After second wave, COVID-19 group suggests preparing for 23% hospitalizations
A government COVID-19 task force has recommended preparing for a 23% hospitalization rate in the event of a surge in infections. The projected preparedness for hospitalizations is notably higher than the 20% calculated ahead of the second wave of COVID-19, which overwhelmed the healthcare system across the country, causing the death rate to spike. Reportedly, the government is now hoping to be better prepared.
The Empowered Group 1 on COVID-19 headed by NITI Aayog member Dr. VK Paul recommended anticipating four-five lakh daily infections and preparing two lakh ICU beds by October. These recommendations—shared with the government last month—include readying 1.2 lakh ICU beds with ventilators, 7 lakh non-ICU hospital beds (including 5 lakh oxygen-enabled beds), and 10 lakh COVID-19 isolation care beds, The Indian Express reported.
The latest projection is higher than the 20% of patients anticipated to require hospitalization in last September's report. Out of 100 positive cases, the COVID-19 task force had estimated 20% hospitalizations including ICU care for 3%. Of the remaining 80 asymptomatic cases, 50 would require institutional quarantine at Corona Care Centers for seven days, while the rest could isolate at home.
A source told TIE that the recommendation of setting aside more hospital beds for COVID-19 patients came after the devastating second wave. For instance, on June 1, when India had around 18 lakh active cases, 21.74% of cases required hospitalization, including 2.2% in the ICU. In comparison, during the first wave, 20% of cases required hospitalization, including 2.43% who were in the ICU.
On Sunday, India recorded 30,948 new COVID-19 cases, along with 38,487 more discharges and 403 fresh fatalities. Although infections have dipped since a brutal second wave ravaged India in April-May, the rate of decline has slowed considerably over the past several weeks. Incidentally, more than 50% of all new cases are concentrated in Kerala, which has the highest number of active infections (1.78 lakh).