COVID-19 and the Workforce: Impacts on Workers with Disabilities

By Rachel Wright

Unemployment and Absence from Work

As the coronavirus pandemic temporarily curtailed many businesses’ in-person operations, layoffs and furloughs were quick to follow. Although the permanency of these layoffs is still unclear, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that job losses throughout the pandemic culminated in an unemployment rate of nearly 14.7% by the end of April. Of the positions lost, approximately 950,000 were previously held by workers with disabilities, putting the unemployment rate among these workers at 20%[1].

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Telehealth Gains Expected to Outlast Pandemic

by Sean Slone, CSG senior policy analyst

With the need to keep asymptomatic Americans away from health facilities to limit the spread of coronavirus this spring, the federal government and state governments deployed a variety of strategies and regulatory changes to increase access to telehealth. Now many experts are predicting those changes are likely to stay in place as the emergency subsides and efforts are in the works to ensure they do.

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Factors Contributing to the Spread of COVID-19 in Rural Communities

By: Brandy Whisman, CSG policy analyst

What began as a problem in concentrated in urban areas has now shifted to include non-metro areas as well. COVID-19 has had a serious impact on rural communities. Early cases of the virus popped up in mostly urban areas due to dense population, but as the numbers in urban areas like New York and Detroit begin to decline, outbreaks in rural communities are increasing.

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Pandemic Putting Precarious Child Care Industry in Danger of Collapse

by Sean Slone, CSG senior policy analyst

As parts of the country work through reopening parts of the economy, there is growing concern for an industry that pre-coronavirus allowed parents with small children the opportunity to maintain their careers: the child care industry, 90% of which is privately run.

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Precautions Needed as States Begin to Reopen

By Brandy Whisman, CSG policy analyst

At the end of April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added six new possible symptoms of COVID-19: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and loss of taste or smell. Since then, additional symptoms have been reported by doctors including gastrointestinal issues, blood clots and rashes. The virus can attack the kidneys, heart, lungs and blood vessels, creating “Covid toes,” a rash on the feet caused by the attack on the blood vessels. The CDC has released a video on how COVID-19 can spread in a community.

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Food Security: Meat Processing and Supply Chain Innovations During the Pandemic

By Vanessa Grossl, CSG policy analyst

Thousands of meat industry workers at hundreds of facilities across more than 23 states have now tested positive for COVID-19, raising serious concerns  for both food security and worker safety nationally, in a work environment where sick leave is rare.

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Federal Actions Advancing Telehealth During Pandemic

By Sean Slone, CSG senior policy analyst

This is the first in a series of reports on how telehealth is being impacted by policy changes and investments during the coronavirus pandemic. Future articles will address state policy activities, continuing challenges for telehealth access, how telehealth is impacting care during the crisis and whether the changes of the last few weeks will survive the pandemic to reshape telehealth’s future.

While the concept of telemedicine has been around for more than a quarter century, its adoption by patients and doctors alike has been relatively slow to evolve and a patchwork of state and federal regulations governing it—not to mention an underdeveloped technology infrastructure—has made it difficult to overcome that hesitation. But it appears the extraordinary circumstances presented by the pandemic could be changing that. Actions taken by Congress and a number of federal government agencies over the last two months are helping to advance the accessibility of telehealth during a time when in-person doctor visits are fraught with public health concerns.

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