India may need 5 lakh ICU beds in few weeks

Pune, April 30, 2021 (PPI-OT): Forecasting that the Covid-19 pandemic was only going to get worse, noted surgeon, Dr Devi Prasad Shetty has said India will need an extra 5 lakh ICU beds, 2 lakh nurses and 1.5 lakh doctors in the next few weeks.

At present, India had only 75,000 to 90,000 ICU beds and almost all were already occupied even as the second wave of the pandemic hadn’t even reached its peak yet, he said. Experts say daily Covid count could go up to 5 lakh cases at its peak.

“While most of the newspaper headlines and prime time television coverage have been over the lack of oxygen for the patients in ICUs, I am having sleepless nights for the next headline, which is going to be that patients are dying in ICUs because there are no nurses and doctors to take care of the patients,” said Dr Shetty, the Chairman and founder of Narayana Health, a chain of 21 medical centres in India, in his online address at the Symbiosis Golden Jubilee Lecture Series in Pune recently.

He pointed out that for every patient, who was tested positive, there were five to 10 persons who were positive but not tested. “That means more than 15 to 20 lakh people are getting infected daily. Statistically, 5 per cent of the positive patients need an ICU bed, irrespective of their age. On an average, a patient in ICU spends at least 10 days there,” he added.

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