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Pandemic-related job cuts have led 14.6M in U.S. to lose insurance

Up to 7.7 million U.S. workers lost jobs with employer-sponsored health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic, and 6.9 million of their dependents also lost coverage, a new study finds.

Workers in manufacturing, retail, accommodation and food services were especially hard-hit by job losses, but unequally impacted by losses in insurance coverage.

Manufacturing accounted for 12% of unemployed workers in June. But because the sector has one of the highest rates of employer-sponsored coverage at 66%, it accounted for a bigger loss of jobs with insurance — 18% — and 19% of potential coverage loss when dependents are included.

Nearly 3.3 million workers in accommodation and food services had lost their jobs as of June — 30% of the industry’s workforce. But only 25% of workers in the sector had employer-sponsored insurance before the pandemic. Seven percent lost jobs with employer-provided coverage.

The situation was similar in the retail sector. Retail workers represented 10% of pre-pandemic employment and 14% of unemployed workers in June. But only 4 in 10 retail workers had employer-sponsored insurance before the pandemic. They accounted for 12% of lost jobs with employer-sponsored insurance and 11% of potential loss including dependents.

The study was a joint project of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and the Commonwealth Fund.

“Demographics also play an important role. Workers ages 35 to 44 and 45 to 54 bore the brunt of [employer insurance]-covered job losses, in large part because workers in these age groups were the most likely to be covering spouses and other dependents,” said Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program.

“The adverse effects of the pandemic recession also fell disproportionately on women,” Fronstin added in an EBRI news release. “Although women made up 47% of pre-pandemic employment, they accounted for 55% of total job losses.”

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Using the Pandemic as an Opportunity to Lose Weight and Get in Shape

It also helped that she was no longer able to go out for meals and had to cook at home, where she prepared healthy meals for herself, like chicken, fish and salads. Rather than vodka on the rocks, her previous cocktail of choice, she diluted her vodka with mineral water and a splash of cranberry juice. “Quarantine gave me time to be creative with the meals I was eating,” she said.

Another reason many people gained weight is that they stopped planning their meals in advance. Without planning ahead, they would just grab whatever was available.

“Before shelter in place they would prep their meals and sort of had a plan,” said Dr. Rami Bailony, the co-founder and chief executive of Enara Health, a digital membership weight loss clinic. “Once Covid hit they thought they could cook something up that was healthy. But once you’re thinking about eating in the moment you tend to go with what’s expedient.”

When the pandemic started, Mindy Bachrach, 58, a home health occupational therapist in Henderson, Nev., soothed herself with sugary and high fat foods. As an essential worker, she was working pretty much all of her waking hours. “I have a weird job, I eat in my car all the time,” she said. “If I don’t prepare very carefully, I end up getting fast food, which I don’t even like.”

After two weeks, her pants were tighter. As someone who had lost and regained dozens of pounds in her life, she panicked. “I decided I had to do something,” she said. “If I didn’t, things were going to get out of control.”

She went on the Whole 30 plan, which eliminates processed foods, sugar and sugar substitutes, alcohol, grains, dairy and most legumes. She also stopped weighing herself. “I wanted the focus to be on how foods made me feel and not weight loss itself,” she said. Thirty days later, she stepped on the scale and was down 20 pounds.

Randy Garcia, 42, of Dallas, has lost 104 pounds since July, 2019, with the help of Enara, which connects members with a doctor, dietitian and exercise coach and costs $400 a month.

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As Trump is treated for coronavirus, the press can’t lose sight of the nationwide story

A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.



a bus that is sitting on the side of a car: President Donald Trump wears a protective mask while giving a thumbs up as he is driven in a motorcade past supporters outside of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S., on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump briefly left his hospital in a car to greet supporters gathered outside, after posting a video on Twitter saying he was about to make a surprise visit. Photographer: Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg via Getty Images


© Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg via Getty Images
President Donald Trump wears a protective mask while giving a thumbs up as he is driven in a motorcade past supporters outside of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S., on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump briefly left his hospital in a car to greet supporters gathered outside, after posting a video on Twitter saying he was about to make a surprise visit. Photographer: Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The president’s health crisis is undoubtedly the biggest single story in the United States right now. But it should not blot out the broader coronavirus story.

Along with the cooler temperatures that drive people indoors, there are worrying trends across the US. “In many states, local and state leaders are reporting worrying milestones,” CNN’s Christina Maxouris and Jason Hanna reported over the weekend.

Wisconsin is emerging as a hotspot: The state reported 2,892 new cases on Saturday, “a record number.” In Kentucky, the governor said his state “shattered” the previous case record. In New York City, the mayor said he wanted to lock down certain hot spots in the city.

Overall, “in the past five days of reporting nationwide, there have been a total of 232,657 cases of coronavirus reported, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That is the most cases in a five day period reported since mid-August,” per CNN’s Chuck Johnston.

The daily new-case count surpassed 50,000 on Friday. And on Saturday, there were 49,994 new cases reported nationwide, according to JHU. The virus is tightening its grip on many parts of the continental US. And the fall is just beginning, so expect that grip to get even tighter. The president’s diagnosis should be reported in that context…

>> Big picture: More than 7.3 million people have been infected nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins data. More than 209,000 people have died.

Trump said “the end of the pandemic is in sight”

That’s what he said in a pre-recorded video on Thursday for the Al Smith Dinner. Based on what we know about the timeline of his illness, he was already infected when he made the faulty claim.

In a new video, posted to Twitter on Sunday evening, Trump said “I learned a lot about Covid” by getting sick. He went on to say “I get it, and I understand it, and it’s a very interesting thing, and I’m going to be letting you know about it.” Right after he recorded that comment, he went for a ride…

The “double take”

Ana Cabrera was anchoring on CNN, interviewing James Clapper and David Gergen, when there was a surprise convoy of vehicles on the live camera shot from outside Walter Reed. Cabrera told me she did a “double take” as she saw the president waving to his supporters from his armored SUV. “Hey, you guys,” she said as she interrupted

Worried You’ll Lose Obamacare? These States Have the Cheapest Healthcare Costs



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