First wave COVID-19 infection rates in healthcare workers reflected in the general population

First wave COVID-19 infection rates in healthcare workers reflected in the general population

In Ireland, health care workers made up 31.6% of all test-confirmed infections while only consisting of 3% of the population. After using software to create a more accurate picture of how widespread the disease was, the researchers found that the health care worker data closely reflected the infection rate among the entire population. “As we have seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, implementing countermeasures early can save lives and reduce the spread of the disease,” said Donal O’Shea, PhD, in a press release. “However, wide-scale testing can take time to set up, delaying decisions and costing lives. While the healthcare population is no longer an accurate sample of the general population for COVID-19 due to different vaccination rates, governments could use data from their healthcare worker population to make informed decisions on what measures to implement earlier when future viruses emerge.”

The study noted that very few nations were able to set up effective systems that tested the entire population, carried out contact tracing, and quarantined those infected with COVID-19. Source

Screening healthcare workers could serve as early warning system for future viruses [news release]. EurekAlert; May 3, 2021. Accessed May 3, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-05/r-shw043021.php

REFERENCE “Setting up wide-scale testing systems for healthcare workers is much easier than setting up a similar program for everyone since the infrastructure for testing for diseases is always in place in healthcare settings,” said Dan Wu, PhD, in the release. “A screening program that tested all healthcare workers would have the additional benefit of catching asymptomatic spread of the disease since all healthcare workers would be tested. If governments could catch highly infectious diseases and implement countermeasures early, this could possibly prevent new viruses from erupting into another epidemic/pandemic.”

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