Daily Briefing – 291

Governor Cuomo Considers Vetoing The “NY Hero Act” – Bill Would Be Costly to Small Business

S.1034-B(Gianaris)/A.2681-B(Reyes), amends the labor law for preventing occupational exposure to an airborne infectious disease,  The legislation known as the “NY Hero Act” seeks to put strict health and safety procedures into statute for COVID and additional airborne infectious diseases. The bill passed the State Legislature and will be delivered to the Governor for his consideration.

Required measures in the bill  include “workplace health and safety committees” with ambiguous functions and authority. As a result, the bill also could expose employers, especially small businesses, to punitive fines, new liability, and higher insurance costs.  The Manufacturing Alliance of New York, the New York State Business Council,  and NFIB are all encouraging Governor Cuomo to veto the bill. 

NYS Vaccine Update – State Resumes Use of J&J Vaccine

Beginning Saturday the state, following the CDC recommendations, (see related story below) resumed delivery and use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

As of Saturday morning 8,7,37,667 (plus 86,928 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 6,123,528 are fully vaccinated (Plus 102,986).  In the Hudson Valley 926,622  (plus 9,941) have at least one dose and 622,823 (plus 12,500) are fully vaccinated. 

NYS COVID Update –Statewide COVID-19 Positivity Rate Drops Below 2%

The Governor  also updated COVID data through Saturday April 24th.  There were 45 COVID related deaths. The governor also announced that the statewide 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to 1.88 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: 3,189
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 324

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,112
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 394

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 2.19%
  • Mid-Hudson: 2.52%

Useful Websites:

US Vaccine Rollout – Fully Vaccinated Population Increasing by 1.4 Million per Day

The US has distributed 282 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and administered 219 million doses. Daily doses administered* has decreased over the past several days, down from a high of 3.2 million (April 11) to 2.8 million. The fully vaccinated population is increasing by 1.4 million people per day.

A total of 136 million individuals have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine, equivalent to 41% of the entire US population and 52% of all adults. Of those, 89 million (27% of the total population; 34% of adults) are fully vaccinated. Progress among older adults has slowed considerably. Among adults aged 65 years and older, 81% have received at least 1 dose, and 66% are fully vaccinated. In terms of full vaccination, 44 million individuals have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 37 million have received the Moderna vaccine, and 8.0 million have received the J&J-Janssen vaccine.

Read More at the Johns Hopkins Center for health Security

U.S. Lifts Pause on J&J’s Covid-19 Vaccine- Benefits far Outweigh the Risks

Vaccinations with Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 shot should resume, U.S. health regulators said after investigating rare blood-clotting cases, restoring a key tool for filling gaps in the mass vaccination campaign. To alert doctors and recipients to the condition that led to a pause in the vaccine’s use last week, J&J and regulators plan to add language to the shot’s label and fact sheets warning of the clotting condition risk.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday lifted their recommendation to pause use of the shots, saying the benefits outweigh the risks. Their decision followed a vote by a federal vaccine advisory committee that recommended restarting use of J&J’s Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S.

Read more in the WSJ

CDC: Yes, Vaccines Block Most Transmission of COVID-19 

New data from the CDC shows that COVID-19 infections do occur in vaccinated people, but they appear exceptionally rare.  As of April 14, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had received reports that 5,814 fully vaccinated people had developed COVID-19 infections. Nearly half of these infections (45 percent) were in people at least 60 years old. Seven percent of people with breakthrough infections—infections that occur after complete vaccination—were hospitalized and one percent died.

With more than 85 million people in the United States fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the CDC has been cautiously expanding guidelines about what those fully vaccinated people can safely do. The expansion has been gradual as experts awaited data on not just how well the COVID-19 vaccines prevent disease, but also whether a fully vaccinated individual could develop an infection—without symptoms—and unknowingly pass the virus along to someone else.

Read more at NAT GEO

CDC Issues Guidance On Worksite Vaccination Programs/ US Chamber Vaccine Resource Guide

Now that all individuals over the age of 16 in the United States are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines, employers can play a part in helping ensure their workforce has easy access to the vaccine by hosting an on-site vaccination clinic. The CDC recently issued new guidance to help businesses determine if on-site vaccination is an option for them.  To assist your members, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has prepared some new resources and best practices for hosting a vaccine clinic.

EU To Allow U.S. Travelers To Visit This Summer, If Fully Vaccinated

It is the news that many Americans have been waiting for; that they will be able to visit the EU over summer. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, told The New York Times in Brussels on Sunday that Americans who have been fully vaccinated, will be allowed to visit European countries over the summer.

With President Biden reportedly eyeing up May as the month when he might rescind the ban on EU travel, and with this new statement by the president of the European Commission, the hope would be that after one year of travel bans, a beleaguered travel industry might just be able to kick back into life and families might be reunited again after such a long time apart.

Read more at Forbes

DiNaploi: Local Sales Tax Collections Down 3.9 Percent for First Quarter of 2021

Sales tax revenue for local governments in New York State declined by 3.9 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period last year, according to State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Sales tax collections from January through March totaled $4.3 billion, which was $173 million less than the first quarter of 2020.

This is the fourth consecutive quarter that statewide collections have dropped year-over-year.

Read more at the Comptroller’s website

Centrist Senators Signal Progress on Infrastructure Talks

Two centrist senators key to negotiations over infrastructure spending signaled progress in talks but made clear they don’t support President Biden’s expansive $2.3 trillion proposal.  Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, also from West Virginia, said she had received positive feedback from the White House after she helped craft a $568 billion infrastructure proposal, which was cast as a starting point for bipartisan negotiations.

Despite flickers of bipartisanship, the parties remain far apart on infrastructure and other issues as Mr. Biden nears his 100th day in office. Mr. Biden, who during the election campaign said he would seek compromise, faces continued questions over whether he plans to advance his agenda on a party-line basis or with some support from Republicans.

Read more at the WSJ

Jobless Claims Fall to 547,000

The number of Americans applying for unemployment aid fell last week to 547,000, the lowest point since the pandemic struck and an encouraging sign that layoffs are slowing on the strength of an improving job market.

The Labor Department said Thursday that applications declined 39,000 from a revised 586,000 a week earlier. Weekly jobless claims are down sharply from a peak of 900,000 in early January. At the same time, they’re still far above the roughly 230,000 level that prevailed before the viral outbreak ripped through the economy in March of last year.

Read more at the AP

FDA: Litany of Issues at Baltimore Botched-Vaccine Plant

The FDA released an inspection report last week that detailed a multitude of process and facility problems at Emergent BioSolutions’ Bayview plant in Baltimore, the contract manufacturer that botched the production of 15 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses due to a batch mixup first reported on March 31.  

Some of the problems detailed in the 12-page report were related to inadequacies in the aging manufacturing facility, including overcrowding in the warehouse, doorways too small to move containers between rooms in a way to prevent contamination, and peeling paint and damaged walls that make thorough cleaning difficult to impossible. Others involved improper training and protocols, such as employees not signing in and out as they completed procedures or moved through the plant.

Read more at IndustryWeek

India’s Giant Second Wave is a Disaster for it and the World

The number of people testing positive for covid-19 in India has continued to surge reaching 315,000 last week —the highest daily figure in any country at any point during the pandemic. Deaths, too, are beginning to soar, and suspicions abound that the grisly official toll is itself a massive underestimate.

This horrifying second wave is a catastrophe not only for India but for the world. Allowing the virus to circulate unchecked increases the risk that dangerous new strains will emerge. One worrying variant first detected in India, called the “double mutant”, has already been found in several other countries, including America and Britain. Even as scientists labour to understand how big a threat it poses, more variants are appearing. A more immediate consequence of India’s second wave for the rest of the world is a disruption to vaccine supplies. India had hoped to be the world’s pharmacy. But with case numbers exploding the government has restricted exports of vaccines. 

Read more at The Economist