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To explore the emerging concerns of COVID-19 related issues amongst health care workers, members of a range of healthcare organisations, governmental agencies, and the media, an online self-administered survey of healthcare workers was undertaken by the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin in April 2020.
The respondents were predominantly hospital doctors (67%), aged between 40-60 years (72%) and from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnicity (BAME) backgrounds in the UK (86%). Thirty percent of respondents had one or more health comorbidities. Over 78% reported either lack of, or inappropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for their role and 68% of respondents felt that they were unable to comply with or that it was impractical to adhere to social distancing at work (including commuting). At the time of the survey, 18.5% of respondents reported having a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. In multivariate analysis, the inability to self-isolate and having a BAME background emerged as independent risk (OR 1.45) for COVID-19 when adjusted for confounding factors.
These results add to the emerging concerns expressed internationally on the observation that BAME ethnicity appears to have a higher risk of developing COVID-19. This is the first study that adjusted work-related factors (inability to maintain social distancing and inadequate PPE) and comorbidities. Our work supports the imperative for designing and conducting urgent larger studies to understand this risk and plan appropriate mitigation of the risks to health care workers
*version 1.2 includes the addition of self-isolation as a risk for COVID-19. See Table 4.
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