As the new coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak continues to devastate the world in recent times, infecting more than 17.6 million people globally. A new study by King's College London stated that wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) when coming in contact with patients with coronavirus, is not enough to completely dismiss the risk of contracting the virus in case of the frontline workers.

The healthcare workers wth proper equipment are still at 3.4 times the risk of contracting the virus compared to the general public, the study found and the minority healthcare workers are even at a much higher risk. African American, Latino, and other minority healthcare workers were at five times more risk of contracting the COVID-19 than the White people, the study that was published in the journal Lancet Public Health claimed.

COVID-19 Affecting Frontline Workers

Coronavirus
Workers of Junjiang Industrial Limited Company produce medical masks in Yilong New District at Bouyei-Miao Autonomous Prefecture of Qianxinan in southwest China's Guizhou Province, Feb. 21, 2020. Medical supply companies in Yilong New District have been producing medical supplies at full capacity to support the fight against the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. (Xinhua/Yang Wenbin/IANS) Xinhua/IANS

"A little over 20 percent of front-line health-care workers reported at least one symptom associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection compared with 14.4 percent of the general population; fatigue, loss of smell or taste, and hoarse voice were especially frequent," the scientists wrote as quoted by CNN.

The scientists made use of the COVID-19 symptom tracker app for studying the data of over two million people, which include around 100,000 frontline healthcare workers in the US and the UK between March 24 and April 23. The researchers found that over 2,700 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 healthcare workers compared with more than 240 cases per 100,000 among the general public.

"After accounting for differences in testing for healthcare workers compared with the general community, the researchers estimate frontline workers are around 3.4 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19," the researchers stated. "The data is clear in revealing that there is still an elevated risk of SARS-Co-V-2 infection despite availability of PPE," King's College London professor and senior study author Sebastien Ourselin mentioned.

Coronavirus Crisis

The scientists found that minority healthcare workers were more likely to report the lack of proper PPE and mentioned that they were forced to reuse most of the time. The previous studies found that 10-20 percent of the virus cases occur among the frontline workers.

"Our study provides a more precise assessment of the magnitude of increased infection risk among healthcare workers compared to the general community," Dr. Andrew Chang, a senior study author, and director of cancer epidemiology at Massachusetts General Hospital mentioned.

The deadly virus outbreak has created a major stir around the world in recent times infecting more than 17.6 million people globally and claimed the lives of over 679,000 people in more than 170 nations.