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The Executive Briefing - Tuesday, September 14th

OSHA regulations could be six weeks away, plus flu season is here.

COVID Recap

  • Regulators from the FDA are arguing against booster vaccines for the general population. (STAT News)
  • And the battle around boosters is getting spicy, with the administration accusing the CDC of withholding critical data needed to get the booster plan off the ground. (Politico)
  • The high cost of rapid tests continues to be a sticking point for many employers (and individuals). Understanding why they cost what they do is a frequent question.  (NBC News)
  • Just over half of the U.S. supports vaccine mandates for businesses, schools, and events, according to a new poll.  (CNN)
  • A heart attack patient in Alabama died after his local hospital contacted 43 others in the state that were better equipped to care for him, but none had ICU beds due to COVID. (NBC)
  • Back to school is off to a rocky start in many places. In the DC area, thousands of teachers and students have already had to quarantine in the first few weeks. (Washington Post)
  • The FDA is expected to make a decision on vaccines for younger kids in the next three weeks, with shots available for those under 12 as early as October. (Reuters)
  • Cuba will begin vaccinating kids ages 2 and older, with their domestically developed vaccine. (New York Times)


Today’s Health News

  • Britain’s National Health Service announced it began trials of a revolutionary new blood test that may detect 50 different types of cancer at their earliest and previously undetectable stages. (The Guardian)
  • A very large outbreak of Dengue fever is taking place in one province of India with almost 60 deaths associated with it. . (Al Jazeera)
  • We’re currently at peak season for mosquito-borne West Nile Virus, with several states from Massachusetts to Oklahoma reporting record case counts.  (Fox News)


Best Questions

How can I explain to my employees why it’s so important to get a flu shot this year?

Experts expect that this year’s flu season will be particularly bad. Last year, flu numbers were very low, but now schools have reopened, large events are back on, and people have relaxed the social distancing and masking precautions they were taking last year. On top of all of that, the U.S. healthcare system is already overwhelmed by COVID. One in four hospitals are now reporting more than 95% of their ICU beds occupied. In the 2019-2020 season, about half a million people or more were hospitalized with the flu. This year, those people might not be able to find hospital beds when they need it.

Why aren’t we taking employee or guest temperatures anymore?

In some places there are still requirements for taking temps, but for the most part that has fallen by the wayside. The reason for that is that fever isn’t a very reliable indicator of COVID. Lots of people don’t develop fever until they’re multiple days into their illness and quite sick, and many don’t develop fever at all. After carefully studying this, most public health officials agree that it doesn’t do much of anything, and really only offers an illusion of safety.


When will the new OSHA vaccination mandate kick in?

There are some reports that OSHA was surprised by the announcement that they’d be issuing rules quickly. Most of the employment law experts we’ve talked to think it may be more dragged out than they initially thought - likely up to six weeks before OSHA issues guidance.

Will franchises be exempted from the OSHA rule because they have fewer than 100 employees?

We just don’t know yet. It’s an important legal question that OSHA’s ruling will need to clarify, and the implications are huge. If someone working at a corporate-owned restaurant can go work at a franchise-owned store without needing to be vaccinated, it might seriously limit the impact of the vaccine mandate nationally.

What should I be doing now with all the uncertainty around vaccination and testing mandates?

Focus on getting all your employees vaccinated now. It’s the best way to minimize the disruption to your business, including staffing loss, and to reduce the cost and difficulty associated with employee testing. It’s also the best way to reduce your chances of a COVID outbreak.


Best Read

Some Healthy Americans Seek Coronavirus Booster Shots Before Approval

Best Laugh

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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.