While health-care workers’ high risk of coronavirus infection dominates the conversation, a new study found that grocery store workers also have alarming rates of infection.
Researchers from Harvard University found that 20% of 104 grocery workers tested positive at a Massachusetts store, and most of them had no symptoms on the test. This infection rate “is significantly higher than in surrounding communities,” the study authors write.
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The results have been published in the journal Occupation & Environment.
Additionally, people who interact directly with customers are 5 times more likely to give positive results.
Dr. Justin Yang, one of the study authors and assistant professor at Boston Medical University, the researcher, emphasized: “We did this study because of a lot of emphasis in the early months. COVID’s priorities are focused on medical staff, not other essential employees. at the Harvard School of Public Health TH Chan, wrote to Fox News in an emailed statement.
“I think there is always a concern when one is in close contact with another, such as in the case of an interaction with a salesperson / cashier in a store,” Yang added. “Therefore, physical barriers (plexiglass) and wearing a mask will significantly reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection.”
Yang notes that Massachusetts performed the masking task a few days after the study period; “I think for stores and states that have mask-wearing duties, we most likely won’t see this kind of number. But for stores and states that have no masking regulations, this scenario is most likely to happen in other stores, ”he said.
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However, the damage done to these essential workers is even greater, sometimes damaging their mental health. Workers who do not have a consistent social distance while at work have a higher risk of anxiety or depression, researchers say.
Workers who walked, bicycles or private cars were less likely to develop depression, as opposed to workers commuting on public transport or carpooling.
Our key mental health findings call for action in providing comprehensive employee support services to help essential workers cope with grief, the researchers wrote. during the COVID-19 pandemic, ”the researchers wrote.
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The study authors also said their findings reinforce observations from a study in China, which found that the prevalence of infection among supermarket workers was 9.2%.
The authors say their findings “support policy recommendations that employers and government officials should take actions to implement prevention and administrative arrangements, such as methods to reduce interpersonal exposure, repeat and regularly inspect SARS-CoV-2 staff, to ensure the health and safety of essential workers. “
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