Blue collars go last: Most hazardous jobs for COVID don't rank high on vaccine priorities lists

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, age 32, made it an Instagram affair to get her COVID vaccine first, claiming she was setting a good example since all those proles out there don't trust vaccines.  She was one of the first, as vaccines are being doled out by priority.  Health care workers, the elderly, teachers, students as a clearance to go to class, non-white people no matter what their social status, prisoners — many categories came up, and somehow congressional representatives and their staff figured high at the top, never mind their ages.

But as for those who face the most risk of death from COVID, well, they're the proles.  The problem for them isn't suburban-mom anti-vax hesitancy; it's simply getting a place in line.

According to a UCSF study just out, as reported by ABC7 of San Francisco:

SAN FRANCISCO — A new study has found essential workers, especially those in the food and transportation sector are at the greatest risk of death among Californians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cooks hold the most hazardous occupation among essential workers in the state with 828 deaths. According to UCSF researchers, that role has the highest "risk ratio for mortality."

The study examined death rates of California residents from March through October 2020, and compared them with pre-pandemic data to determine which jobs had the largest increases in deaths.

Packaging machine operators and agricultural workers are among the list of the state's riskiest jobs during the pandemic.

"While we pay a lot of lip service to essential workers, when you see the actual occupations that rise to the top of the list as being at much more risk and associated with death, it screams out to you who's really at risk," Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, a UCSF epidemiology and biostatistics professor who worked on the study, told the Chronicle.

Here are the least protected people most likely in need of a vaccine as mostly likely otherwise to die of COVID:

1. Cooks
2. Packaging and filing machine operators and tenders
3. Miscellaneous agriculture workers
4. Bakers

5. Construction laborers
6. Production workers
7. Sewing machine operators
8. Sh[i]pping, receiving and traffic clerks
9. Ground maintenance workers
10. Customer service representatives

The study recommends that they go first, or at least a lot higher as a priority.  They don't even register, most of them, on vaccine priority lists.  Nobody cares about them.

Now, I'm the first to say that health care workers wearing hazmat suits in hospital COVID units should absolutely be number one in line.  The elderly, who were so very dispensable to blue-state governors who seeded nursing homes with COVID patients, are obviously high on the priority list, too, given how vulnerable they are and how they have been treated.  Both groups have lower mortality rates, likely because it's possible to protect them, either through isolation or strong personal protective equipment.

The cooks and bakers?  Not so much.

Meanwhile, some of the other priorities, such as 32-year-old congresswomen in apparently perfect health, or people claiming that black people as an undifferentiated group based solely on race, or teachers, who refuse to go back to the classroom, despite the diminished risk from kids, as priority choices, seem just a little political. 

The nobodies out there, packing vegetables, sewing clothes, cleaning up trash in the parking lot, taking phone calls from whining customers, laying drywall, cooking, baking, delivering, shipping — those are the ones who have the least protection, the lowest profile, and need the vaccine more than almost anyone.  And yes, many are minorities, which means yes, they should, for occupational, not skin-color, reasons, go first.

The government and its public health officials want you to give them sizable and increased power because they are the epitome of "science" and they know best.  But with lists like this coming, out, feel safer now?

Image: PixabayPixabay license.

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