Long COVID may be causing 1.6 million Americans to miss work amid the labor shortage
- One in seven working-age Americans may experience lingering
- That means 1.6 million
COVID"long-haulers" could be missing from the US workforce.
An estimated 1.6 million Americans could be missing from the workforce due to long COVID, according to a new report from the Brookings Institute.
COVID-19 long haulers can experience debilitating symptoms for weeks, months, or even years after infection with the coronavirus. Early research indicates that 10 to 30 percent of coronavirus patients develop long COVID, but the economic impact is still uncertain.
One in seven working-age Americans may have experienced, or be experiencing, lingering COVID-19 symptoms, according to CDC data. Two studies measuring the effects of long COVID on workers found that 23% and 28% of patients surveyed had stopped working due to the condition.
That means over one million Americans could have been out of work at once due to long COVID. The additional five million missing jobs calculated in the Brookings Institute report account for workers who may reduce their hours but not stop working completely.
Those calculations rely on a number of assumptions due to the lack of data surrounding long COVID, the author points out.
"Until we have data from a representative sample that accurately capture the extent of the impacts to the labor force, economists and policymakers are likely not going to consider long Covid an economic issue or recognize it for the mass disabling event it is," Lisa McCorkell, co-founder of the long-Covid-focused Patient-Led Research Collaborative, told the think-tank.
Those self reporting symptoms of long COVID say they are working longer hours than before and in general have higher levels of anxiety, Insider previously reported.
Their mental health is also generally worse (40% compared to 30%). The majority, 65%, said that they felt more stressed and anxious as a result of their long term condition — compared to 59% for those without chronic symptoms.
Some feel like they don't have anyone to talk to about their symptoms, according to the latest Opinions and Lifestyle Survey from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
Has long COVID impacted your ability to work? Email this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org
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