NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — For the first time, the Census Bureau is giving a real-time look at how COVID is affecting the nation's workforce.
A record 9 million Americans have called out sick due to the virus or called out to take care of a sick loved one.
The surge in sick workers is impacting industries ranging from hospitals to airlines.
Since early 2020, the agency has asked people why they aren't working — with answers ranging from "I'm retired" to "My employer shut down due to the pandemic" — to gauge the pandemic’s effects more precisely on the economy.
The most recent Census analysis reflects the highest number of people who have called in sick due to COVID-19, since the survey began.
To put this in perspective, 9 million people represents about 6% of the U.S. workforce.
Some have called this time “The Great American Sickout”
Experts are stressing if you’re vaccinated, don’t let your guard down right now. Everyone needs to be on high alert to limit spread of the virus.
“So, we have to have the conversation about how do we prevent spread in the absence of vaccination? Vaccination is a great tool but the other tool we’ve been using over and over again is a mask,” Molecular Epidemiologist Dr. Jill Roberts said.
Some signs suggest the latest COVID-19 wave may be easing, due to declining infection rates in Africa, where Omicron was first detected, and in the U.K.