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The Executive Briefing - Friday, October 14th

The COVID lies we tell


  • Kids age 5 and up are now authorized to get the updated booster. (STAT)
  • The White House is encouraging all Americans over 12 years old to get the updated booster by Halloween for safer holiday celebrations. (AP)
  • More than 40% of Americans lied or misled others about COVID infection or precautions, with nearly one in four telling others they were taking more precautions than they actually did, and more than one in five people breaking quarantine rules. (JAMA)
  • 80% of Omicron patients are still positive 5 days after symptom onset. (CIDRAP)
  • The head of WHO is warning that there remains an impending crisis from long COVID, with potentially devastating consequences for patients and health care systems. (The Guardian)
  • The US’s estimates for COVID booster uptake were off by nearly 90%. Only 4.5% of eligible people have gotten the new booster so far. (Quartz News)
  • The public health emergency has been extended an additional 90 days to January 11, 2023. (HHS)
  • Most patients with long COVID symptoms at 12 months after illness are likely to still have symptoms at 18 months. (Reuters)

Public Health & MPX News

  • October 15th is Global Handwashing Day to raise awareness that soap and water are an effective and affordable way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. (CDC)
  • Researchers found MPX viral particles on surfaces and in the air in hospital rooms, with half of the samples remaining viable, and with particular concern during bedding changes. PPE is key for hospital staff and anyone caring for someone with MPX. (CIDRAP)
  • The first death in the capital city of Kampala was reported in Uganda’s Ebola outbreak, bringing the total to 19 dead. (BBC)
  • Polio has been found in Brooklyn and Queens wastewater, extending the area where the virus is now known to be circulating in New York. (NBC)
  • There’s a national shortage of Adderall as demand soars. (ABC)

Mental Health News:

  • A prevention group recommends that kids 8 and up get anxiety screenings at the doctor’s office. (STAT)
  • Mental health crisis teams are harder to set up in rural areas, but agencies across the US are working on it. (NBC)
  • The mental health crisis and shortage of providers is putting many Americans in debt. (NPR)
  • A new study shows an unexpected reduction in suicide after folic acid supplements.  More study is needed before it becomes a treatment recommendation. (JAMA)

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:

How should we use the information that nearly half of Americans have lied about COVID? What does it mean for our policies?

Most of us already know what this study confirmed - that people lie about COVID precautions they take. Nearly one in five told someone they were taking more precautions than they actually were, broke quarantine rules, avoided testing when they thought they might be sick, and didn’t disclose an infection when they went to the doctor. Most commonly, the reasons people said they lied were either for a return to normalcy or personal freedoms. We wish this study had asked about going to work sick - though we think the answers would have scared us. For a good sick policy, you need to have clear rules, managers that enforce them consistently (and send sick people home!), and fair sick pay to entice workers to be honest and stay home when sick.

We’re hearing there’s a lot of flu around already. Are you seeing that?

Yes, we’re seeing it in our clients’ employees, and hearing about it from doctors and hospitals, as well. Flu is here, and it’s a bit early this year. Hotspots over the past few weeks have been in D.C., Texas, and Georgia. It’s mostly Flu A, and it seems to be rising the fastest for kids. That doesn’t mean your employees are immune - just that they’re more likely to get it from their children who bring it home from daycare or school.

Do we know yet about the match between this year’s flu shot and the flu strains that are circulating?

It’s too early to know just yet. There are four strains in this year’s flu vaccine - two flu A and two flu B strains. Right now, most of the flu found via testing in the US is Influenza A. It will take a bit longer to determine how effective this year’s vaccines are holding up against the specific variants that are actually circulating. And it’s very important to remember that even in years where match isn’t great between the vaccine’s strains and the strains that are circulating, someone who’s vaccinated against flu is less likely to develop serious complications, need hospitalization, or die from the flu.

Here’s a good link to share on flu prevention with good info about COVID and flu:


Some employees are telling each other they came down with the flu right after getting the flu or COVID shot. Are they?

No - you cannot get the flu or COVID from the vaccine! Some people have mild to moderate symptoms for about a day after getting vaccinated. It’s more common after the COVID shot than the flu, and on average lasts less than 24 hours. It may include body aches, fever, and pain at the injection site. But you’re not actually getting the flu or COVID from those shots, it’s just your body’s immune system doing what it's supposed to do. If someone really does get the flu or COVID shortly after getting vaccinated, it’s likely that they were already exposed beforehand. Remember that it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to kick in fully.

Best Read:

What the White House sees coming for COVID this winter: NPR

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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.