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Risk of COVID-19 Infection and Work Place Exposure of Front-Line Mass Media Professionals

Author(s): Sarabon Tahura, Bilkis Banu, Nasrin Akter, Sarder Mahmud Hossain, Rishad Ahmed

Introduction: Mass media plays a crucial role in creating awareness and knowledge sharing in this Corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. However, the risk of exposure and extent of COVID-19 infection among media professional are less elucidated yet. Therefore, this study was intended to investigate the workplace-related risk of COVID-19 exposure and the association between exposure to COVID-19 and participant's characteristics, including various forms of respiratory protection for mass-media professionals.

Methods: This closed web-based cross-sectional survey was conducted among 199 mass-media professionals in Bangladesh by snowball sampling approach. A multivariate logistic regression model was used for the analytical exploration. Adjusted and Unadjusted Odds Ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated for the specified exposures. Chi-square test was used to observe the association. Ethical issues were maintained according to the guidance of the declaration of the Helsinki.

Results: Of all, 39.2% of mass-media professionals were tested positive for COVID-19, whereas 6% of symptomatic or suspected participants did not do the test. Mass media professionals who worked in electronic media reported more COVID-19 infection (adjusted odds ratio, AOR= 6.25; 95% Confidence interval: Lower limit 1.43, upper limit 27.43; P =0.02). However, no significant relationship was found between the type of job role and COVID-19 infection. Furthermore, infected colleagues (OR/P= 1.92/0.04) were identified as significant contact of acquiring infection. However, the study result showed that reused/new medical mask, homemade/ cloth-made mask (vs. use of respirator mask) was not significantly (p=0.82) associated with mass media professional's infection.

Conclusions: Professionals working in electronic media were at higher risk of being infected by COVID-19 and mostly acquired from infected colleagues. Using a respirator mask was not associated with a lower risk of test positive infection in mass media professionals. This study will aid the policy maker and public health authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic to make proper implementation strategies.

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