If the third wave of Covid-19 strikes Assam in the next months, the state could confront a difficult period.
If 23 percent of all patients require hospitalization, as the NITI Ayog has predicted, all government hospital beds will be occupied in three to four days, resulting in a severe scarcity of beds.
Assam during the second wave of Covid-19
Assam recorded approximately 6,000 cases per day during the peak of the second wave in late May. Each patient was discharged after an average of ten days.
The scenario could become disastrous if the infection rate in the third wave remains the same as it was during the second wave’s peak period.
“In medical college hospitals, there are about 2,200 functional beds with oxygen. Assam currently can treat around 5,000 Covid patients simultaneously if we take district hospitals into account. This includes ICUs and oxygen-supported beds,” said Assam director of medical education, Dr. Anup Kumar Barman.
Future health infrastructure plans
In the state, there are around 1,540 full-fledged ICU beds. The government is planning to complete five to ten pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) beds at district hospitals by September, as well as up to 30 more PICUs in each medical college hospital.
The closure of all makeshift hospitals
The closure of all temporary hospitals in the state, except one in Guwahati, could prove troublesome, as analysts predict the third wave in September-October.
During the two waves of Covid-19, the number of Covid patients hospitalized on a single day in the state never exceeded 5,000.
Another big concern for the health department of Assam
Furthermore, only roughly 29 lakh of the estimated 2.31 crore 18+ persons in Assam have received the second dose of the vaccine, which is a major source of concern for the health authority.
“Vaccine shields may not protect Assam if a third wave strikes in September. Unless the majority of the people are fully immunized with both doses, concerns would be there,” the official said, adding that the state administration is considering other efforts to speed up the vaccination drive in the state, which has seen nearly 2.5 lakh people vaccinated every day in recent months.
Despite this, he stated that due to the uneven vaccination counts, achieving the 2.31 crore inoculation target could take months.