Daily Briefing – 348

CDC Recommends Indoor Mask Wearing for Vaccinated People In Hot Spots

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Tuesday that fully vaccinated people begin wearing masks indoors again in places with high Covid-19 transmission rates. The updated guidance comes ahead of the fall season, when the highly contagious delta variant is expected to cause another surge in new coronavirus cases and many large employers plan to bring workers back to the office. 

Federal officials still believe fully vaccinated individuals represent a very small amount of transmission, according to the sources. Still, some vaccinated people could be carrying higher levels of the virus than previously understood and potentially transmit it to others, they said.

Read more at CNN

IMF Lifts Growth Forecasts for Rich Nations, Dims Outlook for Developing World

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday maintained its 6% global growth forecast for 2021. The IMF significantly raised its forecasts for the United States, which it now expects to grow at 7.0% in 2021 and 4.9% in 2022 – up 0.6 and 1.4 percentage points, respectively, from the forecasts in April. The projections assume the U.S. Congress will approve President Joe Biden’s roughly $4 trillion in proposed infrastructure, education and family support spending largely as envisioned by the White House.

The Fund cut its 2021 growth forecast for India, which has struggled with a massive wave of infections this year, by three percentage points to 9.5%. It also reduced its 2021 forecast for China by 0.3 percentage point, citing a scaling back of public investment and overall fiscal support. The IMF also forecast lower prospects for Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam where recent waves of COVID-19 infections are weighing on activity. The Fund forecast that emerging Asia would grow 7.5% this year, down 1.1 percentage points from the April forecast.

Read more at Reuters

“Of Course I’m Talking About Delta You Twerp”

Much like its Animal House namesake, the Delta variant is the fastest, fittest and most formidable version of the coronavirus the world has encountered, and it is upending assumptions about the disease.  Vaccine protection remains very strong against severe disease and hospitalizations caused by any version of the coronavirus according to interviews with 10 leading COVID-19 experts.

Evidence, however, is mounting that the Delta variant is capable of infecting fully vaccinated people at a greater rate than previous versions, and concerns have been raised that they may even spread the virus, experts said.  As a result, targeted use of masks, social distancing and other measures may again be needed even in countries with broad vaccination campaigns.

Read more at Reuters

Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates Imposed on Some Government Workers

A significant uptick in Covid-19 cases across the U.S. is leading to new vaccination mandates for public employees, with the Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday becoming the first federal agency, California the first state, and New York the first major city to announce requirements for their workers.

The requirements drew criticism from some unions and sparked questions about their legality. Richard L. Brown, president of the SEIU chapter that represents 43% of California approximately 238,000 state employees, said he was appalled by Mr. Newsom’s announcement. However, On Monday, dozens of groups that represent millions of healthcare professionals, including the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association, released a joint statement asking that all healthcare professionals, including those working in long-term-care facilities, be vaccinated.

Read more at the WSJ

US COVID Update – Hospitalizations on the Rise

The number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations is beginning to rise in most US states, following increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases driven by the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant. Nationally, hospitalization rates remain low overall, nowhere near the previous pandemic peaks. But the increases in hospitalizations are high and rising in parts of the country that have low vaccination rates, including Florida, Nevada, Arkansas, and Missouri. Some Florida hospitals are seeing the highest number of COVID-19 patients since the beginning of the pandemic, and the pace of this surge is accelerating rapidly.

One hospital in Missouri said its increase in patients occurred nearly 5 times as fast as last fall’s surge. An estimated 97% of hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. Patients also are skewing younger, with 69% under the age of 65, according to CDC data as of July 17. Some hospitals are scrambling to find space for intensive care patients, trying to address personnel shortages, and attempting to maintain adequate supplies of medical equipment such as ventilators. 

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of  Monday July 26th:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 62.3% of all New Yorkers – 11,991,343 (plus 14,184 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,272,870 (plus 1,325) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 56.6% of all New Yorkers – 11,008,368 are fully vaccinated (Plus 9,864)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,153,903 (plus 697) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday July 25th.  There were 4 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,059.


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 546

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.88%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.58%

Useful Websites:

U.S. Coronavirus Recession Lasted Two Months, Ended in April 2020

The U.S. officially climbed out of a recession in April 2020, concluding a pandemic-driven economic contraction that lasted two months, making it the shortest on record. The announcement Monday from the National Bureau of Economic Research also marks April as the official start of the economic recovery from the initial shock of the coronavirus pandemic last spring.

The committee uses a variety of indicators to identify the peaks and troughs that frame economic contractions, defining “recession” as a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy that typically lasts more than a few months. 

Read more at the WSJ

New Carrier Set to Land at New York Stewart International Airport This Fall

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York Stewart International Airport will be launching new air service to three Florida cities aboard Frontier Airlines starting this fall. Frontier Airlines announced today it will be scheduling flights between New York Stewart and Miami International Airport and Tampa International Airport three times each per week, starting November 2, and flights between New York Stewart and Orlando International Airport four times a week starting October 25.

Read the press release

Cleveland-Cliffs Offering Steelworkers Up to $3,000 to Get Vaccinated

Steelworkers can get bonuses between $200 and $3,000 depending on how many people at their workplace get vaccinated. Company officials describe the bonuses as “the most generous vaccine incentive program in the world.”

Cleveland-Cliffs will pay each worker $1,500 if 75% of their workplace gets vaccinated and $3,000 per employee if 85% gets the vaccine.  Employees still will get paid even if their workplace falls short of the vaccination target.

Read More at the Northwest Indiana Times

World Health Organization Speaks Out Against Vaccine Travel Passports

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Thursday that countries should not require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for international travel.  WHO’s experts said coronavirus vaccinations should not be the only requisite for reopening international travel, as many countries around the world continue to have limited access to immunizations.

The Emergency Committee said that “requiring proof of vaccination deepens inequities and promotes unequal freedom of movement.” Countries with limited access to COVID-19 vaccines could face exclusion, according to health experts.

Read more at TravelPulse

Energy Prices – Henry Hub Natural Gas Pierces $4.00/mmbtu

Henry Hub NYMEX spot natural gas hit $4.00/mmbtu on Thursday, July 22, and traded as high as $4.14/mmbtu on Monday, July 26. The last time the benchmark traded above $4 was November 2018. Strong demand and weak supply are credited with driving the market to breach what many consider a psychological barrier. 

Read more at EngieResources

CDC Study: Influenza and Other Respiratory Virus Activity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Influenza viruses and human metapneumovirus circulated at historic lows through May 2021. In April 2021, respiratory syncytial virus activity increased. Common human coronaviruses, parainfluenza viruses, and respiratory adenoviruses have been increasing since January or February 2021. Rhinoviruses and enteroviruses began to increase in June 2020.

Clinicians and employers should be aware of increased circulation, sometimes off season, of some respiratory viruses and consider multi-pathogen testing. In addition to recommended preventive actions, fall influenza vaccination campaigns are important as schools and workplaces resume in-person activities with relaxed

Read more at the CDC

UPS Earnings Beat – But Key Metrics Signal Boom Is Fading

UPS beat second-quarter earnings forecasts Tuesday, but shipping volume fell while management sees slower growth. The report comes amid severe supply-chain disruptions around the world, due in part to the rebounding global economy. Both UPS and FedEx (FDX) have hiked surcharges in recent months but have also struggled to make deliveries on time.

UPS sees an operating margin of 12.7% going forward vs. 14% in Q2. For the rest of the year, UPS sees sales growth slowing to 5.4% overall and 8.2% in the U.S. vs. first half gains of 20% and 16%, respectively. Third Bridge analyst Patrick Donnelly warned: “The biggest risk for the company moving forward will be the continued competitive pressure by Amazon Fulfillment. As a customer and competitor, Amazon is able to cherry pick the most attractive parcels for final mile delivery while leaving UPS with the remaining volume.”

Read more at Investors Business Daily

Infrastructure Deal Could Create 500,000 Manufacturing Jobs

A bipartisan infrastructure deal being negotiated in the U.S. Senate could create roughly half a million new manufacturing jobs by 2024, the end of President Biden’s first term, an analysis conducted on behalf of the trade group Association of Equipment Manufacturers found.

The analysis by IHS Markit assumes the manufacturing jobs would come from $1.1 trillion spent over eight years starting in 2022, with 75% of funding to be spent in the first five years. It also assumes Congress will authorize an additional $303 billion in transportation spending over five years. 

Read more at CBS

Its Lonely at the Top

Stress is present at every level of an organization. Trying to figure out how it affects us both as individuals and in our jobs is difficult. At some level, all of us know that stress takes a terrible toll on our health and ultimately how we are able to perform our jobs, but what we don’t know is how to figure out at what point stress will turn into anxiety and even depression. This is true of both employees and executives alike.

“CEOs need to aware of their mental health as well,” explains Robert Allen,  CEO of New Dimensions Consulting Services, and author of Self-care Let’s Start the Conversation.

“Self-care isn’t often discussed in the executive suite, but it needs to be addressed and also redefined.” Robert Allen, CEO of New Dimensions Consulting Services. Allen points out that during the pandemic, companies did a great job pivoting during the pandemic, and they must continue to do the same when it comes to self-care. “We need to examine our levels of stress and chart a new course,” he says.  He describes the process as the 4r’s – Retreat, Reflect, Replenish and Regroup.

Read more at IndustryWeek