Member Briefing July 13, 2022
Pattern For Progress: IRS Data Show Hudson Valley Saw Net Gain from Migration for First Time in More Than a Decade
Pattern for Progress yesterday released a special report that analyzes the migration of people into the Hudson Valley, and out of the region, during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic. Data show that the Hudson Valley experienced a net gain from migration for the first time in more than a decade, including a net gain of 33,394 residents from the five boroughs of New York City. A total of 48,642 people from the five boroughs of New York City moved into the Hudson Valley, and 15,248 moved out of the region and into the city, for a net gain of 33,394 people in the Hudson Valley.
The data show a north-south divide across the region. Counties in the lower Hudson Valley (Westchester, Rockland, Orange) lost population due to migration, while counties to the north showed net gains in population. Conclusions are hard to draw because these data include migration before and during the pandemic, but the divide could indicate a movement away from densely populated areas into smaller cities, villages, and rural towns. This trend was well documented in real estate data that showed people leaving high-population areas because they feared that density put them at a greater risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.
Read the report at the Pattern website
War in Ukraine Headlines
- Ukraine and Russia: the Latest News – CNN
- Donetsk People’s Republic to Open Moscow Embassy – Foreign Brief
- Ukraine Hits Military Depot in Russian-Controlled City – WSJ
- Iran Set to Supply Russia with Drones, U.S. Says – CNBC
- Failure to Implement Russian Oil Price Cap Could Jack Up Oil Prices -Reuters
- Meeting Set to Discuss Ukrainian Grain Exports – CNBC
- Europe is Preparing for Russian Gas to be Cut Off this Winter – The Economist
- Global Investors Dump Bonds of Chinese Banks That Lent Heavily to Russia- WSJ
- Russia’s Breadbasket Seeing High Yields as Wheat Harvest Starts – Reuters
- Map – Tracking Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine – Live Universal Awareness Map
Hochul Not Anticipating New Restrictions Despite Rising COVID Cases
Gov. Kathy Hochul said she continues to track New York’s COVID-19 infection and hospitalization numbers daily and while cases are trending up, it doesn’t appear the current sub-variant of the virus is causing as serious illness as previous ones. “We’re not looking at more restrictions right now because this time around, we have readily available vaccinations. Anybody can get a booster shot,” Hochul said. “If you’re over 50, you can get a double booster, which I’ve had, as well as the test kits are so widely available.”
Hochul said the administration reserves the right to consider new policies if the situation worsens, but she doesn’t anticipate any business or other restrictions in the near future. “This is going to be more endemic,” she said. “People are getting used to living with it.”
Read more at New York State of Politics
NASA Unveils More of Webb Space Telescope’s First Full-Color Images
Following a presidential sneak peek of a galaxy-studded image from deep in the cosmos, NASA on Tuesday unveiled more of its initial showcase from the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most powerful orbital observatory ever launched. The first batch of full-color, high-resolution pictures, which took weeks to render from raw telescope data, were selected by NASA to provide compelling early images from Webb’s major areas of inquiry and a preview of science missions ahead.
The $9 billion infrared telescope, built for NASA by aerospace giant Northrop Grumman Corp , is expected to revolutionize astronomy by allowing scientists to peer farther than before and with greater clarity into the cosmos, to the dawn of the known universe.
U.S. COVID – Biden Administration To Again Extend The Covid Public-Health Emergency
The US government will once again extend the Covid-19 public health emergency, continuing measures that have given millions of Americans special access to health insurance and telehealth services. The Department of Health and Human Services has repeatedly renewed the emergency since it was originally declared in January 2020, with the most recent extension set to expire July 15. The next extension is expected to take effect Friday, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public.
The emergency designation has given millions of Americans special access to Medicaid. US regulators have also used emergency powers to clear vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for use against the coronavirus. The designation has also allowed for flexibilities around virtual health services. Lawmakers have pledged to extend increased telehealth access until five months after the end of the public health emergency is declared. An abrupt end to the emergency declaration could affect companies that provide those services.
Read more at Financial Advisor
New Coronavirus Mutant Raises Concerns in India and Beyond
The quickly changing coronavirus has spawned yet another super contagious omicron mutant that’s worrying scientists as it gains ground in India and pops up in numerous other countries, including the United States. Scientists say the variant – called BA.2.75 – may be able to spread rapidly and get around immunity from vaccines and previous infection. It’s unclear whether it could cause more serious disease than other omicron variants, including the globally prominent BA.5.
“It’s still really early on for us to draw too many conclusions,” said Matthew Binnicker, director of clinical virology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “But it does look like, especially in India, the rates of transmission are showing kind of that exponential increase.” Whether it will outcompete BA.5, he said, is yet to be determined.
Moderna to Advance two Omicron Vaccine Candidates Against Newer Variants
Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) said on Monday it was advancing two Omicron vaccine candidates for the fall, one designed against the BA.1 variant and another against the BA.4 and BA.5. Moderna said its decision to develop the bivalent vaccines was based on different market preferences for shots against the subvariants.
Vaccine makers including Moderna and rival Pfizer Inc are developing updated vaccines to target the fast-spreading Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, which have gained a foothold in the United States over recent weeks.
Judge Declares COVID-19 Isolation, Quarantine Regulations Void
In a case brought by three Republican state legislators, state Supreme Court Justice Ronald Ploetz of Cattaraugus County shut down Rule 2.13, which states that “whenever appropriate to control the spread of a highly contagious communicable disease,” the state health commissioner may issue and/or direct local health officials “to issue isolation and/or quarantine orders, consistent with due process of law, to all such persons as the State Commissioner of Health shall determine appropriate.”
In his opinion, Ploetz said the rule — enacted in February — gave only “lip service” to constitutional due process; he declared it to be in violation of state law, and therefore null, void and unenforceable. The decision could impact the management of future health crises.
Euro Teeters on the Brink of Parity With the U.S. Dollar on Recession Fears
The euro hovered close to parity with the U.S. dollar on Tuesday, as the euro zone’s energy supply crisis and economic woes continue to depress the common currency. The euro was trading 0.2% lower at around $1.002 during morning deals in London, paring earlier losses that pushed the single currency to the brink of parity with the dollar.
Fears of a recession have grown in recent weeks due to rising uncertainty over the bloc’s energy supply, with Russia threatening to further reduce gas flows to Germany and the broader continent.
Yellen Sees Yen’s Depreciation, Says Intervention Only Warranted in ‘Rare’ Cases
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday acknowledged the Japanese yen’s substantial depreciation in recent weeks, but said the U.S. view remained that currency intervention was warranted only in “rare and exceptional circumstances.” Yellen told reporters that Washington remained convinced that countries such as Japan, the United States and other members of the Group of Seven rich nations should have market-determined exchange rates and intervention was warranted “only in rare and exceptional circumstances.”
Yellen noted that Japan continued to have “yield curve control and zero interest rate policy” at a time when the Federal Reserve was tightening monetary policy. As a result, interest rate differentials – which tended to systematically strengthen the dollar and weaken other currencies – had become “quite large,” she said, although the yen’s losses had outstripped what one might expect based on the gap.
Texas Grid Operator Tells Residents to Curb Power as Heat Hits Record Highs
Texas’ grid operator is warning residents to conserve energy for the second time this year, as fears mount over potential rolling blackouts amid scorching temperatures this week. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages about 90% of the state’s electricity load, said that residents and businesses should turn up thermostats by at least one degree Fahrenheit and not use any major appliances between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Central time on Monday.
The Texas regulator also projected a shortage in energy reserves on Monday “with no market solution available,” but said it does not expect systemwide outages. Less than 10% of wind power generation will be available on Monday, ERCOT said, further lowering the amount of available power in the state.
Late COVID Test Results Lead to Refunds for Hundreds of New Yorkers
Hundreds of New Yorkers were able to get refunds for COVID-19 tests late last year that promised 24-hour turnaround times for results and failed to deliver. Attorney General Letitia James’ office last week announced 692 people were able to receive more than $122,000 who had paid for the expedited results but did not receive them.
The refunds came following an investigation by James’ office, which has also called on COVID testing companies that have claimed to be able to provide 24-hour results to amend their advertising. The funds were paid by COVID testing company Clear 19. Two other COVID testing companies, ClearMD Health and SameDay Health, had previously refunded hundreds of thousands of dollars after failing to deliver on the promise of quick results.
Read more at State of Politics
Daimler, Volvo and Traton Team Up To Build Electric Vehicle Infrastructure
The three large commercial vehicle OEMs are otherwise competitors, but a collaboration on a large European electric-vehicle charging network among truck manufacturers Daimler Truck, Volvo Group, and Volkswagen truck and bus subsidiary Traton Group was finalized last week—and it joins private and public infrastructure efforts in the U.S. that eventually will be necessary to support widespread electric trucking adoption in America.
The three OEMs completed the final step July 8 in forming the joint venture for charging infrastructure in Europe, which had been announced previously. The venture, with charging network veteran Anja van Niersen appointed as CEO, is expected to play a significant role in supporting the European Union’s Green Deal for carbon-neutral freight transportation by 2050, according to a release from the three trucking OEMs.
Court Pick a ‘Pivotal Moment’ for Hochul to Reshape New York Judiciary
The surprise resignation Monday of New York’s top judge led to a groundswell of calls from Democratic state and federal lawmakers to reshape the court and move it in a more progressive direction in response to the conservative shift on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Democrats in New York said the pick for the Court of Appeals in the coming months needs to counteract the Supreme Court’s recent decisions to overturn Roe v. Wade and toss a restrictive concealed carry gun law that the state had on the books for a century. The replacement will also be a chance for Hochul to address concerns that the court had close ties to Cuomo, particularly DiFiore who maintained a friendship with Cuomo during their years living in Westchester County. He picked her as chief judge in 2016.
Boeing Deliveries Reach Highest Monthly Level Since March 2019
Boeing Co delivered 51 airplanes in June to bring its first-half tally to 216 jets, up 38% from the same period last year, pushing its shares sharply higher on Tuesday. June’s deliveries exceeded the 50 threshold for the first time since March 2019 and included 43 Boeing 737 MAX, which is recovering from a nearly two-year safety crisis, according to new company data.
Boeing’s shares rose more than 8% as it also confirmed that monthly MAX production had touched a target of 31 airplanes, while cautioning it had yet to be “stabilised” at that level as aerospace faces worldwide supply chain snags.