Covid 19 Pandemic: According to projections, Maharashtra is planning for Covid-19 caseload of 1.2 million during the projected third wave.
The forecasts are based on Maharashtra’s highest active cases documented during the second wave, as well as district-level peaks between March and June of this year.
Preparations include preparing 531 oxygen generating plants and processing tenders to stock up on eight critical pharmaceuticals required in Covid-19 therapy, in addition to fortifying existing jumbo Covid-19 facilities and hospitals.
On April 25, this year, the state’s greatest active caseload — 698,354 – was reported. Various districts, on the other hand, peaked at different periods.
State authorities predict a peak active caseload of 800,000 and are bracing for a spike 1.5 times that amount, based on the volatility in the peaks.
“In the third wave, we’re expecting 1.2 million active patients,” said N Ramaswami, commissioner, Maharashtra National Health Mission, a division of the union health ministry that works closely with the state.
Experts, on the other hand, disagree over the character of the third wave. In a recent online conference, virologist Dr T Jacob John of Christian Medical College, Vellore, claimed that the worst is gone for Maharashtra and that a third wave is improbable.
With immunizations and public awareness, Dr. Jalil Parkar of Lilavati Hospital in Bandra predicts that the third wave would be moderate and will not strain the state’s healthcare infrastructure as much as the previous two.
“However, if the virus mutates into something more dangerous, we don’t know how large the wave will be,” Dr Parkar warned.
Some experts predict a greater third wave, may be led by a variety that targets the unexposed and unvaccinated population, such as minors, and maybe dominated by re-infections and breakthrough (post-vaccination) infections, according to Dr. Parkar. “However, it’s difficult to be certain,” Parkar remarked.
“We reviewed all possibilities and chose not to postpone any current plans or preparations.” However, we are not pushing any additional projects,” Ramaswami added, noting that the PM Cares Fund donated 68 of the 513 oxygen-producing units. 65 of the 68 plants have already been installed.
According to Ramaswami, the state has also put orders to assure enough supplies of eight regularly used medications for Covid-19 patients, including repurposed treatments like Remdesivir and Tocilizumab, steroids, anticoagulants, and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), among others.
The state had also set aside money in its budget to purchase monoclonal antibodies, which have been shown to help people with mild to moderate symptoms.
The proposal, however, has been halted since the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has yet to incorporate cocktail therapy in its treatment regimen.
Dr. Om Srivastava, an infectious disease expert and part of the state task team, said the prediction of current cases took a lot of consideration.
“If the third wave does not arrive, there will undoubtedly be a discussion about resource waste.” But being prepared for a tragedy is a prudent strategy,” Srivastava added, predicting the third wave in December.
According to Srivastava, the third wave appears to be controllable in the current circumstances. “However, things might change. We didn’t expect such a strong second wave, but it strained every resource,” he added.
Cities with a high population density, such as Mumbai and Pune, have been urged to be watchful and focus on immunizations as well as rigorous application of Covid-appropriate behaviour.
On April 11, Mumbai, for example, had the highest active case load of 91,100. According to the state’s calculation, the number of active cases in Mumbai might reach 136,000 during the third wave.
“We go by the forecasts given by the state and the centre,” said Suresh Kakani, the assistant municipal commissioner in charge of the BMC’s Covid-19 response in Mumbai.
“We’ve maintained our enormous facilities intact while also adding paediatric beds.” For a worst-case situation, we’ve built extra facilities in the western and eastern suburbs.”
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