Emily Wisnal was living in Montana when she contracted COVID-19. She then said that two years later she moved to New Mexico and found her job, but also experienced a series of symptoms that interfered with her life, work and her ability to provide for her family. says (Photo: Gino Gutierrez).
Emily Wisnal contracted COVID-19 from a teenager in July 2020. For over two years now, Emily, 40, has been suffering from debilitating fatigue, spinal pain and heart palpitations. In addition to her primary care physician, she sees a cardiologist regularly, and an acupuncturist and craniosacral therapy, she says, have helped ease pain and difficulty concentrating.
Although her condition has improved, Wiznall has not yet returned to her pre-COVID-19 health and has not returned to her employer, the University of New Mexico Highlands, for accommodation, including leave to visit various medical facilities. said he had to ask for Ability to work remotely.When she commutes, it takes her an hour to get to work.
“There were a few times when I had to commute to work and it was really, really hard and physically exhausting,” she said. It doesn’t take long. A simple cold can last for weeks, so she worries about catching the flu or, worse, COVID again.
“I don’t know how bad it is for me,” she said.
Long-term COVID, which the Mayo Clinic has classified as suffering from new, recurring, or ongoing symptoms, includes fatigue, chest pain, joint pain, dizziness, headaches, digestive problems, blood clots, There is such a thing as brain fog.
16 million working-age people in the United States have been suffering from prolonged COVID, with between 2 and 4 million of them unemployed in June and July. according to August 2022 Brookings Institution report analyzing Census Bureau survey information. It is one of many papers, surveys and studies that seek to assess the long-term impact of COVID-19 on workers, businesses and the economy at large.
Some economists say the coronavirus has left far too many Americans unemployed, a lack of social safety nets for many, and a labor market that is beginning to favor employers. and could cause broader economic problems.
The cost of lost wages is already high. The Brookings Institution report puts the amount at $170 billion a year to $230 billion for him.and the National Bureau of Economic Research paper A study published in September found that workers who were absent from work due to COVID-19 could lose about $9,000 in income over the next 14 months.
Andrew Goodman Bacon, senior research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, says it’s unclear how long-term consumption habits of COVID patients will be affected by the disease.
“Some households will certainly have to cut back,” he said. “But some subsets of these households also have ways to insure themselves or be insured by these public programs. What would total spending look like if a large number of workers with difficult health conditions went into a recession? , and some will push in the opposite direction.”
Goodman-Bacon said, “Employee health is really important, and it’s been important for a long time…we’re all really trying to figure out the same question that we don’t know how much right now.”
caring for workers
Withnall said he lived in Missoula, Montana, and taught creative writing at a school when the pandemic began. When the school closed, he finished the job. She also found it difficult to place her freelance writing.
The landlord then raised the rent.
“Real estate prices have skyrocketed and are still skyrocketing. As a single parent with little freelancing income and little education left, I was really, really struggling with even unemployment benefits.” “I also couldn’t work much because my COVID symptoms were so bad,” she said in a phone interview.
She said her neck and back “felt like it turned to concrete” for the first six weeks after testing positive for COVID. At one point, walking to her bathroom would leave her gasping for breath, and she ended up going to the emergency room three times.
Despite her work as a healthcare worker, she still struggles financially due to medical bills.Deputy Director of Communications at the University and writes several articles each month. Economic Justice Fellow of Nonprofit Community Change.
“I don’t have any savings or even the ability to think about bigger things like buying a house,” she said. “My oldest teen just started college and I can’t afford tuition at all. I’m still hoping for a full recovery from the long COVID to happen, but I can see that.”
The benefits she received from her employer allowed Withnall to keep her job. Katie Bach, a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of the 2022 report, said that as the labor market changes, employers are more likely to face the long-term impact of COVID, which requires on-the-job accommodations. He said there was a question of whether it would be less likely to support workers.
“The labor market participation rate of persons with disabilities has risen by about 2%. A point during a pandemic,” said Bach. One of his possible explanations is that employers are willing to find ways to accommodate their employees because they are understaffed. If macroeconomic conditions are such that we actually see a break from this kind of labor market tightening over the next year, employers will be a little demoralized.”
There are also some signs that the labor market may indeed be cooling.of US unemployment rate September was 3.5%, the same as the previous month. September 2019 pre-pandemic. Companies across the country will have less trouble recruiting staff, according to New York Times coverage and turnover sank It rose from 5.9% in July 2021 to 4.1% in July 2022, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s SCE Labor Market Survey.
Social safety, including unemployment schemes, if employers no longer want to continue to employ people who have been sick with COVID-19 for a long time, or if those workers are forced to leave their jobs for health reasons. Researchers say many parts of the net are poorly set up to help them.
Andrew Stettner, senior researcher and director of workforce policy at the Century Foundation, said some states have laws that allow them to receive state unemployment benefits if they are unable to work because of their illness. But “it’s definitely not the majority.”
The Biden administration is taking several steps to ensure that people with long-term COVID-19 are protected from discrimination. guidance On treating long-term COVID as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Department of Labor’s Disability Employment Policy Office also website This links to resources for employers on workplace accommodations for long-term COVID patients.
But Goodman-Bacon said that as more people return to work, employers are likely to be more likely to keep only those environments they deem useful and cost-saving, such as allowing remote work. pointed out that there is increase productivity.
In addition, if you are infected with the new coronavirus, it may be difficult to receive workers’ compensation insurance. Tom Wiese, MEMIC Group’s vice president of claims, said his long work-related COVID claims were difficult to investigate.
“Even if the origin of medical causation and/or the diagnosis of symptoms/disease may be somehow related to COVID, from the point of view of legal principles workers compensation causality still remains. Did that causation occur within their employment?” he said.
For example, a woman infected with COVID-19 She worked at a nursing home when she fell ill, but lost a worker’s damages lawsuit in Virginia in 2021. Her weekly trips to the grocery store hurt her claim. I was. according to Virginia Mercury.
Advocates and researchers have proposed a number of policies to provide economic stability to those suffering from the novel coronavirus for a long time, and the number is increasing by 10% each year, according to a Brookings report. , $5 trillion in lost wages in 10 years. Start recovering at a faster rate.
- Expanding paid sick leave can help slow the spread of COVID.
- Improve the accommodation provided to workers, including deadline flexibility, longer and more frequent breaks, flexible hours and remote work.
- Provide more and more timely access to Social Security disability insurance.
Bach and Stettner say the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics need to ask more questions about long-term COVID and employment in their surveys to better guide policymakers.
The Patient-Led Research Collaborative, a long-term group of COVID patients and researchers, Say That we need a federal advisory committee on long-term COVID at HHS, that Congress allocates funds to states to fund or open clinics to treat people with long-term COVID, pass universal health care, and disable expanding access to benefits, and among other policies;
Lisa McCorkell, long-term COVID patient, co-founder and researcher of the Patient-Led Research Collaborative, said the Biden administration’s guidance is helpful, but long-term COVID patients still face discrimination in the workplace. said there is.
“There are still many people who cannot get the accommodation they need,” she said.
Some long-term COVID patients may have difficulty accessing the health care they need to ensure they are covered, and some employers are asking for additional measures such as taking breaks or starting work late. I still do not believe that it is necessary to provide accommodation.
She has seen people pushed out of the workforce because of lack of consideration from employers, but not many have the resources to fight that layoff, and when sick He said it would be difficult to take on legal issues.
Stettner said the workforce is changing for the long term, so it’s important for employers to adjust and provide consideration for workers with long-term COVID.
“There are so many generations of workers born in the 40s and 50s, and those workers are reaching retirement age,” he said. “There are really not enough workers to grow the economy, and we need to be able to accommodate people who can work 12 months a year even if they can’t work full time. We have to do it better, and as a society it is our economic imperative to do so.”
https://www.indianagazette.com/news/state/millions-of-workers-are-dealing-with-long-covid-advocates-call-for-expanding-social-safety-net/article_a36cf888-5e81-5501-b082-7c2c1710af07.html Millions of workers have been dealing with COVID for a long time.Advocates Call for Expanding Social Safety Nets | States