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The Executive Briefing - Friday, Sept. 2nd

New boosters coming 🔜

COVID News: 

  • The FDA officially authorized omicron-specific boosters, which should be available in the next week or two. (NPR)
  • A California bill aimed at disciplining doctors who spread COVID health misinformation was approved by the state legislature this week. (Medpage Today)
  • Chengdu, China locked down 21 million people due to COVID outbreaks. (CNBC)
  • Life expectancy in the US dropped further, nearly 3 years less than it was in 2019 before COVID. (NPR)

MPX News:

  • In one MPX study of 528 people across 16 countries found that 95% had a rash, but more than half of those had 10 or fewer lesions. (NEJM)
  • An Mpox case has been reported at a Georgia elementary school, though they’re not sharing the age of the infected person. (CBS)
  • The WHO is hopeful that declining cases in Europe mean the MPX outbreak there can be eliminated in the next few months. (Washington Post)

Public Health News:

  • Jackson, Mississippi’s water crisis is affecting businesses who must operate under boil water orders, leaving nearly 150,000 people without clean drinking water. (NY Times)
  • Bird flu continues to affect wild and commercial flocks in the US. (ABC)
  • Argentina is investigating a mystery pneumonia that’s sickened people at a private health clinic, with three people dead. (BBC)
  • A warming climate and global travel have contributed to this “summer of viruses”, including COVID, Mpox, and polio. (Washington Post)
  • Polio returned to the US thanks to a perfect mix of factors, including a mutated virus, anti-vaxxers, and a vulnerable population of young children. (The Guardian)
  • Twelve people were hospitalized with four in ICU after eating in a Toronto restaurant and aconite toxicity from a spice is suspected.  (MedPage Today)

Mental Health News:

  • Children were more candid about their mental health when they were talking with a robot, a new study found. (The Guardian)
  • Mental health has become a business imperative, with nearly 81% of workers facing some sort of burnout or mental health issue. (MIT Sloan Review)
  • Students face a months-long wait for mental health support. (LA Times)

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:

Should we be budgeting for COVID shots for employees for 2023 if this is the last round of federally subsidized boosters?

Yes, though how much to budget is still very much up in the air. The US government expects its supply of COVID vaccines, boosters, and antivirals to run out in 2023, at which point they’ll be for sale on the commercial market. Vaccines and boosters are expected to run out by January, so your 2023 budget should absolutely include booster doses. And the White House’s newest messaging will likely be focused on annual COVID and Flu shots beginning next year.

How likely is it that MPX will continue to primarily infect men who have sex with men?

While the majority of this outbreak in the US has been with people who have sex with men within the LGBTQ+ community, it’s very plausible for the virus to spread to different communities. In the 2000s, MRSA, a drug-resistant bacterial infection, was first noticed among gay men, but ultimately ended up being most prevalent in athletes and hospital patients. The same thing that caused it to spread easily in the gay community also caused it to spread easily in the locker room of the St. Louis Rams. If the US case rates follow the patterns of Europe and we start to get this virus under control, there’s a chance it never spreads to a different population. But there’s nothing inherent in the virus that makes it unique to men who have sex with men.

Should everyone get a new booster if they come out next week as expected? If yes, when? 

Yes! We expect that the CDC will recommend an Omicron-specific booster to everyone ages 12 and up, and if you’re eligible, we highly recommend that you get boosted as soon as possible. While last year’s Omicron surge peaked just after the holidays, the Delta surge happened at this time of year - back to school and early fall. While we don’t know exactly how long you’re protected, we generally think it’s best to go out there and get a booster as soon as the CDC gives you the green light, rather than waiting too much later to extend protection deeper into the winter.

If I’ve had flu shots in the past, do I need to be as worried about the warnings that this year’s flu season will be worse? 

Regardless of whether you’ve had flu shots in the past, it’s very important to get one this year. Our flu season is predicted to be worse than usual because that’s what we’ve seen in the Southern Hemisphere this year, during their winter months. Since we weren’t really exposed to the flu in the past two years, we don’t have that added protection. Combine that with the ongoing stressors to the public health system like COVID, monkeypox, and polio, and we can’t stress enough how crucial it is to get your flu shot. Flu shots are safe, effective, and drastically reduce your chance of severe disease or death. 

Best Read:

A Third COVID Autumn is here

Best Listen:

And if you missed it, don’t forget to listen to our latest podcast where we discuss how to find out if you’re vaccinated against polio, plus fall boosters and more. Listen now!

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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.