New report details pain for workers from long COVID

Long COVID-19 has prevented many workers from going back to their jobs and has caused many of them to receive medical treatments for long periods of time, according to a new report released by the New York State Insurance Fund on Tuesday.

The report analyzed more than 3,000 workers’ compensation claims related to the coronavirus and found that 31 percent of them were suffering from long COVID — a condition with a range of persisting symptoms that follow a COVID-19 infection.

About 70 percent of those with long COVID were unable to return to work or needed medical treatments for at least six months, according to the report.

Eighteen percent of those with long COVID did not return to work more than one year after catching the initial infection. The report also found that the longer a worker stays out of work, the less likely they are to return.

Those who return to work may suffer from “disruptive” symptoms, including shortness of breath and fatigue. Forty percent of those with long COVID returned to work within 60 days and still continued to receive medical treatment, while about 60 percent did not return to work after 60 days, according to the report.

“Suffering from symptoms at work presents challenges for employees who may not be as productive as they once were or seek reduced hours and other accommodations, creating frustration as employees reintegrate into their jobs,” the report stated.

Claimants with comorbidities or who were hospitalized for COVID-19 were also more likely to develop long COVID. The risk of hospitalizations and death also increased when a claimant had more than one comorbidity, the report found.

The ratio of long COVID claims to total COVID claims has also dropped over the years from 44 percent in March 2020 to 8 percent in March of 2022.

The report analyzed 3,139 established COVID workers’ compensations claims submitted to the New York State Insurance Fund from Jan. 1, 2020, to March 31, 2022.

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