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Increased risk of COVID-19 related deaths among General Practitioners in Italy
  • Alberto Modenese,
  • Fabriziomaria Gobba
Alberto Modenese
Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia
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Fabriziomaria Gobba
Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia
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Abstract

There is currently scant data on COVID-19 related death cases among physicians with different medical specialties. Mortality data among physicians in Italy show that General Practitioners (GPs) are the most affected group. They currently represent the 43% of the total COVID-19 related death cases among physicians, whereas the estimated proportion of GPs compared to other doctors is of 15%. This high number among GPs is attributable to a work-related contagion happened massively during the first weeks of the epidemic, but constantly continuing also in the weeks following the national lock-down. There are various reasons for these higher contagion rates: GPs use to daily perform a lot of medical examinations in close contacts with patients, and in addition it should be considered that SARS-CoV-2 can resist on the clinics’ surfaces for several hours and it can be transmitted also at distances longer than two meters, persisting in the air after an aerosolization process. Furthermore, especially at the beginning of the epidemic GPs might have scant information on specific safety procedures for the prevention of COVID-19 transmission (e.g. there was scant knowledge on the possibility of contagions from asyntomatic patients) and, morever, the availability of personal protective equipment was insufficient. Following these observations, and considering the high tribute in term of lives from the GPs, Covid-19 pandemic will probably revolutionize the approach to patients in the general practice. Clear and effective guidelines are absolutely and urgently needed, for the refinement of adequate measures to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections among GPs.