Students and unemployed with the highest rates

Students, the unemployed and children have had the most coronavirus infections since July 2020, when cases were organized by occupation, according to public health data.

The state was able to categorize more than 41,000 coronavirus infections by occupation, which includes categories that aren’t necessarily occupations, such as child cases and retirees.

Of the 41,000 cases tracked by occupation, students account for the largest share – about 21% from July 1, 2020 to November 3, 2021. Unemployed people account for 12% of cases and children account for 10% of infections.

Pensioners account for 10% of cases, followed by office workers at 3%.

The state lists 61 different occupations ranging from barbers to construction workers to sex workers in the daily-updated dataset. Sex workers reported less than 25 cases.

Construction workers have reported 624 cases since July 2020, child care workers have recorded nearly 1,000 infections and teachers have reported 701.

According to a spokesperson for the state Department of Public Health, much of the data on the occupancy of positive cases is missing because this information is not routinely captured in a standard way in health records or on sites. of testing.

Occupational information is usually found through case investigations which are done to inform people of exposures and ask about their close contacts.

However, throughout the pandemic, various workers have sounded the alarm about the risks of exposure and many industries have suffered major outbreaks, including construction workers, grocery store workers, police officers. , healthcare workers and employees of long-term care facilities.

A April 2021 Report from the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health shows that the top jobs with above-average coronavirus death rates include healthcare workers, transportation workers, food service workers, maintenance workers and production workers.

“Occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 sickened thousands of workers in Massachusetts and likely resulted in hundreds, if not thousands, of deaths. Because the Commonwealth has failed to accurately track the occupation of those who have tested positive for COVID-19, we may never know the true impact,” the report says.

MassCOSH data from March 2020 to March 2021 shows 11,243 workers’ compensation reports were filed by employees missing five or more days of work due to what the worker believed to be a related COVID-19 case. at work.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline workers, such as healthcare providers, bus drivers and grocery store workers, faced a deadly infectious disease on the job every day,” it read. in the report.

Many high-risk employees were the first to receive a coronavirus vaccine and are now the first to qualify for a booster.

Michael A. Bynum