Demographics, Underlying Conditions Tied to Worse COVID in Health Workers

September 29, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce

Last modified September 30, 2020

This recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) published by the CDC provides updated information from voluntary reports on 100,570 healthcare personnel (HCP) with COVID-19 from February to July that shows variations in risk, including higher death rates in minority workers. Data was analyzed from standardized case report forms containing HCP demographic characteristics, which included newly reported occupation type and job setting, underlying medical conditions, hospitalizations, and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and deaths.

The number of HCP with COVID-19 has increased drastically since first described in April, with 641 deaths. Demographic factors and preexisting conditions were predictive of poorer outcomes. Infected HCP who were older, male, Asian, or black—or had one or more underlying medical conditions—had higher death rates. 

“Long-standing inequities in social determinants of health can result in some groups being at increased risk for illness and death from COVID-19, and these factors must also be recognized and addressed when protecting essential workers in the workplace, at home, and in the community,” the report states. 

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