Assessing the Burden of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Among Healthcare Workers in Mexico City: A Data-Driven Call to Action

Clin Infect Dis. 2021 Jul 1;73(1):e191-e198. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa1487.


Background: Healthcare workers (HCWs) could be at increased occupational risk for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections due to increased exposure. Information regarding the burden of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic in HCWs living in Mexico is scarce. Here, we aimed to explore the epidemiology, symptoms, and risk factors associated with adverse outcomes in HCWs in Mexico City.

Methods: We explored data collected by the National Epidemiological Surveillance System in Mexico City, in HCWs who underwent real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test. We explored COVID-19 outcomes in HCWs and the performance of symptoms to detect SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Results: As of 20 September 2020, 57 758 HCWs were tested for SARS-CoV-2 and 17 531 were confirmed (30.35%); 6610 were nurses (37.70%), 4910 physicians (28.0%), 267 dentists (1.52%), and 5744 laboratory personnel and other HCWs (32.76%). Overall, 2378 HCWs required hospitalization (4.12%), 2648 developed severe COVID-19 (4.58%), and 336 required mechanical-ventilatory support (.58%). Lethality was recorded in 472 (.82%) cases. We identified 635 asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections (3.62%). Compared with general population, HCWs had higher incidence, testing, asymptomatic cases, and mortality rates. No individual symptom offers adequate performance to detect SARS-CoV2. Older HCWs with chronic noncommunicable diseases and severe respiratory symptoms were associated with higher risk for adverse outcome; physicians were at higher risk compared with nurses and other HCWs.

Conclusions: We report a high prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in HCWs in Mexico City. Symptoms as a screening method are not efficient to discern those HCWs with a positive PCR-RT test. Particular attention should focus on HCWs with risk factors to prevent adverse outcomes.

Keywords: COVID-19; Mexico; SARS-CoV-2; healthcare workers; mortality.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Mexico
  • RNA, Viral
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • RNA, Viral