COVID-19 robbed lives of about 7,000 health workers, Amnesty International reports

In Canada, at least 17 healthcare workers died from COVID-19 as of Sept. 2, Medscape says

COVID-19 robbed lives of about 7,000 health workers, Amnesty International reports

An estimated 7,000 health workers around the globe have died after being infected with COVID-19, said Amnesty International in a recent analysis.

Amnesty International earlier published a July 13 report that set the number at around 3,000 health workers. The human rights organization has attributed the most recent figures to the rise in COVID-19 rates in numerous countries and to the increase in available data sources.

According to Amnesty International’s new analysis, Mexico has the highest estimated number of deaths of health workers from COVID-19 at 1,320 deaths, followed by the U.S. at 1,077, then the U.K. at 649. Other countries with prominent figures are Brazil at 634 deaths, Russia at 631, India at 573, South Africa at 240, Italy at 188, Peru at 183, Iran at 164 and Egypt at 159. These latest figures did not mention Canada.

Medical information website Medscape keeps a list of healthcare workers around the world who have died of COVID-19.

In a Sept. 2 update, Medscape reported at least 17 healthcare workers who have died in Canada, the information for which is reproduced below:

  1. Agary Akaekpuchionwa, age unknown, personal support worker (CUPE), long-term care home, Ottawa
  2. Brian Beattie, 57, nurse, Kensington Village Nursing Home, London, Ontario
  3. Huy Hao Dao, 44, public health physician, Montreal
  4. Marcelin Francois, 40, personal support worker, Montreal
  5. Marina Thenor Louis, 45, orderly, CHSLD Cartierville, Montreal
  6. Christine Mandegarian, 54, personal support worker, Altamont Care Community, Scarborough
  7. Laurence Ménard, 33, social worker, CLSC Drummond, Drummondville
  8. Arlene Reid, 51, personal support worker, Victorian Order of Nurses, Brampton
  9. Sharon Roberts, 59, personal support worker, Downsview Long Term Care, North York
  10. Leonard Rodriguez, 61, Toronto
  11. Victoria “Vicky” Salvan, 64, orderly, Centre de Soins Prolongés Grace Dart, Montreal
  12. Stéphanie Tessier, 31, orderly, CHSLD Lucien-G. Rolland, Saint-Jérôme
  13. Warlito Valdez, 47, residential support worker for people with disabilities, Richmond, B.C.
  14. Denis Vincent, 62, dentist, North Vancouver, B.C.
  15. Anonymous Hospital Cleaner, 58, Brampton Civic Hospital, Brampton
  16. Anonymous Personal Support Worker, 50s, Sienna Senior Living's Altamont Care Community, Scarborough, Ontario
  17. Anonymous Personal Support Worker, age unknown, Madonna Community Care, Ottawa

“This list is not yet complete, and we need your help to keep it up to date,” Medscape clarified in the news release.

The list does not specify if all of these listed Canadians acquired the virus during exposure in the workplace in caring for those with the illness. 

Steve Cockburn, head of economic and social justice at Amnesty International, called the deaths of around 7,000 health workers “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,” Cockburn said.

In its July 13 report, Amnesty International stressed that countries have human rights obligations to safeguard their health workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. States should protect these workers’ rights to health, to just and favourable conditions of work, to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and to freedom from discrimination and violence.

The same report included Amnesty International’s recommendations to governments around the world for the more effective protection of health workers during this public health crisis. Amnesty International urged governments to furnish these workers with adequate personal protective equipment, to recognize COVID-19 as an occupational disease and to promptly investigate attacks or acts of violence against these workers, among other recommended measures.

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