Employment-related exposure to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) can endanger not only workers but also their household members. Using pre-pandemic data, the prevalence of Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) risk factors for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were examined. The researchers then estimated how many adults at increased risk of severe COVID-19 held essential jobs and could not work at home (WAH) or who lived in households with such workers.
Between 56.7 and 74.3 million increased-risk U.S. adults lived with or were themselves essential workers who could not WAH. These estimates were driven by 3 factors: First, 49.7% to 61.0% of all adults were at increased risk of severe COVID-19 if infected with SARS-CoV-2. Second, 71.5% of workers held essential jobs, and many were unable to WAH. Third, the study measured not only the number of adults with increased risk who were essential workers and unable to WAH but also the many increased-risk adults living with such workers.
In conclusion, the study suggests that policymakers seeking to make efficient and equitable decisions about reopening the economy and about vaccine distribution should consider the health risks not only of workers but also of those with whom they live. A lot to think about considering the slow pace of vaccinations to date. We aren’t here to judge or assume we have all the answers but what interesting findings! Stay the course, stay well, mask up and stay tuned!