The current COVID-19 pandemic has affected the workforce in various ways. The article Occupations and their Impact on the Spreading of COVID-19 in Urban Communities (published in the journal Scientific Reports from the Nature portfolio by a team led by Prof. Marian-Gabriel Hâncean, PhD) tries to answer some questions regarding the role of occupations in the transmission of the SARS-COV-2 virus. Are some occupations more exposed to COVID-19 infections than others? Can managers make better decisions to protect employees? What can we learn from the early spread of the virus?
The article analyzes information from the period August 1 – October 31, 2020. The data records variables such as: gender, age and occupations of 6,895 patients as well as 13,272 of the social contacts of people infected with COVID-19. These variables allowed the approximation of a social network of the transmission of COVID-19 in an urban context, Bucharest.
Empirical evidence suggests that the virus did not have a uniform distribution within occupational groups, therefore not even among community members. Groups of employees from different fields or backgrounds are not evenly distributed in terms of exposure and physical proximity to colleagues or customers.
To contribute to the scientific debate occasioned by the differential occupational risk of COVID-19 infections, the article presents statistical models (relational hyperevent modeling) that use network variables and individual traits of individuals as predictors. The results show that occupations in the medical spectrum did not, during the analyzed period, have a significant effect on the spread of the virus. The data indicate chains of transmission of the virus that start more in the private sector and lead to non-occupationally active persons (partners, siblings, elderly relatives).
During the analyzed period, the SARS-COV-2 virus seems to have rather had the following mode of circulation: between people of similar age, gender and different occupational status (people employed or eligible for employment compared to persons not eligible for employment).Understanding the role of occupations in the transmission of COVID-19, in a work context using data and network analysis can have multiple uses: informing vaccination campaigns; estimating the occupational risk of infection in certain stages of the evolution of the pandemic; support managers in both private and public environments in formulating informed decisions on how to organize work (encouraging employees to come to the office physically or encouraging telework) when waves of infection with high transmission potential occur. Analysis of network data on COVID-19 transmission can inform and provide empirical support to the development of new vaccination models.
The analyzes carried out were limited to the available data. We would like to thank the Department of Public Health (Ministry of Health) and the University of Bucharest for their support in carrying out this study. For additional details, those interested can freely access the article Occupations and their Impact on the Spreading of COVID-19 in Urban Communities (Scientific Reports Nature https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-18392-5).
The study is part of a wider approach of the graphs and social networks research group (GraphNets – Faculty of Sociology and Social Assistance), to analyze the spread of COVID-19 infections. Additional information on other results of the CoSMoS project (Impact of Human Mobility Networks and Weather Conditions on The Spread of COVID-19) is available on the web page https://cosmos.unibuc.ro/).