Long COVID could see 1.6 million Americans miss work due to labor shortages

  • One in seven working-age Americans may experience persistence COVID-19[female[feminine symptoms.
  • That means 1.6 million covid the “long haul” might be missing from the American workforce.

According to a new report from the Brookings Institute, about 1.6 million Americans could be out of the workforce due to long COVID.

COVID-19 long-haulers can experience debilitating symptoms for weeks, months, or even years after infection with the coronavirus. Early research indicates that 10-30% of coronavirus patients develop long COVID, but the economic impact is still uncertain.

According to CDC data, one in seven working-age Americans may have experienced or are experiencing persistent symptoms of COVID-19. Two studies measuring the effects of long COVID on workers found that 23% and 28% of patients surveyed had stopped working because of their condition.

That means more than a million Americans could have been out of work at one time due to long COVID. The five million additional job gaps calculated in the Brookings Institute report represent workers who can reduce their hours but not stop working altogether.

These calculations rely on a number of assumptions due to the lack of data surrounding the long COVID, the author points out.

“Until we have data from a representative sample that accurately captures the extent of the impacts on the workforce, economists and policymakers are unlikely to see Covid for long as an economic problem or recognize it for the mass disabling event that it is,” Lisa McCorkell, co-founder of the long Covid-focused patient-led research collaboration, told the think tank.

These Self-Reporting Symptoms of Long COVID say they work longer hours than before and generally have higher levels of anxiety, Insider previously reported.

Their mental health is also generally worse (40% versus 30%). The majority, 65%, said they felt more stressed and anxious because of their long-term health condition, compared to 59% for people without chronic symptoms.

Some feel like they have no one to talk to about their symptoms, according to the latest Opinions and Lifestyle Survey from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Has COVID long impacted your ability to work? Email this reporter at [email protected]

Maria D. Ervin