But a new study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), has revealed that essential workers—especially those in the food and transportation sectors—are at the greatest risk of death among all Californians of working age during the ongoing pandemic.
With more than eight hundred coronavirus-related deaths, being a cook is considered the most hazardous occupation among essential workers in the state. Next up are packaging machine operators and agricultural workers.
Here are the other dangerous jobs that rounded out the top ten:
- Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders
- Miscellaneous agriculture workers
- Construction laborers
- Production workers
- Sewing machine operators
- Shopping, receiving, and traffic clerks
- Ground maintenance workers
- Customer service representatives
For the study, the researchers were able to analyze death rates of California residents of working age from March to October 2020, and then compared that information with pre-pandemic data to determine which jobs posed the greatest risk for deaths.
The research eventually discovered that working adults in the eighteen to sixty-five age range witnessed a 22 percent increase in deaths during the pandemic.
It was even worse for food and agriculture workers, which saw a 39 percent rise, while transportation and logistics employees endured a 28 percent increase. Meanwhile, manufacturing workers saw a 23 percent jump in mortality.
The study further revealed that workers experienced a 40 percent increase in risk of death during the first two full months of the state’s reopening.
“While we pay a lot of lip service to essential workers, when you see the actual occupations that rise to the top of the list as being at much more risk and associated with death, it screams out to you who’s really at risk,” Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, a UCSF epidemiology and biostatistics professor who worked on the study, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
In another recent study out of the United Kingdom, health-care workers were found to have seven times the risk of suffering from severe COVID-19 than those working in nonessential roles.
The research, considered the first of its kind and published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, tried to quantify the risks of essential and nonessential British workers eventually developing severe COVID-19.
“Our findings reinforce the need for adequate health and safety arrangements and provision of (personal protective equipment) for essential workers, especially in the health and social care sectors,” the study’s authors wrote.
“The health and well-being of essential workers is critical to limiting the spread and managing the burden of global pandemics.”
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.