Coronavirus Death Risk in Truckers
In our last article, we ended by saying that diet and exercise were key factors in reducing the chances of death whilst infected with coronavirus. It got us thinking: were a trucker to contract the virus, how much trouble would they be in? Here are our findings, with the receipts.
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service compared the deaths of 10,926 out of 17,278,392 adults tracked for three months. While this does not show the absolute death rate as many of the over seventeen million were not confirmed to have coronavirus, we can use the demographics of the different 10,926 deaths to estimate the changes to the base death rate, or the hazard ratio set to 1.00.
Here is part of what the UK found:
- Being male increases the chances of death by 59%.
- Age increases the risk of death exponentially; over eighty are about 343 times more likely to die than those under 40.
- Being morbidly obese (body mass index (BMI) above 40) increases your chances of death by 92% over being normal or slightly overweight.
- Even when adjusting for other factors, people of ethnicities other than white were more likely to die of coronavirus, to varying degrees (33% to 48%).
But what is the base percentage rate itself? If a fifty-year-old white woman with average weight caught coronavirus (hazard ratio 1.00), what are the chances that she would have to get her affairs in order? Public Health England has the death rate for Alpha infections at 1.9% (Table 2, Page 8), but this number is not reliable enough for our data crunching. It only counts among those admitted to the NHS Emergency Department, and it does not separate amongst the demographics as the previous study did.
Our best shot at getting close to the average chance of someone dying from coronavirus is comparing the number of cases versus deaths from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and making adjustments based on known United States demographics.
The CDC has deaths as of September 10th, 2021 at 654,409. It has the number of cases over the same timeframe listed as 40,870,648. This is a death chance of 1.6%, but because there are slightly more women in the USA than men, the base chance of death is divided by 1.29 to find our base rate is 1.24% for a hazard ratio of 1.00.
Disclaimer: This number can be further refined through more intensive and meticulous data study, but it is close enough for our statistics exercise. We are not doctors nor are we actuaries.
Now that we know the base chance of death set by a fifty-year-old white woman with average weight, how are truckers impacted?
- The median age of truck drivers is 46.5.
- 87.6% of truck drivers are men.
- 76.6% of truckers are white.
- The average BMI of a truck driver is about 32.7.
So if we were to pull a random truck driver, the odds are good we would get a hazard ratio of around 0.50, or a .62% chance of death. Of course, your number may change if you are a woman or a different age.
This percentage can be changed further. The delta variant is said to be less deadly than the original alpha (Table 2, Page 8). Additionally, vaccines are noted to reduce the risk even further.
For some, a risk below 1% chance of death may be worth taking, and for others it may not be. As we said in the previous article, the best controllable method of reducing your hazard ratio besides getting a vaccine (of which many are opposed) is to diet and exercise, the original health plan.
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