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India ‘Prepares For The Worst’ Ahead Of Possible COVID-19 Third Wave

COVID-19 pandemic: India has added many more hospital beds in the past few months and imported more than 100 oxygen carriers to raise the total to about 1,250

India 'Prepares For The Worst' Ahead Of Possible COVID-19 Third Wave
Highlights
  • As per national sero-survey, two-thirds of Indians have COVID antibodies
  • 57% of the Indian adult population has got at least 1 dose of COVID vaccine
  • The government plans to vaccinate the entire adult population by year end

New Delhi: As COVID-19 cases and deaths exploded in India in April and May, New Delhi’s premier Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and several others ran so short of oxygen that many patients in the capital suffocated. When Reuters visited the hospital on Friday, its last coronavirus patient was readying to leave after recovery – a remarkable turnaround health experts attribute to growing levels of immunity from natural infection and vaccinations. But hospitals have learned from bitter experience during the second COVID wave, when funeral pyres burned non-stop and bodies littered the banks of the holy Ganges river, as India braces for another possible surge in infections.

Also Read: How Prepared Is India For COVID-19 Third Wave

Beds have been added at facilities around the country, and hospitals are working to ensure ample supplies of oxygen.

Ganga Ram is raising its oxygen storage capacity by 50 per cent, has laid a one-kilometre-long pipeline carrying the gas directly to COVID ICUs, and is installing equipment to keep the oxygen flow high.

It has also ordered an onsite oxygen-generation plant, which are mostly made in Europe and can take months to arrive given the surge in demand globally.

In light of the possibility of the emergence of coronavirus mutants, with higher transmissibility and immune escape, the hospital continues to prepare for the worst, said Satendra Katoch, medical director of the hospital, in between guiding colleagues doing an internal audit of its facilities.

The crowded private hospital, however, said it had no scope to add more beds. During the peak of India’s second wave, Ganga Ram expanded its capacity by nearly 50 per cent to about 600 beds, but even so, some 500 patients per day had to be put on a waitlist for admission, according to physician Varun Prakash, who managed its war-room during the crisis.

Also Read: COVID-19 Explainer: What Is The New Covid Variant “Mu”? WHO Warns It Could Be More Resistant To Vaccines

Nationally, India has added many more hospital beds in the past few months and imported more than 100 oxygen carriers to raise the total to about 1,250. Companies such as Linde are planning to lift the country’s overall output of the gas by 50 per cent to 15,000 tonnes a day.

Linde told Reuters it had retained 60 of some 80 cryogenic containers – meant to hold super-cooled oxygen – it had brought in from the company’s overseas operations, in case demand shot up again.

The distribution infrastructure and logistics fell short during the second wave, Linde South Asia head, Moloy Banerjee, said.

The federal government, meanwhile, has approved the construction of nearly 1,600 oxygen-generation plants at hospitals, though fewer than 300 had been set up as of early last month as imports take time.

Also Read: COVID-19 Explained: What Is The Endemic Stage Of COVID-19 That India May Be Entering Into?

High Antibody Levels

Almost all states are readying special paediatric wards as some experts warn unvaccinated children could be vulnerable to any new virus mutations. States including Madhya Pradesh are also stocking up on anti-viral drugs such as Remdesivir.

But with a government survey estimating as many as two-thirds of Indians already have COVID-fighting antibodies through natural infection, and 57 per cent of its adults with at least an initial vaccine dose, many health experts believe any new outbreak of infections could be much less devastating than the second wave.

The number of susceptible persons will be less now, as many persons have been infected or vaccinated, said epidemiologist and cardiologist K. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India.

“Even if reinfections or breakthrough infections occur, they are likely to be mild and mostly managed at home. The serious gaps in health-service delivery that were evident in the second wave are less likely to be seen.”

Also Read: Full Vaccination Prerequisite If Attending Mass Gathering Essential: Govt Ahead Of Festive Season

Kerala is seeing such signs already. The southern state currently has the highest number of infections, including many among vaccinated or partly vaccinated residents, but its fatality rate is well below the national figure.

At 33.1 million, India has reported the most number of COVID-19 cases after the United States, with 441,042 deaths. It has administered 698.4 million vaccine doses – at least one dose in 57 per cent of its 944 million adults and two doses in 17 per cent.

The health ministry, which wants to immunise India’s entire adult population this year, did not respond to a request for comment on its preparations for a potential third wave.

Epidemiologist and public health specialist Chandrakant Lahariya said the data and trends were encouraging.

With the emerging evidence that for individuals with past infection, single dose may provide far greater levels of antibodies than people who did not have infection or receive both shots of vaccines, it is assuring for India.

Also Read: Himachal Pradesh Emerges As “Champion” In COVID Vaccination Drive, Says PM Modi, Urges To Avoid Vaccine Wastage

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

24,00,62,413Cases
20,17,73,183Active
3,33,99,961Recovered
48,89,269Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,00,62,413 and 48,89,269 have died; 20,17,73,183 are active cases and 3,33,99,961 have recovered as on October 16, 2021 at 4:08 am.

India

3,40,53,573 15,981Cases
2,01,6322,046Active
3,33,99,961 17,861Recovered
4,51,980 166Deaths
In India, there are 3,40,53,573 confirmed cases including 4,51,980 deaths. The number of active cases is 2,01,632 and 3,33,99,961 have recovered as on October 16, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,88,429 2,149

33,379 222

64,15,316 1,898

1,39,734 29

Kerala

48,38,811 8,867

95,349 1,072

47,16,728 9,872

26,734 67

Karnataka

29,82,869 470

9,700 93

29,35,238 368

37,931 9

Tamil Nadu

26,84,641 1,245

15,238 213

26,33,534 1,442

35,869 16

Andhra Pradesh

20,59,708 586

6,453 135

20,38,960 712

14,295 9

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,014 6

133 2

16,86,984 8

22,897

West Bengal

15,79,463 451

7,513 63

15,52,997 506

18,953 8

Delhi

14,39,337 26

327 10

14,13,921 36

25,089

Odisha

10,34,276 467

4,817 73

10,21,180 535

8,279 5

Chhattisgarh

10,05,624 10

197 6

9,91,857 16

13,570

Rajasthan

9,54,383 1

40 2

9,45,389 3

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,258 14

212 3

8,15,960 17

10,086

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,675 6

106 5

7,82,046 11

10,523

Haryana

7,71,049 14

116 11

7,60,884 3

10,049

Bihar

7,26,021 5

46 4

7,16,314 1

9,661

Telangana

6,68,722 104

4,056 115

6,60,730 218

3,936 1

Assam

6,05,944 97

3,458 188

5,96,547 284

5,939 1

Punjab

6,01,992 21

228 6

5,85,224 25

16,540 2

Jharkhand

3,48,415 9

130 0

3,43,150 9

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,739 10

179 4

3,36,163 6

7,397

Jammu And Kashmir

3,30,885 51

895 40

3,25,564 91

4,426

Himachal Pradesh

2,21,203 90

1,361 26

2,16,125 114

3,717 2

Goa

1,77,410 54

648 31

1,73,423 81

3,339 4

Puducherry

1,27,296 37

611 36

1,24,836 73

1,849

Manipur

1,22,545 113

1,444 0

1,19,208 109

1,893 4

Mizoram

1,11,651 932

13,316 285

97,955 1,211

380 6

Tripura

84,299 4

102 8

83,381 12

816

Meghalaya

82,815 81

893 1

80,490 79

1,432 1

Chandigarh

65,297 2

30 2

64,447 4

820

Arunachal Pradesh

54,964 6

183 19

54,501 25

280

Sikkim

31,739 17

189 35

31,159 51

391 1

Nagaland

31,547 31

228 2

30,645 32

674 1

Ladakh

20,871 4

42 2

20,621 6

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,675

3 0

10,668

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

1 1

10,313 1

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,641 1

9 1

7,503 2

129

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