Daily Briefing – 290

Earth Day Climate Summit: Biden Promises 50% Reduction in US Greenhouse Emissions

President Joe Biden pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas pollution in half by 2030 at a virtual climate summit Thursday, outlining an aggressive target that would require sweeping changes to America’s energy and transportation sectors. The White House’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52% percent, from a baseline of 2005 emissions, is nearly double the target set by Obama administration in 2015. 

An administration official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity, did not detail how the White House plans to achieve the 50% reduction in emissions. 

Read More at USA Today

NYS Vaccine Update – Walk-In Vaccinations for New Yorkers 60 and Older

Beginning Today, April 23rd, 16 mass vaccination sites in NYS will set aside a vaccine allocation allowing New Yorkers over the age of 60 to walk-in and get vaccinated. As of 11 am Thursday 8,574,845 (plus 79,491 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 5,918,965 are fully vaccinated (Plus 99,548).  In the Hudson Valley 905,700  (plus 10,044) have at least one dose and 594,395 (plus 13,752) are fully vaccinated. 

NYS COVID Update –Positivity Rate Continues to Drops, Hudson Valley Rate Below 3%

The Governor  also updated COVID data through Tuesday April 20th.  There were 45 COVID related deaths. The governor also announced that the statewide 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to 2.14 percent, the lowest since November 12. 

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


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 3,567
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 352

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,221
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 397

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 2.57%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 2.94%

Useful Websites:

US Vaccine Rollout – Slowdown Could Threaten Recovery

The slowdown in the daily pace of COVID-19 vaccinations has sparked concerns from health experts that it could slow the recovery from the pandemic. The U.S. hit a peak in early April of getting 4.63 million COVID-19 vaccines into arms in a single day before Tuesday saw a total of 1.81 million doses administered, according to Our World in Data. Overall, the seven-day average reached a highpoint of 3.38 million vaccines per day last week before it declined to 3.02 million on Tuesday.

Josh Michaud, the associate director for global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, called the overall downward trend “concerning if not entirely surprising,” warning that places with less “vaccination coverage” could be at risk to face additional variants of COVID-19 that could be more transmissible or severe. “If adults can’t be vaccinated at high levels then we might fall short of the level of population immunity that we need to really tamp down outbreaks and might play out as sort of the patchwork of immunity across the country,” he said. 

Read More at The Hill

Third Shot Will Be Needed as Immunity Will Wane

The chief medical officer of BioNTech told CNBC on Wednesday that people will likely need a third shot of its two-dose Covid-19 vaccine as immunity against the virus wanes, agreeing with previous comments made by Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

Dr. Ozlem Tureci, co-founder and CMO of BioNTech, which developed a Covid vaccine with Pfizer, said she also expects people will need to get vaccinated against the coronavirus annually, like for the seasonal flu. That’s because, she said, scientists expect vaccine-induced immunity against the virus will decrease over time.

Read more at CNBC

Europe Has Finally Turned a Corner on Covid-19 Vaccinations

The inflection point came this month, with Germany nearly doubling the pace of vaccinations after an increase in supplies and the decision to let general practitioners administer doses in their regular offices. France, Italy and Spain are following a similar trajectory.

The bloc has had to overcome multiple hurdles, including delays to vaccine deliveries from AstraZeneca Plc and health concerns because of a blood clot risk associated with some shots. Earlier this month, Johnson & Johnson halted deliveries of its vaccine, but reversed course on Tuesday after the EU’s drug regulator said the benefits outweigh the risks.

Read more at Bloomberg

The CDC and FDA are Leaning Toward Resuming Use of the J&J Vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are leaning toward resuming use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with a warning about blood clots, sources told CBS News. A decision is expected today, more than a week after the vaccine’s distribution was paused following reports of rare but dangerous blood clots in eight people under the age of 50. 

Read more at CBS News

Biden to Propose Capital Gains Tax of 39.6%

President Joe Biden will seek to raise taxes on millionaire investors to fund education and other spending priorities as part of the administration’s effort to overhaul the U.S. economy.

As part of the plan, Biden will seek an increase in the tax on capital gains to 39.6% from 20% for those Americans earning more than $1 million, according to multiple outlets, including Bloomberg News and The New York Times.

Read more at CNBC

U.S. Adds 116 Countries to its ‘Do Not Travel’ Advisory List

The U.S. State Department has added at least 116 countries this week to its “Level Four: Do Not Travel” advisory list, putting the UK, Canada, France, Israel, Mexico, Germany and others on the list, citing a “very high level of COVID-19.”

The State Department said on Monday the move did not imply a reassessment of current health situations in some countries, but rather “reflects an adjustment in the State Department’s Travel Advisory system to rely more on (the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s) existing epidemiological assessments.”

Read more at Reuters

A Controversial Proposal for a Waiver on Intellectual Property has Pitted Countries Against one Another

Global trade negotiators are deadlocked on a proposal to suspend intellectual property rights on coronavirus medical products so that less-wealthy countries can develop life-saving vaccines and other goods on their own.

A months-long debate at the World Trade Organization has led to little, if any, movement. On Thursday, diplomats meet again and will likely rehash their positions, with the EU, U.K, and Switzerland in the wealthy camp opposing the proposal.  But the proposal, pitched by South Africa and India at the WTO, is still gaining traction politically as the gap in vaccination rates between rich and poor countries grows by the day. Meanwhile, manufacturers have struggled to keep up with demand. 

Read more and listen to the story at Politico

GOP Senators Release Outline of $568 Billion Infrastructure Plan

The two-page Republican plan—which includes spending on roads, transit systems, and broadband internet over five years—doesn’t provide specifics on how it would cover the cost of the bill, a central issue in the talks. The GOP proposal calls for collecting user fees for electric vehicles and repurposing existing federal spending, while opposing Mr. Biden’s proposed tax increases on companies.

Of the $568 billion in the outline, $299 billion would go toward roads and bridges, an increase from the $115 billion the Biden administration’s plan proposes. The GOP plan also dedicates $61 billion to public transit systems, $20 billion to rail and $65 billion for broadband.

Read more at the WSJ

Automakers Continue Chip Shortage Induced Pause

Ford will prolong the idling of five factories in North America, because of a global shortage of semiconductors. The pause will affect production of the American firm’s Explorer SUVs, F-150 pickup trucks and Transit vans. Renault, a French carmaker, said that revenues were roughly flat year-on-year in its first quarter, partly because its production plans were affected by the chip shortage.

Read more at The Detroit News

NAM Pitches Infrastructure Funding Solutions

Improving our infrastructure is critical for the manufacturing industry, but it also presents an opportunity for manufacturers to build and maintain equipment and to employ the people who put it all together. That’s why the NAM has been calling for the United States to upgrade its infrastructure through Building to Win—a plan that highlights the importance of building these resources, as well as our suggestions for how to fund them.

  • Private investment: Private sector and industry investment through public infrastructure bonds and municipal infrastructure bonds offers an opportunity for the government and industry to work together.
  • National infrastructure bank: Under this proposal, an institution backed by federal dollars would share some of the risk of infrastructure investment but provide much-needed capital for the development of projects with public benefit. 
  • User fees: The NAM has talked about different ways to update the user fee model, designing a system so that users of roads continue to pay their fair share. 

Read more at NAM

Feel Like a Lot of City Folk Moved Into the Region Last Year?  You’re Right

An analysis of address changes recorded in credit reports, by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, shows  an increase in net out-migration specifically from urban neighborhoods in 2020, and a broader acceleration of moves out of large, high-cost metros. But the starkest changes were limited to two regions.

“Consistently, in all of those, New York and San Francisco stand out,” said Stephan Whitaker, an economist with the Cleveland Fed who conducted the research. “It really is a remarkably higher level of out-migration appearing in those two areas. 

Metros with the biggest change in net in-migration (Out of 926 metro areas)

  2019 Chg2020 ChgShift
1Hudson, N.Y.-1.0%+8.7%+9.7 pts.
2Kingston, N.Y.-1.6%+3.6%+5.2 pts

Read more and see lots more data in the NY Times

Climate Change is Becoming Ever More Important to Business

A new survey out this morning from IBM underscores the point. The survey covered 14,000 people in nine countries. Among its findings:

  • More than 70% of people now say they are more likely to work for, or stay with, a company with a good record or reputation on the environment.
  • 55% say they are “willing to pay more for brands that are sustainable and environmentally responsible.”
  • 48% of investors say their portfolio “already takes environmental sustainability into account,” and another 21% say they will likely add sustainability as a factor for investment decisions in the future.

In a separate IBM survey 84% of CEOs said  that sustainability will be important to their strategy in 2022—up from just 32% who said the same in 2018. 

Read more at IBM