Nearly 6% of all hospitalized patients with Covid-19 work in health care and most in that group were nurses, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 4% of health care workers who were hospitalized died.
The CDC-led Covid research team reviewed the charts of nearly 7,000 Covid-19 patients who were in the hospital between March 1 and May 31.
Most were women. A large proportion were Black. These patients skewed much younger than the general Covid-19 patient population. The median age of a health care professional who was hospitalized was 49, compared to 62 for the country as a whole, the team reported in in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Nearly 90% of hospitalized health care professionals with Covid-19 had at least one underlying medical condition. The most common, reported at nearly 73%, was obesity.
In addition to infection prevention and control efforts, the CDC researchers said there is a need for prevention and management programs to help people control their weight. Obesity significantly increases the risk for severe Covid-19 illness.
This research is in keeping with earlier studies. Research in China also found that people in nursing-related occupations accounted for the most cases among the health care profession.
Nurses may be most at risk of being exposed to the novel coronavirus because they have extended cumulative exposure time. Nurses have the most close and frequent contact with sick patients.