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COVID-19 and its health consequences

21. February 2023 – In the first two years of the pandemic, absenteeism due to mental illness continued to increase in Berlin and Brandenburg, while the diagnosis COVID-19 was only found on a rather small proportion of sick leave. This is one of the results of the current cross-state health report for the years 2019 to 2021. This is now the sixth health report presented by the Healthcare Industries Cluster Berlin-Brandenburg - Health Capital. The report takes a comprehensive look at the health of the workforce.

Looking at the main causes of absenteeism, respiratory diseases decreased during the first two years of the pandemic, while absenteeism due to mental illness continued to increase. For the first time, mental illnesses accounted for the most days of absence in Berlin in 2021, closely followed by diseases of the musculoskeletal system. In Brandenburg, on the other hand, musculoskeletal disorders continued to cause the most days of absence; in 2020, which was also still the case in Berlin.

The sickness rate in the region has fallen and was 4.6 per cent in Berlin and 6.3 per cent in Brandenburg in 2021. Berlin's sickness rate was well below the national average, while Brandenburg's was above. The frequency of sick leave in particular declined in both federal states, while the average length of sick leave increased.

Dr. Kai Uwe Bindseil, Head of Department Healthcare Industries | Industry | Infrastructure of Berlin Partner: “With the cross-state health report Berlin-Brandenburg, we are now presenting a comprehensive analysis of the health situation of employees in our region for the sixth time. It offers the actors in the health economy cluster, companies, social insurance institutions and politics a sound basis for monitoring short- and longer-term developments in detail. Building on this, they can develop new measures, concepts and solutions to strengthen and promote the health of workers in the context of existing challenges."     

The incidence of sickness varies by sector and region; the sectors with the highest sickness rates continue to be:

  • water supply, sewage and waste disposal
  • public administration, defence; social security
  • transportation and storage
  • health care and social services

The changes in everyday working life and what the COVID-19 pandemic means for tomorrow's working world pose new occupational health management tasks. These and other findings of the health report will be discussed in an online event on 28 February 2023. Interested parties can register for this free of charge under the following link: The health situation of employees - what can we learn from the COVID-19 pandemic? | Healthcare industries cluster Berlin-Brandenburg (

The sixth cross-state health report (German) is available for download free of charge here or can be ordered as a printed booklet from the Berlin-Brandenburg Health Capital Cluster (email: info(at), Tel. 030-46302-463).



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