COVID-19: Frontline Health Staff Still At Risk With PPE

COVID-19: Frontline Health Staff Still At Risk With PPE

KEY POINTS

  • Frontline health workers, especially those who belong to the minority, are at a much higher risk of contracting COVID-19
  • According to a study, paramedics are at a higher risk compared to other health workers
  • Massachusetts General Hospital researchers analyzed data from almost 100,000 frontline medical workers in the U.S. and U.K. ​

Recent research showed that emergency staff operating at the frontline of the fight with coronavirus were at slightly greater risk for the deadly disease.

COVID-19: Frontline Health Staff Still At Risk With PPE

At the coronavirus pandemic peak in the United States and the United Kingdom, the risk to COVID-19 in comparison to other individuals was much higher among healthcare workers at the frontline, especially those belonging to minority groups. This has been shown with a recent report called “COVID-19 vulnerability for health workers in the front line and the public sector: a prospective cohort sample.”

Researchers wrote in their report that paramedics, who are typically the first to see people with diseases, are more likely to develop COVID 19 than most health staff. In fact, a survey by the US News and World Report notes that this refers to frontline care practitioners who are Muslims, Blacks or from other groups.

The data gathered from over 2 millions members of the general population, including over 100,000 front-line healthcare staff in the U.S. and in the UK, were examined by Massachusetts General Hospital analysts.

About 5500 participants tested positive for COVID-19 from 24 March to 23 April. The risk of COVID-19 contamination for health-care workers was also threefold greater than non-health-care employees. Asians, Indigenous and health care staff from diverse racial backgrounds, in contrast with white counterparts, were double at risk for infection.

Health professionals may have informed themselves of a shortage of reasonably high risk of contamination such as boots, gowns and masks. Nevertheless, researchers noted that the risk of coronavirus infection is still high, albeit adequately covered.

“Our country continues to face serious shortages of PPE, while it is clear that health workers on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 are at an elevated risk of infection,” said Dr Andrew Chan, senior author of the study and chief of the Mass General Unit of Clinical and Translation Epidemics.

Chan has clarified the value of having appropriate access to PPEs in a hospital press release. He noted that the research also shows that institutional bias is linked with inequalities in access by the PPE, noting that this is likely to lead to the differential risk of infection amongst primary health workers in the minority. The Lancet Public Health released its analysis and results on 31 July.

COVID-19: Frontline Health Staff Still At Risk With PPE

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