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India observes National Doctors’ Day on 1 July each year, to acknowledge doctors’ work and service to the country.

The birth anniversary of Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, 1 July was declared National Doctors’ Day in 1991. In addition to being a freedom fighter and the second chief minister of West Bengal in Independent India, Dr Roy was also Gandhiji’s doctor.

While doctors contribute to the safety and growth of the nation every year, year-on-year, this year has been particularly gruelling for many who are at the frontlines of fighting COVID-19.

I am a lungs specialist in a big hospital in New Delhi, where the number of cases has been rising steadily since March. This is my take on what the past six months have been like.

  1. Preparing for COVID-19
  2. Frontline workers and COVID-19
  3. COVID-19 coping strategies
  4. Doctors for Being a doctor in the time of COVID-19

I have been in the medical profession for more than 20 years and never have I witnessed a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. I mean when you look at it, COVID-19 was identified in Wuhan, China, in November 2019. By January, the world began to learn of it. Till then people were still not as worried, everyone thought China would be able to contain it. Fast forward two months, and the WHO (World Health Organization) has declared COVID-19 a pandemic, it has spread across Europe and the United States and cases have begun to crop up in India.

In March, when India had a mere 500 cases or so, the government took some proactive measures. They had been closely monitoring the situation across the world and knew that eventually, COVID-19 would make its way to India. They subsequently ordered a lockdown to limit the number of cases while India strengthened its healthcare infrastructure.

During the lockdown, healthcare facilities began stocking up on PPE kitsventilators, oxygen cylinders. Dedicated COVID-19 hospitals were created and even in non-COVID hospital beds were set aside. We were prepared, we knew the war was about to start. (Read more: Must have features in ventilators for COVID-19 patients)

And so, it did, cases started increasing even during the lockdown and when lockdown started easing in a phased manner, which in any case had to be, the numbers soared rapidly. Initially, it was a shock. The number of patients just kept increasing. I mean one infected person had the ability to infect around 550 other people over a span of 30 days if they don’t follow social distancing! So, you can imagine how the number will multiply with these people in the following months.

Initially, we started with two wards: one ICU ward for COVID-19 and one isolation ward for COVID-19. But now we have doubled both ICUs and wards in our hospital. I work with a team of doctors from my department of pulmonology, ably supported by a critical care department and doctors from other specialties who are lending a helping hand in this crisis situation.

I think the moment it hit me, the actual magnitude of this pandemic, was when I saw a lot of the frontline workers get infected. Frontline workers such as medical staff, law and order officials, policemen, government officials and those conducting testing, they were all taking the necessary precautions and they still got infected.

I even recall policemen getting admitted in our hospital with COVID-19 infection which they acquired while they were on duty and getting treated and discharged in stable condition after spending days in the ICU. Similarly, there were healthcare workers who were treated with COVID-19 infection. They are true warriors! It really stayed with me, how fast this virus is spreading.

Sometimes I think back to how in the month of January, I had given a few lectures around COVID-19. Now, I have 100 COVID-19 beds to look after. Sometimes I really do take a moment, to just absorb what is happening. However, giving up is not an option.

India is now in the middle of this pandemic. There will be a peak and then there will be a decline in cases. However, as of now, we must push through. Unlock 1.0—also known as lockdown 5.0—is in effect and cases will continue to rise, containment zones will increase, and hospitals will need to ramp up their existing facilities. Every other day new guidelines from the government are coming in with respect to treatment options and medications which shows they are also working hard. The fast rate of approval given by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) is also indicative of the magnitude and impact of COVID-19.

Testing has gone up significantly and the government is rapidly identifying cases, isolating them and doing contact tracing. I also want to stress that there is a silver lining: like countries before us, such as Italy and China, we too will eventually begin registering fewer cases. It is only a matter of time and persevering through this difficult period.

Additionally, our mortality rate remains low—generally, those who are very elderly and have co-morbidities are at a high risk of death. Even though there is no specific treatment or vaccine available, those patients who exhibit mild and moderate symptoms often do get better over the course of one month.

I began my work with COVID-19 patients in April 2020 and then on 11 May 2020, we were declared a partial COVID-19 hospital. Initially, there were only 50 COVID-19 beds. Two months down the line, things have scaled up. Things are going to be rough for a while, but we must keep going. We will emerge from this and things will get better. You have just got to have faith.

Dr.Vikas Maurya

Dr.Vikas Maurya

श्वास रोग विज्ञान

Dr. Prem Prakash Bansal

Dr. Prem Prakash Bansal

श्वास रोग विज्ञान

Dr. Sachet Dawar

Dr. Sachet Dawar

श्वास रोग विज्ञान

Medicine NamePack SizePrice (Rs.)
RemdesivirRemdesivir Injection15000.0
Fabi FluFabi Flu Tablet3500.0
CoviforCovifor Injection5400.0
AnovateANOVATE OINTMENT 20GM90.0
Pilo GoPilo GO Cream67.5
Proctosedyl BdPROCTOSEDYL BD CREAM 15GM66.3
ProctosedylPROCTOSEDYL 10GM OINTMENT 10GM63.9
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Corona Cases - Indiax

Corona Cases - India

CoronaVirus
604643 India
2Daman Diu
100Andaman Nicobar
15252Andhra Pradesh
195Arunachal Pradesh
8582Assam
10249Bihar
446Chandigarh
2940Chhattisgarh
215Dadra Nagar Haveli
89802Delhi
1387Goa
33232Gujarat
14941Haryana
979Himachal Pradesh
7695Jammu Kashmir
2521Jharkhand
16514Karnataka
4593Kerala
990Ladakh
13861Madhya Pradesh
180298Maharashtra
1260Manipur
52Meghalaya
160Mizoram
459Nagaland
7316Odisha
714Puducherry
5668Punjab
18312Rajasthan
101Sikkim
94049Tamil Nadu
17357Telangana
1396Tripura
2947Uttarakhand
24056Uttar Pradesh
19170West Bengal
6832Unassigned cases

See Map