As the COVID-19 crisis evolves, employers should continue to adapt their approach to ensure they effectively manage the impact on their employees and business. Dr. Jeff Levin-Scherz provides weekly updates on the latest COVID-19 developments, with a focus on the implications for employers and guidance on how they can tackle pandemic-related challenges to keep their workplaces safe.
COVID-19 continues to exact a heavy toll on individual wellbeing, especially among youth.
Whether the pandemic has formally ended or not, people’s behavior has changed. Also, an update on potentially misleading prenatal tests.
When a federal judge threw out the CDC’s mask mandate for planes and other transit, questions about safety ensued. Also news about a new antibody treatment and a look back on the Clean Air Act’s success.
Despite the challenges of racial disparity and high overall maternal mortality, there are steps employers can take to improve maternal health for all pregnant women.
Despite devastating loss, the pandemic has also led to impressive innovation that can help improve healthcare, the workplace and the world.
Explore the monthly video updates
Video: Improving employee health with better ventilation and healthcare innovation
- An update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. (0:41)
- Environmental actions employers can take to help improve employee health (2:45)
- What are your thoughts on the approval of a second COVID-19 booster shot for people over age 50 and those who are immunocompromised? (4:27)
- What are your predictions for healthcare costs in 2023 and what can employers do to prepare? (7:17)
- What healthcare innovations have come out of the pandemic? (10:25)
- Final thoughts and quote: Jeff Levin-Scherz, MD (12:47)
“The COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably been a terrible tragedy but I do think we have to learn from this and be more prepared going forward.”
Ensuring pure indoor air is one way employers can help protect employees from COVID-19 and other transmissible illnesses, regardless of their immune status and willingness to be vaccinated.Back to top
Employers can lower cardiovascular risk of their employees by offering and promoting tobacco cessation programs and programs to better treat high-blood pressure and high cholesterol.
This moment of relative peace offers employers the opportunity to plan for a possible future wave of COVID-19. While no one wants to plan for another surge, the time to prepare for one is now.
New data suggest that a combination of heighted immunity and improved treatment options will result in lower fatality rates for COVID-19 than for influenza in those age 60 and under.
Video: How employers can effectively plan for post-pandemic challenges
- Update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. (0:30)
- How are we utilizing community wastewater monitoring? (1:40)
- As the infection rates decrease, what should employers be focusing on? (2:25)
- How can employers manage the affects of long COVID on their workforce? (3:57)
- What is the latest research on COVID vaccines for kids? (5:50)
- How can employers encourage employees to return to preventive care routines? (7:20)
- What can employers do to help protect immunocompromised employees? (9:20)
- What impact is the pandemic going to have on healthcare costs in 2023 and beyond? (11:10)
- Final thoughts and quote: Katherine Wu, The Coronavirus’s Next Move, Atlantic Magazine (14:44)
“We can’t say when the next threat will appear, or how formidable it will be. But we do have some control over its emergence: The more chances we give the virus to infect us, the more chances we give it to change itself again.”
The Biden administration unveiled a new road map for COVID-19 treatment, prevention and preparedness measures aimed to end shutdowns.
A focus on how the pandemic has affected maternal mortality in the U.S. and how employers can address this important issue and help improve care for pregnant women.Back to top
Employers are responsible for creating a safe work environment for all and must be prepared to offer accommodations to decrease COVID-19 risks for those with weakened immune systems.
This new phase of the pandemic will require flexibility from employers as they provide support to employees navigating a safe work environment.
We’ll likely see continued decrease in community transmission and an increase in vaccine options and availability of rapid tests, leading many employers to return remote workers to the workplace.
Video: Creating a safe workplace that can withstand future COVID-19 disruptions
- Where are we now in the pandemic? (0:30)
- Is getting COVID-19 really no worse than getting the flu? (1:42)
- Should those who have already recovered from COVID-19 still get vaccinated? (3:19)
- How should employers be orienting around boosters, with respect to any vaccine mandates that they might be considering? (5:03)
- How concerned should employers be about Long COVID? (6:39)
- Should employers be thinking about incorporating early cancer detection technology into their healthcare offerings? (8:24)
Omicron cases are down, but we continue to have hospitals under severe stress and the long COVID-19 threat persists.Back to top
COVID-19 case counts in the U.S. have started to decline. But even when we achieve low community transmission rates, the world will likely not look as it did in the fall of 2019.
The Supreme Court decision does not prevent most employers from instituting a vaccine mandate, but some will need different policies for different geographies to maintain compliance with state laws.
Video: Navigating the Omicron wave
- Can you give us an overview of what's happening with Omicron? (0:28)
- How should people be thinking about COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters? (2:13)
- How does the CDC's new guidance on "up to date on vaccination" impact employers? (3:26)
- Where do we stand with respect to COVID-19 testing? (4:36)
- What are the implications of school's closing because of Omicron? (6:11)
- Can you share your thoughts on reports that children currently represent a higher number of hospitalizations from COVID-19 than in previous waves? (7:39)
- Recent studies suggest that teenage boys may experience complications from the COVID-19 vaccine. What is your recommendation on boosters for teenage boys in light of this research? (8:46)
- When do you think oral treatments for COVID-19 will be available? (10:14)
- Are we heading towards the exit ramp of the pandemic? (11:38)
- Final thoughts, Dr. Jeff Levin-Scherz: "I think that we are at an inflection point in the pandemic. In the coming weeks and months, we have the promise of fewer infections and better treatments. In the meantime, we should to be careful by continuing to wear masks indoors and trying to avoid places where we're less likely to wear masks, like restaurants and gyms." (13:36)
As rates of Omicron cases skyrocket, studies continue to show that those infected are likely to be less sick than those who were infected during previous waves of COVID-19.
Though Omicron appears to be less dangerous than its predecessors, we should not let our guard down.Back to top
Despite another year of loss, we have made significant progress in the fight against COVID-19.
With no federal rule on vaccination and a likely surge in Omicron cases, some employers are again considering health insurance surcharges for unvaccinated employees.
During this time of uncertainty, employers should remain flexible about returning remote workers to the office.
Video: How can employers respond to the Omicron variant?
- An update on where we are in the pandemic (0:26)
- What are your thoughts on vaccination? (1:35)
- What is your recommendation around booster shots? (3:43)
- What are your thoughts on employer policies with respect to boosters? (4:56)
- When will we likely have more answers around Omicron? (6:23)
- Will the new oral COVID-19 drugs be a game changer? (8:14)
- Final thoughts and closing quote: Katherine Wu, Pigeon with A Mustache, The Atlantic (10:34) "This not a pigeon turning into a tiger, this is a pigeon that has a mustache."
COVID-19 cases are down, but we could see an increase after holiday gatherings.Back to top
Though the risk Omicron poses is yet unknown, scientists fear it could cause a new wave of COVID-19 infections.
With the current risk of COVID-19 infection higher than it was a month ago, layers of protection are as important now as they were in late summer when the Delta variant wave began.
As new cases and hospitalization rates in the U.S. hold steady, some companies are returning to business travel, attending conferences.
Video: How employers can respond to the evolving COVID-19 vaccine landscape
- Where are we in the pandemic right now? (0:36)
- How important is it for children to get vaccinated? (1:37)
- What regulations can employers expect to see from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)? (3:28)
- What advice would you give pregnant women about vaccines? (5:14)
- Who should get a vaccine booster? (7:41)
- What are the benefits of vaccination for people who have previously been infected with COVID-19? (10:06)
- What is the advice around mixing and matching vaccines? (12:00)
- What advice would you give to employers in this era where there's a lot of discussion about vaccine boosters and mandates? (13:05)
- What can we expect to see over the next few months? (14:36)
As vaccinations for children continue, a new federal rule requires certain employers to develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.
A chain of COVID-19 transmission could break as vaccines are approved for children five to 11 years old.Back to top