Story at a glance
- The Guardian partnered with Kaiser Health News on the 12-month investigative series.
- Disparities in race and economic status affected the deadliness of the virus.
- The project also looked at health care system failings and political missteps that may have cost more lives.
A newly published investigative report found that 3,607 U.S. health care workers died from the coronavirus in the first year of the pandemic.
The study, dubbed “Lost on the frontline,” was a 12-month joint effort between the Guardian and Kaiser Health News. The undertaking of the analysis was spurred from the government holding “no comprehensive record” of health care worker deaths, and the tally being held by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) being “a likely undercount,” by its own admission.
More than 100 journalists are said to have worked on the series.
“Lost on the frontline” has come together as a series of investigative reports presented alongside charted data, key findings and an individual profile of each health care worker who died and was added to its tally. It launched following the death of Frank Gabrin, the first recorded emergency room doctor to die from COVID-19.
Gabrin had texted a friend, “Don’t have any PPE that has not been used. No N95 masks – my own goggles – my own face shield.” He was the first death to be logged into “Lost on the frontline.”
The individual profiles of each health care worker who died are available to view, some with photos, to give a better glimpse at who each worker was as a person, humanizing the devastating statistics.
On a larger scale, its findings scrutinize the health care system’s failings and political missteps throughout the pandemic that it says could have prevented further deaths.
The yearlong investigation found that two-thirds of the deceased health care workers were people of color, and one-third had been born outside of the United States.
People who held lower-level health care occupations were more likely to die from COVID-19 than doctors. The analysis tied the disparity in the deadliness of the coronavirus based on these findings to “deep inequities tied to race, ethnicity and economic status in America’s healthcare workforce.”
The Guardian spoke to Anthony Fauci, the nation’s lead infectious diseases expert, in its final report of the series.
“We rightfully refer to these people without hyperbole – that they are true heroes and heroines,” Fauci said.
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