More US Workers Out Sick Amid Pandemic Than Any Other Time on Record

July 31, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce

Last modified August 3, 2020

This recent publishing from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) says more than 2 million American workers called in sick in a single week in mid-April, causing the highest absence rate on record and leading to suspicions that COVID-19 cases were substantially undercounted.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Hunter College who analyzed the US Census Bureau’s monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) found that 2,017,105 workers called in sick, more than double the number from the same time the year before. Absenteeism due to illness began rising in March, when the US epidemic began, and surged to 1.5% in April, nearly triple the percentage during that period in 2019.

More workers were out sick in April 2020 than in any other month since January 1976, the earliest time for which absenteeism data are available.

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