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Week in Review: Nov. 29 – Dec. 3, 2021

Dec. 3, 2021
This week's stories of interest for safety professionals.

The week after a holiday weekend is hectic, and this week is no exception. Still, we hope you were able to have a safe and restful respite that helped recharge you for this very busy month ahead.

Let’s get to the news you might have missed.

Omicrom is Here

We’re heading into what could be a tough winter. The United States currently has a 7-day average of about 94,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, nearly all of which are the delta variant.

Case numbers have been increasing the past few weeks, including in New England, which has some of the highest vaccination rates in the country. Hospitals and caregivers are once again strained. The Pentagon sent medical teams to two major hospitals in Minnesota last month and another team was scheduled to arrive this week.

“Delta is not subsiding,” said Dr. Andre Kalil, an infectious-disease physician at the University of Nebraska Medical Center to the Associated Press. Earlier this week, Nebraska recorded its highest number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients since last December.

Medical and public health experts are racing to prepare for what’s next: omicron. Since Wednesday, cases of the omicron variant have been detected in New York, California, Minnesota, Colorado and Hawaii.

The variant was first identified by researchers in South Africa late last month and already has the world scrambling. And on Thursday, Google announced it is indefinitely pushing back its Jan. 10 return-to-office plan globally amid growing concerns over the omicron variant and some resistance to company-mandated vaccinations.

EHS Today will continue to follow and report on the latest developments. 

A Closer Look at the Coronoavirus

It’s safe to say that after nearly 2 years, we know a fair bit about coronaviruses. At least, more than we did in December 2019. But what about the anatomy of a coronavirus?

The New York Times published beautifully illustrated and videos to explain the technical fundamentals in a way people without PhDs or medical degrees can understand.

We’re no experts, but this may help us better understand the next experts we hear on the nightly news.

View the interactive guide here

More Children Have Autism than Previously Thought

New numbers suggest more U.S. children are being diagnosed with autism—and at younger ages.

Among 8-year-olds, 1 in 44 had been diagnosed with autism, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings are based on analysis of 2018 data from counties and other communities in 11 states.

The authors noted that the rates are estimates and don’t necessarily reflect the entire country. They found that autism rates varied widely, from about 1 in 26 in California to 1 in 60 in Missouri.

Still, autism numbers have been increasing in the United States for several years. There is still much the medical community doesn’t know about autism, but experts say the increase in diagnosis is likely a result of more awareness, wider availability of services and more coverage for autism services than a increase in the number of children affected.

Great strides have been made in the past generation, but studies like these serve as an important reminder that workplaces need to accommodate people of all abilities.

Read more about the report here.

Finding Joy

We stumbled upon NPR’s Joy Generator, and we couldn’t be more delighted. NPR gathered some sensory- and emotions-based exercises to help you tap into joy.

According to the site, this project was spurred by research that “emotions are created by our brains in response to what we’re experiencing now and what we’ve felt in the past. Small doses of daily delight can shift our focus away from our worries and give more opportunity for joy to arise.”

The short, interactive chapters focus on reminiscing, drawing, listening, writing and more to help you channel your creative emotions.

There’s something for everyone, whether it be cute puppies and kittens, getting into a flow state or listening to ear pleasing sounds. (Our favorite was the slicing). There’s links to more stories that help explain the science. But based on our experiences, you don’t have to understand the science; you just feel it.

Experience the Joy Generator here

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