Central team projects 20 lakh Covid cases in state by October end
The projection also hints at a possible shortage of ventilators in the state and shortage of oxygen supported beds and ICU beds in major cities.Updated: Oct 17, 2020, 16:23 IST
The central government’s department of health and family welfare has estimated that Maharashtra will cross the 20-lakh mark in the total number of Covid-19 cases in the state by October end.
The projection also hints at a possible shortage of ventilators in the state and shortage of oxygen supported beds and ICU beds in major cities. This estimation is based on the growth rate of infection number as of September 24 and the ministry has asked the district and the state administration to prepare for the required health infrastructure accordingly and ensure that there is no shortage of essentials, including ventilators and drugs.
A letter dated September 15 written by Rajesh Bhushan, secretary of National Health Mission (NHM), sent by the ministry to the director of health services, states, “The Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve and so a periodic assessment is required. It may be noted that the estimates are derived on the basis of mathematical modelling and do not take into account the efforts made by the state or district to manage the situation.”
The letter also states that the management of cases is necessary to keep the mortality rate down. It is also important that the needs for the infrastructure necessary for the delivery of non-Covid services are also addressed especially for maternal and newborn care, cancer care, dialysis, and surgical interventions.
The projection states that major cities are likely to face a shortage of critical care facilities including ICU beds and ventilators. Major cities that are likely to face a shortage of oxygen supported beds and ICU beds with and without ventilators include Pune, Nagpur, Ahmednagar, Kolhapur, Nashik. While smaller cities like Amravati, Beed, Dhule, Nanded, Osmanabad, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sangli, Satara, Washim and Yavatmal are also likely to face a shortage of critical care facilities.
Pune district which is currently the worst affected district is likely to report over 3.78 lakh cases by month-end.
Dr Pradeep Awte, state surveillance officer said, “The calculation of cases and infrastructure is based on projection of cases as of September 24 in the respective districts when the surge was comparatively higher. For the preparation of infrastructure, we have considered the highest peak for the respective district; for example for Pune, if the peak was in the month of August then we will consider that number and prepare the number of beds, oxygen supply, required drugs, and manpower accordingly.”
However, the estimate also does not account for a second surge which the central team had estimated during its visit to Pune.
Pune divisional commissioner Saurabh Rao said that the team had warned of a second wave in winter and asked citizens not to lower their guard and continue wearing masks and practice hand hygiene.
Dr Satish Pawar, additional director, National Health Mission (NHM) and former state health director-general said, “These projections are based on the number of cases reported by September end. The situation then was completely different as compared to now. The number of cases is going down drastically and so the projections need to be revised. According to experts whom I have been talking to, the second wave could be less severe because of the memory cells which activate the immune system against the pathogens and the presence of antibodies. Also, this time residents would be more aware and will opt for home isolation, thereby reducing the pressure on hospitals. Residents are now more aware of basic hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene, so the panic situation will also come down significantly.”
Pawar further added that currently there is no shortage of beds, oxygen or even essential drugs reported even from private hospitals.