Daily Briefing – 402

CDC Advisers Approves Pfizer Shot for Young Children Ages 5-11

A federal advisory committee unanimously recommended Tuesday that kids ages 5 to 11 receive Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, setting the stage for mass vaccination of America’s elementary school children. Children in this age group could begin getting shots as soon as this week, once the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signs off, as expected.   

Data from the CDC suggests that vaccinations can prevent 600,000 infections in the age group by March, including a number of hospitalizations and a few deaths.  Fully vaccinating 1 million children in the age group would prevent about 57,000 cases of COVID-19 and about 200 hospitalizations, the CDC said. Presidential adviser Jeffrey Zients said the administration’s distribution program will be “running at full strength” the week of Nov. 8, he said.

Read more at USA Today


Republicans Capture Virginia Governorship, New Jersey Too Close To Call

Republicans won the Virginia governor’s election and were within striking distance in New Jersey on Wednesday, a warning that President Joe Biden’s Democrats are in trouble heading into next year’s congressional elections.

Glenn Youngkin, a former private equity executive who surged in the polls in the Virginia campaign’s final weeks, beat Democratic former Governor Terry McAuliffe, CNN and NBC projected. In New Jersey’s closer-than-expected governor race, Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli and incumbent Democrat Phil Murphy were locked in a virtual draw, even though registered Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by more than 1 million. 

Read more at Reuters


Speculation on the Mandate ETS

President Biden’s vaccine mandate for private-sector businesses with 100 or more workers—and details on how the requirement will work—will likely be released later this week, according to people familiar with the matter.  The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been developing the vaccine mandate under a federal rule-making called an emergency temporary standard.

Employers who fall under the regulation must “develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory Covid-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to choose either to get vaccinated or to undergo regular Covid-19 testing and wear a face covering at work,” the Labor Department spokesperson said in a statement. The requirement could mandate that employees who aren’t vaccinated pay for their own Covid-19 tests, which could be a point of contention for labor groups. Some businesses have already been covering the costs of testing for workers.

Read more at the WSJ


New Federal Contractor COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate FAQs from Jackson Lewis

The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force has modified and updated its guidance on implementation of Executive Order 14042: Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors.  Most recently, the Task Force released new FAQs providing additional guidance for contractors working to implement the requirements of the Executive Order. 

A number of the FAQs significantly expand the vaccination requirement to employees and workplaces of companies “affiliated” with federal contractors, and others allow more leeway in enforcement by contracting agencies and options for unvaccinated employees to continue working. Others provide guidance for addressing employees who refuse to be vaccinated or are in the process of requesting an accommodation.  Importantly, during an informational webinar hosted today by the Administration, it was emphasized that contractors’ good faith efforts towards compliance will be acknowledged.


U.S. COVID Update – SARS-COV-2 Origin Declassified Report Released- 

The US Intelligence Community last week released a declassified report on the origins of SARS-CoV-2. The nation’s intelligence agencies were unable to conclude whether the pandemic began as a result of animal-to-human viral transmission or a laboratory incident, saying that while both are both plausible, analysts could not agree on which was more likely or whether an assessment can be made at all based on current knowledge.

In order to provide a more clear picture of the pandemic’s origin, the agencies would need more information from China or another breakthrough in new information, according to the report. Notably, the intelligence report does rule out allegations that the virus was developed as a bioweapon, although with low confidence. Additionally, the report clarifies that intelligence analysts agree that Chinese officials did not know about the novel coronavirus until after its detection in the general population. In response to the report, a Chinese official said the fact that a potential lab leak was included as a plausible origin was “a lie,” and he called for an investigation led by a cooperative of scientists from around the world. In a process to name such a group, the WHO on November 1 reopened its call for applications for experts to join its newly established Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO). 

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of Tuesday November 2nd:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 74.4 of all New Yorkers – 14,364,966 (plus 11,863 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,502,746 (plus 1,868) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 66.8% of all New Yorkers – 12,978,625 (plus 10,540).
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,337,465 (plus 1,063). 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday November 1st.  There were 20 COVID related deaths for a total of 58,125.

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 1,924.

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 2.24%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.73%

Useful Websites:


Ending the Pandemic is ‘A Choice,’ Says WHO Chief

“The pandemic will end when the world chooses to end it. It’s in our hands – we have all the tools we need,” the WHO chief told a conference in Berlin. The WHO chief was speaking at the opening ceremony of the World Health Summit, an annual event that brings together professionals and politicians in Berlin.

The WHO has set a target of 40 percent of the population in each country to be vaccinated by the end of this year and 70 percent by mid-2022. Dr. Tedros regularly criticises wealthier countries for not sharing vaccines with developing ones. “The goal is achievable, but only if the countries and companies that control supply translate their statements into action,” he said in Berlin.

Read more at The Brussels Times


ISM: Manufacturers ‘Strongly Optimistic’ Buts Growth Rate is Flat in October

The Institute for Supply Management reported November 1 that manufacturing growth slowed slightly in October. The group’s manufacturing PMI for October registered 60.8%, just 0.3 points lower than it was in September. Main indexes for new orders and production similarly grew at a slower rate than previous, while growth in employment and new export orders accelerated.  The limiting factor on manufacturing growth right now is still supply availability, according to ISM panel respondents.

Demand, as measured by the ISM’s new orders indexes, expanded, although domestic demand grew at a slower rate than two months ago. The new orders index fell to 59.8% from 66.7% in October, while new export orders rose by 1.2 points to 54.6%, indicating accelerating export demand. An index of customer inventories did not change, and the backlog of orders index remained elevated at 63.6.

Read more at IndustryWeek


Striking Deere Workers to Vote on New Agreement

United Auto Worker members at Deere & Co. factories will vote Tuesday on a second tentative agreement with the tractor company, effecting more than 10,000 workers at 12 factories in five states. Negotiations yielded the new agreement on October 30, and employees will vote to approve or reject it November 2.

United Auto Worker members at Deere & Co. factories will vote Tuesday on a second tentative agreement with the tractor company, effecting more than 10,000 workers at 12 factories in five states. Negotiations yielded the new agreement on October 30, and employees will vote to approve or reject it November 2.

Read more at IndustryWeek


The Fed is Expected to Announce End to Bond-Buying Program, Investors Seek Clues on First Hike

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to announce today the unwinding of its monthly bond-buying program – a measure it started to support the economy during the pandemic. Economists expect the central bank to say after its 2-day meeting concludes that it will begin winding down its $120 billion in monthly bond purchases by mid-November or December and end the program entirely by the middle of next year.

However, the bigger story for markets is how the central bank will discuss inflation. That’s because report after report of hotter-than-anticipated inflation has ramped up expectations that the Fed will fight the trend of higher prices by beginning to raise interest rates next year, about six months sooner than the last Federal Reserve forecast.

Read more at CNBC


Australia’s Central Bank Opens Door to Earlier Rate Rise

ustralia’s central bank took a major step on Tuesday toward unwinding extraordinary pandemic stimulus policies by abandoning an ultra-low target for bond yields and opening the door for an earlier hike in cash rates.

Yet Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Philip Lowe also pledged to be patient with policy and again rejected market talk that a hike could come as early as May next year.

Read more at Reuters


Designation of COVID-19 Under New York HERO Act Extended To December 15, 2021

On October 31, 2021, the New York State Commissioner of Health continued the designation of COVID-19 as a “highly contagious communicable disease” pursuant to the HERO Act until December 15, 2021. According to the latest designation, on December 15, the Commissioner “will review the level of transmission of COVID-19 in New York State and determine whether to continue this designation.” A copy of the designation is available here. 

This means that New York employers must continue to keep in effect the airborne infectious disease prevention plans that they have adopted related to COVID-19. 

Read more at National Law Review


Why the Bank of England Meeting is Bigger Than the Fed (This Week Anyway)

Futures markets are now forecasting a 100% chance of a Bank of England interest-rate hike on Thursday, from the current level of just 0.1%. Philip Shaw, chief economist at Investec in London, believes the Bank will move rates higher by 15 basis points to 0.25%. “Our judgement is that most members will feel that there is relatively little to lose by raising rates by 15bps at this stage, but that its credibility is at stake should rising inflation prove to be more than transitory,” he said.

The U.K. is suffering from the same bottlenecks that other major economies are facing, as well as facing its own local headwinds in the form of Brexit-tied disruptions from a lack of truck drivers. The central bank’s new chief economist, Huw Pill, said inflation might top 5% early next year.

Read more at MarketWatch


China’s Steel Curbs Send Ore Back Below $100

Iron ore futures traded back below $100 a ton on shrinking steel output in China and signs economic growth is facing mounting headwinds. While China has imposed curbs on production throughout 2021, restrictions are now being rolled out more frequently and limits have been extended into the first quarter in an effort to ensure blue skies for the Winter Olympics.

China’s housing sector, an important source of steel and metals demand, is under strain from rules aimed at curbing leverage as well as a slowdown in the market. Credit assessors are downgrading the industry’s companies at the fastest pace on record, while at least four developers defaulted last month and others sought to delay near-term bond payments as contagion sparked by China Evergrande Group spreads.

Read more at Yahoo Finance


 

China is Urging Families to Stock Up on Food as Supply Challenges

China is telling families to stock up on food and other daily essentials as bad weather, energy shortages and Covid-19 restrictions threaten to disrupt supplies. . China is implementing restrictions across the country as it continues to pursue a zero-COVID strategy. On Sunday, authorities shut down a Disneyland in Shanghai, locking in 30,000 visitors, after a woman who was in the park earlier tested positive.

China has stressed the importance of shoring up food and other daily supplies in the past — including in September, ahead of a major weeklong holiday period. But those statements are usually very obviously intended for local authorities to read, and rarely capture the attention of everyday citizens. The inclusion of language in this statement that mentions families, though, appears to be putting people on edge.

Read more at CNN


Tariffs to Tackle Climate Change Gain Momentum. The Idea Could Reshape Industries

Policy makers on both sides of the Atlantic are looking at targeting steel, chemicals and cement. The tariffs would give a competitive advantage to manufacturers in countries where emissions are relatively low. Carbon tariffs, also called border adjustments, are intended to plug a hole in domestic policies that discourage emissions. A country that imposes a carbon tax or some other regulation on a steel mill, for example, can raise that company’s costs and prices, making them less competitive domestically.

It’s an idea that is gaining acceptance among U.S. businesses, particularly in those industries, as well as among politicians who see an opportunity to appeal to domestic manufacturers and their workers. Over the weekend, the Biden administration announced the first-ever trade agreement to incorporate such a concept. The pact with the European Union would jointly curb imports of steel that generate high levels of carbon emissions.

Read more at the WSJ

 


 

 

 

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