Coronavirus: How exposed is your job? And how does that compare to others?


Millions of workers are doing their day jobs from makeshift set-ups in their living rooms and kitchens, while those in England who can't work from home are now encouraged to go back in if they can do so safely.

But how exposed to coronavirus might you be in your job? And how does that compare to others?

Data from the UK's Office for National Statistics, based on a US survey, puts into context the risk of exposure to disease, as well as the amount of close human contact workers had before social distancing and other safety measures were introduced.

While most jobs require people to work relatively closely to others - somewhere in the range between arm's length and a shared office environment - there are very few that typically involve exposure to disease more than once a year.

It's important to note that the data on both exposure to disease at work and how close people are to others is based on interviews that took place with US workers before the pandemic broke out and social distancing recommendations were introduced.

Some jobs may find it easier to adjust than others and there may be slightly different working practices and conditions in the US for certain occupations. The results can be expected to be broadly the same in most developed countries.

Almost all the jobs that have a high exposure to both disease and other people are healthcare professions, while those who scored low on both measures include artists, lawyers and those in more typical office jobs like marketing, HR and financial advisers.

Cleaners, prison officers and undertakers are among those who have relatively high exposure to disease without so much close interaction with other people.

But the people who might be most at risk to a new infectious disease like Covid-19, are those who have lots of close contact with people, but aren't used to being exposed to disease.

Bar staff, hairdressers and actors fall into this category, as well as taxi drivers and bricklayers.

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