Professions most at risk for coronavirus infection - ForumDaily
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Professions most at risk for coronavirus infection

As coronavirus continues to spread throughout the United States, people who work in direct contact with a large number of other people are at greatest risk of getting sick. The New York Times.

Photo: Shutterstock

Health care workers are at greatest risk—they may be exposed to illness and infection on a daily basis and typically work in close proximity to each other and their patients. Many are already in quarantine due to exposure to the new coronavirus.

Personal care aides and home health professionals who work with older adults, the most vulnerable population, are also at significant risk. As of March 14, at least 25 staff members have fallen ill at a Washington state nursing home linked to 70 coronavirus deaths.

First aid staff are also at high risk. Firefighters who answered calls to the Washington Nursing Home are under extended quarantine. Health workers across the country take extra precautions when responding to a potential case of COVID-19.

Schools are closing nationwide: teachers are at risk because of their close work with other people.

The risk is not limited to those who are in the foreground during the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Many people with non-outbreak duties, such as cashiers and fast food workers, face increased risks. Walmart, Starbucks and Uber are among the many companies whose employees are sick.

Representatives of a number of professions facing high risk earn less than the national average. Many of these workers work in low-paid jobs, do not have paid sick leave, many go to work sick, so as not to lose income.

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The risk levels of various jobs were calculated using O * NET, a database maintained by the Department of Labor that describes various physical aspects of occupations. The database assigns dozens of points to each lesson, for example, examines how often the phone is used, or how often the job requires you to bend down (housekeepers have the highest rating in this metric).

As the incidence of the virus increased, many companies began closing offices and stores and sending workers home to help slow the spread of 2019-nCoV. Many companies have an urgent vacation policy designed to protect employees. But most of the population is poorly protected. On March 14, lawmakers proposed a care package that includes paid sick leave for workers affected by coronavirus. But these benefits apply only to employees of companies with less than 500 employees, and millions of people are still left without protection.

Percentage of employees with access to paid leave:

  • All employees - 74% (sick leave), 45% (personal leave)
  • Nurses - 92% (sick leave), 68% (personal leave)
  • Teachers - 86% (sick leave), 62% (personal leave)
  • Service sector workers - 56% (sick leave), 28% (personal leave)
  • Sellers - 65% (sick leave), 40% (personal leave)
  • Full time - 85% (sick leave), 54% (personal leave)
  • Part-time work - 40% (sick leave), 18% (personal leave)
  • Top 25% earners - 92% (sick leave), 63% (personal leave)
  • 25% of those earning the least - 47% (sick leave), 24% (personal leave)

For some workers, especially in low-paying jobs, sick leave may mean dismissal. In the Seattle area, one small catering company was forced to lay off almost all of its employees due to failures of large technical clients.

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More and more companies are also asking employees to do their jobs from home. But this arrangement is largely only available to white-collar workers. For many professions, working from home is simply not an option, including those on the front line of the response and those on the bottom earning tier.

Percentage of employees with the ability to work from home (by income)

  • Bottom 25 (income percentile) - 9,2%
  • 25-50 (income percentile) - 20,1%
  • 50-75 (income percentile) - 37,3%
  • TOP 25 (income percentile) - 61,5%

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