Happy Juneteenth (observed)! Here are a few items that came to the FEHBlog’s attention today
From the Omicron and siblings front —
The New York Times informs us that “Despite Another Covid Surge, Deaths Stay Near Lows. Most Americans now carry some immune protection, experts said, whether from vaccines, infection or both.” Amen to that.
While the Food and Drug Administration has given emergency use authorization to Moderna’s vaccine for ages 6 to 17, the Centers for Disease Control has not yet ratified that decision so Pfizer’s vaccine remains the only vaccine available to that age group for now.
From the unusual viruses front, STAT News reports
When previously healthy little kids started showing up in hospitals with failing livers last fall and this spring, startled doctors and public health authorities didn’t know what was behind what they were seeing. They also didn’t know if what they were seeing was new. * * *
Now scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have come up with some estimates for the normal rate of this condition, at least in the United States. Their findings, published earlier this week in the online journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, may come as a surprise.
Their research suggests there has not been an increase in cases of pediatric hepatitis of unknown origin, at least in the United States. Nor has there been a rise in the number of pediatric liver transplants, which a portion of these children have needed. Likewise, the rate of detections of infections caused by adenovirus 41 — a stomach bug virus that has been implicated as a potential trigger of these hepatitis cases — has not changed over time, the CDC scientists reported. * * *
With rates unchanged since before the Covid-19 pandemic, a theory espoused by scientists from Israel — that this is some sort of post-Covid condition — becomes harder to argue.
“It doesn’t mean that Covid still can’t have some collateral role with all of this. But I think these kind of data helps support that that’s probably not the cause,” explained veteran epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, who was not involved in the CDC work.
That’s encouraging news.
The Society for Human Resource Management tells us about its 2022 Employee Benefits Survey.
“Employer rankings of the importance of benefits shifted drastically in 2020 as they made pandemic-inspired adjustments, but these rankings have returned to an order like that seen pre-pandemic as businesses regain a semblance of normal operations,” said Daniel Stunes, senior researcher at SHRM.
Significantly, however, “all benefit types were rated by employers as more important to offer today than before the COVID-19 pandemic,” Stunes said, reflecting an increased appreciation for the role benefits play in fostering employee well-being and in attracting and keeping talent in a tight labor market.