Research/studies Workplace exposures Worker Health and Wellness COVID-19

Americans are concerned about bringing COVID-19 home from work, survey shows

Photo: IVAN ARAGON ALONSO/iStockphoto

Washington — Are you concerned you could be exposed to COVID-19 at work and infect members of your household? You’re not alone, results of a recent Washington Post survey show.

National polling firm Ipsos Public Affairs and the Post surveyed 8,086 U.S. adults – of whom 2,302 said they’re working outside of the home – between April 27 and May 4. The online questionnaire comprised more than 50 questions about working during the pandemic.

Nearly one-third of the workers leaving the home once a week are “very concerned” or “extremely concerned” about getting sick – even though 79% said their workplace has done enough to ensure employees are safe on the job. Additionally, 85% said their employer has encouraged workers who are feeling sick to stay home, while 59% said their employer has reduced the number of workers physically at the workplace.


However, one-third of respondents believe they had already been exposed at work.

Most employers are providing tools to help reduce worker exposure and potential transmission, such as access to soap and water for handwashing (91%), hand sanitizer (82%), and facemasks (71%).

Other findings:

  • 35% of the respondents wear a facemask at all times when outside of the home, 39% wear one occasionally or some of the time, and 26% never wear a mask.
  • 76% said customers visiting an establishment should be required to wear a facemask.
  • 10% of respondents work in health care, 7% are in sales or office and administrative support, and 6% have food preparation roles.

The results were published online May 15 at

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