Long Covid has kept up to four million Americans from the workforce

Lingering effects of virus costing workers around $170bn per year in lost wages, Brookings Institute says

Bevan Hurley
Monday 29 August 2022 23:23 BST
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A new study estimates that between two and four million Americans have dropped out of the workforce due to the effects of long Covid.

The Brookings Institution report found that the long-lasting impact of the disease was costing workers as much as $170bn in lost wages.

Report author Katie Back said the figures may sound “unbelievably high”, but are consistent with the experiences of comparable economies.

Using data gleaned from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, the Washington DC-based think tank estimates that 16 million Americans of working age – between 18 and 65 – are suffering from long Covid.

According to the CDC, symptoms include as extreme fatigue that worsens after mental or physical exertion, chest pain, headaches and brain fog.

The figures were corroborated in studies in the United Kingdom, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and by the scientific journal The Lancet, which found that 22 per cent of people with long Covid had stopped working.

“These impacts stand to worsen over time if the US does not take the necessary policy actions,” Ms Bach, warned.

Ms Bach said further research was needed to work out precise economic impact of Covid on the economy.

The report notes that David Cutler, a Harvard University economics professor, has calculated the cost of long Covid to the US economy at $3.7 trillion.

The costs include increased spending on medical bills, reduced earnings and deteriorating quality of life.

According to the CDC, long Covid is most likely to appear in people who suffered a severe case of the disease.

The CDC says long Covid can first be identified four weeks after infection, and usually occurs with three months.

Resrearchers are still unable to accurately diagnose or treat the illness.

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