COVID-19 has killed more than 600,000 Americans, which is 16% of the world’s total fatalities from the disease, despite a sharp slowing in America. The record shows that older people, people of color, people in nursing homes and people in prisons were among the hardest-hit parts of the population. Additionally, some job categories also were particularly dangerous, with much higher death rates than the country as a whole.
The University of California San Francisco’s Institute for Global Health Sciences looked at what it deemed “excess mortality” of people by job category. The data was collected from Californians 18 to 65 years of age, by occupational sector and race. The study covered data collected from March through October 2020. One of the weaknesses of the research is that it does not cover information from the huge COVID-19 surge in California late last year and early in 2021.
Excess mortality data shows death rates in a group that are higher than the average for all working people. Not surprisingly, the groups with the most excess mortality were usually those in which people came into a great deal of contact with the general public and worked in closed areas.
The group that suffered the worst was cooks. When the “non-pandemic” period was compared to the “pandemic” period, cooks had a 60% lift in mortality rates. They were followed by “packing and filling machine operators,” with an increase of 59%, then agricultural workers and bakers, with increases of 55% and 50%, respectively.
The data also shows large differences by race. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, working age adults experienced a 22% increase in mortality compared to historical periods.” The figure among Latinos was 36% and among Black Americans 28%. Among whites, the rise was only 6%.
Researchers for Zippia made another observation. Many of the jobs with excess mortality pay less than the U.S. average for all workers across all categories. Cooks were a case in point. The average salary for a cook is $27,996, compared to the U.S. average income of $35,997. “Cooks are not an exception– the majority of jobs that experienced the brunt of Covid deaths are low paying.”
This data shows that public-facing jobs are more dangerous because those who held them during the period of the research were often at greater risk of death from COVID-19.
Click here to see the 25 most dangerous jobs in America.
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