Mexico and the United States account for nearly a third of all health care workers who have died from COVID-19, according to a new report by Amnesty International.
Mexico alone has registered 1,320 health worker deaths during the pandemic, about a fifth of the worldwide total. U.S. deaths among front-line workers have hit 1,077.
The two North American countries were followed by the United Kingdom with 649 health worker deaths, Brazil with 634, and Russia with 631, the Amnesty report said.
“For over seven thousand people to die while trying to save others is a crisis on a staggering scale. Every health worker has the right to be safe at work, and it is a scandal that so many are paying the ultimate price,” said Steve Cockburn, head of economic and social justice at Amnesty International, in a statement.
The figures in the report roughly coincide with the countries that have the most COVID-19 deaths.
Mexico leads the list of health worker deaths, but is fourth globally in total coronavirus deaths. The country's contagion figures have been marred by one of the lowest test rates in the world, and its total death count — the world's fourth highest at 65,816 — has been called into question both domestically and abroad.
According to the Amnesty report, Mexico's health authorities said that as of last week, 97,632 health workers had tested positive for COVID-19.
The report detailed that hospital cleaning staff are especially vulnerable to infection, but lauded the Mexican government's record-keeping of health worker infections.
Still, the figures show a consistently dangerous situation in Mexico. A July report by local daily El Economista showed 46,013 health workers had tested positive as of June 28. That means contagion among health workers has doubled over the past two months, even as President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has repeatedly insisted the pandemic is subsiding in the country.
The Amnesty report also found a relatively high number of health worker deaths for Russia, although the country is 12th in total coronavirus deaths worldwide. It also highlighted concerns about increasing deaths in countries like South Africa — 240 health worker deaths — and India, where contagion numbers are on the rise.
“Many months into the pandemic, health workers are still dying at horrific rates in countries such as Mexico, Brazil and the USA, while the rapid spread of infections in South Africa and India show the need for all states to take action," said Cockburn.