Earlier lockdown would have saved lives of London bus drivers, suggests review
27 July 2020
An independent review into the deaths of London bus drivers from COVID-19, led by the UCL Institute of Health Equity suggests an earlier lockdown would have saved lives.
The review, which is phase one of a study commissioned by TfL via UCL Consultants, part of UCL Innovation & Enterprise, shows that many of the drivers who died had underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk during the pandemic.
The independent review was commissioned by Transport for London (TfL) as an urgent response to understand more about the factors relating to the tragic deaths of colleagues in the bus industry.
The review finds it is likely that the front-line nature of bus driving contributes to the risk of death from COVID-19 nationally and in London. The mortality rate in London bus drivers aged 20-64 was in fact 3.5 times higher than men of the same age in all occupations in England and Wales from March to May, likely due to London being an early centre of the pandemic.
Given the dramatic effect of lockdown on reducing the risk among London’s bus drivers it is not possible at this stage to evaluate the protective measures that bus operators took – those will be examined in the second stage of the review.
Review: Phase 2
The next stage of this consultancy piece will examine the potential contribution that occupation exposure plays in differences in infection and death rates between London's frontline transport workers and the general London population, by adjusting for a range of risk factors including age, gender, ethnicity, economic status and non-occupational exposures. This will take around three to four months and will help inform recommendations on any additional measures that should be put in place to protect these key workers.
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