74 Million U.S. Workers at High Risk for COVID

The results were published online Nov. 9 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The risks to essential workers in all disciplines who could not work from home were clear from the onset of the pandemic, said Dr Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

“But the risk of transmission to household members living with essential workers has become just as important when you consider the potential for disease progression with community transmission,” Glatter said.

Since scientists know that asymptomatic transmission of the virus is a major means of spread, steps such as self-isolation and self-quarantine in separate rooms in the home, as well as wearing masks, could reduce the risk of transmission, he noted.

Another option includes quarantining or self-isolating essential workers in hotel rooms, which could significantly reduce the risk to household members, Glatter added.

“Obese household members smoke, [are] aged over 65 with diabetes, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, asthma or COPD are at a much higher risk of adverse outcomes – including death – if they contract COVID-19 ” , Glatter said.

It is essential to take into account the increased risk to household members “when assessing the overall potential for community transmission and progression of COVID-19 disease among essential workers who cannot work from home”, he stressed.

Selden hopes these findings will help policymakers when making decisions about the economy and public health.

“To the extent that we can reduce the prevalence of COVID-19 in our communities through a combination of common sense, vigorous public health and, possibly, a vaccine, then we can reduce the extent to which decision-makers have to choose.” between the economy and ensuring the safety of the people, ”said Selden.

More information

To learn more about COVID-19, head to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Thomas Selden, PhD, Center for Financing, Access and Cost Trends, US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, Md .; Robert Glatter, MD, emergency physician, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York; JAMA Internal Medicine, November 9, 2020, online

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