COVID-19 and the Risk of Being a Frontline Healthcare Worker

April 28, 2020

Healthcare workers are currently at a much higher risk of being infected by COVID-19, and we are uncovering the enormity of the situation through the COVID Symptom Study app. A review of results from the US and UK from the app shows that frontline healthcare workers are facing up a nearly 12 times greater risk of a positive COVID-19 test, and those with inadequate access to PPE are at an additional 23% higher risk. Furthermore, we found that if they were directly caring for COVID-19 positive patients, healthcare workers were experiencing a 5 times greater risk of developing the disease, 6 times if they did not have access to proper PPE.

When healthcare workers are not only at risk of becoming sick and dying, but also bringing the virus home to the general community, it is essential that they are provided with high quality PPE and properly trained in how to use it. That in itself is not enough.

Dr. Andy Chan emphasizes, “We also must be vigilant about implementing other infection control measures to minimize infection of health care workers, including promptly and effectively testing and isolating COVID-19 patients and ensuring that the patient care environment is adequately disinfected.”

We should strive towards a system that can protect and support our healthcare workers.

A. The risk of COVID-19 among frontline healthcare workers (HCW). Between March 24, 2020 and April 23, 2020, considerable disparities in prevalence of a positive COVID-19 test among frontline HCW risk compared to the general community were observed in both the United Kingdom and the United States. B. Prevalence of a positive COVID-19 test reported by frontline HCWs in the United States and the United Kingdom. Regions in gray did not offer sufficient data. 
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