DUBLIN — Health care employees in Britain face seven times the risk of contracting severe Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, compared to workers in most other jobs.
That is according to research published on Tuesday in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine and based on data from lockdowns imposed across Britain during the pandemic’s first European wave from roughly March to May.
According to the article, “occupational exposure” to the virus “is of great concern among essential worker groups, particularly health-care workers,” with defects in or and shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) adding to their vulnerability.
The research team also found that “those with jobs in the social-care and transport sectors are twice as likely” to end up with a severe case of the disease than “non-essential” workers, citing evidence “of high infection rates and subsequent morbidity and mortality among low skilled occupations, and social, transport, food, sales.”
The research – by academics at the University of Glasgow, Syracuse University in the US and the University of Limerick in Ireland – largely tallied with broader findings.
The International Council of Nurses reported in September that “more than 1,000 nurses have died in 44 countries where data was available, with health worker infection rates on average around 10 per cent of total infections globally.”
At over 61,000, the official British death toll is the fifth highest overall and the worst in Europe.
Britain on Tuesday became the first country to administer the new Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.Show