Korea, China, Japan report lowest COVID cases in doctors

New York – May 1, 2020 – While countries around the globe work to increase availability of COVID-19 testing and flatten the curve, health care personnel on the front lines continue to be at risk of contracting COVID-19 from patients under their care. The latest results from the Sermo COVID-19 Real Time Barometer of 20,000 global physicians found that as of April 21, 58% of U.S. physicians report health care personnel (HCPs) in their hospital/clinic have tested positive for COVID-19. The states that have seen the sharpest increase in physicians reporting infections among HCP colleagues from Week 3 (April 9) to Week 5 (April 21) include Florida (46% to 57%), Texas (35% to 50%), Virginia (41% to 55%) and Ohio (47% to 60%).

While there is still significant focus and attention on global COVID-19 “hotspots” including Italy, China and Germany, the countries that are seeing the steadiest increases in physicians reporting infections among HCP colleagues from Week 3 (April 9) to Week 5 (April 21) are Russia (8% to 37%), Mexico (23% to 45%), Brazil (56% to 73%) and Great Britain (65% to 75%).

Countries where physicians reported the most COVID-19 infection among colleagues 

Spain 83%
Belgium 82%
Great Britain 75%

Countries where physicians reported the least COVID-19 infection among colleagues 

Korea 5%
China 11%
Japan 16%

U.S. States where physicians reported the most COVID-19 infection among colleagues 

New Jersey78%
New York76%

U.S. States where physicians reported the least COVID-19 infection among colleagues 


Anonymous Sermo physicians have shared their experiences: 

“In Italy we have had more than 100 deaths among medical staff. We did not receive adequate individual protection gear, and we were forced to organize COVID-wards without any indication. By the way, we have 20 regional Health Care Systems, so that political decision has been made by 20 different organizations.” -Cardiologist in Italy 

“In Greece we have 70 physicians who have fallen ill, none dead. Of course the tests are short and not everyone has taken one.” -Neurologist in Greece

“I have been off sick for 13 days now having developed symptoms of fever, chills, aches and a slight cough. I will be writing an article about my experience shortly. Symptoms resolved after 9 days and I am ready to return to work tomorrow.” -Pediatrician in United Kingdom

“One of our residents passed away (but is not yet being counted as a covid death). An MA was infected and then infected her husband who is currently intubated. My supervisor, a hands-on administrator, is also intubated.” -Pediatrician in United States

“In my hospital there are 6 dead, 4 family doctors, an internist and an emergency doctor, a nurse and several members of the police. There is worry and fear.” -Family Medicine Physician in Spain

COVID-19 Testing Availability 

Sermo continues to study testing availability and found that as of April 21, only 35% of U.S. physicians reported high availability of COVID-19 tests. Globally, Sermo found only 13% of physicians in Spain, 13% of physicians in Brazil, 19% of physicians in Great Britain, and 26% of physicians in Mexico believe COVID-19 test availability is high, with limited week over week changes. 

Countries where physicians report the highest availability of COVID-19 testing availability 

Australia 86%

“Sermo’s latest findings point to the realities we’re seeing around the globe–as the number of COVID-19 cases outpaces the availability of testing, health care personnel on the front lines are faced with an influx of patients putting themselves at significant risk for contracting COVID-19,” said Peter Kirk, CEO, Sermo. “It’s critical to embrace the voice of physicians and recognize the ongoing risk HCPs face and the dire need to scale up testing protocols and follow through on safer at home orders.” 

In total, Sermo’s COVID-19 Real Time Barometer observational study has polled over 20,000 physicians in 31 countries, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Brazil, Russia, China, Japan and Australia. All data published to date and study methodology can be found here.

About Sermo

Sermo is the largest healthcare data collection company and social platform for physicians, reaching 1,3MM HCPs across 150 countries. The platform enables doctors to anonymously talk real-world medicine, review treatment options via our proprietary Drug Ratings platform, collectively solve patient cases, and participate in medical market research. For more information, visit sermo.com.


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Brooke Matthews