New data shows that between two and four million working-age Americans have long COVID-19 symptoms that are so severe they cannot work, the Brookings Institution says in a report published this week.
The Brookings Institution studied data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey, and found that roughly 16 million Americans between 18 and 65, which is considered working age, have long COVID symptoms. This means a person is still experiencing symptoms three or more months after contracting COVID-19.
It's estimated that there are 10.6 million unfilled jobs in the U.S., the Brookings Institution says, with lost wages ranging from $170 billion to $230 billion a year. In order to try to combat long COVID's effect on the U.S. workforce, the report suggests employers consider expanding policies like ensuring workers receive paid sick leave. Currently, more than 25 percent of workers in the private sector do not have paid sick leave, The Guardian reports, and when looking at the bottom 25 percent of earners, more than half are without it.