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The Executive Briefing - Friday, October 28th

Spooked by RSV this Halloween 🎃

ZHH News:

Wednesday, November 9th at 3pm ET

Did you know that 81% of workers reported that they will be looking for workplaces that support mental health in the future?

Join us for a discussion on workplace mental health with Roslyn Stone, MPH, CEO of Zero Hour Health, with Lori Govar, MSW, an employee behavioral health expert, and Liz Colizza, LPC, the Director of Research and Programs at Talkspace.

They'll talk about what employers can do to support your team - and in turn, help your business thrive.

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  • Seniors, who had strong booster uptake in the first round, are showing less interest in boosters this time around. (NY Times)
  • The updated boosters do provide protection, but they aren’t working as well against Omicron as we had all hoped. (CNN)
  • The Omicron variant might have previously circulated among rodents, according to a new study. (WIRED)
  • People of color are less likely to receive Paxlovid and other COVID treatments that can be life-saving, according to a new CDC study. (CNN)
  • Humans can and do transmit COVID to their pets. (CIDRAP)
  • 15% of people who test positive will develop long COVID. (JAMA)

Public Health & MPX News:

  • NYC is investigating a possible foodborne illness outbreak in Brooklyn with 50 cases of campylobacter, a bacterial infection that can be spread through undercooked poultry. (The City)
  • The Ebola outbreak in Uganda continues to worsen, as six school children have tested positive. (ABC)
  • Moderna is set to make a deal with the US government to develop vaccines against a number of biological threats including Ebola and Marburg virus. (Reuters)
  • The majority of US MPX patients were also HIV positive. (NY Times)
  • Some US hospitals, particularly children’s units, are completely out of beds amid a nearly 70% spike in RSV over the past month. (ABC)
  • RSV treatment options remain limited, with no FDA-approved RSV-specific treatments. (Becker’s Hospital Review)
  • Clorox recalled millions of Pine-Sol bottles that may contain bacteria that could sicken consumers. (Washington Post)
  • Flu A and RSV can fuse together to form hybrid virus particles that might be better at evading our immune systems. (Nature Microbiology)
  • TB cases are rising for the first time in years. (AP)

Mental Health News:

  • Employers are concerned that their health plans don’t cover their employees’ mental health needs. Two-thirds said that they didn’t have enough behavioral health providers. (KHN)
  • New Mexico and Wyoming had a surge of calls after switching to the new 988 mental health crisis number. (KUNR)
  • OSHA is focusing on workplace stress as an occupational health issue and has new resources for employers. (OSHA)

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:

Any advice for staying healthy on Halloween?

The good news is that Halloween is one of the safer holidays this season because trick-or-treating is so often outdoors. You can safely participate in spooky activities as long as you’re staying home when sick. If you’re particularly concerned about your own health or someone you love that’s at higher risk, consider making sure any indoor gatherings have good ventilation, asking guests to take a rapid test before the party, or wearing masks indoors in larger public settings.

What is RSV and why is it spiking now?

RSV is a very common virus that usually circulates in fall, winter, and spring. Nearly everyone has been infected at least once before they’re two years old, and multiple times throughout their lives, according to epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina. But RSV can be very serious for young kids - with a much higher hospitalization rate than flu or COVID in infants under one year. It can also be dangerous for older adults. RSV is likely surging right now in part because fewer people were exposed over the past two years due to COVID precautions, and therefore there’s lower immunity and more cases as we engage in activities without those precautions. Handwashing is key for preventing the spread of RSV, which is mostly spread through large particles, so keep washing those hands!

What strategies work to convince people to get boosted?

Convenience is king when it comes to people who are passive about getting shots but open to it. If they do have motivation, it will be short-lived, so you should make getting a booster as easy as possible. We’ve heard some great strategies that work, like having a manager explain the benefits of the updated booster and then offering to walk as a group across the street to a pharmacy right then. Arranging an on-site clinic for larger worksites is even better for vaccine uptake. If there’s a pharmacy nearby, give employees time to go over and get the shot during their work hours. Coordinate messaging blitzes for times when it’s extremely easy to schedule or get a booster that same day.

Can MPX be eliminated in the US?

While it’s possible that MPX could be eliminated in the US, the CDC doesn’t think that it’s very likely. Instead, they expect it to continue to be transmitted at very low levels throughout the US indefinitely. The good news is that the outbreak has slowed significantly as vaccine becomes more available, people have become more aware of how to avoid infection, and as immunity has increased, particularly among members of the gay and bisexual community which has been most heavily impacted.

Best Read:

For those still trying to duck COVID, the isolation is worse than ever - Washington Post

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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.