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-Rajeev Kumar (Editor-in-chief)

Monday, November 16, 2020

Covid is not the lone killer disease

The nationwide figures for fresh Covid cases are on the decline. However, there are regional surges, with increasing pressure on hospital capacity, particularly, for beds in intensive care units. In Delhi, the government has ordered reserving 80% of ICU beds for Covid cases. This is wrong.


If people with non-Covid diseases require intensive care, they would have nowhere to go. Considering that the number of ICU beds in place are calibrated to the demand for ICU beds in non-pandemic times, pre-empting 80% of ICU beds for Covid patients is going to place a severe shortage of intensive care facilities for non-Covid patients. Mortality could rise sharply, although not on account of Covid.


Covid is a relatively shortlived emergency, which would last till some 60% of the population is vaccinated or even before that, if the population acquires herd immunity in the natural course. The hospital capacity needed to tackle its requirements must be improvised, as the equivalents of field hospitals. As happened in different places, indoor stadia or schools can be converted into hospitals with ICUs.


Since hospital capacity across the land is grossly inadequate, if some swift construction of hospitals is undertaken in areas well-connected to large towns but not necessarily within them, they could cater to both the pandemic emergency and normal requirements thereafter. There is little point in adding permanent ICU beds in a city already well-endowed with such beds. If the fresh hospital capacity comes up in the hinterland that normally sends patients for critical care to the city, some reverse flow in pandemic times would make perfect sense.


What we certainly do not need is any more lockdowns —total, partial or localised. Recommended precautions such as social distancing, wearing masks and frequent handwashing could be supplemented with possibly beneficial measures such as inhaling steam and gargling with salt water that works with the normal flu or cold virus. Mask wearing has to be mandated, evangelised and enforced, everywhere.

Courtesy - The Economic Times.

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Help Sampadkiya Team in maintaining this website

इस वेबसाइट को जारी रखने में यथायोग्य मदद करें -

-Rajeev Kumar (Editor-in-chief, Sampadkiya.com)

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