The New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF), the state's largest workers' compensation carrier, today released a report analyzing its Covid-19 workers' compensation claims to shine a light on Long Covid, a multifaceted syndrome causing new, returning, or ongoing symptoms in people after their initial infection.
"As a large insurer with a public purpose, NYSIF is uniquely positioned to leverage its data to inform the broader conversation on Long Covid, including its ongoing, cascading, and yet-unclear implications for employers and the workforce," said NYSIF Executive Director and CEO Gaurav Vasisht. "We hope the study contributes meaningfully to the nascent yet growing body of research, helping to enhance our collective understanding of the challenges posed by this complex condition."
The study, which analyzed more than 3,000 Covid-19 workers' compensation claims initiated between January 2020 and March 2022, found that:
- Almost one-third of all workers infected with Covid-19 suffered or are suffering from Long Covid, with the percentage peaking during the initial phase of the pandemic and falling over time.
- Approximately 18 percent of workers with Long Covid—or about five percent of Covid-19 claimants—could not return to work for more than one year.
- The percentage of female workers with Long Covid (37 percent) was 11 points higher than that of male workers (26 percent).
- Forty percent of workers with Long Covid returned to work within 60 days of infection while still receiving medical treatment.
- Adults over 60 with Long Covid experienced significant difficulty returning to regular work life, with their challenges intensifying with age.
- Nearly all workers with comorbidities or those hospitalized for their initial infection experienced Long Covid.
- The incidence of Long Covid in essential workers may be higher than the data suggests, creating a potential blind spot for policymakers.
"The NYSIF report provides invaluable data on the potential impact of Long Covid on New York’s workforce," said New York State Commissioner of Labor Roberta Reardon. "This information will inform our approach as we look to help businesses and workers navigate uncertain challenges ahead as the state continues its post-pandemic resurgence."
"New York State has made it a priority to help workers understand their rights to medical treatment and lost wage benefits when they contract Covid-19 on the job. This is especially important for Long Covid sufferers who may miss time and lose pay from work due to ongoing medical needs," said Workers' Compensation Board Chair Clarissa Rodriguez. "NYSIF's review and analysis of workers' compensation claims provides valuable data to help us better understand Long Covid and how to support workers."
"The NYSIF report provides valuable data that will help us further understand the implications of Long Covid on New York’s workforce," said Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald. "I commend NYSIF’s continuous efforts to support New York employers and their employees as they deal with the challenges posed by Long Covid."
The report published today builds on other State initiatives to raise awareness and provide resources for those affected by Long Covid. The New York State Department of Health’s Long Covid webpage provides information about symptoms and treatment, drawing from the work of an expert consortium convened in early 2022. The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board offers a series of educational webinars and other resources, encouraging New Yorkers who contract Covid-19 at work to file a workers’ compensation claim, even if they recover from their initial symptoms. Additional information about New York Paid Sick Leave, which is available for medical appointments and treatments related to Long Covid, can be found on the Paid Sick Leave webpage.