Our Blog

Daily Briefing – 378

Post: Sep. 21, 2021

COVID is Officially America’s Deadliest Pandemic as U.S. Fatalities Surpass 1918 Flu Estimates

Reported U.S. deaths due to COVID-19 crossed 675,000 on Monday, and are rising at an average of more than 1,900 fatalities per day, Johns Hopkins data shows. The 1918 flu killed an estimated 675,000 Americans, according to the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention. It was considered America’s most lethal pandemic in recent history up until now.

It’s important to consider population, however, when talking about outbreaks or disasters. In 1918, for example, the U.S. population was less than a third of today’s with an estimated 103 million people living in America just before the roaring 1920s. Today, there are nearly 330 million people living in the U.S. That means the 1918 flu killed about 1 in every 150 Americans, compared with 1 in 500 who have died from COVID so far.

Read more at CNBC

Democrats Release Debt Ceiling Bill that Includes Ida Aid

House Democrats unveiled legislation on Tuesday that would keep the federal government funded through Dec. 3 and suspend the debt limit into next year as the deadlines to avert both crises loom in a matter of days. The bill also includes $28.6 billion to address recent natural disasters, including for Hurricane Ida. That may draw the support of some Republicans who want to ensure that disaster aid arrives to their districts in a timely fashion, but likely won’t draw a majority of the GOP.

Republicans have been adamant that they won’t back a debt limit suspension as a form of protest against Democrats’ $3.5 trillion bill to expand social safety net programs. The bill appears to lack the votes in the Senate where at least 10 Republicans would have to join with all Democrats for it to pass.

Read more at The Hill

Metalformers Face Raw Material Price Hikes and Labor Shortages

A survey from the Precision Metalforming Association indicates that many metalforming companies expect lead times to continue increasing in the months ahead. Average lead times at metalforming companies are increasing with barely any sign of slowing down. Just over six in ten survey respondents said average lead times are longer than they were three months ago.  More than half of PMA members have reported increased average lead times for every month since February 2021 now.

Staffing, like in other manufacturing sectors, is a longstanding sore point for survey respondents. The amount of survey respondents that indicated they were seeking to expand their workforce was unchanged from last month at 77%: Companies looking to hire have made up more than 50% since the start of 2021 and 70% of responses since April of this year.

Read more at IndustryWeek

OECD Global Economic Forecast Revised Slightly Lower Due to Delta

After slumping 3.4% last year during the worst of the COVID-19 crisis, the world economy is on course to grow 5.7% this year, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said, trimming its forecast by 0.1 percentage point. The rapid recovery has brought global gross domestic product back to pre-COVID levels, though activity is still lagging in many developing countries where vaccination rates remain low, the OECD said.

  • The U.S. economy was seen expanding 6.0% this year, down nearly a percentage point from May, and easing to 3.9% in 2022, up 0.3 percentage points.
  • Chinese growth was forecast at 8.5% this year and 5.8% in 2022, both unchanged from previous estimates.
  • The OECD raised its forecast for euro zone growth this year by a full percentage point to 5.3% and nudged up its 2022 estimate by 0.2% percentage points to 4.6%.

Read more at Reuters

US COVID-19 Update – Has Delta Peaked? 

The US CDC reports 42.0 million cumulative COVID-19 cases and 672,738 deaths. The US appears as though it may have passed a peak in terms of daily incidence. The most recent high was 159,929 new cases per day on September 1, and the trend began to decline slightly before the Labor Day holiday weekend. The reporting has largely recovered following the holiday, but the average daily incidence has not returned to the pre-holiday level. The current average is approximately 141,000 new cases per day and appears to be decreasing.

Daily mortality continues to increase slowly, now up to 1,521 deaths per day—the highest average since February 27. If the daily incidence peaked on September 1, we would expect mortality to peak in the next week or so. 

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of Tuesday September 21st:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 70.01 of all New Yorkers – 13,602,159 (plus 21,646 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,433,052 (plus 2,585) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 62.7% of all New Yorkers – 12,187,238 are fully vaccinated (Plus 19,457)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,270,797 (plus 2,184) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday September 20th.  There were 41 COVID related deaths for a total of 56,309


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,402.

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 2.98%
  • Mid-Hudson: 3.09%

Useful Websites:

J&J Says Covid-19 Vaccine Booster Two Months After First Shot Increases Protection

Data released Tuesday from a late-stage clinical trial showed that study participants in 10 countries including the U.S. who received a second dose of the company’s vaccine two months after the first had 75% protection against symptomatic Covid-19. Participants in the U.S. had 94% protection against the illness. J&J didn’t explain the reason for the difference in efficacy rates.

A double dose of the vaccine provided participants with 100% protection against severe or critical Covid-19 at least two weeks after the second shot, J&J said.

Read more at the WSJ

Reshoring On Track to Hit Record Highs in 2021 – Ohio, Arizona, and Tennessee Lead the Way

The latest report from the Reshoring Initiative projected the U.S. is on track to add a total of 224,213 jobs from abroad in 2021. According to the data, reshoring is on track to make up 62% of such jobs this year. Essential products investment is helping drive this year’s gains, the Initiative said, including increased funding for domestic semiconductors, electric vehicle batteries and pharmaceuticals. Those products—in addition to PPE and rare earth metals—represent collectively about 28% of returning jobs.

Reshoring and foreign direct investment have already created more than 90,000 jobs in the United States this year, with Ohio, Arizona, and Tennessee each gaining more than 10,000 jobs apiece. Texas, which ranked at number two for new FDI/reshoring jobs created in 2020, slipped to number thirteen with 3,488 new jobs in the first half of the year.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Hudson Valley Unemployment Rate, Labor Force Both Shrink

The August 2021 unemployment rate for the Hudson Valley Region is 5.1 percent.  That is down from 5.2 percent in July 2021 and down from 9.6 percent in August 2020.  In August 2021, there were 58,100 unemployed in the region, down from 59,300 in July 2021 and down from 111,200 in August 2020. 

Year-over-year in August 2021, labor force decreased by 23,700 or 2.1 percent, to 1,130,000.

Total employed in the  Hudson Valley by MSA August 2021

COVID-19 Global Vaccination Caucus Sees $2 Billion for Vaccine Manufacturing as Mere Starting Point

While buoyed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s advancement of the Build Back Better Act, and the offerings therein, the United States COVID-19 Global Vaccination Caucus chimed in last week to note that its offers for vaccine manufacturing are just a beginning.

“According to one estimate, this funding is sufficient to produce an additional 1 billion doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine or an additional 500 million doses of the NIH-Moderna vaccine by mid-2022. With nearly 60 percent of the world yet to receive a single dose of any COVID-19 vaccine — including less than 2 percent of people living in low-income countries — we must dramatically expand global access to these life-saving vaccines.”

Read more at Homeland Preparedness News

U.S. Pledge to Vaccinate Poor Countries Stumbles Amid Logistical Challenges

The U.S. has been ramping up vaccine donations to poor countries. But efforts to distribute even the current level of donations have hit snags in many poor countries that range from inadequate infrastructure and governmental resources to a lack of national planning for a major vaccine rollout, according to officials in those countries and public health specialists working on the issue. These problems, they say, have in some cases been exacerbated by confusing communication from the U.S. on when and what quantities of vaccines would arrive.

Read more at the WSJ

Gates Raises $1 Billion as Corporate CEOs Join Race to Scale Clean Tech

Bill Gates raised more than $1 billion in corporate funding for Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, drawing on BlackRock Inc.’s Larry Fink and Microsoft Corp.’s Satya Nadella to rally support for some of the world’s most demanding clean-energy projects. American Airlines, ArcelorMittal, Bank of America, BlackRock, Boston Consulting Group, GM and Microsoft are among the investors. 

Gates established Breakthrough Energy Catalyst to accelerate the commercial viability of four key solutions to the climate crisis: green hydrogen, sustainable aviation fuel, long-duration battery storage and carbon capture from the air. In practice, Catalyst will supply the cash needed to get capital-intensive projects off the ground, before debt financing and government funds can be raised to cover the remaining 90% of the cost.

Read more at Bloomberg

CVS Health Looks to Rapidly Hire 25,000 Workers Due to COVID-19 Demand

CVS Health is looking to quickly fill 25,000 clinical and retail jobs during a one-day virtual career event this month, according to a Sept. 20 news release.  The company said the national career event, scheduled for Sept. 24, will help CVS hire positions to respond to the needs of communities in the fall and winter when the incidence of flu is expected to increase and to handle demand for COVID-19 vaccination and testing.

CVS has full-time, part-time and temporary positions available for licensed pharmacists, trained pharmacy technicians and nurses at CVS Pharmacy store locations, as well as available positions for retail store associates. As part of these, the company said it is offering a cash bonus to workers who refer full-time pharmacists or pharmacy technicians who are hired into the company.

Read more at Becker Hospital Review

Boeing to Invest $200M Into New Factory in Metro East for Navy Aircraft

Boeing will invest $200 million in the project which could add more than 150 jobs to the 70 that are already there. In a prepared statement, Illinois Gov. J.B. Prtizker says the state has set aside $57 million for improvements at MidAmerica. Nearly half of that will bolster the Boeing project. Production of the aircraft would start by mid-2024 after construction on the MidAmerica facility is expected to start this year and be completed in early 2024. Boeing is also receiving breaks on its state income tax liability in exchange for the $200 million investment over 15 years.

According to Boeing, the MQ-25 Stingray, developed from a 2018 contract with the Navy, is a refueling aircraft that greatly extends the combat range of existing refueling aircraft and is designed for “seamless integration” on the flight decks of Navy carrier ships.

Read more at MSN

Birth Rates Declined to ‘Unusually Low’ Rate During Pandemic Winter: Census Bureau

The Census Bureau said there were 285,138 births in December 2020, 7.66 percent fewer than in December 2019 — or 763 fewer births per day. January births saw an even greater year-to-year decline, down 9.41 percent from January 2020 to January 2021, while births in February saw a slighter year-on-year decrease.  The data suggests that some people may have chosen to delay having babies amid the pandemic. Stress may have also been a factor, or limited interaction with sexual partners.  

But the bureau noted that the number of U.S. births have been declining every year since 2008, with the exception of 2014. Even in the months of 2020 before COVID-19 arrived in the U.S., there were fewer births than in those same months in 2019 — suggesting the U.S. may have already been on track to experience a decline in births without the pandemic, the Census Bureau noted.

Read more at The Hill