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Daily Briefing – 307

Post: May. 17, 2021

New York State to Adopt New CDC Guidance on Mask Use and Social Distancing for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

Governor Cuomo yesterday announced that beginning May 19, New York State will adopt the CDC’s “Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People” for most business and public settings. Consistent with the CDC guidance, Pre-K to 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and healthcare settings will continue to follow State’s existing COVID-19 health guidelines until more New Yorkers are fully vaccinated.

The State will authorize businesses to continue to require masks for all in their establishments, consistent with the CDC guidance. Unvaccinated individuals, under both CDC and state guidance must wear masks in all public settings.  The State Department of Health strongly recommends masks in indoor settings where vaccination status of individuals is unknown. Mask requirements by businesses must adhere to all applicable federal and state laws and regulations.

Read the press release

Empire Manufacturing Survey: Activity, Prices Paid, Employment All Grew at a Sturdy Pace

Business activity continued to grow at a solid clip in New York State, according to firms responding to the May 2021 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index was little changed at 24.3.  

  • The index for number of employees held steady at 13.6, while the average workweek index climbed six points to 18.7, indicating ongoing gains in employment and hours worked.
  • Both price indexes reached record highs: the prices paid index rose nine points to 83.5, and the prices received index rose two points to 37.1.
  • The index for future business conditions was little changed at 36.6, suggesting that firms remained optimistic about future conditions. 
  • The indexes for future new orders and shipments also held at similar levels. The indexes for future prices paid and future prices received remained elevated.
  • Firms on net expect to increase employment significantly in the months ahead. The capital expenditures index came in at 25.7.
  • The technology spending index was 22.1.

Read more at the NY Fed

Identity Theft Cases Surged in New York in 2020

More than 67,000 complaints of identity theft were reported in New York State during 2020, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). That was a record number, up 85 percent from the previous year and more than four times the figure of a decade earlier.

New York State has taken numerous steps in recent years to address identity theft, which is punishable by up to seven years in prison, and to require that businesses and State agencies safeguard private personal information. Each of us can and should take common-sense steps such as making sure to keep Social Security numbers confidential, and being careful to limit use of birth dates and other personal information in online communications — including social media. 

Read the report which includes recommendations to protect your identity

China’s Economy Slowed in April

“Year-on-year growth on all indicators dropped back last month. This partly reflects a less flattering base for comparison. But current momentum in output and consumption was also a bit softer. We think month-on-month growth will remain modest throughout the rest of this year as activity drops back to its pre-virus trend following the withdrawal in policy support,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics.

Read more in the South China Morning Post

US Vaccine Rollout – CDC Begins Tracking Adolescents

An average of 1.9 million vaccine doses a day have been administered during the past week, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, slightly lower from a week earlier and down from an average of 3.4 million doses a day in mid-April. In all, 272.9 million doses have been administered, and 37% of the population has been fully vaccinated while 47.3% has had at least one dose.

U.S. public-health officials tried to address confusion about new masking guidelines released last week, reiterating that vaccinated individuals are at low risk of catching or spreading Covid-19 but leaving the future of mask mandates up to local jurisdictions and private businesses.  “This is not permission for widespread removal of masks,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Sunday on ABC. “We were going to get to the point in the pandemic where the vaccinated could take off their masks.”

Read More at the WSJ

NYS Vaccine Update 

As of Monday morning 9,973,197  (plus 32,322 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 8,338,677 are fully vaccinated (Plus 42,714).  In the Hudson Valley 1,057,589 (plus 3,371) have at least one dose and 871,893 (plus 4,730) are fully vaccinated. 

NYS COVID Update – 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday May 16th.   There were 11 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,486. Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 1,581
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 142

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 3,844
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 375

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.11%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.99%

Useful Websites:

Covid-19 Drugmakers Take On Your Favorite TV Shows to Tackle Vaccine Hesitancy

The advertising isn’t typical for pharmaceutical companies. Unlike most drug promotions, the ads aren’t aimed at gaining a leg up on competitors or boosting sales in the next quarter, the companies said. The goal is to persuade Americans to use potentially lifesaving products that are already bought and paid for by the U.S. government and provided free to consumers.

The campaigns more closely resemble those for launches of new drugs for diseases with few or subpar treatment options, such as the unbranded disease-awareness campaigns that hepatitis C drugmakers sponsored in the 2010s urging people to get tested for the liver disease. 

Read more at the WSJ

Health Officials Seek to Clarify Covid-19 Mask Guidelines – Still Required in NYS, Businesses Can Still Require for Employees and Customers

U.S. public-health officials tried to address confusion about new masking guidelines released last week, reiterating that vaccinated individuals are at low risk of catching or spreading Covid-19 but leaving the future of mask mandates up to local jurisdictions and private businesses.

The CDC’s recommendation has created confusion because it does not lift local mask mandates. States, municipalities and businesses can make the choice whether or not to follow it. There’s also no definitive way to track who has received a vaccine, forcing businesses to work on a sort of honor system.

Read more at CNBC

EU Backs Vaccine Manufacturing “Hubs”

The EU, which continues to oppose the idea of vaccine patent waivers as a means to boost production, is instead expected to back proposals that would establish strategic manufacturing hubs in Africa. Europe would put money into the initiative, while also helping to build up regulatory capacity through the establishment of an African Medicines Agency.

Read more at the Financial Times (Subscription)

Governments are Deploying ‘Wartime-Like’ Efforts to Win the Global Semiconductor Race

The reasons for the ongoing global chip shortage, which is set to last into 2022 and possibly 2023, are complex and multifaceted. However, nations are planning to pump billions of dollars into semiconductors over the coming years as part of an effort to sure up supply chains and become more self-reliant, with money going toward new chip plants, as well as research and development.

There is a push to build semiconductors in places such as South Korea, the U.S. and the European Union. Forrester research director Glenn O’Donnell: “In the ongoing battle for dominance in the technology field, all nations are jockeying for that all-important designation as the key supplier to the world…South Korea, Japan, the U.S., Taiwan, the EU, and China all covet that gold medal in the Tech Olympics podium.”

Read more at CNBC

Working Mothers Still Need Support to be Their Best

The workplace has improved over time for working mothers, but they still need support overcoming stereotypes and the twin demands of work and parenting, says reporter and author says Joann Lublin in this interview with John Baldoni. “And we need to talk about these issues before we have kids, after we have kids and while the kids are growing up, because our needs, their needs, our careers are all going to be in a constant state of flux,” Lublin says.

Read more at SmartBrief on Leadership 

NAM Sends Letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on USMCA Commercial Concerns

On May 14, NAM CEO Jay Timmons sent this letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai underscoring that “manufacturers have substantial concerns about recent steps by Mexico and Canada that violate—or threaten to violate—the letter and spirit of the USMCA and risk undermining the livelihoods of manufacturing workers and communities across America.” these concerns include energy generation, food labeling and slow-walking biotech approvals. 

Timmons urges Ambassador Tai to raise a series commercial concerns identified by the NAM in the letter at this week’s meeting and in subsequent discussions with Mexico and Canada.

Read more at the NAM

Volvo UAW Workers Reject Contract But Return to Work

United Auto Worker-represented employees at Volvo Trucks North America’s New River Valley truck assembly factory have rejected the company’s tentative agreement for a new five-year contract. According to the union, up to 91% of voting workers rejected the agreement’s common language and 83% voted against its salary language. Volvo Trucks and the UAW reported that union workers would still return to work as scheduled May 17.

In a statement, New River Valley VP Franky Marchand said, “We look forward to working with the UAW to resolve whatever the outstanding issues are, and we remain confident we will be able to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.” A statement from the UAW said “Members of UAW Local 2069 will continue working and go back to the bargaining table shortly.”

Read more at IndustryWeek

FEMA’s Covid Funeral Assistance Program is up and Running After a Rocky Start

The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved more than 2,585 applications for newly available Covid-19 funeral assistance in the first month after the program launched. The agency received nearly 176,000 applications from those who have lost loved ones to the coronavirus as of May 11, FEMA said, and distributed more than $17.8 million so far, with the average claim coming in at $6,887.

To qualify, the death must have occurred in the US or its territories, and funeral expenses must have been incurred after January 20, 2020. The death certificate must indicate that the death was attributed to or likely caused by Covid-19 or coronavirus-like symptoms.

Read more at CNN