Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in India crossed the one lakh mark on Tuesday, while the rate of growth of new infections showed little sign of slowing.
India reported 4,970 new cases over the past 24 hours, taking the total from the outbreak to 101,139. Deaths rose by 134 to 3,163.
The country had crossed the 50,000 mark roughly two weeks ago on May 7.
Between May 12 and 19, number of confirmed cases went up by over 30,000.
The number of cases in India has outstripped numbers reported by China, where the virus originated late last year and which had been one of the infection hotspots in Asia.
China reported just under 83,000 COVID-19 cases, but has kept the daily rise in new infections to single digits for the past week.
Reuters’s tally based on official data says new cases in India have continued to rise by an average of more than 4,000 each day over the past week despite a severe weeks-long national lockdown.
According to the health ministry, the number of active COVID1-19 cases in India is 58,802 and 39,173 have recovered as of May 19.
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan had said on Sunday that 3.1% patients were in ICU, 0.45% on ventilators and 2.7% on oxygen support
How many hospital beds and ventilators does India have?
As of May 17, India had 916 dedicated COVID hospitals with 1,80,473 beds of which 1,61,169 were isolation beds and the remaining 19,304 were ICU beds, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan had said.
There are 2,044 dedicated COVID Health Centres with 1,28,304 beds (Isolation beds- 1,17,775, ICU beds- 10,529) along with 9,536 quarantine centres and 6,309 COVID Care Centres with 5,64,632 beds.
India had also scaled up its Covid-19 testing capacity to one lakh samples a day, Vardhan said.
To date, 2,30,2792 samples have been tested, with 90,094 samples tested in the past 24 hours in about 373 government laboratories and 152 private laboratories approved by ICMR, Hindustan Timesreported.
A study by The Center For Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy in April estimated that India had 48,000 ventilators.
India is expected to recieve 200 ventilators, donated by the United States, in May and June.
The CDDEP study used data and parameters from published sources and estimated that most of the beds and ventilators in India were concentrated in seven states – Uttar Pradesh (14.8%), Karnataka (13.8%), Maharashtra (12.2%), Tamil Nadu (8.1%), West Bengal (5.9%), Telangana (5.2%) and Kerala (5.2%).
A large number of infections in India have been concentrated in the metros of Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Chennai.
Health experts and manufacturers of medical equipment have raised concerns that the country could fall short of necessary infrastructure in the event of a sharp spike in cases. (See here, here and here)
Earlier this month, Delhi government roped in three more private hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients in the capital with the order saying the decision was taken due to the “shortage of isolation beds in private hospitals”.
Last week, NDTV’s Sreenivasan Jain reported almost all 3,500 beds for coronavirus patients in Mumbai were occupied. While Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner said there was no shortage of beds or doctors, Scroll reported there were discrepancies in the numbers provided by the state government and various civic officials. It also pointed that hospitals had been turning patients away saying there weren’t enough beds.
On Monday, authorities at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital reported ventilators built by a firm in Rajkot and supplied free of cost in large numbers to government facilities last month were not giving “desired results” on COVID-19 patients.
At 3% India’s death rate is much lower than that of countries like the US, UK, France and Italy, but Reuters pointed out that the Indian government had not provided a detailed breakdown on the condition of people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
The health ministry had not held a press briefing since May 11.