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After the peak, caseload in Pune drops at the same rate but higher number of deaths cause for concern

The second wave of Covid-19 cases began in the first week of February, as the number of infections in the city started increasing after falling steadily for months, and reached its highest total of 56,636 active cases on April 18.

While the number of coronavirus infection cases in Pune has been dropping steadily since the city presumably crossed its peak in the second wave of the infections around April 18, the number of deaths due to Covid-19 in the last one month is 34 per cent higher compared to the number of deaths during the one-month surge in cases before the peak.

The second wave of Covid-19 cases began in the first week of February, as the number of infections in the city started increasing after falling steadily for months, and reached its highest total of 56,636 active cases on April 18. This was over three times the caseload of 16,877 seen on March 18, prompting the city administration to scramble to manage beds for critically ill patients.

“There was a situation when no ventilator beds were available for patients for around one month, and no ICU beds for three weeks… there were hardly any oxygen beds vacant in city hospitals. This despite the PMC scaling up the facility,” said a civic officer.

As the city ran out of beds, the PMC restarted its jumbo hospital and increased the number of beds for Covid patients in private as well as government hospitals. It also undertook a slew of measures such as imposing night curfew and later, weekend curfew, to slow down the infection.

A month after hitting the peak, the caseload has dropped to 16,523 on May 18, with daily positivity rate falling to around 10 per cent from over 25 per cent seen during the peak. But the number of deaths in the one month after crossing the peak — 1,686 – is much higher than the number of deaths in the one month prior to it – 1,107, show data from the civic body.

However, the availability of oxygen and ICU beds in the city has improved considerably.

On May 18, 10 of the 831 ventilator beds in private and government hospitals were vacant, and 111 of the 654 ICU beds were vacant. As many as 2,690 of the total 7,695 oxygen beds were vacant. “The number of new cases is decreasing. The number of active cases is going down at the same rate as witnessed during the peak but the number of deaths is a cause of concern. Around 33 per cent more deaths have taken place during the slowdown period than in the one-month period before the peak,” said the civic officer.

The PMC administration has decided to continue with the existing restrictions to further reduce the caseload in the city. The civic body is also installing 12 oxygen generation plants in hospitals considering another spike in demand for medical oxygen later on. It will ensure uninterrupted power supply for oxygen generators by installing power generators in its hospitals with oxygen facilities. It is also working towards setting up a dedicated hospital for the treatment of children.

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