A survey of 176 doctors who had contracted Covid-19 in Mumbai has found that while in 66 per cent of the cases, the source of the infection could not be traced, in 30 per cent of the cases, patients of the infected doctor did not strictly wear masks.
The study conducted by the Association of Medical Consultants (AMC) in July asked infected doctors to voluntarily fill the survey forms. At least 176 agreed, among whom 40 per cent were in the age group of 36 to 50 years. Also, the majority of the infected (60 per cent) were men.
With 66 per cent doctors unable to report or remember coming in contact with an infected person, the survey raised concerns over rampant spread of the virus while also indicating that in most cases, these doctors may have come in touch with asymptomatic carriers.
Among the doctors, only 17 per cent complained of breathlessness. Fever, cough, body ache and weakness were found in majority of the patients.
The survey interestingly found that 76 per cent of the doctors were on Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a prophylactic dose but still got the infection, showing that the anti-malaria drug may not have efficacy in preventing Covid-19. It also indicated that BCG and measles-rubella vaccines may not be a protective barrier against the infection, as most infected doctors were administered a shot of both vaccines.
According to the Indian Medical Association (IMA), 230 doctors practicing allopathy have succumbed to Covid-19 across India till now. Of them, 45 are from Maharashtra. While IMA has recorded Covid-19 infections in over a 1,000 of its members across the country, 450 of them are from Maharashtra.
“These figures comprise only our members registered with IMA,” said Dr Avinash Bhondwe, president of IMA Maharashtra. The actual count of infected homeopathy, ayurvedic, and allopathy doctors may be much higher.
The survey revealed that even for doctors, seeking private treatment hospital fees was a concern. On an average, these doctors paid Rs 1.75 lakh for hospitalisation. Around 11 per cent required intensive care unit admission. “We found 80 per cent of the infected doctors were from the private sector, and the rest from government hospitals. Doctors in private hospitals cannot avail the Rs 50-lakh insurance promised to those in the government sector. Even private doctors need some special facility for treatment since they are risking their lives,” said Dr Deepak Baid, president of AMC.
“The infected doctors said many patients remove their mask while talking. Our doctors were initially wearing cloth masks, we are now advising them to wear N95 masks,” he added.
The AMC has written twice to the state government for the setting up of an infection control committee, which can play a advisory role on reducing the spread of the infection. An appeal has also been made to the state to provide special treatment facility for private doctors.
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