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Daily Update – 134

Post: Aug. 23, 2020

Cuomo: Sixteen Straight days Positive Infection Rate Below One Percent

The Governor issued a press release this morning detailing New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from yesterday, August 22nd.  Of the 74,043 test results reported yesterday, 0.77% (572) were positive. This is the sixteenth straight day that the positive infection rate has been below one percent. Additionally, Governor Cuomo announced that the number of COVID-19 related hospitalizations has dropped to 472, the lowest number since March 16th. The number of ICU patients dropped to 110, a new low since March 15th. 

Read the press release

Reopening: Gyms Reopen Today Along with Indoor Art and Cultural Activities in NYC

Gyms will be permitted to open as soon as today, August 24th but no later than September 2nd, pending local government inspections, at 33% facility capacity, with mandatory facial coverings, sanitation, check-in, and ventilation requirements.

Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment – NYC

Low-risk indoor cultural activities can reopen in New York City on Monday, August 24th with 25% occupancy, timed ticketing required with pre-set staggered entry, and mandatory face coverings.

Existing-Home Sales Surged 24.7% in July

Existing-home sales rose 24.7% in July from June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.86 million, the highest rate since December 2006, the National Association of Realtors said Friday. The July sales marked a 8.7% increase from a year earlier.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected a 14.2% monthly increase in sales of previously-owned homes, which make up most of the housing market. “The housing market is actually past the recovery phase and is now in a booming stage,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.  Low interest rates and a desire for more space boosted home-buyer demand.

Read more at the WSJ

The Covid-19 Effect: The 2020 IndustryWeek Technology Survey

The pandemic has become a defining moment for digital transformation, separating the haves from the have nots. Manufacturers suddenly find themselves dependent upon their tech investments. For some, strategic technology investments mean they can rapidly pivot to create desperately needed products. Remote access has also become an integral part of the new normal, enabling experts working from home to form meaningful connections with skeleton crews still on the shop floor. And as manufacturers venture into the restart mode, the strategic use of wearables and robot technology makes social distancing feasible.

Simply put, business as usual is not going to work. Uncertain times mean manufacturers need to be ready to navigate unknown territory. Fortunately, having the right technology in place can help manufacturers add clarity and consistency to crucial operations. And that is exactly the story we see playing out in in this year’s IndustryWeek technology survey.

Read More at IndustryWeek

PMI: French Business Activity Weaker Than Expected in August

Data compiler IHS Markit said its preliminary purchasing managers index (PMI) fell to 51.7 points from 57.3 in July – far below the average forecast for 57.2 in a Reuters poll of economists.  The reading for the services sector stayed above the 50-point level dividing an expansion from a contraction, but the preliminary PMI reading for manufacturing came in below that level.  The manufacturing PMI fell to 49.0 points in August – down from 52.4 in July and below a forecast for 53.7 points.

French business activity had surged after the euro zone’s second-biggest economy emerged in May from one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe as firms responded to pent-up client demand.

Read more at Reuters

Eurozone PMI Disappoints 

Euro zone flash PMI (purchasing managers’ index) data published on Friday dented hopes of a V-shaped recovery from the bloc’s deepest economic downturn on record. The August composite reading, widely seen as a strong gauge of economic health, fell to 51.6 from July’s 54.9, considerably below analyst expectations.

Read more at CNBC

They Don’t Just Cause Pandemics: How Viruses Shape the World – A Deeper Dive in The Economist

The influence of viruses on life on Earth goes far beyond the past and present tragedies of a single species, however pressing they seem. Though the study of viruses began as an investigation into what appeared to be a strange subset of pathogens, recent research puts them at the heart of an explanation of the strategies of genes, both selfish and otherwise. viruses are best thought of as packages of genetic material that exploit another organism’s metabolism in order to reproduce. They are parasites of the purest kind: they borrow everything from the host except the genetic code that makes them what they are. They strip down life itself to the bare essentials of information and its replication. If the abundance of viruses is anything to go by, that is a very successful strategy indeed.

Read more in The Economist

Economist Mortality: 54,000 “Excess Deaths” in U.S. Since March

The Economist mortality tracker uses the gap between the total number of people who have died from any cause and the historical average for the time of year to estimate how many deaths from the virus the official statistics are failing to pick up.

Updated August 11 the tracker shows that 66,063 people died the week of May 2-8 or 27% higher than the expected 52,480.  Down from a month early  when total deaths were 78,474 – 44% higher than the expected 54,383.  Data from most nations are included on the site.

See the tracker at the Economist