COVID-19 in Clinicians—More Cases in Women, More Deaths in Men | Global Health | JAMA | JAMA Network
[Skip to Navigation]
Sign In
Global Health
April 20, 2021

COVID-19 in Clinicians—More Cases in Women, More Deaths in Men

JAMA. 2021;325(15):1498. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.5500

Although a greater proportion of COVID-19 cases occurred in women health care workers and nurses early in the pandemic, more male health care workers and physicians died of the disease, a global analysis reported.

The investigators examined reports of 152 888 infections and 1413 deaths among health care workers in 195 countries that occurred through May 8, 2020. They found that about 1% of health care workers who became infected died. About 70% of infections occurred in women and about 40% were in nurses, but about 70% of deaths occurred in men and about 50% in physicians. Among 14 countries that reported data on health care workers’ specialties, general practitioners and mental health nurses who developed COVID-19 had the highest risk of dying from it. Their deaths may have been due to limited personal protective equipment in these settings, the number of patients seen, or being in particularly close contact with patients, the authors wrote.

Data from a subset of about 14 000 health care workers showed that the largest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths occurred in health care workers aged 50 to 59 years, but the death rate was highest in health care workers older than 70 years.

“High rates of morbidity and mortality in elderly healthcare workers may require assigning them to less risky settings such as telemedicine, non–COVID-19 outpatient clinics or administrative positions,” the authors noted.