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Daily Briefing – 359

Post: Aug. 16, 2021

New York lawmakers Announce They’ll Finish Cuomo Impeachment Probe and Release a Final Report

Top Democrats in the New York state legislature will complete their impeachment investigation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, reversing course after announcing they’d suspend the impeachment probe on Friday due to Cuomo’s imminent resignation from office. “The Assembly Judiciary Committee will continue to review evidence and issue a final report on its investigation of Governor Cuomo,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblyman Charles Levine, chair of the chamber’s Judiciary Committee, said in a Monday statement. 

“In doing so, the committee will take all appropriate steps to ensure that this effort does not interfere with various ongoing investigations by the United States Attorney concerning nursing home data; the attorney general concerning the Governor’s memoir; and local law enforcement authorities in five jurisdictions…concerning allegations of sexual harassment,” the statement continued.  The lists of topics are telling and indicate to employers quite clearly that the Board is going to plot a new course from the Trump Board.

Read more at Business Insider

Empire Manufacturing Survey: More Growth – But at a Slower Pace

Business activity continued to expand in New York State, according to firms responding to the August 2021 Empire State Manufacturing Survey, though growth was significantly slower than last month’s record-setting pace.

  • The headline general business conditions index fell twenty-five points to 18.3.
  • New orders increased modestly, and shipments grew slightly.
  • Delivery times continued to lengthen substantially, and inventories were somewhat higher.
  • Employment and the average workweek increased modestly. Input prices continued to rise sharply, and the pace of selling price increases set another record.
  • Looking ahead, firms remained optimistic that conditions would improve over the next six months, with substantial increases in employment and prices expected.

Read more at the NY Fed

Pelosi Floats Procedural Move on Infrastructure Bill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Sunday floated a procedural move on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. In an effort to take moderates’ priorities into account, Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues Sunday that she has asked the House Rules Committee to “explore the possibility of a rule that advances both the budget resolution and the bipartisan infrastructure package.”

The House is returning to Washington next week in order to pass the Senate-approved $3.5 trillion budget resolution that will pave the way for a social spending bill that can pass with only Democratic votes. Some moderate Democrats are seeking an immediate vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill that the Senate passed earlier this month and have threatened to vote against the budget resolution unless the House first votes on the infrastructure bill. 

Read more at The Hill

The NLRB’S Recently Seated General Counsel Plots Entirely New Direction for the Board

Less than a month after being sworn in as the new General Counsel of the NLRB, Jennifer Abruzzo defined a bold new direction for the Board’s enforcement priorities in a memo issued on August 12, 2021.   Abruzzo’s memo makes clear she seeks to depart sharply from the priorities outlined by her predecessor, Peter Robb, and specifically targets for review areas where the Trump Board overruled past legal precedent.

The GC identifies three broad categories of topics that must be submitted for advice: (1) subject matter areas where, in the last several years, the Board overruled legal precedent; (2) new initiatives that the General Counsel would like to carefully examine, and; (3) matters traditionally submitted to advice.

Read more at the National Law Review

US COVID Update – Cases Surge as Students Return to Schools

Classrooms that have reopened for the fall are seeing a growing number of Covid-19 outbreaks just days into the semester, causing some schools to temporarily shut down buildings or send students home to quarantine. The outbreaks are among the first indications of how the virus is affecting schools, and come as the country pushes toward—and hopes for—a full return to in-person learning. 

The early outbreaks could portend another disruptive school year, said Paul Offit, an infectious-disease specialist who is the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Our behavior matters, and our behavior is worse now than it was a year ago,” he said. Dr. Offit said that the loosened rules around safety protocols like masks, combined with the more contagious Delta variant an

Read more at the WSJ

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of  Sunday August 15th:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 65.2% of all New Yorkers – 12,554,526 (plus 19,773 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,329,548 (plus 1,359) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 58.4% of all New Yorkers – 11,360,953 are fully vaccinated (Plus 13,394)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,189,825 (plus 1,898) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday August 15th.  There were 11 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,259.


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 1,772

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 3.09%
  • Mid-Hudson: 3.16%

Useful Websites:

Vaccination Mandate for NYS Healthcare Workers

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced yesterday that all healthcare workers in New York State, including staff at hospitals and long-term care facilities (LTCF), including nursing homes, adult care, and other congregate care settings, will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Monday, September 27. 

The State Department of Health will issue Section 16 Orders requiring all hospital, LTCF, and nursing homes to develop and implement a policy mandating employee vaccinations, with limited exceptions for those with religious or medical reasons. To date, 75% of the state’s ~450,000 hospital workers, 74% of the state’s ~30,000 adult care facility workers, and 68% of the state’s ~145,500 nursing home workers have completed their vaccine series. Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul’s administration was briefed prior to the announcement.

Read the press release

OSHA Updates Guidance on Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued on August 13 updated guidance to help employers protect workers from the coronavirus. OSHA’s latest guidance:

  • Recommends that fully vaccinated workers in areas of substantial or high community transmission wear masks in order to protect unvaccinated workers;
  • Recommends that fully vaccinated workers who have close contacts with people with coronavirus wear masks for up to 14 days unless they have a negative coronavirus test at least 3-5 days after such contact;
  • Clarifies recommendations to protect unvaccinated workers and other at-risk workers in manufacturing, meat and poultry processing, seafood processing and agricultural processing;
  • and Links to the latest guidance on K-12 schools and CDC statements on public transit.

OSHA continues to emphasize that vaccination is the optimal step to protect workers and encourages employers to engage with workers and their representatives to implement multi-layered approaches to protect unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers from the coronavirus.

Read the guidance at OSHA

U.S. Economy Likely to Outgrow China’s Due to Contrast in Pandemic Responses

U.S. gross domestic product rose 12.2% in the second quarter of this year from a year earlier, outpacing China’s 7.9% gain. The American edge should continue for at least the next few quarters, many economists say. That would be the first sustained period since at least 1990 in which the U.S. economy grew faster than China’s.

In the short term, the reversal reflects the difference in the two nations’ responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. The coronavirus circulated earlier in China and the country’s leaders quickly imposed quarantines in the pandemic’s epicenter of Wuhan and elsewhere. Chinese GDP fell by 6.7% in the first quarter of 2020 from a year earlier, while the U.S. GDP registered a small gain.

Read more at the WSJ

New York Requiring Vaccines for Museum Visitors and Staff

New York City has announced it is requiring vaccinations for museum visitors and staffers as COVID-19 cases continue to tick up in the country. The new policy includes vaccination mandates for museums, concert halls, aquariums, gyms, professional sporting venues and zoos. 

“Starting tomorrow, you’ll need proof of vaccination to unlock everything New York City has to offer,” NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) tweeted on Monday. 

Read more at The Hill

China Economy Under Pressure as Factory Output, Retail Sales Growth Slow Sharply

Worries grew about the health of China’s economic recovery from the covid-19 pandemic after it reported lower-than-expected factory output and retail-sales growth in July. Economists blamed travel restrictions, floods and typhoons for the bad news. In recent weeks many have cut their forecasts for Chinese GDP growth this year as the Delta variant spreads around the country.

  • Industrial output +6.4% y/y vs June’s +8.3%, Reuters poll +7.8%
  • Retail sales +8.5% y/y vs June’s +12.1%, Reuters poll +11.5%
  • Fixed asset investment +10.3% in Jan-July, Reuters poll +11.3%

Analysts expect growth to continue to slow.

Read more at Reuters

Boeing to Remove Starliner from Rocket, Months-Long Delay Expected

Boeing announced Friday that it has to send its troubled CST-100 Starliner capsule to a factory for repairs, delaying an unmanned test flight to the International Space Station (ISS) for several months. The spacecraft had been due to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on August 3 on an Atlas V rocket built by United Launch Alliance but the flight was delayed because of problems with four propulsion system valves.

Boeing said it would be forced to remove the capsule from the Atlas V rocket and transport it to a factory at the Kennedy Space Center for “deeper-level troubleshooting” of the valves.

Read more at IndustryWeek

FEMA’s Funerals Reach $1 Billion

A massive FEMA program is helping to reimburse the high costs of funerals in the COVID-19 era—so far, it’s reached $1 billion in disbursements, a grim statistic, but less than half of what was originally earmarked for the program in December 2020. According to one official, funeral assistance is part of the regular disaster assistance program, “but not to this scale, normally.”

There have been more than 150,000 applicants to the massive FEMA program, which all indications suggest will be issuing COVID-19-related funeral aid through 2023. 

Read more at Fortune

U.S. regulators launch formal investigation into Tesla Autopilot system

Federal vehicle safety regulators have launched a formal investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot system following a series of crashes that have left at least 17 people injured and one dead, according to documents filed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Autopilot is Tesla’s limited self-driving feature that still requires a human to operate.

The formal investigation comes just months after the NHTSA and National Transportation Safety Board said they were looking into the company, following a crash in Texas. In recent months there have been several probes into Tesla’s Autopilot, including an investigation in March after a Model Y using the system reportedly struck a stationary police car.

Read more at CNBC

The Economist: