Hospitals around the country are preparing for a “dark winter” as facilities near their capacity limits and gatherings supported by warm weather transition into super spreader events. As of Monday, roughly 56,000 COVID-19 patients required medical intervention.
“We have a legitimate reason to be very, very concerned about our health system at a national level,” Lauren Sauer, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins University told NPR this morning.
Researchers estimate that Pfizer and Biotech’s new promising vaccine, BNT162b2 won’t be available to the majority of the American public until late spring of next year.
Until then, the tried and tested countermeasures established by public health officials need to be maintained interpersonally, and systematic changes need to be developed in order for organizations to safely interact with commerce.
According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), telework significantly reduces COVID-19 outbreaks in a given community.
Among the sample pool featured in their analysis, only 35% reported being able to telework full-time or part-time and 65% of coronavirus-infected participants regularly went into their office or school.
Conversely, more than half of those who remained free of the novel coronavirus reported teleworking. Teleworkers who developed symptoms were far less likely to attend their place of work in the two weeks leading up to a positive diagnosis.
The association remained consistent even when the analysis was adjusted for the participants who reported working in a profession outside the selected critical infrastructure sectors.
“Since March 2020, large-scale efforts to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), have continued. Mitigation measures to reduce workplace exposures have included worksite policies to support flexible work site options, including telework, whereby employees work remotely without commuting to a central place of work,” the Organization wrote on Friday.
“Data collected in this investigation included self-reported demographic characteristics, underlying chronic medical conditions, employment status and location, telework status, close contact with a person with known COVID-19, and community exposures. All questions relating to employment, close contact, and community exposures were asked with reference to the 14 days preceding illness onset. This investigation provides evidence of the potential health benefits of teleworking associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to a recent study from the International Telework Association and Council, teleworking yields a 20% decrease in employee turnover rates and a 60% decrease in employee absenteeism.
A recent survey published by Upwork supports the multi-faceted benefits of telework, revealing that 14 to 23 million Americans are planning to abandon busy urban life thanks to remote work opportunities.
To be clear, remote work asymmetrically aids virus containment; it isn’t a perfect solution to the commercial limitations induced by the pandemic.
Even with the studied reductions in real estate, employee training, and recruitment costs afforded by mass telework, the global economy suffers when markets lose mobility.
The hospitality industry is epicentral to trade and tourism, and there really isn’t a way to take pictures in novelty restaurants or with displaced Malawian children from home.
Moreover, teleworkers are more likely to be White, college-educated, and earn over $75,000. So we still have a huge chunk of Americans slipping below the poverty asset line who don’t have the credentials to join the digital labor force.
According to The Becker Friedman Institute of the University of Chicago 42% of recent layoffs will likely result in permanent job loss.
In order to couch these economic barriers, employees who decide to work remotely permanently could potentially endure an average pay decrease between 21% and 24.6% in some regions.
Telework is still the way to go as long as the world decides it wants to live more than it wants other things.
“Businesses and employers should promote alternative work site options, such as teleworking, where possible, to reduce exposures to SARS-CoV-2,” the CDC concldues. “Where telework options are not feasible, worker safety measures should continue to be scaled up to reduce possible worksite exposures.”