As concerns about the COVID-19 continue to rise, many employers are left wondering what they can do to protect their workforce. In this article, we’ll examine what coronavirus is, how it spreads, if there is insurance coverage for losses stemming from the virus, and what employers can do to protect their workforce.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronavirus is a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Common signs of infection include headache, fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. Individuals who are elderly or pregnant, and anyone with preexisting medical conditions are at the greatest risk of becoming seriously ill from coronaviruses.
Although the ongoing outbreak likely resulted from people who were exposed to infected animals, COVID-19 can spread between people through their respiratory secretions, especially when they cough or sneeze.
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the spread of COVID-19 from person-to-person most likely occurs among close contacts who are within about 6 feet of each other. It’s unclear at this time if a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.
Businesses are now evaluating how their operations might be affected by the coronavirus and asking if insurance policies provide coverage for losses associated with the virus. While there are potential financial risks associated with the coronavirus, property and casualty policies in most cases do not contemplate/cover losses or suits associated with pandemics including virus and bacteria-related events. These are catastrophic losses that are simply not insurable on a small scale at a cost anyone would be willing to pay.
The best way to deal with the coronavirus is to be prepared with a business continuity plan.
In order to help employers plan and respond to COVID-19, the CDC has issued interim guidance. The CDC recommendations include:
In addition to following the CDC’s interim guidance, employers should consider the following best practices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
Despite the current low level of risk for the average American employee, it is important to understand that the COVID-19 situation evolves and changes every day. Employers should closely monitor the CDC and WHO websites for the latest and most accurate information on COVID-19.
© 2020 Zywave, Inc.