24% of workers at high risk of severe Illness from COVID-19, study finds


Nearly a quarter of U.S. workers are considered at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions or age, a consideration for employers as they reopen and try to protect these workers, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation study.

The analysis estimates 37.7 million workers (based on their work status in 2018), including 10 million people age 65 and older and27.7 million who have preexisting medical conditions, are at greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19. They make up 24 percent of all adult workers, according to the study.

For the analysis, KFF examined data from the CDC's 2018 National Health Interview Survey. Analysts looked at the number of workers at high risk of serious illness based on the CDC's risk factors. People 65 and older are considered higher-risk, as are those who have diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, a body mass index above 40, moderate to severe asthma or a functional limitation because of cancer.

The analysis also estimates there are 12 million at-risk adults who do not work, including 6.5 million people age 65 and older who live with at least one full-time worker. 

"This is a conservative estimate because additional nonworking at-risk adults live with people who work part time or who are in and out of the workforce," researchers wrote. "The safety of these family members will need to be part of the considerations for employees and employers as businesses continue to refine safety protocols and others reopen their workplaces."

Read more about the study here


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