Want to receive The Executive Briefing directly to your inbox? Subscribe here!
You've been subscribed!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Back to GetZedic.com

The Executive Briefing - Friday, February 17th

TB may be on the rise


  • There are concerns that the downed Chinese spy balloon and deteriorating relations with China could impact the Chinese medical supply chain which was so problematic in COVID. (CIDRAP)
  • The COVID surge in China may have been undercounted by as much as 15x, with a more realistic count of between 1-1.5 million deaths. (NY Times)
  • Rebound rates are about the same for those who did and did not take antiviral pills like Paxlovid, according to a new study. (The Lancet)
  • In an about-face, Moderna says it won’t charge Americans for its COVID shots, even after the public health emergency ends. (STAT)
  • COVID virus is spiking in the wastewater in the California Bay Area, indicating a surge may be starting. (SF Chronicle)
  • Omicron hospital cases are 54% more deadly than flu hospital cases, even now. (CIDRAP)
  • Both COVID and COVID vaccines have been linked to tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. An investigation shows minimal effect from vaccines, though the CDC will continue to monitor. (National Geographic)

Public Health News:

  • There’s an ongoing Listeria outbreak with an unknown food source, sickening 11 people in 10 states. (CDC)
  • OSHA is seeking comments on its program that recognizes employers who are committed to the best possible health and safety practices. (OSHA)
  • Moderna’s flu vaccine, which is still in development, worked well against flu A strains but was less effective against flu B. (Moderna)
  • A California bobcat was the first US mammalian death from bird flu. (Sacramento Bee)
  • New legislation in Minnesota would require paid sick leave for nearly all workers in the state. (AP)
  • Health concerns are growing after the train derailment in Ohio last week. (NPR)
  • Mosquitos that carry malaria are spreading farther from the equator as the Earth warms. (Washington Post)

Mental Health News:

  • Teens’ mental health could be even worse than the CDC data suggests. (WSJ)
  • Mass shootings have an ongoing negative impact on mental health, particularly for the young people who have grown up with mass violence. (CNN)
  • Senator Fetterman (D-Pa) checked himself into the hospital for mental health treatment, with many thanking him for his openness with his struggle and for seeking help. (AP)

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

Best Questions:

We operate a restaurant near the train derailment in Ohio. What should we do?

If you operate a restaurant near East Palestine, OH where the major train derailment and chemical fire occurred, the first priority should be employee and guest safety. While local businesses are no longer under evacuation orders, local residents are reporting concerning symptoms and uncertainty around the safety of the air and water nearby. If your restaurant closed and then reopened, we’d recommend a full sanitizing to wipe down any potential contaminants that settled from the air onto surfaces - out of both an abundance of caution and a way to reassure employees and guests. There are no boil-water orders in effect at this time, but some local restaurants may choose to do so anyway until there’s more clarity, especially given the widespread public distrust. For those nearby but not directly affected, there’s no action required, other than to continue to observe any local health department guidelines.

What can we do to protect ourselves during this multi-state Listeria outbreak?

As we reported above, there’s an ongoing Listeria outbreak that’s caused 11 people to become sick in 10 different states spread across the US. While most of these cases have been this fall and winter, they’re genetically linked to three older cases in 2018 and 2019. The CDC believes it’s a food source, but they don’t know what’s causing it yet. That can be especially tricky for the food service industry. Listeria outbreaks can happen with a number of foods, but are most often linked to dairy products and produce. Recent outbreaks have been tied to soft cheeses, celery, sprouts, cantaloupe, and ice cream. Proper food safety can prevent spreading Listeria. Pay particular attention to cold-holding temperatures and food storage. We’ll continue to report on this as the investigation continues, especially if a food source is identified.

How likely is the bird flu to jump to humans?

The H5N1 bird flu that’s been all over the news lately is concerning to us not just because it’s killing both domestic and wild birds and causing egg shortages. It’s also spread to and between mammals, which is the dicey part. And while there have been a few cases that spread to humans who had direct contact with infected birds, most of those cases are mild and have not spread between humans. In fact, considering how many cases of this there are in birds and how many of those birds have had contact with humans, it’s actually likely less infectious and less severe for humans than previous avian flus. But because it’s spreading so easily in so many different species and between other mammals (including minks, which have spread viruses to humans before), it’s not far-fetched to think that might change. More species means more opportunities to mutate. We’ll continue to be on the lookout, but we’re not expecting widespread human transmission in the near-term.

What should we do if an employee says they have TB?

TB is short for tuberculosis, an infectious disease that’s spread through the air when an employee with active TB is sick. It’s a serious concern, but the first step is to verify! It’s incredibly common for employees to report to managers that they’re sick, when in fact, they just tested positive on a TB skin test, which only means that they’ve been exposed or had the BCG vaccine in another country as a child (it’s not offered in the US). If an employee shares a true positive test for active, infectious TB, you should send the employee home and require a doctor’s note for their return. Sanitize all surfaces the same way you would for COVID, and then check your local reporting guidelines. In most cases, the lab or physician will report it, but in some areas, you may be required to, as well. You should prepare for a health inspection since the health department will be involved. Check your latest inspections and make sure you’ve resolved any of the previous violations just in case they show up at your door.

Best Read:

As Covid Grabbed the World’s Attention, Texas’ Efforts to Control TB Slipped - KHN

Share this article:

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.