COVID-19 nurse deaths in the thousands: federation

File: An ICN survey found that in countries where separate data for nurses was available, more than 1,000 had died from the respiratory disease.

Reuters/Mike Hutchings

GENEVA - More than a thousand nurses are known to have died worldwide due to COVID-19, the International Council of Nurses said on Wednesday, adding that the true figure was likely far higher.

The ICN branded the situation "catastrophic" and lambasted governments for not doing enough to protect front-line healthcare workers during the new coronavirus pandemic.

An ICN survey found that in countries where separate data for nurses was available, more than 1,000 had died from the respiratory disease.

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"As of August 14, the cumulative number of reported COVID-19 deaths in nurses in 44 countries is 1,097," the ICN said in a report.

"As our dataset only covers 44 countries with recorded nurse deaths, ICN believes the number significantly underestimates the situation."

Broadening out from nurses, the human rights organisation Amnesty International said on 3 September that at least 7,000 healthcare workers of all types had died worldwide after contracting COVID-19.

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ICN president Annette Kennedy called the report's findings "disturbing".

"Nurses and other health workers are still being exposed to COVID-19 and all its associated risks, including violence and prejudice, mental illness, infection and in what we now believe to be possibly thousands of cases, making the ultimate sacrifice by paying with their lives," she said.

"Nurses are undervalued, underpaid and sometimes treated as expendable. This is a scandalous situation which ICN urges governments to rectify."

The ICN said that in data from 32 countries, 572,478 health workers have been reported infected with COVID-19 as of 14 August, accounting for, on average, 10 percent of all cases.

Source
AFP