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Daily Briefing – 274

Post: Mar. 30, 2021

An On-Time State Budget – It’s a Long Shot 

 A new state budget is supposed to be approved so that the plan is in place for the start of the new fiscal year overnight Thursday. It almost certainly will not be done by then. This is not wholly a result of a distracted Gov. Cuomo, who is facing an onslaught of allegations from his sexual harassment accusers and investigations over Covid-19 deaths of nursing home residents. Another major factor is that Albany is flush with cash, both from higher-than-projected revenues and a historic federal bailout, and lawmakers see an opportunity to spend far more than Cuomo wants through new taxes imposed on wealthy people.

Like last year, many of the budget talks are being done virtually. Unlike last year, one of the three people who negotiate the final plan – Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat – has Covid. That has left talks among Heastie, Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to be done via Zoom or by telephone.

Read more at the Buffalo News

COVID Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Sunday March 28th. There were 57 COVID-19 deaths. 

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


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,715
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 556

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,027
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 392

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.43%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.71%

Useful Websites:

NYS Vaccine Update – 30 and Older Started Yesterday, 16 and Older April 6th

Governor Cuomo yesterday updated New Yorkers on the state’s vaccination program. 172,128 doses have been administered across the state’s distribution network in the last 24 hours, and more than 1.3 million doses have been administered over the past seven days. Delivery of the week 16 allocation begins mid-week.  

As of 11 am Monday 5,971,395 (plus 73,117 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 3,463,736 are fully vaccinated (Plus 104,540).  In the Hudson Valley 598,047 (plus 6,880) have at least one dose and 306,558 (plus 9,001) are fully vaccinated. 

Both Covid Cases and Vaccinations are on the Rise

About 66,000 new Covid-19 cases are being reported in the U.S. each day, based on a seven-day average of Johns Hopkins University data. That is far below January’s peak of about 250,000 daily cases but more in line with the summer surge, when daily cases peaked near 70,000 in late July.

Nearly 2.4 million vaccine shots were administered on Monday, bringing the seven-day average of daily vaccinations to 2.8 million, a record level.

CDC data shows that 95 million people, nearly 30% of the U.S. population, have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine. Some 53 million are fully vaccinated. About half of those 65 and older are fully vaccinated.

Read more at CNBC

State Establishes Mass Vaccination Site at Rockland Community College

The site will be at Rockland Community College’s Eugene Levy Fieldhouse and is expected to open Thursday, April 1. Hours of operation of the site will be from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.

“The opening of Rockland Community College as a mass vaccination site will have an immediate impact on our community as we continue to grapple with one of the highest infection rates in New York State,” said County Executive Ed Day.

CDC Study: Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Vaccines 90% Effective

Research by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna covid-19 jabs were about 90% effective in preventing infections after two doses, compared with around 95% effective in clinical trials.

Under real-world conditions, mRNA vaccine effectiveness of full immunization (≥14 days after second dose) was 90% against SARS-CoV-2 infections regardless of symptom status; vaccine effectiveness of partial immunization (≥14 days after first dose but before second dose) was 80%.

Read the report a the CDC website

Nearly Half of Organizations Won’t Track Employee COVID-19 Vaccination Status

A recent study by Gartner found that nearly half of large global organizations will not track the vaccination status of their employees.  The study, conducted with 227 HR leaders on March 16, found that only  8% of survey respondents reported that they will require employees to show proof of vaccination. 

Out of 227 HR leaders, 36% plan to have employees self-report vaccination status, but will not require proof.

Read more at EHS Today

Walden Engineering Survey of  COVID 19 Business Operations

Council Associate Member Walden Engineering is compiling information on what measures businesses are taking to keep their employees and customers safe from COVID -19. Please take a moment to complete their short survey. 

Take the survey

Report by WHO Into Covid-19 Origins Leaves Key Questions Unanswered

The long-awaited report presents the findings of the four-week mission completed earlier this year by a WHO-led team of international experts and their Chinese counterparts in Wuhan, the Chinese city that was the site of the first confirmed coronavirus cases.  It calls for closer examination of Chinese hospital records and blood samples from before the first known cases in December 2019, as well as more extensive testing of farms that supplied wild animals to a market linked to many early cases.

But the 319-page document, shared with WHO member states ahead of its planned publication on Tuesday, also recommends further studies into evidence, often cited by Chinese authorities, that the virus may have circulated in other countries—including the U.S.—in late 2019, and that it has spread via frozen food.

Read more at the WSJ

New York DOL Issues Guidance (FAQs) on Paid Leave for COVID-19 Vaccinations

On March 12, 2021, Governor Cuomo signed a new law that grants paid leave to employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Under the statute, employees may take up to four hours of paid time off per vaccine injection. A link to our prior post discussing the statute is available here. 

The text of the new law is silent on several key issues, which has left employers with numerous unanswered questions. Following the enactment of the law, the New York Department of Labor (NYDOL) issued guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) addressing some of these issues. 

Boeing Seals Southwest Airlines Large 737 MAX Order

US carrier Southwest Airlines agreed to buy 100 additional Boeing 737 MAX planes, the companies announced Monday, in a vote of confidence for the aircraft after a 20-month grounding.  The order, which includes options on another 155 new MAX planes, is the biggest for the model since regulators cleared it to resume service in late 2020 following two deadly crashes that sent Boeing into a crisis exacerbated by the industry downturn during the pandemic.

Single-aisle planes like the MAX, which are ideally suited for relatively short trips, have been seen as early beneficiaries of a post-pandemic recovery in which leisure and domestic travel are seen as recovering well before international and business travel.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Survey: U.S. Consumer Confidence Rises to a 12 Month High in March, Inflation Expectations Reach 10 Year High

U.S. consumer confidence raced in March to its highest level since the COVID-19 pandemic started, supporting views that economic growth will accelerate in the coming months, driven by more fiscal stimulus and an improving public health situation. The Conference Board said on Tuesday its consumer confidence index jumped to a reading of 109.7 this month, the highest level since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, from 90.4 in February. 

The bad news is that inflation expectation for the next 12 months rose to 6.7% from 6.5%, reaching the highest level in 10 years. This survey overstates inflation substantially, and the latest increase might just be a response to higher gas prices, but the Fed will not want to see further sustained increases. 

Read more at Yahoo Finance

Congress Members Introduce Legislation to Create a ‘Manufacturing Czar’

On Monday a bipartisan group of legislators in both Houses of Congress to introduced legislation that would create the new White House post, as well as a new Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Policy (OMII) to help strengthen America’s manufacturing industry and workforce, improve global competitiveness following the coronavirus pandemic, and enhance research and development. Initial operations would be funded with $20 million.

The Chief Manufacturing Officer the bill envisions would coordinate manufacturing and industrial innovation initiatives across the federal government and work with representatives in state and local government, labor, non-governmental groups, and private business to develop and implement enhanced coordination of manufacturing policy. 

Read more at the Cleveland.com

Three Major Initiatives to Re-energize Stewart International Airport 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday announced three major Port Authority initiatives to re-energize Stewart International Airport and the surrounding region as air travel returns from unprecedented lows resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Port Authority unveiled a new air carrier incentive program, a new airport marketing campaign to attract interest from across the airline industry to SWF, and the completion of a new Federal Inspection Station. Given its location Stewart is uniquely positioned to serve important segments of air travelers, including international business and leisure travelers, especially as COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed across New York and beyond. 

Read the press release