Supporting the Health Care Workforce During the COVID-19 Global Epidemic

JAMA. 2020 Mar 12. [Epub ahead of print]

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continues to spread internationally. Worldwide, more than 100 000 cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2) and more than 3500 deaths have been reported. COVID-19 is thought to have higher mortality than seasonal influenza, even as wide variation is reported. While the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates global mortality at 3.4%, South Korea has noted mortality of about 0.6%.13

Vaccine development and research into medical treatment for COVID-19 are under way, but are many months away. Meanwhile, the pressure on the global health care workforce continues to intensify. This pressure takes 2 forms. The first is the potentially overwhelming burden of illnesses that stresses health system capacity and the second is the adverse effects on health care workers, including the risk of infection.