Experts say coronovirus is more likely to spread in India’s northeastern state of Assam than anywhere else in the country, with officials preparing to increase infection by converting stadiums and universities into hospitals on a large scale
Cases in Assam started a month ago and the state had a seven-day weekly average of over 4,4,000 cases on 9 May. But a model run by the University of Michigan – which predicts the current prevalence of cases before actually being detected – says the transition to Assam is as likely to occur as any other place in the country.
The recent elections in the state – and the huge political rallies that accompany them – and experts fear an uncontrolled surge is on the horizon.
It is a matter of concern that along with the northeastern frontier cities of India – which is closer to Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan than to New Delhi – cases have also started coming up in some remote Himalayan villages of the region.
Nationwide, India’s Ministry of Health reported 360,000 new cases, with more than 3,700 deaths in the last 24 hours. Since the epidemic began, there have been more than 22.6 million infections and more than 246,000 deaths in India — both, experts say, almost certainly underline.
Authorities in Assam were rushing to prepare for a virus surge as hospitals in Indian states were heavily crowded due to similar infections.
Director of National Health Mission in Assam, Dr. “We are adding 1,000 beds a week to prepare ourselves for cases of spiral,” said Lakshmanan S.
The state’s largest government hospital, Guwahati Medical College Hospital, has over 220 intensive care beds and health officials are building 200 in the hospital parking lot.
A football and cricket stadium is being converted into a hospital for 430-bed COVID-19 patients. The private Royal Global University in the state capital of Gauhati has been converted into a 1,000-bed hospital.
The state is sending doctors, paramedics and medicine to these facilities and the university said it would provide books and newspapers for patients to read.
University Chairman Dr. AK Pansari said, “At least we thought that we could bring a huge crisis for our country at this time.”
2,100 beds are reserved in government centers for COVID-19 patients in Gauhati, with hundreds more schemes. This is in addition to the existing 750 beds for patients in private hospitals of the state.
Even as infections have increased, vaccination rates have fallen in Assam and other states as India expanded its coverage to include all adults on 1 May.
Adding to the concerns confirms that the virus has started spreading to more remote Himalayan villages with poor health infrastructure. These areas are home to indigenous tribes, which already face the lowest access to health care in the nation.
The region was largely untouched by the virus before, and many behaved as if COVID-19 was not present. But now it appears that the virus was spreading even in remote villages, without people knowing that it was too late.
Medical Superintendent Dr. at District Hospital in Roing, Arunachal Pradesh State. Mite Linggi said that it is difficult to detect the virus, lack or lack of awareness of resources and the conspicuousness in such areas.
Despite the limited medical infrastructure and even more limited medical supplies, Linggi said he actually feared a power cut.
“Electricity is critical to running the oxygen supply. When electricity comes and goes out, we have patients gasping for air.
Ghoshal reported from New Delhi
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