Over 87k health workers infected with COVID-19, comprising of 74% cases from 6 states |
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Over 87k health workers infected with COVID-19, comprising of 74% cases from 6 states
Sushmi Dey,  29 August 2020
Coronavirus Live Count Map India

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According to the official data, above 87,000 healthcare employees are infected with COVID-19, with only 6 states — Maharashtra, Karnataka, Delhi, West Bengal,Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat, who are accounting for almost three-fourths (74%) of the case burden and above 86% of the 573 deaths due to the coronavirus infection.

Alone, Maharashtra has the highest number of more than 7.3 lakh confirmed COVID-19 cases till now. It accounts for approximately 28% of the infected healthcare staff and above 50% of the total deaths, as per the data.

Tamil Nadu has reported 11,169 cases including doctors, nurses and Asha workers, whereas Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had tested above 1 lakh healthcare staff each till 28th August.The three states collected account for 55% of the total number of cases in healthcare workers. Karnataka has reported only 12,260 infected healthcare employees that is nearly half the burden in Maharashtra.

Maharashtra has reported 292 deaths among healthcare staff, whereas Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had reported 46 and 49 deaths, respectively. A huge number of COVID-19 cases and deaths of healthcare workers in particular states is of concern stated officials and public health experts. They also said that risks to frontline employees can endanger India’s battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

This issue was discussed in a review meeting that was headed by the cabinet secretary on Thursday. The Centre cautioned states about the necessity to protect an important resource. Officials say that the possible risk factors responsible for infections are negligent infection control in hospitals and the necessity for strict containment measures in areas the healthcare professionals live for safeguarding them.

Even with the high number of cases, the government has only received 143 claims since April under the Rs 50 lakh COVID-19 insurance scheme for healthcare staff who were involved in COVID mitigation activities.

Officials said that the extensive gap between the number of deaths and claims might be due to all the casualties not eligible under the insurance scheme. Moreover, the claims are slow in process as families of the deceased staff take time for application and the necessary paperwork.

Giridhar Babu, epidemiologist at the Public Health Foundation of India said that unity with healthcare workers cannot be met with only words of encouragement but by determined efforts to strengthen the healthcare employees. Also, safety net for their families should be provided that includes a term insurance cover of more than Rs 2 crore, by the government as only guarantee. Dr H Sudarshan Ballal, chairman, Manipal Hospitals said that healthcare workers might be at risk due to a large number of asymptomatic patients and lack of correct use of PPEs.

Source: The Times of India

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