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San Diego analysis ties chances of Covid-19 death to education level

An analysis of death certificates by the non-profit news site Voice of San Diego has found that people without a high-school diploma died from Covid-19 during the first year of the pandemic at a disproportionally high rate compared to more educated people.

In an article entitled “The First Year of COVID: A college degree was ‘an insurance policy’ against death,” the site reported, “during the first year of the pandemic, the share of San Diegans without a high school degree who died of Covid-19 was nearly three times as high as their share of the county population. San Diegans with a college degree, meanwhile, died at much lower rates than their share of the population.”

An expert suggested the high death rate for under-educated people was because they had manual jobs that didn’t allow them to stay home during the pandemic.

“Those who don’t have a bachelor’s degree or a high school degree are more likely to work in manual activities, customer service, agriculture, manufacturing and other economic activities that don’t allow them to stay safely at home,” Arturo Bustamante, a UCLA public health associate professor, told the Voice of San Diego.

Reporters entered information from more than 4,000 death certificates – which include the person’s education level – into a database in order to do the analysis.