Health

Most workers who died from COVID in 2020 had something essential in common, study finds

Delivery and other essential workers need better protections during the COVID-19 crisis. A new study found COVID-19 mortality rates in 2020 were five times higher among retail and service workers.
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Delivery people and other essential workers need better protections during the COVID-19 crisis.  A new study has found that death rates from COVID-19 in 2020 were five times higher among retail and service workers.

Delivery people and other essential workers need better protections during the COVID-19 crisis. A new study has found that death rates from COVID-19 in 2020 were five times higher among retail and service workers.

PA

According to a recently published study led by an epidemiologist from the University of South Florida.

The study returns to COVID-19[feminine] deaths in 2020 and affirms what many already knew or suspected – that Americans who could not work from home and who worked in low-paying jobs with little or no benefits, such as paid sick leave and health coverage health insurance, bore the brunt of deaths in the first year of the pandemic, said Jason Salemi, associate professor at USF’s College of Public Health and co-author of the study.

Salemi said the finding, while perhaps expected, left him with two takeaways: that essential workers need more protections during an infectious disease pandemic, and that society’s desire to “return to normal” will mean different things to different people – with inequitable consequences.

“If I say I want things back to normal, I’m in an advantageous position,” Salemi said. “I can work from home almost every day. I have access to a primary care doctor and paid sick leave. There are people in this study for whom that may not be the case.

To conduct the study, Salemi and his colleagues analyzed nearly 70,000 death certificates of people aged 25 to 64 who died of COVID-19 in 2020, almost all of which occurred before the government’s clearance. first vaccine in December of the same year.

But death certificates don’t always include the occupation of the deceased, Salemi said. Instead, the researchers used the level of education, which appears on all death certificates, as an indicator of an individual’s socioeconomic position. Any education beyond high school was ‘low’, while some college education was ‘intermediate’ and anyone with at least a bachelor’s degree was ‘high’.

The researchers then used US Census data on occupations held by adults in 2020 to calculate the possibility of remote work for the different groups, which were then divided by race, ethnicity, gender and age.

READ MORE: New data shows South Florida at higher risk of COVID transmission

COVID death rates higher for low-income Hispanic men

The study found:

The mortality rate for low socioeconomic adults – those with no more than a high school education – was five times higher than for high socioeconomic adults, and the mortality rate for low socioeconomic adults intermediate socioeconomic status was twice as high.

White women were the largest population group considered to have a high socioeconomic position. In comparison, almost 60% of Hispanic men were in a disadvantaged socioeconomic position.

The death rate for Hispanic men with low socioeconomic status was 27 times higher than for white women with high socioeconomic status.

Salemi said the finding that held him back was that of all adults aged 25 to 64 in 2020, those in lower socioeconomic status made up about a third of the working-age population, but accounted for two-thirds Population. Deaths from COVID-19 for the same age group.

Analysis of COVID deaths of working-age Americans

Since 2020, nearly 250,000 working-age Americans have died from COVID-19, Salemi said, though he’s not sure if the same pattern of mortality persisted in 2021 and 2022. The researchers intend to Analyzing these deaths also to help public health officials and lawmakers develop strategies to better protect service and retail workers.

But with new cases rising again, and three out of four Florida counties are now at a ‘high’ community level of COVID-19According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Salemi said this research could help motivate federal agencies, such as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, to make recommendations to reduce the spread of infectious diseases among the workers.

“We need really strong jobsite protections against airborne pathogens,” he said. “You have to go beyond, ‘In certain situations, wear a well-fitting mask.’ …. Employers can do a lot to keep people safe. But even community members, and those of us who are fortunate enough to be working from home, the more we can reduce the spread of the virus in the community, the more we can protect people in those positions who are in the line of target.

This story was originally published June 4, 2022 06:00.

Daniel Chang covers health care for the Miami Herald, where he works to unravel the often irrational world of health insurance, hospitals, and health policy for readers.


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