Gig workers: unsung heroes and a strategic role in the UK national response to the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Funded by Department of Health and Social Care / National Institute for Health and Care Research (DHSC-NIHR), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Total publications:7 publications

Grant number: MC_PC_19083

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Key facts

  • Disease

  • Start & end year

  • Known Financial Commitments (USD)

  • Funder

    Department of Health and Social Care / National Institute for Health and Care Research (DHSC-NIHR), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Principle Investigator

  • Research Location

    United Kingdom, Europe
  • Lead Research Institution

    The University of Manchester
  • Research Category

    Epidemiological studies

  • Research Subcategory

    Disease transmission dynamics

  • Special Interest Tags


  • Study Subject


  • Clinical Trial Details


  • Broad Policy Alignment


  • Age Group

    Adults (18 and older)

  • Vulnerable Population


  • Occupations of Interest



This COVID-19 Rapid Response award is jointly funded (50:50) between the Medical Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research. The figure displayed is the total award amount of the two funders combined, with each partner contributing equally towards the project. With surging numbers of total confirmed cases and deaths, the UK has entered the most stringent social distancing stage in history. Of all the key worker groups, delivery workers is the one has most gig workers who are precariously employed. Huge spikes in demand have been reported by supermarkets, online grocers and food delivery services. The employers have responded by hiring more workers or requiring existing employees to work longer shifts. Certain epidemiological characteristics of the COVID-19, namely subclinical transmission, incubation period and varying viability on surfaces, present significant challenges to protect delivery workers. We aim to understand, based on different scenarios of risk mitigation measures and social distancing strategies, 1) how delivery workers contribute to the UK's national response by delivering to households and hence reduce number of outgoing trips; and 2) how delivery workers could potentially contribute to transmission. We will collect data from key stakeholders of the sector to understand how the supply chains and delivery workers responded to the COVID19 outbreak and to build scenarios for mathematical modelling. Using these models we will assess the impact (positive and negative) of current delivery activities, as well as additional scenarios reflecting stricter lockdown conditions, taking into account effect of risk mitigation measures, by considering the number and nature of contacts they made in the communities (including vulnerable groups). Household transmission models will be used with external forcing into households and infection back to gig workers directly considered.

Publicationslinked via Europe PMC

Last Updated:41 minutes ago

View all publications at Europe PMC

Modelling the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions on workplace transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the home-delivery sector.

Contact patterns of UK home delivery drivers and their use of protective measures during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cross-sectional study.

Modelling the impact of repeat asymptomatic testing policies for staff on SARS-CoV-2 transmission potential.

Are platelet volume indices of clinical use in COVID-19? A systematic review.

Agility and Sustainability: A Qualitative Evaluation of COVID-19 Non-pharmaceutical Interventions in the UK Logistics Sector.

Risk factors associated with respiratory infectious disease-related presenteeism: a rapid review.

Non-infectious status indicated by detectable IgG antibody to SARS-CoV-2.