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If Covid infections go out of control, Bengaluru will need at least 7,000 hospital beds

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Bengaluru’s hospital beds requirement is based on likely scenario of 1 lakh daily infections and 1% of these requiring hospitalisation

By Dr Bhaskar Rajakumar

BENGALURU:

The Covid-19 pandemic has invariably upended all our predictions and assumptions. It’s been two years-plus since the virus was first identified at Wuhan in China, and it has continued to create havoc worldwide.

There have been multiple variants, Omicron being the latest and most virulent till date. We were under the notion that Omicron is among the milder variants till recently, when the WHO chief in a press meet said, and I quote, ‘‘Omicron hospitalising and killing people, (it’s) not mild.”

‘Omicron far more infectious’

Looking back at the hospitalisation rates of the Delta wave, it ranged between 3% and 5% of infected cases. However, with Omicron, it is ranging between 1% and 3%. Going by the percentage of admissions, it appears to be less dangerous, but the point to be noted here is that Omicron is said to be 5 times more infectious than Delta. This means that the total case numbers might hit 3-4 times that of the second wave, probably taking the daily case count in Bengaluru to as high as 1 lakh.

At present, the overall admissions are low, with just about 100 cases out of 8,000 cases getting admitted, or about 1%. But if the numbers swell to 1 lakh per day, admissions at the same rate would mean 1,000 per day, and with an average admission time of 4-6 days, Bengaluru would need at least 6,000-7,000 hospital beds.

Vaccination, masks matter

Analysis of hospital admissions from other countries and other Indian cities shows that those who are vaccinated are less symptomatic and less likely to get admitted. Also, proper use of masks can prevent exposure to the virus to a large extent. It’s not yet a time to relax. The pandemic may have got a bit mild, but it can still be dangerous if we are careless.

(Dr Bhaskar Rajkumar -- MBBS, MD(Rd), MBA (Healthcare), CPGP (IIM-K) – is currently working with BBMP as nodal officer in the Covid war room. The writer’s opinions are personal and not those of BBMP.)(Dr Bhaskar Rajakumar — MBBS, MD(Rd), MBA (Healthcare), CPGP (IIM-K) – is currently working with BBMP as nodal officer in the Covid war room. The writer’s opinions are personal and not those of BBMP.)

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