Daily Briefing – 385

Debt Ceiling Standoff

McConnell ‘respectfully’ tells Biden it’s time for Democrats to raise debt ceiling – “Republicans’ position is simple. We have no list of demands. For two and a half months, we have simply warned that since your party wishes to govern alone, it must handle the debt limit alone as well,” McConnell added.

Biden blasts McConnell, GOP on ‘dangerous’ debt ceiling gambit – “I cannot believe that will be the end result, because the consequences are so dire,” he said. “But can I guarantee it? If I could, I would. But I can’t.” Biden’s warning followed a speech in which he excoriated Republicans for closing off every pathway Democrats have used to suspend the federal borrowing limit and accused the GOP of playing a “reckless, dangerous” political game with the U.S. economy. 

Read more at The Hill here and here

NY HERO Act COVID-19 Designation Extended

It is official–the NYS Commissioner of Health officially posted the extension of the designation of COVID-19 as a “highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health” through October 31, 2021.

The NYS Commissioner of Health originally issued the designation on September 6, 2021, prompting covered employers in New York State to activate their NY HERO Act airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans. The initial designation was effective through September 30, 2021, at which time the NYS Commissioner of Health would review and consider whether the circumstances surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic warranted extension of the designation at that time. Accordingly, employers should continue to have their NY HERO Act plans in place. 

Read more at Bond Schoeneck and King

ISM Deeper Dive: Continued Growth, but No End in Sight for Labor, Commodity Shortages

The story is the same as it has been for the past several months of manufacturing. Demand for products is up, and finding stable workers and cost-effective supplies is challenging. Despite those challenges, manufacturers are taking the long view and mostly remain optimistic, according to Timothy Fiore, president of the Institute for Supply Management’s Business Survey Committee. Fiore noted that survey respondents made about three positive comments about growth to every cautious comment.

Shortages and increased prices of commodities used by manufacturers are still bedeviling U.S. industry across the board.

Read more at IndustryWeek

U.S. Trade Chief Katherine Tai Won’t Rule Out New Tariff Actions as She Seeks Talks With China

Tai said the United States would keep all options open as it continues to push China to stop pouring billions of dollars of state subsidies into its semiconductor, steel and other industries that Washington says harm U.S. companies.

Unveiling the results of a months-long “top-to-bottom” review of China trade policy, Tai said she will seek a meeting with Chinese vice premier Liu He in coming days to review China’s failure to comply with the “Phase 1” trade deal launched in February 2020, including a shortfall of promised U.S. goods purchases.

Read more at Reuters

US COVID-19 Update – U.S. Hits 700,000 COVID Deaths Just as Cases Fall

It took 3 ½ months for the U.S. to go from 600,000 to 700,000 deaths, driven by the variant’s rampant spread through unvaccinated Americans. Health experts say the fourth wave of the pandemic has peaked overall in the U.S., particularly in the Deep South, where hospitals were stretched to the limit weeks ago. 

The latest milestone is deeply frustrating to public health leaders and medical professionals on the front lines because vaccines have been available to all eligible Americans for nearly six months and the shots overwhelmingly protect against hospitalizations and death. An estimated 70 million eligible Americans remain unvaccinated, providing kindling for the variant.

Read more at NPR

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of Monday October 4th:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 71.8 of all New Yorkers – 13,921,876 (plus 12,520 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,4560,458 (plus 837) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 64.1% of all New Yorkers – 12,479,217 are fully vaccinated (Plus 15,612)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,296,039 (plus 1,228) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday October 3rd.  There were 24 COVID related deaths for a total of 56,917.


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,208.

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 2.37%
  • Mid-Hudson: 2.24%

Useful Websites:

Covid-19 Vaccinations in New York Accelerated Ahead of Healthcare Worker Mandates

Since former Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a vaccine mandate for New York healthcare workers more than a month ago, hospital employees in the state have been getting vaccinated at more than twice the rate as all New York adults, according to data provided by the state health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of Tuesday, the day after the mandate took effect, 87% of hospital workers were reported as fully vaccinated, up from 76% on Aug. 17, the day after the mandate was announced. This 11-percentage-point increase compares with a 5-point rise for all adults in the state, whose overall vaccination rate remains at around 75%.  According to surveys conducted by the Covid-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Policy Preferences Across States, a joint project of four major universities, the number of healthcare workers who indicated that they “would not get” a vaccine decreased from 15% in July to 13.2% in September.

Read more at the WSJ

Scientists Seek One Vaccine for Many Coronaviruses

An emerging-infectious-diseases researcher with the U.S. Army, Dr. Modjarrad is pursuing a vaccine to protect against a range of coronaviruses that cause disease in humans—including Covid-19 variants that might elude today’s vaccines. After years of battling Ebola, Zika, H1N1 pandemic flu and other new pathogens, Dr. Modjarrad and other emerging-disease experts say they want to have a vaccine in hand to blunt the next new pathogen to come along, whatever it may be.

Scientists have spent years trying to develop a universal vaccine against influenza—without success yet. Coronaviruses, which mutate less often and have fewer distinct lineages, may be an easier target. The goal is to prevent the next new one from spreading around the globe. Such a shot might even stop coronaviruses that cause some common colds.

Read more at the WSJ

CVS’s Karen Lynch Heads Fortune’s Most Powerful Women List

Th selection of Lynch is justified not only by the enormous size of the company she runs—the merger with Aetna catapulted it to No. 4 on the Fortune 500, just after Walmart, Amazon and Apple—but also by the audacity of her vision for transforming the company. As Fortune’s Shawn Tully writes, the pandemic has helped accelerate Lynch’s plan of making CVS the front door for the U.S. health system. She plans to remodel hundreds of the company’s stores into outlets devoted primarily to primary care—super clinics able to provide a wide variety of services, ranging from urgent care to mental health counseling.

The past 18 months have radically altered the course of women’s careers. This year’s Most Powerful Women ranking illustrates that even those at the top of corporate America aren’t immune. Five of the women in the Fortune top 10 became CEOs during the pandemic, thrown into the fire of leading in a period of extreme uncertainty. Rosalind Brewer and Thasunda Brown Duckett became two of the four Black women to ever run Fortune 500 companies.

See the List at Fortune

Schumer Sets One-Month Goal for Passing Two Spending Bills

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday said he hopes to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a reconciliation package in the next month, setting another target date for Congress to approve two pieces of legislation central to President Biden’s domestic agenda after a failed attempt last week.

Schumer, during a press conference in New York City on Sunday, said he believes Congress is on track to pass the pair of bills. Schumer’s deadline for passage of the bills matches that of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who announced on Saturday that she wants to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill by Oct. 31, when the 30-day reauthorization of highway funding expires.

Read more at The Hill

NY Fed Study: Oil Prices, Global Demand Expectations, and Near-Term Global Inflation

Oil prices have risen nearly 60 percent since the summer of 2020, coinciding with an upward trend in global inflation. The authors utilize the demand and supply decomposition from the New York Fed’s Oil Price Dynamics Report to argue that most of the oil price increase has reflected improving global demand expectations. They then illustrate what these changing demand expectations might mean for near-term global inflation developments. 

The authors plot the six-month change in global year-over-year CPI inflation versus the expected demand component of the six-month change in Brent crude oil prices, lagged six-months. thye numbers suggests that current global demand expectations have leading information regarding the acceleration of global CPI inflation over the next six months.

Read more at the NY Fed

ITIF Report – Emerging Industrial Policy in the United States

Long reluctant to pursue industrial policies outside its defense sector, the U.S. federal government is now pursuing a series of new approaches at a scale not tried before. This effort has been driven politically, largely on a bipartisan basis, by concern over China’s extensive industrial policy system, which has enabled it to surpass the United States as the world’s leading industrial power. China is also starting to out-invest the United States, long the leader, in research and development (R&D) in critical technologies, directly taking on a role that has been central to U.S. innovation and, therefore, economic growth and national security. Growing concern about climate change has also been a driver for these new policies.

Programs now underway cover semiconductor production, development of critical technologies, energy demonstration projects, secure domestic supply chains in critical fields, and speeding domestic vaccine development and production. These programs require new supporting infrastructure and operating mechanisms. These include: a new talent base; integrated research connections; strong manufacturing foundations and supply chains; testing and demonstrations; technology certifications; flexible contracting; financing; and procurement.

Read more at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Report: J&J to Seek Authorization of Booster Shot This Week

Johnson & Johnson will reportedly seek authorization for a booster shot this week, as concerns are rising regarding the effectiveness of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine compared to other jabs.

The New York Times reported on Monday that Johnson & Johnson is planning to request authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) early this week for a booster shot, joining Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna in asking for approval for an additional shot. The FDA announced on Friday that its expert advisory committee will discuss booster shots for Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine during its meetings on Oct. 14 and 15.  The agency will also discuss booster shots for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during those gatherings

Read more at The Hill

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp Hit by Global Outage

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp went offline for users across the globe, the social media giant said on Monday, as it worked on restoring its services. the error message on the webpage of Facebook Inc (FB.O) suggested a problem with Domain Name System (DNS).

DNS allows web addresses to take users to their destinations. A similar outage at cloud company Akamai Technologies Inc (AKAM.O) took down multiple websites in July. Security experts tracking the situation said the outage could have been triggered by a configuration error, which could be the result of an internal mistake, though sabotage by an insider would be theoretically possible.

Read more at Reuters

After Causing Chaos in the UK, Truck Driver Shortages Could Soon Hit the Rest of Europe

There was more than a whiff of “schadenfreude” (or enjoyment from the woes of others) in mainland Europe last week as the U.K. faced a petrol crisis. There were long lines of cars outside British gasoline stations and even fights on forecourts as panic buying spread across the country amid a shortage of truck drivers able to deliver fuel.

Brexit was named as one of the key reasons for the shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers, although problems in the industry go deeper and are found across Europe, industry experts noted. A survey of 616 industry figures in June by the Road Haulage Association in the U.K. found that retirement, changing working rules, the Covid pandemic, low pay and drivers leaving the industry were among the reasons for the lack of operators.

Read more at CNBC