Here's a fascinating (and depressing) Twitter thread by Nate Bear about the record numbers of people across the globe who are out of work due to illness. He starts the thread with this tweet:
A few months ago the UK reported record numbers of people were out of work due to illness. Then similar figures came out of the US. Now record high workplace sickness is being reported in countries around the world. COVID is decimating workers.
In the rest of the thread, he shares various studies highlighting statistics about workforce sickness across the globe. Nate Bear also runs a Substack called "Do Not Panic" if you want to read more of his content. There, he posted a companion piece to his tweet, "Everyone, Everywhere, All at Once, Is Sick," which compiles the latest statistics highlighting the record numbers of workers out sick from the UK, the U.S., Australia, Spain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Sweden, and Poland. How does he sum up all of this news? He writes:
One way to sum up where we are with COVID in 2023 is that businesses, governments, their experts and the media desperately wanted and needed vaccines to turn a SARS virus into the common cold, and no one is prepared to deal with the possibility they didn't. And nothing suggests they did.
With a de facto blackout on COVID due to the elimination of testing and reporting, it will be much harder to assess the ongoing effects of the virus, but sickness from work will be a key one. As will excess deaths and life expectancy, which have both trended significantly up and down, respectively, in the last two years.
The future is sicker. That's unavoidable now. Mass infection with a SARS virus will do that. It just will. This isn't doomism, it's biology. How much sicker we don't yet know. And whether it is reversible really depends on whether people can organise to make revolutionary change. Somewhere, somehow, maybe someone will show us the way. Prior to the revolution, we have to demand clean air and sensible indoor mask policies, healthcare settings at a minimum. But to expect this system to make the changes needed to help us get better? Now that's doomism.