Did you know that one in every twenty five Covid-19 patients in Delhi is a healthcare worker?
Yes, that’s how grave the situation has become. While we are all trying to be safe and at home avoiding any sort of human contact, there are these healthcare workers who are not only out there but their contact is mostly with people who are infected with the virus.
And frankly, there’s nothing for them to stop doing that.
According to the data from the State Health Department, at least 42 doctors, nurses or hospital staff are infected by the virus and there are hundreds who have been quarantined for coming in contact with people who later tested positive.
About a week ago, two nurses tested positive for the infection; one of them was posted in Lok Nayak hospital, making her the first health care worker tested positive in the biggest Covid-19 treatment centre in the city, where at least 651 Covid-19 confirmed or suspected cases are admitted.
There were close to 25 people whom she got in contact with have also been put under the quarantine.
The other nurse was also the first to be tested positive in Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in the Central Delhi.
The very reason for it remains the lack of protective personal equipment that is important for the doctors to be safe.
There have been complaints from doctors across the country about the shortage and poor quality of PPE gear, such as masks, face shields, coveralls and gloves.
It is believed that more the cases, more the healthcare workers will be needed but now that doctors are becoming patients, it can paralyse the health system in pockets, with hospital after hospital leading towards closing down because of the virus.
That’s exactly what happened at the Delhi State Cancer Institute, which due to 22 of its staff testing positive, the highest number of healthcare workers has now been closed.
Two of the first doctors to have tested positive were from mohalla clinics in north-east Delhi and since then the number of doctors tested positive has only been increasing.
Another problem is also that the government is in denial of the pandemic being in the third stage, community transmission.
Dr T Jacob John, Professor Emeritus and former Head of the Department of Virology at Christian Medical College, Vellore, in his interview to Hindustan Times said:
This trend is more than worrying. And, not only in Delhi, this is happening across India. And the problem lies in the government denying community transmission. There are some universal precautions to protect the eyes, nose, and mouth that must be taken by all healthcare workers in primary, secondary or tertiary settings. But because the government kept denying community transmission, we kept screening people depending on their history of travel or contact.
While it is believed that the lockdown is most likely to be extended considering the everyday rise in the Covid-19 affected people, it is also believed that the healthcare will become more vulnerable leading to a crisis that we might never be able to cope with.