corona virus-Covid19

Study Finds High Rate of Asymptomatic COVID-19 Infection Among Retail Workers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Fan-Yun Lan, MD, MS

PhD candidate in Population Health Sciences | Environmental Health
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences & T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Harvard University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Existing evidence has indicated that essential workers are heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as they are not able to benefit from mitigation policies. Their occupational exposures increase their own risk to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and increase the risk of secondary transmissions to their colleagues, families and communities. Research, however, has largely focused on healthcare workers with relatively limited literature investigating non-healthcare essential workers.

Study Finds High Rate of Asymptomatic COVID-19 Infection Among Retail WorkersMedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: In our present study, we found an alarming infection rate of 20% positive SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR assay result among a cohort of grocery/retail market workers in Massachusetts, and the majority (76%) of them were asymptomatic at the time of testing. Furthermore, employees with direct customer exposure were five times more likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2. We also screened their mental health using validated questionnaires, finding the inability to practice social distancing consistently at work was a significant risk factor for anxiety and depression. At the same time, commuting to work by public transportation/shared rides was significantly associated with a depressive state.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: In this cohort of grocery retail essential workers, 20% had a positive SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR assay result and the majority (76%) of them were asymptomatic at time of testing. Employees with direct customer exposure were five times more likely to have a positive SARS-CoV-2 assay result. The ability to social distance consistently at work was a significant protective factor for anxiety and depression. Commuting to work by public transportation/shared rides and having an exposure to a confirmed case within the past 14 days were positively associated with depression. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: Future research is warranted to investigate the risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection and mental health adversity among other essential workers, such as public transportation workers, public safety workers, construction laborers, and so on.

Any disclosures?

We have no competing interest to disclose.

Citation:

Fan-Yun Lan, Christian Suharlim, Stefanos N Kales, Justin Yang. Association between SARS-CoV-2 infection, exposure risk and mental health among a cohort of essential retail workers in the USA. Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Oct. 30, 2020; DOI: 10.1136/oemed-2020-106774

JOIN OUR EMAIL LIST

We respect your privacy and will never share your details.

Last Modified: Nov 3, 2020 @ 12:56 am 

The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.