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Report Shows That Almost Quarter of Workforce Is at Higher Risk of Severe COVID-19 Illness

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Report Shows That Almost Quarter of Workforce Is at Higher Risk of Severe COVID-19 Illness

A new study shows that almost a quarter of the workforce is at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they get COVID-19.

A report published by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) showed the impact of COVID-19 on the workforce. Its title, “Almost One in Four Adult Workers is Vulnerable to Severe Illness from COVID-19,” clearly indicates its findings. The report shows that 24 percent of the workforce are “at greater risk for severe illness” from the coronavirus. That’s about 37.7 million workers. The risk is present due to underlying health conditions or age.

“We find that over 90 million adults are at greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions or age. Of these at-risk adults, we estimate that about 37.7 million were employed at a job or business in the prior year, including 10 million people age 65 and older (19.5% of adults age 65 and older, all of whom are considered at greater risk) and 27.7 million non-elderly adults. These at-risk workers comprise 24% of all adult workers,” said the report.

Millions at Risk

A report from the AARP says that those health conditions include diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It also includes heart disease, severe obesity, moderate to severe asthma, and compromised immune systems from cancer treatment.

“The importance of at-risk workers’ earnings to themselves and to their families may put added pressure on them to continue to work or return to work even if their safety may be compromised,” said the KFF report.

The study also estimates another 12 million “at-risk adults” who just live with at least one full-time worker. This includes 6.5 million people age 65 and older, and around 5.5 million at-risk non-elderly adults.

“The safety of these family members will need to be part of the considerations for employees and employers,” the report then added. This should go on “as businesses continue to refine safety protocols and others reopen their workplaces.”

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