Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic: Physician Safety and Coverage in Lebanon
El Jamal, Nadim
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The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has challenged healthcare systems worldwide. As of 8 February 2021, cases have been documented in 219 countries. Lebanon documented its first case on 21 February 2020. With airport closure and a series of lockdowns, Lebanon was able to keep the number of daily new cases and hospitalizations relatively under control. However, the 4 August 2020 explosion at the Beirut port coupled with relaxed restrictions in October and December saw a massive soar in cases, reaching 4,594 new daily cases in midJanuary 2021. What is more concerning is the increase in the number of hospitalizations where ICU occupancy in the whole country approached 95% in January 2021. With the meteoric rise in the number of infections and hospitalizations, concerns have arisen regarding the vulnerability and safety of healthcare workers, whose own infection rates also increased and of whom many were forced into quarantine, hospitalized, or killed because of the virus. It is needless to say that healthcare workers are at a higher risk than the general population and can amplify outbreaks in healthcare centers when infected.