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The Executive Briefing - Friday, August 13th

Booster doses for some immunocompromised, plus more on breakthrough cases and how the pandemic ends from here.

New Podcast Episode Out Today! 

Our guest today is Chef Tony Cochones, Vice President of Culinary Operations for Glory Days Grill.  Tony has been with Glory Days for almost 20 years.  Prior to that, he worked for Superstar Chef Todd English. Chef Tony will share more with us about his journey with Glory Days and his personal journey through COVID.

Listen here!


  • San Francisco implemented the nation’s strictest vaccine requirements to date - barring entry without vaccination to restaurants, bars, gyms and entertainment venues. (AP)
  • Hospitals are running low on nurses as they get swamped with COVID patients. (AP)
  • The CDC now strongly recommends getting the COVID vaccine for pregnant women, because it’s extremely safe - and COVID is extremely dangerous to mom and baby. (CDC)
  • The FDA approved a third booster dose for some immunocompromised people, who don’t get the same protection from just two doses. (STAT)
  • The situation is so bad in Florida that the federal government is sending ventilators. (Washington Post)
  • The massive outdoor Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago doesn’t appear to have been a superspreader event, with only about 200 cases and nearly 350,000 in attendance. (The Hill)
  • Hawaiian tourists who fake vaccination cards or COVID tests face $5000 fines. (USA Today)
  • Rapid tests are useful for identifying positives, but they have lots of false negatives especially in asymptomatic people. (MedPage Today)
  • One parent knowingly sent their COVID+ child to school, exposing 80 other kids. (CNN)
  • Four Florida teachers died of COVID within 24 hours of each other, just a week before FL is set to return to schools with an executive order from the Governor banning mask mandates. (CBS Miami)

Today’s Health News 

  • The CDC is investigating an outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia infections in healthcare settings associated with contaminated ultrasound gel. (CDC)
  • A foodborne illness outbreak at a hospital in Homer, AK was linked to cubano sandwiches infected with C. perfringens. (Yahoo)
  • King County, WA is investigating a significant Norovirus outbreak in Renton, currently associated with a restaurant but growing. (KOMO News)

Best Questions

With the rise of the Delta variant, do you recommend that all employees - even if they’re fully vaccinated - wear masks?

Yes. If you’re in an area with a high transmission rate (which covers most of the US), you should wear a mask when indoors outside of your home whether you’re vaccinated or not. While many of our clients never lifted mask requirements (which made this change easier for them), most others are returning to masking for all employees whether or not they are vaccinated.  We recommend that you require masks for everyone. 

I have an employee who is fully vaccinated but has now tested positive.  Can they continue to work wearing a mask?

No! This is a common misconception that we’re seeing, and it’s dangerous because anyone who is COVID+ can spread COVID, even if they’re vaccinated. The latest studies show that once someone has COVID, they’re transmitting the virus at similar levels whether unvaccinated or vaccinated. It doesn’t mean that vaccines don’t work (they do, really well), or that those people are the same level of sick (they’re not - they’re having much milder symptoms), but it does mean that they need to self-isolate and you need to conduct full contact tracing to prevent an outbreak. Again, everyone who tests positive or develops COVID symptoms, whether or not they are vaccinated, must isolate for 10 days. 

It seems like we’re hearing a lot about breakthrough cases. Are there as many as it seems?  Is the vaccine working?

Although we do keep hearing about breakthrough cases, breakthroughs are expected and represent about 0.098% of those fully vaccinated. The risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19 after receiving a vaccine is low. And although hospitals are filling up, patients being admitted are overwhelmingly unvaccinated.  According to the NY Times’ recent deep dive into breakthrough case data, fully vaccinated people have made up 0.1% - 5% of those hospitalized and 0.2% - 6% of those who have died in the 25 states reporting breakthrough data. To get a better sense for how this works, we liked this New York Times visualization of how vaccines make an impact on the spread of the Delta variant.

So although we do keep hearing about and know people with breakthrough cases, there aren’t that many breakthrough cases overall, and the vaccine is highly effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death.  

How are other clients handling these rapidly changing vaccine and mask mandates?/

Although no two companies are alike or have identical decisions or decision making processes, we are hearing similar discussions among the executive teams across our client base.  Where just a week ago, discussions were centered on when to require masks, the conversation has refocused on the daily expansion of vaccine and mask mandates as the Delta variant surges.  Where corporate vaccine mandates were being discussed for executive offices or support centers, company-wide vaccine requirements weren’t on the table two weeks or a month ago and now are.

Tracking and complying with the rapidly changing requirements is more challenging than ever for our clients and there isn’t a one size fits all solution for business.  From NYC’s single dose requirement, to Philly and SF’s two doses, and testing in some places for those who can’t be or aren’t vaccinated, this pandemic is even more complicated than even last week.

Best Read 

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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.