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, May 19th

Noro is back on cruises - big time 🤢

Hi ZHH community! Are you planning on attending the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago this weekend? We’d love to grab a coffee or a drink and catch up while you’re there!

Email lsweeney@zerohourhealth.com if you’re attending and have time to say hello!

Health News:

  • This year’s COVID boosters should target the XBB variant, the WHO says. (Reuters)
  • The WHO warned against using artificial sweeteners, saying long-term use isn’t effective for controlling weight or preventing noncommunicable diseases and can pose health risks. (NY Times)
  • The world will hit record high temperatures in the next 5 years, which will negatively impact health. (BBC)
  • A new study shows the staggering toll of being black in America: 1.6 million excess deaths over 22 years. (KFF News)
  • The White House wants to improve access to naloxone and plans to work with manufacturers to get it into the hands of more people. (Reuters)
  • As people in Japan unmask after three years, some are turning to a smile coach. (NY Times)
  • The J&J COVID vaccine is no longer available in the US and has only been recommended for those who couldn’t get the other kind of vaccine since last year. (CNN)
  • Drug shortages are at an all-time high in the US, leading to rationing for things from antibiotics to Adderall to heart surgery meds. (NY Times)
  • Police officers say they’re being poisoned by fentanyl, but experts say the risk is ‘extremely low.’ (NPR)
  • The CDC issued a travel advisory for medical tourism to Matamoros, Mexico because of a deadly fungal meningitis related to cosmetic procedures under epidural anesthesia. (CDC)
  • A COVID test Medicare scam sent tests to people who didn’t order them so they could bill the federal government. (KFF News)
  • A wastewater study in Poland shows that there’s likely more mpox circulating than we realized. (CIDRAP)
  • An elementary school in Utah has a serious norovirus outbreak sickening students and staff. (KUTV)
  • New cases of chronic pain occur more often than nearly any other chronic condition including depression, high blood pressure, or diabetes, according to a new NIH study. (NY Times)
  • Illnesses on cruises are at a record high in 2023. (Quartz)

Mental Health News:

  • An AI chatbot may be your next therapist. Will it actually help your mental health? (KFF News)
  • NYC’s program providing a non-police response to mental health crisis calls is expanding, but staffing is a huge challenge, so hours remain limited. (Gothamist)
  • The rate of clinical depression has reached new heights, with 29% of people having been diagnosed at some point in their life. (Gallup)
  • Birds and their songs are good for our mental health. (Washington Post)

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:

Do masks work? Do we still need them?

Masks do work to reduce the risk of spreading and getting the virus that causes COVID, but their impact may be limited. We certainly still recommend them in healthcare settings and increased masking can help reduce the spread during an outbreak situation. On a day-to-day basis, though, the impact of masking may be relatively limited for personal protection. All of the studies on the benefits of masking have major limitations, most of which are related to the fact that humans behave inconsistently, even when they’re part of a study. In real-world situations, we see that masks do reduce the risk of COVID transmission, but perhaps not as strongly as we had once hoped. There’s still a time and place for when they can help reduce transmission, like crowded indoor spaces with poor ventilation in areas with high community transmission.

We’re considering Narcan in our first aid kits at certain locations. Are other clients doing this?

Yes, we have a few clients who have made that exact interim decision - not to stock Narcan everywhere just yet, but to make strategic or targeted decisions about where to have it on hand, at least for now. One client recently told us that it’s been used twice in a specific location that regularly hires employees through a successful partnership with a local treatment facility (both times for employees). They keep it on hand at that location, where they can expect a higher likelihood of employee overdoses. But it’s not just specific programs for people in recovery - the restaurant industry has among the highest rates of drug and alcohol use disorder compared to nearly all other industries, so even if you’re holding off on making policies around how to use it for the public, it’s an interesting idea to consider your policies about having it on hand for your own employees. As always, consult with your legal team and ensure proper training if you do decide to keep naloxone at your business.

We have employees who are immunocompromised and still have HR accommodations to reduce their risk. Is COVID still the same threat to them as it was a few years ago?

Even though the majority of Americans are moving on, the emergency declaration is over, and most restrictions are long gone, there are still millions of people who are immunocompromised who are still at much greater risk if they contract COVID. Their conditions mean they face much more serious health risks than the average person if they contract COVID. Even though COVID is more common, it’s still much deadlier than the flu. Talk to your legal and HR teams about individual employee accommodations, but from a clinical perspective, the threat for immunocompromised people is, unfortunately, still very real.

Best Read:

Stomach viruses are back up on cruise ships, with hundreds falling ill | The Washington Post

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.