Occupational inequalities in the prevalence of COVID-19: A longitudinal observational study of England, August 2020 to January 2021



Green, Mark ORCID: 0000-0002-0942-6628 and Semple, Malcolm ORCID: 0000-0001-9700-0418
(2021) Occupational inequalities in the prevalence of COVID-19: A longitudinal observational study of England, August 2020 to January 2021. [Preprint]

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Abstract

<h4>Background</h4> The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced, amplified and created new health inequalities. There is less evidence on how COVID-19 prevalence varies by measures of work and occupation which represent a key social determinant of health. The aim of the study is to evaluate how occupational inequalities in the prevalence of COVID-19 varies across England and their possible explanatory factors. <h4>Methods</h4> We used data for 363,651 individuals (2,178,835 observations) aged 18 years and over between 1st May 2020 and 31st January 2021 from the ONS Covid Infection Survey, a representative longitudinal survey of individuals in England. We focus on two measures of work; employment status for all adults, and work sector of individuals currently working. Multi-level binomial regression models were used to estimate the likelihood of testing positive of COVID-19, adjusting for known explanatory covariates. <h4>Results</h4> 0.9% of participants tested positive for COVID-19 over the study period. COVID-19 prevalence was higher among adults who were students or furloughed (i.e., temporarily not working). Among adults currently working, COVID-19 prevalence was highest in adults employed in the hospitality sector, with higher prevalence for individuals employed in transport, social care, retail, health care and educational sectors. Inequalities by work were not consistent over time. <h4>Conclusions</h4> We find an unequal distribution of infections relating to COVID-19 by work and employment status. Our findings demonstrate the need for greater workplace interventions to protect employees, but also that a large proportion of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs outside of work. In particular, populations who experienced social and economic harms through being furloughed were also more likely to experience a double burden of increased likelihood of COVID-19.

Item Type: Preprint
Uncontrolled Keywords: 4206 Public Health, 42 Health Sciences, Coronaviruses Disparities and At-Risk Populations, Clinical Research, Infectious Diseases, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Coronaviruses, Social Determinants of Health, Infection, 10 Reduced Inequalities, 3 Good Health and Well Being
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences
Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2021 08:06
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2024 01:50
DOI: 10.1101/2021.06.01.21258140
Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.01.21258140
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3138702