Daily Briefing – 345

With Details Unresolved Republicans Block Infrastructure Debate 

Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked the start of formal debate on bipartisan infrastructure legislation, a core part of President Joe Biden’s economic plan, because the bill text and cost weren’t available as negotiations continued. But senators from both parties called the setback temporary, and another vote was expected as soon as Monday. That would give negotiators time to draft the legislation and score how much it would cost.

The 51-49 vote against beginning debate, which needed to clear a 60-vote threshold to succeed, came after a series of late-night negotiations. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, changed his vote to help defeat the measure so he could be on the prevailing side to call it up for another vote in the future. 

Read more at the USA Today

When it Comes to Reopening, Income Matters More than Party

The wealthier you are, the more likely you are to stay home. Mobility data from Google backs this up.  Location information collected from millions of mobile phones — shows Republicans and Democrats are more alike than you’d expect once a crucial factor is considered: how much money they make. 

  • In fact, higher-income Republican counties looked much more like higher-income Democratic counties than their lower-income counterparts.
  • Lower-income counties that voted for Biden and Trump returned to normal activities within two weeks of each other, and since then, their differences have only narrowed.
  • Higher-income Biden counties were the last to return to baseline activities and remain around 10 percent more conservative in grocery visits than the other groups.

Read more at Politico

U.S. Life Expectancy Fell by 1.5 Years in 2020, the Biggest Decline in Generations

Provisional data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that American life expectancy dropped to 77.3 years in 2020, roughly the same level as in 2003, erasing years of hard-won gains in the nation’s public health. It was the largest single-year decline recorded since 1943. Covid-19, drug overdoses and homicides drove longevity down; Hispanic men suffered largest decline 

The full toll of the pandemic has yet to be seen, doctors and public-health officials said. Many people skipped or delayed treatment last year for conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, and endured isolation, stress and interruptions in normal diet and exercise routines.

Read more at the WSJ

McConnell Warns GOP Won’t Vote to Raise Debt Ceiling

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is warning that Republicans won’t help raise the debt ceiling and is urging Democrats to include the spending hike in an infrastructure bill that they can pass along party lines. “I can’t imagine there will be a single Republican voting to raise the debt ceiling after what we’ve been experiencing,” McConnell told Punchbowl News.

McConnell added that Democrats should include the hike in reconciliation, the process they are using to pass a $3.5 trillion spending package by a simple majority in the Senate.

Read more at The Hill

US COVID – Cases, Mortality Inching Up

The US reported 29,578 new cases on July 16—more than 2.5 times higher than the low on June 18 (11,457)—before falling slightly on July 18 (26,011). Daily mortality also peaked on July 16, increasing from a low of 159 deaths per day on July 11 to 234 (+47%) before falling slightly to 218.

On the Vaccine Front, a total of 186 million individuals in the US have received at least 1 dose, equivalent to 56.1% of the entire US population. Among adults, 68.3% have received at least 1 dose as well as 10.0 million adolescents aged 12-17 years. A total of 161 million individuals are fully vaccinated, which corresponds to 48.6% of the total population. Approximately 59.5% of adults are fully vaccinated, as well as 7.8 million adolescents aged 12-17 years.

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of  Tuesday July 21st:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 61.8% of all New Yorkers – 11,890,620 (plus 19,626 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,262,042 (plus 1,916) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 56.1% of all New Yorkers – 10,926,403 are fully vaccinated (Plus 18,116)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,146,199 (plus 1,744) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday July 20th.  There were 5 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,041.


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 462

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.41%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.10%

Useful Websites:

Revenge of the Nerds – Lambda Variant In the US

A patient at Houston Methodist Hospital was confirmed to be infected with the Lambda variant Monday,  which first emerged in Peru in 2020, KHOU11 reported. According to a tracker by GISAID, over 700 cases of the Lambda variant have been reported in the U.S.

The World Health Organization designated Lambda, also known as C.37, a “variant of interest” on June 14. “I don’t think there’s any more reason to be concerned than before we knew about this variant,” Dr. Nathaniel Landau, a microbiologist at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine who is studying the new variants, told The New York Times earlier in July. “There’s no reason to think that this is now something worse than Delta.

Read more at Newsweek

China Floods: 12 Dead in Zhengzhou and Thousands Evacuated in Henan

Twelve people have died after record-breaking rainfall flooded underground railway tunnels in China, leaving passengers trapped in rising waters. More than 500 people were eventually rescued from the tunnels in Henan province, officials said.

Part of the Yellow River basin in China, Henan has several major river systems running through the province which are prone to flooding. Zhengzhou, which has a population of 12 million, sits on the banks of the Yellow River itself.  This region is known as an industrial center and is home to many firms critical to supply chains including Foxconn.  That company has said its operations have note been effected by the flooding. 

Read more at the BBC

Hudson Valley Unemployment Rate Falls to 5.1 Percent

The New York State Department of Labor reports that the June 2021 unemployment rate for the Hudson Valley Region is 5.1 percent.  That is up from 4.7 percent in May 2021 and down from 12.3 percent in June 2020.  In June 2021, there were 57,300 unemployed in the region, up from 52,400 in May 2021 and down from 139,800 in June 2020.  Year-over-year in June 2021, labor force decreased by 12,000 or 1.1 percent, to 1,128,400.

  • Putnam County 4.7 percent
  • Rockland County 4.8 percent
  • Dutchess County 4.9 percent
  • Ulster County 5.0 percent
  • Orange County 5.2 percent
  • Westchester County 5.2 percent
  • Sullivan County 5.3 percent

The US unemployment rate is 6.1 Percent.  It is 7.3 percent in New York State.

Read the Press Release

Apple Delays Office Return by At Least a Month as Covid Spikes

Apple Inc., responding to a surge in Covid variants, is pushing back its office re-opening by at least a month to October at the earliest and recommending that workers at its retail stores wear masks, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Store workers, vaccinated or not, are being urged to start wearing masks again, other people familiar with the matter said. In regions where local authorities have reinstated mask mandates, retail workers must comply, the company told employees. Apple had dropped its internal mask mandate in June.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook told employees in June that they should begin returning to offices by early September for at least three days a week. In an internal memo at the time, Cook cited the availability of vaccinations and declining infection rates. Some employees of the Cupertino, California-based technology giant have worked from Apple offices on certain days throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read more at Bloomberg

New Home Construction Rises

New residential construction activity increased 6.3% (at the annual rate) from May to June, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The number of new units built in June (1.64 million) is the best reading in six months. Numbers were higher in the South and West and weaker in the Midwest and Northeast.

The pace of new builds has decreased since March’s high of 1.725 million units, the strongest since July 2006. However, single-family housing starts have increased 10% since February 2020.

Read more at Census Bureau

NYS Manufacturing Alliance/Council of Industry/Department of Labor to Host Advance Manufacturing Virtual Job Fair

We are excited to partner together to offer a modern job fair simulation where manufacturing businesses and job seekers can connect in a virtual setting in real-time, while keeping the familiar feel and positive outcomes of a physical event.  The Virtual Job Fair will go live on Thursday, August 19, 2021 at 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.    

Following receipt of exhibiting businesses registrations, businesses will receive an email containing deadlines, important links for accessing the event, login credentials to “create” your booth and a Virtual Career Fair Exhibitors Guide.  This guide details information about the event, gives helpful tips and answers many frequently asked questions.  Department of Labor staff will be available throughout the process to help you with overall technical assistance. If you are interested in exhibiting, please register at the link below, by Wednesday August 4, 2021.

Shipping Container Rates to Remain Elevated Into 2022 as Demand Outpaces Capacity

Shipping container rates have spiked by as much as three or four times since the onset of the pandemic and are likely to remain elevated beyond 2022 as the global demand for goods continues to outpace available capacity. And even when the demand starts to ease container rates are unlikely to return to their previous levels.

Rates began to spike in Q4 2020, driven by the shortage of containers, and after some easing, shot up again when the Ever Given became lodged in the Suez Canal. Rates continued rising recently when an outbreak of COVID-19 infections at the port of Yantian, one of China’s busiest container ports, led to lengthy delays at the port and added additional strain to the network.

Read more at ICIS