Innerbody is independent and reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn More

Coronavirus: How risky is your job?

Last Updated: Mar 18, 2020

Corona Virus

News about coronavirus, or COVID-19 specifically, has taken over our televisions, radios, social media feeds, and daily conversations. It has also quickly and dramatically changed our behavior as a nation, nearly overnight.

With the hourly influx of information and new daily restrictions and recommendations about how to stay safe and minimize the spread of the virus, it’s difficult to know where you fit into the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

To help, the team at Innerbody has studied enormous data sets both from the Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics in order to determine what roles are at most at risk when facing a pandemic virus like COVID-19.

Top 5 sectors most at risk from COVID-19

Based on our analysis, the following sectors are at the most risk for contracting and spreading novel coronavirus:

  1. Healthcare workers

  2. Elderly care workers

  3. First Responders

  4. Teachers

  5. Service Industry Workers, including Travel

25 jobs most at risk from COVID-19

We’ve also identified the top 25 jobs that are most at risk for novel coronavirus exposure:

  1. Dental Hygienist

  2. Dentist

  3. Respiratory Therapist

  4. Family and General Practitioner

  5. LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) and PA (Physician Assistant)

  6. Paramedic

  7. Nurse

  8. Doctor (Specialist)

  9. Correctional Officer

  10. Medical Assistant

  11. Flight Attendant

  12. Pharmacist

  13. Personal Care and Home Health Aide

  14. Police Officer

  15. Bus Driver

  16. General Maintenance and Repair Worker

  17. Teacher

  18. Child Care Worker

  19. Hairdresser

  20. First-Line Supervisor of Food Preparation / Serving Worker

  21. Teller

  22. Cashier

  23. Personal Driver (Taxi, Uber, Lyft, etc.)

  24. Waiter

  25. Office Clerk

Methodology

By analyzing the data collected – including 1) how often a job is exposed to disease or infections, 2) the extent to which an occupation involves close physical proximity to other people, and 3) the combination of those data with employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics – we have identified the business sectors and specific occupations that are most at risk to contract novel coronavirus.

The Department of Labor’s O*NET maintains a continually updated database on over 900 occupations in the U.S. and the specific characteristics of each. The database stores occupational information and labor market research used by employers, job seekers, and researchers for a variety of reasons.

The data available on each occupation include very specific criteria such as individual tasks, detailed work activities, work context, credentials, education, etc. When collecting data on physical proximity, the rating runs from “beyond 100 ft.” to “near touching” and disease exposure ranges from “daily” to “never.”

By analyzing the database’s score of how often a particular job is exposed to disease or infections and comparing that to its score for physical proximity to others, we estimated the risk of contracting coronavirus for many popular professions.

So what should you do?

Whether your job is listed here or not, it’s imperative that you stay up to date with the CDC’s latest recommendations regarding how to protect yourself against coronavirus (COVID-19).

Medical facilities, schools, restaurants and other businesses are now taking additional precautions to protect against the spread of novel coronavirus. Schools are closing and most workers who are able have been directed to work from home. However, there are still many professions, like those in the medical field and food service industry, who need workers to show up every day and interact with the public.

People with high-risk jobs should be aware of their risk level and ensure they’re taking appropriate precautions in order to protect themselves and do what they can to help contain COVID-19 in the overall community.

Sources: US Department of Labor, O*NET Database Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment statistics are from May 2018, the most recent Occupational Employment Statistics release.