Higher COVID-19 death rate in men doing low-skilled work, says ONS

Male security guards, taxi drivers and chefs are among the UK workers worst-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to newly released data.

Bus drivers, sales assistants and male construction workers also had high death rates from the disease, said the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS).

ONS analysed 2,494 COVID-19 deaths from the working population in England and Wales on or before April 20.

Nearly two-thirds of the deaths were men compared to women, echoing other countries’ statistics on the disease.

The analysis also looked at the occupations of those who died and showed that men working in the lowest skilled occupations, overall, had a higher death rate due to COVID-19.

Security guards and related professions had the highest death rate due to COVID-19, with 45.7 fatalities per 100,000, the analysis showed.

Meanwhile, healthcare workers including doctors and nurses did not have a significantly higher death rate when compared to those of the same age and sex in the general population, ONS said.

This may be due to some healthcare workers having reduced exposure during lockdown due to “fewer dental or optician appointments”.

It could also be that these deaths are investigated and thus recorded later, ONS said.

But male and female care workers or home carers had statistically significant higher death rates involving COVID-19.

Men working in social care had a rate of 23.4 deaths per 100,000 males and women in social care had a rate of 9.6 deaths per 100,000 females.

Women had only one occupational group with a higher mortality rate that was statistically significant, ONS said. That was among caring, leisure and other service occupations.

The data was adjusted by age but does not “prove conclusively” that the observed death rates are “necessarily caused by differences in occupational exposure”, ONS said.

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