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The emergence of the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic in December of 2019 and efforts by all levels of government to control the spread of the disease through lock-downs and travel restrictions, has reduced business activity in many industries.

Data released by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in late July of 2020 indicated that the country’s GDP decreased by an annual rate of 32.9%. The BEA attributed the decline to “state and local government responses to control the spread of the epidemic”

Consequently, the frequency of musculoskeletal work-related injuries especially in the entertainment, travel and hospitality industries has decreased, as indicated in the California Workers’ Compensation Institute’s interactive app.

As the frequency of the traditional injuries associated with work declined, the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 the virus causing Covid-19, increased significantly for various occupational groups. Many jobs that may typically not be considered high-risk, became high-risk for workers exposed to and infected by SARS-CoV-2.

Recently, a new study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, sought to determine the industries with the highest proportion of accepted COVID-19 related workers’ compensation claims.

The purpose of this investigation is to quantify the differences in the proportion of COVID- 19 related and non-COVID-19 related injuries and illnesses reported through the workers’ compensation system by industrial classification.

The study included 21,336 WC claims (1,898 COVID-19 and 19,438 other claims) that were filed between Jan 1, 2020 and August 31, 2020 from 11 states in the Midwest U.S.

The overwhelming proportion of all COVID-19 related WC claims submitted and accepted were from healthcare workers (83.77%) followed by individuals employed in retail trades (2.42%) and real estate and leasing (2.37%).

Within healthcare employment, WC claims submitted by workers in medical laboratories had the highest risk.

Conversely, in the study population, employment outside healthcare did not appear to consistently elevate the risk of infection with SARS CoV-2 and filing a claim for workers’ compensation to pay for the medical care and lost time associated with this condition.