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Pandemic took a great toll on child care workers, study shows

Child care workers were more likely to die of COVID in 2020, according to new research, than the typical American worker.  

Among roughly 1 million child care workers, 405 died from COVID in 2020, the national study found, as Chalkbeat reported. That translates to about 38 deaths for every 100,000 child care workers — a higher rate than workers in general but similar to others in “essential” sectors of the economy that demand in-person working conditions. 

Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers, by contrast, had somewhat lower mortality rates than the average worker. Eight hundred and eight school teachers died from COVID in the first year of the pandemic, at a rate of 15 deaths of every 100,000 teachers.

This study, which examined the death rates among 155 million working Americans across 46 states, offers a vivid snapshot of the toll that the pandemic took on American child care workers. 

“There’s no way to know from this particular research whether or not it’s the child care work itself that caused the increased morbidity,” said Walter Gilliam, a Yale professor who studies child care, as Chalkbeat reported. “It doesn’t change the fact that this is a workforce that we don’t adequately support.”