to avoid quarantine, the CDC cautions that fully vaccinated persons who do not quarantine should still watch for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure.  In addition, all persons should continue to follow and maintain the same protective measures (i.e., distancing, mask-wearing, etc.) regardless of their vaccination status.  Finally, the CDC’s new guidance provided some additional considerations for patients and residents in healthcare settings.

Ethan Allen CDC Guidance on Vaccines Feb 10 2021

Why Administering Covid-19 Shots Is So Hard – Its Complicated

Delivering Covid-19 shots to sites around the country is just the first step in vaccinating the population. Getting them from the freezer and into arms is another journey, complicated by the special handling the doses require but also because of cumbersome data-management systems. Sites must take precautions to ensure that they don’t contribute to the spread of the virus, measures that can slow down administration of shots. And at many locations, demand for doses has outstripped supply.

The Wall Street Journal visits the inner workings of a Tennessee vaccination site and gets a first hand look at the challenges health care workers face in getting shots in arms. 

Read more at the WSJ