Mortality from COVID-19 is 5 times higher among retail and service workers

Delivery and other key workers need better protection during the COVID-19 crisis.  A new study found that in 2020, the death rate of COVID-19 was five times higher among retail and service workers.

Delivery and other key workers need better protection during the COVID-19 crisis. A new study found that in 2020, the death rate of COVID-19 was five times higher among retail and service workers.


According to a recent study, most able-bodied Americans who died of COVID-19 in the first year of the pandemic were said to be important workers in labor, service, and retail, who required field visits and long contact with others. By an epidemiologist at the University of South Florida.

A study of COVID-19 deaths in 2020 confirms what many know or suspect — those who cannot work from home and work in low-paid jobs, such as sickness and health benefits, have little or no benefit. Jason Salemi, an associate professor at the U.S. College of Public Health and co-author of the study, raised insurance coverage for the bulk of deaths in the first year of the pandemic.

According to Salemi, the discovery probably left him with two things: key workers in a pandemic of infectious diseases need more protection, and society’s desire to “return to normal” means different things to different people – leading to unfair consequences.

“If I want things to be normal, I’ll be in a priority position,” Salemi said. “I can usually work from home. I had the opportunity to see a primary care doctor and take paid leave. There are people in this study who can’t be like that. ”

To conduct the study, Salemi and colleagues analyzed the death certificates of nearly 70,000 people between the ages of 25 and 64 who died of COVID-19 in 2020, almost all of them before the first vaccine was approved in December of that year.

But the death certificate does not always include the deceased’s profession, Salemi said. Instead, the researchers used the level of knowledge indicated on all death certificates as a proxy for an individual’s socioeconomic status. No education was “low” outside of high school, and some college education was “secondary” and those with at least a bachelor’s degree were “high”.

The researchers then used U.S. census data on occupations held by adults in 2020 to calculate the ability to work remotely for different groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, and age.

READ MORE: New data shows high risk of COVID infection in South Florida

COVID mortality is higher for Spanish men with lower incomes

The study found:

The mortality rate of low-income adults – those whose level of education does not exceed the high school diploma – was five times higher than that of adults in high socio-economic status, and the mortality rate of adults in average socio-economic status was twice as high.

White women make up the largest group of the population, which is considered to have a high socio-economic status. By comparison, almost 60% of Spanish men were in low socioeconomic status.

The low socioeconomic mortality rate was 27 times higher for white men than for white women.

According to Salemi, in 2020, among adults aged 25 to 64, people with low socioeconomic status accounted for one-third of the working age population, but two-thirds of the population. Mortality of COVID-19 for people of the same age.

Analysis of COVID mortality in able-bodied Americans

Nearly 250,000 able-bodied Americans have died from COVID-19 since 2020, Salemi said, but he doesn’t know if the same deaths survived between 2021 and 2022. Researchers are also looking to analyze these deaths to help public health workers. and legislators develop strategies to better protect service and retail employees.

But new cases are on the rise again, with three-quarters of Florida’s COVID-19 at “high” levels in the community, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Introduce recommendations to reduce the spread of infectious diseases among workers.

“We need really strong protection against airborne pathogens,” he said. “It should be more than just saying, ‘Wear a nice mask in some situations.’ Employers can do a lot to keep people safe. However, as long as community members and we are happy to work from home, the more we can reduce the spread of the virus in the community, the more we can protect those on the fire line. ”

This story was first published June 4, 2022, 6:00 p.m.

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


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