Initial estimates of COVID-19 infections in hospital workers in the United States during the first wave of pandemic

Junaid A. Razzak, Junaid A. Bhatti, Muhammad Ramzan Tahir, Omrana Pasha-Razzak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objective We estimated the number of hospital workers in the United States (US) that might be infected or die during the COVID-19 pandemic based on the data in the early phases of the pandemic. Methods We calculated infection and death rates amongst US hospital workers per 100 COVID-19related deaths in the general population based on observed numbers in Hubei, China, and Italy. We used Monte Carlo simulations to compute point estimates with 95% confidence intervals for hospital worker (HW) infections in the US based on each of these two scenarios. We also assessed the impact of restricting hospital workers aged ≥ 60 years from performing patient care activities on these estimates. Results We estimated that about 53,000 hospital workers in the US could get infected, and 1579 could die due to COVID19. The availability of PPE for high-risk workers alone could reduce this number to about 28,000 infections and 850 deaths. Restricting high-risk hospital workers such as those aged ≥ 60 years from direct patient care could reduce counts to 2,000 healthcare worker infections and 60 deaths. Conclusion We estimate that US hospital workers will bear a significant burden of illness due to COVID-19. Making PPE available to all hospital workers and reducing the exposure of hospital workers above the age of 60 could mitigate these risks.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0242589
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12 December
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


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