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Daily Briefing – 267

Post: Mar. 21, 2021

COVID Update – NY Forward Safe Office Initiative 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday March 20th. Friday the Governor  announced  the New York Forward COVID-Safe Offices partnership with major commercial real estate partners to expand access to COVID-19 testing for employers. As part of the initiative, 21 participating landlords have committed to provide space and facilitate access to testing services for tenants interested in conducting regular diagnostic testing of their employees.

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


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,355
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 477

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,136
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 397

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.30%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.63%

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First Brazilian Variant Discovered in New York State Resident

Governor Cuomo Friday announced the discovery of the first case of a COVID-19 P.1 variant, commonly referred to as the Brazilian variant, in a New York State resident. The case was identified by scientists at Mount Sinai hospital in New York City and verified by the Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center Laboratories. The patient is a Brooklyn resident in their 90’s with no travel history. DOH is working with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to learn more information about the patient and potential contacts.

The P.1 variant was first detected in the United States at the end of January, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently reporting 48 cases nationwide. The P.1 variant has been designated a “variant of concern,” which means there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease and the potential for reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines. However, while additional research is warranted, researchers at the University of Oxford recently released non-peer reviewed data that indicates the P.1 variant may be less resistant to the current vaccines than originally thought. 

Read the press release

NYS Vaccine Update – 7.5 Million Doses

7.5 million total COVID vaccine doses have been administered across New York State. 139,209 doses have been administered across New York’s vast distribution network in the last 24 hours, and more than 1 million doses have been administered over the past seven days. The week 14 allocation of 1,284,565 first and second doses was expected to finish arriving yesterday. Delivery of the week 15 allocation begins mid-week.  As of 11 am Sunday 5,132,166 (plus 92,393 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 2,654,134 are fully vaccinated (Plus 51,815).  In the Hudson Valley 503,805 (plus 10,612) have at least one dose and 239,894 (plus 3,242) are fully vaccinated. 

US Vaccine Rollout – Jabs Leveling Off at 2.2 Million Per Day

The US CDC reported 151.1 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses distributed and 115.7 million doses administered. This includes 75.5 million people (22.7% of the entire US population; 29.2% of the adult population) who have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine, and 41.0 million (12.3%; 15.9%) who are fully vaccinated. Among adults aged 65 years and older, nearly two-thirds (66.3%) have received at least 1 dose and 38.6% are fully vaccinated.

The average doses administered appears to be leveling off at approximately 2.2 million doses per day, including 902,781 individuals fully vaccinated. In terms of full vaccination, 20.5 million individuals have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 19.4 million have received the Moderna vaccine, and 2.0 million have received the J&J-Janssen vaccine.

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

Crystal Run Healthcare Provides Some Vaccine Facts

For the last several months, we’ve been looking forward with a hopeful gaze as some of the smartest brains in the world worked to develop vaccines to help stem the pandemic. And to our relief, they’ve been approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). We signed up to get vaccinated ourselves and have encouraged family, friends, and colleagues to get the vaccine as soon as they are able.

What we weren’t expecting is how much concern about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, also known as vaccine hesitancy, we’d be faced with. The country’s history with past vaccines can’t be overlooked – and we understand why people may be hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, but it is important for us to overcome vaccine hesitancy, together. The state of immunity of the world is determined by all of us, and while we wait for the widespread availability of vaccine, whether eagerly or reluctantly, We’d like to take this opportunity to talk about some of the recent good news vaccine studies have been showing.

Crstal Run Health – Vaccines are safe and effective

US Loans AstraZeneca Vaccine to North American Neighbors

The US government is finalizing plans to ship millions of doses of its available AstraZeneca-Oxford SARS-CoV-2 vaccine supply to Mexico and Canada. During a March 18 press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the US has 7 million available doses and plans to send 2.5 million doses to Mexico and 1.5 million doses to Canada. She noted that the shipments would amount to a loan, with the US expected to receive doses of the same or a different vaccine in the future, and that the US government’s first priority remains vaccinating the US population. The US has faced increasing pressure to share its supply of vaccines with other countries, particularly the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which is not yet authorized for use in the US.

Ms. Psaki said the White House continues to engage in conversations regarding requests from other countries, but providing the vaccine to US neighbors to the north and south is in the country’s best interest. The plan could be finalized as soon as today.

Read more at the US News

CDC Eases Physical-Distancing Recommendation for Schoolchildren

In guidelines updated Friday, the nation’s public-health agency said K-12 students should remain at least 3 feet apart in classrooms rather than the 6 feet it had recommended previously, a change it said was made possible by new scientific findings.  The agency also removed a recommendation that schools install physical barriers such as sneeze guards, partitions or tape and urged schools to consider Covid-19 symptom screening for sports and extracurricular activities.

The reduced distance applies to students only, not teachers and staff, the CDC said, because transmission rates of Covid-19 are higher among adults. Also, students should remain 6 feet apart in communities where transmission of Covid-19 is high if they cannot be divided into cohorts, the CDC said.

Read more at the AP

Forecasters Raised Growth Predictions for US Economy As Consumers Gain Confidence

The U.S. economic recovery is picking up steam as Americans increase their spending, particularly on in-person services that were battered by the coronavirus pandemic. The rising number of Covid-19 vaccinations, falling business restrictions, ample household savings and injections of federal stimulus funds into the economy are fueling the surge, economists say.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal this month raised their average forecast for 2021 economic growth to 5.95%, measured from the fourth quarter of last year to the same period this year, from a 4.87% projection in February’s survey. The higher figure would mark the fastest such pace in nearly four decades.

Read more at the WSJ

DiNapoli: Four Out of Five Small Businesses in NY Continue to Report a Negative Overall Impact From COVID-19

One year since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York’s small businesses continue to suffer, even as the economy reopens gradually and employment growth resumes. Seventy-eight percent of small businesses (with less than 500 employees) surveyed reported an overall negative impact in their business in the first week of March 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The share has declined from 94 percent in April 2020 when data were first reported, but has plateaued at approximately 80 percent since October 2020.

The share of New York’s small businesses reporting negative impacts has been consistently greater than the national average, which has also declined more quickly. In April 2020 almost 90 percent of small businesses nationally reported a negative impact; by the first week of March that figure declined 18 percent to 72 percent.

Read more at the Comptroller’s website

New COBRA Subsidy Requires Quick Action by Plan Sponsors

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, includes a number of provisions designed to assist workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them is a new COBRA premium subsidy that pays for 100% of the applicable COBRA premium for eligible individuals with respect to coverage periods beginning April 1, 2021 and ending Sept. 30, 2021.

In order to comply with the law, employers will face a number of challenges and additional administrative responsibilities, including the identification of premium subsidy eligible individuals, contacting previously terminated employees not currently enrolled in COBRA but who are eligible for the premium subsidy, revising or supplementing existing COBRA notices, and satisfying new notice requirements. 

Read more at Bond Schoeneck & King

The Old Have Become Happier and the Young More Miserable

Covid-19 threatens the old far more than the young, with the risk of death after contracting the disease doubling for every eight years of life. Yet the old have cheered up. Globally, between 2017-19 and 2020 happiness was boosted by 0.22 points on the Cantril ladder among people over the age of 60. Meanwhile the young have had a rough year. Many lost their jobs—in America the unemployment rate for people aged 20 to 24 shot up from 6.3% in February 2020 to 25.6% two months later (it fell back to 9.6% last month). In some rich countries young women have had a particularly hard time. They often work in sectors, such as hospitality, which have been shut down. When schools close, many are lumbered with more than their fair share of child care.

Read more at The Economist