How much of our labor force has been lost to COVID-19?


Olivier Douliery/AFP

…More than 850,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the United States. They were parents, partners, friends and family. Many of them were also workers. Meanwhile, there’s a big labor shortage right now, with more than 10 million job openings. There are many reasons those jobs haven’t been easy to fill: the virus and variants, limited day care, school interruptions and people looking for more pay and better working conditions.

What’s been talked about less is how COVID and long COVID, a disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act, have changed the workforce.

Through October of last year, more than 100 million working-age Americans, or people between the ages of 18 and 65, have contracted the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Studies show that about one-third of people who get COVID experience long-term symptoms, meaning that more than 30 million working-age Americans may have or have had long-COVID.

But how many of those with long-haul COVID left the workforce?…

Researchers haven’t yet been able to produce confident stable statistics. Numbers range from 1.6 to 1.9 million. That means we’re possibly undercounting casualties by 300,000 human beings. And it may be worse. Yes, no nation in the world maintains staff ready to fight a pandemic. A lot of tactics, style and weapons are being devised from scratch.

This article tells us more about what we confront, what we must solve.

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