A report from the CDC found that 19% of people infected with COVID-19 in the United States are healthcare professionals. Women accounted for 73% of those infected, a shockingly high percentage given the preponderance of infection of men over women in the general population. The average age of the healthcare professionals infected is 42.
Ninety-two percent of those identified as infected have one or more symptoms of the disease. Only 8% were symptom free. The ratio of symptomatic to non symptomatic carriers is much higher than that found in the general population, suggesting that the actual percentage of healthcare workers infected may be much higher. The good news is that the death rate in this population was very low, at 0.06%.
It is likely that the great majority of infections occurred while caring for patients. More than half of those infected reported that their only known exposure was to a patient.
Our healthcare workers are a limited and very precious resource. Everyday our healthcare workers take risks to save lives, endangering their own. These numbers provide a stark reminder of the risks they face both for themselves and their families. We know we must provide them all they need to protect themselves. Evidently it is not enough.