Even though the second wave has yet to subside, Maharashtra is expected to be struck by a third wave by July or August, according to epidemiologists consulted by the government. He urged the state administration to plan for the third wave by bolstering infrastructure, stating that he did not want to see a replay of the current situation.
On Thursday, the CM convened a conference of divisional commissioners and district collectors to assess the Covid situation. Rajesh Tope, the state’s health minister, said, ÂWe will have to become self-sufficient, especially in oxygen supply. The CM said he did not want to hear any reason for the shortage of oxygen supply then.Â
The forecast is based on the recommendations of members of the state task force, which includes medical experts. They predicted after studying the patterns of Covid waves in different countries.
According to experts, a decrease in daily cases will likely begin by the end of May, but by the end of July or the first week of August, cases will begin to rise again, signaling the start of the state’s third wave, according to a senior official who requested anonymity.
The Health Minister said, ÂWe want the local administration to be at an oxygen surplus by July. For this, orders for setting up 125 PSA (Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) technology) plants have been issued and in the next 10 days, their installation will begin across the state. District collectors have been directed to procure 5 to 10 LPM oxygen concentrators in proportion to 25% of the total active patients in their respective district so that all mild and serious patients will be able to get regular oxygen supply in any case.Â
Officials said that epidemiologists believe the situation is stabilising as a result of the lockdown, and that regular cases may begin to decline as early as next month.
A senior official privy to the development said, ÂIn the next two months, the situation will come under control but as soon as all the restrictions are lifted it is believed that the third wave will again hit the state.Â
Asking to ensure an adequate supply of medicines for the third wave, CM said, Â The situation has come under control to some extent owing to the strict restrictions but we have to be cautious and start planning for the third wave.Â
Tope stated that tele-ICU facilities would be built for tertiary care of patients in all two-tier cities without a major government hospital or medical college as part of the preparations. Every patient’s bed will be equipped with high-resolution cameras, allowing expert doctors in major cities to monitor their condition.
He has also ordered a fire audit, a structural audit, and an oxygen supply audit. District collectors have been instructed to ensure that hospitals complete these audits on time.
As compared to the previous two months, the death toll in March was 2,495 people, while in February, when a second wave struck the state, 1,072 people died. According to a state health department report, the mortality rate rose to 0.70 percent this month (between April 1 and 27) from 0.38 percent last month. It was introduced at a meeting of the state cabinet on Wednesday.
According to Dr Subhash Salunkhe, state advisor on the Covid-19 and former director-general of health services, the virus is behaving strangely, which is adding to the death toll.