Ms. Mahon criticized federal officials for not having more robust guidelines in place. Her organization, which issued a report on workers’ deaths last month, says about 2,000 health care workers have so far died from the virus.
She says that workers should be tested more frequently so they can be identified and isolated so the infection does not spread, and that supplies of protective gear remain uneven, with some facilities unprepared for an increase in cases.
Even though workers may be taking more precautions and treatments have improved in recent months, the analysis underscored how vulnerable many individuals are because of underlying health conditions, which include diabetes and high blood pressure. Almost three-quarters of those hospitalized were obese, a high-risk category for death, the study showed.
The majority had cared directly for patients, whether in a hospital, home or school setting. It could not be determined whether the individuals contracted the virus at work or in the community, but the study highlighted the potential risk faced by nurses who serve as front-line workers “because of their frequent and close patient contact, leading to extended cumulative exposure time.”