26.6% of front-line healthcare workers at increased risk from COVID-19 due to age, chronic conditions, study finds

Millions of healthcare workers with patient contact are at increased risk for poor COVID-19 outcomes due to age or chronic conditions, according to a study published April 28 in Annals of Internal Medicine.

The study — led by researchers at City University of New York's Hunter College in New York City — found that 3.66 million, or 26.6 percent, of the nation's 13.79 million healthcare workers with patient contact have increased risk for poor COVID-19 outcomes because of age or conditions such as diabetes and chronic lung disease.

Researchers also found that many front-line healthcare workers have family incomes below the poverty line, including 2.5 percent of hospital workers; 275,000 healthcare workers with patient contact (7.5 percent) are uninsured; and 1.12 million healthcare workers at risk for poor COVID-19 outcomes (30.5 percent) lack paid sick leave.

Researchers examined the most recent data from the CDC's 2018 National Health Interview Survey and the Census Bureau's March 2019 Current Population Survey.

The authors noted limitations in the study, such as reliance on self-reported data from before the pandemic and that some healthcare workers with patient contact may now be furloughed or working from home. Despite the limitations, they said they found millions of healthcare workers "are assuming substantial risks to serve their communities."

Read the full study results here

 

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