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Daily Briefing – 269

Post: Mar. 23, 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 22nd. 

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


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,681
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 522

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,093
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 399

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.33%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.69%

Useful Websites:

Cases Have Stopped Declining in New York City

Although cases are not as high as they were during the spring and winter surges, the city has “reached a plateau, which simply means that cases are no longer declining,” said Dr. David D. Ho, director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Columbia University. Across the city, a newly identified variant, called B.1.526, has been spreading. It now accounts for over 45% of the number of new cases. Experts are calling it the New York Variant.

In total 65.1% of new cases in the most recent week were caused by variants, up from 52.4% in prior week.

Read more at ABC News

NYS Vaccine Update

137,814 doses have been administered across New York in the last 24 hours, and more than 1 million doses have been administered over the past seven days. Delivery of the week 15 allocation begins mid-week.   

As of 11 am Tuesday 5,285,610 (plus 87,497 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 2,758,842 are fully vaccinated (Plus 66,151).  In the Hudson Valley 521,545 (plus 9,606) have at least one dose and 245,465 (plus 2,231) are fully vaccinated. 

Vaccine Update – 2.3 Million Doses Per Day

The US CDC reported 156.7 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses distributed and 126.5 million doses administered. This includes 82.8 million people (24.9% of the entire US population; 32.0% of the adult population) who have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine and 44.9 million (13.5%; 17.4%) who are fully vaccinated. Among adults aged 65 years and older, 69.2% have received at least 1 dose and 42.5% are fully vaccinated.

The average doses administered* continues to level off at approximately 2.3 million doses per day, including 901,311 individuals fully vaccinated (i.e., second dose of a 2-dose vaccine or a single dose of a 1-dose vaccine). In terms of full vaccination, 22.2 million individuals have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 20.3 million have received the Moderna vaccine, and 2.4 million have received the J&J-Janssen vaccine.

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

AstraZeneca’s U.S. COVID Trial in Doubt After Agency Says Drugmaker May Have Submitted Outdated Data

The Data and Safety Monitoring Board, charged with ensuring the safety and accuracy of AstraZeneca’s vaccine trial, has expressed concerns to the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases that the information released about the testing results included outdated information.

This “may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data,” the agency said in a statement early Tuesday, without elaborating. AstraZeneca did not immediately respond to a request for comment made outside of office hours.

Read more at Fortune

White House Teams With Groups on Vaccine-Hesitancy Campaign to Sway Conservatives

The Biden administration is enlisting the help of groups including the Christian Broadcasting Network Inc. and Nascar to encourage more people to get the Covid-19 vaccine, particularly members of communities that have been the most skeptical.  A spokesman for the Christian Broadcasting Network said the group welcomes the Biden team’s effort.

The Ad Council announced a campaign Tuesday that will run during time donated by media across TV and digital media platforms. The public-service campaign features videos with a new Willie Nelson recording and athletes representing 13 sports leagues and organizations, including the National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association.

Read more at the WSJ

Powell, Yellen Testify At House Financial Services Committee on Economy/Recovery

Testifying before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told lawmakers that the economy is slated for booming growth this year. But their sunnier forecast was paired with reminders that at least 9.5 million jobs are still missing from the labor force and that a fully healed economy depends on getting the pandemic under control.

Powell also told lawmakers Tuesday he doesn’t expect the $1.9 trillion stimulus package will lead to an undesirable increase in inflation, but he emphasized that the central bank has tools to deal with rising price pressures if necessary. Mr. Powell said the Fed remained strongly committed to keeping the public’s expectations for future price increase under control.

Read more at the Washington Post

Biden Administration Officials Put Together $3 Trillion Economic Plan

Administration officials are crafting a plan for a multipart infrastructure and economic package that could cost as much as $3 trillion The first proposal would center on roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects and include many of the climate-change initiatives Mr. Biden outlined in the “Build Back Better” plan he released during the 2020 campaign.

That package would be followed by measures focusing on education and other priorities, including extending the newly expanded child tax credit scheduled to expire at the end of the year and providing for universal prekindergarten and tuition-free community college, the people said.

Read more at the WSJ

Walsh Confirmed as Labor Secretary

The Senate on Monday confirmed Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as Secretary of Labor, clearing him to take the helm of the agency amid historic unemployment and economic uncertainty. Unions hailed Walsh’s confirmation as a transition to a more worker-friendly Labor Department.

Walsh will be tasked with implementing the Biden administration’s agenda at the department, which includes stricter workplace safety enforcement and expanding apprenticeship training opportunities, among other changes.  

Read more at Politico

Chip Shortage Hits Volvo Trucks

Swedish truck maker Volvo warned of a substantial hit on production in the second quarter due to the global shortage of semiconductors. The company, which has 18 production facilities globally, was forced by the shortage to cut production at its factories in Belgium and Brazil.

Deutsche Bank analysts estimated that Volvo would make 16,000 fewer trucks in the second quarter and consensus earnings could come down by 4-7% this year.

Read more at Reuters

New Home Sales Fall Amid Bad Weather

Sales of newly built homes dropped significantly, largely as a result of last month’s winter weather. But analysts expect home construction activity to remain strong in the months to come despite rising mortgage rates.

New home sales occurred at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 775,000 in February, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Wednesday. That was 18.2% down from the upwardly-revised pace of 948,000 in January. Compared to 2020, February’s figure was still up roughly 8.2% year-over-year. Because of the small sample size used in producing the report, it is prone to large revisions from month to month.

Read more at MarketWatch

House Bill Introduced Bill to Establish, Expand State Strategic Stockpiles

US Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA) reintroduced legislation that would establish and expand state strategic stockpiles Thursday. Called the State Strategic Stockpile Readiness Act, the legislation would establish a pilot program that would award dollar-for-dollar matching grants to states that expand or maintain a strategic stockpile of commercially available drugs, medical equipment, personal protective equipment, and other medical products deemed to be essential supplies in the event of a public health emergency.

Read more at Homeland Preparedness News

FDA Authorizes First Machine Learning-Based Screening Device

The Device is used to Identify Certain Biomarkers That May Indicate COVID-19 Infection The US Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the first machine learning-based Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) non-diagnostic screening device that identifies certain biomarkers that are indicative of some types of conditions, such as hypercoagulation (a condition causing blood to clot more easily than normal).

Read the FDA press release