COVID symptom screening, a new workplace practice, is already affecting many millions of American workers. As of this writing, 34 states already require, and federal guidance recommends, frequent screening of at least some employees for fever or other symptoms. This paper provides the first empirical work identifying major features of symptom screening in a broad population and exploring the trade-offs employers face in using daily symptom screening. First, we find that common symptom checkers could screen out up to 7 percent of workers each day, depending on the measure used. Second, we find that the measures used will matter for three reasons: Many respondents report any given symptom, survey design affects responses, and demographic groups report symptoms at different rates, even absent fluctuations in likely COVID exposure. This last pattern can potentially lead to disparate impacts and is important from an equity standpoint.
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