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New Eris variant + COVID rise

The Executive Briefing - Tuesday, August 8th

Health News:

  • COVID is on the rise again, though still at low numbers, thanks in part to the new EG.5 variant (nicknamed ‘Eris’), which is now the dominant strain in the US. (CBS)
  • A second deadly TB outbreak is linked to contaminated bone grafts. (Washington Post)
  • As American cities get hotter, hospitals are learning more about how to treat heatstroke. (KFF Health)
  • The first-ever fast-acting pill for postpartum depression was approved by the FDA. It’s taken for just two weeks. (USA Today)
  • About 1 in 6 toddlers aren’t getting all of the vaccinations they need, even as fall’s flu and cold season looms. (Washington Post)
  • The US saw a rise in antibiotic use during the pandemic, raising fears that antibiotic resistance means our usual drugs won’t work in the future. (CIDRAP)
  • Food trucks, which can reach very high temperatures, pose unique issues and greater risks when it’s really hot out. (The Guardian)
  • The CDC confirmed that the first two cases of human swine flu this year were linked to Michigan county fairs. (Detroit Free Press)
  • A Bay Area spa was closed by the health department after two deaths due to Legionnaires’ disease, typically spread through contaminated water. (LA Times)
  • 57 swimmers got sick with E. coli after competing in the world triathlon championship in the UK in a stretch of contaminated water. (Guardian)
  • Eye doctors are asking people not to rub castor oil in their eyes, after a TikTok trend has made it popular, ostensibly to help with vision problems. (NBC)

Mental Health News:

  • Half the world’s population can expect to develop at least one mental health disorder by age 75. (Axios)
  • Petting other people’s dogs, even for just 5 minutes, can help boost your well-being and reduce stress. (NPR)
  • Air Force and Space Force members can request a mental health referral and speak with a medical professional within a day. (Military.com)
  • Parents are nearly as depressed and anxious as their teens. (TIME)

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide or need help, call 988 or message the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Best Questions

Are other clients seeing more COVID again?

Yes! While numbers are still relatively low compared to previous spikes, COVID numbers are definitely rising across the country, with certain counties seeing larger spikes. Eris has effectively the same symptoms as Omicron (it’s a subvariant), and the recommendations are still the same - keep employees out of work for five days after their symptoms first started or after they test positive if they don’t have any symptoms. We aren’t sure how big this wave will be, but we do think it’s a good idea to have managers prepared for more call-outs over the next few weeks and again in September after kids go back to school.
Source: USA Today

Will the updated booster work against the new Eris variant?

Yes, the new boosters are likely to work better against the latest EG.5 (Eris) variant than our previous formula, which was designed for the BA.5 variant that’s no longer dominant. EG.5 is slightly different from the XBB variants that the new booster targets but similar enough that Dr. Eric Topol, a biomedical researcher at Scripps, feels that it will protect against severe disease anyway. The reality is that each year we’ll likely have a best guess determined months beforehand, and have to hope that the virus doesn’t mutate too much between the development of the updated booster and the fall flu-and-COVID-shot season. This year, we’re pretty lucky and still recommend that everyone get boosted once the shots are available in October.
Sources: Eric Topol, Washington Post

We heard that there’s a link between Bronny James’ cardiac arrest and the COVID vaccine. Is that true?

No, there’s no evidence that vaccines played any role in Lebron James’ 18-year-old son Bronny’s recent cardiac arrest. Despite being teased by Elon Musk and on social media, there is no evidence that Bronny’s cardiac arrest had anything to do with vaccination. Sudden cardiac arrest has been the number one cause of sports-related deaths among athletes in the U.S. for years before COVID vaccines even existed. While vaccines do increase the risk in teenage boys for myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), it’s rare - in fact, it’s actually more common to get it from getting COVID than after vaccination. While we don’t know Bronny’s vaccination status, we can say with confidence that it’s very unlikely that his sudden cardiac arrest was related to COVID vaccination.
Source: Forbes

Best Read:

The Virus is Learning New Tricks and We Humans Keep Falling Behind | Eric Topol

Schedule Your Fall Flu Shots:

Flu shots are more important than ever this year. Email flu@zerohourhealth.com to learn more about how Zero Hour Health can help with onsite flu shots or pharmacy vouchers for your smaller locations and remote employees.

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Disclaimer: This post is meant for general information and educational purposes only and does not constitute, and is not intended as, any form of medical, legal or regulatory advice or a recommendation or suggestion regarding the same.  No recipient of this information should act or refrain from acting on the basis of this information without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.