Current Medical Issues

EDITORIAL
Year
: 2020  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 269-

COVID-19 pandemic: A perspective from the frontline


Kundavaram Paul Prabhakar Abhilash 
 Department of Emergency Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Kundavaram Paul Prabhakar Abhilash
Department of Emergency Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore - 632 004, Tamil Nadu
India




How to cite this article:
Abhilash KP. COVID-19 pandemic: A perspective from the frontline.Curr Med Issues 2020;18:269-269


How to cite this URL:
Abhilash KP. COVID-19 pandemic: A perspective from the frontline. Curr Med Issues [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Nov 26 ];18:269-269
Available from: https://www.cmijournal.org/text.asp?2020/18/4/269/298584


Full Text



With the SARS-CoV-2 holding the world under siege throughout the year, frontline workers who readily took up the gauntlet have been having a harrowing experience. Emergency medicine teams, among others, have been at the forefront of the herculean task of fighting this invisible foe. Our Emergency department has so far resuscitated and managed thousands of Covid suspect and confirmed patients who passed passing through our gates into the hospital.

During these troubled waters, thousands of doctors, nurses, paramedics, and other healthcare workers at the frontline against COVID-19 have fallen victims to the contagion. Emergency medicine physicians, nurses and paramedics across the world are experiencing rising levels of anxiety and emotional exhaustion amid the coronavirus chaos.[1] The psychological burden of the pandemic on these valiant frontline warriors is likely to leave long-lasting scars, and the quantum of impact could perhaps be unmeasurable. Adding to the stress of working in “COVID zones” is the pan-global lockdown that has aptly been described as “the world's largest psychological experiment.” Shortage of critical care beds further compound patient's misery, with the end result being thousands of patients unable to get optimal care across the country. The daily sight of patients succumbing to their illness and the helplessness to admit and treat all COVID 19 patients is quite a traumatic experience. After a long and hard days' toil where keeping the head above water is a challenge, frontline workers are faced with the worry of exposing their family members or roommates, possibly needing to self-quarantine. The mental effects of this additional isolation because of the working environment on the frontline further compound their already stressful day.

Healthcare workers have not been the only frontline warriors in this pandemic battle. Controlling the spread of the virus through quarantine and lockdown required a collective effort from police officers, municipal workers, and many other government officials, who bravely stood in the line of duty and risked not only their lives but also their family members. Being thrown into the lion's den early this year, the frontline warriors collectively have been fighting this “pandemic war” with very limited preparation.

The epicenter of the pandemic kept migrating from the Far East to Europe and then to the “New World.”[2] The Indian subcontinent has been equally battered by the deadly virus with most of the metropolitan cities with high population density being sitting ducks. The many 'potential hopes' such as remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, favipiravir, convalescent plasma and the good old dexamethasone kept giving the World glimmers of hope through this pandemic, but none proved to be the 'silver bullet' for COVID 19. Some therapeutic options even turned out to be a wild goose chase. More than 150 vaccine candidates such as the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and mRNA-1273 are at varying phases of efficacy and could play a pivotal role in the future of this combat.[3],[4]

The year 2020 thus far has been topsy–turvy with the bottom of the abyss still beyond sight. SARS-CoV-2 is only a sojourner on the planet Earth; however, till a rendezvouz with victory over this formidable microbe can be arranged, emergency physicians and other frontline workers would be required to continue their relentless selfless combat. In the fight against the pandemic of epic proportion, the brave frontline warriors have truly been the “calm amid this storm.”

References

1World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Situation Report—181. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2020.
2Du J, Dong L, Wang T, Yuan C, Fu R, Zhang L, et al. Psychological symptoms among frontline healthcare workers during COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan. Gen Hosp Psychiatry 2020;S0163-8343:30045-1. doi:10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2020.03.011.
3WHO. Draft Landscape of COVID-19 Candidate Vaccines. July 14, 2020. https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/draftlandscape-of-covid-19-candidate-vaccines. [Last accessed on 2020 Jul 14].
4Folegatti PM, Ewer KJ, Aley PK, Angus B, Becker S, Belij-Rammerstorfer S, et al. Safety and immunogenicity of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine against SARS-CoV-2: A preliminary report of a phase 1/2, single-blind, randomised controlled trial. Lancet 2020;396:467-78.