8 Ways To Prevent The Spread of Covid At Work

As more people grow comfortable associating with others in person due to vaccinations and boosters, the physical workplace has become a viable and safe environment to cooperate again. Here are eight {tips} to help you stay safe from Covid in the workplace.

  1. Remember to bring your mask

It is still important to wear a mask in some settings as they prevent the spread of covid, and reduce your possibility of infection. In settings such as small group meetings, and communal spaces wearing a mask can help keep you safe. Additionally provided you are able, open a few windows to improve your workspace’s overall ventilation. Try to increase airflow as much as possible.

  1. Wash your hands frequently

Making sure your workplace is fully clean, disinfected and equipped with a protocol for maintaining safe conditions. It is necessary to maintain a normal cleaning protocol prevent the potential spread of Covid. Frequently cleaning your personal space, along with the communal environments with disinfectants will keep maintenance minimal.

  • Keep your distance from others, if you can 

Move desks further apart and utilize video conferencing. The CDC eased its social distancing recommendation in August, dropping the six-feet-apart standard established at the beginning of the pandemic. However, keeping distance between yourself and others can still help prevent exposure to Covid.

  • Avoid gathering as a large group in a small space

Assess the quality of the air you’re breathing around you. In a crowded indoor space with poor ventilation, you can get infected far quicker than if you’re outdoors or in a space with good ventilation. You can be outside for long periods of time and remain safe from the Covid.

  • Be upfront with your questions and concerns

If you do not organize the Covid protocol for your workplace, ask questions to those who do. You might ask about the cleaning schedule or the team meeting setting. Your quest

  • Know what to do if you test positive, are exposed or have Covid symptom.

The HHS says you should stay home from work if you test positive for the virus, you have Covid symptoms, or you’re not up-to-date with your Covid vaccines and were in close contact with an infected person. The CDC says you should get tested immediately, if you have any symptoms. If you were exposed to Covid and don’t have symptoms. Testing too early can give you a false negative result. If you test positive for Covid, the CDC says you should, stay home and isolate yourself from others for at least five days. That’s likely when you’re the most infectious. Wear a high-quality mask if you have to be with others, whether in your home or in public. Follow the CDC’s guidelines for ending isolation.

  • Set up a support system

Setting up a support system in place as you return to work and adjust to new realities and emotional challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic affected everyone in a different way, a support system can provide comfort to people in a social context.

  • Create a plan that prevents exposure

Creating a plan for a safe work environment that protects employees and customers alike from risks connected to COVID-19, including exposure and transmission, will help keep you and everyone around you safe from Covid.

Cited Sources

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/09/19/worried-about-catching-covid-in-the-office-how-to-stay-healthy.html
https://wecandothis.hhs.gov/resource/prevent-the-spread-of-covid-19-at-work
https://www.everydayhealth.com/coronavirus/how-to-stay-covid-19-safe-when-youre-back-in-the-office/
https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2020/jun/3-tips-for-staying-healthy-as-you-return-to-your-workplace/
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/departments/employer-healthcare-solutions/covid-19-workplace-safety

Sabre88, LLC awarded contract with Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Newark, New Jersey, August 5, 2022 – Sabre88 wins contract award with the Port Authority’s Security Business Resource Management and Planning Department (SBRMP).  Sabre88 shall provide two (2) part-time personnel to the Port Authority on as needed basis to perform work at the Port Authority Technical Center (PATC) in Jersey City, NJ.  The Contract shall be for a three (3) year period effective July 19, 2022 to July 18, 2025.

The Port Authority is an agency of the States of New York and New Jersey, created and existing by virtue of the Compact of April 30, 1921, made by and between the two States, and thereafter consented to by the Congress of the United States. It is charged with providing transportation, terminal and other facilities of trade and commerce within the Port District. The Port District comprises and area of about 1,500 square miles in both States, centering about New York Harbor. The Port District includes the Cities of New York and Yonkers in New York State, and the cities of Newark, Jersey City, Bayonne, Hoboken, and Elizabeth in the State of New Jersey, and over 200 other municipalities, including all or part of seventeen counties, in the two States.

Under this contract Sabre88 will be responsible for support activities necessary to research, track, document, and provide information related to the discovery of non-traditional sources of grant funding to support the SBRMP grant program. Sabre88 shall aid in the administration of the Port Authority’s Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Grant Program. Sabre88 will be responsible for gathering information for and the creation of new UASI grant applications and all record keeping functions associated with the managing of UASI grant awards including but not limited to correspondence preparation, program compliance, grant administration, fiscal report preparation, equipment inventory, audit response, monthly accrual submissions.

About Sabre88, LLC. – Sabre88 is a global consulting firm applying capabilities in technology, public policy, international affairs, healthcare and education to government and commercial clients. With more than twenty years of experience offering strategic solutions, Sabre88 staff advance the firm’s mission to provide civilian and defense agencies of the government with the necessary tools to address emerging challenges and pursue global opportunities.

Remote Work May Actually Be Good for Business

Working remotely doesn’t negatively affect productivity. It may actually even

enhance both employee and company resiliency, a new study finds.

Covid-19 caused an overwhelming surge of Americans to work from home in 2020, and a new study shows that employee and company resiliency can be enhanced if remote work is offered to employees during natural disasters and other events. Research was conducted with a company located in Texas to analyze data from 264 employees. During the research, Hurricane Harvey forced employees to work from home for an extended period of time.

The study observed employee technology data before, during, and after the hurricane. It was found that computer use did decline, but during the seven-month period of the employees working remotely, the data returned to pre-hurricane levels. This showed that working from home does not negatively affect workplace productivity.

“In the future, there will be a greater percentage of the workforce who is involved in some sort of office-style technology work activities,” reports Mark Benden, director of the Ergonomics Center at the Texas A&M University School of Public Health.

“Almost all of the study’s employees were right back up to the same level of output as they were doing before Hurricane Harvey. This is a huge message right now for employers because we’re having national debates about whether or not employees should be able to work remotely or in a hybrid schedule,” he says.

The Ergonomics Center has launched this large study in order to gauge the health of information workers. Although the work is seemingly less taxing than blue collar, information workers are still prone to injury, like carpal tunnel syndrome. “The research says that if you work a certain way at a certain pace over a certain duration, you’re more likely to become injured from that work,” Benden says. “But if you work a little less or a little less often or break up the duration or have certain other character traits—like posture—then you’re less likely to develop a problem from doing your office work.”

Benden and his team believe that this information can be used to help employees form healthy behaviors, including those who work remotely. The research will also begin tracking the ergonomic environment of employee’s private home offices. They believe that tracking this data will help employers address remote employee health issues such as depression, stress, and substance abuse. “The question was whether we could track people and rather than letting them stay in a bad place, a bad habit, or bad behavior, could we give them a healthful nudge over the computer to remind them that it was time to take a walk or a break. We as humans are not very good at keeping track of time, especially when we’re in the zone. In order to keep us from physically hurting our bodies, we need to have nudges and reminders, which people respond to, and which work really well,” Bender explained. He reiterated that taking breaks does not hinder an employees’ quality of work.

“The people who took the recommended breaks were more productive overall. They got more done,” Bender said.  “We need to learn this about people, we need to teach people about it, and then we need to help people actually do it.”

By: Beth Gray

https://www.govexec.com/workforce/2022/05/remote-work-may-actually-be-good-business/366736/

Pay Transparency Laws Raise Women’s Salaries (And Slightly Lower Men’s)

Multistate companies are finding ways to circumvent the laws.

 The gender pay gap is no secret between men and women and has existed for many decades. A popular film “Hidden Figures”, which was also a book, told the story of black female mathematicians in the U.S. space program who were discriminated against and also paid less than their male counterparts. While this took place in the 1950s and1960s, we know it began many years before that. According to the U.S. Census American Community Survey, that pay gap is decreasing. In 2019, the national median salary for women was $43,394, while men were at $53,544.

There is a bill, from a sponsor of West Virginia, where two of the mathematicians are from, aiming to close that gap. The bill has been introduced for several sessions but has failed to pass. It would “require employers to publish salaries when advertising jobs and would prohibit companies from retaliating against workers who discuss their pay with colleagues” (Povich 22).

In recent studies it is shown that laws that prohibit companies from asking an applicant about their current salary or previous salary mixed with salary transparency can narrow the gender pay gap. If companies are forced to advertise the salary for open positions, it can prevent employees from accepting lowball offers. Studies have proven that women and minority candidates are the ones most likely to receive such offers. Studies have also shown that salary transparency has the potential to lower salaries across the board, as it lowers men’s salaries. Companies have found ways around this, like not accepting applications from states that require transparency. It can also lead to companies hiring fewer employees and putting more work on their current employees.

“State Rep. Barbara Evans Fleischauer, the Democratic sponsor of the West Virginia bill, said it has foundered against opposition from Republicans and business interests. “One member said: ‘I don’t want my secretary talking to others about what they make,’” she recalled. But 17 states already have similar pay transparency laws. In March, Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation requiring employers with 15 or more workers to post salary ranges beginning in 2023. A similar Rhode Island law is scheduled to take effect next year” (Povich 22).

Because so many of these laws have just taken effect, the earliest being in 2018, there are no studies yet to prove that salary transparency has closed the pay gap. But in Canada, a 2019 study showed that similar requirements found that the gender pay gap was closed by 20 to 40 percent. “It’s very hard to lowball some new potential employee if the new potential employee is capable of looking at a range of salaries,” said Cornell economics assistant professor Thomas Jungbauer. “This can have a positive effect on wage gaps because of gender or color. Employers might offer lower wages to certain types of applicants. This makes it harder.”

The U.S. Census taken in 2019 shows that the gender pay gap varies largely from state to state. For example, in Utah and Wyoming there are gaps of $15,000 or more, but in states like New York, California, and Florida it was less than $10,000. Still from the time period of 2016-2020, women only made 81% of what men earn as a median salary.

New York City’s pay transparency law was supposed to go into effect in June but has since been pushed back to November because of business concerns about a lack of flexibility and worries about the law being approved too quickly. “The new law will require that employers get a warning and 30 days to fix their first violation before facing fines. It also eliminated the right to sue an employer for not posting salary ranges unless you are employed there. The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce was one organization that argued against the law, saying that it would disadvantage New York companies. Forcing them to publicize salaries for open jobs, the chamber argued, would push prospective employees to look elsewhere for higher compensation. “The city’s [minority- and women-owned business] firms are generally at a disadvantage in competing for scarce talent and are likely to be outbid if a majority competitor has access to their salary offering,” the chamber said in a statement(Povich 22).

New York state is attempting to put into law a similar bill. State representative Latoya Joyner, a democrat, and the primary sponsor of the bill, said that the state has taken a step toward closing the gender pay gap by forbidding companies from asking potential employees about their current or past salaries, but this bill will take it even further. Overall, the pay gap between men and women in New Yorkstatein 2019 was $8,821, with women making 85.5% of what men make, but that gap differed by race and ethnicity. For White workers the gap was $12,000 (83%), while it was $3,500 for Hispanic workers (92%) and $2,900 for Black workers (94%). There was no gender pay gap for Asian workers. “Workers—especially women—still face a very daunting work environment when it comes to compensation, and we need to do more to create a level playing field in the workplace when it comes to salaries,” Joyner said. The bill is awaiting action in both the Senate and the Assembly, and Joyner said she was hopeful it would pass in June (Povich 22).

Last year Colorado’s transparency laws went into effect,-and it was found that at least 10 large companies, like Nike, made it clear that no Coloradans should apply for their openings. A Colorado department of labor made it clear that no company is exempt, even if the jobs are for remote work.

“Meanwhile, a study in 2021 by Harvard Business School assistant professor Zoe Cullen showed that making pay scales public reduces “the individual bargaining power of workers, leading to lower average wages.” The study found the wages went down by 2%, mostly by lowering men’s pay. The study used salary data from the American Community Survey and compared overall salaries in states where pay transparency exists to those where it doesn’t. It modeled future effects based on those statistics. “Both the empirical work and that model showed that when employers catch wind of the fact that there’s greater transparency and have time to adjust pay setting practices, they do so by bargaining more aggressively,” she said in a phone interview. “They know that by raising your wage, it weakens their negotiations. The upshot is that average wages are overall lower” (Povich 22).

By: Beth Gray

https://www.govexec.com/workforce/2022/05/pay-transparency-laws-raise-womens-salaries-and-slightly-lower-mens/367532/

The Justice Department Is Ramping Up Its Anti-Hate Crime Efforts

New personnel, guidance and grants were announced on Friday.

The one-year anniversary of the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act was on Friday May 20th, and in response the Justice Department announced a long list of actions to take place. The act came about after the rise of violence and hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders during the pandemic. This couldn’t happen at a better time as just last week a gunman entered a supermarket in Buffalo NY killing so many. Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said “as we mourn with the families of the horrific attacks of hate this past week, all of us here today––DOJ, [the Health and Human Services Department] and agencies across the federal government; legislators and other government officials; advocates like Susan Bro and Haifa and Victoria Jabara; civil rights and community-based groups; public health professionals; victim services; and law enforcement partners across the country––we must leverage all of our expertise to combat hate.”

Some of the new actions are Ana Paula Noguez Mercado, a community advocate and interpreter, will be the Justice Departments first ever language access coordinator. Additionally, Saeed Moody, a veteran of the Justice Department, will take over as the Anti-Hate crimes resources coordinator, and Rachel Rossi will move on to director of the recently restored Office of Access to Justice. “Ana will join our Office for Access to Justice where she will work to improve knowledge, use, and expansion of the department’s language access resources,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland during his remarks. “We know that language access is a major barrier to the reporting of hate crimes and hate incidents.”

The Justice Department also issued new guidance that will seek to increase awareness of hate crimes, and also released 10 million in grant solicitations for new programs to handle hate crimes. “This builds on efforts Justice have taken over the past year such as launching the National Anti-Hate Crimes Campaign led by the FBI; assigning at least one assistant U.S. Attorney to be a civil rights coordinator in every U.S. Attorneys’ Office; and “vigorously investigating and prosecuting hate crimes,” said a press release from the department,” (Bublé 22).

The FBI released a report at the end of 2020 stating that hate crimes had reached their highest level in 12 years with 8,263 during that year. Nonreporting and underreporting of hate crimes to the FBI by law enforcement has been a long-standing issue along with hate crimes being handled in another way. Individuals or witnesses are handling things privately or through a non-law enforcement official.

The Justice is investigating last week’s attack in Buffalo as the majority of the victims were black, making it a hate crime and an act that was racially motivated. Garland concluded that this “was a painful reminder of the singular impact that hate crimes have not only on individuals, but on entire communities.”

By: Beth Gray

https://www.govexec.com/management/2022/05/doj-ramps-anti-hate-crime-efforts/367278/

Conscious spending: The finance approach that’s both smart and fun

How often do you feel guilty for living in the moment and spending money on that latte that you really want? Or for taking your family of four out to dinner when you have plenty of food at home? According to Ramit Sethi, the bestselling author of “I will teach you to be rich”, you don’t have to feel this way. His approach to money is called conscious spending which is a flexible finance approach. “Unlike a budget, which looks backward, a conscious spending plan allows you to look forward,” he says. “Conscious spending is all about spending extravagantly on the things you love, as long as you cut costs mercilessly on the things you don’t. It’s not about restriction. It’s about being intentional with your money, and then spending on the things you love guilt-free.”

Sethi doesn’t downplay the normal general guidelines for saving money, like having an emergency fund, they all still apply. Instead, conscious spending according to Sethi is “Yes, I want to go on vacation. Yes, I like nice clothes. Yes, I’m going to spend on these things guilt-free. I’m also going to invest, save, and make sure I can cover my rent.”

So, what exactly is conscious spending? According to Bradley Klontz, financial psychologist and associate professor of practice at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business in Omaha, Nebraska, we tend to experience unconscious spending. Things are just too easy for consumers with credit cards and tap to pay to just spend without any real plan. In order to undo unconscious spending, you must ask yourself important questions about your financial situation, goals, and desires. Questions like: What do I love spending money on? How much do I need for my fixed expenses? How much do I want to save? How much do I want to budget to impulse buys? What have I been spending my money on? Sethi and Klontz both say that your answers must be very clear. Just saying you want extra money for vacation is not enough, it must be meaningful. “What’s not meaningful is just some spreadsheet with numbers in it. Truthfully, nobody cares,” Sethi states. Once you have answered these questions truthfully and not in abstract way, it allows you to be excited about your financial future, and it opens your eyes about what is important to you making it easier to cut things out that really don’t matter.

Sethi refers to your answers to these questions as your “rich life”, they are unique to you and not influenced by what others think you should do with your money. Once you have identified what you value, it frees you up to not stress or feel anxious about certain purchases. For example, when Sethi was a child, his family could not afford appetizers when they ate out. Now something that is important to him or one of his “money rules” is to never question spending money on appetizers. “It gives me great joy to be able to buy any appetizer that I see looks good,” he added. “I don’t have to decide, ‘Should I pay this much? Or should I not?’”

Sethi encourages trying conscious spending for a month. Then check your account and your statements and see what worked, and what didn’t. “It’s not going to work perfectly the first time. It’s a system that you’re going to continually tweak,” Sethi said. “But overall, you’re going to start to get a sense for how it works and what you need to change. And then you just make the change each month after that.”

By: Beth Gray

https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/03/health/conscious-spending-tips-how-to-wellness/index.html

How Managers Can Become More Effective Leaders

A new report from Gallup identifies seven leadership traits found among managers of high performing teams and offers tips for how to develop these skills.

As the demand on the economy and workforce from the pandemic rages on, so does the demand for good managers. Managers cannot simply be there to just “supervise” but must have stronger leadership capabilities. Companies are failing to put the time and investment into finding great managers up to the task, and therefore they are struggling. As for the companies that are actually investing in their managers, a new report from Gallup found that these companies are thriving.

The report from Gallup was written by Vibhas Ratanjee who is a senior practice expert on organizational and leadership development. The report focused on private companies, but all the research can be applied to public organizations and local government as well.

The study included more than 550 job roles and 360 job competencies identifying seven leadership traits found among managers who have created high performing, successful teams. Below are the findings:

  1. Building relationships: Establishing connections with others to build trust, share ideas and accomplish work.
    1. Developing others: Helping team members become more effective through developing their strengths, setting clear expectations, providing encouragement and coaching.
    1. Driving change: Setting goals for change and leading efforts to adapt work that aligns with a stated vision.
    1. Inspiring others: Leveraging positivity, vision, confidence and recognition to influence performance and motivate workers to meet challenges.
    1. Thinking critically: Seeking information, critically evaluating it, and applying the knowledge gained to solve problems.
    1. Communicating clearly: Listening, sharing information concisely and with purpose, and being open to hearing opinions.
    1. Creating accountability: Identifying the consequences of actions and holding themselves and others responsible for performance.

According to Ratanjee, “Managers need these skills to lead theirteams now and in the future when they will lead your organization.” In the rest of the study, he explains ways that companies can help their managers develop the seven traits. Another way he suggests helping managers is to invest in them early with mentorship projects or allowing them to practice in leadership experiences that push them past their normal duties. Having great managers within a company can boost productivity and also help retention issues, while also protecting the company and creating a cost advantage.

By: Beth Gray

https://www.govexec.com/management/2022/05/how-managers-can-become-more-effective-leaders/366353/

Some Agencies Report 100% Vaccine Mandate Compliance as Others Begin Suspensions

Agencies continue to see vaccination rates rise as disciplinary actions ramp up.

The federal government gave its agencies and contractors time to comply to President Biden’s vaccine mandate, but not all employees have complied. Counseling and education were a first step among many agencies trying to get all their personal vaccinated, but it seems now more and more are taking steps towards more severe punishments. While all agencies have seen an improvement in vaccination and compliance status since the mandate was announced in November, the administration did suggest pushing back the harsher punishments till January.

Agencies are still pushing for compliance, and some are doing better than others. The department of Education, for example, is now 100 percent compliant. All its employees have been vaccinated or have an exemption pending. “The Environmental Protection Agency and Nuclear Regulatory Commission have seen their vaccination rates jump by an additional 3% of their workforces in recent weeks. Below are the compliance and vaccination rates for every major federal agency, which in some cases date back to December” (Katz 22).

The Agricultural Department still has around 1,600 employees that are not vaccinated and not in compliance. They plan to move into the next phase of disciplinary action immediately. As with other agencies, they are hopeful that this will encourage the rest of the employees to comply. “As we move forward with the next steps of the enforcement process, which will involve letters proposing brief suspensions for those few still not in compliance with the vaccination requirement, we anticipate that even more of our employees will get vaccinated in the days and weeks ahead,” a spokesperson said.

Some agencies were ready to move forward with harsher procedures in December but used that time instead to send letters to employees not in compliance warning them of the repercussions as the government asked agencies to wait till January. Some even went as far as reminding workers of friends, family, and colleagues that would be affected by their decision to not comply. According to the agencies, carrying out these suspensions and possible firings have not impacted the services that the American people rely on.

Agencies also must consider all their medical and religious exemption requests that they have received and begin working on them. “Agencies are in the process of reviewing and adjudicating exception requests,” the OMB official said. “That process will continue to pick up pace as agency personnel return from the holidays and last week’s federal office closures due to inclement weather.” Agencies are handling thousands of requests and the majority of employees have not heard back and could still face disciplinary action if their requests are denied and they do not get the vaccine.

By: Beth Gray

https://www.govexec.com/workforce/2022/01/some-agencies-report-100-vaccine-mandate-compliance-others-begin-suspensions/360630/

How to Avoid Achy Feet while Working at Home

One side effect of working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic may come as a surprise: sore feet. Here are some tips on how to get relief.

As the pandemic spirals on, working from home is becoming more prevalent and for many companies, permanent. With the ability to work from home comes some perks, one being comfort! Instead of dress slacks, we slip on sweatpants, and instead of heels or dress shoes, we go right to our warm comfy slippers or completely barefoot! According to Sean Peden, an orthopedic foot and ankle specialist from Yale University Medicine, these habits can lead to foot pain and other issues. “Many people are continuing to work at home part- or full-time, which for some can mean wearing slippers or walking around barefoot,” Peden says. “And because of that, many patients are coming to us with foot problems.” Taking care of your feet is extremely important and can prevent common injuries in your feet, ankles, knees, and your back. Below are a few examples of injuries and how you can protect against them.

Walking barefoot or with soft cushy slippers with no real sole is ill advised. Peden states that when selecting shoes for at home, it should be similar to ones we would wear out of the house. Our shoes need to have harder soles in order to absorb the shock of walking. After weeks or months of not having proper footwear, injuries can begin to occur, like calluses, but also bigger issues like arch collapse. Peden suggests having house shoes that are only worn indoors. “To be practical, I suggest a slip-on clog or slipper without laces. That way, you don’t have to tie and untie your shoes 10 times a day,” Peden says. “A hard sole is important because the harder the sole, the less stress the joints and tendons in your foot experience with each step. The hard sole transfers that stress to the shoe rather than to the foot. A good rule of thumb is if it isn’t something you could walk in for a few blocks comfortably, you shouldn’t wear it around the house all day, either.”

Two of the most common foot problems Peden has seen since the beginning of the pandemic is Achilles Tendonitis and Planter Fasciitis. Tendonitis can really impact an individual that has flat feet. The tendon in the arch of the foot becomes inflamed and can cause damage. Peden says if you experience pain from this, stay off your feet, ice the area, and find a good supportive pair of shoes to wear daily! Secondly, planter fasciitis, which is normally pain in your heel, is caused by inflammation in the foot at the band of tissue on the bottom of your feet. “The pain is usually on the bottom part of the heel,” Peden says. “It’s associated with tight Achilles tendons and calf muscles. If people spend a lot of their day sitting, for example, the muscles can tighten up, and wearing improper footwear can exacerbate the issue.” The fix for this is mostly proper footwear according to Peden, there is also a flexible splint that can be worn at night to stretch out the muscle, so it is not so tight by the morning. “Exercise, physical therapy, and weight loss can all make a difference in addressing foot pain, too. “One pound of additional weight on your body leads to six pounds of additional pressure on your foot. So, if you lose 10 pounds, that is really taking 60 pounds of pressure off your foot,” Peden says. With the pandemic, many people have gained weight, which compounds the problem. But the key is not to do too much too quickly to try to reverse it, Peden says. “If you try to lose weight by suddenly walking too much, that’s hard on your feet, too, and may lead to other foot problems. So, I often recommend cross-training, including low-impact cardio activities like biking or swimming. You can walk, but try to take it easy and, as always, wear good, supportive shoes. “Hiking shoes are often a good option, particularly if you walk on uneven surfaces, including trails. “They are a little safer than sneakers, and protect your foot and ankle better,” he says (Futurity 22)

Overall, Peden advises if you are having foot pain, seek medical attention. There are many comfort levels amongst people right now when it comes to visiting doctors, but if you are having foot pain, it is best to see an orthopedic doctor as it could be a very easy fix.

By: Beth Gray

https://www.govexec.com/workforce/2022/01/how-avoid-achy-feet-while-working-home/360319/

Omicron Is Pushing America Into Soft Lockdown

The coronavirus is raging again, this time with the new variant Omicron. This isn’t March 2020, but it may start to feel that way in a city near you. While mayors are not actually putting their cities under lock-down, it seems businesses are doing it on their own. In New York, for example, Broadway shows, numerous restaurants, butcher shops, and many other small to large businesses have closed their doors temporarily.

“For Brent Young, who runs a butcher shop and two restaurants in Brooklyn, it began last week when, one by one, staff members tested positive. “It’s more or less decimated our workforce,” he says. One of his restaurants had been booked solid with parties for a week—the holidays are one of the busiest times of the year for restaurants—but people started canceling those parties too. At this point it’s not worth trying to stay open, Young says, “because the anxiety’s so high no one’s wanting to eat.” For most vaccinated people, Omicron will be mild. But even a mild cold, sufficiently widespread, can disrupt a city” (Zhang 21).

This essentially is a soft lockdown brought on by the people because of the new variant. This definitely helps with the transmission of COVID-19, but health experts are still unsure of how much it will help. What we seem to be experiencing now is the “epi curve”. The cases must rise and rise until immunity builds and the virus is forced to slow, then the cases will drop dramatically. “In other words, “when you see a peak and see it go down, it doesn’t mean the risk has abated,” says Joshua Weitz, who studies viral dynamics at Georgia Tech. According to work by Weitz and his colleagues, this helps explain why COVID cases have peaked and plateaued multiple times over the course of the pandemic. Those peaks also tend to be asymmetrical, with steeper rises than falls” (Zhang 21). It is basically all up to how we are handling the situation as a people. We see a lot of cases, so as a result we become extremely careful. Then we get tired of being at home, or work calls us back, and then cases begin to climb again. This new variant is here unfortunately at a time when Americans are just flat out tired of the pandemic, so this soft lock down may not last long and we may not see that dip in cases that we have become accustomed to. Predicting how people are going to react to the variants is pretty much impossible, and even if we see a dip in cases, it could be for a variety of reasons, one being we just don’t have enough testing kits. With this soft lockdown, the economy is going to suffer. Even if people decide they just can’t stay home and go out, once a business has too many employees with the virus, they will be forced to close till they can bring back healthy employees. Unfortunately, this time around there is no government assistance financially. It is up to the business owners themselves to take on this pandemic and hope that immunity starts to build, and we can resume a somewhat normal life again, but never covid free.

By: Beth Gray

Omicron Is Pushing America Into Soft Lockdown – Government Executive (govexec.com)