Sign up for our Newsletter

Cases decreasing: Maintain Course

Key Points:

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss decreasing COVID cases and advice to maintain the course. Read more below.
  • A recent Duke University study has found that US healthcare workers “had similar rates of potential moral injury – a type of trauma-induced wound to the psyche – as military combat veterans” leading to “significantly higher levels of depression and poorer quality of life” including “significantly greater” levels of burnout (CIDRAP). 
  • On Tuesday, President Biden “issued a presidential memorandum directing the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a national action plan on long COVID” which would promote studying and funding research for between “7 to 23 million Americans who suffer from COVID-19 symptoms for months and years after initial infection.” In fact, “estimates suggest as many as 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 will develop symptoms” lasting longer than 4 weeks (CIDRAP).
  • A study recently published in Nature better explains how the cytokine storms brought on by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that “shredded lungs” and created a “blizzard of immune reactions” in which “the case of the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” the virus is able to escape the front-line immune cells and continue its rampage (CNN).
  • Yesterday, the FDA’s vaccination group “met to discuss the current science on fourth vaccine doses” (CIDRAP). Additionally, the European CDC has also begun discussions regarding a fourth mRNA vaccine (CIDRAP2).
  • Overall global cases of COVID-19 have dropped, according to the WHO, despite BA.2 becoming dominant in all world regions. Many cases reported in China have been asymptomatic. In Taiwan, cases are also slowly rising as the island begins to reopen (CIDRAP).

Public Health:

  • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) discusses “Five things science tells us about food allergens” wherein “food labeling and Codex standards are keeping allergic consumers safe.” The five things include:
    • “A food allergy is an abnormal immune response”
    • “Some food allergies are worse than others” as evidenced through our “big-8”
    • “The prevalence of food allergies differs by country” which is obviously influenced by diets and food consumption habits
    • “Hygiene and laboratory tests can help limit and detect levels of allergens in foods” which highlights the importance of cleaning/sanitation programs as well as hygienic zoning
    • And finally, “food labels and diligence protect allergic consumers” highlighting the importance of labeling beyond “may contain.”
  • There is currently a multi-country outbreak linked to Kinder chocolate eggs (Reuters). Identified in over eight countries with 100 Salmonella infections, a high proportion of children have been hospitalized (FSN).
  • As we discussed on Tuesday regarding oysters, the CDC now reports >90 individuals sick from raw oysters traced to Canada (FSN).
  • States, including Georgia, Missouri, and Iowa, are beginning to consider “raw milk bills.” Some of these sponsored bills are to set “standards for raw milk to regulate the production, handling, transportation, and sale” (FSN).
  • Recent observational research from the University of Lisbon in Portugal found, through fecal testing, that pets (dogs and cats) could share resistant bacteria with resistance genes with their owners (CIDRAP).

Recommendations for Industry

Cases decreasing: Maintain Course

Overall, COVID cases both in the U.S. and globally have dropped, except for a slight increase in number of cases on the East Coast, as shown in both TAG’s matrix and other reports. This increase hasn’t, however, accelerated or translated to hospitalizations, with cases continuing to be mild or even asymptomatic.

With this, TAG continues to advise businesses to maintain the current course. Continue to do what you’re doing, following any state or local requirements, allowing employee masking even when not required when preferred by the employee, and – most importantly – maintaining wellness checks, access to testing, and ensuring workers stay home when ill.

Risk Matrix:

In Alaska, case rates have decreased to 6% and 26 cases/100K persons. Around the US, things are looking up despite some increases in Northeastern states due to the BA.2 variant.

In Case You Missed It:

  • In Tuesday’s Recommendations for Industry, we discussed what the COVID case increase in the New England States means for the U.S. Read more here.
  • New England states are reporting a sharp increase in daily COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron subvariant, BA.2. This rise in numbers (up to and over 40% in cases) has been seen in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey (CIDRAP).
  • Shanghai’s lockdown continues as “China’s cases continue to rise steadily, with 13,137 cases reported today, 11,771 of them asymptomatic. Nearly 73% of the asymptomatic cases are from Shanghai” (CIDRAP).
  • The New York Times answers a question that many have had, “Do home COVID tests really expire?” While COVID-19 test boxes do have an expiration date with a huge range of dates, these dates may still be extended because many of the real-time shelf-life studies are not yet fully fleshed out. 
  • The UK Health Security Agency has updated its guidance of COVID-19 symptoms; although the NHS “cautions that many of the new symptoms ‘are very similar’ to those for colds and flu.” The nine symptoms that were added to fever, new continuous cough, and loss of sense of smell/taste are shortness of breath, feeling tired/exhausted, aching body, headache, sore throat, blocked or runny nose, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and feeling or being sick (BCC). 
  • Yesterday, “the European Commission has announced the adoption of two equivalence decisions certifying that COVID-19 certificates issued by Colombia and Malaysia are equivalent to the EU Digital COVID Certificate” thus increasing the number of countries to 64 that are part of the EU Digital COVID Certificate. “Other countries part of the system are the 27 EU Member States, the four non-EU Schengen Members – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland – as well as  Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Benin, Cabo Verde, El Salvador, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Panama, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man), Uruguay and the Vatican.” (Schengen Visa)


  • It’s not too late to get the flu vaccine as there seems to be a delay in the flu season.
  • Via the World Health Organization: while overall global influenza activity remains low, they are increasing globally in various areas (including in Europe and North America).
  • According to the CDC, influenza activity in the US “is still highest in the central and south-central regions of the country but appears to be declining slightly in these regions. Influenza activity is increasing in the northeast and northwest regions. The majority of influenza viruses detected are A(H3N2). H3N2 viruses identified so far this season are genetically closely related to the vaccine virus.”

Food Safety & Public Health

  • Happy Public Health Week! Find out more here.
  • As reported in Euronews, the World Health Organization has announced that “almost everybody in the world breathes air containing too many pollutants.” As such the “UN health agency called for more action to reduce fossil-fuel use, which generates pollutants that cause respiratory and blood-flow problems and lead to millions of preventable deaths each year.”
  • The ongoing norovirus outbreak linked to contaminated oysters from BC has infected people in Canada and many others in US states (including CA, MN, WA). No cause is stated yet; however, as oysters are filter feeders, growing water contaminated with sewage should be considered.
  • The highly pathogenic Eurasian H5 avian flu continues to spread and is now in Texas and Iowa. This outbreak continues to expand and now includes, “Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming” (CIDRAP).

Recent Posts

Weekly TAG Talks