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Daily Briefing – 320

Post: Jun. 7, 2021

Yellen Says Higher Interest Rates Good for Country 

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that President Joe Biden’s $4 trillion spending proposal would be positive for the country, even if it leads to a rise in interest rates.

During an interview with Bloomberg News, the former Federal Reserve chair said the president’s plans would total about $400 billion each year — a level of spending she argued was not enough to create an inflation over-run. “If we ended up with a slightly higher interest rate environment it would actually be a plus for society’s point of view and the Fed’s point of view,” Yellen told Bloomberg.

Read more at CNBC

Bipartisan Lawmakers Prep $878B Infrastructure Plan

A group of bipartisan, bicameral lawmakers are preparing to reveal a roughly $878 billion infrastructure proposal, to be paid for over the next five to eight years. Lawmakers involved in the $878 billion plan include Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, plus Reps. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.

There are still unresolved questions about the amount of new spending, and whether it would be better suited for an eight-year plan rather than the original five. One of the pay-fors would be a carbon pricing proposal as a revenue generator: $24 per metric ton, which actually exceeds the standard of the Paris climate accord.

Read more at Fox Business

Cuomo Announces Restrictions to Be Lifted When 70% of Adult New Yorkers Have Received First Vaccine Dose

Governor Cuomo yesterday announced that most of the remaining COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted once 70 percent of New Yorkers aged 18 or older have received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccination series. State’s New York Forward industry specific guidelines — including capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screening, and contact information for tracing — will become optional for retail, food services, offices, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops and personal care services, among other commercial settings. Large-scale event venues, pre-K to 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and healthcare settings must continue to follow the State’s guidelines until more New Yorkers are vaccinated.

Unvaccinated individuals will still be responsible for maintaining proper social distancing of six feet and wearing a mask as per federal CDC guidance. Consistent with the State’s implementation of the recent CDC guidance, masks will still be required for unvaccinated individuals. Large-scale event venues, Pre-K to 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes and health care settings will be exempt from the restriction lift. In those settings, New York State’s existing COVID-19 health protocols will remain in effect.

Read the press release

Cuomo to Allow Schools to Decide on Outdoor Mask Wearing for Students

Governor Cuomo announced yesterday that school districts can choose to lift the requirement that their students must wear masks outdoors. Guidance on mask use indoors remains in place. This change aligns New York State’s guidance on schools with CDC guidance on summer camps, where even unvaccinated students are not currently required to wear masks outdoors.

“We’ll leave that up to the local school district and we spoke to the CDC, which has no objection. It’s very important that people understand the logic between these decisions and that they’re rational and based on the science and the data. We have a disconnect right now between the school guidance and the camp guidance, and it’s important to rectify it because if people don’t think the rules are logical, then they’re not going to want to follow the rules.” Governor Cuomo said.

Read the press release

US COVID Update -U.S. Covid-19 Deaths Fall to Lowest Point Since March 2020

The rate of vaccinations around the country has sunk to new lows in recent weeks, threatening President Joe Biden’s goal of 70% of American adults with at least one dose by July 4.  The “low-hanging fruit – those people who absolutely want to get vaccinated without you telling them anything” have already been vaccinated, which has led to the slowdown, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on a White House-organized call with community leaders last week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on that 63% of adults had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, only slightly up from the 62% the week before. Twelve states, including Utah, Oklahoma, Montana, the Dakotas and West Virginia, have seen vaccinations sink to 15 daily shots per 10,000 residents; Alabama had just four people per 10,000 residents get vaccinated last week, according to data from The Washington Post. 

Read more at USA Today

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update – Low Positivity Across the State

Governor Cuomo Announced yesterday that the COVID-19 positivity rate dropped below 1 percent in every region of New York State for first time since August 19, 2020. 

Vaccine Stats as of Monday morning:

One Vaccine Dose

  • 54.6% of all New Yorkers – 10,913,964 (plus 19,141 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,160,583 (plus 2,446) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 47.1% of all New Yorkers – 9,429,290 are fully vaccinated (Plus 42,247)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 989,923 (plus 4,915) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday June 6th.   There were 13 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,789. 


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 799

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.51%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.46%

Useful Websites:

Moderna Vaccine Could be Available for Kids in Canada and US Soon

Moderna announced Monday that it has requested authorization of its its COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents with Health Canada – and will file for emergency use authorization with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “for this important, younger-age population.” The FDA expanded its emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s vaccine to include people 12 to 15 last month.

Moderna also said it had filed data for a conditional marketing approval in the 27-nation European Union to expand use of its coronavirus vaccine to children. Last month, the European drug regulator approved the shot made by Pfizer and BioNTech for children 12 to 15.

Read more at USA Today

China’s Guangzhou City Imposes COVID-19 Prevention Measures

The southern Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou on Sunday reported seven new local confirmed COVID-19 patients for June 5, bringing the city’s total since May 21 to 80 amid a resurgent outbreak.

Overall, China reported 30 new mainland coronavirus cases for June 5, up from 24 a day earlier, the country’s health authority said in a statement on Sunday. Of the new cases, 23 were imported. The remaining seven cases were all local infections in Guangzhou, according to data from Guangdong province, where Guangzhou is the capital.

Read more at Yahoo News

China’s Imports Grow at Fastest Pace in Decade, Materials Prices Surge

China’s imports grew at their fastest pace in 10 years in May, fueled by surging demand for raw materials, although export growth slowed more than expected amid disruptions caused by COVID-19 cases at the country’s major southern ports. China’s imports increased 51.1% on year last month in dollar terms, the fastest growth since January 2011 but slower than the 51.5% rise tipped by the Reuters poll. Exports in dollar terms in May grew 27.9% from a year earlier, slower than the 32.3% growth reported in April and missing analysts’ forecast of 32.1%.

While a brisk recovery in developed markets has bolstered demand for Chinese products, a global semiconductor shortage, higher raw material and freight costs, logistics bottlenecks and a strengthening yuan have dimmed the outlook for the world’s largest exporting nation.

Read more at Reuters

FDA Approves New Biogen Alzheimer’s Drug 

The first drug promising to slow the march of Alzheimer’s disease was approved by U.S. health regulators, a watershed after years of research and billions of dollars in investment. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it approved the drug, which has the molecular name aducanumab and will be sold as Aduhelm, based on evidence it reduces a sticky substance in the brain called amyloid that is associated with Alzheimer’s.

The drug’s sale offers hope to millions of people dealing with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, given the lack of good options for treatment. Yet aducanumab’s impact may be limited. Doctors who say they will prescribe the drug caution it won’t help all patients, particularly those with more advanced disease. Some patients eligible for treatment may face $10,000 or more in annual out-of-pocket costs, health insurer Cigna Corp. estimates.

Read more at the WSJ

Defending Your Plant Against Cyberattacks

Companies should take a lesson from recent highly publicized cyberattacks that shut down businesses and interrupted food and oil supplies, cybersecurity experts say. Equipment manufacturers should ask themselves how they would respond to a ransomware attack. Some important questions to consider: 

  • How long would production be down?
  • What would happen if the company couldn’t bill its customers or pay its suppliers?
  • How much would it cost the company to recover from a ransomware attack? 

“If organizations can’t answer these questions, they need to take action immediately from a people, process and technology perspective,” said Steve Mustard, president of the International Society of Automation.

Read more at Plastics Machinery & Automation

Summer Job Market for Teens Is Promising

Businesses are counting on teenage workers to staff restaurants, golf clubs, resorts and other hot-weather entertainment spots emerging from pandemic lockdowns. Many employers are struggling to find enough adult workers, and so to fill the gap, they are leaning on teens like never before and heavily courting them to keep businesses running in a busy summer.

For many young adults now flooding into the hot summer labor market, conditions are creating a job bonanza, complete with more accommodating bosses, greater schedule flexibility and even higher pay than in summers past. Teens are answering the call to work. In May, the share of 16- to 19-year-olds who work rose to 33.2%, the highest rate since 2008, according to figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday. 

Read more at the WSJ

G-7 Begins Global Tax Battle

G-7 nations came to a landmark corporate tax agreement over the weekend, providing momentum for ongoing OECD talks on a new global minimum rate and reviving the relevance of the G-7 ahead of a leaders summit in England later in the week.

The deal’s two pillars aim to tackle tax havens by reducing incentives for companies to “move” overseas in the first place. The first pillar establishes a 15 percent minimum global corporate tax rate, while the second allows each country to collect tax on the profits made by large multinationals within that country, rather than where the company may be headquartered.

Read more at Foreign Policy