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Long Covid and Financial Instability: The Need for Social Support
Paying the Price for Long Covid:
For millions of Americans, a Covid-19 infection has turned into a long, drawn-out health condition with no expiration date. Those physical symptoms are often accompanied by increased financial uncertainty. Approximately 1 in 5 adults with long Covid symptoms have had problems paying their rent or mortgage, while 1 in 4 had difficulties paying their utility bills. More than 4 in 10 adults with long Covid have reported food insecurity. These findings highlight the financial instability faced by individuals with long Covid symptoms.
Income and Employment Disruptions:
Long Covid patients not only face physical and emotional challenges, but they also experience income and employment disruptions. Covid reduced the number of people in the labor force by 500,000, prompting average lost earnings of $9,000. Symptomatic long Covid is estimated to affect between 7.7 million to 23 million people in the country, based on the idea that up to 30% of those infected with Covid-19 will experience longer-lasting symptoms.
Barriers to Medical Care and Social Support:
The vague set of symptoms associated with long Covid can leave patients subjected to doubts from the medical community. This lack of support for proper medical care is further exacerbated by the financial difficulties faced by long Covid sufferers. In order to provide a better quality of life for individuals living with long Covid and other chronic illnesses, there is a need to commit to social support and disability aid.
Bolstering Social Supports:
The Urban Institute's research and expert feedback point to three changes that may help bolster social supports for long Covid sufferers. First, steps can be taken to broaden eligibility for assistance programs by streamlining application processes and expanding eligibility criteria. Second, increasing funding for community-based organizations can improve outreach and enrollment assistance to ensure that eligible individuals are aware of the benefits available to them. Finally, the size of benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income, may need to be increased to better meet the basic needs of beneficiaries.
Universal Paid Sick Leave:
The U.S. is one of the few developed countries without paid sick or family and medical leave policies. Efforts to establish a federal plan have stalled on Capitol Hill. However, having access to universal paid leave would help ensure that people infected with Covid-19 do not spread it and can take the necessary time to rest and recover. This policy would be particularly beneficial for those with lower incomes, who often do not have access to paid sick days.
Reasonable Accommodations from Employers:
Employers can play a vital role in supporting individuals with long Covid by offering reasonable accommodations such as flexible schedules, frequent breaks, or the ability to work from home. However, more needs to be done to raise awareness and understanding of long Covid in the workplace. A recent study found that about 18% of those with long Covid still hadn't returned to work even a year after contracting the virus.
A Call for Policy Changes:
It is crucial to recognize that the policy changes needed to support individuals with long Covid are not unique to this condition alone. There is a need for a more robust social safety net and improved access to medical centers that specialize in autoimmune diseases and infection-associated chronic illnesses. By implementing these changes, we can provide the necessary support for all individuals living with disabilities and chronic illnesses.
Conclusion: How Long Covid and Financial Instability Impact New Businesses
The intersection of long Covid and financial instability poses unique challenges for individuals and society as a whole. But how does this topic impact new businesses? Here's a hot take:
Starting a new business is already a daunting task, and the presence of long Covid and its associated financial instability adds another layer of complexity. Entrepreneurs may face hurdles such as the personal impact of long Covid symptoms or the economic repercussions of the pandemic. This could lead to reduced productivity, increased medical expenses, and even difficulty securing funding or accessing necessary financial resources.
Moreover, the burden of supporting employees who may be affected by long Covid can fall on new businesses. With the potential for reduced work hours, absenteeism, or the need for reasonable accommodations, businesses must be prepared to adapt and provide a supportive environment. However, this can be challenging for startups with limited resources and a need to maintain operational efficiency.
On the other hand, the topic of long Covid and financial instability can also present opportunities for new businesses. Entrepreneurs who can identify and address the unique needs of long Covid sufferers by offering related products or services may find a niche market. This could range from developing telehealth platforms specifically tailored to long Covid patients to creating supportive workplace programs to attract and retain talent.
Ultimately, the impact of long Covid and financial instability on new businesses will depend on various factors, including industry, resources, and adaptability. While the challenges are undeniable, recognizing the potential opportunities and finding innovative solutions can help businesses navigate these uncharted waters successfully.Article First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/07/26/long-covid-leads-to-financial-hardship-but-these-3-changes-can-help.html