Health workers, including doctors, care workers, and nurses, are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. They are working long hours in extreme protective gear and we cannot thank them enough for their effort and care to help those with COVID-19. As a result of their commitment to helping save lives, they have exposed themselves to the virus and now between 10% and 20% of U.S. coronavirus cases are health workers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a report that stated 9,282 health care workers in the U.S. contracted COVID-19 over a two-month period. Researchers said that it is difficult to know how they caught the virus. It could have been as a result of being in the hospital, despite the extreme protective gear and sanitary measures in place, but it also could have been contracted outside of hospitals and care centers. Roughly 10% of the health care workers were hospitalized with symptoms, and many cases were asymptomatic.
Unfortunately, these numbers don’t come as a surprise to Dr. Ann Schuchat, who is running the federal agency’s response to the outbreak. The U.S. coronavirus cases have exceeded 600,000, and the new CDC report focused on 49,000 cases, 9,300 (19%) of which were medical professionals. Of those 9,300 cases, there were 27 fatalities, most of which were older than 65.
The CDC reported that the median age of health workers who became sick was 42 years, and 73% were women. Roughly 38% of the affected health care workers reported that they had at least one underlying health condition prior to contracting COVID-19.
Finally, the report has urged the public to not stock up on protective equipment that is intended for health care workers. This includes N95 respirator masks, protective suits, and gloves. Hospitals have said that they are turning to construction masks or homemade masks, which could further increase the risk of health workers becoming infected.
Please help our medical workers obtain the necessary protective equipment they need by only purchasing what you need. If you need a guide to DIY face coverings, please click here. You can click here to learn proper hand washing technique. If you visit an essential business, there is no need to put on an N95 respirator, especially with social distancing laws in place. A simple cloth covering is protective, so long as you don’t use the same one without washing it.