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    COVID-19 Vulnerable People with Celiac Disease and Other Diseases Forced Back to Work Too Soon

    Scott Adams
    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      People with celiac and other diseases are being forced back to work by political leaders demanding that they sacrifice themselves and their loved ones to "help the economy."

    Telemarketers. Image: CC BY 2.0--News Oresund
    Caption: Telemarketers. Image: CC BY 2.0--News Oresund

    Celiac.com 05/13/2019 - People with celiac and other diseases are being forced back to work by political leaders demanding that they sacrifice themselves and their loved ones to "help the economy."  The problem is not simply relegated to pressure from bosses. In fact, some state governors are threatening to end unemployment benefits, including the federal $600 weekly CARES unemployment benefit, for anyone who refuses to return to work, as requested by their employer.

    You can read about that in this related article, which is aptly subtitled, "Governors Cut Off New Unemployment Benefits Before Some People Even Got Checks."

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    Of course, the problem is that the pandemic is far from under control, in fact, several states just saw their highest death toll, or highest new case numbers to date. Until we have adequate testing, tracing and ways to measure the safety level of any given state, city, or business, going back to work could be risky, especially for workers with autoimmune disease like celiac disease or other medical conditions. 

    Moneyist recently featured a letter from one person in Florida, whose work challenges illustrate the dilemma perfectly. The letter begins: 


    I‘ve been sick since March 1, diagnosed by urgent care with an acute upper respiratory infection. My primary physician put me on prednisone, as I’m anemic with debilitating asthma and celiac disease. I’m 66 years old. I’ve been hospitalized twice in two years with inflammation and pneumonia.

    For the last three weeks, I’ve asked the optometrist I work for to supply masks and gloves so I can protect myself and others while I’m at work. He thinks this whole thing is a farce, and a way to shut down the economy so that President Trump will lose the election in November.

    The worker states that her employer initially discouraged her from wearing a face mask, as per CDC guidelines. She goes on to add that she "continue[d] to cough, and last week I had a video visit with my primary physician. He became concerned, given my history of hospitalizations, and ordered me to be tested for COVID-19. I was tested on Thursday and am waiting for results. I was told to self-isolate for 14 days."

    The woman is legitimately concerned that staying home, as per her physician's direction, could leave her ineligible for unemployment benefits. Her letter includes this desperate line:

    "I’m falling through the cracks. I worry that if I do get COVID-19 and die, my husband and children will have no recourse against this employer"

    Are you or a loved one in a similar situation? Are you worried about COVID-19 and being pressured to return to work too soon? Share your story below.

    Read the letter, and the reply by Moneyist at Marketwatch.com.

    Edited by Scott Adams


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    I was diagnosed Celiac in 1961 time frame at Chicago Illinois Research....long before it was nationally recognized. I actually lived in the hospital because there was little to no knowledge of Celiac, and back in those days, they had to do a biopsy and there was a lot of hit or miss per se when I was being diagnosed.  I was severely ill and so emaciated by the time they got me from another hospital - that I could not stand up on my own. Chicago Illinois Research was a teaching hospital and I was visited often by physicians from all over the nation and world - very thankful to Pediatric Doctor Rosenthal back in the day.  He was my primary care physician, he was devoted, and I actually thought of him as a second father.  

    The thing I remember most when I "lived" in the hospital in 1961 in the pediatrics critical care floor - none of us children were isolated from one another - there were two to a room - visitors allowed - if the weather was nice, the nurses would bring us outside in our wheelchairs for fresh air and sunshine.  Since that point-in-time I have lived through other pandemics, illnesses and disease with a lot of unknowns and never experienced isolation or shutdown.

    I left corporate world in 2005, and went the self-employed house keeper route.  I temporarily closed my house cleaning business during the second week of March 2020.  My plans are a soft reopen in June, and then, get completely back on track with my clients' cleaning schedules by July, (I clean four houses a week).  I provided a handout of safety protocols to my clients.  The safety protocols are designed for my clients, as well as, keeping my own health and welfare in mind.

    We each have our own unique circumstances, and I was taught early on that the world does not revolve around my needs - it is up to me to take care of myself. 

    Regarding death tolls and cases....it has been brought to our attention that these numbers include "probable's", and some deaths are counted as COVID19 when there were other original underlying causes of death.   Also, if the same person is tested positive more than once, each positive test that same person takes is a separate count versus a one time count.  Unfortunate, that accurate accounting is not occurring - hence, we do not know the true numbers.

    Long-story-short, I am heading back to work - throughout my life I was taught to be clean, get fresh air and sunshine, eat good food (had dieticians), take my supplements and mingle with the world.  Trying to live a sterilized life will only backfire in the long run...it is impossible; at least that is what I believe and what I was taught as a child.

    Kind regards, JoAnne

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  • About Me

    Scott Adams was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1994, and, due to the nearly total lack of information available at that time, was forced to become an expert on the disease in order to recover. In 1995 he launched the site that later became Celiac.com to help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives.  He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of the (formerly paper) newsletter Journal of Gluten Sensitivity. In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. Celiac.com does not sell any products, and is 100% advertiser supported.

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