Fewer hospitalisations in third COVID-19 wave, data from States show

Health workers bring a COVID-19 patient to be admitted to Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad on January 25, 2022.

Health workers bring a COVID-19 patient to be admitted to Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad on January 25, 2022.

With India continuing to be in the grip of the third wave of the coronavirus, hospitalisation trends from majors States suggest it is so far less pernicious than previous waves.

On January 26, India reported 2,85,000 fresh cases bringing the active caseload to 22,23,018. States that account for a major chunk of these cases say that more than 95% of their available hospital beds are unoccupied, a far cry during previous waves when a scramble for even a single one — or having multiple occupants in a bed — was routine.


Rajasthan has around 90,000 active cases with 84,000 beds available for treating COVID-19 patients. Medical and Health Minister Parsadi Lal Meena said this week that said only 2% of these beds were occupied. At the Rajasthan University for Health Sciences (RUHS) Hospital in Jaipur, which is the biggest government medical facility for COVID treatment in the State, 63 of the 895 oxygen-supported beds and 26 of the 305 ICU beds with ventilator were occupied as on January 25.

During the peak of the second wave in April-end in 2021, almost all the beds available in the government and private medical facilities were occupied by the COVID-19 patients.

Active cases in Kerala, which is reporting a massive spike in infections, have climbed to 2,60,000. However, around 3.5% have been admitted in hospitals and COVID first line/second line treatment centres. This is in stark contrast to the situation in the State during the Delta wave in April 2021 when around 22,726 — close to 8% — were hospitalised. The daily new admissions at the time was close to 4,500.

“The focus is firmly on home care, unlike last time. We do not want mild cases to flood our hospitals, occupying the beds which should be kept free for those who develop serious disease. Our tertiary care centres will treat only serious patients. Most of the patients who are rushing to the emergency wing demanding admissions are being examined and then counselled to remain home and seek tele-consultation if required,” said a State official.

However, as far as COVID-19 deaths are concerned, the State’s pattern is not very different from previous waves, with 30-35 deaths reported daily.

In Karnataka, a comparison revealed, analysis by the Health Department found that COVID-19 hospitalisation in the State stood at 21% during the peak of the second wave while it was 16% during the corresponding period in the first wave. In the third wave, so far, the rate of hospitalisation has not crossed 5%.

During the first and second waves, the highest number of active cases was recorded on October 10, 2020, (1,20,929) and May 15, 2021, (6,05,494) respectively. In the third wave, the State saw 3,62,487 active cases, the highest so far. A total of 25,992 COVID-19 patients died during the second wave while the first claimed 12,331 lives.

In the third, 333 fatalities have been recorded till January 25. Karnataka had around 3,50,000 active cases, of which around 2% are hospitalised. While 1,105 have occupied oxygenated beds/ high dependency units and 472 ICU beds, 132 are on ventilators. The rest are in general wards.

In Telangana too, the current COVID-19 admissions at government and private hospitals in Telangana are fewer than that observed during the peak or decline of the second wave.

The second wave in the State peaked in April-2021, at around 10,000 cases a day, with around 4,000 requiring treatment in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Presently around 4,000 are detected with COVID in a day. The ICU beds occupancy was 832 as of Monday.

In Tamil Nadu, when hospitalisations as on January 24 was compared with that on May 15, 2021, the percentage of active cases that were hospitalised was only 5.1 % compared to 31.8 %. On both days the State had around 200,000 active cases. Further, of the 31.8 % hospitalised, 17.8 % in 2021 were in oxygen-supported beds compared to to 2.4% presently.Around 9.9 % were in non-oxygen-supported beds to the 2.2% now and 4.2 % were in intensive care units to the 0.5 % at present. The state has also reported far fewer deaths during the third wave so far compared to the second wave. Between Mar 19, 2021 (when the cases reported daily crossed the 1,000 mark during the second wave ) and May 21, 2021 (when the cases peaked), the State reported 9.08 lakh cases and 7,025 deaths.

In comparison, between December 31, 2021 (when the cases crossed the 1,000 mark during the third wave) and Monday, the State reported 4.17 lakh cases, which is 46 % of the cases reported during the period taken for comparison. However, it reported 499 deaths, which is only 7 % of the deaths reported in the compared period.

On January 23, Maharashtra — that has historically recorded among the highest COVID-19 cases during all three waves — registered 40,805 new COVID patients in the state and 44 deaths with close to 300,000 active cases. Maharashtra’s peak in the second wave was on April 22, 2021 when it recorded 67,013 new positive patients and 568 deaths. Total active cases were around 700,00.

In Mumbai, out of 29,903 beds around 21,581 were occupied by COVID-19 patients on April 24, 2021 around which the state reached its peak in the second wave. Currently, out of 37,741 beds in Mumbai, only 4,011 were occupied.

Delhi also reported a peak of cases during the second wave on April 20, 2021, that saw 16,418 hospital beds for COVID-19 patients occupied. During the third wave, on January 13, when the highest number of daily cases was reported, only 2,424 hospital beds for COVID-19 patients in the city were occupied. Doctors, and Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, have remarked that hospitalisation during the current wave of the pandemic is less that that during the second wave.

(With inputs from bureaux)

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Printable version | May 29, 2022 12:02:29 pm |