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Daily Briefing – 296

Post: May. 2, 2021

Biden, Republicans Set Talks Over Competing Infrastructure Plans

Lawmakers and administration officials signaled on Sunday that they expected negotiations over an infrastructure package to ramp up this week, as Republicans and President Biden work to see if a bipartisan agreement is within reach.

White House chief of staff Ron Klain said that Mr. Biden had invited Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, one of the lead GOP negotiators on the infrastructure package, and others to meet this week. Republicans said they wanted to see that Mr. Biden was willing to make some concessions to prove his willingness to work across the aisle. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a centrist Republican involved in the discussions, said it was up to Mr. Biden to make the next offer in negotiations with GOP lawmakers.

Read more at the WSJ

NYS Vaccine Update 

As of Sunday morning 9,279,651 (plus 36,506 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 6,955,111 are fully vaccinated (Plus 59,101).  In the Hudson Valley 982,767 (plus 2,878) have at least one dose and 705,877 (plus 4,674) are fully vaccinated. 

NYS COVID Update – Single Day Positivity Rate Below 1.5%

Governor Cuomo yesterday announced that the statewide COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to 1.49 percent yesterday, dropping below 1.5 percent for the first time since October 28.

The Governor  updated COVID data through Saturday May 1st.  There were 33 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,051. Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,535
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 268

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,032
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 407

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.84%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.88%

Useful Websites:

US Vaccine Rollout – Daily Doses Administered Continues to Decrease

The US has distributed more than 300 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and administered 237 million doses. Daily doses administered* continues to decrease, down from a high of 3.2 million (April 11) to 2.5 million. Approximately 1.4 million people are achieving fully vaccinated status per day.

A total of 144 million individuals have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine, equivalent to 43% of the entire US population and 55% of all adults. Of those, nearly 100 million (99.7 million) are fully vaccinated, which corresponds to 30% of the total population and 38% of adults. Among adults aged 65 years and older, progress has largely stalled at 82% with at least 1 dose and 68% fully vaccinated. In terms of full vaccination, 50 million individuals have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 41 million have received the Moderna vaccine, and 8.1 million have received the J&J-Janssen vaccine.

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center is reporting 32.3 million cumulative cases and 575,213 deaths in the U.S. as of 10:15am EDT on April 30.

Read More at The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

Survey: Most U.S. Companies Will Require Proof of Covid Vaccination From Employees

More than 60% of companies in the U.S. will require proof of vaccination from their employees, according to a new survey conducted by Arizona State University with support from the Rockefeller Foundation.

A broad majority of U.S. employers, 65%, plan to offer employees incentives to get vaccinated and 63% will require proof of vaccination, according to the survey. Overall, 44% will require all employees to get vaccinated, 31% will just encourage vaccinations and 14% will require some employees to get vaccinated.

Read more at CNBC

Vaccines Are Effective Against the Dominant Virus Strain in U.S

The highly contagious U.K. variant of the Covid-19 virus, now the dominant virus strain in the U.S., is making the pandemic harder to control. But it also comes with a silver lining: The authorized vaccines work well against it.

The variant, called B.1.1.7, is better able to exploit lapses in mask wearing and social distancing, and requires more people to develop an immune response to slow it down. Yet vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and its partner BioNTech SE, Moderna Inc., and Johnson & Johnson, along with safety precautions, still remain effective, and health authorities say the shots are starting to slow down Covid-19 cases in the U.S.

Read more at the WSJ

Personal Income Shot Up 21.1% in March, a Record Dating Back to at Least 1946

Income for American households in March surged by the largest amount ever, fueled by massive fiscal stimulus released by the US government to limit the economic damage from the COVID-19 health crisis.

Personal income soared by an estimated 21.1% last month, or by $4.21 trillion, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Friday. The figure compares to a 20.3% increase expected in an Econoday survey of economists. The March figure marked a swing from February’s income decline of 7%.

Read more at Business Insider

US Retail Sales Way Up In March

Warmer weather, reopening, and stimulus support converged in March to drive the strongest month of retail spending the US has ever seen.  Retail sales increased 9.8% last month to a record $619.1 billion, according to Census Bureau data published Thursday. The leap nearly doubles the median economist estimate of a 5.8% gain from economists surveyed by Bloomberg. February’s decline was revised higher to a 2.7% contraction.

The March reading sits 27.7% higher than that seen exactly one year ago. Sales dipped in March 2020 and hit their pandemic-era floor in April as initial lockdowns and fears of COVID-19 kept Americans from spending at physical stores.

Read more at Business Insider

A Bottleneck at CA Ports Squeezes Manufacturers

The ship stuck in the Suez Canal may have gotten all the attention, but it’s not the biggest shipping problem of the year. That honor goes to the massive traffic jam at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which has dragged on since late 2020.

NAM Director of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Ben Siegrist says, this bottleneck is a huge problem for manufacturers in the U.S.—and one that is costing our economy many billions of dollars. Dozens of ships are waiting in the harbor for days before being able to unload, exporters are struggling to get their goods out of the country, and other manufacturers are waiting months for parts or finished goods.

Read more at NAM

E-Z Pass Tolls Increased on Mid-Hudson Bridges

E-Z Pass tolls on the five bridges across the Hudson River operated by the New York State Bridge Authority increased effective May 1. Cash tolls for a vehicle with four tires remain the same at $1.75; however, E-Z Pass tolls increased 10-cents, from $1.35 to $1.45.  Drivers on the commuter plan are now also paying 10-cents additional, from $1.10 to $1.20 per round trip.

The toll revision is being phased in over the course of four years, starting on May 1, 2020. Full toll rates will be in place on May 1, 2023. At the conclusion of the toll hikes, passenger vehicles will see tolls raised to $2.15 per round trip crossing.

Read more at Mid-Hudson News

DiNapoli Issues Analysis of Enacted State Budget

The Enacted State Budget for State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2021-22 is boosted by a substantial influx of new resources, totaling an estimated $26.7 billion in SFY 2021-22. Revenue actions including increases to top personal income tax rates and corporate franchise tax rates are expected to generate $3.7 billion in SFY 2021-22, growing to $4.8 billion by SFY 2024-25. Increases to the corporate franchise rates expire after 2023 while higher personal income tax rates will expire after 2027.

Revenue actions including increases to top personal income tax rates and corporate franchise tax rates are expected to generate $3.7 billion in SFY 2021-22, growing to $4.8 billion by SFY 2024-25. Increases to the corporate franchise rates expire after 2023 while higher personal income tax rates will expire after 2027.

Read more at the Comptroller’s website

Researchers Are Closing in on Long COVID – The Results are Alarming

A wave of what has become known as “long covid” is emerging in countries where acute cases have been falling. Formally, the condition is called “post-covid syndrome” (pcs). But even the official definition of its symptoms is fluid, because knowledge of its details is still evolving. 

Broadly speaking, there are three types of long-covid patients, says Avindra Nath of America’s National Institutes of Health. The first are characterized by “exercise intolerance”, meaning they feel out of breath and exhausted from even small tasks involving physical activity. The second are characterized by cognitive complaints in the form of brain fog and memory problems. The third are characterized by problems with the autonomic nervous system, a set of nerves that control things like heartbeat, breathing and digestion. Patients in this group suffer from symptoms such as heart palpitations and dizziness.

Read more at The Economist