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A new report claims that providing PPE (personal protective equipment) for all health workers in the world would cost billions of pounds, but the return on this investment could potentially be as high as 8,000%.


The report from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, conducted by a team led by Nicholas Risko, says that during the coronavirus crisis, there has been a worldwide shortage of PPE for healthcare workers. It also revealed that for low to mid-income countries, there has been a more severe shortage of PPE.


The team calculated that providing adequate quantities of PPE for every health worker worldwide would cost 9.6 billion US dollars, but in doing so, it could save around 2.2 million healthcare workers’ lives. Treating infected workers costs around $59 per person, and the cost of one death is calculated at $4,309.


Using these figures, the report estimates that if every health worker is protected by PPE, the total saving would be $755.3 billion, which is around an 8,000% return on the investment of supplying the PPE. The report’s authors concluded that: “Our central finding is that a small upfront investment will save many lives and provide a substantial economic return, whereas neglecting to protect health care workers risks heavy losses due to illness and death."


Though the report focuses on healthcare workers, it encourages the use of PPE in all workplaces, for both preventing workers from contracting COVID-19 and for the cost savings of treating infected workers.

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