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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable to the coronavirus, and at least 63.2% of employees live with someone who is at increased risk, according to a new study published in Health Affairs.

Why it matters: We know children can catch and spread the virus. This study emphasizes why minimizing risk if and when schools reopen is crucial.

Details: The study found that low-skill support staff were more likely to be vulnerable to the virus than teachers or administrators.

  • Men were more likely to be vulnerable than women, and Black employees more likely than white employees to be at increased risk.
  • More than 70% of low-skill employees, employees older than 50 and Black employees live with someone in a vulnerable category.

More than half of school-age children live with an adult who is at increased risk, with high school students more likely to live with a vulnerable adult than elementary-age students.

  • "This finding takes on special importance in the context of COVID-19, insofar as transmission risks also increase with child age," the authors note. "The risk of adult exposure may therefore be greatest when the risk of severe illness is also greatest."

The bottom line: 35.2% of all adults — and more than a quarter of adults who are at increased risk — are either employed by schools, live with someone who is, or live with a school-aged child.

  • Among at-risk adults, only 22.4% of white adults were connected to schools, compared with 34.1% of Black adults and 44.3% of Hispanic adults.

Go deeper

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.
Dec 27, 2020 - World

New coronavirus variant reaches Canada, Japan and several EU countries

A COVID-19 assessment center in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. Photo: Zou Zheng/Xinhua via GettyImages

Cases of a new variant of COVID-19 first detected in England were confirmed by health officials in Canada, Japan and several more European Union countries Saturday.

Why it matters: While there's no evidence the variant is more deadly than the original strain, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement that it could be 70% more transmissible prompted dozens of countries to ban travel from the United Kingdom.

Updated Dec 27, 2020 - World

EU launches coronavirus vaccine drive to inoculate 450M people

Krystyna Matusik, a nurse from the Krakow University Hospital Intensive Care Unit, is given the first jab of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Krakow, Poland, on Sunday. Photo: Omar Marques/Getty Images

The European Union began on Sunday a coordinated rollout of coronavirus vaccinations across its 27 member states in a drive to inoculate some 450 million people.

Why it matters: Several European countries have tightened restrictions as cases, deaths and hospitalizations surge. EU countries have recorded at least 16 million COVID-19 cases and 336,000 deaths since the pandemic began, per AP.