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Covid coughing study suggests NHS staff at far greater risk than thought

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The NHS has been urged to rethink safety for thousands of frontline staff after new research suggested that Covid patients’ coughing is putting them at far greater risk of catching the virus than previously thought.

The study found that coughing generated at least 10 times more infectious “aerosol” particles than speaking or breathing – which could explain why so many NHS staff have fallen ill during the pandemic.

The research has led to fresh demands that anyone caring for someone with Covid-19, or suspected Covid-19, should be provided with the most protective equipment – including FFP3 respirator masks – and that hospital ventilation should be improved.

Health workers are up to four times more likely to contract coronavirus than the general population, with infection rates among those on general hospital wards approximately double those of intensive care unit (ICU) staff – who do have access to the most protective PPE.

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Source: The Guardian, 3 January 2021

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