Long COVID Is a Mass Disability. The Labor Market Is in Denial

commentary

(Bloomberg)

Kathy Spencer sorts the dozens of pills she must take since contracting COVID-19 in November 2020, in Kensington, Connecticut, January 11, 2022, photo by Mark Mirko/TNS/ABACA via Reuters Connect

Kathy Spencer sorts the dozens of pills she must take since contracting COVID-19 in November 2020, in Kensington, Connecticut, January 11, 2022

Photo by Mark Mirko/TNS/ABACA via Reuters Connect

by Kathryn A. Edwards

December 7, 2022

Forget the work-from-home revolution or quiet quitting: The COVID-19 pandemic's biggest impact on the U.S. labor market will be as a mass disability event. It's a shock that the economy is not well prepared to handle.

An estimated 1 in 4 COVID-19 patients experience symptoms lasting months. In principle, not all of them should have to leave the labor force. First, they should be able to call in sick. If work-impairing symptoms persist beyond a week or two, they should have the option of requesting reduced hours or claiming short-term disability benefits. Only in severe cases, lasting several months or more, should they have to transition to long-term disability insurance.…

The remainder of this commentary is available at bloomberg.com.


Kathryn Anne Edwards is an economist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

This commentary originally appeared on Bloomberg on December 7, 2022. Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis.