More than 250 healthcare professionals from 60 countries have signed a letter sent to World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus today calling for nations to contribute comprehensive data on the numbers of health workers worldwide infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. As safe and effective vaccines become available, the data would highlight the need for immediate access to inoculations against the virus for those on the frontline fighting the pandemic, the letter says.
The authors of the letter, Hakan Erdem, M.D. president of the Infectious Diseases International Research Initiative, and Daniel R. Lucey, M.D., MPH, FIDSA, on behalf of the Infectious Diseases International Research Initiative, gathered data published last month in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases (and covered in Science Speaks) on health worker infections and deaths in 37 countries across the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa and the Mid East. The November IJLD article called for WHO to collect and post information on health worker infections and deaths from all 200 WHO member states. The numbers reported there, the authors note in the letter sent today, represent “only a small percentage of the healthcare workers around the world fighting this pandemic every day and night.” Dr. Lucey first wrote about the novel coronavirus for Science Speaks on Jan. 6 and has covered the origins, toll and research developments of the pandemic in 55 posts here since,
The 259 signers, the letter says, “stand together in global health solidarity to fight this pandemic . . . We also stand equally in need to be offered vaccination against this virus as soon as possible.”