Skip to content
Work Shift
Work in Progress

Fear of Catching Covid Has Cost US Economy $250 Billion This Year

The researchers estimate a phenomenon they’ve dubbed “Long Social Distancing” kept 3 million people out of the workforce

Bloomberg business news
Brace for a Covid Surge, US Surgeon General Murthy Warns

Persistent worries about catching Covid kept about 3 million Americans out of the workforce, reducing the nation’s economic output by $250 billion in the first half of 2022, according to new research on a phenomenon dubbed “Long Social Distancing.” 

Close to 60% of respondents to a monthly survey of tens of thousands of adults said they wouldn’t completely return to pre-Covid activities like riding crowded subways and elevators, and were staying out of the labor force as a result. Those not working or looking for a job in part due to infection fears totaled about 2% of the labor force, which translated to the 3 million figure, the researchers found.