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New research provides further insight into occupational differences in COVID-19 mortality

​Collaborative press release between the ONS, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Office for National Statistics and University of Manchester on occupational differences in Covid mortality.

We have published a new study on Occupation and Coronavirus (COVID-19) mortality in England. This was a collaboration between London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Office for National Statistics, and University of Manchester.

The article estimates occupational differences in COVID-19 mortality and investigates how much these differences change once adjusting for factors, such as regional differences, ethnicity and education or non-workplace factors, like deprivation or pre-pandemic health.

Our study confirms previous findings that a number of occupations showed strongly increased risks for COVID-19 deaths, including security guards, taxi drivers, bus drivers, cleaners, and customer service workers. These occupations had risks of COVID-19 deaths of about 3-4 times greater than for managers. However, these relative risks reduced substantially to about 1.5 times higher, after adjustment for region, deprivation and ethnicity, suggesting that differences in risk between occupations are a result of a complex mix of different factors.

Commenting on the study, the ONS' Vahe Nafilyan said: "For most occupations, factors such as your ethnicity, your education, how much you earn and where you live explained around 70% to 80% of the increased risk of dying. However, there was a notable exception for health professionals, where socio-economic factors did not explain the increased risk. This suggests workplace exposure was a bigger factor in the elevated risk of health professionals dying due to COVID-19."

The full article is available in Occupation and COVID-19 mortality in England: a national linked data study of 14.3 million adults.

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