Taxi drivers and chauffeurs rate highly in COVID-19 death rates according to new ONS data

Updated: Jun 27, 2020

Men working as taxi drivers and chauffeurs are shown to be one of the most at risk in a new occupational study based around the death rates of COVID-19.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) analysed all 4,761 deaths involving the coronavirus in the working age population, those aged 20 to 64 years, in England and Wales registered between 9 March and 25 May. Of those deaths, 134 were taxi drivers or chauffeurs.

Nearly two-thirds of these deaths (3,122) were among men. Because of the higher number of deaths among men, 17 specific occupations were found to have raised rates of death involving COVID-19, some of which included:

  • Taxi drivers and chauffeurs (65.3 deaths per 100,000; 134 deaths),

  • Bus and coach drivers (44.2 deaths per 100,000; 53 deaths),

  • Chefs (56.8 deaths per 100,000; 49 deaths),

  • Sales and retail assistants (34.2 deaths per 100,000; 43 deaths).

Of the 17 specific occupations among men in England and Wales found to have higher rates of death involving COVID-19, data shows that 11 of these have statistically significantly higher proportions of workers from Black and Asian ethnic backgrounds (BAME); for women, data shows that two of the four specific occupations with elevated rates have statistically significantly higher proportions of workers from BAME backgrounds.

Ben Humberstone, Head of Health Analysis and Life Events, said: “There are lots of complex things playing out during the pandemic and the risk of death involving COVID-19 is influenced by a range of factors including the job someone does, but also age, ethnicity and underlying health conditions. We also know that people living in the most deprived local areas, and those living in urban areas such as London, have been found to have the highest rates of death involving COVID-19.

“Today’s analysis shows that jobs involving close proximity with others, and those where there is regular exposure to disease, have some of the highest rates of death from COVID-19. However, our findings do not prove conclusively that the observed rates of death involving COVID-19 are necessarily caused by differences in occupational exposure.”

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