New York City COVID-19 resident physician exposure during exponential phase of pandemic

J Clin Invest. 2020 Sep 1;130(9):4726-4733. doi: 10.1172/JCI139587.


BACKGROUNDFrom March 2, 2020, to April 12, 2020, New York City (NYC) experienced exponential growth of the COVID-19 pandemic due to novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Little is known regarding how physicians have been affected. We aimed to characterize the COVID-19 impact on NYC resident physicians.METHODSIRB-exempt and expedited cross-sectional analysis through survey to NYC residency program directors April 3-12, 2020, encompassing events from March 2, 2020, to April 12, 2020.RESULTSFrom an estimated 340 residency programs around NYC, recruitment yielded 91 responses, representing 24 specialties and 2306 residents. In 45.1% of programs, at least 1 resident with confirmed COVID-19 was reported. One hundred one resident physicians were confirmed COVID-19-positive, with an additional 163 residents presumed positive for COVID-19 based on symptoms but awaiting or unable to obtain testing. Two COVID-19-positive residents were hospitalized, with 1 in intensive care. Among specialties with more than 100 residents represented, negative binomial regression indicated that infection risk differed by specialty (P = 0.039). In 80% of programs, quarantining a resident was reported. Ninety of 91 programs reported reuse or extended mask use, and 43 programs reported that personal protective equipment (PPE) was suboptimal. Sixty-five programs (74.7%) redeployed residents elsewhere to support COVID-19 efforts.CONCLUSIONMany resident physicians around NYC have been affected by COVID-19 through direct infection, quarantine, or redeployment. Lack of access to testing and concern regarding suboptimal PPE are common among residency programs. Infection risk may differ by specialty.FUNDINGNational Eye Institute Core Grant P30EY019007; Research to Prevent Blindness Unrestricted Grant; Parker Family Chair; University of Pennsylvania.

Keywords: COVID-19; Epidemiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional* / prevention & control
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional* / statistics & numerical data
  • Internship and Residency*
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Pandemics* / prevention & control
  • Personal Protective Equipment / supply & distribution
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission
  • Quarantine / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Surveys and Questionnaires