Omicron variant: Delhi prepares for infra health as R-value exceeds 2.5

Left gaping for oxygen by a relentless Delta wave just a few months ago, the nation’s capital once again hit a disturbing effective R-value (SARS COV-2 effective reproduction rate) of over 2.5. It relies on a reinforced sanitary infrastructure to withstand the Omicron variant.

The government’s latest inventory exercise on December 29 checked Delhi’s readiness on all key metrics – from oxygen to hospital beds and availability of drugs. The latest data shows Delhi has prepared 790 metric tons of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) as of December 28. While it did not have an OMT buffer reserve on May 31 when it was grappling with Delta, the capital now has 442 tonnes in reserve. From zero reserve cylinders in May, Delhi now has 6,000 “D” type cylinders and a further 9,100 cylinders and more with the Delhi Transport Commission.

Approximately 99.66 MT of LMO capacity through pressure swing adsorption (PSA) plants has been created and 116 MT are targeted by next month. Of the 98 PSA factories, 83 have been commissioned and 14 on hold will be in place by January 20, according to government sources.

Two cryogenic bottling plants with a capacity of 12.5 MT have been installed – one of them is commissioned and the second is expected to be operational this weekend. While Delhi previously had three refills to fill about 1,400 medium-sized oxygen cylinders per day, these can fill 1,400 jumbo cylinders / day. Orders have also been placed for around 150 LMO tankers.

The hospital infrastructure is also under close surveillance – 37,000 Covid beds, 10,594 Covid ICU beds, 2,328 Covid pediatric beds and 903 Covid pediatric ICU beds have been reserved as part of the Covid escalation plan.

Delhi also has essential Covid-19 drugs for more than 20 days, including Remdesivir, Tocilizumab, Amphotericin B, and Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate, among other drugs.

To date, Delhi claims 100% coverage for the first dose and 72.4% for the second dose. He also has over 21 lakh vaccine doses in stock – 17.9 lakh from Covishield and 3.54 lakh from Covaxin.

The Center has identified more than 3 lakh of elderly people in Delhi as eligible for a “precautionary dose” from January 10.

Experts rely on the combination of Omicron with low severity and therefore low hospitalization. As of December 28, 97% of dedicated Covid beds, 96.9% of oxygen beds, 99% of intensive care beds and 98.9% of ventilators were vacant or unused in Delhi.

The high R count, however, remains a concern. The researchers, led by Sitabhra Sinha at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai, put Delhi’s R-value at 2.5, which means that each infected person transmits the infection to more than two people. Delhi and Mumbai are at 2.5 and 2 respectively, Chennai at 1.2 while Pune, Kolkata and Bengaluru are valued at 1.1 according to Sinha’s estimate this week.

India-specific Covid data from the University of Michigan also places Delhi’s R-factor above 2 alongside Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand and Bihar (above 2). “Delhi and Mumbai have very high values. Basically each infected person transmits the infection to more than two people on average. We have to see if this will go down in the next few days. If not, we are looking at a very high number of cases. active over the next few weeks, ”Sinha told ET.

Data from the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences put the figure at 53.6% for Omicron and 46.4% for Delta from 125 samples from Delhi it analyzed.

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