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Pune: Caseload drops almost at the same rate as surge but 33% more deaths registered during the slowdown

The PMC has started gearing up for the third wave and is installing 12 oxygen generation plants in civic hospitals fearing there might be more demand for medical oxygen later on.

Written by Ajay Jadhav | Pune |
May 18, 2021 1:12:56 pm
Senior citizens wait inside a vaccination centre in Pune. (Express Photo By Pavan Khengre)

Data on with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) shows that the caseload of Covid-19 patients in the city has dropped almost with the same speed in the past one month as it had climbed the peak in the preceding month. Pune reached the peak on April 18. However, during the month of the climb down (April 18 to May 17), the city registered 33 per cent more deaths when compared to the number of deaths registered during the one month of climb up (March 19 to April 18).

The ongoing second wave of Covid began in the first week of February while reaching its peak of active cases of 56,636 on April 18. The case load increased almost three times from 18,888 on March 19 in a month prior to reaching the peak, as PMC administration struggled to manage beds for the critically ill patients. This despite most of the infected around 80 per cent of the active patients remained in home isolation.

As the city ran out of beds, the PMC resumed its jumbo Covid-19 facility by increasing beds for patients in private as well as government hospitals. The shortage of medical oxygen, remdesivir injection and other medicines required for the treatment of critical patients worsened the situation. And PMC was forced to impose night curfew while extending it to weekend curfew to fight the infection. It decentralised the process of declaring containment zones with powers to declare buildings, housing societies and localities as micro containment zones.

A month after the peak of active cases, the caseload has dropped to 18,440 on May 17 with daily positivity rate reducing to around 10 per cent from over 25 percent witnessed during the peak. There were 1,640 deaths in the last one month since the slowdown began on April 19 while a month prior to that 1,092 died of the infection during the surge.

“There was a situation when no ventilator beds were available for patients for around one month, ICU beds for three weeks and also there were hardly any oxygen beds vacant in city hospitals. This despite the PMC scaling up the facility,” said a civic officer.

On May 18, only 9 out of the 830 ventilator beds were vacant and 106 out of the 654 ICU beds were vacant. Also, there were 2,591 of the total 7,700 oxygen beds vacant.

“Fortunately, there is a slowdown in new patients. The active cases are going down at the same rate as witnessed during the peak but the deaths are cause of concern. Around 33 per cent more deaths have taken place during the slowdown period than during the peak. They are slowly decreasing,” he said. However, the civic administration has decided to continue with the existing restrictions to further reduce the case load in the city.

Meanwhile, the PMC has started gearing up for the third wave and is installing a total of 12 oxygen generation plants in civic hospitals fearing there might be more demand for medical oxygen later on.

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