Care home workers have 'significantly' higher coronavirus death rate

11 May 2020, 09:59 | Updated: 11 May 2020, 11:02

Care home staff are at higher risk
Care home staff are at higher risk. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Male carers, bus drivers, chefs and retail assistants have higher rates of death involving Covid-19 than other workers, new figures suggest.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), men working in several occupations had raised rates of deaths involving the disease when compared with people of the same age and sex in England and Wales.

For male social care workers in England and Wales, the rate of death involving coronavirus is estimated to be 23.4 deaths per 100,000 males, while for female social care workers the figure is 9.6.

By contrast, for all males of working age (20-64 years old), the rate of death involving Covid-19 is 9.9 deaths per 100,000, with 5.2 deaths per 100,000 females.

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The figures have been calculated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), based on deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales registered up to April 20.

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But, men in low-skilled jobs are the most likely to die with Covid-19, and male security guards among those with the highest death rates, according to new figures.

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Among male workers, the ONS said that several occupations had raised rates of deaths involving Covid-19, including taxi drivers and chauffeurs (36.4 deaths per 100,000), bus and coach drivers (26.4 deaths per 100,000), chefs (35.9 deaths per 100,000), and sales and retail assistants (19.8 deaths per 100,000).

Men working as security guards had one of the highest rates, with 45.7 deaths per 100,000.

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Healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses, were not found to have higher rates of death involving Covid-19 when compared with the equivalent figures for people of the same age and sex in the general population.

For female workers, the ONS did not identify any specific jobs with raised rates of death involving Covid-19, instead highlighting only one broad group where the Covid-19 mortality rate was significantly higher than the equivalent rate among women of the same age in the general population: caring, leisure and other service occupations.

The ONS said its analysis "does not prove conclusively that the observed rates of death involving Covid-19 are necessarily caused by differences in occupational exposure".

It said the researchers had adjusted the data for age, but not for other factors such as ethnic group or place of residence.

The findings could change as more deaths are registered, the ONS added.

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