Study finds attacks on healthcare workers on the rise amid COVID-19 pandemic


A nurse who works with coronavirus patients in Mexico was walking home when she heard someone behind her yell, "Infected!" Before she could turn around, she had hot coffee was thrown in her face.

A Nigerian nurse was beaten into a coma by relatives of a COVID-19 patient who died.

There have been attacks on nurses in the U.S., too, and many go unreported.

Associated Press reports that a new report by the Geneva-based Insecurity Insight and the University of California, Berkeley’s Human Rights Center identified more than 1,100 threats or acts of violence against health care workers and facilities last year -- 400 of which were related to COVID-19.

“My hypothesis was the during COVID every one was going to rally around healthcare workers. For instance in New York or Italy where people were clapping for healthcare workers. But that didn’t happen. In many, many places there’s actually more fear, more distrust, and attacks grew rather than decreased,” Dr. Rohini Haar, an emergency physician in Oakland, California, and Human Rights Center research fellow tells AP.

Researchers say the attacks are motivated primarily by fear or frustration. “Insecurity Insight defines a health care attack as any physical violence against or intimidation of health care workers or settings, and uses online news agencies, humanitarian groups and social media posts to track incidents around the world,” according to AP.

“You’re robbing the community of the service they would have provided,” Nyka Alexander, who leads the World Health Organization’s communications on health emergencies says.

Associated Press contributed to this story.