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Nearly One In Four New York City Transit Workers Have Contracted Covid-19, Study Finds

Topline

Nearly a quarter of New York City’s bus and subway workers have contracted Covid-19, a study conducted by the NYU School of Global Public Health has found, highlighting the severe impact of the pandemic on frontline workers in the city.

Key Facts

Of the 645 transit workers who responded to the study, 24% reported having had COVID-19.

Around 90% of the workers expressed concern about getting sick at work and more than 70% said they fear for their safety at work.

Despite the large number of people getting infected, only 30% of workers plan on getting a Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available, 38% are unsure while the remaining 32% will not take it.

The unwillingness to get inoculated comes from a lack of trust in the safety in a vaccine, the report found.

Big Number

132. That’s the total number of Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) workers who have died due to Covid-19, as of late June.

Crucial Quote

Those who contracted the virus did not live in areas with high infection rates, meaning they likely got sick on the job, the researchers told the New York Daily News. The research project’s lead Robyn Gershon said: “From our New York City data, transit workers were almost twice as likely to be living in a low-risk neighborhood if they were positive, so it looks like it probably was work related.”

Chief Critic

MTA officials have argued that NYU’s findings were merely preliminary and told the New York Daily News that the agency’s own data shows that just 3,921 — or 7.4% — of the employees at NYC Transit, the agency’s largest subsidiary, caught COVID-19.

Key Background

In May, New York State reported that 14.2% of transit workers had Covid-19 antibodies. The 24% number found by NYU’s study suggests that many more continued to contract the virus during the summer months even as the pandemic began to ebb in New York City.

Tangent

The virus has also seemingly taken a toll on the mental health of a lot of transit workers, with around 60% reporting feeling “nervous, anxious, on-edge” and 15% feeling depressed. Recommending workplace mental health services for transit workers, Gershon noted that in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center’s workers, services that supported employee mental health had a better outcome. “The workplaces that invested in these services—that recognized the loss of life and didn’t diminish it—fared much better than those who did not,” Gershon said.

Further Reading

One-fourth of NYC transit workers caught COVID-19: study (New York Daily News)

Nearly a Quarter of New York City Transit Workers Report Having Had COVID-19 (NYU)

Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus

Source: Forbes – Business

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