The labor losses due to Covid-19 that Social Security has registered since the start of the pandemic tripled the official number of infections that the Government offers. Specifically, the department that directs José Luis Escrivá has accounted for more than 700,000 temporary disability leave derived from this disease from mid-March to the end of May, compared to 240,000 infections reported by the Ministry of Health in the same period. This comparison once again highlights the lack of coherence between the data provided by the different public bodies on the impact of the coronavirus on the health of Spanish society. It is worth making some clarifications regarding the figures. Of all the sick leave recorded by Social Security, only about 210,000 correspond to confirmed cases of Covid-19 by PCR diagnosis, while the rest, around 490,000, are preventive isolates. In addition, it must be taken into account that temporary disabilities are attributed to people of working age, so that only the population between 16 and 65 years old. This implies that the actual number of those infected would be well above what the Government says, considering that the difference between those positive at working age (210,000) and those confirmed nationally (240,000), that is, just 30,000 people, It is very far from the more than 100,000 children under 16 and over 65 who have been infected according to the Carlos III Health Institute.From a quick account it follows that the total number of infections in all of Spain would long exceed 300,000 (The 210,000 workers who have been on leave plus the 100,000 people outside this age range that counts in ISCIII). And this without taking into account the cases of isolation for having been in contact with infected people or for having symptoms compatible with the disease but not confirmed by PCR tests. This dance of figures is just another example of the lack of control in the counting systems of the Ministry of Health, which has drawn attention to even the prestigious Financial Times, especially due to the fluctuations in the statistics related to deaths (27,134, according to official data). The data handled by Social Security shows that at the end of May, family doctors (those responsible for signing the disability reports temporary) they had already discharged almost 600,000 workers, so that just over 100,000 people continued to be discharged. Escrivá’s team also records other relevant data, which is the duration of the losses. According to his records, the average period that a worker has been discharged by Covid-19 is 21 days, with a difference of four days between confirmed disease cases (24 days) and isolation cases (20 days). But there is information that is not yet able to break down Social Security and is the incidence of sick leave due to temporary disability derived from the Covid-19 by professional activity. These data would clarify the impact of the disease by economic sectors and the level of exposure depending on the profession. Likewise, it would reveal very valuable information at the moment, such as the information of infected toilets for being on the front line in the fight against the pandemic. According to the last balance offered by the Ministry of Health on May 29, infected healthcare professionals exceed 51,000, although again this figure only takes into account those diagnosed by PCR. According to the most recent data, there are 63 deaths among this group. Sources from Escrivá’s team maintain that at the moment this data breakdown is not available because the “National Institute of Social Security does not have as much muscle as the General Treasury a when it comes to obtaining sectoral data. ” Thus, for example, the Ministry has made an important effort of transparency by detailing the workers affected by records of temporary employment regulation (ERTE) depending on the different sectors and economic activities, but as they insist, it is not possible to offer the same sectoralized information on the medical losses of workers infected or in isolation by Covid-19. It must be remembered that, in general terms, according to the Royal Decree-Law 6/2020, of March 10, “they will be considered, with exceptional character, a situation assimilated to a work accident, exclusively for the economic benefit of temporary disability of the Social Security system, those periods of isolation or contagion of the workers caused by the Covid-19 virus”. However, the Royal Decree-Law 19/2020, of May 26, ordered the “recognition as a work accident of the Social Security benefits caused by the personnel who provide services in health or socio-health centers and who, in the exercise of their profession, have contracted Covid-19 during any of the phases of the pandemic, for having been exposed to that specific risk during the provision of health and socio-health services “.But for unions the introduction of this consideration is not enough. The Federation of Health and Social Health Sectors of CCOO (FSS-CCOO) He denounces that the Government “sells smoke” and the regional administrations and many private companies “oblige workers in the health and socio-health sectors” to carry out procedures to request the change of contingency in the event of Covid-19 infections. Through a statement, CCOO criticizes that the new regulation “instead of shedding light on the process of recognizing the workplace accident, puts workers back in a position to demand a change in the contingency.” The union demands that the Government “clarify its intentions and follow the line of the rest of European countries assuming that the infections are recognized without further delay as an occupational disease.”
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