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Daily Briefing – 272

Post: Mar. 28, 2021

COVID Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday March 27th. ICU patients dropped to 877, a new low since December 6 and a 46 percent decline from the post-holiday peak. Intubations dropped to 530, a new low since December 8 and a 49 percent decline from the post-holiday peak. There were 64 COVID-19 deaths. 

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


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,529
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 523

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,091
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 390

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.45%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.76%

Useful Websites:

State Launches “Excelsior Pass” New Yorkers Can Use it to Demonstrate Vaccine or Negative Test

Governor Cuomo Friday announced the launch of Excelsior Pass — a free, voluntary platform developed in partnership with IBM, which utilizes proven, secure technology to confirm an individual’s recent negative PCR or antigen test result or proof of vaccination to help fast-track the reopening of businesses and event venues in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidelines.

Similar to a mobile airline boarding pass, individuals will be able to either print out their pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass Wallet app. Each Pass will have a secure QR code, which participating businesses and venues can scan using a companion app to verify proof of COVID-19 negative test results or proof of vaccination. An individual’s data is kept secure and confidential at all times.

Read the press release

NYS Vaccine Update – 14.6% of New Yorkers Fully Vaccinated

Governor Cuomo announced that 194,837 doses have been administered across the state’s distribution network in the last 24 hours, and more than 1 million doses have been administered over the past seven days. The week 15 allocation of 1,565,080 first and second doses was expected to finish arriving Sunday.

As of 11 am Tuesday 5,823,318 (plus 91,907 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 3,261,810 are fully vaccinated (Plus 106,397).  In the Hudson Valley 583,139 (plus 9,223) have at least one dose and 290,832 (plus 9,617) are fully vaccinated. 

U.S. Update – Covid-19: About a Third of U.S. Adults Have Received at Least One Dose of a Vaccine

The U.S. vaccination campaign is accelerating rapidly, with more than 91 million people — roughly a third of the adult population — having received at least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccination by Saturday. And nearly every state has announced that it will meet President Biden’s directive to make all adults eligible by May 1.

But as of Saturday afternoon, two states — Arkansas and New York — still had not declared a timeline for their residents.

Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine Starts Testing in Young Children

Researchers administered the first doses of the vaccine to children enrolled in the study, which is evaluating the shots in children six months to 11 years. Pfizer expects initial results by the end of the year. Children make up about 13% of Covid-19 cases in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The vaccine, which Pfizer developed with BioNTech SE, is authorized for use in people 16 years and older. Pfizer had earlier started testing the vaccine in children ages 12 years to 15 years. Children appear to be at lower risk of contracting the coronavirus than adults. When they are infected, they tend to experience milder symptoms, though some get seriously ill and can spread the virus.

Read more in The WSJ

Covid-19 Shots for Children Hold Key to Herd Immunity

To achieve the vaccination rates that health authorities are aiming for, the shots must eventually reach the arms of children and teenagers, too. Children aren’t going to be vaccinated for several months at least, however, because drugmakers are still testing shots in younger ages.

That means health authorities can’t be confident of securing community protection against the virus, known as herd immunity, until later this year at the earliest, because children under 18 make up a significant proportion of many countries’ populations.

Read more at the WSJ

Global Chip Shortage Continues to Take its Toll on Automotive, Other Sectors

The global shortage of semiconductors remains in focus after China’s Nio Inc. announced it would temporarily halt production at one of its factories due to the chip shortage. The global auto industry was already struggling for supply before last week’s fire at a Japanese manufacturer of automotive chips exacerbated the problems. Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen AG and Honda Motor Co. all have had production problems due to the shortage. 

Read more at Bloomberg

Global Auto Production Dropped 16% Last Year Thanks to COVID-19

According to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, global automotive production fell by 16% last year thanks to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to suppress it. OICA President Fu Bingfeng called 2020 “the worst crisis ever to impact the automotive industry.”

Regionally, the United States saw automotive production drop by 19%, slightly more than average worldwide, and produced a combined 8,822,399 cars and commercial vehicles. In Europe, production fell by 21% on average, with its main producing countries reporting drops between 11% and almost 40%. South America saw production fall more than 30% as Brazil took the impact of COVID hard, and vehicle production in Africa slid more than 35%.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Work Continues to Free Ship, Open Suez Canal

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said on Sunday that tugging and dredging operations to free a grounded container ship blocking the waterway would continue around the clock, according to wind conditions and tides.

As of Saturday, 321 boats were waiting to transit the canal, including dozens of container ships, bulk carriers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels. Shipping rates for oil product tankers nearly doubled after the ship became stranded, and the blockage has disrupted global supply chains, threatening costly delays for companies already dealing with COVID-19 restrictions.

Read more at Reuters

We Need to Ensure that Employee Mental Health is a Top Priority

Studies have shown that more workdays are lost to mental-health-related absenteeism than any other illness or injury. Those studies, by the way, were conducted before the pandemic; as you can imagine, the incidences of anxiety and depression among workers isolated from friends, family and co-workers have only gotten worse since COVID-19 reared its ugly head. And while there are now vaccines for COVID-19, there’s no vaccine or PPE or any kind of off-the-shelf equipment that offers mental health protection.

Read more at EHS Today

PPP Extension Passes Senate; Awaits President’s Signature

The PPP Extension Act of 2021 (the PPP Extension Act) passed the Senate yesterday with overwhelming bipartisan support (92-7). The PPP Extension Act now awaits President Biden’s signature.

It is all but certain that the PPP deadline of March 31, 2021 will be extended to May 31, 2021. 

Read more at Bond Schoeneck and King

Covid-19 Has Brought Together Biomedical Technologies That Will Transform Human Health

The first virus to have its genome read was an obscure little creature called ms2; the 3,569 rna letters it contained were published in 1976, the hard-won product of some ten years’ work in a well-staffed Belgian laboratory. The sars-cov-2 genome, almost nine times longer, was published just weeks after doctors in Wuhan first became concerned about a new pneumonia.

It is hardly remarkable that medical science has moved on since 1976. But the covid-19 pandemic has brought the sharp joy of seeing decades of cumulative scientific progress in sudden, concerted action. The spate of data, experiments and insights has had profound effects on the pandemic—and, indeed, on the future of medicine. It is also an inspiration. Around the world, scientists have put aside their own work in order to do their bit against a common foe. Jealously guarded lab space has been devoted to the grunt work of processing tests. Covid-19 has led to some 350,000 bits of research, many of them on preprint servers that make findings available almost instantaneously.

Read more at The Economist (COVID coverage remains free)