Covid-19 hits South India hard as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu battle oxygen, bed shortage

India’s second Covid-19 wave began hitting the nation from the west, with Maharashtra seeing an enormous spike within the variety of instances, bringing the state healthcare system to its knees. The wave quickly travelled to the northern states and the nationwide capital. Soon, Delhi’s hospitals had been overflowing.

The surge, which was primarily concentrated in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, has now discovered its manner down south. States like Tamil Nadu and Kerala, which have simply come out of the election fever, now discover themselves in a grim state of affairs. Another southern state, Karnataka, has additionally seen a spike and is now operating out of oxygen provide.

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KARNATAKA

On May 4, Karnataka reported 44,438 lively instances and 239 deaths. The state’s complete caseload and fatalities are 16.46 lakh and 16,250, respectively. Most of those instances are reported from Bengaluru Urban — over 20,000 recent infections.

In simply final week, instances elevated from 3,01,899 on April 27 to 4,44,734 on May 3. Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa held an emergency assembly with oxygen producers and suppliers in Bengaluru after sufferers died because of a shortage at a hospital in Chamarajanagar.

Three hospitals in Bengaluru metropolis despatched frantic messages concerning depleting oxygen provide on Monday, May 3. Another hospital, sadly, couldn’t handle to safe its provide and two sufferers allegedly died because of oxygen shortage.

In the chief ministers’ assembly with PM Narendra Modi, Yediyurappa knowledgeable that Karnataka wants roughly 1,471 tonnes of oxygen per day given the current spike in instances. However, this determine was later revised by the chief secretary to 1,792.

The state manufactures 812 tonnes of oxygen per day and depends on the Centre for the remainder.

Relatives grieve after 24 sufferers died at a hospital in Chamarajanagar, allegedly because of shortage of oxygen cylinders | PTI picture

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On May 4, Karnataka High Court got here down hard on the Union authorities over the oxygen shortage concern.

The bench requested, “is there any justification for giving more oxygen to states which have a low caseload compared to states which have higher cases”.

When it comes to hospital beds, patients are having a tough time finding one. The struggle to find a bed in a Covid-dedicated facility in Bengaluru can take anywhere from hours to days before yielding any results.

To fix the problem, BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta has set up a committee of three officers to conduct a study on the existing practices in bed allotments in Central Bed Management System.

The committee will also enquire as to how the system can be made transparent and robust. He also stated that action will be taken to rectify defects if any.

Procuring ICU beds or ventilators is also an uphill task for patients, as the health department has stopped providing information regarding the number of people in ICUs in the state.

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TAMIL NADU

Tamil Nadu has also been reporting a spike in Covid-19 cases. On May 4, the state reported 21,228 fresh Covid-19 cases and 144 deaths. The total number of active cases in the state is 1,23,258. The death toll has reached 14,612.

Chennai accounted for 6,228 of the total new cases reported on Tuesday.

The daily average of the cases reported in the last week in the state is 19,000. Officials have been continuously warning citizens to take caution. A new set of restrictions has also been announced in the state from April 6.

As per the state’s bed availability data, almost all the ICU beds in five government hospitals in Chennai are filled. The data on bed status availability showed that only eight oxygen-supported beds out of 1,766 and one ICU bed out of 919 were available in the city’s government hospitals.

Relatives wait in queue for hearse van at Rajiv Gandhi Government Medical, Chennai | PTI image

There has also been a stark increase in oxygen consumption with most of the patients needing the life-sustaining gas.

According to reports, Rajiv Gandhi Government Medical hospital is now generating 550 additional oxygen lines. The Government Stanley Medical College Hospital is adding 500 more oxygen beds in the hospital.

The state has an oxygen generation capacity of 400 metric tons, out of which 380 metric tons were being utilised per day by May 1. The government has already advised manufacturers to try find ways to increase the production of oxygen to cater to the increasing demand.

One of the worrying trends is the increase in the number of people getting the infection and the slow rate of recovery. While 21,228 cases were reported on April 4, there are still 33,222 active cases in the state, which means the availability of beds in hospitals becomes tighter every passing day. The only advice officials have for the common man is “the new strain is stronger and infecting many rapidly. Stay home, follow Covid-19 SOPs, stay safe. In case of an emergency, get in touch with the government helpline.”

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KERALA

With a daily tally of over 20,000 cases over the last two weeks, Kerala currently has over 3.57 lakh active Covid cases. The latest spike in the daily Covid tally in the state was first registered in the third week of March, during the run up to the assembly election.

On March 15, Kerala had recorded 1,054 cases, which was the lowest number of cases since August 3, 2020. But it took only a couple of weeks for the situation to drastically decline. And the drastic change in the caseloads came when the polling concluded on April 6.

Between April 4-10, Kerala reported 27,773 total cases at an average of 3,967 cases per day and a test positivity ratio of 6.94 per cent. In the successive week, the data shot up to 8,709 cases per day and TPR of 13.16 per cent. The trend continued as the weekly caseload reached 1,56,019 at an average of 22,288 cases per day.

People waiting for rapid antigen test at a healthcare facility in Thiruvananthapuram | PTI image

On May 1, the caseload breached 2 lakh marks to touch 229,633 cases at an average of 32,804 per day and TPR of 23.57 per cent. The state reported 37,190 cases on May 4.

According to the government data, there are a total of 835 hospitals in Kerala. In these hospitals, only 42.6 per cent of the total beds (excluding ICU) are occupied. Among the ICU beds, only 840 out of 3511 are occupied, which is about 23.9 per cent and out of 1254 ventilators available, only 406 are occupied.

Also read | Gasping for breath: India struggles to cope with oxygen crisis amidst a deadly 2nd wave

As of May 3, Kerala had 270.2 MT liquid oxygen in stock, 8.97 MT medical oxygen stock in cylinders, while 108. 35 MT oxygen was being consumed on a daily basis.

Health Minister KK Shailaja has admitted that the situation is indeed alarming in the state but is confident that the health infrastructure is sufficient to handle the surge at the moment. “We cannot say that the elections are the only cause of hike in Covid-19 cases. In Kerala, the increase is happening as part of the trend across the country. Many states where there wasn’t any election have also reported an unprecedented hike in Covid-19 cases,” she said.

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