Did covid 19 take the lives of as many nurses as those who died in the World War I? If the International Council of Nurses (ICN) has to be believed, at least 1,500 nurses across the world have now died of Covid 19.
In World War I, about 1500 nurses are estimated to have died from disease, accidents and from enemy action. The 1500 deaths of nurses due to Covid 19 reported were only from 44 countries, for which data was available. The ICN said that the figures could be higher and their analysis was that more than 20.000 health workers might have died in the pandemic. It was only because of the lack of data that the figures stood at a low level.
ICN CEO Howard Catton said that it was shocking that such a large number of nurses lost their lives in the pandemic. Noting that 2020 is the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, and the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, Catton said in an emotional tone that he was sure that Florence Nightingale would have been immensely saddened and angry about the lack of data with respect to infections and deaths among health care workers.
He noted that they have been asking for standardized and systematic collection of data on health care worker infections and deaths since May 2020. However, no such data was still available, he added.
The ICN CEO also mentioned about how Florence had demonstrated during the Crimean War that the collection and analysis of data could improve the understanding of risks to health, improve clinical practices and save lives. Catton said that the governments should work together for a global response to the Covid 19 pandemic. He also mentioned that governments should work together on customs and control issues in providing personal protective equipment across borders. And even when there is a vaccine, everybody who needs it should get it, he added.