Covid-19 death rates continue to be highest among those who deliver the most hands-on car, the Office for National Statistics has revealed.
Almost three in four of the deaths involving Covid-19 in social care occupations (347 out of 469 deaths; 74.0%) were in care workers and home carers, with 109.9 deaths per 100,000 males (107 deaths) and 47.1 deaths per 100,000 females (240 deaths).
Men who worked in healthcare occupations had a statistically higher rate of death involving Covid-19 (44.9 deaths per 100,000 males; 190 deaths) when compared with the rate of Covid among men of the same age in the population.
The rate among women who worked in healthcare occupations (17.3 deaths per 100,000 females; 224 deaths) was statistically similar to the rate in the population.
Ben Humberstone, head of Health Analysis and Life Events at the Office for National Statistics said:
‘Today’s analysis shows that jobs with regular exposure to Covid-19 and those working in close proximity to others continue to have higher Covid-19 death rates when compared with the rest of the working-age population.
‘Men continue to have higher rates of death than women, making up nearly two-thirds of these deaths.”
‘As the pandemic has progressed, we have learnt more about the disease and the communities it impacts most. There are a complex combination of factors that influence the risk of death; from your age and your ethnicity, where you live and who you live with, to pre-existing health conditions.
‘Our findings do not prove that the rates of death involving Covid-19 are caused by differences in occupational exposure.’
Responding to figures, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: ‘It’s shocking to see that care and NHS staff are paying such a tragic price for doing their jobs.
‘They can’t look after people without hands-on contact. Keeping the rest of us safe is putting these workers at greater risk.
‘The new Covid-19 strain, more infected patients in hospitals and the community, and sheer exhaustion all increase the dangers to workers.
‘Every effort should be made to protect staff and to roll out the vaccine swiftly and smoothly.
‘The government must also guarantee proper pay for care workers who are ill or have to stay at home.
‘Sick or self-isolating care staff and home care workers still feel forced to attend work by shameless employers. This is because they’re being denied full wages.
‘This unacceptable situation puts staff at risk and the people they look after. It must end.’
The Department for Health and Social Care has been contacted for comment.
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