COVID-19  Retainer Package

For the food industry

We here at TAG are here to help you face the evolving crisis, manage the situation, protect your workforce, and enable business continuity while limiting potential brand damage and monetary losses. Contact us about our COVID-19 Retainer Package.

TAG COVID-19 Key Points 

This page is updated daily and contains Key Points to note from

TAG's COVID-19 daily newsletter and updates.

January 25, 2021

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss the new administration’s federal strategy for COVID-19 worker protections.

  • On Thursday, The White House released a new Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety, which outlines actions the federal government must take to reduce the risk that workers may contract COVID-19 in the workplace. Actions include “partnering with state and local governments to better protect public employees; enforcing worker health and safety requirements; and pushing for additional resources to help employers protect employees.”

  • CDC has tweaked recommendations for the second dose of COVID-19 vaccinations (without data) to note that in extreme circumstances, the second dose can be another vaccine. TAG encourages employers to work with public health authorities to find a consistent and reliable source of vaccines so that this practice isn’t necessary.

  • Bharat Biotech’s BBV152 COVID-19 Phase 1 vaccine data “shows it is safe and immune-producing.”

  • A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows that despite the push to get people vaccinated, 6 of 10 U.S. adults don’t know when they’ll get the COVID-19 vaccine; while 55% do not know where they will be able to receive one. However, the public is generally optimistic about the COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Read more of the report here.

  • Like other countries, the U.S., in order to slow the spread of the new COVID-19 strains, will soon place non-U.S. citizen travel restrictions to and from South Africa.

January 22, 2021

January 20, 2021

January 18, 2021

​​

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss the potential that the new variants may upend the current stable period we see with COVID-19 cases. Read more

  • The COVID-19 death toll has risen over 2 million worldwide; this marks a new milestone in this pandemic.  

  • In the U.S., the B117 variant of COVID-19 is expected to become the dominant COVID-19 strain in the upcoming months (by March 2021). It is imperative that despite receiving the vaccine, everyone continues to practice preventive measures, including mask-wearing, hand washing, and social distancing.

January 15, 2021

​​

January 13, 2021

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we explore this week’s U.S. 50 State Risk Matrix and the apparent calm before the storm

  • On Tuesday (January 12, 2021), the U.S. CDC has issued an order requiring that all air passengers arriving to the US from a foreign country be tested no more than 3 days before their flight departs and provide proof of the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight. This order will go into effect on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

  • Similar to TAG’s FAQs, NPR breaks down why it is still necessary to wear masks and avoid crowds even after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • The U.S.’s Operation Warp Speed has announced a pivot in its COVID-19 vaccine strategy to vaccinate all those 65 and over as quickly as possible with the vaccines that are available. Read more on CIDRAP.

  • A best practice of keeping COVID-19 out of your home is to improve the ventilation (air flow) and bring in fresh air, especially if you are having visitors. This extra step, on top of staying 6 feet apart and wearing masks, can decrease your risk of getting/spreading COVID-19. Improving ventilation may include, opening windows, using air filters, and turning on fans – all actions that can clear the air and move the particles out of the space you’re in.

    • You can also use a window exhaust fan or place a fan as close as possible to an open door or window, blowing outwards.

    • If you want a portable air cleaner, consider using a high-efficiency particular air (HEPA) cleaner sized for the room(s) you are airing out.

    • Read more tips from the CDC, including how to use ceiling fans, vent bathrooms, etc.

  • Beware of black market COVID-19 vaccines. As we mentioned, COVID-19 vaccines are only being administered at approved locations. 

January 11, 2021

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss

  • The FDA has issued an alert that some of the genetic COVID-19 variants may impact the results and lead to false negatives with a few COVID-19 molecular tests (e.g.  Accula SARS-Cov-2 Test; TaqPath COVID-19 Combo Kit; Linea COVID-19 Assay Kit).

  • Last Thursday, the U.S. hit a new record of single-day deaths from COVID-19 with over 4,085 deaths. Although the vaccine is still being distributed, it is still important to maintain social distancing, wear a mask, continue washing hands, and practice other preventive measures to keep everyone safe.

  • In Los Angeles County, California, 1 in 5 COVID-19 tests are positive, indicating that the virus is still spreading at an incredible rate. 

  • FDA has issued a warning to beware of fraudulent tests, vaccines, and treatments. Be wary of unofficial COVID-19 vaccines and unscrupulous individuals who may be selling or administering the vaccine. Currently, vaccines are being distributed and administered through health departments, hospitals, pharmacies, and other valid medical or pharmaceutical facilities. Do not take a vaccine that is offered outside of locations listed above.  If you have questions about the appropriateness of a vaccination site, reach out to your local or state health department. 

  • Japan has identified a new COVID-19 variant (B.1.1.248 strain with 12 mutations in the spike protein) that has similar mutations as those seen currently in the South Africa and UK variants. However, more studies must still be done to understand how this new variant may affect disease transmissibility or severity.

January 08, 2021

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss how businesses can determine the COVID-19 vaccination priorities and directives of the states in which they operate. Read more.

  • We also are continuing to populate the TAG Vaccine Q&A page. Today’s questions focus on (a) the efficacy of current tests and (b) managing potentially serious reactions of vaccines.

January 06, 2021

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss TAG’s COVID-19 Risk Matrix Update: January 05, 2021. Read more.

  • A recent study published in JAMA and reported by CIDRAP finds that 14.3% of the US population had antibodies against COVID-19 by November 2020; implying that more people than reported have been infected. This tracks with the discussion that there may be a lot of COVID-19 underreporting. Additionally, there is evidence that about 35% of COVID-19 related deaths have not been reported.  

  • In its weekly situational report, the WHO has found that the UK COVID-19 Variant (also known as the B.1.1.7 variant) has been found in 40 other WHO-involved countries. The South African COVID-19 Variant (501Y.V2) has been detected in six other countries. 

    • More European countries are announcing tighter restrictions and lockdowns.

  • There is increasing evidence that patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms (post-hospitalization, etc.) have also developed symptoms like those associated with brain injury and other neurological disorders. NPR has summarized the studies.

January 04, 2021

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss the new COVID-19 variants and what their spread means to the U.S. Read more.

  • The FDA has published a new toolkit to communicate hand sanitizer safety & use during COVID-19 in both English and Spanish.

  • The FDA also has a new COVID-19 Communication Toolkits webpage that provides links to all FDA toolkits on COVID-19 topics to help everyone communicate accurate and timely information to patients, the public, and health care professionals.

December 30, 2020

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss TAG’s COVID-19 Risk Matrix Update: December 30, 2020. Read more.

  • To answer your questions about the vaccine, TAG has developed a new COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ webpage. We will continue to update the FAQs both in our COVID newsletter and on that webpage

December 28, 2020

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss questions being asked about the COVID-19 vaccine. Read more.

  • There continues to be a media focus on the new strain of COVID found in the UK, other parts of Europe, Japan, Canada, and likely the U.S. as well. So far, there is no indication that the strain causes any worse disease, although it does seem more infectious. While there is no need to further change behavior, it is critical that all COVID-19 protective behaviors be continued.

  • To answer your questions about the vaccine, TAG has developed a new COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ webpage. We will continue to update the FAQs both in our COVID newsletter and on that webpage

December 23, 2020

​​​

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss this week’s matrices – and some behavioral tendencies that are having an impact.

  • With some vaccine recipients who had no previous allergic reactions having reactions to the vaccine, a study published in Science magazine is postulating that the compound polyethylene glycol (PEG)  in the packaging of the messenger RNA (mRNA) that forms the vaccine’s main ingredient may be putting a small number of people who were previously exposed to PEG and developed high levels of antibodies against PEG, at risk of an anaphylactic reaction to the vaccine. Thus, it is recommended that the vaccine continue to be administered in facilities equipped to handle anaphylaxis.

  • To answer your questions about the vaccine, TAG has developed a new COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ webpage. We will continue to update the FAQs both in our COVID newsletter and on that webpage.

December 21, 2020

​​​

December 18, 2020

​​

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss answer some COVID-19 FAQs, including (a) what to do if an employee displays COVID-19 symptoms post-vaccine; and (b) is the vaccine safe for pregnant women.

  • The FDA has recommended Moderna’s vaccine for an EUA. If approved, the Moderna vaccine may be ready to distribute starting next week. As discussed in last Friday’s Vaccine Q&A, there are some differences between the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, including less stringent temperature requirements (-20C (-4F).

  • The EEOC has added a Vaccines section (K) to its COVID-19 FAQ page, which includes discussion on  ADA and Title VII issues in relation to mandatory vaccination policies for employers.

  • Today, Dr. David Acheson will be rounding up the year with SafetyChain Software for a final FSMA Friday 2020, “Navigating COVID Complexity in 2021 to Stay Resilient,” to discuss up-to-the-minute facts, the truth about vaccines, ways you can minimize disruption, and what to expect from COVID-19 in the new year. Sign up now!

  • To address skepticism over the vaccine’s safety and show its safety, Vice-President Mike Pence received his COVID-19 vaccine live on TV.

December 16, 2020

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss TAG’s COVID-19 Risk Matrix. Overall, while the rate of COVID-19 in the US has slowed, there has not been much of a decline. TAG recommends that preventive measures be continued and that employers encourage employees to “stay put” and not travel this upcoming holiday season.

  • The FDA is set to meet to discuss the Moderna vaccine. Data submitted by Moderna to the FDA shows the vaccine to be highly effective. Read the report here.

  • This Friday, Drs. David Acheson & Ben Miller will be rounding up the year with SafetyChain Software for a final FSMA Friday 2020, “Navigating COVID Complexity in 2021 to Stay Resilient,” to discuss up-to-the-minute facts, the truth about vaccines, ways you can minimize disruption, and what to expect from COVID-19 in the new year. Sign up now!

  • On Friday, we will answer more vaccine FAQs that we’ve received. To see our previous FAQs, please see our previous Archived posts!

December 14, 2020

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss a new COVID-19 county-level data set for predictive analyses – and address the vaccine question: What does FDA say about the safety of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for those with allergies?

  • On Friday, the FDA issued its first Emergency Use Authorization for Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 Vaccine to be distributed in the U.S. The vaccine is currently on its way to locations around the world. In many locations in the U.S., the first doses will go to healthcare workers. 

  • This upcoming Friday, Drs. David Acheson & Ben Miller will be rounding up the year with SafetyChain Software for a final FSMA Friday 2020, “Navigating COVID Complexity in 2021 to Stay Resilient,” to discuss up-to-the-minute facts, the truth about vaccines, ways you can minimize disruption, and what to expect from COVID-19 in the new year. Sign up now!

  • The CDC will be hosting a “What Every Clinician Should Know about COVID-19 Vaccine Safety” webinar today, Monday, December 14 from 1:00PM – 2:00PM ET, to discuss the safety of the vaccine, including how to enroll people into the vaccine and methods of checking-up on patients, afterward. Register or call-in here.

  • As the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is underway, the CDC has released on “What to Expect at Your Vaccine Appointment”.

  • On Sunday, the CDC updated its list of vaccine-related references. Refer to these resources on the CDC’s website

  • A biotech conference held in February 2020 in Boston, MA, is shown to be tied to more than 300,000 national and international COVID-19 infections, a recent Science article finds.

  • While much of the world’s focus has been on COVID-19, with the food industry incorporating a range of worker protections, beneath this, momentum has built in the realm of food-related litigation. Not only were criminal convictions a focus of the USDA FSIS’s most recent quarterly enforcement report, but class-action lawsuits have continued to be of focus with Stericycle Expert Solutions anticipating lawsuits “to pass 2019’s total.” What lawsuits and actions happened in 2020 and what do they mean for you?

December 11, 2020

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee’s recommendation to provide EAU for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

    • We also begin a regular COVID-19 Vaccine Q&A (below) to answer your questions and keep you updated as we move into the next vaccination phase of the pandemic.

December 09, 2020

  • In todays’ Recommendations for Industry, we find, through the Risk Matrix, that overall conditions in the U.S. remain mostly “the same” (as in, things are not going well – case rates are increasing and Test Positive Rates are increasing all across the country).

  • With vaccines being administered in the UK and moving towards approval in the US, TAG will be providing a Weekly Vaccine Update each Friday and is developing a COVID Vaccine FAQ Resource Page at AchesonGroup.com. Keep an eye out for our Friday discussion.

December 07, 2020

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we provide an overview of vaccines along with status of the current COVID-19 vaccines developed or in development. Read the brief below, then link to the paper for the full story.

    • With vaccines now a top-of-mind focus for the pandemic, TAG will be providing a Weekly Vaccine Update each Friday and is developing a COVID Vaccine FAQ Resource Page at AchesonGroup.com. Keep an eye out for that!

  • This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week (December 06 – 12, 2020). Food, beverage, and agricultural industries are all part of the Critical and Essential workforce, to keep our communities running amid #COVID19. Flu vaccination can help keep healthy so you can continue your vital work. It is not too late to get your flu shot! Find a vaccination location near you using Vaccine Finder.

  • The Associated Press reports that this year, Thanksgiving car travel was only 5% less than that of pre-pandemic times (including 2019).

December 04, 2020

December 02, 2020

November 30, 2020

November 25, 2020

November 23, 2020

November 20, 2020

November 16, 2020

November 18, 2020

China continues to report the presence of coronavirus on imported food products and packagingof shrimp, fish, beef, and pork. However, guidance from World Health Organization and other organizations continue to indicate that it is highly unlikely that people can contract COVID-19 from food or food packaging. Read the news from Food Safety News

November 13, 2020

  • In Case You Missed It:

    • In Monday’s Recommendations for Industry, we discussed if a vaccine is coming soon and what you should know in the meantime.

    • In Wednesday’s, we explored TAG’s U.S. Risk Matrix. Forty-four (44) states are in the Highest-Risk Quadrant. Twenty-four (24) states have a TPR greater than 10% and a case rate ≥25/100K people indicates testing may not be adequate to fully characterize the true severity of the outbreak in these states.

    • Last Friday’s discussed the similarities and differences between COVID-19, the flu, the common cold, and allergies in a chart form!

      • This will be available for online download soon. However, if you want a copy now, please email Lily Yang (lily.yang@achesongroup.com).

    • OSHA has released new infographic guidance for “COVID-19 Guidance on Ventilation in the Workplace” [English] [Spanish]. Much of this guidance is parallel to what TAG has previously discussed and encouraged.

    • A recent CDC MMWR highlights the protective measures of working from home rather than onsite. In fact, “adults who received positive test results for SARS-CoV-2 infection were more likely to report exclusively going to an office or school setting in the 2 weeks before illness onset.” This is compared to those who tested negative, even among those working in a profession outside of the critical infrastructure. These findings highlight the importance, even now, of “promot[ing] alternative work site options, such as teleworking, where possible, to reduce exposures to SARS-CoV-2. Where telework options are not feasible, worker safety measures should continue to be scaled up to reduce possible worksite exposures.”

    • The recent CDC highlight for “How to Protect Yourself & Others” highlights that “older adults and people who have certain underlying conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 illness.” This emphasizes the crucial need to continue to practice good personal hygiene, avoid close contact, wearing a mask over your nose and mouth when around others, clean and disinfect, and monitor your health daily.

      • Additionally, protect your health by getting a flu vaccine!

      • For a quick reference to identify if you might have COVID-19, the flu, the cold, or allergies, check out our recent infographic.  

    • CDC has released new guidance for Celebrating Thanksgiving safely (to limit the spread of COVID-19 and the flu). As the holiday approaches, it is imperative to keep your business and workers safe.

      • Due to rising COVID-19 cases, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to do so with people in your household. Consider hosting a virtual Thanksgiving for those who do not live with you! Or prepare traditional dishes and deliver the food to others in a way that does not involve contact with others.

      • If you are celebrating with others outside your household, take steps like wearing a mask, staying socially distant from others, and washing your hands.

      • Consider celebrating outdoors (if possible), or if celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.

      • Limit the number of guests you have, as well as the number of food-preparation individuals.

November 11, 2020

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we explore TAG’s U.S. Risk Matrix. 44 states are in the Highest-Risk Quadrant. Twenty-four (24) states have a TPR greater than 10% and a case rate ≥ 25/100K people indicates testing may not be adequate to fully characterize the true severity of the outbreak in these states!

  • Tomorrow, Thursday November 12, the FDA is hosting a presentation to provide an overview of FDA’s research to evaluate the ability of facial coverings to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infection and how the FDA is developing a comprehensive risk-assessment tool to predict the probability of infection with different types of masks. Register here.

  • Global cases of COVID-19 have exceeded 51 million cases.

    • U.S. hospital cases are rising.

  • The CDC’s recent highlight for “How to Protect Yourself & Others” highlights that “older adults and people who have certain underlying conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 illness”. As such, it is crucial to practice good personal hygiene, avoid close contact, wearing a mask over your nose and mouth when around others, clean and disinfect, and monitor your health daily.

    • Additionally, protect your health this flu season by getting a flu vaccine!

    • For a quick reference to identify if you might have COVID-19, the flu, the cold, or allergies, check out our recent infographic.  

  • The CDC has also released new guidance for Celebrating Thanksgiving safely (to limit the spread of COVID-19 and the flu). As the holiday approaches, it is imperative to keep your business and workers safe.

    • Due to rising COVID-19 cases, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household. Consider hosting a virtual Thanksgiving for those who do not live with you! Or prepare traditional dishes and deliver the food to others in a way that does not involve contact with others.

    • If you are celebrating with others outside your household, take steps like wearing a mask, staying socially distant from others, and washing your hands.

    • Consider celebrating outdoors (if possible), or if celebrating indoors, “make sure to open windows”.

    • Limit the number of guests you have; additionally, limit the number of food-preparation individuals.

    • Get your flu shot!

  • In Case You Missed It:

November 09, 2020

November 04, 2020

  • Global COVID-19 cases have exceeded 49 million.

    • U.S. cases of COVID-19 have exceeded 100,000 cases in each of the past two days.

  • If you have been wondering what’s happening with vaccines, TAG will be putting out a short perspective on this soon. For a longer, comprehensive run-down on vaccines' current status, the New York Times has provided a thorough interactive summary.

  • If your household includes one or more vulnerable individuals then all family members should act as if they, themselves, are at a higher risk. Learn more about protecting yourself and your family, especially when you are living in close quarters including limiting errands, keeping vulnerable members from caring for children and those who are ill, separating a sick household member, etc.

  • In Case You Missed It:

    • On Monday’s Recommendations for Industry we answered questions on asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and what that might mean. Read more here.

    • In Wednesday’s Recommendation for Industry, we reviewed the Risk Matrix, providing a snapshot of what is happening in the U.S. and how states are doing. Read more.

    • As states are slowly re-opening dine-in services in restaurants, OSHA has released Guidance for Restaurants to protect their businesses, their employees, and their customers. Find the downloadable infographic in English (link) and Spanish (link)

    • OSHA has put out an infographic of Steps to Protect Cleaning Staff During COVID-19. This infographic is downloadable in English (link) and Spanish (link). Protect those working to protect your business and ensure they have the resources needed!

    • Did you miss Dr. Ben Miller’s discussion on utilizing Assurance Testing as part of your COVID-19 preventive protocols? Catch the recorded webinar on Youtube, here.

    • A recent study published in Science found that COVID-19 antibodies persisted for at least 5 months in mild-to-moderate COVID-19 cases. The persistence and effects of antibodies (be it short or long) is still being studied. 

LQ Snapshot Symptom Comparison .png

November 04, 2020

  • In Today’s Recommendation for Industry, we review the Risk Matrix and provide a snapshot of what is happening in the U.S. and how states are doing. Read more.

  • Did you miss Dr. Ben Miller’s discussion on utilizing Assurance Testing as part of your COVID-19 preventive protocols? Catch the recorded webinar on Youtube, here.

  • A recent study published in Science found that COVID-19 antibodies persisted for at least 5 months in mild-to-moderate COVID-19 cases. The persistence and effects of antibodies (be it short or long) is still being studied. 

  • In Case You Missed It:

    • On Monday, we answered questions on asymptomatic COVID-19. Read more here.

    • As states are slowly re-opening dine-in services in restaurants, OSHA has released Guidance for Restaurants to protect their businesses, their employees, and their customers. Find the downloadable infographic in English (link) and Spanish (link)

    • OSHA has put out an infographic of Steps to Protect Cleaning Staff During COVID-19. This infographic is downloadable in English (link) and Spanish (link). Protect those working to protect your business and ensure they have the resources needed!

    • November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. This year’s theme is Taking Care of Youth Who Have Diabetes. As those with diabetes face a higher chance of experiencing serious complications from COVID-19, protecting diabetic youth working in the food and agriculture industry during the COVID-19 epidemic is imperative. Find more resources from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

November 02, 2020

October 30, 2020

  • In today’s Recommendation for Industry, we discuss:

    • Communicating risks and resources with your employees to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during the Halloween weekend. Read more

  • Halloween is tomorrow, the CDC has provided new Trick-Or-Treating & Halloween Preventive Measures & Alternative Activities (pdf) and Steps to Take for Other Halloween Activities.

  • Global COVID case have now exceed 45 million, with U.S. nearing 9 million

  • In Case You Missed It:

    • On Wednesday, we reviewed the Risk Matrix, providing a snapshot of what is happening in the U.S. and how states are doing. Read more.

    • For a more detailed look at specifics of each state’s opening and/or re-closing programs (including if bars, gyms, etc. are open or not), check out .

    • U.S. counties that have enforced mandated public mask-usage policies have seen a decline in cases (even within a month) of enforcement; e.g., in Kansas and in Arizona (a 75% drop in COVID-cases after mask-wearing was enforced and bars/gyms were closed). Masks are good! Wear them!

    • New research indicates that some COVID survivors have antibodies that, instead of attacking the virus, attack their bodies, similar to autoimmune disorders. Read more in the news.

    • On Monday, we discussed the most recent record of reported U.S. COVID-19 cases and what that might mean

    • OSHA is offering no-cost, confidential occupational safety and health services to small and medium-sized U.S. businesses. Find out more here.

    • The New York Times is interested in hearing from farmers, meatpackers, grocers, and other essential workers who have kept the country fed throughout the pandemic. If you are interested in sharing your story, you may contact them here.

  • Are there any topics or questions that we have not covered yet or did not expand on, previously, regarding COVID-19? Do you have any questions that we haven’t answered yet about COVID-19 and its impact on your business? If so, leave us a message and let us know.

October 28, 2020

October 26, 2020

  • In Today’s Recommendation for Industry, we discuss the most recent (as of Friday) record of reported U.S. COVID-19 cases and what that might mean. 

  • Global cases of COVID-19 have exceeded 43 million (up 2 million since this past Friday).

  • How can assurance testing of asymptomatic workers verify your COVID-19 Protection? Join our upcoming webinar with Dr. Ben Miller this Wednesday October 28, 2020.

  • CIDRAP has summarized two recent studies on convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. From the two studies, there has been no benefit by using convalescent plasma; in fact, there may be a risk leading to blood clots.

  • The FDA has approved its first U.S. treatment for COVID-19, the antiviral drug Veklury (also known as remdesivir) to be used in adults and pediatric patients over 12 years of age “for the treatment of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization”. At this time, the WHO does not believe remdesivir is an effective treatment.

  • A large U.S. and Canada study looking at 339 asymptomatic and 478 symptomatic children from March to July has found that lower COVID-19 viral loads are found in asymptomatic children. However, asymptomatic children with diabetes who had recent close contact with a COVID-19 infected individual did have the highest viral load. Read the press release here.

  • In Case You Missed It:

    • On Friday, we revisit and clarify the CDC’s revised definition of “close contact.” Read more here.

    • Last Wednesday, we reviewed a recent CDC study on the survival of SARS-CoV-2 and the influenza virus on human skin accentuating the need for hand hygiene. Read more here.

    • A recent Nature article discusses the positives and negatives of using pooled testing, including optimal group size and sampling frequency. 

    • A recent study in Scientific American discusses “What We Know So Far about how COVID affects the Nervous System.”

    • Recent CDC findings that 83.2% of all confirmed COVID-19 cases in the food and agriculture sector involved minorities or people of color, even though they make up only 47.4% of all workers in the U.S. This speaks to the importance of having responsive communications and workplace protections that are culturally relevant and understandable.

    • OSHA is offering no-cost, confidential occupational safety and health services to small and medium-sized U.S. businesses. Consultants from state agencies or universities help identify workplace hazards, provide advice on OSHA compliance, and assist in establishing and improving safety and health programs. Find out more here.

    • Are there any topics or questions that we have not covered yet or did not expand on, previously, regarding COVID-19? Do you have any questions that we haven’t answered yet about COVID-19 and its impact on your business? If so, leave us a message and let us know.

October 23, 2020

October 21, 2020

October 19, 2020

  • In Today’s Recommendations for Industry, we address the increasing media coverage of SARS-CoV-2 being found on meat products imported by other countries. Has the science changed?

  • Global cases of COVID-19 have surpassed 40 million cases (over 1 million deaths). 

  • In case you missed it:

    • On Friday, we discussed considerations for “density, distance, and duration" to reduce COVID-19 superspreading. Read more.

  • Are there any topics or questions that we have not covered yet or did not expand on, previously, regarding COVID-19? Do you have any questions that we haven’t answered yet about COVID-19 and its impact on your business? If so, leave us a message and let us know.

October 16, 2020

October 14, 2020

October 12, 2020

In Today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss the complexity of determining indoor “safe spaces” as businesses seek to begin holding in-person meetings.  Read more here.

October 09, 2020

  • In Today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss the increasing COVID-19 trends in the European countries – and whether it suggests a similar rise for the U.S.  Read more here.

  • Planning for hurricane season and other potential disasters is stressful enough already; it is even more so with COVID-19. As Hurricane Delta bears down upon the Gulf Coast, shortly after yet another recent hurricane, the CDC updated its Natural Disasters page to account for COVID-19. The CDC provides reminders and resources for preparing for emergency situations, seeking public disaster shelters, and keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. Check the list here.

  • The largest study on COVID-19 presentation in pregnant women reveals that “COVID-19 has a prolonged and nonspecific disease course during pregnancy” and symptoms can last up to 8 or more weeks.

  • A recent study found that “the economic impacts of the pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean finds negative effects concentrated among low-income workers, suggesting that COVID-19 may exacerbate existing economic inequality and negative health outcomes in developing countries.”

  • Weekly Recap:

    • On Monday, we discussed the CDC’s updated mask recommendations. Read more here about what this means for you and your workers.

    • As the seasons are changing, the CDC has released new guidance for hosting gatherings and cook-outs. Remember to remind guests to say home if they are sick; encourage social distancing; continue wearing masks (you don’t know the risks of those who may be attending); clean hands frequently; limit the number of people serving and handling food; and limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items. Follow their suggestions here.

    • OSHA has updated and clarified its guidance on how to report work-related COVID-19 cases, including when to report when illness or death has occurred resulting from work-acquired COVID-19. Read the short explanation from OSHA.

    • A recent study sought to understand “public perceptions of government responses to COVID-19” to “foster improved public cooperation.”  How did the different countries score? Find out here

    • This month is National Health Literacy Month, “a time for organizations and individuals to promote the importance of understandable health information.” One good way to do this is through the use of TAG’s easy-to-understand COVID-19 postable infographicsRead more at health.gov

October 07, 2020

October 05, 2020

  • In Today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss CDC’s updated mask recommendations, Read more here.

  • The world has now topped 35M cases of COVID-19, with a total of 35,227,767 as of today, according to John Hopkins daily tracking.

  • New study findings suggest that loss of smell is a “highly specific COVID-19 symptom” and may even be a stand-alone symptom if the virus. Read the study.

  • As National Health Literacy Month, October is “a time for organizations and individuals to promote the importance of understandable health information.” One good way to do this is through the use of TAG’s easy-to-understand COVID-19 postable infographicsRead more at health.gov

October 02, 2020

September 30, 2020

Another recent study finds that children may be less affected by the coronavirus due to the immune response that is generated. This immune response is “more muted” in adults.  Read the NYT article here; link to research study in article.

September 28, 2020

September 25, 2020

  • In Today’s Recommendations for Industry, we misquote and discuss an old adage in relation to the pandemic. Read more here.

September 23, 2020

September 21, 2020

  • In Today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss COVID-19 testing and the likelihood of false negative results if tested too soon after their exposures. Read more here.

  • CIDRAP summarizes the three latest studies describing in-flight COVID-19 transmission during long-haul flights.  

  • A recent review of data on risk factors for COVID-19 in U.S. community-dwelling adults (between March 1 – June 23, 2020) have identified conditions that can lead to higher hospitalization risk. Among over 5,000 adults, “after adjusting for age, sex, and race/ethnicity”, “hospitalization rates were higher among those with ≥3 underlying conditions like severe obesity, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and asthma. Adjusting for the presence of an individual underlying medical condition, higher hospitalization rates were observed for adults aged ≥65, 45-64 (versus 18-44 years), males (versus females), and non-Hispanic black and other race/ethnicities (versus non-Hispanic whites).”

September 18, 2020

September 16, 2020

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss two things: (a) FDA’s publication of comparative performance data for 55 authorized molecular diagnostic COVID-19 tests and (b) The Weekly Risk Matrix. Read more here.

  • In Monday’s Recommendations for Industry, we reviewed the similarities between COVID-19 and the flu and what businesses should do to limit spread of both. Read more here

  • While many symptoms of COVID-19 or Influenza are similar, congestion & runny nose symptoms may be the most ambiguous with common causes including the common cold, allergies, influenza, or COVID-19.  To reduce the number of potential illnesses in a person or population, TAG encourages everyone to get the get the flu vaccine as soon as available.

  • OSHA has updated its face covering/mask-usage guidance for hot and humid environments both Indoors [link to infosheet] and Outdoors [link to infosheet].

  • Apple and Google have both released “COVID-19 Exposure Notification” notifications that allow for secure and private coronavirus contract tracing.

  • The CDC has released new guidance for what to do if your pet tests positive for COVID-19.

September 14, 2020

  • In Today’s Recommendations for Industry, we review the similarities between COVID-19 and the flu and what businesses should do to limit spread of both. Read more here.

  • While many symptoms are indicative of either COVID-19 or Influenza, congestion & runny nose symptoms are a confusing middle ground of other common causes such as the common cold, allergies, influenza, or COVID-19.

  •  We encourage everyone to get the get the flu vaccine as soon as available.

    • If you have any of these symptoms (or an unexplained runny nose or congestion), it’s worth a discussion with a medical professional in order to be medically assessed; Fever or chills, Cough, Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, Fatigue, Muscle or body aches, Headache, New loss of taste or smell, Sore throat, Nausea or vomiting, Diarrhea

  • In recent news, there is a new 15-minute Abbott COVID-19 test in development; and a new method from the University of Illinois method is said to be able to produce 20k results in about 5 hours.

    • iCovid is a home nasal test said to provide “20/40 min results at home” and be “read like a pregnancy test.”

    • The specificity (risk of false-positives) of antigen tests is generally good but the sensitivity (risk of false-negatives) may be questionable, so serial testing of asymptomatic people could potentially provide for better clarity and accuracy if logistically and financially feasible.

September 11, 2020

September 09, 2020

  • In Today’s Recommendations for Industry, we provide this week’s 50-State Risk Matrix assessment. Read more here.

  • ICYMI (in case you missed it), as the fall/winter season approaches for the Northern Hemisphere and allergy seasons begins in the Southern Hemisphere, in Friday’s Recommendations for Industry, we started a discussion on “Is it Flu or COVID-19?” And what should you do about ill employees during flu season? We will discuss this further throughout the next few weeks. Read more here.

  • The CDC has updated its Travel Recommendations to highlight COVID-19 risk for countries around the world. If you are considering international travel, access CDC’s recommendations here.  You can also review Covid Controls for travel and lockdown restrictions by country.

  • The CDC has provided Guiding Principles for Considerations for Restaurants and Bars for assessing risk levels of various policies and configurations. The CDC highlighted the following risk profiles:

    • Lowest Risk: Food service limited to drive-through, delivery, take-out, and curb-side pick-up.

    • More Risk: Drive-through, delivery, take-out, and curb-side pick-up is the primary mode of sales with some on-site dining limited to outdoor seating. Seating capacity reduced to allow tables to be spaced at least 6 feet apart.

    • Even More Risk: On-site dining with both indoor and outdoor seating. Seating capacity reduced to allow tables to be spaced at least 6 feet apart.

    • Highest Risk: On-site dining with both indoor and outdoor seating. Seating capacity not reduced, and tables not spaced at least 6 feet apart.

  • Globally, there are over 27 million cases of COVID-19 (>898,000 deaths).

September 04, 2020

  • Today’s newsletter includes this week’s updated Risk Matrix, which was delayed due to the unavailability of data on which it is based. See the Matrix here.

  • As the fall/winter season approaches for the Northern Hemisphere and allergy seasons begins in the Southern Hemisphere, in Today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss a Q&A on Is it Flu or COVID-19? And what should you do about ill employees during flu season? Read more here.

  • The FDA has translated their consumer COVID-19 resources to an additional five languages (Simplified Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Hmong, and Somali). Materials are already in Spanish and English. Find these multilingual resources on their site!

  • Globally, there are now over 26 million cases of COVID-19. 

  • On Wednesday, we discussed  CDC’s clarification on COVID-19 testing for critical infrastructure establishments and FDA’s take on industry adherence to its employee health and food safety checklist – both of which were discussed on the joint CDC/FDA/OSHA webinar of September 1. We had technical difficulties with the site, on Wednesday. Please find the working link now.

  • Is there – finally – a cause for optimism in the ongoing fight against COVID-19? With late summer bringing a drop in cases in some areas of the U.S., Dr. David Acheson sees a glimmer of hope – but we are not out of it yet by any means. Read more for a summary of the last COVID-19-focused FSMA Friday (done in partnership with SafetyChain).

  • COVID-19 has certainly challenged the food industry – but the industry has answered in force. At the height of the pandemic (during Q2), a new Stericycle Insights Report found that the industry experienced the fewest food recalls due to bacterial contamination in more than a decade. With September being named both National Preparedness Month and National Food Safety Education Month, the report is extremely timely, especially with its added discussion on crisis response. It is a company’s response to any crisis that is critical to its business – a “crisis response must align with the degree of severity of a product recall”. While flexibility and agility have been essential in dealing with the unexpected issues of COVID-19, it has been the companies that invested in crisis preparedness and management before COVID-19 that have been able to best weather the pandemic. This report gives us lots to think on about how we can all be more prepared to handle crises. Read more here.

  • New research finds that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased rates of depression throughout the US, especially in those who are already at increased risk (monetarily, health, etc.). To ensure employees and workers are being protective of themselves, it is just as important to communicate with them and ensure their mental well-being so they may be as protective of others at work!

  • We will not have a post for Monday! Have a wonderful Labor Day Holiday!

September 02, 2020

August 31, 2020

  • Tomorrow, with the month of September, comes two important awareness themes for our industry: National Food Safety Education Month and National Preparedness Month. Not only -are food safety and its practices (and ensuring that everyone is knowledgeable of food safety) critical; but, being prepared for crisis situations (like COVID-19) is imperative to continuing a safe and productive food system. To learn more about the two “awareness” events, read our Recommendations for Business. We will tie in more of these in the next month!

  • The FDA has expanded the EUA for Remdesivir to include all hospitalized patients for treatment of COVID-19. Read the news release from FDA here.

  • The FDA is warning customers (and production facilities) to be vigilant of “alcohol-based hand sanitizers that are being packaged in containers that may appear as food or drinks and may put consumers at risk of serious injury or death if ingested.” [FDA News Release].

  • While COVID-19 temporarily suspended FDA inspections, the FDA has resumed on-site food facility inspections. As part of these inspections and bringing compliance with FSMA’s Intentional Adulteration (IA) Rule, the FDA will also begin initiating a post-investigative Food Defense Quick Check discussion as an “education while we regulate” initiative. What does a Quick Check “conversation” involve and how can you be prepared? Find an easy-to-follow infographic and some quick-takes to help you orient yourself and your company, on TAG’s blog from last week, “Are You Ready for a Food Defense Quick Check?

August 28, 2020

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, as the weekend approaches, we are continuing to see increases in cases around the world, so we are once again reiterating our advice: Stay the course. This also relates to testing. Read more here.

  • The FDA has authorized the first diagnostic test that can be read directly from a testing card. The EUA was issued to Abbott for its BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card. [News Release].

    • While the company plans to ship tests in September, Dr. Michael Osterholm (director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy) warned that while Abbott boasts that its tests pick up 97% of positive cases, the entire sensitivity sample was only conducted from 102 samples (of which 35 were positive).

    • This test “might be used as a surveillance test”; however, it will require further study. Read Dr. Osterholm’s thoughts on CIDRAP here

  • The FDA is warning customers (and production facilities) to be vigilant of “alcohol-based hand sanitizers that are being packaged in containers that may appear as food or drinks and may put consumers at risk of serious injury or death if ingested.” [FDA News Release]

  • Global cases of COVID-19 have topped 24 million.

August 26, 2020

  • In Today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss the updated Risk Matrix. Additionally, The CDC has also updated its testing guidance from testing all close contacts regardless of symptom presentation to only testing when symptoms are present. Additionally, the CDC now says that those who have been tested should remain quarantined until results are provided. Read more.

  • ICYMI (in case you missed it), we’ve received many questions regarding the use of UVC lamps and lights (specifically that companies have been approached by disinfecting companies to use such products). Additionally, the FDA has provided further thoughts on the effectiveness of various UV lamps and lights (as a disinfectant). Read more from Monday’s Recommendations for Industry.

  • Last Friday, we discussed some best practices and advice in providing reasonable accommodations for workers who are – validly – unable to wear masks. Read more here.

  • The CDC has put out updated resources for testing, including how to “Collect Your Anterior Nasal Swab Sample” and “Deep Nasal Self Swab”.  See the graphics here!

August 24, 2020

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss the new FDA updates on UVC lamps and lights. Read more here.

  • ICYMI, on Friday, we discussed some best practices and advice in providing reasonable accommodations for workers who are – validly – unable to wear masks. Read more here.

  • ICYMI, to support human and animal food operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA & OSHA developed the Employee Health and Food Safety Checklist for Human and Animal Food Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic [PDF]. This checklist allows businesses to assess their operations, including “re-starting operations after a shut down or when reassessing operation[al]” changes resulting from the health crisis. Use this list alongside CDC guidance to ensure you have the basics covered. Finally, this checklist provides a guide for non-US facilities or businesses who “manufacture, process, pack, or hold food for consumption in the United States”. The checklist can be downloaded here.

  • If you or your employees are considering traveling abroad (or arriving from abroad) for business or personal reasons, you can see the current Travel History, Restrictions, and Opening Statuses of any country using an MIT-based application, called Covid Controls. Check it out!

  • While the CDC no longer says that one need quarantine for 14 days from international travel, it recommends quarantining if you expect that you have been exposed to the virus. See the After You Travel section (updated Aug 21).

  • TAG highly recommends that all international travelers quarantine for 14 days.

  • Globally, the number of COVID-19 cases has exceeded 23 million.

August 21, 2020

August 19, 2020

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we look at the risk matrix for this past week. For more information, see here.

  • Oleandrin is not a cure for or preventive measure against COVID-19. Please do not ingest or utilize oleandrin to prevent or cure COVID-19. It may actually have potentially toxic and harmful effects.

  • An individual who visited the One-Eyed Jack’s Saloon at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota (in which neither social distancing nor mask-wearing were commonly practiced) has tested positive for coronavirus. Anyone who was at the Sturgis Rally, especially those who were at the Saloon between noon and 5:30 pm on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, should monitor for symptoms for 14 days. Read more here.

August 17, 2020

August 12, 2020

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we look at the risk matrix for this past week. Looking quickly at Test Positive Rates, Mississippi, and Texas both continue to see expanding outbreaks. Read more here.

  • Airlines are tightening their mask policies after mandating mask-usage. For a quick summary of airline-to-airline changes and differences, read this US News article, here.

  • Global cases of COVID-19 have surpassed 20 million cases. The U.S. is averaging 1,000 COVID-19-associated deaths per day for the past 2 weeks.

  • A few more hand-sanitizer products have been added to the FDA’s Hand Sanitizers Consumers Should Not Use list. Please check the list against the products you have/are using.

August 12, 2020

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we look at the risk matrix for this past week. Looking quickly at Test Positive Rates, Mississippi, and Texas both continue to see expanding outbreaks. Read more here.

  • Airlines are tightening their mask policies after mandating mask-usage. For a quick summary of airline-to-airline changes and differences, read this US News article, here.

  • Global cases of COVID-19 have surpassed 20 million cases. The U.S. is averaging 1,000 COVID-19-associated deaths per day for the past 2 weeks.

  • A few more hand-sanitizer products have been added to the FDA’s Hand Sanitizers Consumers Should Not Use list. Please check the list against the products you have/are using.

August 10, 2020

  • The FDA has revoked the EUA for Autobio Diagnostics Co., Ltd.’s Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Test (a SARS-CoV-2 antibody serology test).

  • There are almost 1 million COVID-19 cases on the African continent. The World Health Organization is ramping up COVID-19 support to hotspot countries, including South Africa. Read more from WHO here.

  • In today's Recommendations for Industry, we briefly discuss how school openings might affect your business. Read more here. 

  • A recent study shows that asymptomatic COVID-19 patients shed COVID-19 viral particles at similar concentrations as symptomatic COVID-19 patients. Hence, it is imperative that we all wear masks (to protect others from ourselves), continue to practice social distancing, and wash our hands frequently! Read the study here!

  • If you have fully recovered from COVID-19 (confirmed by a positive test), the US Health and Human Services hopes that you will donate your plasma (which now contains COVID-19 antibodies) that may be able to help others fight off the disease. Find out more and where to donate here

August 7, 2020

  • The global case count of COVID-19 cases has exceeded 19 million.

  • Avoid consuming chlorine products or chlorine dioxide products as a treatment for COVID-19.

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss the limitations, risks, and considerations of rapid COVID-19 testing. Read more here.

August 5, 2020

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we have our weekly risk update. We explore what has changed in the U.S. in the past week, including states that may be of concern in the upcoming weeks. Read more here.

  • As “the effects of COVID-19 on the health of racial and ethnic minority groups is still emerging”, the CDC is set on promoting health equity in its COVID-19 response as “a disproportionate burden of illness and death among [racial and ethnic minority] groups”. Watch the CDC video presentation as “presenters from local jurisdictions and national organizations discuss actions taken to mitigate the disproportionate impact on racial and ethnic minorities” including “strategies to reduce COVID-19 health inequities for racial and ethnic minorities at the local, state, and national level”. Watch here on Youtube.

  • There is still no cure for COVID-19. Please be wary of any company or group that may be selling cures to relieve, cure, or prevent COVID-19. 

August 3, 2020

  • Global COVID-19 cases have exceeded 18 million cases (with over 690,000 deaths). The United States accounts for 4.6 million of these cases. 

  • Recommendations for Industry, TAG has received many inquiries about businesses beginning large-scale testing of employees. Between the need to maintain the food supply and to protect public health, there are some essential factors that businesses should consider in COVID-19 testing.  

July 31, 2020

  • Global COVID-19 cases have exceeded 17 million cases (with over 600,000 deaths). The United States accounts for almost 4.5 million of these cases. Read more about its impacts here, through CIDRAP.

  • Recommendations for Industry, TAG has received many inquiries about sharing graphics developed by TAG in public forums outside of food and beverage facilities (including an updated