ONS Releases COVID-19 Related Deaths By Occupation, England And Wales: Before And During The Lockdown

The ONS has today released provisional analysis of deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19), by different occupational groups before and during the lockdown. Building on previous releases that looked at rates of death involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) by occupation, this bulletin aims to understand the impact of lockdown on these rates.

Main points

  • Between 9 March and 30 June 2020, prior to the widespread easing of lockdown restrictions, 5,330 deaths involving COVID-19 in the working age population (those aged 20 to 64 years) of England and Wales were registered.
  • 72.0% of the total number (3,839 deaths) were likely to be the result of an infection acquired before lockdown.
  • For both sexes, age-standardised rates of death involving COVID-19 by occupation were statistically significantly lower during lockdown than before lockdown.
  • Across the entire time period, some groups of occupations continued to have high rates of death involving COVID-19, when compared with rates among those of the same age and sex in the population.
  • Among men, four of the nine major occupation groups (elementary; caring, leisure and personal services; process, plant and machine operatives; and skilled trades) had statistically significantly higher rates of death involving COVID-19 both before and during lockdown, when compared with rates among those of same age and sex in the population.
  • Caring, leisure and other services was the only major occupation group to have a statistically significantly higher rate of death involving COVID-19 among women before and during lockdown, when compared with rates among those of the same age and sex in the population.
  • Among health and social care professionals, rates of death involving COVID-19 in men were around three times higher when the virus was more likely acquired before lockdown than during lockdown; in women, rates were around two times higher.
  • Reasons for these findings are complex, but factors like the level of exposure to others before and during lockdown, the ability to work from home, whether an occupation was furloughed, and where someone lives could all be playing a role.

Commenting on today’s findings, Ben Humberstone, Deputy Director of Health Analysis and Life Events said:

“Today’s analysis looks at how deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) by occupation differed before and during the lockdown. We found that 72% of the total deaths involving COVID-19 in the working age population occurred due to an infection that was likely acquired before lockdown was announced on 23rd March 2020.

“Consistent with our previous findings, women and men in occupation groups where the work often involves close proximity to others, or where there are less opportunities to work from home, had raised rates of death involving COVID-19 regardless of when they may have caught the virus. Among health and social care professionals, rates of death involving COVID-19 in men were around 3 times higher when the virus was likely acquired before lockdown than during lockdown; in women rates were around 2 times higher.”

 

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