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LETTER TO EDITOR
Ahead of print publication  

COVID-19 anniversary – The hits, the misses, and the way forward: A resident's view


 Department of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, King George's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Submission18-May-2021
Date of Acceptance23-Jun-2021

Correspondence Address:
Kunal Chandwar,
Department of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, King George's Medical University, Lucknow - 226 003, Uttar Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/injr.injr_97_21



How to cite this URL:
Chandwar K, Dixit J, Kishor K, Ekbote DG, Dogga P. COVID-19 anniversary – The hits, the misses, and the way forward: A resident's view. Indian J Rheumatol [Epub ahead of print] [cited 2021 Dec 9]. Available from: https://www.indianjrheumatol.com/preprintarticle.asp?id=326162



Dear Editor,

It's been a year since COVID-19 came to force, shaking our world to the core and changing the status quo completely. Between both waves of COVID-19 and multiple statewide/nationwide lockdowns, the academic course has suffered a double whammy. Not only has the patient load reduced to a fraction of the pre-COVID equilibrium but also the new doctor–patient interphases from masks, shields, curtains to the virtual screen have reduced clinical examination to minimal and necessary. The physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion of having multiple rounds of COVID duties along with death and devastation this disease brings about to patients and their family is enough to scar one's psyche for life. The despair, restlessness, frustration, and anger of not being able to receive adequate rheumatology training further heighten the crisis residents feel entrapped in. The constant fear and anxiety of losing oneself or loved ones is unimaginable. Research – an essential part of the training – has been affected the greatest. Not only has it been onerous to recruit enough patients but also following up is becoming increasingly challenging and soaring attrition a concern. Furthermore, helping the marginalized-facing dwindling resources and difficulty accessing health care have never been more perplexing.

Like silver linings in dark clouds, virtual meetings and conferences which have come to the fore since this pandemic, grant novices easy access to learning from pundits in their field. Virtual space is more accessible and makes it easier for residents to raise their queries and voice opinions without the fear of subordination, which usually clouds them in inperson meetings. The pandemic has bought immunology to the forefront of public discourse, bringing about greater awareness and possibly better understanding of immune disorders and their therapies. Normalization of masking, social distancing, and infection (COVID) appropriate behavior will help immunosuppressed patients in the long run. Virtual/tele-OPDs have mitigated the magnitude of damage that could have been inflicted upon patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases, but the benefits have been limited to the technologically literate.

A greater number of virtual meetings with better trainee involvement, more clinical teaching, and research assistance should be targeted. From a pan-national Grand round to journal clubs, major teaching institutes can collaborate to enlighten the fellows moving forward. Greater engagement of practicing rheumatologist (nonacademic) to teach the nitty-gritty of the world outside is also essential. The prospects of improving the academic landscape are innumerable. At the same time, a lot can be done on the patient front to guarantee equitable, safe and standardized health care for all, from devising a protocol ensuring necessary virtual examination to better care through teleconsultations is essential. Hopefully, the pandemic will sensitize the policymakers on the disparities in the health infrastructure the country has and nudge them to make health care more accessible and robust.

There is an opportunity in every crisis, the deeper the crisis the greater opportunity. With further waves predicted it's upon us to not waste this and strive to create an academic utopia for the future generation of budding rheumatologists.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.






 

 
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