- The pandemic might have actually changed people’s personalities, possibly due to grief or isolation. (The Guardian)
- A new blood test aims to predict who will get long COVID by measuring certain proteins. (CIDRAP)
- The FDA will now review only a small number of EUA requests for new COVID tests, and instead, ask developers to use the traditional review system. (FDA)
- COVID vaccination is linked to a slight and temporary increase in the length of a menstrual cycle by an average of less than a day. (CNBC)
- There may be trace amounts of mRNA in breast milk immediately after vaccination. It’s still safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women to get the vaccine/booster, and there’s no need to discard breast milk in the days after getting the shot. (Your Local Epidemiologist Newsletter)
Public Health & MPX News:
- Viruses like COVID and MPX that originate in animals will become more common with climate change. (NPR)
- An experimental Ebola vaccine trial will start soon in Uganda. (STAT)
- Hurricane Ian forced evacuations, left multiple counties with boil-water notices, and battered businesses in its path. (CNN)
- The CDC is ramping up wastewater surveillance for polio as new vaccinations are stalling in New York state. (CBS)
- Those who were eligible to receive the MPX vaccine but didn’t get it were 14x more likely to become infected with MPX. (The Hill)
- In Michigan, Black people got 60% of MPX infections but only 17% of the vaccine. (Detroit Free Press)
- Hep A is no longer mainly a travel and food-related illness, as drug use, homelessness, and incarceration make up a majority of US cases from 2016-2020. (MedPage Today)
- The norovirus outbreak in the Grand Canyon was actually three separate smaller outbreaks involving multiple campsites and bathrooms, which mirrored the tripling of norovirus outbreaks in Spring ‘22. (Ars Technica)
Mental Health News:
- The telehealth app Cerebral treated minors without parental consent after failing to verify their ages. (Wall Street Journal)
- 4-day workweeks may be better for physical and mental health, in part because they often lead to more sleep. (Bloomberg)
- Loneliness and unhappiness can accelerate aging more than smoking. (The Hill)
- Suicide rates rose again after two years of decline, with the largest jump in men aged 15-24. (NBC)
If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, call 988 or message the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
Any specific reopening advice after a hurricane?
After a hurricane, you’ll want to be prepared for some unique challenges:
- Boil water notices or orders: Look to your local health department for specific instructions about whether you’re permitted to open your county has a boil water ordinance.
- Floodwaters: Stay out of floodwaters, which can lead to injuries, chemical hazards, and illnesses like tetanus, skin infections, and GI diseases.
- Discarding food: Because there’s often food scarcity in the aftermath of a hurricane, be sure to discard expired food in a way that isn’t accessible. You don’t want anyone to eat it and get sick.
- Illness outbreaks: Consider doing daily wellness checks for a week or two after the disaster, since illnesses move quickly through shelters or other communal living situations (like extended families staying together). We expect to see a spike in COVID as a result.
- Mental health: Disasters take an emotional toll on both survivors and responders, and taking the time to acknowledge that and check on them can go a long way.
If I had Omicron, do I really need the new bivalent booster?
Yes, even if you likely were already infected with the Omicron variant, it still makes good sense to get boosted, as long as it’s been three months since your most recent infection. Boosters have very few side effects and low risk, and every time you give your immune system a boost, you reduce your chance of severe COVID or death. And remember that even mild infection can lead to debilitating long COVID symptoms, and getting vaccinated reduces that risk. Getting the new booster will give you better and longer protection, regardless.
If someone is still testing COVID positive on Day 6 or 12 or even 24, do they still need to be excluded from work if they’re symptom-free?
If someone continues to test positive on Day 6, even if their symptoms have resolved, it’s best practice to keep them out until Day 10, since there’s still a decent likelihood that they’re infectious based on studies of COVID transmission. But after Day 10, that risk is very, very low, and a few people can continue to test positive for weeks or months, even if there’s little to no chance of spreading the virus. So, as long as they’re symptom-free and it’s been at least 10 days, they can return to work regardless of whether they test positive.
If an employee who was exposed develops mild cold symptoms, can they continue to work?
Anyone with symptoms should stay home from work, especially if they were recently exposed to COVID. If they have a cough, for example, they should be out for 5 days. If they have milder symptoms, like just a sore throat, or just congestion, we recommend keeping them out for at least one day, until symptoms resolve. In most cases like this, we’re seeing that they wake up the next morning with the same or worsening symptoms, and end up testing positive on Day 2 or 3.
New Infectious Threats Are Coming. The US Probably Won’t Contain Them.