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Wednesday, 24 June 2020 16:07

The Front Line Workers Most at Risk From Coronavirus

Written by Drew Altman, Axios

An estimated 25 million to 30 million people are caught in the middle of the coronavirus economy---they’re unable to work from home but also face a high risk of severe infection.

The impossible choice between lives and livelihoods falls mainly to lower-wage workers in service industries.

 

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data published before the pandemic hit, slightly more than two-thirds of American workers cannot work virtually.

 

There are 38 million workers who are at risk of severe illness due to COVID because of underlying health conditions. Another 12 million high-risk adults are not working, but live with someone who is.

 

That means roughly 25 million to 30 million high risk workers cannot work virtually.

 

The number may be an underestimate because pre-existing conditions are more prevalent among lower-income people, who are less likely to be able to work at home.

 

If you work for any number of public-facing small businesses---an auto body shop or a dry cleaner or a pizza place---your boss will need you back at work for the business to function, but interaction with customers will likely increase your risk of infection.

 

Many of these same workers also will rely on public transportation to get to work.

 

The Trump administration is considering a back-to-work bonus, which could put more money in vulnerable workers’ pockets while also making them feel more pressure to return to work as soon as possible.

 

We thank Axios for reprint permission.

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