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.
Task force recommends preparing for 4-5 lakh daily cases
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.
Ahead of second wave, group had estimated 20% hospitalizations
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.
Projected hospitalizations raised after impact of second wave
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.
How bad is the outbreak in India?
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).