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Daily Briefing – 308

Post: May. 18, 2021

Beginning Today – New Mask Guidelines Begin, Capacity Restrictions End 

Beginning today, May 19th, fully vaccinated people will no longer be required to wear masks indoors or out in New York. Theaters and arenas can move to full capacity for vaccinated people, but with six feet of distance between non-vaccinated people. Individual businesses are still able to require masks for customers and/or employees.

  • The indoor social gathering limit will increase from 100 to 250 people on May 19.
  • The outdoor residential gathering limit of 25 people is removed as of May 19.
  • The indoor residential gathering limit will increase from 10 to 50 people on May 19.
  • Large-scale indoor event venues will operate at 30% capacity starting May 19.
  • Beaches and pools can operate with six-foot social distancing, with the goal of to reopen to 100% capacity by July 4.

Read the reopening reference guide

What Should Your Business Do About the Changing Mask Guidance?

Council Associate member and friend Ethan Allen HR Services reports that  OSHA, responding to a huge looming question for employers, issued an announcement Tuesday referring businesses to the CDC’s new guidance advising that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or social distance in non-healthcare settings. But neither OSHA’s May 18 announcement nor the CDC’s May 13 release provide specific direction to employers about whether and how they should proceed when it comes to developing unmasking policies and procedures.

In light of the current state of the law, employers have three basic choices when it comes to masking policies for their workers: maintain full masking rules, require vaccinated workers to present proof of inoculation before being allowed to go mask-less, or ask employees to follow an honor system approach.

Read what you need to know about these three options

Pandemic Hit Less-Educated Workers Hardest, Fed Survey Shows

Three-fourths of U.S. adults reported doing at least OK financially in November 2020, a share that was unchanged from previous years, the Fed said Monday. But that finding masked significant divergences in economic well-being between workers who retained their jobs and those who were laid off, households with more education and those with less, and those who have children versus those without.

Among adults with less than a high-school diploma, 45% reported doing at least OK financially, down from 54% in 2019. Among those with a bachelor’s degree or higher, the percentage rose to 89% from 88%, the Fed said in its annual Survey of Household Economics and Decision making, which polls more than 11,000 individuals.

Read more at the WSJ


Meet the Four Kinds of People Holding Us Back From Full Vaccination 

The conventional approach to understanding whether someone will get vaccinated is asking people how likely they are to get the vaccine and then building a demographic profile based on their answers: Black, white, Latinx, Republican, Democrat. But this process isn’t enough: Just knowing that Republicans are less likely to get vaccinated doesn’t tell us how to get them vaccinated. It’s more important to understand why people are still holding out, where those people live and how to reach them.

After conducting a national survey of U.S. adults, The New York Times grouped people into distinct profiles based on their shared beliefs and barriers to getting the vaccine. In the United States, The Times used this approach to identify five distinct personas: the Enthusiasts, the Watchful, the Cost-Anxious, the System Distrusters and the Covid Skeptics.

Read More at the New York Times

US Vaccine Rollout

The US has distributed 345 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and administered 274 million. Daily doses administered* continues to decrease steadily, down from a high of 3.3 million on April 11 to 1.6 million. Approximately 1.1 million people are achieving fully vaccinated status per day, down from a high of 1.8 million per day on April 12.

A total of 158 million individuals in the US have received at least 1 dose of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, equivalent to 48% of the entire US population and 60% of all adults. Of those, 124 million are fully vaccinated, which corresponds to 37% of the total population and 47% of adults. Among individuals aged 12-17 years—including individuals aged 16 and 17 who were previously eligible—3.3 million have received at least 1 dose, and 1.6 million are fully vaccinated.

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security 

NYS Vaccine Update – 10 Million First Doses

As of Tuesday morning 10,029,377  (plus 56,180 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 8,408,217 are fully vaccinated (Plus 69,540).  In the Hudson Valley 1,066,393 (plus 8,804) have at least one dose and 881,534 (plus 9,641) are fully vaccinated. 

NYS COVID Update – 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday May 17th.   There were 17 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,503. Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 1,585
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 137

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 3,842
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 376

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.07%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.93%

Useful Websites:

U.S. to Increase Vaccine Exports Amid Global Pressure

The Biden administration moved to sharply ramp up Covid-19 vaccine shipments to other countries, following calls for the U.S. to bolster efforts to curb the coronavirus globally as it rages unchecked in developing nations. An earlier pledge to export 60 million doses of the vaccine from AstraZeneca PLC came with little sacrifice because that vaccine has yet to be authorized for U.S. use.

The U.S. now plans to share globally 20 million doses of vaccines produced by Moderna Inc., Pfizer Inc. and Johnson & Johnson, all of which are being used in the U.S. President Biden said Monday that 80 million vaccine doses are expected to be donated by the end of June. Delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine doses will be contingent on a Food and Drug Administration review of product-quality standards, the White House said.

Read more at the WSJ

Education Partnership Formed Between GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Dutchess Community College

GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF) and Dutchess Community College announced on Monday that they have strengthened their partnership by offering GF employees the opportunity to further their education at DCC in undergraduate and certificate programs with deferred billing options.  The option for deferred billing is a unique program that creates more opportunities for GF employees to pursue additional education, the company said. Employees can also further benefit through GF’s tuition reimbursement program. 

For DCC, partnering with GF brings experienced professionals to the campus, broadening the learning experience for current attendees and providing a pipeline of new students. As part of the partnership, a representative from GF will serve on DCC’s Electrical Technology Advisory Board.

Read more at Mid-Hudson News

Manufacturers Face Supply Shortages, Higher Costs

As the economy rebounds, companies are struggling with a shortage in raw materials, transportation congestion and higher prices, and large manufacturers have shifted to producing goods based on parts available instead of incoming orders or forecasts. According to the Logistics Managers’ Index, corporate supply chiefs do not see inventory, transportation and warehouse expenses easing for at least another year.

Further exacerbating the situation is an unusually long and growing list of calamities that have rocked commodities in recent months. A freak accident in the Suez Canal backed up global shipping in March. Drought has wreaked havoc upon agricultural crops. A deep freeze and mass blackout wiped out energy and petrochemicals operations across the central U.S. in February. Less than two weeks ago, hackers brought down the largest fuel pipeline in the U.S., driving gasoline prices above $3 a gallon for the first time since 2014. Now India’s massive Covid-19 outbreak is threatening its biggest ports.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

Biden Administration Eyes Cybersecurity Funding After Hacks

The Biden Administration is intensifying its focus on cybersecurity spending after a wave of massive hacks, proposing new funding in the wake of the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack this month.  Biden’s planned $100 billion broadband investment plan is also being presented as cybersecurity spending on the grounds that grant recipients will be asked to source from “trusted vendors.” 

In a statement on Tuesday, the White House laid out the cyber element of President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan, including $20 billion for localities to harden energy systems and $2 billion in grants for energy grids in high-risk areas. The security of the U.S. energy grid has long been a worry for cybersecurity experts. Regional blackouts in 2003 and 2011 drew attention to the vulnerability of the power system and examples from abroad have also drawn concern.

Read more at Reuters

Beat It: Walmart, Home Depot, Macy’s Report Earning 

Walmart posted quarterly results yesterday morning that blew past Wall Street expectations, pulling in revenue of $138.3 billion (up 3% year over year) thanks to still-surging e-commerce sales and a boost from the latest round of stimulus checks.

Thanking the government stimulus program and expanding vaccine rollout for its own blowout quarter, Macy’s Tuesday reported a surprise profit of $126 million, or 39 cents per share—far better than the loss of 40 cents per share analysts were expecting and the $630 million loss in the same quarter last year.

Home Depot, also shattered expectations thanks to the “unprecedented demand for home-improvement projects” Home Depot earnings soared 86% to $3.86 a share as sales swelled 33% to $37.5 billion. Same-store sales sprinted 31%, with U.S. comps up 29.9%.u, up 4% and leading the Nasdaq’s morning gains.

Read more at Forbes

NY Per-Pupil School Spending Topped $25k in 2018-19

New York’s spending on public elementary and secondary education reached $25,139 per pupil during the 2018-19 school year, once again surpassing all states in the latest U.S. Census annual data.

The Empire State’s public schools spent 91 percent more than the national average of $13,187 per pupil—compared to gaps of 73 percent in 2008-09 and 45 percent in 1998-99, as illustrated by the chart below comparing the 20-year trends for New York and all states.

Read more at the Empire Center

Samsung Electronics Could Begin Construction of New U.S. Chip Plant in Q3

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) could begin construction of a planned $17 billion U.S. chip plant in the third quarter of this year with a target to be operational in 2024, a South Korean newspaper reported late on Monday.

Samsung is planning to apply an advanced 5-nanometer extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography chip-making process at the plant, which is expected to be in Austin, Texas, the Electronic Times reported citing unnamed industry sources.

Read more at Reuters

Surging Lumber Prices Weigh on U.S. Homebuilding

U.S. homebuilding fell more than expected in April, likely pulled down by soaring prices for lumber and other materials, but construction remains supported by an acute shortage of previously owned homes on the market.

Housing starts tumbled 9.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.569 million units last month. Data for March was revised lower to a rate of 1.733 million units, still the highest level since June 2006, from the previously reported 1.739 million units. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast starts would fall to a rate of 1.710 million units in April.

Read more at Reuters