By Consumers For Quality Care, on August 19, 2020
A new study from Harvard Medical School found that health care workers of color were more likely to care for COVID-19 patients and report inadequate protective equipment, and nearly twice as likely than their white colleagues to test positive for the virus.
According to the Times Leader, the study was based on data from 2 million people in the U.S. and the United Kingdom who use the COVID-19 Symptom Study app. The researchers also found that health care workers are at least three times more likely than the general public to report a positive COVID-19 test.
According to Dr. Andrew Chan, a senior author and an epidemiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, the study further highlights racial disparity.
“If you think to yourself, ‘Health care workers should be on equal footing in the workplace,’ our study really showed that’s definitely not the case,” said Chan, who is also a professor at Harvard Medical School.
Another finding from the study shows that health care workers of color are more likely to care for sick patients in their communities, which oftentimes have access to fewer resources. Workers of color were 20% more likely than white workers to care for patients suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19. The rate increased to 30% for Black workers in particular.
“It’s upsetting,” said Fiana Tulip, the daughter of a Texas respiratory therapist who died of COVID-19 on July 4. Tulip said her mother, Isabelle Papadimitriou, a Latina, told her stories of facing discrimination over the years.