Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Coronavirus Update 2-2-2021: As new COVID-19 variants doubling down on transmissibility, OSHA doubles down on prevenative measures

"Wear a mask and stay 6 feel apart." It might sound like Groundhog Day to keep repeating this mantra. It's also the most basic and most important steps we can take to remain safe, healthy, and COVID-free.

Last week OSHA published new guidance for employers about mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. While I recommend you read it, understand it, and adopt its teachings in your workplace as best practices to keep your employees safe and healthy, I want to draw your attention to this language.
Not distinguishing between workers who are vaccinated and those who are not: Workers who are vaccinated must continue to follow protective measures, such as wearing a face covering and remaining physically distant, because at this time, there is not evidence that COVID-19 vaccines prevent transmission of the virus from person-to-person. The CDC explains that experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on steps everyone should take to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
COVID-19 is strengthening. New variants of the virus are making it more transmissible and potentially more virulent. Now is not the time to loosen Covid safety rules, especially around the most basic of steps we must take to remain safe and healthy—masks and physical distancing. This holds true even if your employees are vaccinated, as science does not yet know if the vaccine prevents the transmission from person-to-person. 

The vaccine does offer us a light at the end of the very long and dark Covid tunnel, but we cannot allow it to give us a false sense of security. COVID-19 is fighting back; we must continue to fight back, too.