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Objectives To estimate COVID-19 infections and deaths in healthcare workers (HCWs) from a global perspective. Design Scoping review. Methods Two parallel searches of academic bibliographic databases and grey literature were undertaken. Governments were also contacted for further information where possible. Due to the time-sensitive nature of the review and the need to report the most up-to-date information for an ever-evolving situation, there were no restrictions on language, information sources utilised, publication status, and types of sources of evidence. The AACODS checklist was used to appraise each source of evidence. Outcome measures Publication characteristics, country-specific data points, COVID-19 specific data, demographics of affected HCWs, and public health measures employed Results A total of 152,888 infections and 1413 deaths were reported. Infections were mainly in women (71.6%) and nurses (38.6%), but deaths were mainly in men (70.8%) and doctors (51.4%). Limited data suggested that general practitioners and mental health nurses were the highest risk specialities for deaths. There were 37.17 deaths reported per 100 infections for healthcare workers aged over 70. Europe had the highest absolute numbers of reported infections (119628) and deaths (712), but the Eastern Mediterranean region had the highest number of reported deaths per 100 infections (5.7). Conclusions HCW COVID-19 infections and deaths follow that of the general world population. The reasons for gender and speciality differences require further exploration, as do the low rates reported from Africa and India. Although physicians working in certain specialities may be considered high-risk due to exposure to oronasal secretions, the risk to other specialities must not be underestimated. Elderly HCWs may require assigning to less risky settings such as telemedicine, or administrative positions. Our pragmatic approach provides general trends, and highlights the need for universal guidelines for testing and reporting of infections in HCWs.

Original publication




Journal article




Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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