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Almost one-third of workers in comp program have 'long COVID'

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long COVID

Nearly a third of all workers infected with COVID-19 suffered or are suffering from “long COVID,” according to the New York State Insurance Fund.

NYSIF said its analysis of COVID-19 comp claims filed between January 2020 and March 2022 found 977 of 3,139 claimants had lingering symptoms. NYSIF also said about 18% of workers with long COVID — about 5% of COVID-19 claimants — could not return to work for more than one year.

Nearly all claimants with comorbidities or who were hospitalized for an initial infection experienced long COVID.

NYSIF also said about 40% of workers with long COVID returned to work within 60 days of infection while still receiving treatment.

“If broadly reflective, these findings begin to fill information gaps about the labor market, including an underappreciated reason for the many unfilled jobs and the declining labor participation rate since the emergency of the pandemic,” the report says.

NYSIF also said different trends in COVID claims filed by essential workers could be a “blind spot” for policymakers.

More than 83% of COVID-19 claims filed with NYSIF came from essential workers in health care, law enforcement or consumer care, but only 29% of essential workers had long COVID, compared with 44% of other workers.

NYSIF said it’s not clear when the proportion of long COVID claims is lower among essential workers.

“It may be because essential workers might not have been able to stay home from work beyond the required quarantine period,” the report says. “Another possibility may be that nurses and physicians self-treated their symptoms. If so, long COVID rates, particularly for hospital workers, may appear lower than they are.”

WorkCompCentral is a sister publication of Business Insurance. More stories here.