Coronavirus: Male security guards, chefs and taxi drivers among those most likely to die with COVID-19, says ONS

May 11, 2020

Male security guards, chefs and taxi drivers are among those most likely to die from COVID-19, according to new figures.

Plant processing workers, construction workers and bus and coach drivers are also among those with the highest coronavirus death rates, according to data released by the Office for National Statistics.

Healthcare workers like doctors and nurses did not have a higher mortality rate compared with others of the same age and sex. But researchers did find people working in social care, including care workers and home carers, had "significantly" higher death rates than the working population as a whole.

For male social care workers in England and Wales, the rate of COVID-19 related deaths is estimated to be 23.4 deaths per 100,000, while for female social care workers the figure is 9.6.

The ONS said the highest rate of deaths was among male security guards (45.7 deaths per 100,000).

It was 36.4 deaths per 100,000 among male taxi drivers and chauffeurs, 35.9 deaths per 100,000 among male chefs, and 26.4 deaths per 100,000 among male bus and coach drivers.

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

The figures calculated by the ONS are based on coronavirus deaths in England and Wales registered up to 20 April.

Healthcare roles dominate the list of occupations most exposed to the virus.

Among them are dental nurses, paramedics, nurses and doctors.

Lower ranking prison officers, opticians, vets and residential wardens also make the list for raised exposure.

Figures showed three in four people in such roles are women.

One in five people in these jobs are aged 55 or over. One in five are also from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds.

Six out of 16 of these occupations have a median pay lower than £13.21, the median hourly pay across the UK.

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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".

Figures had been adjusted for age, but not for other factors such as ethnic group and place of residence.

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

ONS figures will lead to more questions over PPE
Analysis by Laura Bundock, news correspondent

The ONS data confirms what many had long-suspected; some jobs have higher death rates from COVID-19 than others.

Men in the lowest paid jobs had the highest death rate, those with professional occupations had the lowest.

Security guards have one of the highest rates, with taxi drivers, bus and coach drivers all significantly higher too.

Both men and women working in social care also had significantly higher rates of death.

This will no doubt raise many questions about whether a lack of PPE was a contribution.

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