by Kenneth Cooper

I’m worse at what I do best / And for this gift, I feel blessed!” So sang Kurt Cobain way back in 1992. 17 years later, Louisiana, in its own declaration of irony, has inverted those lyrics. For the 3rd year in a row, our beloved state is best at what it does worst – mainly education, economic opportunity, locking citizens up, infrastructure, providing non-toxic air quality, or just generally functioning as a state. According to U.S. News World Report’s annual state rankings, we citizens, denizens of the perpetually worst state in the nation, should definitely not feel blessed, as the headlines read: Louisiana ranked worst state in the nation for the 3rd year in a row. How does something like this happen? Let’s delve into the deplorableness.

U.S. News ranks states based on 8 categories. Here’s how Louisiana breaks down in those 8:  health care #45, infrastructure #48, education #48, economy #49, opportunity #50, fiscal stability #43, crime & corrections #50, and natural environment #50. As you can see, the state ranks last in 3 of the 8 categories, 2nd to last in one, and 3rd to last in two others. Even with last year’s budget surplus, it still only ranks 43rd when it comes to fiscal stability. Of these 8 rankings, 3 should be the most concerning.


It all begins with education. Typically, when a school system is in bad shape, it ripples across most other metrics. Louisiana was ranked 48th overall in education. Surprisingly, the state was 10th overall in preschool enrollment, but only 45th and 42nd in the high school graduation rate and college readiness. Translation: even though parents are putting their kids in school earlier, they’re not seeing the results. Apparently, the only thing worse than enrolling your child in one of the state’s k-12 schools is enrolling them in one of its colleges. Despite being ranked 26th in tuition, and 20th in student loan debt, Louisiana is 49th in the 4-year graduation rate, and 44th in education attainment. This means that even though the state is doing a decent job of making sure students can afford to go to college, it’s not doing enough with them once they get there.


Even if students do manage to make it out of college, they don’t find much opportunity once they graduate. Louisiana was ranked dead last when it comes to opportunity. This lack of opportunity translates into an average household income of $46,145 (47th in the country), which translates into a poverty rate of 19.7% (2nd worst in the country), which translates into a high crime rate. Speaking of crime…

Crime & Corrections

No surprise here. Louisiana ranked 50th when it comes to Crime & Corrections. Equipped with low education and limited opportunities, citizens here too often turn to crime. Louisiana ranked 47th in property crime, and 48th in violent crime, which resulted in the highest incarceration rate in the country.

Louisiana has ranked not only last overall but last or near last in these 3 areas for 3 years in a row. That is…spectacular. You know how hard it is to do something spectacular 3 times in a row. Beethoven, for all his greatness, never wrote 3 great symphonies in a row. Miles Davis, for all his great quintets, never put out 3 great jazz albums in a row, and the Patriots, despite all their dominance, have never won 3 Super Bowls in a row. That type of rare air is reserved for Michael Jordan’s NBA championships, Ishmael Reed’s first 3 novels, Donald Barthelme’s first 3 short story collections, and of course Louisiana when it comes to being the worst of the worst. Side note: notice that I didn’t type “worst of the worse.” Why? “Worse” is a comparative adjective, which means it only describes the relationship between 2 things; whereas “worst” is a superlative one, meaning it describes the relationship between 3 or more things, and since there are more than two states in this country…yes, I’m from Louisiana, but I self educated. Judging from the Head Start the state provides our children, maybe it’s something we all should consider doing.

9 thoughts on “This State Is Rank”
  1. New Orleans used to be a wonderful place to live. When the focus wasn’t on education for all people and especially our youth crime and the corruption of the elected officials,police corruption and until this is cleaned up in this city Nola will always be last. The working class will remain at mimium wages except for the people in charge their families and associates will remain at the top of the city.

  2. Jeff, I don’t know if your long term solution will work but I can tell you the short term one Doesn’t. I represent a large community in Eastern New Orleans. We make it a priority to remind our community to follow your short term solution. That has stopped no one. The cars not in garages were broken into by blocks. These criminal don’t waste time looking inside cars to see if anything is in there. They check if the car is open and if it isn’t, they break the window. My short term solution, make the parents pay for these car damages that their under age children damage. Theses parents MUST know that these young people are up to no good when their children are not home at 2 a.m. They must take responsibility for their children’s action. They made them and raised them.; now be responsible for them.

  3. Thank You Jesus,,, !!!
    We are so proud of our successes of implementing demorat ideas! Just a few more and Louisiana will may win the award for lower than worse!
    For 50 years I have heard everything under the sun blamed for the continual decrease in what is alleged leads to this.
    Trillions spent, but failure still exits, quality in human competence reveals much.
    Society lowered standards, common core and others keep people in delusions, college educated installed new education methods, college ed adults relaxed the laws, cities and courts relaxed justice, and mocked the past, and so much more!
    SO, the results are in !!!
    LOSERS have been running the asylum and it has been successful!
    We hate Gods ways, we hate truth, we hate laws and discipline, we hate morality,
    we hate justice and accountability, we hate ethics, we hate virtue, and above all we hate those that tell us the truth, especially our Creator!
    Ohh,, but we love and for our children, continue to promote all the Idols of this world that harm us, hurt us, and make us follow illusions, delusions, and produce decades of confusion.
    Wow! And we wrap all that up and flaunt it, portray it and herald it before children and show them how to worship, Hedonism, drunkenness, debauchery, sorcery, witchcraft, envy, greed, covetousness, lust, adultery, fornication, murder, malice, gossip, and thus children are then educated (mind washed) to the lowest expectations and lowest achievements of scores and Tada, now, we have a State composed of humans who are blind and deaf to what really is hurting them.
    AND then they go out and vote for more of the same allusions because the mind washing from the King of Darkness who leads them slowly to their own eternal barbecue.
    Louisiana people lover their Idols, and Loathe their creator!
    2019, May 20.

  4. This article needs to be mailed in bold black colors to the Governor, Parish Presidents, and Mayors and require an answer or response for all the money that was poured into this state from various sources for the recovery because of Katrina. I often wonder about all the corruption and mismanagement and expect and hope the constituency will revolt and make a stance to vote these people out of office. Where is the energy for change? Like the old adage says, you can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results. What is keeping newly elected and appointed officials from standing on their own morals and not being influenced by outside big and old money?

  5. The Infinity Loop of Incompetence? Sometimes it has to be called what it is!
    LBRC- Incompetence is an “Infinity Loop”! Here’s 1 Political Algorithym-

    1. Poor Public Education = A Low Info Voter = Poor Results + Commensurate Politicians = More Rhetoric – Results Manifested aka Efficacy = More of The Same = De Facto Insanity!

    2. What Government Does?

    a. Tax “You” then Spend (The Park where you live is utterly Ghetto, but you Tax yourself to provide a “Quasi” one for? You flood each rain and the Politicos who appointed the Board Members to fix problems says more money on top of what’s been wasted is necessary aka What did The Temps say- “Politicians say more taxes will solve everything”, and ‘Simps agree! How easy is it to spend and not appreciate what others have earned? What’s the difference between “A Government Entitlement” and a “Government/ Politicos who feel entitled to and btw- Generally speaking on Politicos who feel entitled, add Hefty Pension and Medical Plans to include family members, then remember their “Retirement Plans” are generally 10X to 20X what average constutients earn. Ironically, Politicos turn around and boast about what they did with “Your” money. Years later and in due season, the poor dupes called “The Constuientcy” learn- oops…, some never do, otherwise they wouldn’t be electing the same ‘ole- same ‘ole over and over! De Facto Insanity!

    b. Fundamental types of Governments to include but not limited to- Democracy and  Parlimentary (Great for Brexit! Terresa is vulnerable before General Elections and she knows it! Not so for Trump, he can “Hawk” his circus until his whole term in office is over and Neither Parties will veer from “House” aka Game Rules aka “We’re the same bird with 2 Wings and lots of “Feathers” (‘Simps and The Pseudo Intellectuals will never Get it! Sorry…?). Forget about Impeachment! Impeachment only means to “Charge”! Remember? Nixon resigned and then was “Pardoned”! How many U.S. Presidents in the history ofnthe country, have actually been “Removed”? Jeporady music please…

    c. Totalitarian governments and Autocrats think and do for citizens what they will!  “Propaganda” aka “Fake News” rule! ***Get this- Didn’t Trump tell you U.S. Media is “Fake News” aka Propaganda? True/False? How Democracatic or Totalitarian is The U.S., especially when Corporations are called people and “Citizens” matter in negligable terms aka “Neglected”! Corporations are “Gangs” and ‘Gangsta, why Politicos fear ‘Dem not you! Duh…?  Uh oh…

    3. Grandma said- “if given the choice between dealing with a “Whole Fool” not “Foods”,  or a 1/2 Fool, pick The Whole Fool! Why? Because the 1/2 Fool knows just enough to believe they are more brilliant than most aka “Self Deceived” the worst deception of all! 

    *Warning- Never allow a Fool or Sycophant access to a microphone before comprehending who and what they are, and never be surprised how quickly their ranks can multiply! Why? What do Lemmings do? Ans. Follow their leader right over the cliff! Some with Buck Dancing and Minstrel Smiles!

    Peace Out…

  6. LBRC- Mainstream Media is an illiterate Talking Head! Learn the Truth here! Most never research, just believe! How many times have you heard from people who should know better and who tell you what to think- Branches of government are “CoEqual”? What does Federalist Paper #47 say about “CoEqual” Branches of Government? Ans. Nothing! Though you failed Civics “De Facto”, here’s what’s really Educational! Don’t be Status Quo Louisiana, Illiterate and Aoorgant!! A Great Poet said-!”There is no such thing as Free Thought when your writings and thoughts must conform to somebody else’s standards”! Free means “Unobstructed”!

    James Madisin says- Branches “Must be Separate and Balanced”! Proof? Let’s get Educated…

    Federalist Paper #47

    James Madison begins this paper by telling his readers that he is going to examine a specific principle of republican government: “separation of powers.” One of the principal objections to the constitution is that it violates this important principle. Its opponents claim that the three branches of government are not sufficiently separate and independent and that power is too unevenly distributed. It is feared that the new government will collapse, and that liberty will be threatened.

    Madison agrees with those who place great importance on the separation of powers, especially on the point that an unequal division of power could result in the loss of liberty. If one branch has too much power, it does not matter how many men govern or how they obtain office. Too much power in one branch of government “is the very definition of tyranny.” If these claims were true, Madison says that no other arguments would need oppose it. He, however, is convinced that this charge cannot be supported. How separate should each branch of government be?

    Montesquieu, the French political writer, formulated this principle of government. He took the British constitution as his model, which he called “the mirror of political liberty.” However, the most casual glance at that constitution reveals that the branches of the British government are far from totally separate or distinct. For example, the English king acts in a legislative capacity when he enters into treaties with foreign sovereigns: once treaties are signed they have the force of legislative acts. The English king not only appoints and removes judges; he frequently consults them. The judicial branch, then, acts in an advisory capacity to the executive branch. The legislative branch advises the king on constitutional matters and, in cases of impeachment, the Houses of Lords assumes judicial power. From these few facts, Madison infers that Montesquieu, when he wrote that “there can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person . . . or, if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers,” did not mean that the powers should remain absolutely separate or that each branch should not have any control over the other branches.

    Madison continues that if one looks at the state constitutions, there is no state in which the branches of government are absolutely separate and distinct. The state constitutions do not violate the separation of power doctrine set forth by Montesquieu, Madison concludes, and neither does the United States Constitution.


    In this essay, Madison clearly delineates his philosophy concerning separation of powers. Calling the accumulation of legislative, executive, and judicial power in the same hands – whether of one, of a few, or of many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective – the very definition of tyranny, Madison considers their separation essential to the preservation of liberty. He points out that when the legislative and executive powers are united there can be no liberty, because apprehensions may arise lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws to execute them in a tyrannical manner. Furthermore, “were the power of judging joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subjects would be exposed to arbitrary control, for the judge would then be the legislator. Were it joined to the executive power, the judge might behave with all the violence of an oppressor.”

    This was not the only time that Madison had talked about the separation of powers. Before the first Congress, Madison said on June 17, 1789, that the principle of the separation of powers “is to be found in the political writings of the most celebrated civilians and is everywhere held as essential to the preservation of liberty . . . ; and if in any case they are blended, it is in order to admit a partial qualification, in order more effectually to guard against an entire consolidation.”

    The authors of the Federalist took a rather cautious attitude toward legislative supremacy. In their desire to secure free government, they were in favor of a system of government under which the legislature would not be more important than the other branches of government. This led them to follow the classic exponent of the separation of powers, Montesquieu. The Frenchman provided the additional machinery that was necessary to make a reality of the ideal of a government of laws and not of men, combined with the Lockeian concept of free government and the sacrosancity of property.

    Peace out…

  7. Paper Bag Negroes and NYT? NYT ought to be ashamed?

    LBRC- Shame on You NY Times!…

    1. If your writers are “Free” thinkers- Then why what they submit is “Edited”?

    2. 1 of your so- called “Chief” Editors is a “Negro” from NOLA who claims “French” aka “Creole” Dominant DNA? Ipso facto, what aligns this “Negro” with “Black Sensitivities” when we know in NOLA these Negroes are “Paper Bag” proponents! Ask this,Negro to elaborate components!

    3. Don’t insult us NYT! Your “Preferrred” Negro has led astray who?

    Peace Out… 

  8. NOLA is still a La. Sharecropper! We urge The Mayor to stay Strong!

    LBRC- NOLA Schools and The RSD have “Legislated” and enforced “Bills of Attainder”! The U.S. Constitution says, Bills of Attainder are “Unconstitutional”! btw- Friends internationally have asked about crazy Bills passed by The Louisiana Legislature. 4 Words- Last Place Education Ranking! Also a Red Racist State and lots of Negro Coons, Apostates and Sell- out Politicos!

    1. What are Bills of Attainder? Attainders are about creating classes of citizens and determining “who” deserves full protection of law, so “Laws” are legislated to fit the “Conviction of Whole Classes”! 

    The U.S. Constitution says-

    *Definition: Bill of Attainder. Definition: A legislative act that singles out an individual or group (Like What Happened to Black Schools in NOLA During Katrina. Black Teachers were fired en masse, only in NOLA/Majority Black! Also Black Support Staff!) for punishment without a trial. The Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 9, paragraph 3 provides that: “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed.”*

    2. A bill of attainder (also known as an act of attainder or writ of attainder or bill of pains and penalties) is an act of a “legislature” declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them, often without a trial. As with attainder resulting from the normal judicial process, the effect of such a bill is to nullify the targeted person’s civil rights, most notably the right to own property (and thus pass it on to heirs), the right to a title of nobility, and, in at least the original usage, the right to life itself. Bills of attainder passed in Parliament by Henry Vlll on 29 January 1542 resulted in the executions of a number of notable historical figures.

    The use of these bills by Parliament eventually fell into disfavour due to the obvious potential for abuse and the violation of several legal principles, most importantly the right to due process, the precept that a law should address a particular form of behaviour rather than a specific individual or group, and the separation of powers.

    3. The Right of “Women”/Citizen Class (Pro Choice) is nullified by ignorance and Attainder by which their Civil Right to determine “Medical Issues” has been legislated away! Vice Versa for Gays, Blacks et al! NOLA is a De Facto La. Sharecropper still! Lots of timid Negro Politicos and Coons! In majority Negro Districts, they worship and elect known obviously Caucasion Racist and 1st Generation Immigrants! What did The Hon. Harriet Tubman say- “Most don’t know they’re slaves”! She carried a pistol to keep Coons from sabotaging missions to freedom! What’s different in 2019? 

    4. The ignorant Louisiana Legislature voided the rights of Black NOLA when they fired “All” the Black Teachers in NOLA, but no where else, especially not in “Majority Caucasion Controlled School Districts”! Afterwards and after protest of Racism and Discrimination against Majority Black NOLA, the RSD was created elsewhere, but consequences like what happened in NOLA to Black Professionals are “Non Existant”! Negro Coons complicit in these moves have been “Re- Elected” over and over again! What explains this ignorance Stupidity? No need for reduce! 

    Peace Out…

    Langmippe: Federalist Paper #44-“No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make any thing but gold and silver a legal tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex-post-facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts; or grant any title of nobility. (*NOLA Teacher Contracts, Retirement and Medical Benefits were voided for Black School employees en masse as a “Class” in NOLA “During Hurricane Katrina”, without public hearings or debate! 

    ***Madison called Bills of Attainder a “Monster” whereby members of a body guide the Brain-

    “In the third place, as the constitutions of the States differ much from each other, it might happen that a treaty or national law, of great and equal importance to the States, would interfere with some and not with other constitutions, and would consequently be valid in some of the States, at the same time that it would have no effect in others. In fine, the world would have seen, for the first time, a system of government founded on an inversion of the fundamental principles of all government; it would have seen the authority of the whole society every where subordinate to the authority of the parts; it would have seen a monster, in which the head was under the direction of the  members.”//end quote//

  9. This might be painful?
    LBRC- We Just ‘Sayin? ‘Sum ’em is wrong with ‘Dis ‘Pitcha! Why is it…

    1. You see throngs od Negroes “Endorsing” Caucasion Attorneys on The Idiot Tube, lots  of whom are “Ghetto Fabolous”. Some want their 15min. of Fame or Infamy, right? But conversely, where are the throngs of Caucasions endorsing Negro Attorneys?

    2. Next political contest, watch how Caucasion Candidates flood majority Negro Districts with Lawn Signs and Push Cards to “Ubiquitous Levels”! Conversely, when and if ever have Negro Candidates had their signs appear anywhere near “Negligable Numbers” in majority Caucasion Districts? 

    3. Why are Negro Media Types and ilk, so over accomodating in the “Physical” presence  of Caucasions in 2019, many times throwing “Soft Ball” inquires, hardly probing when an  “Honest Examination” is warranted? Some go so far as to confess, “I will protect”! Courtesy is not a vice, however, “Actual Dscourtesy” warrants intervention, not an anticipated or irrational “Apprehension! it’s “Sacriligous” to criticize or cause discomfort to ‘Massa? Never heard a Caucasion Media Outlet admonish their audience in similiar fashion. What does this say- Negroes need reminding about “Common Manners”? No edit 3 Sec. delay buttons? Hmmm… 

    4. Once elected, why do Negro Politicos easily ignore their constuitency with perceived impunity? Suddenly, most are bottom dwellers with respect to “The Political Caste”? They get sprinkled with The Fairy Dust of “Arrogance”! Wish it was “Genius” Dust!

    5. Church Apostates, non elected, generally stay in charge for life! Rape Allegations, Homosexual or other, Stealing Church Funds, Adultery and yada…, like their hymn says- “I shall not be moved”! What’s the difference with Negro Politicos? In fact, most only get impeached or moved via “Indictments”, Fereral Authorities, Federal Courts et al! Most can be re- elected! Conversely, what happens when a Caucasion Politico betrays the “Public Trust” of his office? Isn’t there a “New” Coroner in St. Tammany? Not only ‘Dat, new rules governing his office have been legislated!

    6. Question: What is a “High Standard” and who imposes it? A “High Standard” is indicative of “High Expectations”! A Healthy Self- Esteem is no more comfortable with “Low Outcomes”, than is a Fish with a Condo in The Sahara Desert!

    7. In 2019, “Self- Esteem” and Poverty is so crippling and deep in the “Psyche” (Conscious and Unconscious) of so many Negroes-

    a. They still  “Revere” and will defend ‘Massa in anticipation of his/her discomfort, in ways rivaling “Manchurian Candidates”! Maybe why they spend money with and support ‘Massa’s Economics against their own better interest? When ‘Massa, any ‘Massa, gives them a play, he/her is “Over Accomodated”? Why? Hmmm…

    b. Many Negroes crave to “Endorse” ‘Massa! A commercial in which they can express how “Great” ‘Massa is, “appear” to drive their Epinefferin Levels off charts! Lots will endorse ‘Massa  for “Free”! For accomplishing? Conversely, other than “Media Created High Profile Manufactured Negroes” for “Negroes”, where and what other Negroes “Float ‘Massa’s ‘Boat”? We missed their “Commercials”? We just ‘askin…

    Sum ’em is wrong with ‘Dis ‘Pitcha!

    Peace Out…

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What Research Shows


More than 190 million people have developed COVID-19 since late 2019, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Many other people have likely had the disease but never received a confirmed test result.

You may have had COVID-19 already without knowing it, although it’s impossible to know for sure unless you undergo an antibody test. And even a positive antibody test comes with a small chance of a false positive.

The most likely way to know that you had COVID-19 is if you had typical COVID-19 symptoms and received a positive diagnostic COVID-19 test when you were sick. But even “gold standard” PCR tests come with a chance of a false negative result, meaning you have COVID-19, but the test results indicate you do not.

If you didn’t receive a positive COVID-19 test when you were sick, it’s harder to know if you had the disease.

There are no sure signs that you already had COVID-19. But there are some general symptoms you may have experienced, such as

Keep reading as we look at these signs in more depth

Signs that you may have already had COVID-19

COVID-19 can affect many different parts of your body and cause general symptoms that have many potential causes. Some people with COVID-19 don’t develop any symptoms.

It’s impossible to know if you had an infection for sure without a positive COVID-19 test, but here are some of the potential signs.

You developed typical COVID-19 symptoms

Everybody experiences COVID-19 differently, and symptoms can mimic those of other respiratory infections. If you developed any of the most typical COVID-19 symptoms, especially after being in close contact with a someone who had COVID-19, it may be a sign that you had it, too.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, the following are the most reported symptoms:

COVID-19, the common cold, and flu can be difficult to tell apart. Sneezing isn’t a symptom of COVID-19 and may indicate you had a cold or allergies. Shortness of breath isn’t a typical flu symptom but is one of the more common COVID-19 symptoms.

You had pink eye or other eye symptoms

COVID-19 is thought to enter your cells through receptors for the enzyme called angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The virus enters these receptors by tricking your body into thinking it’s the ACE2 enzyme.

ACE2 receptors are found in various parts of your eyes, such as your retina and the epithelial cells that line your eye white and eyelid.

Some people with COVID-19 develop eye symptoms like:

Eye symptoms are usually accompanied by more typical COVID-19 symptoms, but they may appear alone in some people.

You temporarily lost your sense of taste or smell

Loss of taste or smell is commonly reported in people with COVID-19. A review of studiesTrusted Source found that loss of taste or smell was reported in 47 percent of people and was most common in people with mild to moderate disease.

Some people with COVID-19 also experience a distortion of these senses. Symptoms affecting taste or smell seem to often appear before other symptoms.

An August 2020Trusted Source study found that in a group of 11,054 people with COVID-19, symptoms affecting smell and taste appeared before general symptoms in 64.5 and 54 percent of cases, respectively.

You developed a fever first

COVID-19 symptoms often show up in a particular order. In a 2020 study published by the University of Southern California, researchers analyzed the development of symptoms in 55,000 people with COVID-19 and compared them to the symptoms of 2,000 people with influenza.

They found that influenza most commonly started with a cough, while the initial symptom of COVID-19 was most likely to be a fever.

A wide range of initial symptoms of COVID-19 have been reported in scientific literature. Just because you didn’t develop a fever first doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t have COVID-19.

You’re experiencing long-haul symptoms

Some people who develop COVID-19 have symptoms that persist for weeks or months after their infection. These symptoms have been referred to as long-haul symptoms.

Young adults, children, and even people with mild disease can develop long-haul symptoms. It’s not clear why some people develop long-haul symptoms, but it’s thought long-term tissue damage and inflammation may play a role. Some of the most reported symptoms include:

Is it possible to tell if you had a variant of COVID-19?

There are five notable COVID-19 variants in the United States, named after letters of the Greek alphabet:

  • Alpha
  • Beta
  • Gamma
  • Delta
  • Lambda

These variants seem to spread quicker than standard COVID-19, but the symptoms seem to be similar. For example, a May 2021 study found that the Alpha variant wasn’t linked to a change in self-reported symptoms among people in the United Kingdom.

Some variants may cause certain symptoms more often than other variants. Early research published by the University of Edinburgh has found that the Delta variation is associated with an increased risk of hospitalization.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the presence of COVID-19 variants in a testing sample may potentially impair the results of some COVID-19 tests. Most tests should still be accurate, but the FDA continues to monitor tests that may be impacted.

Currently, commercially available COVID-19 tests only indicate whether you have COVID-19. They don’t tell you if you have a particular variant. A COVID-19 sample needs to undergo a process called genomic sequencing for health professionals to identify variants.

Are COVID-19 antigen tests accurate?

Some rapid antigen COVID-19 tests can provide results in minutes. However, they come with a relatively high chance of receiving inaccurate results.

In a review of studies published in Cochrane, researchers analyzed the results of 64 studies and 24,087 nose or throat samples. The researchers found commercially available point-of-care antigen tests correctly identified confirmed COVID-19 infections in 72 percent of people with symptoms and 58 percent of people without symptoms.

The tests were most accurate during the first week of infection.

In people without COVID-19, the tests correctly identified a negative result in 99.5 percent of people.


It’s impossible to know if you had COVID-19 judging by your symptoms alone, since most typical symptoms can also be signs of other respiratory infections.

The most likely way to know if you’ve had COVID-19 is if you had typical COVID-19 symptoms and a positive diagnostic test result when you were sick. A positive antibody test can also indicate that you previously had COVID-19.

No COVID-19 test is 100 percent accurate. Even if you tested negative for COVID-19 with a diagnostic or antibody test, there’s still a small chance that you received a false negative; meaning it was inaccurate.

By Samantha Smithstein Psy.D.

Why is making a choice, even an exciting one, likely to make you sad?


  • Every choice, whether painful or joyful, contains loss.
  • Sometimes this loss is literal, and sometimes it’s theoretical.
  • Knowing this helps us to not react to anxious feelings with fear, but instead to have them while still moving forward.

There are obvious times when making the right choice involves loss. Moving away from friends or family, ending a relationship that isn’t working, selling the family home, or euthanizing a dying beloved family pet might be the best choice for all right reasons but most people would anticipate those choices would bring feelings of grief and sadness.

But there are other times when we make the right choice and that choice feels joyful and exciting. Getting engaged to be married, having a baby, stepping into the career of our dreams, or adopting a puppy are choices that often bring happy anticipation. These choices are related to the fulfillment of dreams and desires and/or involve love and passion.

We make those choices from a place of happiness, so we are often taken off guard or feel blindsided when we have feelings of sadness or even grief. And we think of the choice as pure gain, so why should we be grieving?

Loss Brings Grief

We grieve the choice for the same reason we grieve anything—because we experience loss. While we may think of an exciting choice as fully about gain, even the best, most glorious choices we make involve giving something up. Getting engaged to be married means gaining a committed partner, but it also means stepping away from our family of origin and, for most people, no longer dating others. Having a baby means gaining a very unique and special relationship with a child, but it also means a loss of centering our lives around ourselves and whatever we want to be doing at any moment: a loss of freedom.

Stepping into the career of our dreams may mean a loss of choosing a different career, or leaving a job or group of people whom we care about and feel connected to. Even leaving an abusive relationship can mean the loss of someone we love and/or financial security. Choosing sobriety, with all of its gains, can also mean giving up certain friends, places, rituals, or experiences.

Sometimes the loss is literal—having to give up something concrete. Sometimes the loss is simply the fact that we can only choose one life, and to make a choice means we don’t get to choose a different course that might also appeal to us. And sometimes a choice involves both kinds of losses. Either way, we find ourselves grieving—mourning the loss in the midst of our joy.

It’s important to understand and respect this duality and to be able to hold both experiences simultaneously. Often people can get confused otherwise: They wonder if the grief and sadness they feel is an indication that they have made the wrong decision. The sadness—and, often, anxiety—of the yet-unknown outcome of the choice can make us doubt that we are making the right decision. Of course, it could be that the “wrong” choice is being made, but not necessarily because of those feelings. Regardless of right or wrong, every choice is going to contain loss and anxiety as part of its experience.

Knowing that allows us to not react to our feelings, but instead hold all of the feelings with compassion and space, review why we have made a choice, and move forward in a way that is best for us, with all of the joy, excitement, fears, and loss that choice entails.

Judge Ernestine “Teena” Anderson Trahan should do us all a favor and just resign already.  The feds indicted her on income tax evasion.   The state Supreme Court suspended her with pay.  And we are all innocent until proven guilty. But her statements reacting to the indictment are laughable and despicable.  The citizens of Algiers can no longer trust Anderson Trahan to dispense justice.  She is nothing more than a corrupted judge.  Our state has a bunch.  She is one of the worst.

Did Anderson-Trahan exploit our citizens for her financial gain?

Anderson-Trahan is accused of breaking local laws and federal laws.  As judge of small claims, she was legally allowed to charge $5 to perform marriage ceremonies. Instead, she charged $100.  And on Valentine’s Day she would charge over $200.  Usually, the people who get married by a judge want to save money.  Or they may not be able to afford a huge wedding but want to legalize their union.  So what did Anderson-Trahan do?  She overcharged and exploited some of our most vulnerable couples. And of course, she required people pay cash.   Shame on you lady. 

But the unmitigated gall of Anderson-Trahan doesn’t stop there.  About that cash she forced people to pay.  She did not claim the money on her taxes.   And she performed hundreds of weddings.  She put the money in her pocket.  Bought things.  She drives a really nice vehicle.  But did she pay for it with her ill-gotten gains? Did she pay cash for her vehicle?  Well however she paid for it, the Justice Department claims she did not report the money she swiped from our people on her taxes.

Unbelievable Defense

She felt entitled to the cash.  From overcharging our people to not reporting her ill-gotten cash on her taxes Anderson-Trahan is a bad actor.  But she probably sees herself as above the law. How else can you explain her attorney’s comments?  Anderson-Trahan will be “vindicated.”   Okay  everybody says that when they get indicted.  But Anderson-Trahan’s next claim is so unbelievable that it’s infuriating.  According to her attorney, “Judge Trahan is not guilty of these charges. The law requires that one act willfully in order to violate the federal tax laws. In no way did the judge knowingly fail to meet her obligations.

Knock it off clowns.  Her defense is she didn’t know she had to claim the cash she pilfered on her taxes.  She just didn’t know she had to claim cash? Or is it that because she exploited poor New Orleanians out of their hard-earned cash she thought federal tax laws don’t apply to her?

Now she is happy to sit at home and collect a paycheck.  Resigning is the honorable thing to do. But it is too much to think a person with such utter disregard for the law would just do the right thing.  She probably thinks she deserves this money too. Just resign Judge Anderson-Trahan.

   The Police Chief And The City Council Have A Productively Unproductive Meeting About Crime

After their embarrassing back and forth that went locally viral, Police Chief Shaun Ferguson and D.A. Jason Williams were summoned to appear before the New Orleans City Council. The subject of course would be the recent spike in crime.  Williams is schedule to appear today. Chief Ferguson went on Thursday. Here are 10 takeaways of what went down.

  1. Ain’t no help coming. That’s per City Council President Helena Moreno. If the NOPD is going to do something about crime, they’ll have to do it with the 1058 officers they have. Chief Ferguson would like to have 1400-1500 officers. That’s just not happening. Yes, crime may be spiking, but the funds aren’t.
  • Per Chief Ferguson, the NOPD is doing the best it can with these limited resources. Being perpetually understaffed means the NOPD can’t have a presence everywhere at once. Strategic deployment has been the best way to combat that. In laymen’s terms, that means wherever crime flares, that’s where resources are deployed to put it out.  What happens when crime flares in an area that has had its devoted resources moved elsewhere? City Council meetings like these with the police chief and the DA.
  • It would be nice if we gave an officer a hug or a pat on the back sometimes. Apparently, post George Floyd, officers are suffering from low morale. Really, the profession itself is kind of frowned upon now. Both of these are partly contributing to why the NOPD is having trouble recruiting the limited additional officers the city will pay for. (Side note: you can’t give an officer a hug if you hardly ever see one.)
NOPD Chief Shaun Ferguson with NOPD Officers during happier days
  • This low morale, understaffed NOPD has a solved case rate above the national average. But apparently solved rates aren’t as important as clearance rates. Solving a case could simply mean issuing an arrest warrant. Clearing a case means there’s actually been an arrest. Sounds kind of unnecessarily technical? It is. But they didn’t really go into detail about why there’s separate stats. So, I guess the NOPD is doing more with less?
  • The City Council continued its terrible habit of asking technical questions that nobody comes prepared for. How many officers’ own homes in Orleans parish? And do you think tax abatement would be a good incentive for retaining them? How many officers have student loans that could be forgiven as part of a retention policy? How many officers don’t pursue suspects because they have to get clearance from their supervisor? And how many officers get that clearance but are still subjected to PIB complaints? 
  • I’m about to rant. The Council does this all the time. It doesn’t matter if it’s Entergy. It doesn’t matter if it’s the S&WB, the D.A’s office, or the NOPD. They call an emergency accountability meeting, then ask all these technical questions that the reps aren’t prepared to answer. Why? Apparently because they weren’t provided with the questions in advance. In this case, the Chief was there to justify his performance, not give an audit. Yes, the tax abatement and student loan forgiveness questions involve solutions where the Council could actually be helpful. And yes, they’ll probably (hopefully) get the answers later. But It’s just not a good look from a public presentation standpoint. Rant over.
  • The NOPD is only as effective as the rest of the criminal justice system. And apparently the rest of the criminal justice system is broken. If people don’t believe that they’ll be held accountable for their crimes, then they’ll just continue to commit them. If you’re looking for the data showing or proving that there’s a gap between arrests and cases accepted or arrests and convictions, then join the party.
  • But wait, what about a crime czar? This was Council President Moreno’s idea. This crime czar could be the missing data link between the Council, the NOPD, and the D.A.’s office. The czar would amass and sort all the relevant data so there’s no mistake about who’s doing and not doing what. Yes, I know you may be asking: don’t they have staff who can do that?
  • Every council member appeared earnestly disturbed and concerned, as they should be. That shows they are feeling public pressure. They each had their own Q&A with Chief Ferguson, and they also did a good job of focusing on different aspects so not to overlap each other. Council member Morrell said we would see what a strong Council looked like. So far, we see what a coordinated one looks like. That strength will become evident if the Council finds an effective way to flex the limited muscle it has when it comes to helping the NOPD with crime. 
  1. Chief Ferguson wasn’t ready to divulge any major future crime fighting plans. His main message was: We’ve brought the horse to water. It’s the rest of the criminal justice system’s job to make it drink. When D.A. Jason Williams shows up at the Council today, it’ll be up to him to explain why there are so many horses back out here thirsty and roaming our streets.



By C.C. Campbell-Rock

The M.L.K. Jr. Science and Technology Criminal Justice Academy (C.J.A.) opens in February 2022 at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School for Science and Technology, located at 5300 North Rocheblave Street in the Lower Ninth Ward.

The C.J.A.’s goal is to teach students about the criminal justice system. And the C.J.A will expose them to job opportunities and criminal justice careers.

The Lower 9th Ward Economic Development District (Lower Ninth Ward E.D.D.), established in 2018, is the lead sponsor of the C.J.A. The agency is investing $55,000 in Louisiana’s first C.J.A. program. The program creates a criminal justice career pipeline for 60 high school students.

The eight-week training program features lectures by criminal justice professionals, hands-on forensics lab training, mentorships, civil service test-taking skills training. And students join dual high school/college enrollment program to pursue secondary degrees in criminal justice. 

School administrators, the Friends of King School, the charter management organization, Southern University at New Orleans, the New Orleans Police Department, the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, the mayor, councilperson, and the Lower Ninth Ward state legislators are collaborators in the effort to stand-up the state’s first Criminal Justice Academy at a high school.

Local Pastor Leads the Way

Reverend Willie Calhoun is a board member on the Lower Ninth Ward E.D.D He chaired a recent planning meeting at the science and technology high school. He credits former State Senators Wesley Bishop and J.P. Morrell and State Senators Jimmy Harris, Joe Bouie Jr., and State Representative Candace Newell for creating the Lower Ninth Ward E.D.D.

“The Criminal Justice Academy offers the opportunity for our children to be introduced to the criminal justice system before the system is introduced to them,” Calhoun said in an interview with Think 504. “We want to prepare our children to get decent-paying jobs.”

“The reality is that our children are not prepared for the opportunities in science and technology that will emerge over the next five to ten years,” he added. Calhoun is a retired electronics engineer. He worked for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Finding out that children couldn’t pass the civil service tests motivated Calhoun to pilot the C.J.A. program. “We’re going to teach to the test to get them prepared to go into City Hall and federal jobs.” Calhoun also wants youth to be prepared to work in technology and science jobs. “Where are the technology jobs going to be? “What is M.I.T. working on? If we’re (youth) not there, we will be behind.”

Principal Lindsay Moore, outgoing Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlon Gusman, and Councilman Oliver Thomas attended the planning meeting, among other professionals.

Dr. Doris Roche-Hicks, the school’s former principal, retired educator Bobbie Cornish, Shelia Seals, a social worker, Friends of King School District, and NOPD Officer M.G. Merricks, a community engagement officer, were at the meeting. Cornish taught Merricks, a ninth ward resident when he was a high school student.

: “I think it’s a wonderful project. We need to motivate the students and jazz them up, so they will see the glory and the excitement in being a criminal justice person working with the law,” Cornish says.

“This started with a conversation between me and Pastor Calhoun and several members of M.L.K. It was something that I remembered when I worked as a resource officer at Kennedy High School, just introducing kids to the criminal justice field,” Officer Merricks explains.

“We’ve got a lot of kids involved in the criminal justice activity, crime and whatever it may be, and a lot of times when they are introduced into the system, they committed a crime that they didn’t even realize was a crime. So how can we fix that? If we can educate these kids early enough about the criminal justice system and the criminal justice field, that will help them not tmake a mistake.”

Merricks says the youth have options besides being the police. “You can be an educator, a forensic examiner. In this program we’re going to introduce the children to all of that. We’re going to stay in contact with the kids constantly. I’m excited that the D.A.’s office came on and SUNO and everyone else because we want the kids to pick a career and stick with it. It’s a lifetime commitment. We want to change a generation.”

“This program is truly exciting. We’re starting something in the Lower 9. We’re not graduating children to the streets,” says Dr. Hicks, the school’s former principal.

“There is a great demand for people to join the criminal justice system says, Dr. Gregory Ford. Ford, the Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Southern University at New Orleans. Ford is assisting with setting up dual enrollment for students who want to study criminal justice at Southern University.

“It’s important for talent to stay here,” Ford adds. The Monroe native recently moved back to Louisiana after living and working in Georgia for 20 years.

The program, he says, is for students who are about to graduate and recent graduates. Students can take college-level classes at the M.L.K. campus. dual enrollment classes. “That eliminates transportation barriers that prevent students from attending the university.” Students can also take online criminal justice classes and finish a bachelor of science degree requirements in three years.

Ford sees the program as a means to improve relationships between police and the community. Students can launch a criminal justice career in law enforcement at the NOPD with or without a degree.

“There is a shortage of minorities in criminal justice jobs,” says Ford.

The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) certainly needs more police officers when violent crime is up in New Orleans.

“The department is now at a 50-year low in staffing. The number of officers has dipped below 1,100 — That’s about 220 fewer than just two years ago,” WWL-TV reported in December.

“According to FBI UCR data, violent crime is up significantly in Louisiana,” said New Orleans F.B.I. Special Agent in Charge Doug Williams spoke at the Metropolitan Crime Commission annual luncheon last December.

“Community policing is not the only job at the NOPD,” Officer Merricks says. The department has specialized unit jobs involving social sciences, digital forensics, criminal records, crime analysis, crime prevention, domestic violence, crisis management, financial crimes, community engagement, and public information.

NOPD recruits earn $52,885 per year ($54,885 per year with a qualified Bachelor’s degree) after one year of qualified service.

Outgoing Sheriff Marlin Gusman is involved in the C.J.A. project. “This is fundamental to public safety, essential to helping our community reach its fullest potential. The Criminal Justice Academy will give young people exposure and knowledge to avoid and perhaps be a positive part of the criminal justice system, not the negative aspect.

Councilman Oliver Thomas says the project is an excellent initiative.

 “The Criminal Justice Academy at M.L.K. is a solution, not only to what we’re seeing with some of this juvenile crime but also with justice in getting our children to understand the law, so they don’t have these interactions that are costing them their lives and freedom in the first place.”

“It’s really par for the course the way Dr. Hicks and her staff have established this school, in this community post-Katrina. It’s a testament to the people sitting around the table. I am fired up about this,” adds Thomas, who grew up in the Lower 9, attended Lawless High School, and is now the area’s new City Councilman.

 “This project gives us access to civil service jobs. This community deserves the best.”

“I think it’s a very positive project. It’s going in the right direction, especially in terms of encouraging children to participate in civil service, to take advantage of the opportunities of working in the city and especially with the police department,” says Dr. Lindsay Moore, the school’s principal.

 “They don’t have to go into the police department but they need to be made knowledge of the various areas that are involved with the police department. I think we’re on the right track. Career preparedness is the key,” he adds.

Dr. Ford hopes the program becomes “a national model that encourages citizens to police their own communities, become forensic and social scientists, attorneys, judges, and criminal justice researchers and administrators.”


  • Happiness, life satisfaction, and fulfillment are used interchangeably, but have very different meanings.
  • Every failure and bounce-back process leads one closer to fulfillment.
  • Fulfillment is a product of personal growth through trials and triumphs.

by Trevicia Williams, Ph.D.

Exit the road to happiness and discover that fulfillment is where it’s at.

Surviving a worldwide pandemic fueled massive changes in the way we live, work, and interact with each other. It also caused many to question their achievements and happiness.

With things moving again, hope is in the air. Dates are being set for weddings that were postponed due to COVID-19, theaters are filled with movie enthusiasts, interstate and international travel has resumed, and children have returned to face-to-face learning. People are smiling more and appear to be happy again.

However, are those experiences signs of true happiness? You may have thought about whether or not you’re truly happy and what it might take to experience the kind of happiness that you desire. In doing so, you’re likely to confuse happiness with fulfillment or life satisfaction.

Those terms are oftentimes used interchangeably. However, there is a difference. While everyone wants to be happy, most realize that it’s a temporary, in-the-moment type of experience. Of course, no one’s frowning about that. After all, enjoying moments in life is important to your well-being.

Alternatively, fulfillment is more enduring and invasive. It’s a state of being that is developed through trials and triumphs, overcoming failures, and bouncing back with a more well-defined character, a renewed sense of purpose, and the ability to serve in ways that help others.

A 75-year study about fulfillment conducted by Harvard shows that, above money and success, positive relationships are the key to being healthier and happier.

How to find fulfillment

Fulfillment is passionately living a life of purpose and an ongoing pursuit of things that matter. Here are three underappreciated routes to a path of purpose and fulfillment

1. Build strong relationships.

Healthy relationships are primarily built through effective communication. Some of the skills that are essential to relationship-building include A) Seek to understand then to be understood; B) Address the problem rather than targeting the person when trying to reach an understanding; C) Be a good listener (listening more than you speak helps the other person feel like you are genuinely interested in their perspective); and D) Pay attention to your body language (i.e., eyes, hands, facial expressions, etc.) while communicating. Research shows that 70 to 90 percent of communication, the cornerstone of strong relationships, is nonverbal or body language.

2. Appreciate failures.

They provide invaluable insight into what does and doesn’t work. Insight gives you the courage and confidence to take risks. Taking risks and eventually succeeding leads to achievements and provide you with a sense of satisfaction. Each failure and bounce-back process leads you to fulfillment.

3. Get involved with something greater than yourself.

Your focus is shifted from personal problems and any benefits that might be associated with the commitment to a grander view. Maybe your vision involves helping others. Fire is kindled to pursue what you have envisioned, and you begin to work on it. The outcome makes you feel proud and satisfied that you’ve made a difference, which contributes to your sense of fulfillment.

Face struggles and challenges with a sense of purpose. Struggles teach you valuable lessons that can’t otherwise be learned and develop the character that shapes the version of you that’s necessary for your next level of success. Whether it’s a lesson or an accomplishment, you always gain. Ultimately, fulfillment is a product of personal growth through trials and triumphs.

by Kali Coleman

COVID cases in the U.S. are still at an all-time high, with more than a 33 percent increase in infections this week compared to last, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). From new cases to breakthrough infections and reinfections, the Omicron variant is estimated to account for 98 percent of current cases, according to the agency. This version of the virus is spreading faster than any previous COVID variant, and it’s hitting people differently as well. There are a number of symptoms that virus experts have warned are distinct with Omicron, including what your first sign might be. Read on to find out the earliest Omicron symptom to expect.

 A sore throat could be the first sign of an Omicron infection.

A sore throat was reported as a common symptom of some previous COVID variants, but with Omicron, doctors say it’s likely to be your first. “For most people, an Omicron positive case will feel much more like the common cold, starting with a sore throat,” Tim Spector, a professor of epidemiology at King’s College London and founder of the Zoe COVID Symptom Study, told the BBC in December.

This common symptom might be even be more recognizable in certain groups of people infected with Omicron. Allison Arwady, MD, the commissioner for the Chicago Department of Public Health, told NBC 5 Chicago that while sore throat is being seen early across the board, it is being seen most often as an indicator of Omicron in people who are vaccinated or boosted.

“In people who we’re seeing these more mild breakthrough infections, we are definitely seeing sore throat be a predictor in that group,” Arwady said.

This symptom is very prominent in its presentation.

A sore throat can be a indicator of a number of illnesses, but an Omicron sore throat is distinctive. Jorge Moreno, MD, an internist and assistant professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine, told Insider in early January that when his outpatient clinic in Connecticut exploded with new Omicron infections, many of his patients were reporting the same initial symptom: a dry, sore throat that caused sharp pain when they swallowed.

“It’s a very prominent symptom,” Moreno told the news outlet. “It’s not like a little tickle in the throat. If they’re reporting it, they’re saying that their throat feels raw.”

This is just one of the most common symptoms of this variant.

A sore throat is just one of many symptoms you might experience with Omicron. According to data from Spector’s Zoe COVID Study App, there are five common symptoms being reported with this variant: runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing, and sore throat. Runny nose and sneezing haven’t been the most common symptoms with previous variants, but “the most reported symptoms of Omicron are really very much like a cold,” Claire Steves, PhD, a scientist from King’s College London involved with Zoe, confirmed in a Jan. 6 video.

Headache and fatigue have been common symptoms with other strains of the virus, but there might be some clear presentations with this variant. William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, told Prevention that an Omicron headache is “more likely to be frontal,” meaning you’ll feel it in the front of your head rather than the back. And Angelique Coetzee, a private practitioner and chair of South African Medical Association, told Reuters, that severe fatigue with Omicron tends to last for “one to two days.”

Your symptoms will likely start a few days after exposure.

With previous variants, symptoms usually took about four of five days to show up in infected patients. But Ryan Noach, MD, CEO of South Africa’s largest private health insurer, Discovery Health, has said that preliminary research suggests Omicron may have a shorter window, with symptoms from the variant typically showing up three days after exposure, according to The Washington Post.

Doctors also say you should probably wait this long to determine if you’ve been infected after exposure, given the potential shorter incubation period. “If you’ve been exposed and now you’re asking yourself, ‘When should I get tested?’ I think you would best wait at least three days to see if you’ve turned positive,” Schaffner told NBC News.

They’re slightly different from the original version.



We know, we know. Just as vaccines became widely available and we thought we were seeing light at the end of the Covid-19 pandemic tunnel, the Omicron variant reared its ugly head. It seems like everybody and their mother is testing positive, despite being vaccinated, almost like it’s a matter of when, not if, you’ll be the next one to get infected.

Even though the Omicron variant is running rampant and proving to be even more contagious than previous variants and strains, the good news is that infections are mostly looking to be far less severe in people who are vaccinated, also making for less hospitalizations. Still, we don’t blame you if you want to be smart and still do your best to avoid becoming infected at all. As such, we consulted with a physician about what Omicron Covid-19 symptoms to watch for to stay healthy.

As mentioned, the Omicron variant is causing much milder symptoms than the original Covid strain and the Delta variant, which is good news, says Suneet Singh, MD, an emergency room physician and medical director of CareHive Health in Austin, Texas.

The classic symptoms of the earlier strains were: cough, fever, and intense muscle aches, as well as the loss of taste or smell. In very severe cases, chest pressure, as well as shortness of breath, were also prominent symptoms.

Given we know the classic Covid-19 symptoms, let’s break down just how different the Omicron variant is as far as symptoms, and how to know if you have it.

What exactly are the main and lesser-known symptoms of the Omicron variant?

Aside from classic Covid-19 symptoms, according to Dr. Singh, some of the distinguishing symptoms of the Omicron variant are:

  • runny nose
  • stuffy nose
  • sore throat

“Omicron, [meanwhile,] is less likely to invade the lungs,” Dr. Singh says. “Instead, Omicron is causing more upper respiratory symptoms.”

Omicron is not known to result in a loss of taste or smell, unlike the other variants, Dr. Singh continues. However, because the symptoms of Omicron are less severe, it can be hard to differentiate it from other causes of upper respiratory conditions like seasonal allergies. (Because it wasn’t already challenging enough to determine if it’s a cold or Covid, right?)

If you do have symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, and/or fever, it is very important to get tested as soon as possible and stay at home while you wait for your results, Dr. Singh says.

What should I do if I catch it?

If you test positive for Covid-19, no matter the variant, it’s important to consult with your doctor about the best treatment path forward for you as an individual, Dr. Singh says. You can safely do this with a virtual visit to limit your exposure to others while you’re sick. Not only is this more convenient than unnecessarily heading to the ER or urgent care, it’s also likely going to be far cheaper.

“During this visit, you may be prescribed one of the two new anti-Covid medications that recently became available on the market earlier this year,” he explains. “Your team will also work with you to determine if you are a candidate for monoclonal antibody therapy.”

In any case, if you have Covid, be sure to get plenty of rest, hydrate well, and use over-the-counter medications such as throat lozenges, pain relievers like ibuprofen, and fever-lowering medications like acetaminophen, or Tylenol, he adds.

How can I protect myself from Omicron?

Without a doubt, the best means of protection against Covid altogether is to get vaccinated (that is, a full series and their recommended booster) if you haven’t already, he says.

“In addition to vaccination, social distancing remains an important part of protection from Omicron,” he adds. “If possible, try to maintain a safe distance of at least six feet apart from others, minimizing physical contact and wearing an appropriately fitting mask to reduce the risk of [getting] Covid.”

Additionally, if you are going to still gather with others, especially with anyone at high risk of Covid-related complications, it’s also important to get tested within 48 hours of the event. This is key for detecting an infection while you may be symptomatic, Dr. Singh says.

“A PCR test is considered the gold-standard test to detect all variants of COVID, including Omicron,” he says. “Antigen [or rapid] tests are also useful to detect disease, but they are known to be less sensitive. Ideally, a negative antigen test result should be followed by a PCR test for a definitive answer. If either a PCR or antigen test is positive, then you are actively infected with the disease.”

The bottom line: While you can rest easily knowing that becoming infected with Omicron is likely to be less severe if you’re vaccinated, continue to do your best to avoid becoming infected altogether. And it can’t be said enough: If you still haven’t gotten vaccinated, schedule your appointment to do so today.

From the CDC


 If you were exposed

Quarantine and stay away from others when you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.lungs virus light icon


If you are sick or test positive

Isolate when you are sick or when you have COVID-19, even if you don’t have symptoms.

When to Stay Home

Calculating Quarantine

The date of your exposure is considered day 0. Day 1 is the first full day after your last contact with a person who has had COVID-19. Stay home and away from other people for at least 5 days. Learn why CDC updated guidance for the general public.

Were exposed to COVID-19 and are NOT up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations

Quarantine for at least 5 days

Stay home
Stay home and quarantine for at least 5 full days.

Wear a well-fitted mask if you must be around others in your home.

Get tested
Even if you don’t develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.

After quarantine

Watch for symptoms
Watch for symptoms until 10 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.

If you develop symptoms
Isolate immediately and get tested. Continue to stay home until you know the results. Wear a well-fitted mask around others.

Take precautions until day 10

Wear a mask
Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days any time you are around others inside your home or in public. Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask.

Avoid travel

Avoid being around people who are at high risk

Were exposed to COVID-19 and are up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations

No quarantine
You do not need to stay home unless you develop symptoms.

Get tested
Even if you don’t develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.

Watch for symptoms
Watch for symptoms until 10 days after you  last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.

If you develop symptoms
Isolate immediately and get tested. Continue to stay home until you know the results. Wear a well-fitted mask around others.

Take precautions until day 10

Wear a mask
Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days any time you are around others inside your home or in public. Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask.

Avoid travel

Avoid being around people who are at high risk

were exposed to COVID-19 and had confirmed COVID-19 within the past 90 days (you tested positive using a viral test)

No quarantine
You do not need to stay home unless you develop symptoms.

Watch for symptoms
Watch for symptoms until 10 days after you  last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.

 If you develop symptoms
Isolate immediately and get tested. Continue to stay home until you know the results. Wear a well-fitted mask around others.

Take precautions until day 10

Wear a mask
Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days any time you are around others inside your home or in public. Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask.

Avoid travel

Avoid being around people who are at high riskCalculating Isolation

Day 0 is your first day of symptoms or a positive viral test. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed or your test specimen was collected. If you have COVID-19 or have symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days.

Tested positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms, regardless of vaccination status

Stay home for at least 5 days
Stay home for 5 days and isolate from others in your home.

Wear a well-fitted mask if you must be around others in your home.

Ending isolation if you had symptoms
End isolation after 5 full days if you are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and your symptoms are improving.

Ending isolation if you did NOT have symptoms
End isolation after at least 5 full days after your positive test.

If you were severely ill with COVID-19
You should isolate for at least 10 days. Consult your doctor before ending isolation.

Take precautions until day 10

Wear a mask 
Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days any time you are around others inside your home or in public. Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask.

Avoid travel

Avoid being around people who are at high riskDEFINITIONS


Contact with someone infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in a way that increases the likelihood of getting infected with the virus.

Close Contact

Close contacts are someone who was less than 6 feet away from an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinical diagnosis) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. For example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes.


Quarantine is a strategy used to prevent transmission of COVID-19 by keeping people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 apart from others.

Who does not need to quarantine?

If you had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and you are in one of the following groups, you do not need to quarantine.

  • You are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines.
  • You had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days (meaning you tested positive using a viral test).

And you should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of your last close contact with someone with COVID-19 (the date of last close contact is considered day 0). Get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19. If you test positive or develop COVID-19 symptoms, isolate from other people and follow recommendations in the Isolation section below. If you tested positive for COVID-19 with a viral test within the previous 90 days and subsequently recovered and remain without COVID-19 symptoms, you do not need to quarantine or get tested after close contact. You should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of your last close contact with someone with COVID-19 (the date of last close contact is considered day 0).

Who should quarantine?

If you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, you should quarantine if you are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines. This includes people who are not vaccinated.

What to do for quarantine

  • Stay home and away from other people for at least 5 days (day 0 through day 5) after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. The date of your exposure is considered day 0. Wear a well-fitting mask when around others at home, if possible.
  • For 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19, watch for fever (100.4◦F or greater), cough, shortness of breath, or other COVID-19 symptoms .
  • If you develop symptoms, get tested immediately and isolate until you receive your test results. If you test positive, follow isolation recommendations.
  • If you do not develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
    • If you test negative, you can leave your home, but continue to wear a well-fitting mask when around others at home and in public until 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.
    • If you test positive, you should isolate for at least 5 days from the date of your positive test (if you do not have symptoms). If you do develop COVID-19 symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days from the date your symptoms began (the date the symptoms started is day 0). Follow recommendations in the isolation section below.
    • If you are unable to get a test 5 days after last close contact with someone with COVID-19, you can leave your home after day 5 if you have been without COVID-19 symptoms throughout the 5-day period. Wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days after your date of last close contact when around others at home and in public.
    • Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.
  • If possible, stay away from people you live with, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, as well as others outside your home throughout the full 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • If you are unable to quarantine, you should wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days when around others at home and in public.
  • If you are unable to wear a mask when around others, you should continue to quarantine for 10 days. Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.
  • Do not travel during your 5-day quarantine period. Get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact and make sure your test result is negative and you remain without symptoms before traveling. If you don’t get tested, delay travel until 10 days after your last close contact with a person with COVID-19. If you must travel before the 10 days are completed, wear a well-fitting mask when you are around others for the entire duration of travel during the 10 days. If you are unable to wear a mask, you should not travel during the 10 days.
  • Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask, such as restaurants and some gyms, and avoid eating around others at home and at work until after 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.

After quarantine

  • Watch for symptoms until 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • If you have symptoms, isolate immediately and get tested.

Quarantine in high-risk congregate settings

In certain congregate settings that have high risk of secondary transmission (such as correctional and detention facilities, homeless shelters, or cruise ships), CDC recommends a 10-day quarantine for residents, regardless of vaccination and booster status. During periods of critical staffing shortages, facilities may consider shortening the quarantine period for staff to ensure continuity of operations. Decisions to shorten quarantine in these settings should be made in consultation with state, local, tribal, or territorial health departments and should take into consideration the context and characteristics of the facility. CDC’s setting-specific guidance provides additional recommendations for these settings.Top of Page


Isolation is used to separate people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 from those without COVID-19. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, or wear a well-fitting mask when they need to be around others. People in isolation should stay in a specific “sick room” or area and use a separate bathroom if available. Everyone who has presumed or confirmed COVID-19 should stay home and isolate from other people for at least 5 full days (day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the date of the day of the positive viral test for asymptomatic persons). They should wear a mask when around others at home and in public for an additional 5 days. People who are confirmed to have COVID-19 or are showing symptoms of COVID-19 need to isolate regardless of their vaccination status. This includes:

  • People who have a positive viral test for COVID-19, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.
  • People with symptoms of COVID-19, including people who are awaiting test results or have not been tested. People with symptoms should isolate even if they do not know if they have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19.

What to do for isolation

  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible.
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Take steps to improve ventilation at home, if possible.
  • Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.
  • Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask when you need to be around other people.

Learn more about what to do if you are sick and how to notify your contacts.Top of Page

Ending isolation for people who had COVID-19 and had symptoms

If you had COVID-19 and had symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days. To calculate your 5-day isolation period, day 0 is your first day of symptoms. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed. You can leave isolation after 5 full days.

  • You can end isolation after 5 full days if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved (Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation​).
  • You should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public for 5 additional days (day 6 through day 10) after the end of your 5-day isolation period. If you are unable to wear a mask when around others, you should continue to isolate for a full 10 days. Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.
  • If you continue to have fever or your other symptoms have not improved after 5 days of isolation, you should wait to end your isolation until you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved. Continue to wear a well-fitting mask. Contact your healthcare provider if you have questions.
  • Do not travel during your 5-day isolation period. After you end isolation, avoid travel until a full 10 days after your first day of symptoms. If you must travel on days 6-10, wear a well-fitting mask when you are around others for the entire duration of travel. If you are unable to wear a mask, you should not travel during the 10 days.
  • Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask, such as restaurants and some gyms, and avoid eating around others at home and at work until a full 10 days after your first day of symptoms.

If an individual has access to a test and wants to test, the best approach is to use an antigen test1 towards the end of the 5-day isolation period. Collect the test sample only if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved (loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation). If your test result is positive, you should continue to isolate until day 10. If your test result is negative,  you can end isolation, but continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10. Follow additional recommendations for masking and restricting travel as described above.

1As noted in the labeling for authorized over-the counter antigen testsexternal iconexternal icon: Negative results should be treated as presumptive. Negative results do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions, including infection control decisions. To improve results, antigen tests should be used twice over a three-day period with at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours between tests.

Note that these recommendations on ending isolation do not apply to people with moderate or severe COVID-19 or with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised). See section below for recommendations for when to end isolation for these groups.

Ending isolation for people who tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms

If you test positive for COVID-19 and never develop symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days. Day 0 is the day of your positive viral test (based on the date you were tested) and day 1 is the first full day after the specimen was collected for your positive test. You can leave isolation after 5 full days.

  • If you continue to have no symptoms, you can end isolation after at least 5 days.
  • You should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10 (day 6 through day 10). If you are unable to wear a mask when around others, you should continue to isolate for 10 days. Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.
  • If you develop symptoms after testing positive, your 5-day isolation period should start over. Day 0 is your first day of symptoms. Follow the recommendations above for ending isolation for people who had COVID-19 and had symptoms.
  • Do not travel during your 5-day isolation period. After you end isolation, avoid travel until 10 days after the day of your positive test. If you must travel on days 6-10, wear a well-fitting mask when you are around others for the entire duration of travel. If you are unable to wear a mask, you should not travel during the 10 days after your positive test.
  • Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask, such as restaurants and some gyms, and avoid eating around others at home and at work until 10 days after the day of your positive test.

If an individual has access to a test and wants to test, the best approach is to use an antigen test1 towards the end of the 5-day isolation period. If your test result is positive, you should continue to isolate until day 10. If your test result is negative, you can end isolation, but continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10. Follow additional recommendations for masking and restricting travel described above.

1As noted in the labeling for authorized over-the counter antigen testsexternal iconexternal icon: Negative results should be treated as presumptive. Negative results do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions, including infection control decisions. To improve results, antigen tests should be used twice over a three-day period with at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours between tests.

Ending isolation for people who were severely ill with COVID-19 or have a weakened immune system (immunocompromised)

People who are severely ill with COVID-19 (including those who were hospitalized or required intensive care or ventilation support) and people with compromised immune systems might need to isolate at home longer. They may also require testing with a viral test to determine when they can be around others. CDC recommends an isolation period of at least 10 and up to 20 days for people who were severely ill with COVID-19 and for people with weakened immune systems. Consult with your healthcare provider about when you can resume being around other people.

People who are immunocompromised should talk to their healthcare provider about the potential for reduced immune responses to COVID-19 vaccines and the need to continue to follow current prevention measures  (including wearing a well-fitting maskstaying 6 feet apart from others they don’t live with, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces) to protect themselves against COVID-19 until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider. Close contacts of immunocompromised people – including household members – should also be encouraged to receive all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses to help protect these people.

Isolation in high-risk congregate settings

In certain high-risk congregate settings that have high risk of secondary transmission and where it is not feasible to cohort people (such as correctional and detention facilities, homeless shelters, and cruise ships), CDC recommends a 10-day isolation period for residents. During periods of critical staffing shortages, facilities may consider shortening the isolation period for staff to ensure continuity of operations. Decisions to shorten isolation in these settings should be made in consultation with state, local, tribal, or territorial health departments and should take into consideration the context and characteristics of the facility. CDC’s setting-specific guidance provides additional recommendations for these settings.

This CDC guidance is meant to supplement—not replace—any federal, state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations.

by Jack Kelly

Two Major Companies Announced Four-Day Workweeks—This May Be The Tipping Point For Businesses To Join The Growing Movement

Insightful author Malcolm Gladwell wrote about how significant change comes all of a sudden, stating, “The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips and spreads like wildfire.” We are starting to see this happen with the four-day workweek movement. Two major companies announced their abbreviated workweek initiatives.

Panasonic Goes For The Three-Day Weekend 

Japan is known to have a hustle-culture work ethic rivaling—if not surpassing—America’s long workdays with fewer days off and family benefits compared to Western Europe. Japan’s “salarymen” are expected to work long hours, including overtime, participate in mandatory after-work activities and prize work above everything else.

In an effort to cut down of the stress of workers, Panasonic, a major Japanese multinational conglomerate company, is offering employees the option of taking a four-day workweek, “freeing them up to take side jobs, volunteer or just relax”—and to also promote retraining, attracting talent and increasing worker productivity and happiness. To provide how revolutionary this new policy is, only 8% of Japanese companies offer more than two guaranteed days off a week, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. 

Microsoft Japan previously experimented with a shorter work program, called “Work-Life Choice Challenge 2019 Summer.” The company gave its 2,300 employees the opportunity to “choose a variety of flexible work styles, according to the circumstances of work and life.” The goal of management was to see if there would be a corresponding increase in productivity and morale when hours are cut down.  

The results of the experiment indicated that workers were happier and there was also a 40% gain in productivity. You may, however, have to question the veracity of the self-reports. Workers may have tried to make the project successful, so that they could have a permanent four-day workweek. The 40% productivity may not be realized once the shortened workweek is officially established and, subsequently, taken for granted.

Why The Shortened Workweek Is Necessary

For decades, we were herded into crowded buses and trains, commuting over two hours a day to get to the office. Once there, you’re stuck in a skyscraper building with windows that are hermetically sealed, blinded by staring at a computer screen for over eight hours under harsh fluorescent lighting. Your micromanaging boss is constantly looking over your shoulder to ensure that you’re working. It’s all about face time and not productivity. To feel important, bosses schedule lots of meetings. There’s a meeting to discuss the upcoming meeting, the meeting itself and then the after-meeting debriefing meeting. This old-school style of working is punishing and exhausting. 

A two-day weekend is not sufficient to recharge after a long, tedious workweek. One day consists of running errands, shopping for groceries, doing the laundry, tending to your children, doing work around the house or yard and the endless list of chores. You’re probably checking Slack and emails and doing catch-up work on Sunday night. Monday morning rolls in and you’re still exhausted. 

The 4-Day Week Global grassroots nonprofit organization launched a mission to champion the four-day workweek. The movement was started by Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart. Barnes started this work style for his New Zealand-based company, Perpetual Guardian, and saw that it was very successful. Productivity increased and stress declined. 

Barnes and his partner, Lockhart, decided to share their story and help other companies initiate their own four-day workweek, which would “improve business productivity, worker health outcomes, stronger families and communities, challenge the gender equality issue and work toward a more sustainable work environment.” 

They found that 63% of businesses found it easier to attract and retain talent with a four-day week. Around 78% of employees with four-day weeks are happier and less stressed.” They’ve been providing online advice and guidance for companies that are considering starting their own pilot programs for a shortened workweek.

Bolting To An Abbreviated Workweek

The second company, which recently concluded a successful four-day workweek is Bolt, a fast-growing fintech unicorn. Ryan Breslow, the young founder and CEO of Bolt, joined the four-day workweek movement. Breslow, heading a multibillion dollar tech company, is wagering a big bet on the belief that by taking good care of his team, they’ll happily outperform. 

The idea is to have his team work only four days a week. There are no catches. The checkout technology company founder subscribes to the notion that by providing time away from the office to rest and recuperate, people will return to work with greater energy and enthusiasm. They won’t be like the “zombies” you see at the office or on Zoom video calls, dragging themselves through the work day due to exhaustion. 

Breslow posed the question, “What if we worked like lions?” Like the king of the jungle, people can operate with “short bursts of energy, high intensity and then rest and recover for the next sprint.” With a four-day workweek, he believes employees will have more energy and become much more productive. “With a four-day workweek, we can feel confident going all in on those four days. We can truly give it our all.” 

Instead of playing the game, watching the clock tick down to 5 p.m., when you could dash out of the building or log off the computer at home, results are more important than face time. He says about this business philosophy, “High performance isn’t about how much you put in; it’s how much you get out.”  

Boston Boat Reservation Company Is On Board

One Boston-based company is paving the way for companies to start adopting the four-day workweek. Over a year ago, Dockwa, the top boating reservation app that helps boaters secure slips and moorings at over 800 marinas nationwide, introduced the four-day workweek model to its company. Instead of the expected Friday off, CEO Mike Melillo selected Monday as the day off, a change that does not impact employee pay, time off or the hours they need to work.

The Wanderlust Group is the team behind Dockwa, and Campouts. It builds marketplaces and technology platforms that connect adventurers to destinations and helps those destinations grow. Its apps and software are used by more than 250,000 people, across 15,000 destinations in more than 30 countries. The Wanderlust Group is also a remote-first company that operates on a four-day workweek.

Dockwa is a two-sided marketplace connecting boaters and marinas. Through Dockwa, marinas can run their entire operation while gaining access to the hundreds of thousands of boaters using our free reservation app. Boaters can more quickly find and book both long-term and transient slips spending less time planning and more out on the water. Dockwa’s four-day workweek policy increased profits 121% year-over-year in 2020 and employees became increasingly more productive and happier at work.

During the time off, Dockwa encourages its employees to step away from their work and use the extra time off to invest in themselves, their family or friends. From earning a pilot’s license to volunteering at a nonprofit sailing club, to having a dedicated day for parent-teacher conferences and appointments, the stories of how employees have used this time back are both diverse and powerful. “We wanted to combat employee burnout. We realized that the state of the world was changing, and we really wanted to make sure that our employees were present, that they remained happy,” said Jessica Palmer, vice-president of people operations.

Elephants Remember That They Need A Break

Elephant Ventures offered a four-day workweek, but with a twist. The company requires 10-hour days, four days a week and then three days off. Barnes and Lockhart advocate for not increasing the daily hours to offset the day off. It seems that companies are making their own tailored versions of the program.

Art Shectman is founder and president of Elephant Ventures, a digital innovation and agile/lean product development and engineering firm based in New York City. He’s also the cofounder and president of Ultranauts, a social impact firm that employs individuals with autism, as quality engineers for software testing and data quality analysis work. 

His hands-on engineering experience spans the technology landscape, from artificially intelligent robots to high-security trading networks, cryptocurrency trading automation to giant billboards in Times Square and green vending-machine prototypes. Shectman has consulted at the executive level for Fortune 1000 companies. 

Shectman noticed that during the virus outbreak, his staff, affectionately called “phunts,” wrestled with maintaining a break between work and living a well-rounded life. He notices some signs of burnout, challenges and struggling with morale. 

His Manila-based team works a four-day workweek, and they had 20 to 30% increases in productivity. In response, the tech CEO decided to do what he does for his clients. The company held an all-hands evaluation of what work style would work best in this new and uncertain time period. He repositioned his U.S. workforce to a fully distributed work style and converted to a four-day workweek. 

It took employees about three to four weeks to adjust, he said.After the first three-day weekend, workers returned feeling rested and excited. “By the third week, it was more routine. People were really starting to have adventures and plan ahead and leverage to make use of the three-day weekend.” Ultimately, the compressed workweek was well received, so much so that the company adopted the schedule permanently.

Employees can make up hourson Fridays or the weekend, if they aren’t able to get in their hours in four days. “We trust people to fill in the gaps if they missed hours,” Shectman said. Employees will have 10-hour days, Monday through Thursday. “Everyone came back refreshed. That extra day, everyone took a pause. You could feel it in company morale. Everyone was more productive and engaged.”

Uncharted Territory

Banks Benetiz is the CEO of Uncharted, a venture capital firm that accelerates early-stage solutions addressing economic inequality. Benetiz converted to a four-day week in 2020.

One of the benefits of an abbreviated week is that managers and workers need to be in the moment and highly focus on the present. It makes people analyze what is actually important.

He said, “When we launched an experiment during the summer to try out a four-day workweek, everyone’s salary stayed the same. But our team worked 32 hours every week between June 1 and August 28, taking every Friday off. This was not four 10-hour days. This was four eight-hour days. The experiment tested the hypothesis that we can deliver 100% of the work at 80% of the time, while increasing team mental health, reducing team stress and maintaining team culture and cohesion.”

Benetiz added, “We hypothesized that a person’s sense of support from their co-workers might drop slightly because everyone was so focused on their priorities, but we saw the opposite. Work-life balance increased and work stress decreased.”

One of the concerns about the four-day workweek was that the culture would suffer. The data showed that the team’s sense of culture remained unchanged compared to baseline data before the experiment.  

Team members reported that while workweeks felt intense, having an extra day off resulted in greater energy at the start of the workweek. In addition, because team members have more time to spend with friends, family and their own interests, some have reported that they feel the team is doing better at bringing their whole selves into the workplace.

Spain, Iceland, Scotland And The U.S.

Scotland launched a trial four-day workweek. The decision was the culmination of a campaign promise made by the ruling Scottish National Party. Workers will have their hours reduced by 20%, but won’t suffer any loss in compensation. The program will be funded by the SNP with a £10 million fund ($13.8 million). The monies will be used to experiment with the abbreviated workweek. Some Scottish businesses have already started their own truncated workweeks. 

Spain had announced that it would run a trial four-day workweek. The Spanish government agreed to a 32-hour workweek over three years without cutting workers’ compensation. The pilot program, similar to what Scotland is doing, intends to reduce employers’ risk by having the government make up the difference in salary when workers switch to a four-day schedule.

Scotland pointed to Iceland and its strong results as a big reason for taking a chance with the four-day workweek. A recent study of 2,500 workers in Iceland, more than 1% of the workforce, was conducted to see if shortened work days lead to more productivity and a happier workforce. The trials were made across an array of different types of workplaces. 

Between 2015 and 2019, Iceland conducted test cases of a 35- to 36-hour workweeks, without any calls for a commensurate cut in pay. To ensure quality control, the results were analyzed by Autonomy and the Association for Sustainability and Democracy. Based upon the stellar results,  Icelandic trade unions negotiated for a reduction in working hours. The study also led to a significant change in Iceland, nearly 90% of the working population now have reduced hours or other accommodations. Worker stress and burnout lessened. There was an improvement in work-life balance. 

New Four-Day Workweek Bill Brought To Congress

Recently, Democratic Congressman Mark Takano introduced legislation that would reduce the standard workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours. Takano said in a press release, “A shorter workweek would benefit both employers and employees alike.” Takano added, “Pilot programs run by governments and businesses across the globe have shown promising results, as productivity climbed and workers reported better work-life balance, less need to take sick days, heightened morale and lower childcare expenses because they had more time with their family and children.”

The congressman said, “Shorter workweeks have also been shown to further reduce healthcare premiums for employers, lower operational costs for businesses and have a positive environmental impact in some of these studies.” Takano asserts that the workers would benefit from this change, as his proposal will allow nonexempt employees to receive overtime compensation for any hours worked over 32 hours. 

A shortened workweek would go a long way in helping people lead a better balance of work and life. We’ll also likely see pushes for five-hour workdays, staggered flexible work arrangements, more people choosing remote-work options, hybrid models and other programs. Companies will benefit, as they’ll have a happier workforce that’s appreciative and motivated. Employees who are treated well will likely work harder, which would enhance productivity and profits. 

Here are some other company piloting or contemplating starting a four-day workweek:

  • CULTIQUE – cultural insights and strategy venture
  • Healthwise – nonprofit leader in providing evidence-based health education
  • Advanced RV – builder of custom Mercedes-Benz motorhomes
  • Floodlight Invest – ESG data provider to asset managers
  • Seed&Spark – film-centric crowdfunding and SVOD platform
  • Gillespie Hall PR – strategic public relations, branding, social media and marketing firm
  • Kickstarter – platform for funding creative projects

One of the great things we’ve seen come out of the horribleness of the pandemic is the optimism for change, particularly as it relates to workers. In this competitive job market, battles are waged by businesses to find potential employees and Herculean efforts are made to keep them happy. We’ve seen millions of Americans quit their jobs each month, showing that they won’t accept bad bosses, disrespect and low wages. 

To remain competitive, companies have become open-minded to offering innovative ways to improve the quality of their workers’ lives. The four-day workweek is part of an overall reset of the workplace. We’re also seeing employee empowerment with the rapid growth of remote, hybrid and flexible (work anywhere or anytime you want) models, along with staggered hours to help with childcare, and encouraging relocations from high-cost cities to lower cost locations for the same pay and digital nomads traveling the world and operating from beaches, ski resorts and exotic places around the world.

Jack Kelly