The Hill (5/8, Lane) reported that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released data on Friday showing “the U.S. lost 20.5 million jobs in April amid the economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic,” including “503,000 losses in dental offices.” The article reported that the US “unemployment rate spiked to 14.7 percent from 4.4 percent in March, according to the April jobs report, as thousands of businesses closed and laid off or furloughed workers they could no longer afford to employ.”
CNBC (5/9, Coombs) reported that “the staggering jobs losses mark a 53% decline in dental practice employment over two months,” although as dental offices begin reopening, “most of the jobs could come back online over the next few weeks.” Marko Vujicic, PhD, ADA’s chief economist and vice president of the ADA Health Policy Institute, said, “This week 28 states have reopened...in those states we’re finding 48% of dentists have fully hired back their staff, which is a considerable jump from two weeks ago.” CNBC stated that one challenge for many dental practices “fully ramping up service is finding enough personal protection equipment [PPE] for their staff.” In addition, “they are facing higher costs because of new safety protocols to protect themselves and their patients.” The article said that “the ADA has asked Congress to provide tax credits to dental practices in the next round of coronavirus funding, to help cover the increased costs of PPE.”
Also reporting are CNN (5/8, Luhby), Bloomberg Law (5/8, Ruoff, Subscription Publication), and Fox Business (5/8, Henney).
To aid dentists who may be reopening their practices as state mandates are lifted, the ADA issued a statement and interim guidance April 18 on the PPE recommended in order to practice during this pandemic and minimize the risk of virus transmission. The ADA also issued a new chart called Understanding Face Masks that highlights the characteristics of several common types of mask and their appropriate uses. The chart also addresses mask fit protocols and usage limitations.
In addition, the ADA offers the Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit, a free resource to help dentists return to more normal practice operations while taking precautions to protect staff, patients, and themselves from COVID-19.