Objectives: On March 28, the Japanese government decided on the “Basic Policies for Novel Coronavirus Disease Control” and called on the public to thoroughly implement social distancing measures (i.e., behavioral restrictions to limit the frequency and intensity of human contact), especially telework. Methods: We used population-level questionnaire data from a social networking service (SNS), with 275,560 respondents from March 5 to April 6, to evaluate the relationship between telework implementation and the presence of a fever (body temperature higher than 37.5 °C) within 1 month as a surrogate indicator of COVID-19 infection, by occupation type and age-group. Results: Among company employees, statistical significance was identified in the 15- to 29-year and 30- to 59-year age-groups, showing higher fever rates in the non-teleworker group (for the 15- to 29-year age-group, non-teleworkers: 7.64%; teleworkers: 6.45%; P = 0.02; for the 30- to 59-year age-group, non-teleworkers: 3.46%; teleworkers: 3.14%; P = 0.02). Conclusions: Telework remains a controversial topic in Japan as the government called for emergency measures. Although caution is warranted in interpreting our findings because our data are limited to the voluntary SNS users, they will be essential to push forward with more measures to promote social distancing measures in the midst of Japan's current tense political climate.
ASJC Scopus subject areas