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Daily Briefing – 384

Post: Oct. 3, 2021

“Not a Success:” Congress Heads Home After Infrastructure Stalemate

After weeks of trying and failing to find a legislative solution both the progressive and centrist wings of the caucus could support, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her team passed a bill temporarily funding expiring transportation programs and sent frustrated members home until they can find a solution. It’s not a success,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a brief interview Friday night. “We need to pass both these bills, that’s going to be our objective.”

In a letter late Friday, Pelosi said “more time is needed” to reach an agreement on a legislative framework for Democrats’ social spending plan before the House will be able to vote on the Senate-passed infrastructure bill, delaying a vote on the bipartisan measure for a third time and infuriating moderates.

Read more at Politico

ISM Manufacturing Index Stays Strong in September Despite Supply-Chain Stress

The Institute for Supply Management’s U.S. manufacturing index rose to 61.1% in September from 59.9% in the prior month, the trade group said Friday, the highest reading since May. Demand is still strong but manufacturers are struggling with supply shortages. Survey participants talked about an “unprecedented number of hurdles to meet” rising demand. Seventeen industries reported growth in September while only one reported a decrease. Seventeen industries also reported an increase in prices.

  • The new orders index held steady at 66.7% in September. Production slipped 0.6 percentage point to 59.4%.
  • Employment inched up 1.2% to barely above the growth mark at 50.2.
  • The index on prices rose 1.8 percentage points to 81.2%.

Read more at Marketwatch

U.S. Economy Is Expected to Pick Up Speed After Delta-Driven Downturn

In recent weeks, many economists lowered their forecasts for third-quarter economic growth in large part because consumers slowed spending on meals out, hotels and airline tickets amid the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. The Covid-19 surge also complicated office and school reopenings, turning what had been expected to be a September boom into a downturn.

One wild card is continued supply constraints—including product and worker shortages—that have been more severe than many analysts anticipated, contributing to inflation and downgrades in growth expectations. Forecasters expect growth in Q3 to be 3.4% and 6.2% in Q4.

Read more at the WSJ

Tesla Deliveries Surge, Defying Supply-Chain Woes

Tesla Inc. overcame snarled global supply chains to deliver a record number of vehicles in the third quarter. That growth comes despite supply-chain disruptions that have constrained vehicle production across the global auto industry, leaving buyers with fewer options and denting sales.

The electric-vehicle maker delivered 241,300 vehicles to customers in the three months ending in September, it said Saturday, up from 139,593 vehicles during the same period last year. The result positions Tesla to easily achieve its full-year goal of increasing deliveries by more than 50% over last year’s total of nearly half a million vehicles. The company has put a total of roughly 627,000 vehicles in customer hands through the first nine months of the year.

Read more at the WSJ

US COVID-19 Update –  700,000 Cumulative Deaths

As of Thursday The US CDC reports 43.3 million cumulative COVID-19 cases and 694,701 deaths. Daily incidence continues to decline at the national level, down to approximately 106,000 new cases per day, which is the lowest average since early August. Daily mortality appears to have passed a peak and started to decline. While the average decreased over the second half of September—down to 1,476 per day—the single-day total for September 29 was more than 2,000 deaths, the third-highest since February. At the current pace, the US could surpass 700,000 cumulative in a matter of days. 

The US has administered 393 million cumulative doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. The daily vaccination trend continues to decline from the most recent peak on August 29*, from approximately 850,000 doses per day to slightly more than 600,000. There are 214.3 million individuals who have received at least 1 dose, equivalent to 64.6% of the entire US population. Among adults, 77.3% have received at least 1 dose, as well as 14.6 million adolescents aged 12-17 years. A total of 184.6 million individuals are fully vaccinated, which corresponds to 55.6% of the total population. Approximately 66.9% of adults are fully vaccinated, as well as 11.9 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 Sunday October 3rd:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 71.4 of all New Yorkers – 13,876,683 (plus 26,467 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,457,681 (plus 3,926) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 63.8% of all New Yorkers – 12,428,470 are fully vaccinated (Plus 25,230)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,292,503 (plus 3,501) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Saturday October 2nd.  There were 22 COVID related deaths for a total of 56,758.


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,177.

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 2.45%
  • Mid-Hudson: 2.37%

Useful Websites:

Game Changer: Merck to Seek Emergency Authorization for Oral COVID Treatment 

Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics plan to seek emergency authorization for their oral antiviral treatment for Covid-19, after the medicine showed “compelling results” in clinical trials. The drug, molnupiravir, reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by around 50% for patients with mild or moderate cases of Covid-19, the companies announced on Friday. Molnupiravir is administered orally and drug works by introducing RNA-like building blocks into the virus’s genome as it multiplies, which creates numerous mutations, disrupts replication, and kills the virus.

“Having a pill that would be easy for people to take at home would be terrific. If this was available through a drug store, more people could get it,” says Albert Shaw, an infectious diseases specialist at Yale Medicine. All of the antiviral medicines available today, including remdesivir and the monoclonal antibodies, must be administered through an IV in a medical setting. 

Read more at Nat Geo

COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements Will Apply to Broad Swath of Federal Contractors and Their Employees

Federal contractors and subcontractors were left with a lot to consider last Friday (September 24, 2021), when the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued COVID-19 Workplace Safety Guidance implementing President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 14042, “Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors” (Order).

The Order and Guidance direct executive departments and agencies, including independent establishments subject to the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act to ensure covered “contracts and contract-like instruments” include a clause requiring the contractor to comply with all COVID-19 safeguard guidance (Guidance) for contractor workplace locations published by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force) for the duration of the contract. 

Read more at Jackson Lewis

Manufacturing Activity in China Dipped into Negative Territory in September

For the first time since the pandemic began. Its purchasing managers’ index fell to 49.6; analysts had not expected it to cross the 50-point threshold that separates expansion from contraction. Power shortages and sporadic outbreaks of covid-19 are risking China’s growth outlook. So is Evergrande’s debt crisis. The property giant missed another repayment on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a private survey on Chinese factory activity in September came in above expectations, with the Caixin/Markit manufacturing PMI for the month rising to 50 for the month as compared with August’s reading 49.2.

Read more at CNBC

Delta Surge in New England

New England, one of the best-vaccinated regions of the U.S., is experiencing a COVID-19 delta surge that is filling Maine’s hospitals and putting many patients on ventilators,  The problem is the variant’s high transmissibility combined with the relaxation of precautions such as wearing masks. COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations have also flared among mostly unvaccinated people in Vermont and western Massachusetts, highlighting the risk delta poses even in states with the best track records for getting shots in arms.

Vaccination rates: Almost 69% of Maine’s population is fully vaccinated, compared to the nation’s 56% full-vaccination rate. However: Delta is exploiting differences in vaccination rates within New England. While more than three-quarters of people are fully vaccinated in Maine’s most populous county, Cumberland, which includes Portland, the rate is 53% in more rural Somerset County. Maine is also seeing grave illness among young, “otherwise healthy” people, as well as a spate of COVID-19 cases in schoolchildren. The state no longer requires masks in schools.  However, public-health experts say they don’t believe the region will see nearly the same number of hospitalizations and deaths as last winter.

Read more at the WSJ

Boeing Awarded $23.8B by USAF for C-17 Program

Boeing and the U.S. Dept. of Defense have extended an agreement for the contractor to continue providing “worldwide readiness” support for the U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III. The 10-year, performance-based logistics (PBL) contract is valued at $23.8 billion, including potential options and incentives. Currently, the C-17 program support is funded through September 2024 with a Phase I award of $3.5 billion.

The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a military transport aircraft developed for the USAF by McDonnell Douglas Corp. and in service since 1995. Boeing has manufactured the C-17 since it merged with McDonnel Douglas in 1997. The aircraft is used for tactical and strategic airlift, troop and cargo transport, and evacuation and airdrop missions. A total of 275 are in service with the USAF, which has been in production since 1991 and serviced by Boeing since it merged with McDonnel-Douglas Corp. in 1997.

Read more at American Machinist

362,000 Individuals Filed New Claims Last Week

U.S. states saw an unexpected increase in initial jobless filings last week, even as companies across industries looked to bring on workers to fill widespread vacancies. 

  • Initial unemployment claims, week ended September 25: 362,000 vs. 330,000 expected, and an unrevised 351,000 during prior week.
  • Continuing claims, week ended September 18: 2.802 million vs. 2.790 million expected, and a revised 2.820 million during prior week.

New weekly jobless claims have risen for three consecutive weeks, increasing off a pandemic-era low from earlier this month but still remaining well below heightened prints from earlier this year. Economists chalked up the mid-month increase in new jobless claims in part to a delayed impact from Hurricane Ida, which may have caused people to postpone unemployment filings at the beginning of the month.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

UK Car Output Slumps as Chip Shortages Bite

UK car production slumped 27% in August compared with a year earlier on production stoppages, notably owing to the global shortage of semiconducters, an industry body revealed Thursday. Jaguar, Nissan and Vauxhall and other UK automakers made a little over 37,000 vehicles in August, down from about 51,000 one year earlier.

After a strong recovery at the beginning of the year, a global shortage in computer chips — key components in both electric and conventional vehicles — has held back car production worldwide. “Another significant decline for UK car production is extremely worrying both for the sector and its many thousands of workers nationwide,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Read more at IndustryWeek

US Workers’ Satisfaction With Job Safety Rebounds

Seventy-two percent of Americans who work full or part-time say they are “completely satisfied” with both their safety on the job and their relationships with coworkers, according to a Gallup poll released on Sept. 8.

Workers’ satisfaction with safety on the job has frequently ranked at the top of the list of 13 job aspects since 1999. Last year,  however, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the percentage of workers expressing complete satisfaction with it dropped nine percentage points to 65%, the lowest point since 2001. The latest seven-point uptick puts it back in line with findings from 2018 and 2019.

Read more at EHS Today

What Science Knows Now About the Risk of Covid-19 Transmission on Planes

Recent research on Covid-19 transmission on flights suggests that airlines could adopt new policies to better protect their passengers.  The chances of viral spread aboard planes remain very low. But papers published in medical journals suggest they may not be as low as suggested earlier in the pandemic.

Scientists have found a sharp increase in possible spread during in-flight meal service when everyone has masks off. They’ve also learned more about the importance of precautions during boarding and deplaning.  The researchers’ suggested remedy to the food issue: Stagger meal delivery so only half of passengers eat at once and adjacent passengers remain masked

Read more at the WSJ