With rising cases, Delhi is failing its COVID-19 patients
Delhi is one of the worst coronavirus-affected states in the country and its hospitals are buckling under the strain.
Delhi was among the four states pulled up by the Supreme Court on the condition of hospitals for COVID-19 patients on the basis of media reports. Seeking a detailed status report, the court admonished the states for their treatment of those receiving treatment and also those who had a died. They are being treated like animals, the court observed, with bodies even being found in garbage dumps.
Delhi is battling a surge in cases with a doubling rate of nearly 12 days. The state reported 1,877 cases in a single day yesterday bringing the total number of infections to over 34,000. More than a thousand people have died and it is all set to get much worse. But the government’s handling on the cases so far doesn’t inspire confidence and paints a scary picture of what could come.
The public hospitals are where this failure is being played out. There is already a high demand for hospitals beds and patients are shuttling from one hospital to another to try and get admitted. This despite the fact that there are still hospital beds available. This situation is only going to deteriorate. According to projections, Delhi would have nearly 80,000 cases in need of hospitalisation by the end of July but it has only 9,000 hospital beds. At present, more than half of these have already been occupied. There are only lesser than 600 ventilators in the capital out of which half are in use. The city may need nearly 5000 ventilators by end of July.
Already there are instances of bodies being left unattended in corridors, lobby and waiting areas like in Lok Nayak Jai Prakash hospital. Due care is not given and sometimes relatives aren’t even informed about patient deaths which means that have been unable to attend the final rights of their loved ones. Morgues and crematoriums are backed up despite working at full capacity. The court also demanded an explanation for Delhi’s falling testing rates. While Delhi has the third-highest number of cases after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, they are testing three times more people than Delhi. The number of tests administered in Delhi has in fact fallen from 7,000 to 5,000 a day. Delhi was not following union health ministry’s guidelines on this, it said, lambasting the AAP government.