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  • Nurses demonstrate using masks and signs reading

    Nurses demonstrate using masks and signs reading "Save Lives, Protect Nurses," in Miami, Florida, U.S. August 5, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 6 August 2020
Opinion

The study tails other research about pandemic racialization. A prior investigation concluded minority healthcare workers tend to assist more patients from their communities. Non-white groups suffer from healthcare access inequities and life insurance discrimination.

U.S. and U.K. black healthcare workers are more vulnerable to COVID-19 and more likely to die due to the virus than their non-black colleagues and patients, according to a Harvard Medical School study.

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“If you think to yourself, ‘Healthcare workers should be on equal footing in the workplace,’ our study really showed that’s definitely not the case,” Harvard professor and study author Dr. Andrew Chan said.

The research used the data inputs of U.S. and U.K. users of COVID Symptom Study app, from March 24 to April 23. The study also assessed the profile of 164 healthcare workers who died of COVID-19 and other 900 who contracted the virus.

After statistics analysis, researchers concluded that black healthcare workers are more likely to assist COVID-19 patients and about twice the possibility of receiving reused or inappropriate biosecurity equipment. 

The study included not only physicians but also social workers, mental health counselors, and health advisors who served since the early pandemic. Overall, 62% of the healthcare workers who died because of the virus were black.

The study tails other research about pandemic racialization. A prior investigation concluded minority healthcare workers tend to assist more patients from their communities. Not white groups suffer from healthcare access inequities and life insurance discrimination.

“I’m not surprised by these findings, but I’m disappointed by the result,” physician and Pittsburgh Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion’s investigator Dr. Utibe Essien said.

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