Another grim day with 98 deaths, experts want more tests

On Saturday, the state had reported over 100 deaths for the first time with the fatality count at 103. The active caseload on Monday was 1,19,961.

West Bengal state on Monday recorded 17,501 cases — 14 fewer than the day before — and 98 deaths even as experts warned of an oxygen shortage and urged the state government to increase testing from the 50,000 samples being examined most days. On Saturday, the state had reported over 100 deaths for the first time with the fatality count at 103. The active caseload on Monday was 1,19,961.

According to the data shared by the Health Department on Sunday, Bengal had 9,825 beds in government hospitals, of which 3,553 were vacant. There were 6,117 beds in private hospitals, of which only 872 beds were vacant. West Bengal had 175 dedicated Covid hospitals, including 140 government facilities. The state had 1,838 beds with high dependency and critical care units, and 1,283 ventilators. As per the latest data, 44.11 per cent of hospital beds are occupied.

A government doctor said, “We are already paying a heavy price for all political rallies in the last two months. It is heart-wrenching to see thousands of people looking for oxygen cylinders on Twitter. It exposes the failure of the state and Central governments.”

According to doctors, about 70-80% of the patients coming to hospitals now require oxygen support. As a result, the oxygen demand has gone up almost by about 50%.

Dr Rajat Basu, a junior scientist at the National TB Prevalence Survey, told The Indian Express that an adequate supply of vaccines should be the top priority of the new government. It should use schools, places of worship and community halls to inoculate the masses.

“Micro containment strategies, contact mapping, contact tracing, RTPCR testing and zonal lockdown should be the focus of this new government,” he added.

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