India loses 116 medics in 25 days as infections surge to new highs


More than 860 medics have died in India since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with 116 losing their lives in less than a month during the ongoing second wave, according to the head of Indian Medical Association.

Medical workers are facing life and death every day on the front lines and are facing the full brunt of the catastrophic second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past few weeks, hospitals have seen a dramatic explosion in caseloads which has led to a massive shortage of beds, medicine and oxygen supplies, putting healthcare workers under tremendous pressure and heightened risk.

“One of the big challenges is for our colleagues. Nearly 750 people died last year and now within the [last] 25 days, they have lost 116 people. So we’re taking responsibility on our part to support our colleagues who have sacrificed their lives in the coronavirus pandemic,” said Dr. J. A. Jayalal, national president of the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

“The people need facility production, people need safety measures, people need a protocol [such as] how to go to get the medical treatment, how to prevent the infection in the small clinics,” he said.

The Indian government has been blamed for allowing crowded religious festivals, cricket tournaments and massive election campaigns in recent months that are now seen as “superspreader” events.

Blaming leadership complacency

While the IMA president agreed that the “double mutant” variant of the virus that has emerged in India is also to be blamed for the current spike, Jayalal still attributed “90 per cent” to the complacency that prevailed in the country earlier this year due to misplaced confidence exuded by the top leadership.

“The third, there are a lot of policy discussions by politicians on some of the things we need to appreciate with the government, and some of the things we need to oppose the government. So that is becoming a challenging working pattern in the medical association in this pandemic,” he said.

The IMA, which was founded in 1928 with an aim to look after the interest of doctors and the larger medical fraternity, has initiated a helpline to address the mental and emotional pressures of the group’s members.

India’s COVID-19 tally crossed the 22-million mark on Sunday, reaching 22,296,414 infections, as 403,738 new cases were registered in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said.

As many as 4,092 deaths took place in the country since Saturday morning, taking the total death toll to 242,362 people, added the ministry. This was the fourth consecutive day when over 4,000 deaths were recorded in 24 hours.

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