A new study out of Great Britain indicates that teachers do not have a higher rate of death than the general population.
The study, which was produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and examined rates of death involving COVID-19 between March 9 and December 28, 2020, found that “rates of death involving COVID-19 in men and women who worked as teaching and educational professionals, such as secondary school teachers, were not statistically significantly raised when compared with the rates seen in the population among those of the same age and sex.”
The report provides the following summary of the results related to members of the teaching and educational professions:
There were 139 deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) in teaching and educational professionals aged 20 to 64 years registered between 9 March and 28 December 2020 in England and Wales. For both sexes, rates of death involving COVID-19 for this group were statistically significantly lower than the rate of death involving COVID-19 among those of the same age and sex, with 18.4 deaths per 100,000 males (66 deaths) and 9.8 deaths per 100,000 females (73 deaths), compared with 31.4 and 16.8 deaths per 100,000 in the population among males and females respectively.
Of the individual occupations, it was only possible to calculate a reliable rate for secondary education teaching professionals, who accounted for 37.4% of the total number of deaths among all teaching and educational professionals (52 deaths). With 39.2 deaths per 100,000 males (29 deaths) and 21.2 deaths per 100,000 females (23 deaths), rates of death involving COVID-19 in secondary education teaching professionals were not statistically significantly different than those of the same age and sex in the wider population.
ONS cautions that its analysis “does not prove conclusively that the observed rates of death involving COVID-19 are necessarily caused by differences in occupational exposure; we adjusted for age, but not other factors such as ethnic group and place of residence.”
While the study found that teachers did not suffer a higher rate of death than the general population, researchers found that nurses “had statistically significantly higher rates of death involving COVID-19 when compared with the rate of COVID-19 among those of the same age and sex in the population, with 79.1 deaths per 100,000 males (47 deaths) and 24.5 deaths per 100,000 females (110 deaths); nursing auxiliaries and assistants also had elevated rates of death involving COVID-19.”
In a statement included in the ONS report, Ben Humberstone, Head of Health Analysis and Life Events, asserted: “Today’s analysis shows that jobs with regular exposure to COVID-19 and those working in close proximity to others continue to have higher COVID-19 death rates when compared with the rest of the working age population. Men continue to have higher rates of death than women, making up nearly two thirds of these deaths. As the pandemic has progressed, we have learnt more about the disease and the communities it impacts most. There are a complex combination of factors that influence the risk of death; from your age and your ethnicity, where you live and who you live with, to pre-existing health conditions. Our findings do not prove that the rates of death involving COVID-19 are caused by differences in occupational exposure.”
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