December 17, 2020

Estimates of COVID-19 infections in US healthcare workers

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

In this study, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers used a computer model to predict the number of COVID-19 infections in US healthcare workers. The estimate was based on the number of healthcare workers in China and Italy, which experienced peaks in COVID-19 cases before the US.

The researchers estimated that about 53,000 US healthcare workers could become infected with COVID-19 during the course of the pandemic, and 1,579 could die.

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If healthcare workers considered at high risk wore appropriate PPE, the number of infections could decrease to about 28,000 and the number of deaths could drop to 850.

Restricting healthcare workers age 60 and over from direct patient care could reduce the predicted numbers to 2,000 infected and 60 deaths.

The researchers conclude that healthcare workers bear a significant burden of illness from COVID-19. Making PPE available to all healthcare workers and reducing the exposure of those over age 60 could mitigate the risks, they say.


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