Despite need for critical health care workers, medical professionals losing work amid COVID-19

The coronavirus crisis has caused devastating job losses across the country, but economists now say despite the need for critical health care workers, that work sector is also experiencing similar losses.

"Given the nature of the unemployment numbers we've seen have been double digits across the board, you should expect that you will see the same kind of thing in the health care sector as well," said economist John Johnson, CEO of Edgeworth Analytics.

Roughly 30.3 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the six weeks since the coronavirus outbreak began forcing millions of employers to close their doors and slash their workforces.

Johnson says unemployment data for the month of April will be released in a couple of days and will provide a more accurate picture of how many medical professionals and support staff are losing work. Economists have forecast that the unemployment rate for April could go as high as 20%. That would be the highest rate since it reached 25% during the Great Depression.

Johnson says April's numbers will likely show significant cuts across the board.

"Most of those that are occurring are in physicians' offices, outpatient and ambulatory care, administrative workers in the health care sector," he said.

That's partly due to the fact that elective surgeries and regular check-ups have fallen dramatically, causing the medical industry as a whole to take a big financial hit.

Last months, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that hospitals statewide will be able to start scheduling surgeries in a move toward modifying the state's stay-at-home order.

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In the first move toward modifying and easing California's stay-at-home order, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that hospitals statewide can now start scheduling surgeries.

"(The) health care sector had the second largest decline in the services industry right behind restaurants. So there really is this weird dichotomy of all the stories about people (being) overworked but at the same time people also having layoffs in the same sector," Johnson said.

Like many other industries taking a financial hit, he adds there will likely be a streamlining of health care jobs post-pandemic.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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