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The Executive Briefing - Tuesday, August 2nd

How you discuss monkeypox matters - join us tomorrow for more!

ZHH News:

Wednesday, August 3rd at 3pm ET

Join us tomorrow for a 30 minute flash briefing to discuss what employers need to know about monkeypox. We’ll cover what steps you need to take to keep the impact on your business to a minimum. Register here.


  • President Biden continues to test positive with a “rebound” case of COVID after being treated with Paxlovid. Data shows that about 5% of people treated with Paxlovid experience a rebound infection. (NBC News)
  • California Health Department data shows that during the month of July, 1 in 7 new COVID cases have been reinfections. (The Mercury News)
  • The Biden Administration plans to buy 66 million doses of Moderna’s Omicron specific booster shot, coming this fall. (Axios)
  • Millions of Americans have long COVID, and many of them are no longer working. (NPR)

Public Health News:

  • The world’s first HIV-positive to HIV-positive heart transplant was completed successfully in a NYC hospital earlier this year. (NBC News)
  • Genetic analysis of the polio case confirmed in NY state shows links to viruses in both London and Jerusalem, leading experts to investigate whether there has been a silent spread of this vaccine-derived poliovirus strain in a wide geographic area. (STAT)
  • Less than a decade ago, the US had 20 million doses of the vaccine used against monkeypox and smallpox. It let nearly all of them expire. (NY Times)
  • A Nigerian doctor discovered back in 2017 that monkeypox had changed how it spread, but few listened. (NPR)
  • A new CDC study highlights community spread of so-called “superbugs” which are resistant to multiple common antibiotics. These were primarily in healthcare settings in the past, but pose a major threat as they spread in community settings. (CIDRAP)
  • Lyme disease is growing in the US - since 2007, it’s up over 350% in rural areas. (Fair Health)
  • A pre-pandemic study shows that state-mandated paid sick leave is associated with fewer ER visits. (Health Affairs)
  • Spain, Brazil, and India all reported the first monkeypox deaths outside of endemic countries in Central and West Africa this week. There have been 10 total deaths so far in this outbreak. (CIDRAP)
  • There’s been a major recall from Lyons Magnus brands due to potential microbial contamination. This includes a number of non-dairy beverages or drinks containing them, including some sold under Oatly, Intelligentsia, and Stumptown and other brands. (FDA)

Mental Health News:

  • Children’s mental health has suffered in the pandemic, with nearly 15% of kids aged 12 to 17 experiencing at least one major depressive episode in 2022. (CBS)
  • Sleeping less than 9 hours a night can affect kids’ memory and mental health. (The Hill)
  • HBO’s John Oliver dug into the US mental healthcare system on a recent episode of his show Last Week Tonight, saying it’s “almost designed to prevent people from accessing it.” (The Guardian)

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:

My family member has COVID. I have symptoms but keep testing negative. Do I need to isolate?

Yes, you should isolate yourself if you're having symptoms, but especially if someone in your household has confirmed COVID. It can take a few days after your symptoms first start for you to test positive on a rapid test. While it’s possible you have some other illness in a strange coincidence, it’s also possible that you have COVID and just have a low viral load in your nose. If you’re having symptoms, you’re probably sick enough to be contagious even if the test isn’t showing it – assume you have COVID and isolate for five days at least from your own symptom start date.

Biden and Fauci both rebounded with Paxlovid. Does that mean I should avoid it?

You should always check with your own doctor before starting any medication, but just because there's a possibility of a rebound doesn’t necessarily mean you should skip Paxlovid. There is a chance that you’ll experience more symptoms after recovering and need to isolate again, but that’s a small price to pay compared to what could happen without it for those who are high-risk enough to meet the criteria for being prescribed the antiviral medication in the first place. Taking Paxlovid may have some side effects (including a famously bad taste in your mouth), but it drastically reduces the chances of severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Your doctor will work with you to assess your risk, ensure you’re not taking any medications that could interact poorly with the drug, and make a decision that’s right for you.

Is there anything employers should do during wildfire season?

Wildfire season is getting longer and more severe due to climate change, so businesses in wildfire country should be prepared. The biggest issue for most employers will be protecting employees (and guests) from bad air. Air purifiers work well indoors, and most restaurants and commercial offices have stepped up their air filtration due to COVID. If you haven’t, that’s a great place to start that can help reduce COVID spread, as well. Employers should monitor air quality - anything over 150 AQI means that workers outside should have an N95 mask on. On days with such poor air quality, closing windows and doors is recommended, as well. And, as always, you should have an emergency plan in place in case you need to evacuate.

Is there a treatment for monkeypox?

Yes, there is an FDA-approved drug called TPOXX that was designed to treat smallpox and does work to alleviate the symptoms of monkeypox, as well. The US has nearly 2 million doses in stockpile, but since it’s not specifically meant for monkeypox, it can be tough to actually get it prescribed. Until recently, it even required the doctor to send the CDC detailed reports that included photos and a journal kept by the patient, which made it even harder to prescribe. Now, the CDC has made it easier to prescribe, but patients are still reporting delays in getting the drug, which can extend how long patients suffer from sometimes-excruciating pain.

Best Read:

How we talk about monkeypox matters. Experts offer ways to reduce stigma

Looking ahead:

Is a 'twindemic' headed our way and what can you do to prepare?

Experts are warning that a 'twindemic' of COVID and the flu might finally be upon us this coming fall. So far, we in the US have been able to avoid this, but with flu cases already rising in July, and COVID cases surging again, health experts are worried we will be following in Australia and New Zealand's footsteps straight to a twindemic.

The key is simple: make sure no employee works sick.

If you don't have an employee health monitoring program, now is a great time to start. And you can help prevent a 'twindemic' from hitting your business hard by providing a flu shot and/or COVID booster program for your employees. Keeping employees (and customers!) healthy is not just good practice, it protects your bottom line.

Learn more about starting a program by scheduling a 15 minute chat with us here.

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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.