When it comes to COVID-19, researchers have established that it does in fact discriminate in a variety of ways including age, gender, blood type, health conditions, and zip code. Now, new data from the UK supports that there is another factor that can also impact whether you live or die during the coronavirus pandemic — your occupation.
“There are lots of complex things playing out during the pandemic and the risk of death involving COVID-19 is influenced by a range of factors including the job someone does, but also age, ethnicity and underlying health conditions. We also know that people living in the most deprived local areas, and those living in urban areas such as London, have been found to have the highest rates of death involving COVID-19,” Ben Humberstone, Head of Health Analysis and Life Events, explains in the Office for National Statistics paper focused on career and coronavirus.
“Today’s analysis shows that jobs involving close proximity with others, and those where there is regular exposure to disease, have some of the highest rates of death from COVID-19. However, our findings do not prove conclusively that the observed rates of death involving COVID-19 are necessarily caused by differences in occupational exposure.”
Security Guards, Taxi Drivers at Risk
The data, taken between March 9 and May 25 around England and Wales, first found that gender was definitely a factor in coronavirus death rate. Overall, a total of 4,761 deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the working age population was registered during the time period. Nearly two-thirds were among men (3,122 deaths). The age-standardized mortality rate of death (19.1) was higher in men, compared to 9.7 deaths per 100,000 women for women.
According to their findings, men working in “elementary occupations” had the overall highest rate of death involving COVID-19, with 39.7 deaths per 100,000 men. Security guards had the highest rate, with 74.0 deaths per 100,000. In total, 17 occupations proved to have an increased death rate for men. Others included construction workers, cleaners, taxi drivers and chauffeurs (65.3 deaths per 100,000), bus and coach drivers (44.2 deaths per 100,000), chefs (56.8 deaths per 100,000), and sales and retail assistants (34.2 deaths per 100,000).
For women, just four occupations had a raised risk of death with coronavirus, including hairdressers (31 deaths per 100,000), shop workers (15.7 deaths per 100,000) and national government administrative occupations (23.4 deaths per 100,000 women).
Social Care Also a Danger
One of the riskiest jobs for both genders was unsurprisingly in social care. For men who worked in the industry — which includes care workers and home carers — the mortality rate was 50.1 per 100,000, while women in the same industry fared better at 19.1 deaths per 100,000.
Interestingly enough, among health care professions as a whole (including those with jobs such as doctors and nurses) only men experienced higher rates of death involving COVID-19 (30.4 deaths per 100,000 men or 130 deaths) when compared with the rate among those whose death involved COVID-19 of the same age and sex in the general population. Of the specific health care professions, nurses had elevated rates among both sexes (50.4 deaths per 100,000 men and 15.3 deaths per 100,000 women).
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