Relatives of Covid patients and doctors make frantic calls after a hospital in Bengaluru ran out of oxygen
BENGALURU: The Covid-19 situation in the city is getting grimmer by the day. Every other Bengalurean undergoing Covid-19 test is turning positive: the city’s positivity rate touched an all-time high of 55% on Monday. The rate improved to 33% a day later. Active cases breached the three-lakh mark.
On Tuesday, the city reported 20,870 Covid-positive cases and 132 deaths out of Karnataka’s total count of 44,632 fresh infections and an all-time high of 292 deaths.
Small hospitals reported two deaths on Tuesday following oxygen shortage. Major hospitals continued to turn away critical patients for lack of beds. Covid-19 vaccination plummeted to less than 10k per day.
Bengaluru’s average of 20,000 positive cases per day comes at a time when the authorities have consciously decided to reduce testing from 1 lakh tests per day to around 40,000/60000 daily.
Though political and bureaucratic circles have been trying to build a narrative around the double-mutant virus and how aggressive it has become in the recent weeks, the reality is that the hunt for ICU beds and oxygen is taking a toll on Covid-positive persons and their families.
“This is definitely not the time for anyone to get Covid in Bengaluru,” said the brother of a 44-year-old man, who died at his residence three days ago after failing to get an ICU bed.
Sources in the health department told that helplines get around 4,500 calls per day and 1,500-1,700 of them are queries related to hospitalisation. Around 500-550 calls pertain to ICU beds and ICU ventilators.
In fact, non-availability of hospital beds for the common man took a political turn on Tuesday when Bengaluru South’s BJP MP Tejasvi Surya and three BJP MLAs alleged that there was a bed-blocking scam and more Covid-19 patients could have been saved had the BBMP been more efficient and competent.