2/3rds of ICU beds occupied; states advised to ramp up infra as virus enters villages


Aditi Tandon

Today News Online Service

New Delhi, May 10

Nearly two-thirds of India’s current Covid ICU bed capacity and more than half the available oxygen bed capacity has so far been utilised, indicates government data on Monday, with the Centre urging the states to fast-track the ramp up of hospital infrastructure as the disease burden of the second Covid wave grows.

Edit: Black fungus worrisome

The central database shows there are in all 75,667 ICU beds in the country—50,408 in dedicated Covid hospitals and 25,459 in dedicated Covid health centres. The corresponding count for oxygen-supported beds is 1,54,993 and 1,00,175. In the latest meeting of the group of ministers held on Saturday, experts informed the government that 1.34 per cent of the current active cases—37,45,237—were on ICU support and 1.34 per cent of the active patients were on oxygen support. That translates to occupancy of 50,186 ICU beds and 1,38,573 oxygen-supported beds.

The occupancy rate for ICU beds stands at 66.3 per cent (two-thirds) as of today while oxygen-supported bed occupancy rate is 54.3%, exerting daily pressures on the system unless active cases reduce. “Even as we ramp up critical care and hospital infrastructure to deal with active cases, we have to work to reduce the cases too for which local restrictions in areas with high positivity rate are important to break the chain of transmission,” AIIMS (New Delhi) Director Randeep Guleria said as the virus moved to tier 2 and 3 cities.

Meanwhile, the daily new cases today dropped to 3,66,161, a much needed dip after four straight days of more than 4 lakh cases each. The daily fatalities were also down to 3,754 after two days of more than 4,000 deaths.

3.66 lakh fresh cases
Total deaths2,46,116
Active cases 37,45,237
3,754 deaths in 24 hours

Plasma use could trigger virulent variants: Experts

New Delhi: Top Indian scientists and clinicians on Monday wrote to government Covid strategists, demanding removal of convalescent plasma therapy from national Covid clinical protocols and warned against possibilities of plasma use triggering virulent Covid variants.

“Research evidence indicates there is no benefit offered by convalescent plasma for treatment of Covid-19. However, it continues to be prescribed rampantly in hospitals… Some early evidence indicated a possible association between emergence of variants with lower susceptibility to neutralising antibodies in immunosuppressed people given plasma therapy. This raises the possibility of more virulent strains developing due to irrational use of plasma therapy which can fuel the pandemic,” clinicians said in a signed letter addressed to PM’s principal scientific adviser K Vijay Raghavan, ICMR chief Balram Bhargava and AIIMS-New Delhi Director Randeep Guleria.

The signatories, including top vaccinologist Gagandeep Kang, Editor of the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics Amar Jesani and public health researcher Shahid Jameel, said they were willing to assist and appraise evidence critically to inform the policy change they were seeking. “We hope you will look into this as a matter of urgency and get the ICMR and AIIMS guidelines rectified,” the signatories said, citing studies on convalescent plasma therapy with none showing any benefits. — TNS

Odisha reports first black fungus case

Odisha has detected its first case of mucormycosis or ‘black fungus’ in a 71-year-old Covid patient with a known history of uncontrolled diabetes, officials said on Monday. The patient, a resident of the Jajpur district, was admitted to a leading private hospital in Bhubaneswar. PTI

34 serving, retd faculty die in 18 days at amu

After 34 deaths among teachers and retired colleagues, the AMU

V-C has written to the ICMR, urging it to study if a particular variant is circulating around the campus. PTI

Rs 8,923 cr released for rural bodies in 25 states, Rs205 cr for punjab

The Centre has released Rs8,923 crore to 25 states for providing grant to rural local bodies (RLBs). It may be used, among other things, to combat the pandemic. The grant released for 2021-22 includes Rs205 cr for Punjab, Rs187 cr for Haryana, Rs63 crore for HP and Rs85 crore for Uttarakhand.



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