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The Executive Briefing - Friday, October 7th

How to save 90k lives and $56 billion…


  • Half of US adults have heard little or nothing about the updated boosters - even though all vaccinated people 12+ should get the new booster. (KFF)
  • The COVID death toll in the US is nearly that of the Civil War, WWII, and the Korean War combined. (SF Chronicle)
  • A new study from University of Georgia shows COVID-19 virus remains alive and infectious on frozen berries for more than one month. (Food Safety Magazine)
  • There are no guarantees that second and third COVID infections are milder. (CNBC)
  • More than 86% of US kids have had COVID already. (SF Chronicle)
  • Nearly 24 million people have long COVID and four out of five of them have trouble with day-to-day activities. (Axios)
  • 90,000 lives could be saved (and $56.5 billion) if 80% of eligible Americans got their COVID boosters. (CNN)

Public Health & MPX News

  • San Diego began taking down homeless encampments, stating they raised public health risks similar to those that led to the 2017 Hep A outbreak. (10 News San Diego).
  • The CDC issued an alert about a confirmed Ebola outbreak in Central Uganda, with 10 people dead so far. (CDC)
  • NYC expanded the criteria for and opened 30k new slots for MPX vaccination. (NBC)
  • HHS recently purchased a large order of a radiation treatment drug used in radiological and nuclear emergencies. (HHS)
  • Medical care alone won’t stop the spread of diabetes. Instead, stopping it involves addressing poverty, pollution, stress, food insecurity, un-walkable cities, and inequitable access to health care. (NY Times)
  • Norovirus may increase the risk of Crohn’s disease, a gastrointestinal illness where the immune system attacks the digestive tract. (NBC)

Mental Health News:

  • 90% of adults believe the US is experiencing a mental health crisis. (CNN)
  • Hospitals have specialists on call for lots of diseases, but not addiction. Some hospitals are trying a new approach. (NPR)
  • Schools are taking a team approach to improving students’ mental health. (NY Times)
  • LSD-based drugs helped mice with anxiety and depression - without inducing hallucinations. (NPR)

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:

Can you test positive from a booster?

Definitely not. COVID tests detect something that isn’t contained in the vaccine, so it’s impossible for the vaccine to cause someone to test positive. The vaccines use spike proteins and tests (both rapid and PCR) are testing for a different protein that isn’t in the vaccine at all. Getting vaccinated may cause brief COVID-like symptoms in the 24-48 hours after vaccination like body aches and fever, but it will never cause COVID and certainly will never cause anyone to test positive.

We keep hearing about the new wave of COVID cases in Europe. Why is that important?

Epidemiologists keep a close eye on Europe’s case counts and COVID trends because what happens there tends to happen shortly afterward here in the US. Each of our previous surges were mirrored in Europe a few weeks before there was any sign of them here. Right now, cases and hospitalizations are rising in Western Europe. According to Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, it’s not a new subvariant driving this rise, but changes in weather, waning immunity as fewer people are getting the updated booster, and relaxed restrictions, especially as kids go back to school after the summer break. While US cases are still down right now, they’re starting to plateau and some cities, like Boston, are starting to see rises in their wastewater.

When an employee chooses not to test but has COVID symptoms, do they need to stay out five days?

Unfortunately, yes. We know that testing is becoming less common, so this situation comes up a lot. Either way, the employee should stay out for five days and only return to work once they’re symptom-free. If they haven’t tested and feel better before five days, it’s a big risk to allow them to return to work sooner than that, since they may still be infectious even if they’re feeling better.

As many companies return to the office, what are the best practices you'd recommend for safe RTO?

For our own office, we’re doing the following:

  • Communicating to employees and visitors asking them not to come in if they have symptoms, including posted signs at entrances
  • Asking employees to work remotely if a family member tests positive
  • Reminding employees not to work sick (even if they think it’s just a cold!)
  • Providing a supply of rapid tests for our team
  • Ensuring bathrooms are well-stocked with soap, hot water, and paper towels
  • Using daily wellness checks in the days before and after large events, and our employee sick call program throughout the year

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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.