Omicron doesn’t appear to spread outdoors very much, which is good news. Like previous variants, Omicron doesn’t spread very easily outdoors because of the ventilation. Outdoors is still the safest place to be. There are some new studies showing that the Omicron variant does live longer on surfaces, like plastic and skin, and tends to stay stable for longer, which may explain how it spread so quickly. It’s a good reminder that handwashing is still as important as ever!
First, it’s important to note that “endemic” doesn’t mean that COVID will be over. It just means that it will be a part of life - including people getting sick and dying. The difference will be that there will not be major surges, with any variations in case rates being within the capacity of our healthcare system to manage. The flu is endemic, but millions of Americans get it each year and tens of thousands die from it. In reality, COVID becoming endemic is the most likely outcome here given that we’re far past the point of containing it through contact tracing or mass vaccination. Our best hope is that it becomes less transmissible and less severe over time, and that more people get vaccinated.
We’ve been talking about the higher incidences of reinfection that we’re seeing, and with nearly 25% of ALL infections in the US having taken place since Christmas, there are millions of people who are now within the 90-day window that we’ve heard about after infection. But the reality is that your protection level after an Omicron infection is unclear. While it does provide an antibody boost, the length of that boost is unclear. Without a doubt, the more consistent and better option for protection is vaccination - so even if you’ve recently had Omicron we highly recommend getting up to date on your vaccination - meaning getting your first two doses, or if you’re eligible, your booster dose.
The most recent version of the CalOSHA ETS that went into effect on January 14th uses the same requirements as the federal OSHA ETS did, namely that the test can’t be both self-administered and self-read. Their FAQ clarifies that this can be any lab result, rapid test result from a point of care provider (like a pharmacy) or an at-home test with a digital reading that shows the date and time stamp of the test. At-home tests that were both self-administered and self-read aren’t accepted under the current California guidance.
Yes. Definitely worth a discussion with your legal counsel but what we’re hearing is that they published draft rules in the Federal Register, the comment period has ended and final rules are being prepared which take into account the many comments received and the feedback from SCOTUS. Rumors have it that the new rules will be targeted to specific high risk industries that would likely include restaurants and foodservice providers.