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Covid-19: the killer in the workplace

26/01/21 . News

Among people of working age, men are twice as likely to die of Covid-19 as women.

Of the 7,961 deaths involving Covid-19 in the working age population (people aged 20 to 64 years) of England and Wales in 2020, nearly two-thirds were among men (5,128).

The ONS report on Covid deaths in 2020 by occupation shows that men in low-skilled jobs, in the care sector or in other service jobs were most at risk. They were more than three times as likely to die from Covid as professionals.

The largest single group of casualties was female care workers and home carers. But even amongst professions of this sort - in which women dominate - men were far more likely to die.

There were 190 deaths of male health care workers compared to 224 female deaths. However, if we look at the death rates (age-standardised per 100,000 people), the rate was 44.9 for male health care workers compared to 17.3 for female ones. In other words, male health care workers were more than two and half times more likely to die. Among social care workers, the rates were 79 for men and 35.9 for women meaning men were more than twice as likely to die. Among health professionals, the rates were 23.9 for men and 8.4 for women meaning male doctors, for example, were three times more likely to die. Among nursing professionals the rates were 79.1 (men) and 24.7 (women).

Dangerous driving

The most dangerous occupation for men is driving. There were over 500 deaths in drivers (including 209 taxi drivers, 118 good vehicles drivers, 97 van drivers and 83 bus drivers). In other words, more than 10% of Covid deaths in men of working age were in drivers.

As the table below shows, 20 jobs saw more than 50 male deaths. Many of them involve working in confined spaces indoors for long periods with contact with others - security guard, care worker, chef, postal worker.

They’re also jobs characterised by low pay, poor job security or no security at all. These figures, like the Covid pandemic generally, highlight massive inequalities in health outcomes but it hasn’t created them. In 2021 in a wealthy country like the UK, the people taking the biggest risks to keep the show on the road are those getting the least reward. Clapping is nice; change is better.

The Men’s Health Forum need your support

It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. Especially during a major pandemic like Covid-19. So we’re asking.

Men appear more likely to get Covid-19 and far, far more likely to die from it. The Men's Health Forum are working hard pushing for more action on this from government, from health professionals and from all of us. Why are men more affected and what can we do about it? We need the data. We need the research. We need the action. Currently we're the only UK charity doing this - please help us.

Here’s our fund-raising page - please chip in if you can.

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