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Daily Briefing – 351

Post: Aug. 2, 2021

What Comes Next for the $1 Trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer aims to rush the 2,702-page legislation through the chamber before a planned monthlong recess starting Aug. 9. Votes on amendments — or a decision by any senator to delay the process — could trip up the New York Democrat’s timeline. Schumer on Monday urged all 100 senators to agree to start the amendment process, warning the “longer it takes to finish the bill, the longer we’ll be here.” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, signaled he is in no rush to move toward a final vote on the legislation.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, signaled he is in no rush to move toward a final vote on the legislation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said she will not take up either the infrastructure plan or budget measure until the Senate passes both of them, a strategy that has sparked criticism from Republicans.

Read more at CNBC

U.S. Manufacturing Growth Unexpectedly Slows Modestly In July

The pace of growth in U.S. manufacturing activity unexpectedly slowed in the month of July, according to a report released by the Institute for Supply Management on Monday. The ISM said its manufacturing PMI dipped to 59.5 in July from 60.6 in June. While a reading above 50 still indicates growth in the manufacturing sector, economists had expected the index to inch up to 60.9.

  • The production index slid to 58.4 in July from 60.8 in June.
  • The new orders index fell to 64.9 from 66.0.
  • The supplier deliveries index dropped to 72.5 in July from 75.1 in June.
  • The prices index also tumbled to 85.7 in July after reaching a more than forty-year high of 92.1 in June.
  • The employment index jumped to 52.9 in July from 49.9 in June, indicating a return to job growth in the manufacturing sector.

Read More at Business Insider

New Mask Mandates Cause Confusion

The most up-to-date guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was issued on July 30, revising its previous guidance issued just three days earlier. The advice is that everyone wear a mask in indoor public settings in areas of substantial and high transmission, regardless of their vaccination status. 

The best advice coming from attorneys who specialize in employment law is: Keep up with the everchanging developments and remain as flexible as you can be in the face of changing circumstances. And remember OSHA’s Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace explicitly references the CDC guidance in its recommendations for employers.

Read more at EHS Today

COVID in NY: CDC Recommends Masks in These 23 Counties Where COVID is Spreading Fast

Indoor mask-wearing in public is recommended by the CDC in counties with substantial or high COVID transmission or test positivity rates. That means counties with at least 50 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population over the past seven days, or a COVID test positivity rate of 8% and above.

Daily figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Sunday showed 23 of New York’s 62 counties met the COVID-19 spread threshold where the CDC recommends people should mask up indoors.  Orange, Sullivan and Westchester are on the list. 

US COVID Update – CDC: Most COVID-19 Cases in Massachusetts Outbreak Among Vaccinated

Three-quarters of people infected with COVID-19 at July public events in a town on Cape Cod in Massachusetts were fully vaccinated. The CDC study found vaccinated individuals had a similar amount of virus presence as the unvaccinated, suggesting that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant could transmit the virus, the CDC said.

469 cases were found among Massachusetts residents from July 3 to 26 related to the Cape Code outbreak. Of those, 74% were among fully vaccinated people. The CDC said its study excluded residents of 22 other states. Barnstable County reported that as of July 30, 934 total cases had been associated with the outbreak. The CDC said that overall, 79% of the vaccinated individuals who were infected with COVID-19 also reported symptoms such as cough, headache, sore throat and fever. Four had to be hospitalized, the CDC said.

Read more at Reuters

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of  Monday August 2nd:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 63.2% of all New Yorkers – 12,155,226 (plus 18,619 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,290,076 (plus 1,416) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 57.2% of all New Yorkers – 11,126,343 are fully vaccinated (Plus 11,815)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,165,249 (plus816) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday August 1st.  There were 4 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,093.


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 788

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 2.53%
  • Mid-Hudson: 2.34%

Useful Websites:

Plug-in Airborne COVID-19 Virus Detector Unveiled

Baltimore-based Opteev announced it has developed ViraWarn, which it says is the first-ever plug-in screening device that can detect airborne COVID-19 particles in real time in indoor spaces. Opteev is a joint development of Novatec Inc. and MachineSense LLC.

ViraWarn modules include air suction that complements a room’s existing airflow to move air through the ViraWarn detection chamber and analyzes the air to detect if a coronavirus is present. If a viral alert is triggered, a visual indication via an LED light and an audible alert immediately signal so that the room can be evacuated and disinfected in addition to having the occupants screened. A mobile app is also available for mobile notification alerts.

Read more at Plastics Machinery and Manufacturing

Walmart and Disney Join a Growing Group of Businesses Requiring Vaccines

On Friday, Walmart and the Walt Disney Company introduced new requirements that some employees be vaccinated. They followed similar announcements this past week from Google, Facebook, Uber and others.

Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, with nearly 1.6 million workers, said vaccines would be mandatory for employees in its headquarters and for managers who traveled in the United States. The mandate does not apply to employees in stores, clubs, and distribution and fulfillment centers. Disney said salaried and nonunion hourly U.S. employees at its sites must be fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated workers who are already on site will have 60 days to get the immunization, and new hires will be required to be fully vaccinated before starting work.

Read more at the New York Times

Caixin PMI: China’s July Factory Activity Growth Slips to 15-Month Low

China’s factory activity growth slipped sharply in July as demand contracted for the first time in over a year in part on high product prices, a business survey showed on Monday, underscoring challenges facing the world’s manufacturing hub. The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 50.3 last month from 51.3 the month before, the lowest level since April 2020.

The Chinese economy has largely recovered from disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but it has faced new challenges in recent months such as higher raw material costs, which dragged on profit growth at industrial firms in June.

Read more at Reuters

HSBC Earnings Double

HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, reported that its profits more than doubled in the first half of 2021, year-on-year, to $10.8bn. It benefited as the economies of Britain and Hong Kong, its two biggest markets, sprang back. 

Like rivals, HSBC is benefiting from better-than-hoped for resilience on the part of companies grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. That said, a decline in revenue underscored longer-term challenges.

Read more at Reuters

No End In Sight to Supply-Chain Snarls

The supply-chain challenges and the great debate over whether inflation will suffocate the economy are related. Many industrial companies are now on their third set of pandemic price increases in an effort to offset rising material costs and compensate for labor and freight-capacity constraints.

The seemingly never-ending pileup of supply-chain pileups has required both holistic solutions and on-the-spot creativity. Industrial manufacturers aren’t feeling the pinch of the semiconductor shortage quite as much as automakers, but certain kinds of industrial semiconductors are still hard to find through the normal channels. Demand for Honeywell’s box scanners has exploded alongside the boom in e-commerce, but some sensors that help power them are in short supply, for example. So the company has reworked the design to accommodate alternatively formatted chips. “

Read more at Bloomberg

The Fortune Global 500 List Illustrates the Industrial Narratives of Our Age

The Fortune Global 500 companies experienced an overall 5% drop in revenues in 2020, and aggregate profits were down 20%, which is the biggest decline since 2009.

  • Last year’s list contained six airlines; with their revenues down 60% in 2020, not a single one made the new list.
  • This is the second year in a row in which mainland China (including Hong Kong) has had more companies on the list than the U.S. 
  • Fossil fuel: Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, both of which ranked at No. 1 at least twice this century, each dropped to their lowest Global 500 rankings yet, at No. 23 and No. 19 respectively.
  • Saudi Aramco’s two-year reign as “most profitable” company is over, with the crown passing to Apple again.
  • Diversity: A year ago, there were 14 female CEOs of the Fortune Global 500. Now, the tally is 23, representing a rise of nearly two-thirds.

Read more at Fortune

Copper Strike Possible in Chile Could Impact Supply

The world’s biggest copper mine, the BHP-owned Escondida in Chile’s Atacama desert, may be hit with a strike soon. Workers, who want education benefits for their kids and a one-time bonus for their work during the pandemic, overwhelmingly approved the move in a vote that ended Saturday.

Escondida workers staged a 44-day strike in 2017, the longest in the history of Chilean mining. The strike caused $740 million in losses for the company. The workers are asking for a one-time bonus to recognize their work during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as education benefits for their children.

Read more at France 24