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Daily Briefing – 243

Post: Jan. 31, 2021

COVID and “Winter Cluster Plan” Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday January 30th. 

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

Hospitalizations Statewide:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital   =  7,967
  • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Population =  .004%
  • Percent of Hospital Beds Available = 33%

Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 

  • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  940
  • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .004%
  • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 41%

ICU Beds Statewide

  • Total ICU Beds   =  5,909
  • Occupied ICU Beds =  4,365
  • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 26%

ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 

  • Total ICU Beds   =  700
  • Occupied ICU Beds =  422
  • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 38%

Other Data

  • Statewide Transmission Rate (R0):  .91
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 4.44%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 5.10

Useful Websites:

NYS Vaccine Update

As of 11:00 AM Sunday, New York’s health care distribution sites have received 1,554,450 first doses and has administered 88 percent or 1,361,212 first dose vaccinations and 73 percent of first and second doses. Delivery of the week 8 allocation from the federal government does not begin until the middle of this week. The past week New Yok received 410850 vaccines.  In the previous week New York received 678,500 vaccines. 

In the Mid-Hudson Region a cumulative total of 219,420 FIRST and SECOND doses have been distributed, 140,723 have been administered (64%).

US Vaccine Update

The US is continuing to adapt its SARS-CoV-2 vaccination strategy. Last week President Biden expressed confidence that the US will have enough supply to vaccinate 300 million individuals by the end of the summer.  Despite plans to scale up supply and distribution, the White House’s COVID-19 response team is calling for patience from the American people, noting that it will likely be months before everyone who would like a vaccine can get one. 

Even with increased supply and distribution, a number of barriers remain to vaccinating the US population. Notably, the absence of a federal vaccine stockpile has led states to reserve half of their allocation to ensure enough supply for second doses, which is slowing vaccination efforts. Until states can have confidence in longer-term planning for vaccine deliveries, many will likely continue to reserve doses.

Read more at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

Syringe Supply May Hamper Additional Doses

Some of the world’s largest syringe manufacturers warn that the demand for specialized syringes—such as the low-dead volume syringes—may soon exceed production capacity. Without the low-dead volume syringes, vaccinators may not be able to draw extra doses from each vial, which could reduce the number of available doses by 17%. I

Read more at Reuters

Cuomo: Limited NYC Dining Can Start February 14th, Wedding Receptions March 15th

Noting that that the restaurant industry is the lifeblood of New York City the Governor said that, if our current trajectory holds, New York City dining at 25 percent capacity can reopen on February 14th, Valentine’s Day.

Effective March 15th, marriage receptions can be held under limited state guidelines. Events must be approved by the local health department and there will be mandatory testing of all guests before an event. Capacity at weddings and receptions will be limited to no more than 150 people or no more than 50 percent of the venue’s capacity, whichever is lower. All patrons must be tested prior to the event. This upcoming change in guidelines follows the success of the Buffalo Bills program, which allowed fans to attend home games with mandatory testing. 

Read the press release

J&J Vaccine Provides Strong Shield Against Severe Covid

In a study of more than 44,000 people, the vaccine prevented 66% of moderate to severe cases of Covid-19, according to a company statement Friday. And it was particularly effective at stopping severe disease, preventing 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths.

Based on the result, J&J plans to file with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an emergency-use authorization next week. The drug giant’s top scientist said this month he expects a clearance in March, and that it would have product ready to ship then. The company didn’t specify how much of the vaccine would be available immediately, though it reaffirmed that the U.S. would receive 100 million doses by the end of June.

Read more at Bloomberg

AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 Vaccine Wins EU Green Light

The European Union’s drug regulator recommended the use of AstraZeneca PLC’s Covid-19 vaccine in people 18 and older, clearing the way for a shot that EU officials have considered critical in turning the tide of the pandemic in the region.

But Friday’s announcement, from the European Medicines Agency, came with a warning that the shot hasn’t been tested enough in people over 55 to be certain the shot works in those age groups. Some European officials have reservations over using the vaccine—which AstraZeneca developed with the University of Oxford—to inoculate people over 65. The shot would likely work in the elderly, the EMA said, but there was limited data available. The result is that Friday’s decision might only slightly accelerate a vaccine rollout that has so far been slow.

Read more at the WSJ

The Latest Technologies to Keep Workers Safe From COVID-19

Outbreaks of the virus – or fear of exposure –  have forced  manufacturers to continue to rethink their processes. Industries ranging from automotive to food processing to consumer-packaged goods have had difficulty following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for social distancing, which is not always possible due to the close proximity of workers that may be required, leading to plant shutdowns and resulting in supply shortages and waste of essential products.

 Manufacturers, however, are learning to adapt to keep plants open and productive and workers safe by implementing new safety protocols. They’re also implementing technology specifically focused on curtailing COVID-19, such as Internet of Things (IoT) wearables, to help them keep track of unavoidable exposures among their workforces.

Read more at EHS Today

Survey: Vaccination Incentives Welcomed by US Workers

Fifty-three percent of US workers said employers shouldn’t mandate vaccinations and 43% would consider quitting if their employer did so, according to a Perceptyx survey. Despite this, 53% said they’d likely get a vaccination if available today, 56% would do so if encouraged by their employer, and 60% would if given an incentive of $100 or more by their employer.

The survey results indicate the challenges HR departments face in counseling executives on planning for workforce vaccination campaigns, but they may also show that a strategy centered around providing incentives for vaccination could connect with employees more broadly than a vaccination mandate.

Read more at HR Dive

Pelosi : House Will Take First Step Toward Passing More Covid Relief  Through Reconciliation

The House will forge ahead next week with the process that would allow Democrats to pass a coronavirus relief bill without Republican support, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday. Pelosi said the House plans to pass a resolution and send it to the Senate that will also have to pass a budget measure. This is the first step toward approving legislation through reconciliation. The process would enable Senate Democrats to approve an aid measure without GOP votes.

The speaker said she hopes Democrats can still win GOP support for President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue package as the White House holds talks with bipartisan lawmakers. But the House wants to prepare in case Democrats fail to win over Republicans skeptical of the price tag.

Read more at CNBC

Vaccine Passports: The Promise and Perils of Proving You’ve Had the Jab

The vaccination rollout has been rocky to say the least, bit it is enough of a start to invigorate a debate about whether people who have been vaccinated should be permitted to move around more freely.

To allow this, those who have been vaccinated need to be able to prove it. And thus has begun a discussion about whether certificates of immunity—or vaccination passports—should be introduced. Some tourism-dependent countries, such as the Seychelles, have already opened to people who have received a covid-19 jab. Opinions differ about how welcome the wider adoption of such a thing would be. Some think it is a quick route back to normal life. Others worry that it will be unfair and divisive.

Read more at The Economist