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The Executive Briefing - Tuesday, July 26th

Monkeypox 911 plus avoiding a “twindemic”

ZHH News:

Wednesday, August 3rd at 3pm ET

Join us 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.


  • A new study shows that current boosters do increase antibody levels. Getting a booster can generate an antibody response that offers protection from severe disease even with the new Omicron sub-variants, according to an early release paper. (Yahoo News)
  • The White House is launching an effort to develop the next-generation of COVID vaccines, focusing on thwarting new variants and preventing transmission in general. (STAT)
  • Second booster doses for those under 50 are on hold as the administration speeds up efforts for a revamped booster program in the fall with Omicron-specific boosters. (Washington Post)
  • Nearly 40% of parents won’t get their kids under 5 vaccinated for COVID. (CNN)
  • Anti-vaxxers are citing President Biden’s COVID infection as proof that vaccines don’t work. In truth, vaccines don’t prevent infections entirely, but they ensure those infections are mild. Vaccines are extremely effective at preventing deaths and severe disease. (Newsweek)
  • The EEOC’s guidance on when mandatory COVID testing is allowed takes factors such as community transmission, percentage of employees vaccinated and number of ill employees into account.  (SHRM)
  • The CDC is hosting a free symposium for employers on managing indoor air quality for pathogens (like COVID and TB). To register:  CDC Indoor Air Quality Symposium - August 18th
  • At least 400 workers at LAX airport are part of a major COVID outbreak between TSA, American, and Southwest airlines. (LA Times)

Public Health News:

  • There are two separate confirmed cases of children with monkeypox in the US. (Washington Post)
  • The WHO declared monkeypox to be a Global Health Emergency, allowing for more funding and a coordinated response. (NY Times)
  • Monkeypox symptoms for this current outbreak can look a bit different from the classic symptoms - including painful or difficult swallowing, a single sore in the genital region, or anal/rectal pain. (CIDRAP)
  • The ongoing nationwide salmonella outbreak may be associated with turtles and the CDC is warning not to buy turtles online or in stores with shells less than four inches. (CDC)
  • Gun violence has an incredibly high cost far beyond the death toll, quadrupling healthcare costs for those who survive. (NPR)
  • LabCorp is expanding its manufacturing capacity for specimen collection kits in response to increased demand. (Fierce Biotech)
  • Due to the severity of illness, Consumer Reports warned against eating any product with tara flour until the cause of the Daily Harvest French Lentil and Leek Crumble mystery is resolved. (Consumer Reports)

Mental Health News:

  • About 2% of calls to 988 in Wisconsin ended in police intervention, and the hotline says they are only cases where a person has specific, well-planned intent to harm themselves or others. (Channel 3000)
  • Gen Z students are fighting for better mental health care on college campuses. (LA Times)
  • Eating disorders rise at puberty and menopause. Doctors are studying a possible link with hormone changes. (Washington Post)

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:

What should employers do to protect employees in extreme heat?

The extreme heatwave that’s been affecting much of the country can have serious health risks, including heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Managers should ensure that working conditions are safe, and monitor employees for signs of heat illness, like dizziness, confusion, nausea, or if they stop sweating despite the heat. Make sure staff have shade, water, and somewhere to take a break from the heat, especially if they’re working outside or in a hot kitchen.

Does the NY polio case mean you can spread the virus from being vaccinated?

The polio case in New York is a very strange confluence of factors. First, the person who got sick is not vaccinated. Anyone who is vaccinated against polio should be protected from the virus. Second, the unvaccinated person was exposed to someone who was vaccinated outside the US. Here, we use a vaccine that doesn’t contain any live virus - so there’s no risk of getting polio from anyone vaccinated in the US. But some countries still use the version that contains some live polio virus, and in rare cases, an unvaccinated person can get sick after being exposed to someone who was recently vaccinated with that live-virus vaccine. That’s part of why we don’t use it in the US anymore. It’s another great example of why it’s so important to ensure that you and your family are fully vaccinated against all standard diseases. We’re likely to see more flukes like this after childhood vaccination rates have dropped since COVID.

Do we need to tell coworkers when an employee is diagnosed with monkeypox?

Informing coworkers is not necessary nor recommended. Contact tracing is not required since there is very, very low likelihood of workplace transmission at this time. Only those who are dating or living with the sick person need to be excluded from work. Protecting the employee’s privacy is the key issue. You should have a policy not to discuss one employee’s private health status with any others.

How long should an employee with monkeypox be excluded from work?

Generally, someone with confirmed monkeypox will be out of work for 2-3 weeks. To return to work, we require (and recommend that you require) a doctors’ note, 24 hours fever-free and all sores fully crusted over before they return to work. In most cases, the health department or doctor treating a person with confirmed monkeypox will give them clear instructions about when they can end their isolation period and that appears to be 21 days from onset.

Best Read:

NY Times: How to Live With Covid When You Are Tired of Living With Covid

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.