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'Physically, Mentally Exhausted': Indian Doctors Battling the Second Covid-19 Wave Face Burnout

A nurse in a PPE kit | Image credit: Twitter

A nurse in a PPE kit | Image credit: Twitter

'I’ve distanced from family for almost 10 months. I’ve not done anything 'fun'outside. I haven’t gone on leisure trips for my mental health,' wrote Dr. Dipshikha Ghosh on Twitter.

India’s Covid-19 cases hit another grim record on Sunday, and local administration and doctors who are involved in fighting the outbreak at the moment are overworked. Healthcare workers on the frontline are experiencing burnout of another kind when it comes to battling the virus - one entire year after it first recorded in the country. Even as India is in the third phase of its vaccination drive, it is also trying to meet vaccine shortages as reported by many states. Doctors, healthcare workers and frontline workers reported burnout and stress in 2020 due to the pandemic, and they did not have any respite before this second wave hit the country. India is experiencing what many are calling the second wave of COVID-19 infections, with several states reporting a surge in the number of coronavirus cases daily.

“Please, please wear masks. I don’t know about other people but I’m physically and mentally exhausted with crazy shifts and calling more deaths than I did in all my years of service combined. If you still don’t care, please go inside COVID units as my proxy. Thanks," reads a tweet by Dipshikha Ghosh, a doctor in critical care medicine.

Dipshikha’s tweet went viral - and what followed were harrowing accounts from doctors all across the country reporting their stress and burnout, which mirrored what the situation felt like, a year ago.

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Several doctors also shared what their year had been like, and what coping with the wave had been like.

“We are doing everything we can, but we don’t have the same mental strength we had last year," a doctor told BBC on dealing with the second wave. The national registry of Indian Medical Association (IMA) shows that 747 doctors have died of Covid-19. The secretary general of IMA, told The Indian Express that according to their registry, the highest number of such deaths were from Tamil Nadu (89) and West Bengal (80).

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