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Daily Briefing – 334

Post: Jun. 30, 2021

Jobs Are Hard to Fill, and Ideology Makes It Hard to Understand Why

The U.S. is still 7.6 million jobs short of what it had before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.  The problem isn’t a dearth of jobs. As of the end of April there were 9.3 million job openings by the Labor Department’s count, and businesses all over are complaining about how hard it is to get workers.

Some of the more popular explanations are that enhanced and extended jobless benefits have reduced recipients’ incentives to look for work and that ongoing difficulties obtaining child care have dissuaded many women in particular from returning to work. Arguments blaming one or the other fall along predictable ideological lines, but there is evidence that both are weighing on the job market. More than one thing can be true about the job market at once, and, considering the unusual set of circumstances the pandemic brought about, other factors could be contributing to hiring difficulties too.

Read more at the WSJ

Ford to Idle or Curb Output at More Plants Because of Chip Shortage

Ford said Wednesday that its pickup truck factories in Michigan, Kentucky and Missouri will reduce or stop production for much of July, while an Explorer plant in Chicago will be idled for the entire month. Other models that will see production cut or scrapped in July include the Lincoln Nautilus and Ford Escape SUVs and the Ford Mustang sports car.

The closures signal that the chip shortage will hamstring the industry well beyond the second quarter, a period that some auto executives had said would mark the worst of the supply problem.

Read More at the Detroit News

COVID-19 Vaccination Sites Run by the Government Across the U.S. are Starting to Shut Down

Covid-19 vaccination sites run by the government across the U.S. are starting to shut down. The vaccines are no longer a scarce commodity in the U.S. as supply now outstrips waning demand, and there is easier access to shots at retail pharmacies.

The shift comes as the U.S. is set to fall short of Mr. Biden’s goal for 70% of the adult population to receive at least one dose by July 4.

Read more at the WSJ

COVID-19 and US Life Expectancy

The morbidity and mortality associated with COVID-19 have resulted in decreased life expectancy* in the US, although the exact degree remains uncertain. Research recently provides evidence that these effects have disproportionately affected racial and ethnic minority populations.

One study, published in The BMJ, estimates that life expectancy in the US fell 1.87 years between 2018 and 2020 (78.74 to 76.87 years)**, compared with an average of 0.22 years of life lost in 16 other high-income countries. Compared to peer countries—including the UK, Israel, France, Denmark, Switzerland, and South Korea—the US life expectancy was 1.88 years lower in 2010, and the gap increased to 3.05 years by 2018. Based on the 2020 estimates, the gap widened again to 4.69 years. 

Read more in the BMJ

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of Wednesday morning:

One Vaccine Dose

  • 59.9% of all New Yorkers – 11,524,279 (plus 27,417 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,224,246 (plus 2,714) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 53.9% of all New Yorkers – 10,510,855 are fully vaccinated (Plus 30,266)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,107,270 (plus 3,321) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday June 28th.   There were 5 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,972. 


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 364

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.40%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.33%

Useful Websites:

US COVID Update – The Latest on Vaccine Distribution

The US has distributed 381 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and administered 324 million, and it is administering approximately 614,000 doses per day. A total of 180 million individuals in the US have received at least 1 dose of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, equivalent to 54.1% of the entire US population.

Among adults, 66.1% have received at least 1 dose as well as 8.8 million adolescents aged 12-17. A total of 154 million individuals are fully vaccinated, which corresponds to 46.3% of the total population. Among adults, 57.0% are fully vaccinated, and 6.5 million adolescents aged 12-17 years are fully vaccinated.

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

Search for COVID’s Origins Leads to China’s Wild Animal Farms

A crucial next step in the hunt for Covid-19’s origins is to examine farms that supplied wild animals to the market where many early cases were found.  There’s one big problem: Almost all the animals are gone. Farmers who bred or trapped wild animals for food, fur or traditional medicine in China, including in a hilly region near the border with Laos and Myanmar, say they killed, sold or released their stock after Chinese officials ordered them early last year to stop their trade.

Scientists say the closing of such operations made sense as a precaution to stop the virus from spreading, but should be done only after thorough testing of animals and workers. If such research occurred, it hasn’t been made public. Now, the shutdown is complicating the search for the pandemic’s source and compounding mistrust between China and much of the democratic world.

Read more at the WSJ

Vaccine Mix and Match

A mix-and-match approach to Covid vaccines – using different brands for first and second doses – appears to give good protection against the pandemic virus, a UK study has found. The Com-Cov trial looked at the efficacy of either two doses of Pfizer, two of AstraZeneca, or one of them followed by the other. All combinations worked well, priming the immune system.

This knowledge could offer flexibility for vaccine rollout, say experts. The trial results also hint that people who have already received two doses of AstraZeneca vaccine could have a stronger immune response if they were given a different jab as a booster if recommended in the autumn.

Read more at the BBC

The Race is on Between Vaccines and Delta Variant – Masks May Be Coming Back

The World Health Organization has said that the transmission of covid-19 is now outpacing vaccinations. In America, the spread of the more infectious delta variant has prompted Los Angeles County to reinstate guidance that people, including those who have been vaccinated, wear masks in indoor public spaces. Moderna said that its covid-19 vaccine seems to work well against variants including the delta strain.

The variant, first detected in India, has been identified in at least 92 countries and is considered the “fittest” variant yet of the virus that causes Covid-19, with its enhanced ability to prey on the vulnerable – particularly in places with low vaccination rates.

Read more at the New York Times

CDC Director: Vaccinated People ‘Safe’ from Delta Variant, Do Not Need Masks

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday that fully vaccinated people are “safe” from the current variants and do not need to wear masks, doubling down on CDC guidance as some others call for a return to mask wearing. Walensky said that the CDC’s guidance has not changed and that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks, echoing other health experts who note that the vaccines are highly effective even against the delta variant.

The question of mask wearing has come back to the forefront given recommendations from Los Angeles County health officials, and from the World Health Organization, that even fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks indoors in public as a precaution due to the rise of the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus.

Read more at the Hill

Why Wall Street is Not (Overly) Concerned with Delta Variant

The Delta coronavirus variant, first detected in India, is now causing cases to surge in the United Kingdom. Health experts are increasingly concerned about its spread in Europe and the United States. But investors have largely brushed off the risks, confident that vaccination campaigns will prevent the need for new lockdowns.

The muted market response is largely attributable to faith in vaccines. Moderna announced on Tuesday that its coronavirus vaccine was found in lab experiments to work against emerging variants including Delta. Shares of the US biotech company jumped 5% on the news.  A study by Public Health England this month also found that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective at preventing hospitalizations from the Delta variant after two doses.

Read more at CNN

Cybersecurity Meets the Three M’s

Council of Industry Associate Member FuzeHub writes that criminologists say there are three key factors in solving crimes: motive, means, and opportunity. Motive is the reason, means are the tools, and opportunity is the occasion for criminal behavior. With cybercrime, the method also matters.

This third M, method, can provide investigators with important clues. For U.S. manufacturers, a frequent target of hackers, the way to avoid becoming a target of opportunity begins with understanding all three M’s – motives, means, and methods – of potential cyber attackers.

Survey: Workers Should Still Wear Masks in the Workplace

A survey of 2,066 U.S. adults aged 18 and up conducted June 10-14 by The Harris Poll found that a majority of Americans believe employees working on-site should wear masks even if they are vaccinated.

These attitudes highlight divergent beliefs and comfort levels among the workforce. Employers must continue to carefully navigate and incorporate these attitudes when crafting and enforcing COVID-19 safety protocols to protect all workers.

Read more at EHS Today 

Ports in Southern California Expect Another Boom Year in 2021 to 2022

What began as a crippling year as trade tariffs and the COVID-19 pandemic torpedoed imports and exports through the Port of Long Beach (POLB) and the Port of Los Angeles (POLA), the twin ports of San Pedro Bay, California, turned out to be a record-breaker by year’s end with another boom fiscal year expected to follow in 2021. 

A TEU, short for “twenty-foot equivalent unit,” is a measurement commonly used in the shipping industry that refers to the capacity of 20-foot-long steel shipping containers used to carry goods globally. After shipping rates tumbled early in the year when the pandemic first struck, both Southern California ports rebounded with a vengeance to reach a 2020 volume of 8,113,315 TEUs for the POLB, ranking it at the third place for U.S. ports, and 9,213,395.95 TEUs for the POLA, snagging the coveted No.1 slot. 2020 marked a record-breaking year for both.

Read more at Shipping News