America’s health care workers are dying. In some states, medical personnel account for as many as 20% of known coronavirus cases. They tend to patients in hospitals, treating them, serving them food and cleaning their rooms. Others at risk work in nursing homes or are employed as home health aides.
“Lost on the Frontline,” a collaboration between KHN and The Guardian, has identified 815 such workers who likely died of COVID-19 after helping patients during the pandemic.
We have published profiles for 147 workers whose deaths have been confirmed by our reporters.
Some cases are shrouded in secrecy. Our team contacts family members, employers and medical examiners to independently confirm each death. Many hospitals have been overwhelmed and workers sometimes have lacked protective equipment or suffer from underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable to the highly infectious virus. In the chaos, COVID casualties might otherwise get overlooked.
This project aims to document the lives of U.S. health workers who die of COVID-19, and to understand why so many are falling victim to the pandemic.