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Zero Hour Health+ Zedic Newsletter - Tuesday, June 29th

What you need to know about the Delta variant, plus check out our new podcast!

We’re excited to announce our new podcast, the Zero (Half) Hour!

We all have webinar fatigue, we get it! So we heard your requests for an easier, more convenient way to hear from the experts we bring to our monthly webinars. Now you can listen at your convenience, rather than tuning in live on the first Wednesday of the month.

Our first podcast is out today! We spoke with Andy Pforzheimer, CEO of Tastemaker Acquisition Corp and founder of both Barcelona Wine Bar and Bartaco. He’s got a fascinating history in the business and a unique perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing the foodservice industry right now.

You can listen to our podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Soundcloud.

Stay tuned as we’ll be releasing new podcasts every week. So don’t forget to subscribe on your podcast app of choice!

ZHH Updates

  • We’ll be back at you on Tuesday, July 5th.  Have a safe 4th.


  • In the most exciting news of the week, a new study suggests that Pfizer and Moderna vaccines may protect us for years - as long as the variants don’t mutate too much. (Forbes)
  • Our favorite COVID news story of the week… School kids in the UK, who are tested for COVID twice weekly, have figured out how to trigger a false positive (and get out of school) with orange juice. (Newsweek)
  • On Friday, the WHO recommended that even fully vaccinated people wear masks when indoors in public. LA County encouraged all residents - even fully vaccinated people - to do the same. See our best questions for a more in-depth explainer on this. (LA Times)
  • Mix-and-match vaccines provide strong immunity according to a new study of Pfizer and AstraZeneca. (New York Times)
  • HHS is pausing distribution in the U.S. of Eli Lily’s antiviral cocktail of bamlanivimab and etesevimab, as well as etesevimab alone until further notice because it does not appear to be effective against variants. (Fox)
  • Reports indicated that J&J’s single dose Covid vaccine isn’t holding up as well to variants. People who are immunocompromised or otherwise at higher risk should consider getting an additional dose of an mRNA vaccine (like Moderna or Pfizer). (Slate)
  • Although Nevada relaxed workplace sanitation standards, most businesses - and especially restaurants and most casinos - intend to follow more stringent practices. (News3 Las Vegas)
  • A woman in New Zealand, who had experienced sinus issues for almost four decades, discovered she had a Tiddlywink lodged somewhere up there when she had a nasal swab done for a COVID test. (Newsweek)

Today’s Health News

  • CalOSHA’s inspection is short-staffed, which may mean they’ll be more reactive (responding to complaints) as opposed to proactive (inspections). (APHA)
  • More Salmonella, this time linked to frozen shrimp, has led to six illnesses and two hospitalizations. (CDC)
  • Johnson & Johnson will pay $230 million to NY and will stop making and selling opioids there in a settlement related to their role in the opioid crisis. (AP)
  • Emergency departments throughout the country are overwhelmed by people who didn’t get the psychiatric care they needed during the pandemic. (Wall Street Journal) 
  • Getting proper medical care can be particularly challenging for people with obesity. (NBC News) 
  • One in four parents cite safety concerns as the primary reason they won’t have their child vaccinated against HPV, a virus that causes 80% of cervical cancer cases. Some states allow kids to choose to be vaccinated without parental permission, paving the way for the same with COVID vaccines. (US News)

Best Questions

Why is the WHO recommending that vaccinated people wear masks? Should we do that? 

Because fully vaccinated people can still get and spread COVID in rare cases, the WHO believes that those who are fully vaccinated should still wear masks - to protect themselves and to stop the spread of the Delta variant. Masks protect you from getting COVID - just wearing a mask reduces your individual risk of getting the virus by 65%. So while the vaccine works really, really well - getting you all the way up to 90% protection - a mask raises that level of protection even more. 

Will COVID vaccines protect us from variants?

Yes, but not perfectly. The two mRNA vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, are shown to be 90% effective in protecting against the Delta variant. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is looking to be a little less effective against Delta, closer to about 70%. In either case, the reality is that if there are large outbreaks of the Delta variant, people who are fully vaccinated can get infected and spread the virus, even if it’s rare. 

Scientists studied an outbreak of the Delta variant in Israel. About half of the people infected were unvaccinated kids, but of the adults, about half were fully vaccinated with mRNA vaccine (Pfizer). That means that fully vaccinated people can still be infected and likely transmit the virus.

When should vaccinated workers continue to wear masks?

Fully vaccinated workers should wear masks when required to do so by state or local regulations or employer policy, if they feel more comfortable wearing a mask, or if they are immunocompromised or they live with or care for someone who is immunocompromised. Some people who have young children who are unvaccinated may also want to consider wearing a mask, as those children aren’t protected from the virus. Most vaccinated people won’t catch or transmit COVID, but breakthrough cases do occur. 

Can I ask my coworkers or vendors whether they’re vaccinated?

Employers are able to ask their employees about their vaccination status. In fact, in many cases employers must ask in order to properly enforce mask mandates for unvaccinated employees. Likewise, most legal experts seem to think that extends to on-site vendors who may be entering your business, as well. As for whether it’s acceptable for employees to ask their coworkers about their vaccination status, that’s likely a question of company policy, but generally we think vaccination status is fair game for anyone to discuss because it affects your own health - so long as you stay away from asking why someone isn’t vaccinated and stray into territory that may be covered by the ADA. 

Best Read

Why a Variant's Deadliness Is So Hard to Define

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.