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Daily Briefing – 254

Post: Mar. 2, 2021

COVID Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Monday March 1st.  

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


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 5,369
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 565

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,100
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 391

Other Data

  • Statewide Transmission Rate (R0):  .80
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.09%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.10

Useful Websites:

Democrats Forge Deal to Strip Governor’s Emergency Powers

Democrats in the state Assembly and Senate finalized a deal Tuesday afternoon to strip Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s coronavirus emergency powers that he has held for a year. The agreement among Democrats on Tuesday will prohibit the governor from unilaterally issuing new executive orders related to the pandemic without legislative review. He will retain the ability to tweak or renew existing orders relating to slowing the spread of COVID-19, including the state’s mask mandate or business restrictions. For instance, Cuomo could still order restaurant capacity limits to change. If the orders are not renewed, they would expire in 30 days.

The powers were delegated by the Legislature last March, giving Cuomo the authority to issue executive orders with the force of law on any issue relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. That included altering specific regulations for businesses across the state, requiring mask-wearing and social distancing and limiting or shutting down parts of the economy.

Read More at the Albany times Union

NYS Vaccine Update – Over 15 % of New Yorkers Have Received 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced 15.2 percent of New Yorkers have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, over 3 million first doses have been administered by New York providers to date and 114,730 first and second doses were administered over the past 24 hours.

As of 11 am Monday, New York’s health care distribution sites have received 3,206,430 first doses and administered 90 percent or 3,033,922 first dose vaccinations. In total the state has administered and 88 percent of first and second doses (4,698,345) of the 5,229,950 received. In the Mid-Hudson Region a cumulative total of 507,145 first and second doses have been distributed, 422,657 administered (83 percent). 

US Vaccination Rollout – 76.90 Million Doses Administered Nationwide

The US CDC reported 96.40 million vaccine doses distributed and 76.90 million doses administered nationwide (79.8%). In total, 50.73 million people (15.3% of the entire US population; 19.9% of the adult population) have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine, and 25.47 million (7.7%; 10.0%) have received both doses. The average daily doses administered is rebounding from its brief decrease, which was likely caused by severe winter weather and now stands at 1.42 million doses per day*. The breakdown of doses by manufacturer remains relatively steady, with slightly more Pfizer-BioNTech doses administered (39.26 million; 51%) than Moderna (37.52 million; 49%). No doses of the J&J-Janssen vaccine have been reported, but we expect the first of those doses to be reported this week.

Read more at Johns Hopkins Center For Health Security

Rapid Testing Site Opens in Kingston

Starting March 1, a new COVID-19 rapid testing site is in the City of Kingston. HealthAlliance Hospital will serve as a community testing site free of charge for people in the Hudson Valley. Currently, the nearest state-run rapid testing sites open to Hudson Valley residents are in Albany and Rockland counties.

The HealthAlliance rapid testing site in Kingston is open to all residents by appointment and is located at 27 Grand Street in Kingston. Testing will run Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. New Yorkers can schedule an appointment online or by calling 914-202-4530.

Read more at Mid-Hudson News

Merck Will Work With J&J to Manufacture Coronavirus Vaccine

Drugmaker Merck will help manufacture a vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson, administration officials familiar with the matter said, increasing production capacity as the third authorized shot begins going into arms. The arrangement between two competitors is unusual and underscores the urgency in manufacturing and distributing enough vaccine doses to inoculate as many Americans as possible.

The White House said it was utilizing the Defense Production Act to help equip two Merck facilities to manufacture the Johnson & Johnson product, including by bolstering “fill-finish” capacity when the doses are places in vials and by increasing availability of the components of the vaccines.

Read more at CNN

New York Variant Has Spread to 14 States, CDC Has Recorded 700 Plus Case

The US has now recorded roughly 735 cases of the coronavirus variant that emerged in New York City in November, a federal health official told Bloomberg Monday. This included 585 cases of the variant found in the last two weeks, Gregory Armstrong, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advanced Molecular Detection Program, said. 

Cases of the variant, named B.1.526, are now spread across 15 states, he said. Two teams of researchers first discovered the variant in samples collected in New York City in November, The New York Times reported on February 24. The researchers’ studies have not yet been peer reviewed, but health experts told the Times that the results suggest the variant is on the rise.

Read more at Business Insider

Biden, Senate Press Bill Without Minimum Wage Increase

With a minimum wage increase off the table, Mr. Biden spoke with a group of Senate Democrats about advancing the rest of the bill, as the party works to pass its agenda with narrow majorities in both chambers. Some of the members of the Democratic caucus who met virtually with Mr. Biden said the discussion focused on targeting some of the bill’s aid.

“There really isn’t a lot of dispute about the overall size of the bill,” Sen. Angus King (I., Maine), said after the meeting. “The question is whether it can be targeted in such a way as to better serve the people who need the most and perhaps free up funds for other priorities.”  Some Democrats have been focusing on how the $350 billion in funding for state and local governments is allocated. Others have pressed to shift the current income thresholds for the $1,400 direct checks that many Americans would get under the bill so that fewer upper-middle-class families get money. Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.) said some changes would likely be made through amendments but would amount to modest alterations.

Read more at the WSJ

Zoom Earnings Soared to Nearly $1 Billion in 2020

Zoom announced that its revenue more than quadrupled in 2020, compared with the year before. The videoconferencing firm’s annual report brought in $2.7bn, trouncing analysts’ already-high expectations. Such bumper growth may be its last for a while, however, as offices and classrooms gradually reopen and people start talking face-to-(actual-)face again.

Read more at MarketWatch

Report: Administration Will Use ‘All Available Tools’ to Fight China’s Unfair Trade Practices

President Joe Biden’s team will use “all available tools” to fight China’s unfair trade practices, according to a report outlining the new U.S. administration’s trade agenda. The document released on Monday did not specify the tools that the administration will use, but it formalized statements made by Biden and members of his team in the last few months on how they will handle China and other trade priorities.

The report outlined a few “detrimental actions” from China, such as barriers to restrict market access, “government-sanctioned forced labor programs” as well as unfair subsidies and was released as Katherine Tai, Biden’s nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, awaits Senate confirmation.

Read more at CNBC

Safest States During COVID-19 Pandemic

While the U.S. is still battling COVID-19, some states are doing a better job at staying safe. In order to identify the safest states during the COVID-19 pandemic, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across five key metrics:  Vaccination Rate,  Positive Testing Rate, Hospitalization Rate, Death Rate, and Transmission Rate.

The slideshow highlights the states that have done well and New York is not among them.  The stucy ranks the Empire State 42nd.

Read more and see the slide show at EHS Today