Cleavon MD

Working to death – Our dark shadow

20% of Coronavirus deaths are.. health care workers

Doctors, Nurses and Pharmacists. Carers and Cleaners. Ambulance officers. The kind of people you normally depend upon. And take for granted.

Hundreds of them are now dead from the Covid 19 virus. 

This post is dedicated to all Emergency and Healthcare workers, around the globe who gave their life in the service of others.

A reminder that all we need to value them. Listen to the issues they raise. And support them.

And look at what actually works, in terms of protecting them against pandemics like Covid 19.

Who are the health care workers who have died?

‘For residents of the West Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Austin, Texas, Maurice Dotson was a daily presence. As a nursing assistant, he hoisted them out of bed, helped them dress, fetched water, changed diapers and watched for signs of distress.

He also made sure to help celebrate their birthdays.’

Nursing Assistant Kept Showing Up for Work—Until He Got Sick. James R. Hagerty, April 24th 2020, Wall Street Journal.

‘America’s health care workers are dying. In some states, medical staff account for as many as 20% of known coronavirus cases. They tend to patients in hospitals, treating them, serving them food and cleaning their rooms. Others at risk work in nursing homes or are employed as home health aides.’

Lost On The Frontline. Melissa Bailey, Alastair Gee, Christina Jewett, Ankita Rao, Danielle Renwick, Sarah Varney April 24, 2020, Kaiser Health News.

‘At least 116 nurses have died in this country of 210 million from Covid-19, according to Brazil’s Federal Nursing Council—the highest toll anywhere. That is more than the 107 nurses who have died in the U.S., where the total death count of people succumbing to the pandemic is about six times more than in Brazil. In Italy, which has about twice as many total deaths as Brazil, 39 nurses have died, according to Italy’s National Federation of Nurses, or Fnopi.’


Brazil’s Nurses Are Dying as Covid-19 Overwhelms Hospitals – Wall Street Journal, 18th May 2020.

doctor, surgeon, hospital

‘In the province of Brecia, the center of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy, a 73-year-old doctor named Gino Fasoli came out of retirement to help treat patients amid the growing crisis.

On March 6, he told his brother that he was feeling unwell, with a headache and fever. By March 10, his condition had worsened. “I can’t speak,” Fasoli said. Soon, he was transferred to the hospital, where he tested positive for COVID-19. Doctors were unable to save him.

At 8 o’clock on the 14th they called me from the hospital to tell me he was dead,” his brother said.’

‘The government says there have been 49 verified deaths of NHS staff from Covid-19 during the pandemic, but it is clear that many others have died. The Guardian has recorded 200 deaths that have been reported in the news, but the true figure is likely to be higher because not all deaths will be in the public domain.’

‘A doctor who delayed his retirement to fight the coronavirus pandemic at a low-income hospital died of COVID-19…

Pulmonologist James Mahoney reportedly worked his day shifts in the intensive care unit of the University Hospital of Brooklyn, which, like many hospitals in New York, initially lacked the medical equipment needed to treat the onslaught of coronavirus patients during the pandemic.

Mahoney, who was 62, had the option of retiring after serving for 40 years as a physician, but instead treated his patients until he contracted the coronavirus and died on April 27′.

How could we have better protected them?

Social mapping, not Intensive Care Units

Implementing public screening even before person to person transmission was officially confirmed.

Setting up a central command centre that coordinates all information and policies from schools to work to public movement of people.

Strict travel controls, protocoles for identifying people with the disease.

Mapping the location and social contacts of people identified of being at high risk and tracking down every single contant they have made.

Automated alerts to people at higher risk of infections.

Strict and swift social distancing measures.

High use of public facemasks, 97% of the Hong Kong population.

Placing identified patients in isolation wards.

Training Doctors in infectious diseases medicine.

Mapping the disease, limiting its movement through hospitals.

Keeping health care workers quarantined.

Keeping different types of patients seperate from each other.

and in high risk infection areas, giving staff high quality protective equipment.

Rapid development of testing kits and widespread distribution at little to no cost to the public. 

Financially supporting small business and self employed people most at economic risk

Temperatures taken before people can enter most buildings.

Who are our health care workers?

More than 9 in 10 nursing assistants are women. Most nursing assistants are under age 45. Over one-third of these workers are Black or African Half of nursing assistants have completed no formal education beyond high school.


How Hospitals Can Protect Frontline Healthcare Workers From COVID-19. Ken Jung · Ron Li · Andrew Ng · Christian Rose · Eric Topol · Kelly Zhang · Ming Zhou · Sharon Zhou. April 3rd. Medium.

Singapore Was Ready for Covid-19—Other Countries, Take Note. 12 March 2020, Adam Rogers, Wired.

What We Can Learn From Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong About Handling Coronavirus. March 13th, 2020, Time, Laignee Barron.


Third Russian Doctor Falls From Hospital Window After Coronavirus Complaint. Artyom Geodakyan 4th May 2020, The Moscow Times.

At least 5 people in China have disappeared, gotten arrested, or been silenced after speaking out about the coronavirus — here’s what we know about them. By Aylin Woodward, February 21st 2020, Business Insider.

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