Telecommuting Shields Workers From COVID: CDC

By Steven Reinberg HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, November 5, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Working from home during the pandemic dramatically reduces your risk of catching COVID-19, according to U.S. health officials.

The option to work remotely, however, appears to be available primarily to white employees with college degrees and health insurance who earn $ 75,000 a year or more, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. the United States.

“We have two different types of American class. One is the essential services class, then the white collar class can work from home,” said Dr. Eric Cioe-Pena, director of global health at Northwell. Health in New Hyde Park, NY He reviewed the report and was not part of the research.

Of the nearly 250 workers who reported their status in the two weeks leading up to COVID-19, those who worked outside their home were much more likely to get sick than those who worked remotely at least part of the time , the CDC researchers found.

The percentage of people who were able to telecommute full-time or part-time was lower among patients who tested positive for COVID-19 (35%) than among patients who tested negative (53%), they noted.

The burden of these class differences rests on racial and economic lines, Cioe-Pena said.

“There is a specific category of essential workforce, namely medicine, for which we have made sure we have adequate PPE. [personal protective equipment], but I don’t think we’ve been that rigorous in the kind of provision and insurance for other essential workers, “he said.” So there is this population of people who are essential, but which are not protected at the level medical workers are. “

Cioe-Pena sees this gulf between those who are more or less exposed to COVID-19 as a reflection of wide inequalities in society.

“This represents the kind of structures and power systems that have already privileged white workers and disadvantaged non-white and lower paid workers,” he said. “By going through COVID, we have to try to address some of these inequalities.”

At the very least, Cioe-Pena said essential workers should be entitled to adequate personal protective equipment. They also need paid health and health insurance, he added.

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