Teachers are NOT at higher risk of dying from Covid than people in other jobs, finds another study
Teachers are no more likely to die from Covid than other workers, a large-scale study finds today.
Researchers from the University of Bristol found that school staff — including teachers and school assistants — under the age of 64 were no longer at risk of dying from the virus compared to those in other jobs.
The death rate among female teachers was lower than the five-year average in the first nine months of the pandemic, while the number of deaths among male teachers was similar to the expected number, the researchers said.
However, there were ‘major excesses in deaths’ among the over-65s who worked in schools. But only a third of the additional death certificates listed Covid as the cause, suggesting other factors led to the fatalities, the researchers found.
According to the experts, the study, published in the journal BMJ Open, should be considered by governments when deciding to close schools in future pandemics caused by coronaviruses.
“It is important to note that the workforce was not at a high risk of death compared to other occupations,” the team added.
Schools were closed for months at a time after Covid hit the UK last March, forcing students to distance learning and canceling their exams.
But the children of key workers – such as frontline health and social care workers – and vulnerable students were allowed to go to school.
Even as schools reopened, rules forcing students to isolate themselves if they tested positive or had contact with an infected person resulted in more than a million students being absent from class during the summer.
Some teachers lamented that they were at risk from the virus and wanted schools to close before the government demands it.
But a battery of studies and real-world data has shown that teachers are less likely to test positive, contract a serious infection or be hospitalized by Covid.
Teachers are no more likely to die from Covid than other workers, a large-scale study finds today. Pictured: Teacher in the classroom during the Covid pandemic
The chart shows the number of Covid deaths per 100,000 men working in schools during the first nine months of the pandemic. Virus death rates among female teachers were 10 per 100,000, compared with a range of nine to 50 per 100,000 for other occupations
The chart shows the number of Covid deaths per 100,000 women working in schools during the first nine months of the pandemic. The number of deaths from coronavirus among male secondary teachers was 39 per 100,000, compared with a range of 10 to 143 per 100,000 for other occupations
Social distancing is meaningless without a mask, research suggests
Keeping the two meters away rule still followed by four in 10 Britons today could be pointless unless you’re wearing a mask, a study suggested.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge found that a person without a mask with Covid can still infect others at that distance, even when outside.
The two-meter social distancing rule imposed by the UK government in March 2020 during the initial lockdown, but Britons were not encouraged to wear masks until May.
Experts and the government initially said masks could do “more harm than good” before rolling back the policy, making them mandatory on public transport in June and in shops and public areas the following month.
The two-meter rule was shortened to one meter in July as part of the easing of pandemic restrictions.
The team said their findings highlight the continued importance of getting Covid shots, ventilating indoor spaces and wearing masks as the country moves into the winter months.
The Bristol team analyzed death data for working adults aged 20 to 64 – published by the Office for National Statistics – between March 8 and December 28 last year.
They wanted to calculate the risk of dying from Covid among teachers – many of whom continued to work personally during the lockdowns – compared to other professions.
Covid death rates among people working in schools were low compared to “many other occupations,” the researchers found.
Death rates in the sector ranged from 10 per 100,000 female primary teachers to 39 per 100,000 male secondary teachers.
By comparison, among other occupations — which the team didn’t name — were between nine and 50 per 100,000 women and between 10 and 143 per 100,000 men.
And death rates among female teachers in the first nine months of the pandemic were lower than the five-year average, while deaths among male teachers were comparable to the five-year average.
The researchers found that there were more deaths among teaching assistants compared to the expected number, but noted that there was uncertainty about this data.
However, among school staff aged 65 and over “there were large excesses in deaths compared to the average over the past five years,” the team found.
The researchers said only a third of the additional Covid deaths had been recorded as the cause of death.
The remaining additional deaths could be due to delayed treatments for other conditions caused by the pandemic, the study says.
Death rates may also have been higher among older staff members as they stayed away from the health service during the pandemic for fear of contracting the virus or overloading the NHS, the researchers said.
Professor Sarah Lewis, a university molecular epidemiologist and lead author of the study, said: ‘Our study found that teachers, teaching and lunch assistants, ages 20 to 64, were not at a high risk of dying from Covid during the pandemic in 2020 compared to the workforce in England and Wales.
“There was weak evidence that the risk of death from Covid for secondary school teachers was slightly higher than expected, but overall, Covid death risks for school staff and for all occupations were proportional to their non-Covid mortality risk.”