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Report Says “Inadequate” COVID Precautions Are Costing Texas’ Economy

From Texas Standard:

Around 54,000 Texans have died from COVID-19 to date, and the effects of that loss will spread for years. But there was also an economic impact, and it was exacerbated by the recent surge in the delta variant of the coronavirus.

Ray Perryman, an economist and CEO of the Perryman Group in Waco, noted that Texas would lose billions if it didn’t take certain steps to help people get back to work and school safely. He predicts these potential losses in a new report titled “Masked! The hidden and avoidable losses to the Texan economy related to inadequate protective measures for COVID-19”.

What is at stake, he told Texas Standard, is an average of $ 63,000 a year in losses to employers for every worker unable to come to work because of the pandemic. The downstream effects of this unemployment are even greater. He estimates that Texas will lose about $ 180,000 a year for each unemployed person, making a total loss of about $ 13.4 billion a year.

“If you let that happen across the economy, the productivity effects, the lingering effects, the consumption effects, all these other things … even a single worker, well, make a noticeable difference,” Perryman said.

However, he argues that many of these potential losses can be avoided with proper COVID-19 precautions. Perryman says wearing masks and other basic protective measures in schools and in the workplace are essential to keep the economy going.

“If we can make schooling safer for children, more parents can get back to work. If we can make the workplace safer, more people will return to work, ”he said.

He says getting more people vaccinated is also important.

Perryman is particularly concerned about the adverse impact a slow economy has had and could have on hospitality workers; They bear brunt of the negative economic impact of the pandemic because their jobs require so much personal time. This industry is also full of small businesses and minority-owned companies who, in his opinion, are often less equipped to weather tough economic times.

But Perryman says his group’s report is only a forecast. If Texas took more precautions, future losses could be avoided.

“Any person we can get back to work, any person we can go back to school, and any person we can stop the disease from spreading and allowing more variations will have a positive impact on the economy . ” he said.

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