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A year of trauma: More than 3,600 US health workers died in Covid's first 12 months

April 8, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 21.9%. 2 min read.

Lost on the Frontline, a yearlong investigation by The Guardian and KHN to count health care worker deaths, ends Thursday. This is what was learned in a year of tracing the lives of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

(CNN)More than 3,600 U. S. health care workers perished in the first year of the pandemic according to "Lost on the Frontline," a 12-month investigation by The Guardian and KHN to track such deaths.

Lost on the Frontline is the most complete accounting of U. S. health care worker deaths.

The project, which tracked who died and why, provides a window into the workings — and failings — of the U. S. health care system during the pandemic.

Lower-paid workers who handled everyday patient care, including nurses, support staff and nursing home employees, were far more likely to die in the pandemic than physicians were.

Widespread shortages of masks and other personal protective gear, a lack of Covid testing, weak contact tracing, inconsistent mask guidance by politicians, missteps by employers and lax enforcement of workplace safety rules by government regulators all contributed to the increased risk faced by health care workers.

The Covid deaths of so many are "a reflection of what health care workers have done historically, by putting themselves in harm's way, by living up to the oath they take when they become physicians and nurses," he said.

But deaths lag behind infections, and KHN and The Guardian have tracked more than 400 health care worker deaths since the vaccine rollout began.

The project found that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on masks — which encouraged hospitals to reserve high-performance N95 masks for intubation procedures and initially suggested surgical masks were adequate for everyday patient care — may have put thousands of health workers at risk.

The reporting also found that health care employers were failing to report worker deaths to OSHA.

Adeline's father, Brandt Fagan, wants the government to begin tracking health care worker deaths and examining the data to understand what went wrong.

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