Our Blog

Daily Briefing -300

Post: May. 6, 2021

Governor Cuomo Signs HERO Act Into Law

Bond Schoeneck and King report that on May 5, 2021, Governor Cuomo officially signed the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (HERO Act) into law. The HERO Act effectively imposes significant obligations on covered employers to provide and maintain a safe workplace in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and for future airborne infectious disease outbreaks.

The HERO Act amended the New York Labor Law by adding two new sections: (1) Section 218-b, which governs development and adoption of an airborne infectious disease prevention policy; and (2) Section 27-D, that requires employers to permit the creation of workplace safety committees. Both sections only apply to private sector employers. However, Section 27-D specifically only applies to private employers with at least 10 employees

Read more at BSK

Business Council Has “Concerns” With HERO Act

“We appreciate efforts by the administration and some lawmakers to make the so-called HERO act more workable for employers, especially small employers. However, we still see this legislation as going well beyond what is necessary to assure that workplaces are safe for employees and customers during public health crises.

State data that shows New York’s employer’s – operating under NYForward protocols and existing OSHA standards — had a strong record in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. Requiring employers to have plans in place and to be ready to respond to similar future emergencies makes sense.  But this new law places significant new burdens on businesses. The Business Council, while advocating on behalf of New York’s employers, has several concerns with the way the law is written.”

Read the full statement and list of concerns

NYS Vaccine Update 

As of Thursday morning 9,476,044 (plus 55,000 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 7,371,065 are fully vaccinated (Plus 115,540).  In the Hudson Valley 1,004,692 (plus 5,033) have at least one dose and 759,145 (plus 12,546) are fully vaccinated. 


The Governor  updated COVID data through Wednesday May 5th.  There were 23 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,185. Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,335
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 223

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,029
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 397

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.62%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.67%

Useful Websites:

US Vaccine Rollout – 3 States Have Already Reached Biden’s New Vaccination Goal

In three states, more than 70% of adults have already received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, federal data showed Wednesday, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont. Three others are very close, with more than two-thirds of adults vaccinated with at least one dose: Connecticut, Maine and Hawaii.

This comes as vaccination rates have fallen: While the US averaged 3.38 million doses administered per day across a week in mid-April, the current seven-day average is 2.19 million doses per day, according to CDC data. The most recent numbers as of Wednesday show daily vaccinations have dropped by nearly 20% from last week.

Read More at CNN

Canada Authorizes Pfizer Vaccine for Children Aged 12 to 15

Canada has authorized the use of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15. It is the first country to do so for that age group. The country’s health ministry made the decision based on data from phase three clinical trials on children that age.

“The department determined that this vaccine is safe and effective when used in this younger age group,” an adviser at the ministry said. Pfizer says its jab works well in the age group.

Read more at the BBC

Moderna Says Its Covid-19 Booster Shots Show Promise Against Variants

Booster shots under development by Moderna Inc. MRNA -6.19% helped improve immune responses against some variants among people given the company’s Covid-19 vaccine in an early study, the biotech company said Wednesday. The company tested giving people boosts with either a single dose of its original vaccine, mRNA-1273, or a new vaccine, mRNA-1273.351, which was modified to better match a virus variant first identified in South Africa and known as B.1.351.

The results, though preliminary, are a sign that adding booster shots several months after original vaccinations could bolster people’s immunity against more contagious strains of the virus.

Read more at the WSJ

Moderna Says Early Data Shows Vaccine is 96% Effective in Teens

Moderna said its Covid-19 vaccine is 96% effective in kids ages 12 to 17, according to early data released with the company’s first-quarter earnings Thursday. The  company also said it plans to submit data on its vaccine for adults to the FDA for full approval later this month.

Similar to adults, the shot in teens was also generally well tolerated with no serious safety concerns identified to date, the company said.

Read more at CNBC

Moderna Reports Frist Quarterly Profit

Here’s how Moderna did compared with what Wall Street expected, according to average estimates compiled by Refinitiv:

  • EPS: $2.84 per share versus $2.39 per share expected
  • Revenue: $1.94 billion versus $2.03 billion expected

Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine generated $1.7 billion in sales, according to the earnings report.

Read more at CNBC

Jobless Claims – A Fresh Pandemic-Era Low of 498,000 Last Week

New weekly jobless claims set a new pandemic-era low last week, falling below 500,000 for the first time since March 2020, with initial filings trending decidedly lower in recent weeks amid the pick-up in economic activity. 

The Department of Labor released its weekly report on new jobless claims Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET. Here were the main metrics from the report, compared to consensus data compiled by Bloomberg:

  • Initial jobless claims, week ended May 1: 498,000 vs. 538,000 expected and a revised 590,000 during the prior week.
  • Continuing claims, week ended April 24: 3.690 million vs. 3.620 million expected and a revised 3.653 million during the prior week

Read more at Yahoo Finance

Bank of England Raises 2021 Growth Forecast, Slows Bond Buying Program

The BoE kept its benchmark interest rate at an all-time low of 0.1% and the total size of its bond-buying program unchanged at 895 billion pounds ($1.24 trillion). The central bank said it would slow its bond-buying to 3.4 billion pounds a week, down from its current pace of 4.4 billion pounds a week.

The BoE raised its forecast for British economic growth in 2021 to 7.25% from a previous estimate of 5.0% made in February. The increase reflected a smaller-than-feared hit from a third coronavirus lockdown which began in January. The BoE said it now expected unemployment to rise only slightly to a peak of almost 5.5% in the third quarter of this year.

Read more at Reuters

Regional Housing Market Data From Pattern For Progress 

The Center for Housing Solutions and Community Initiatives, a unit of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, released the Q1 2021 edition of the Regional Housing Market Report. Take a look at how New Listings, Closed Sales, Median Sales Prices, and Housing Inventory in the Hudson Valley fared in the first quarter of 2021.

“The Hudson Valley region was facing a housing crisis as we entered 2020 and the pandemic has only exacerbated the challenges. Over the past 14 months, the region has witnessed skyrocketing home prices, a decimated inventory, the continuation of historically low interest rates, and an apparent demographic shift from the NYC Metro area. The demand for housing seems to be endless.

Read the report at Pattern for Progress

Economist Expect Big Numbers from Today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Report

Today’s jobs report is expected to show strong payroll growth through April as the US reopened. The median estimate from economists surveyed by Bloomberg for April payroll growth sits at 1 million payrolls. That would mark a pickup from the 916,000 jobs added in March and the strongest month of job growth since August.

Aneta Markowska of Jefferies, however, stands out in her bullishness. She forecasts that the economy added 2.1 million jobs last month. Not only is that more than double the median forecast, but also 800,000 payrolls greater than the next highest projection from a top economist. The unemployment rate will fall to 5.2% from 6% and beat the forecast of 5.8%, according to the bank.

Read more at Business Insider

DOL Withdraws Independent-Contractor Rule

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is officially withdrawing the prior administration’s independent-contractor rule, which would have made it easier for businesses to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees.

Employers shouldn’t expect a new independent-contractor rule any time soon. “We are going back to the decades-old analysis and we really feel that this is the space where we can best protect workers,” said Jessica Looman, principal deputy administrator for the DOL Wage and Hour Division, on a call with reporters. “When it comes to digital workers we want to make sure that we continue to look at their needs, how they are interacting with their individual employers and whether or not they have the protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

Read more at SHRM