The Indian Medical Association on Tuesday said that 270 doctors across the country have so far died of the coronavirus infection during the second wave of the pandemic, reported PTI. Last year, 748 doctors had died during the first wave, the association said.

In the second wave, India is counting deaths in thousands every day. But reports allege that the government is severely undercounting Covid-19 fatalities. The deaths among doctors could also be higher as the association keeps records of only around 3.5 lakh of its members, reported NDTV. There are, however, more than 12 lakh doctors in India.

The 270 doctors who have died includes Dr KK Aggarwal, the former president of the doctors’ body. He died of the coronavirus on Monday.

“The second wave of the pandemic is turning out to be extremely fatal for all and especially for the healthcare workers who are at the forefront,” IMA president Dr JA Jayalal said.

The highest number of deaths of medical practitioners was recorded in Bihar with 78 fatalities, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 37, Delhi with 29 and Andhra Pradesh with 22. Fifty deaths were reported on Sunday alone.

Till now only 66% of India’s healthcare workers have been fully vaccinated. Only 3% of the doctors who died had received both inoculation shots. Dr Jayesh Lele, the general secretary of IMA, told NDTV that the association was making all efforts to encourage the doctors to get vaccinated.

Lele also said that doctors are overworked and that medical centres are understaffed.

“They sometimes work for 48 hours at a stretch without any rest,” he told the news channel. “This adds to the viral load and they ultimately succumb to the infection. The government needs to take measures to boost the healthcare workforce.”

India on Tuesday reported its highest single-day death count, registering 4,329 new Covid-19 fatalities. With this, the toll climbed to 2,78,719 since the pandemic first broke out in January 2020.

The country also recorded 2,63,533 new coronavirus cases, pushing the infection tally to 2,52,28,996. This is the second day in a row that India has reported less than 3 lakh singe-day cases after logging over 3 lakh infections a day for nearly a month and even crossing 4 lakh on several days in May.