COVID-19 Trends Spur Cautious Optimism

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss the cautious optimism spurred by current COVID trends. Read more below.
  • As you’ll see today in our Risk Matrix, COVID-19 cases have dropped 34% in the last month. However, this is not even across all states as some states like Alaska have seen increased cases and TPRs. Children, however, account for an increasing number of cases.
  • Pfizer is currently asking for approval for its COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. According to NYT, “The agency has promised to move quickly on the request and has tentatively scheduled a meeting on Oct. 26 to consider it. A ruling is expected between Halloween and Thanksgiving.”
  • While antibody tests can indicate when one was previously infected (or vaccination immunity), antibody tests should not be used to indicate or provide insight on the strength of one’s immunity.
  • Biden has announced a $1B investment to quadruple the national supply of at-home COVID-19 tests (by December) [CIDRAP]. While the FDA continues to increase additional over-the-counter home tests [FDA1], one test is being recalled for potential “false positives” for the Ellume COVID-19 home tests. Visit Ellume’s website for a complete list of affected Ellume COVID-19 Home Tests [FDA2].
  • The FDA continues to update its hand sanitizers that consumers should not use. Today, it has added artnaturals hand sanitizers to the list due to unacceptably high levels of benzene, acetaldehyde, and acetal contaminants.
  • After being removed through the summer, Nevada’s COVID-19 dashboard is back online.
  • According to the CDC director, influenza experts are concerned that the United States could be at risk for a severe flu season this year because the U.S. population may now have reduced immunity against influenza after flu cases reached an all-time low last year. CDC is urging Americans to get vaccinated for both Covid and the flu.

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Recommendations for Industry

COVID-19 Trends Spur Cautious Optimism

As depicted in TAG’s weekly matrices (below), we are seeing positive trends in decreasing case rates across much of the U.S. and encouraging news on the global stage. Some hot spots still exist, but the overall trends are positive spurring TAG to express cautious optimism for the continuing direction of the virus. At this time, we are not seeing any indication of a new, emerging variant of the virus that would cause another Delta-like spike.

So, does that mean that we can start relaxing protections? TAG would say no. While we are on a good trend, the numbers are still a great deal higher than they were prior to the rise of the Delta variant, when protections began to be relaxed. Additionally, with hot spots of higher numbers still existing in various areas, and the virus being easily transmissible from place to place, it is strongly advised that all protections stay in place – including that of masking. With CDC and influenza experts expecting a severe 2021 flu season – largely due to decreasing global immunity because of an almost non-existent flu season last year – maintaining protections can also assist in tamping down the spread of the flu across your workplace.

TAG will continue to track the trends of both COVID-19 and the flu; keep you informed of the regional, country, and international trends and business impacts; and provide assistance as you continue efforts to protect your workers and your business.

Risk Matrix:

This past week, the U.S. has exceeded 700,000 deaths associated with COVID-19. However, as we saw last week (and going into this week), COVID-19 is getting better in the U.S. This week, fewer states than the previous weeks have case rates >25 cases/100K people. This week, only 19 states have a TPR >10% with a case rate >25cases/100K; while 20 states have a TPR <10% and a case rate >25 cases/100K.

  • Idaho has the highest TPR at 20% (its case rate actually increased this week from 69 cases to 75 cases/100K).
  • While Alaska’s TPR is about 10%, its case rate has increased continuously over the past 3 weeks; its case rate rose from 100 cases/100K to 156 cases/100K.
  • South Dakota’s TPR is 19%; its TPR has decreased to about 43 cases/100K.
  • While Montana, Oklahoma, and Tennessee do have higher TPRs, their case rates have been dropping steadily over the past three weeks (positive news).

Table 1.

Figure 1.

Table 2.

Table 3.

In Case You Missed It


  • According to the WHO, influenza A and B are still being detected in similar proportions; however, activity continues to remain low.
  • In the U.S., flu activity continues to remain lower than usual for this time of year.

Public Health/Food Safety: