COVID-19 hits female health-workers twice as hard

A UN report says that 73 percent of infected health workers in Spain are women. Photo: EFE via El Diario
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Studies being released by a UN agency and professional and university researchers in Spain are pointing to a clear gender-gap among healthcare workers having the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus.

Figures compiled by researchers at UN agency “UN Women” and released this week show that in Spain there have been more than twice as many cases of COVID-19 among female health-care workers as compared to their male counterparts.

According to the UN Women researchers, as of an April 6th count of coronavirus infections among health workers in Spain, 71.8 percent of the total 7,329 cases of coronavirus infection counted among the country’s healthcare professionals corresponded to women, with just 28.2 percent corresponding to their male colleagues.

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The UN study and others being published in prestigious medical journals are urging more careful analysis as to why there is a gender gap in infections among healthcare professionals in Spain and worldwide, noting that those working in the front line healthcare defense against the disease are primarily women.

Results of a separate survey of nurses in Spain just released by the Organización Colegial de Enfermería (Collegiate Organization of Nursing) shows that seven out of ten nurses working in Spain during the COVID-19 crisis have done so without adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

According to the survey, about 74,000 of the 260,000 nurses practicing in Spain have suffered from coronavirus symptoms. The survey’s authors attribute the level of contagion to the lack of protective equipment.

Data released from Madrid’s Carlos III Health Institute shows that as of 16th April, nearly three quarters (73.6 percent) of Spanish healthcare workers who have had or currently have the disease are women. The Carlos III study was based on a population sample of 122,487 positive cases of COVID-19, or 67% of the total of coronavirus infections in Spain.

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