SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – How much of an effect has COVID had on the inhabitants of planet Earth? The coronavirus pandemic has taken the lives of 1.3 million people across the globe and left many more people to grieve their loss.

In order to help researchers quantify the effect of COVID-19-related deaths on individuals, social scientists have created an indicator that estimates the average number of people in the U.S. who will experience the death of a close relative for each COVID-19 death.

The authors say that for every COVID-19 death, approximately nine surviving Americans will lose a grandparent, parent, sibling, spouse, or child.

RELATED: Grieving From A Distance: Coronavirus Changes How Families Experience Loss Of Loved Ones

They say being able to know this information can help shed light on important social ramifications of the crisis that happen downstream of the victim. The effects could be so great they could even lead to a second wave of population health challenges tied to bereavement and the loss of social and economic support.

In California, family members of loved ones who die from COVID-19 could feel an even heavier weight with the loss of a loved one because the state does not offer mandated job-protected bereavement leave. In Illinois, employees are entitled to two weeks of leave after the death of a child, and in Oregon, workers get two weeks for any family member.

While many companies in California do offer some type of bereavement leave, others don’t — forcing people to make a tough choice: grieve the loss of a family member on their own terms and risk getting fired, or work through it.

Coming up tonight at 10, CBS13 investigates the fight for the right to grieve without losing your job — and why multiple bereavement-leave bills never became law.


By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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