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The emergence of COVID-19 disrupted the world and caused enormous instability. In the workforce, businesses had to adjust to the new normal to continue operating swiftly. However, the social and economic shift caused difficulties.
This, in turn, caused a significant increase in mental health issues for the employers and employees navigating their way through uncertain times.
COVID-19 and Our Current State
- The United States has the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide (Worldometers, June 2020)
- By the end of March, 95% of Americans were under a stay-at-home order (BusinessInsider, June 2020)
- Seven out of ten Americans say their lives have been disrupted a lot because of the coronavirus outbreak (KFF, April 2020)
- Nearly half of workers (45%) reported that they are very and somewhat concerned that they may lose their job (Statista, May 2020)
Global Economic and Social Impact of COVID-19
- By the end of the first quarter, the GDP dropped 4.8% (Aljazeera, April 2020)
- 48% of U.S. adults believe that COVID-19 will cause a recession, and 34% believe it is causing an economic slowdown (Pewresearch, March 2020)
- In March, it was estimated that the coronavirus could affect the U.S. economy in a 2.4% decline in GDP (Bloomberg, March 2020)
- The travel and tourism sector was the most affected by the pandemic; the revenue is expected to decrease 28.6%, from $156.2 billion in 2019 to $111.2 billion in 2020, (Statista, May 2020)
- In March, 30% of businesses reported that their sales had been affected by the pandemic (Thomsonreuters, March 2020)
- 11% of the leisure and hospitality industry jobs are at risk (Brookings, March 2020)
- Nearly half of U.S. adults reported that COVID-19 is a major threat to their financial situation (Pewresearch, March 2020)
- Eight in ten uninsured adults said they worry about not being able to afford testing or treatment for coronavirus if they need it (KFF, April 2020)
- The pandemic has changed the way people spend their money, with groceries and food delivery seeing a 3% increase and travel and restaurants having a significant decrease (Earnestresearch, March 2020)
- 57% of the recipients of the economic relief package reported that it was not enough money (Yougov, April 2020)
- 39% of Americans believe that the low-income category has been financially affected the most by the pandemic (Statista, April 2020)
- The number of unemployed rises at an unprecedented level; as of May 2020, there are 39 million people who lost their jobs in just nine weeks (Guardian, May 2020)
- The unemployment rate for young men (aged 16-24) increased from 8.5% in February to 24% in April (ILO, May 2020)
- The unemployment rate for young women (aged 16-24) was even greater; it increased from 7.5% in February to 29.8% in April (ILO, May 2020)
- 13% of adults already lost a job or had a significant reduction in hours (Statista, May 2020)
- 23% of lower–income adults were laid off or lost their jobs, compared to only 8% of upper-income adults who lost their jobs (Pewresearch, May 2020)
- 20% of workers can work from home and are doing so, 15% are not able to work from home, so they are not going to work, 17% are not able to work from home, so they still go to work (Statista, April 2020)
Stress and COVID-19
- There was a 34.1% increase in anti-anxiety medication prescriptions in February and March (Express-scripts, April 2020)
- 69% of workers say that the coronavirus has been the most stressful event in their professional career (HRexecutive, April 2020)
- Seven out of ten Americans say the coronavirus has been even more stressful than other major events like 9/11, or the 2008 Great Recession (HRexecutive, April 2020)
- 62% of workers reported losing at least one hour a day, and 32% reported losing more than two hours a day in productivity due to COVID-19 related stress (HRexecutive, April 2020)
- Job loss is associated with increased depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, which may lead to higher rates of substance use (KFF, April 2020)
- 47% of those sheltering at home reported having a negative mental health impact from worry or stress (KFF, April 2020)
- Work from home makes the work-life separation harder, which increases the likelihood of burnout (BambooHR, April 2020)
- More than 78% of prescriptions for anti-insomnia in March were for new medications, which shows the severe impact COVID-19 has had on mental health (Express-scripts, April 2020)
- 28% of Americans stated that their mental health is their main worry because of the coronavirus (Statista, June 2020)
- Compared to a study from 2018, adults in 2020 are eight times more likely to fit the criteria for serious mental illness (Psyarxiv, May 2020)
- Younger adults (aged 18-44) have experienced a tenfold increase in serious mental distress (Theconversation, May 2020)
Access to Paid Sick Leave
- 33.6 million workers in the U.S. do not have access to paid sick leave (PewResearch, March 2020)
- Almost all workers (92%) in the top quarter of earnings have some form of paid sick leave, compared to only 51% of those in the bottom quarter (PewResearch, March 2020)
- Nearly six in ten adults said they worry about being exposed to the coronavirus because they cannot afford to miss work and stay at home (KFF, April 2020)
- 69% of health care workers or households with a health care worker worry about being exposed to coronavirus because they cannot afford to miss work and stay home (KFF, April 2020)
- Burnout in hospitals is particularly high for young, registered nurses and nurses in hospitals with a higher nurse-to-patient ratio (Pubmed, March 2019)
Social distancing and lockdowns have become part of our regular life now. Hearing the statistics can put things more in perspective and help us better understand the state of the world. However, it is essential to remember that those numbers represent real people going through real challenges.
Written by shortlister editorial team
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