PREPRINT: Physician Deaths from Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19)

OBJECTIVE: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused much morbidity and mortality to patients but also health care providers. We tabulated the cases of physician deaths from COVID-19 associated with front-line work in hopes of mitigating future events. METHOD: On April 5, 2020, Google internet search was performed using the keywords doctor, physician, death, COVID, COVID-19, and coronavirus in English and Farsi, and in Chinese using the Baidu search engine. RESULTS: We found 198 physician deaths from COVID-19, but complete details were missing for 49 individuals. The average age of the physicians that died was 63.4 years (range 28 to 90 years) and the median age was 66 years of age. Ninety percent of the deceased physicians were male (175/194). General practitioners and emergency room doctors (78/192), respirologists (5/192), internal medicine specialists (11/192) and anesthesiologists (6/192) comprised 52% of those dying. Two percent of the deceased were epidemiologists (4/192), 2% were infectious disease specialists (4/192), 5% were dentists (9/192), 4% were ENT (8/192), and 4% were ophthalmologists (7/192). The countries with the most reported physician deaths were Italy (79/198), Iran (43/198), China (16/198), Philippines (14/198), United States (9/192) and Indonesia (7/192). CONCLUSION: Physicians from all specialties may die from COVID, and these deaths will likely increase as the pandemic progresses. Lack of personal protective equipment was cited as a common cause of death. Consideration should be made to exclude older physicians from front-line work.

Writing about COVID-19

As well as building up a resource of information and analysis on COVID-19, we want to ensure that we pass on any tips about what can go wrong when writing about this subject: and how to get it right! If you have experience in writing about this area and feel you have advice that would help others, please contact us at: covid19editor@wfsj-briefing.org.

We’d also like to hear from you at that address if you would like to regularly contribute links to the site. If you just want to suggest links on an occasional basis, please send them to: covid19@wfsj-briefing.org.