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The Executive Briefing - Friday, July 8th

How are we still disinfecting things?!

COVID & Health News:

  • Labcorp will begin testing for monkeypox. Commercial lab testing will be key in preventing more spread of the virus through easier detection. (Fox)
  • As monkeypox cases top 6,000 globally, the WHO will reconsider declaring it an emergency. (Reuters)
  • Syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in the US. (Forbes)
  • A new global plan calls for funding to bring TB under control. (CIDRAP)
  • Some companies say they want to cover abortion travel costs for those who live in states where it is or soon will be illegal - but how they’ll do it while protecting employee privacy and adhering to state laws will be tricky. (USA Today)
  • A new rapid test developed at University of Texas can detect which variant the patient has when positive. (NBC)
  • A CT cancer patient tested positive for COVID for 471 days. (NBC4 NY)
  • Pharmacists can now prescribe Paxlovid, making it more easily available…(US News)
  • …but many doctors and pharmacists still have questions about how and when to prescribe it. (STAT)
  • BA.4 and BA.5 can evade boosters and antibody therapies, increasing the risk of breakthrough infections. (CIDRAP)
  • A new COVID wave is hitting Europe, with global cases up 30% over the past two weeks. (Bloomberg)
  • Long COVID patients are still struggling to get disability benefits. (CBS)

Mental Health News:

  • 988, the national suicide hotline number, will go live this month. Calls are expected to skyrocket, even after nearly doubling in the past five years. (LoHud)
  • A 30-minute online class can improve teenagers’ stress response and mental health by focusing on growth mindset and the positives of the body’s reaction to stress. (The Guardian)
  • One third of Americans say they can’t afford therapy as the US continues to struggle with a mental health crisis. (MarketWatch)

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Best Questions:

An employee tested positive today whose symptoms started days ago. How long do we need to exclude them for?

Exclusions should start counting from the onset of symptoms. We’d start counting five days from the date that their symptoms first started. If they are still having symptoms after five days, they should continue to stay home until their symptoms improve.

Can you test negative for COVID and still have it?

Yes. A negative test doesn't necessarily mean that you’re in the clear. In many cases, it takes a day or two after symptoms start for someone to test positive on a rapid antigen test. It’s likely that on that first day, the viral load wasn’t high enough (at least in the nose where the swab was taken) to test positive, even though the person was already feeling sick. You should determine if you stay home based on symptoms, even if your test is negative.

I’ve still never had COVID. Should I get it to get it over with?

We don’t recommend it. If you’re fully vaccinated and boosted, the risk of being hospitalized or dying of COVID is very low, but it’s not zero. Even moderate cases can really affect people’s health, even if they’re young and fit. Far more concerning is that even mild COVID cases can lead to long COVID, regardless of your age and other conditions.

How common are reinfections?

Reinfections have become much more common with the latest variants. In April 2021, it was only around 1%, but with Omicron and BA.5, has jumped up to over 25% in the UK, who has much better variant testing than we do here in the US. New York found a similar 25% rate this past week, which means about a quarter of cases right now are reinfections. Nearly all of those reinfections are more mild and don’t require hospitalization as often, compared to initial infections, but they can still be dangerous for those with high-risk conditions.

Best Read:  

How Are We Possibly Still Disinfecting Things? - The Atlantic

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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.