Occupation and risk of severe COVID-19: Prospective cohort study of 120 075 UK Biobank participants

Miriam Mutambudzi, Claire Niedwiedz, Ewan Beaton MacDonald, Alastair Leyland, Frances Mair, Jana Anderson, Carlos Celis-Morales, John Cleland, John Forbes, Jason Gill, Claire Hastie, Frederick Ho, Bhautesh Jani, Daniel F. MacKay, Barbara Nicholl, Catherine O'Donnell, Naveed Sattar, Paul Welsh, Jill P. Pell, Srinivasa Vittal KatikireddiEvangelia Demou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: To investigate severe COVID-19 risk by occupational group. Methods: Baseline UK Biobank data (2006-10) for England were linked to SARS-CoV-2 test results from Public Health England (16 March to 26 July 2020). Included participants were employed or self-employed at baseline, alive and aged <65 years in 2020. Poisson regression models were adjusted sequentially for baseline demographic, socioeconomic, work-related, health, and lifestyle-related risk factors to assess risk ratios (RRs) for testing positive in hospital or death due to COVID-19 by three occupational classification schemes (including Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) 2000). Results: Of 120 075 participants, 271 had severe COVID-19. Relative to non-essential workers, healthcare workers (RR 7.43, 95% CI 5.52 to 10.00), social and education workers (RR 1.84, 95% CI 1.21 to 2.82) and other essential workers (RR 1.60, 95% CI 1.05 to 2.45) had a higher risk of severe COVID-19. Using more detailed groupings, medical support staff (RR 8.70, 95% CI 4.87 to 15.55), social care (RR 2.46, 95% CI 1.47 to 4.14) and transport workers (RR 2.20, 95% CI 1.21 to 4.00) had the highest risk within the broader groups. Compared with white non-essential workers, non-white non-essential workers had a higher risk (RR 3.27, 95% CI 1.90 to 5.62) and non-white essential workers had the highest risk (RR 8.34, 95% CI 5.17 to 13.47). Using SOC 2000 major groups, associate professional and technical occupations, personal service occupations and plant and machine operatives had a higher risk, compared with managers and senior officials. Conclusions: Essential workers have a higher risk of severe COVID-19. These findings underscore the need for national and organisational policies and practices that protect and support workers with an elevated risk of severe COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106731
JournalOccupational and Environmental Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • exposure assessment
  • health care workers
  • investigation of outbreaks of illness
  • physicians
  • public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Occupation and risk of severe COVID-19: Prospective cohort study of 120 075 UK Biobank participants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this