Jun 18, 2020

A Briggs & Stratton employee who pushed for more coronavirus restrictions in the workplace died from the virus

(JSONLINE) In response to his death, Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of the immigrant and workers rights advocacy group Voces de la Frontera, said the group sent a public letter to the company and filed a complaint with the regional Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The letter and complaint list specific requests, including greater access to testing for employees, a mandatory mask wearing policy and ensuring there is 6 feet of distance in all departments and production lines. 

Neumann-Ortiz is also asking the company to implement or strengthen the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards at the factory.

"His precious life and premature death are a reminder to all of us, that time is of the essence," Neumann-Ortiz said. 

Neumann-Ortiz said the communications staff at Briggs & Stratton reached out to her on the day of the news conference. However, since that time, Neumann-Ortiz said she has not heard back from the company after sending two emails about a follow-up phone call. 

"We are trying again because we are taking them at their word that they do want to respond to these issues," she said.

Rick Carpenter, the vice president of corporate marketing and communications at the Wauwatosa-based Briggs & Stratton, said the company has been doing its best to fight the coronavirus. 

"Know that we are working hard to remain vigilant against this virus," Carpenter said in an email.

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Jun 15, 2020

America fails the Covid-19 pandemic marshmallow test for society.

( ) One way to think about the Covid-19 pandemic is that it poses a kind of marshmallow test for society.

At this point, there have been enough international success stories in dealing with the coronavirus to leave us with a clear sense of what beating the pandemic takes. First, you have to impose strict social distancing long enough to reduce the number of infected people to a small fraction of the population. Then you have to implement a regime of testing, tracing and isolating: quickly identifying any new outbreak, finding everyone exposed, and quarantining them until the danger is past.

This strategy is workable. South Korea has done it. New Zealand has done it.

But you have to be strict and you have to be patient, staying the course until the pandemic is over, not giving in to the temptation to return to normal life while the virus is still widespread. So it is, as I said, a kind of marshmallow test.

And America is failing that test.

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Jun 14, 2020

Review of 16 cohorts found 40-45% of people who tested positive with RT-PCR using nasopharyngeal swabs are asymptomatic

Review published in Annals of Internal Medicine https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-3012 and covered by Time  https://time.com/5848949/covid-19-asymptomatic-spread/

This can profoundly impact the utility of COVID-19 screening for symptoms before clinical procedures such as pulmonary function testing since, even though the asymptomatic people appear to shed virus at the same rate as symptomatic people, they will pass the symptom screening.

EPA Adds More Indoor Air Quality Questions and Answers to our COVID-19 FAQ Webpage

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is on everyone's mind as we spend more time inside our homes. EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have guidance for states & territories, tribes, and local governments (including public health agencies), homeowners, business owners, schools, and others to address questions about risks, exposures and protection from COVID-19.

Examples of Frequent Questions about Indoor Air and Coronavirus (COVID-19):

Answers to these questions and more about indoor air and COVID-19 can be found here. Each FAQ includes links to additional information for managing IAQ in your home and relevant CDC guidance to help protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. 

If you have additional questions about indoor air, disinfectants, drinking water or other topics, please visit EPA's Coronavirus (COVID-19) website and Frequent Questions Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) for more information. For more multilingual web content on the Coronavirus, indoor air quality and other environmental health issues, visit: www.epa.gov/lep. EPA is continuing to add multilingual content and updating this FAQ list frequently, so please consider checking it routinely.

Free ACOEM Webinar on Prevention of COVID-19 in Construction Workers

The ACOEM Webinar "Prevention of COVID-19 in Construction Workers" is posted at the link below.  It will be next Wednesday, June 17 at 12 noon Eastern. It is free, but those interested must register here:


Jun 12, 2020

First Reported Cases of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Companion Animals

What are the implications for public health practice?

Human-to-animal transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can occasionally occur. Animals ar

The figure shows an image of a cat with text overlay describing that there is currently no evidence that pets play a significant role in spreading COVID-19 to people.

e not known to play a substantial role in spreading COVID-19, but persons with COVID-19 should avoid contact with animals. Companion animals that test positive for SARS-CoV-2 should be monitored and separated from persons and other animals until they recover.


On April 22, CDC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported cases of two domestic cats with confirmed infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). These are the first reported companion animals (including pets and service animals) with SARS-CoV-2 infection in the United States, and among the first findings of SARS-CoV-2 symptomatic companion animals reported worldwide. These feline cases originated from separate households and were epidemiologically linked to suspected or confirmed human COVID-19 cases in their respective households. Notification of presumptive positive animal test results triggered a One Health* investigation by state and federal partners, who determined that no further transmission events to other animals or persons had occurred. Both cats fully recovered. Although there is currently no evidence that animals play a substantial role in spreading COVID-19, CDC advises persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to restrict contact with animals during their illness and to monitor any animals with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and separate them from other persons and animals at home (1).

SARS-CoV-2 is a zoonotic coronavirus that likely originated in bats (2). A small number of animals worldwide, including dogs, cats, zoo tigers and lions, and farmed mink, have been infected naturally with SARS-CoV-2, mostly through suspected human-to-animal transmission (3). In addition, experimental studies in ferrets, golden Syrian hamsters, Egyptian fruit bats, and cats show that these species can transmit infection to cohoused animals of the same species (47).

Read full from CDC:


Trends in Pneumoconiosis Deaths — United States, 1999–2018

What is already known about this topic?

Pneumoconioses are a group of occupational lung diseases caused by inhaling organic dust and inorganic mineral dust particles. From 1968 to 2000, death rates for all pneumoconioses decreased with the exception of those for asbestosis. Although preventable, deaths continue to occur.

What is added by this report?

Pneumoconiosis deaths decreased from 2,738 deaths in 1999 to 1,632 in 2018, and age-adjusted death rates decreased from 12.8 to 5.3 per million population. All pneumoconioses decreased with the exception of pneumoconiosis attributed to other inorganic dusts.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Pneumoconiosis-associated deaths continue to occur, underscoring the importance of occupational dust exposure reduction, early case detection, and continued surveillance to monitor trends, with an increased focus on pneumoconiosis attributable to other inorganic dusts.

Pneumoconioses are preventable occupational lung diseases caused by inhaling dust particles such as coal dust or different types of mineral dusts (1). To assess recent trends in deaths associated with pneumoconiosis, CDC analyzed multiple cause-of-death data*,† for decedents aged ≥15 years for the years 1999–2018, and industry and occupation data collected from 26 states§ for the years 1999, 2003, 2004, and 2007–2013. During 1999–2018, pneumoconiosis deaths decreased by 40.4%, with the exception of pneumoconiosis attributed to other inorganic dusts (e.g., aluminum, bauxite, beryllium, iron, and tin oxide), which increased significantly (p-value for time trend <0.05). The largest observed decreases in pneumoconiosis deaths were for those associated with coal workers' pneumoconiosis (69.6%) and silicosis (53.0%). Asbestosis was the most frequently reported pneumoconiosis and was associated with working in the construction industry. The ongoing occurrence of deaths associated with pneumoconiosis underscores the importance of occupational dust exposure reduction, early case detection, and continued surveillance to monitor trends.

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Jun 8, 2020

Respiratory protection for health care workers: A 2020 COVID‐19 perspective

Abstract: As the US health care system began to respond to the coronavirus disease‐2019 pandemic, demand for respiratory personal protective equipment (PPE) increased precipitously, as did the number of users. This commentary discusses ensuing deviations from accepted respiratory PPE program practices, which potentially increased risk to health care workers. Such lapses included omitting user training and fit testing, provision of unapproved devices, and application of devices in settings and ways for which they were not intended. The temporary compromise of professionally accepted standards due to exigencies must not become the new normal. Rather, the current attention to PPE should be leveraged to enhance practice, motivate vital research, and strengthen professional, governmental, and institutional capabilities to control health care worker exposures to infectious hazards.

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Jun 5, 2020

Subject: US EPA Announces Anaerobic Digestion Funding Opportunity

US EPA has announced a competitive grant funding opportunity with an estimated $3 million available to increase anaerobic digester (AD) capacity in the United States. US EPA anticipates awarding 10 to 40 projects, with each individual project eligible to receive between $50,000 - $300,000.
Applications must achieve one or more of the following objectives:
  •  Support State, Tribal, and/or local government programs that seek to use AD to increase their organic waste diversion rates;
  • Demonstrate solutions and/or approaches for increasing AD utilization that can be replicated by other communities, governments, or other entities; and/or Establish new or expand existing partnerships that result in the development of AD capacity.
The following entities are eligible to apply:
* State, local, Tribal, interstate, and intrastate government agencies and instrumentalities; and
* Non-profit organizations (as defined by 2 CFR Part 200) that are not 501(c)(4) organizations that lobby, including non-profit educational institutions and non-profit hospitals.
Individuals and for-profit organizations are not eligible.
Application must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov <http://www.grants.gov/> by 11:59 p.m. ET on July 14, 2020 to receive consideration for funding. More information is available at the EPA Anaerobic Digestion Funding Opportunity's website <http://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/sustainable-materials-management-2020-anaerobic-digestion-funding> and on Grants.gov <http://www.grants.gov/> under Funding Opportunity Announcement EPA-OLEM-ORCR-20-02.

Jun 1, 2020

OSHA Releases Summary List of Guidance Documents Taken to Protect Workers During COVID-19

On May 28, 2020 OSHA released a comprehensive list of guidance documents, statements, and actions they've taken to help protect workers during the coronavirus pandemic.  The list is categorized into the following primary topic areas.  

They are:
  • Respirator Guidance
  • Protecting Workers in High-Risk Industries
  • Enforcing Safety in the Workplace
  • Offering Clear Direction for Employers

The list is a great way to see if you've missed anything.


CDC - Sobering statistics on COVID among Healthcare Personnels

CDC released new statistics yesterday.  
One of the more sobering for the health care community are the number of cases and the number of fatalities within the health care community. This is made even more significant by the fact that CDC only has the mortality status for only 56.4% of the cases among health care personnel.
Cases & Deaths among Healthcare Personnel
Data were collected from 1,417,310 people, but healthcare personnel status was only available for 304,479 (21.5%) people. For the 66,447 cases of COVID-19 among healthcare personnel, death status was only available for 37,485 (56.4%).



See full from CDC :