Amid oxygen shortage: struggle to keep Covid-19 patients breathing

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India is under siege by the second wave of deadly COVID-19. More than one million people have tested positive for the coronavirus over the past 5 days amid rising levels of positivity and surging death rates across the country.

More than 2,73,810 people tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the cumulative cases to 1,50,61,919.

The new variant, called multiple mutations, is thought to spark a new wave of deadly infections in India making it the second worst-hit country in the world.

Sixteen states and UT – Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Kerala, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, and West Bengal – feature upward trajectory of new cases every day, said the Union’s health ministry.

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The number of new deaths also hit a record high with 1,619 more people dying from the disease in the past 24 hours.

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Amid rising COVID numbers, the state is facing an acute shortage of beds and oxygen supplies. Demands for increased supply of oxygen cylinders, vaccine doses and Remdesivir were submitted by 11 states and UT, including Delhi on Saturday.

Horrifying matters unfolded in Madhya Pradesh where 12 coronavirus patients died at Shahdol Medical College in Madhya Pradesh allegedly from a lack of liquid medical oxygen on Sunday night.

Shahdol School of Medicine Dean Dr Milind Shiralkar told the media earlier that the death of a Covid-19 patient was a result of a lack of medical oxygen.

The deceased patient’s family members claimed that the deaths were caused by a lack of a stable medical oxygen supply.

Several states have reported lack of oxygen for the growing number of COVID patients. India plans to import 50,000 metric tons of medical oxygen to meet growing demand.

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The United Health Ministry has been directed to finalize similar tenders and also explore possible sources of imports identified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA) mission, he said.

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“Also, based on the mapping exercise conducted, 4,880 MT, 5,619 MT and 6,593 MT have been indicated for these 12 states – Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan – to meet the projected demand on April 20, April 25 and April 30, “a statement issued by the health ministry said.

Medical oxygen is an important component in the treatment of patients affected by COVID and the demand for medical oxygen is increasing, especially from 12 states that have a high burden of cases of this active corona virus.

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While demand in Maharashtra is expected to exceed the state’s available production capacity, states such as Madhya Pradesh do not have the production capacity to meet their medical oxygen demand, the health ministry said.

In addition, there is a trend of increasing demand in other oxygen producing states such as Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan, it was highlighted.

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Countries have been directed to set up control rooms to ensure a smooth supply of oxygen to the districts according to demand and review the requirements of cylinders, tankers.

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