Research

US: INSECURE INCOME IS HARMFUL TO WORKERS

The insecure income associated with ‘gig work’ has a negative impact on the overall health and wellbeing of US workers, according to University of Texas (UT) research. The study, published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, used data from the 2008-2019 IPUMS Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. UTHealth School of Public Health researchers found that insecure income from gig work contributed to poor health outcomes, including a sicker workforce, higher unreimbursed healthcare costs, and greater costs to the consumer. They found insecure income earners reported a 50 per cent increase in poor overall health and psychological distress compared to salary earners. Black and Hispanic workers earning insecure income were more likely to report poor health than their white counterparts. Higher rates of hourly pay reduced, but did not remove, the correlation between insecure income and workers' health.

Source: Robert D Thomas, John W Davis, Paula M Cuccaro, Gretchen L Gemeinhardt. Assessing associations between insecure income and US workers’ health: An IPUMS-MEPS analysis, Social Science & Medicine, volume 309, September 2022: 115240. University of Texas news release. Science Daily

UK: COVID-19 STUDY SHOWS ISOLATION PERIOD IS TOO SHORT

A comprehensive study has revealed that two-thirds of people with Covid-19 are still infectious five days after symptoms begin, calling into question the UK’s self-isolation advice. Seran Hakki and colleagues at Imperial College London studied people before, during and after they developed Covid-19 between September 2020 and October 2021. They did this by asking those who had been in close contact with known cases to carry out frequent nasal and throat swabs and keep daily symptom diaries. Towards the end of people’s illness, two-thirds were still infectious five days after their symptoms began, and a quarter were still infectious after seven days. Current UK advice is that most people can stop self-isolating after five days.

Source: Seran Hakki, Jie Zhou, Jakob Jonnerby and others. Onset and window of SARS-CoV-2 infectiousness and temporal correlation with symptom onset: a prospective, longitudinal, community cohort study, The Lancet Respiratory Medicinepublished online 18 August 2022. DOI: 10.1016/S2213-2600(22)00226-0. New Scientist.

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