Association Between SARS-CoV-2 Infection, Exposure Risk And Mental Health Among A Cohort Of Essential Retail Workers In The USA, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 29 October 2020
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in May 2020 in a single grocery retail store in Massachusetts.
Results: Among 104 workers tested, 21 (20%) had positive viral assays. Seventy-six per cent positive cases were asymptomatic.
Conclusions: In this single store sample, we found a considerable asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection rate among grocery workers. Employees with direct customer exposure were five times more likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2.
As to mental health, the prevalence of anxiety and depression was 24% and 8%, respectively. Those able to practice social distancing consistently at work had odds of 0.3 and 0.2, respectively.
CNN covered it:
About 20% Of Grocery Store Workers Had Covid-19, And Most Didn’t Have Symptoms, Study Found, CNN, 29 October 2020
These workers likely became a “significant transmission source” for Covid-19 without even knowing it because most in the study were asymptomatic.
The analysis … is the first to demonstrate the significant asymptomatic infection rate, exposure risks and psychological distress grocery workers have felt during the pandemic.
Workers who dealt with customers were five times as likely to test positive for Covid-19 as colleagues in other positions. But three out of four of those who tested positive had no symptoms.
Dr. Justin Yang, study author: “This is definitely very alarming as it means that retail grocery store employees are exposed to customers and sort of serve as a middleman for the virus – like a super spreader almost.”
Non-union grocery workers often have little to no healthcare coverage, meaning they could potentially face expensive health care bills if they contracted Covid-19.
An infection rate of 20% is crazy high. Yang said the infection rate in the surrounding community was less than 2%. And this was in early May, a time when cases were lower than they are today.
Buying groceries has become risky.