Hospitals overwhelmed as coronavirus cases explode in India

Hospitals overwhelmed as coronavirus cases explode in India
As coronavirus cases explode in India, even private hospitals are overwhelmed. Source: AP
3 Min Read

Daily US Times: When Manik Parikh’s mother tested positive for new coronavirus, she went to Mumbai’s private Lilavati Hospital, but the hospital authorities told the family that no critical-care beds were available. This has become the normal scenario in hospitals as coronavirus cases explode in India.

Five hours and dozens of calls later, the family at last found a bed for her at private Bombay Hospital. Parikh’s 92-year-old diabetic grandfather had breathing difficulties just a day later and he was then taken to the city’s Breach Candy Hospital. The hospital is another top private facility, but there were no beds.

“My dad was pleading with them. They said they didn’t have a bed, not even a normal bed,” Parikh told Reuters. Later that day, they found a bed at Bombay Hospital, but his grandfather died hours later. His test results later revealed he was infected with the virus.

India’s booming private hospitals have taken some of the strain off the country’s underfunded and dilapidated public health network for years, but the terrific experience of Parikh’s family suggests that as coronavirus cases explode in India, even private facilities are at risk of being overrun.

India is facing a sharp rise in confirmed cases. It has reported 6,767 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, the country’s biggest one-day increase. Government data shows the number of coronavirus cases in India are doubling every 13 days or so, even as the world’s second-most populous country begins easing lockdown restrictions. India has reported more than 145,380 infections, including 4,167 deaths.

Bhramar Mukherjee, a professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Michigan, said: “The increasing trend has not gone down. We’ve not seen a flattening of the curve.”

Mukherjee’s team estimates that between 630,000 and 2.1 million people in India will become infected by early July. India has a population of 1.3 billion.

As coronavirus cases explode in India, most of the cases are in Mumbai, India’s financial hub and its most populous city. The federal government has said in media briefings that not all patients need hospitalisation, and it is making rapid efforts to increase the number of hospital beds and procure health gear.

According to the federal government’s data from last year, India has about 714,000 hospital beds, up from about 540,000 in 2009. Given India’s rising population, the number of beds per 1,000 people has grown only slightly in that time.

You may read: Dr Rao, the Indian doctor who raised alarms, sent to mental hospital