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Frontline workers wearing PPE still at more than three times the risk of Covid-19 infection, new study finds

August 1, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients with Covid-19 isn't enough to completely eliminate the threat from the virus for frontline workers, according to a new study from King's College London.

Health care workers with adequate gloves, gowns and face masks still had 3. 4 times the risk of contracting the coronavirus compared to the general population, the study found, and minority health care workers had an even greater risk of testing positive.

The researchers used the COVID Symptom Tracker app to study the data of more than 2 million people, including almost 100,000 frontline health care workers in the United States and the United Kingdom between March 24 and April 23.

Not only did researchers find that minority health care workers had an increased risk of Covid-19 infection, they also found that they were more likely to report a lack of adequate PPE and said they were forced to frequently reuse equipment, Ouselin said.

"Our study provides a more precise assessment of the magnitude of increased infection risk among healthcare workers compared to the general community," said Dr. Andrew Chang, a senior study author and director of cancer epidemiology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

"Our results underscore the importance of providing adequate access to PPE and also suggest that systemic racism associated with inequalities to access to PPE likely contribute to the disproportionate risk of infection among minority frontline healthcare workers. "

The research suggests health-care systems should ensure adequate availability of PPE and develop additional strategies to protect health-care workers from COVID-19, particularly those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds

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