At present, India has only 75,000 to 90,000 ICU beds and almost all are occupied
Pune, April 29
Forecasting that the Covid pandemic is only going to get worse, noted surgeon Dr Devi Prasad Shetty has said that India will need an extra 5 lakh ICU beds, 2 lakh nurses and 1.5 lakh doctors in the next few weeks, and also suggested radical solutions to meet the challenge.
At present, India has only 75,000 to 90,000 ICU beds and almost all are already occupied – when the second wave of the pandemic hasn’t even reached its peak yet, he said.
India is reporting about 3.5 lakh cases a day, and experts say the number could go up to 5 lakh cases daily at its peak.
“And this is going to happen. I do not doubt it now,” 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 tests positive, there are five to 10 people who are positive but not tested. That means more than 15 to 20 lakh people are getting infected every day in India even now. Statistically, five 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.
“So you can just imagine what the scenario is. Know what we need to do? We need to create at least five lakh additional ICU beds in the next few weeks,” he said.
Even before the start of the pandemic, government hospitals across the country had a shortage of 78 per cent of medical specialists.