Our Blog

Daily Briefing – 390

Post: Oct. 12, 2021

Apple Poised to Slash iPhone Production Goals Due to Chip Crunch

Apple Inc. is likely to slash its projected iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by as many as 10 million units because of prolonged chip shortages, according to people with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg News reports.

The company had expected to produce 90 million new iPhone models in the last three months of the year, but it’s now telling manufacturing partners that the total will be lower because Broadcom Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc. are struggling to deliver enough components, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the situation is private.

Read more at Bloomberg

“Fewer Things Well” – Pelosi Discusses Dems’ Difficult Decisions

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday lamented that centrist Democrats have forced party leaders to reduce the cost of President Biden’s $3.5 trillion social benefits package, saying it will force lawmakers to make some tough choices about what provisions to eliminate in the coming weeks.

In a letter to Democrats Monday night, Pelosi had suggested the cost-cutting efforts would come in the form of eliminating some of the proposed benefit provisions altogether. She promoted the idea of putting the focus more squarely on child benefits and efforts to tackle climate change. “Overwhelmingly, the guidance I am receiving from Members is to do fewer things well,” she wrote.

Read more at The Hill

FDA to Meet on Authorizing COVID-19 Boosters, Child Vaccines

Two upcoming meetings of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) will be held next week to address the newest COVID-19 vaccine data. At next week’s meetings, the FDA advisors will discuss and hear presentations of the available data on booster usage by those who took a different vaccine course in their original series. These will include only the three authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines.

A separate meeting has been scheduled for October 26, at which time the committee will address the use of the Pfizer vaccine among children between 5 and 11 years old. The latter was initiated due to anticipation of a formal request from Pfizer to amend its existing emergency use authorization to allow the vaccine’s use on this age group.

Read more at Homeland Preparedness

COVID-19 Vaccine Exemptions Take Center Stage

Medical and religious exemptions are front and center as President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate takes effect, affecting over 100 million public and private sector workers.  People hoping to avoid vaccination are taking drastic steps. Two-thirds of people refusing to get vaccinated are even willing to quit their job to avoid the jab. Governor Hochul said she will fight a federal ruling.

Society standards deem vaccine exemptions based on religion or medical conditions as acceptable. Yet, a closer look at them indicates that they lack substance and sinew. At its core, religious practices are based on the development of faith coupled with spiritual principles for living. As such, any organized religion would need to have well-defined, written doctrine prohibiting vaccination. To date, no such doctrine has been identified.

Read more at The Hill

US COVIC Update – Recent Studies Suggest Vaccination Helps Reduce the Likelihood of Developing Long-COVID Symptoms.

When the vaccines first came out, some people who had suffered from debilitating symptoms for months after their initial Covid-19 infections told their doctors they felt better after getting vaccinated. The response intrigued scientists. Now, emerging research suggests that vaccines may help reduce symptoms in some people.

Other recent research indicates that vaccination can reduce the likelihood of developing long-term Covid-19 symptoms in the first place. Long Covid is one of the most baffling effects of Covid-19. An estimated 10% to 30% of people develop symptoms that last for months after their initial infection, including fatigue, cognitive problems, shortness of breath or racing heartbeat. Doctors don’t fully understand the condition and have few options for treatment.

Read more at the WSJ

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of Tuesday October 12th:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 72.2 of all New Yorkers – 14,052,290 (plus 11,427 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,472,840 (plus 1,761) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 64.5% of all New Yorkers – 12,627,804 (plus 12,936).
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,309,013 (plus 1,506). 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday October 11th.  There were 35 COVID related deaths for a total of 57,151.


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,148.

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 2.52%
  • Mid-Hudson: 2.50%

Useful Websites:

Judge Issues Injunction Against New York’s Vaccine Mandate

New York’s vaccine mandate for health care workers was dealt a damaging blow on Tuesday when a federal judge in Utica granted a preliminary injunction on behalf of 17 medical workers who contend the state’s failure to consider religious exemptions has violated their constitutional rights.

The ruling suspends the mandate “to the extent that the (state) Department of Health is barred from enforcing any requirement that employers deny religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccination or that they revoke any exemptions employers already granted before (the mandate was) issued.” The state also is barred from interfering with the granting of religious exemptions going forward as the case is fully litigated in U.S. District Court.

Read more at The Albany Times Union

Rich Countries’ Rush to Buy Merck Antiviral Pill 

Moves by a small group of countries to acquire supplies of Merck & Co.’s promising COVID pill before it’s even approved are raising concerns that some poorer nations could be left behind in a repeat of the slow and inequitable rollout of vaccines.

Merck has taken a series of steps, including licensing its experimental medication to generic-drug firms, to ensure access. Yet, in a worrisome echo of the global vaccine situation, some wealthy and middle-income nations, including Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, have followed the U.S. and already secured molnupiravir or started talks to obtain it. 

Read more at Fortune

New Guidance on the Impact of HIPAA on COVID-19 in the Workplace

On Sept. 30, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services published guidance, “HIPAA, COVID-19 Vaccination, and the Workplace,” (the Guidance) that details the ways in which the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) intersects with workplace and other third-party inquiries regarding COVID-19 vaccinations. 

Per the Guidance, the Privacy Rule is not implicated by a business inquiring whether their employees, customers or clients have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, the Privacy Rule does not apply when an individual (1) is asked about their vaccination status by a school, employer, store, restaurant, entertainment venue or another individual; (2) asks another individual, their doctor or a service provider whether they are vaccinated; or (3) asks a company, such as a home health agency, whether its workforce members are vaccinated.

Read more at Bond Schoeneck and King

Governor Abbott Bans Vaccine Mandates from Any ‘Entity in Texas’

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed an executive order on Monday that bans coronavirus vaccine mandates from being implemented by any “entity in Texas,” the latest move in the state’s crusade against the requirements amid the ongoing pandemic. “No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19,” the executive order reads.

It comes in response to President Biden’s mandate announced last month that all businesses with 100 or more employees require their workforces get vaccinated or regularly tested.

Read more at The Hill

Eight in 10 Manufacturing Workers Said They Stay With Their Employer Because They Enjoy the Work

The Manufacturing Institute’s Center for Manufacturing Research, in partnership with the American Psychological Association,  released a report, Manufacturing Engagement and Retention Study, looking at best practices in worker retention. 

Key findings include the following:

  • Employees under age 25 said they stay with their current employer because of training and development (69%) and career opportunities (65%).
  • Employees who feel valued were more than four times as likely to report high levels of work engagement (59% vs. 13%) and less likely to say they feel stressed out on a typical workday (16% vs. 66%) or that they plan to leave the company within the next year (2% vs. 12%).
  • The most sophisticated retention efforts employed by manufacturing leaders include ensuring every individual understands how their efforts are linked to overall company success and equipping frontline managers to support workers.

Read more at EHS Today

IMF Board Confident About Leader Despite Data-Rigging Claims

The International Monetary Fund expressed “full confidence” in its managing director Tuesday in response to allegations that while she was a World Bank official, she and others pressured staffers to change business rankings in an effort to placate China. But it said a probe into possible misconduct by World Bank staff was continuing. 

The IMF’s 24-member executive board said in a statement that its review “did not conclusively demonstrate that the managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, played an improper role.”

Read more at the AP

Emerson Plans to Merge Industrial-Software Businesses With AspenTech

Emerson Electric Co.  plans to merge two of its software businesses with Aspen Technology Inc. AZPN 12.40% in a roughly $11 billion deal aimed at capturing growing demand for industrial technology.

The cash-and-stock transaction would value AspenTech, as the company is known, at around $160 a share, officials from the companies said. The combined company’s offerings would be used by clients to do everything from designing industrial systems to running, repairing and analyzing them. Companies ranging from oil drillers to life-sciences startups are pouring billions of dollars into software to increase efficiency, providing Emerson and other established industrial concerns new avenues for growth.

Read more at The WSJ

White Paper: Manufacturing is a Growing Target for Cyberattacks

In today’s complex world of manufacturing, industrial control systems, operational technology, and IT networks are increasingly interconnected. Digital transformation and the industrial internet of things (IIoT) offer tremendous competitive advantage.

However, in the face of this massive connectivity, manufacturers must implement proven practices that help reduce the attack surface for their critical infrastructure. Development and maintenance of a sound cybersecurity approach is an essential part of success.

Read the AT&T White Paper