There is currently no systematic or standardized process for recording the number of nurses and health care workers who have contracted COVID-19. As a result, there is also no reliable count of how many nurses and health care workers have died from the virus.
The International Council of Nurses (ICN) analyzed available data from their National Nursing Associations, official figures and media reports from a limited number of countries. The organization estimated that more than 230,000 health care workers have contracted COVID-19, and more than 600 nurses have died as a result worldwide.
Because ICN's analysis was based on limited data and excluded countries who haven't reported their data, the organization suspects that the actual numbers are much higher. Further investigation found that around 7% of all COVID-19 cases were among health care workers in the countries examined. If this figure is extrapolated to all countries worldwide, approximately 450,000 of the world's coronavirus cases could be among health care workers. Worldwide, total coronavirus cases stand at more than six million.
ICN is urging governments to standardize the practice of recording infections and deaths among the vulnerable population of health care workers.
"Nursing is looking like one of the most dangerous jobs in the world at the moment," said Howard Catton, ICN Chief Executive Officer, in a press release about the numbers. "We need to get this data for every country and work out exactly what is going on that explains the variations that are evident with even a cursory glance at the figures. Only then will we be able to learn how best to keep our nurses safe and prevent any repeat of these terrible statistics in the future."