Light-touch regulation on U.S. employers is widely seen as a cornerstone of U.S. businesses’ dynamism. But economists say one trade-off is a risk of wider coronavirus transmission than in countries that provide sick leave to more workers.

Global health authorities are advising people to stay home if they fall ill. But that is financially challenging for millions of Americans without paid sick leave, who fear losing their paycheck or even their job if they don’t go to work.

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