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Daily Briefing – 266

Post: Mar. 18, 2021

COVID Update – Travel for Sports and Fans In-Person for Baseball Season

Governor Cuomo held a press briefing yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Wednesday March 17th. The Governor also announced New York Yankees and New York Mets (Let’s Go Mets) to Start the Season with Fans in the Stands Beginning April 1 at 20% capacity. Also, beginning March 29, statewide travel for sports and recreational activities will be permitted. Currently, travel for sports and recreation is limited to contiguous counties and regions in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidance.  

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


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,536
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 499

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,229
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 397

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.28%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.66%

Useful Websites:

New York State Launching “Excelsior Pass” to Securely Present Proof of Vaccination or Negative Test 

In the coming days, New York State will be launching Excelsior Pass, a tool that allows New Yorkers and visitors to securely present proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results. This unique app provides venues and patrons with a secure method to easily present, scan and confirm test and vaccine information to ensure convenient event flow-through.

Additionally, to make COVID-19 diagnostic testing even more available for New Yorkers, the State recently launched the New York Forward Rapid Test Program. This is a unique public-private partnership to make low-cost rapid testing available to the public to support enhanced economic activity, including weddings, catered events and arts and entertainment venues.

NYS Vaccine Update 

As of 11 am Wednesday 4,790,894 (plus 99,637 from yesterday) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 2,493,242 are fully vaccinated (Plus 53,165).  In the Hudson Valley 463,752 (plus 13,313) have at least one dose and 229,619 (plus 3,721) are fully vaccinated. 

US Vaccine Rollout – Vaccines Across America

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday about 73.7 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, including about 40 million people who have been fully vaccinated by Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine or the two-dose series made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Providers are administering about 2.47 million doses per day on average. Figures show the date shots were reported, rather than the date shots were given.

Read more at the New York Times Vaccine Tracker

Another 770,000 Americans Filed New Unemployment Claims

The Department of Labor released its weekly report on new jobless claims on yesterday. Here were the main metrics from the report, compared to consensus data compiled by Bloomberg:

Initial jobless claims, week ended March 13: 770,000 vs. 700,000 expected and an upwardly revised 725,000 during the prior week
Continuing claims, week ended March 6: 4.124 million vs. 4.034 million expected and 4.144 million during the prior week.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

UK Vaccine Supply Hit by India Delivery Delay

An expected reduction in the UK’s Covid vaccine supply in April is partly due to a delay in a delivery from India of five million Oxford-AstraZeneca doses.
The shipment, produced by the Serum Institute of India, has been held up by four weeks, NHS England warned of a reduction in supply in April in a letter to local health organizations on Wednesday.
A spokesperson for the Serum Institute said: “Five million doses had been delivered a few weeks ago to the UK and we will try to supply more later, based on the current situation and the requirement for the government immunization program in India.”

Read more at the BBC

AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 Vaccine Cleared by EU After Blood-Clot Concerns

The European Union’s health agency said that the Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca PLC was “safe and effective” and didn’t increase the risk of blood clots, a decision that could clear the way for the resumption of inoculation campaigns that have been halted in much of the region.

The European Medicines Agency said that new expert analysis concluded that the benefits of using a Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca outweigh its potential risks and inoculations with it should proceed.

Read more at the WSJ

The Fully Vaccinated Employee: What the New CDC Guidelines Mean for Employers

As employers consider whether to require vaccinations for employees and how to handle employees who refuse to be vaccinated, the CDC has given employers some clarity … and new issues to navigate. On March 9, the CDC issued its first set of recommendations for fully vaccinated people, providing guidance for everyone who has been patiently wondering what types of pre-COVID activities they can safely resume now that vaccines are here.

For employers navigating the constantly changing landscape of COVID-19 policies, the guidelines offer new options and potential new challenges, whether due to easing workplace restrictions or continuing them.

Read more at the National Law Review

CDC Issues Interim Guidance for Testing in Non-Healthcare Workplaces

The purpose of the guidance is to provide employers with considerations for incorporating testing for SARS-CoV-2 into a workplace COVID-19 preparedness, response, and control plan in select non-healthcare workplaces. The guidance includes descriptions of different types of SARS-CoV-2 tests; scenarios where SARS-CoV-2 testing may be used;  considerations for screening testing (testing asymptomatic workers with no known or suspected exposure to SARS-CoV-2)

The guidance says that screening testing could be effective in helping to prevent transmission for select workplace settings and are based on what is currently known about the transmission and severity of COVID-19 

Read the guidance at the CDC website

COVID-19 “Extension” of COBRA Deadlines May End Sooner Than Expected

In recently issued joint guidance, the Department of Labor, the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service confirmed the indirect extension of the COVID-19-related deadlines for electing and paying for COBRA coverage that were first announced in March 2020. In what may have been a surprise to some, the agencies also confirmed that the mandated extensions do not extend beyond 12 months. For former employees who faced one or more COBRA deadlines early in 2020, the mandated extensions may have already expired or may expire sooner than expected. 

Read more at Bond Schoeneck & King

CFOs Express Increased Optimism and Expectations for Economic Growth

Deloitte’s quarterly CFO Signals survey is out this morning, and while financial chiefs are usually a dour lot, their confidence currently is soaring.  Some 67% report rising optimism about their company’s financial prospects—the highest in a decade.

Fewer than one-fifth (18%) of CFOs say they plan to require employees to get a vaccine before returning to on-site work. 41% say they won’t require vaccinations. 35% are still undecided.  More than a third said they expect post-COVID travel expenditures to remain at 60% or lower than pre-COVID spending.

Read the results at Deloitte

Democrats, Republicans Hope Biden Will Take a Harder Line on China as Summit Begins

As the Biden administration holds its highest-level meetings with China since taking office, it enjoys broad bipartisan support for taking a tough stance toward Beijing but also faces skepticism about whether the talks will bring real policy changes.  The Biden administration plans to use that rare consensus as leverage when Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan meet Thursday and Friday in Alaska with China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Senior administration officials said the U.S. plans to outline some specific areas where China must take steps to change course before the relationship can move forward in a substantive way.

Read more at NBC News

SMIC Is Building a New Factory in Shenzhen Costing $2.35 Billion.

Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), China’s largest and most important chipmaker, is building a new factory in Shenzhen that will cost $2.35 billion.  The company and the government of the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen will jointly put capital into the project. Shenzhen is known as a huge technology hub in China and houses the headquarters of giants such as Tencent and Huawei.

SMIC is key to China’s plans to boost self-sufficiency in the semiconductor industry amid tensions with the U.S., which has exposed the world’s second-largest economy’s reliance on foreign technology in the field.

Read more at CNBC

Honda to Briefly Suspend ‘Most’ North America Auto Production

Japanese automaker Honda will be “suspending production” for one week at most of its plants in the United States and Canada due to factors that include a shortage of parts, the company said Tuesday.

The company is dealing with “a number of supply chain issues related to the impact from COVID-19, congestion at various ports, the microchip shortage and severe winter weather over the past several weeks,” especially in Texas, a Honda spokesperson in Japan told AFP. Since the situation is “fluid,” the timing and length of “production adjustments could change.”

Read more at IndustryWeek