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18 May, 2021 15:02

270 doctors killed by second Covid-19 wave in India as overall medic death toll reaches almost 1,000

270 doctors killed by second Covid-19 wave in India as overall medic death toll reaches almost 1,000

At least 270 doctors in India have died during the current wave of the pandemic, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) said on Tuesday. The announcement came on the same day India’s confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 25 million.

“The second wave of the pandemic is turning out to be extremely fatal for all and especially for the healthcare workers, who are at the forefront,” IMA President Dr. JA Jayalal said.

Out of the 270 coronavirus-related fatalities among medics, most happened in the eastern state of Bihar, where 78 medical workers died, followed by Uttar Pradesh (37), Delhi (29) and Andhra Pradesh (22).

With 748 doctors in India dying from Covid-19 during the first wave last year, the overall death toll since the start of the pandemic has reached almost 1,000 medics, according to the IMA figures.

The IMA represents some 350,000 doctors out of more than one million across the country, suggesting the Covid toll on health workers nationally is higher than the agency’s figures indicate.

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The higher rate of fatalities among healthcare workers in India and elsewhere is largely down to the fact that they spend a lot of time in close proximity with Covid patients, thereby getting a larger dose of the infection, which increases the risk of developing a severe illness.

The IMA earlier said it found that many of its members haven’t been vaccinated against Covid-19, and the organization vowed to ensure that they get the jabs needed.

Another problem, according to the health body, was that the doctors have been understaffed and overworked during the pandemic. Some of them have been forced to do 48-hour shifts without rest, which negatively impacts their immune systems and makes it harder to resist the virus.

India’s Health Ministry announced 263,533 new infections on Tuesday, pushing the nation’s total confirmed cases over the 25 million mark. Deaths from Covid-19 also increased by a record 4,329 people in the past 24 hours across India, with over 279,000 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.

Only the US has recorded more Covid-19 cases – over 33 million – and a worse single-day death toll when 5,444 people were recorded as succumbing to the disease on February 12.

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In recent weeks, the Covid situation across India has deteriorated drastically amid the emergence of a local, likely more transmissible, variant of Covid-19. The number of new infections has been on the decline there in recent days, but the current outbreak is far from being contained.

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