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Daily Briefing – 256

Post: Mar. 4, 2021

COVID Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Wednesday March 3rd.  The governor also made several announcements.

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


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 5,177
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 546

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,192
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 401

Other Data

  • Statewide Transmission Rate (R0):  .80
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.12%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.12

Useful Websites:

New York State Budget: Economic and Revenue Forecasts Presented

The Legislature’s fiscal committees released their economic and revenue analyses of the current fiscal year and the upcoming fiscal year.  The revenue consensus figures provide a fiscal framework for any spending beyond that put forward in the Governor’s proposed Executive Budget.  The revenue projections put forward by the Senate and the Assembly are significantly higher than the executive projections but all parties forecast robust economic recoveries for New York State in the state’s upcoming fiscal year.

The Executive Budget projections and the differences proposed by the Legislature’s analyses, exclusive of federal funds, are summarized in the article below.

Read More at JD Supra

NYS Vaccine Update – Marist College Among Three New Short Term Mass Vaccination Sites Open for J&J Vaccine

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday announced three new short term mass vaccination sites that will utilize the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in an expansion of New York’s roll-out of the new vaccine. Future vaccine allocations, when they are delivered, will be used to establish additional sites throughout the state. The sites will be located at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, SUNY Genesee in Batavia, Genesee County, and Jamestown Community College in Olean, Cattaraugus County. They will open Friday and aim to distribute vaccine in areas of the State that need additional options for residents. Each site will administer 3,500 Johnson & Johnson vaccines. New York will partner with local medical providers in setting up the operating these sites.

As of 11 am Thursday, New York’s health care distribution sites have received 3,375,540 first doses and administered 96 percent or 3,231,841 first dose vaccinations. In total the state has administered and 90 percent of first and second doses (4,959,235) of the 5,515,260 received. In the Mid-Hudson Region a cumulative total of 533,465 first and second doses have been distributed, 4447,788 administered (84 percent). 

US Vaccination Rollout – States Rapidly Expanding Vaccine Access as Supplies Surge

Buoyed by a surge in vaccine shipments, states and cities are rapidly expanding eligibility for COVID-19 shots to teachers, Americans 50 and over and others as the U.S. races to beat back the virus and reopen businesses and schools. Indiana and Michigan will begin vaccinating those 50 and over, while Arizona and Connecticut have thrown open the line to those who are at least 55. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are reserving the first doses of the new one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson for teachers. And in Detroit, factory workers can get vaccinated starting this week, regardless of age.  There are no changes in New York’s eligibility guidelines. 

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, 80.5 million doses have been given. In the last week, an average of 2.01 million doses per day were administered.  24.3 doses have been administered for every 100 people, and 75% of the shots delivered to states have been administered.

Read more at Bloomberg

Another 745,000 Americans Filed New Unemployment Claims

Weekly unemployment claims ticked up last week but by a smaller than expected margin, picking up slightly after reaching the lowest level since November during the prior week. The Department of Labor released its weekly report on new jobless claims on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET. Here were the main metrics included in the report, compared to consensus data compiled by Bloomberg:

  • Initial jobless claims, week ended February 27: 745,000 vs. 750,000 expected and a revised 736,000 during the prior week.
  • Continuing claims, week ended February 20: 4.295 million vs. 4.300 million expected and 4.419 million during the prior week

Read more at Yahoo Finance

Moderna, IBM Team Up for Vaccine Information Tracking, Sharing

IBM and Moderna announced plans Thursday to work together to identify technologies to track and share COVID-19 vaccine information. The companies said their aim is to securely provide information sharing between government jurisdictions, healthcare providers and individuals.

“If ever there was a time to rally around open technology and collaboration, it’s now,” said Jason Kelley, managing partner and global strategic alliances leader for IBM. “As governments, pharmacy chains, healthcare providers and life sciences companies continue to scale and connect their tools, and as new players enter the supply chain, open technology can help drive more transparency and bolster trust, while helping to ensure accessibility and equity in the process.”

Read more at UPI

How to Reduce Vaccine Hesitancy

Vaccines can only end this pandemic and prevent even more death and economic disruption if enough people get them, allowing a country to achieve herd immunity. Employers can play an essential role in achieving that goal by embracing the tenets of behavioral economics to combat vaccine hesitancy. This article From the Harvard Business Review offers 12 strategies that leverage the power of behavioral economics.

Read more at HBR

Senate Debates $1.9T American Rescue Plan

The Senate is began debating President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus and COVID-19 relief bill on Thursday after various negotiations produced a different version of the package.  The House passed the aid package last weekend, but two significant aspects have since been changed. The provision to raise the federal minimum wage requirement to $15 per hour will no longer be part of the bill and Biden has agreed to impose greater income restrictions for Americans to receive the $1,400 direct stimulus payment.

There will be up to 20 hours of debate on the bill followed by a period where senators can introduce an unlimited number of amendments to the legislation.  Republicans have threatened to introduce a plethora of amendments designed to make Democrats take votes on controversial issues like the reopening of in-person classes in schools.  

OPEC, Russia Send Oil Price Up With Deal to Contain Output

The OPEC oil cartel and allied countries left most of their production cuts in place amid worry that coronavirus restrictions could still undermine recovering demand for crude.  Many analysts had expected a small production increase as the price of oil has risen 30% since the start of the year on hopes that the pandemic will ease, allowing for an economic rebound that should increase energy consumption.

Instead, the group of oil producers opted for caution, and their decision in favor of supply restraint quickly sent crude oil prices even higher. The U.S. contract, which had plunged below zero last year as the pandemic restrictions on businesses devastated demand for energy, jumped about 5% on the day to over $64 a barrel.

Read more at WLOX

Powell Confirms Easy-Money Policies, Shrugs Off Inflation Fears – Remarks Send Markets Tumbling

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reaffirmed Thursday his intention of keeping the central bank’s easy-money policies in place until the labor market improves much further. “Today we’re still a long way from our goals of maximum employment and inflation averaging 2% over time.” The appearance came as brightening economic forecasts are pushing up long-term borrowing costs, which could complicate the Fed’s efforts to keep interest rates low to support the recovery. Bond markets sold off during his comments, sending yields higher, as prices and yields move in opposite directions. Stocks also tumbled, with the Dow industrials down more than 600 points.

He said the central bank will maintain ultralow interest rates until its employment and inflation goals have been met and it will continue hefty asset purchases until “substantial further progress has been made. He said he expected it would take “some time” to meet the conditions for considering a rate increase, but declined to be more specific about an anticipated time frame. 

Read more at the WSJ

Indian Vaccine-Maker Serum May Account for Almost Half the World’s Supply

Serum Institute has emerged as the one firm apparently able to ramp up production fast and export the doses without courting controversy. By the end of the year, Serum owner Adar Poonawalla says, it will add 1.5bn covid-19 shots to 1.3bn-1.5bn doses against diseases from measles to tuberculosis that it already produces annually. On February 23rd it dispatched the first mass shipment, of 70m shots of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, to India and two dozen other poor countries in the covax vaccine-sharing program. On March 1st Canada said it will procure 500,000 doses from the company.

The relatively small family concern, which entered last year with annual revenues of $735m and a workforce of 6,000, is becoming mission-critical to the global fight against the coronavirus.

Read more at The Economist