Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Carrie Redlich

Second Advisor

Martin Slade


ABSTRACTINTRODUCTION: To date, more than 120 million working-age Americans have had COVID-19 infection. Up to 80% of those infected have reported substantial persistent symptoms, known as long COVID. While current research continues to investigate long-term health effects of COVID-19 infections, less information exists on COVID-19’s impact on employment and return-to-work status. This study aims to better characterize the issues related to return-to-work status in those with long COVID. METHODS: Participants were recruited form the Yale Post-COVID-19 clinic. A mixed-methods survey was administered to collect demographic and employment information. Standardized scales were utilized to assess symptoms and functional status. Survey responses were entered into a Qualtrics database and analyzed using SAS software. RESULTS: Thirty-one participants have been enrolled to-date with a variety of job categories. Twenty-one respondents (67%) had returned to work in some capacity. The mean length of time away from work for those who had returned to work was 3 months, while the mean time for those who had not returned to work was 16 months. Ninety percent of participants who did not return to work had less than a college degree and 50% had a decreased DLCO. Half of those who had not returned to work were healthcare workers. Fifty-two percent of participants thought their COVID-19 infection was work-related, but only 50% of those individuals applied for Workers’ Compensation. CONCLUSION: In this selected group of workers with history of COVID-19 infection and persistent symptoms, two thirds of employees had returned to work, but the average number of lost workdays was substantial. Given the millions of U.S. workers experiencing persistent symptoms following COVID-19 infection, there is a need to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on workers, including risk factors for prolonged sick leave and unemployment, and how to improve work outcomes.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access