Most Indians say they could not get a Covid-19 ICU bed without using their clout

Critical care.
Critical care.
Image: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
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The coronavirus pandemic is showing no signs of receding in India. This means that despite the ramped-up healthcare infrastructure, Indians are struggling to find ICU beds.

Nearly 80% of Indians who needed an ICU bed, or knew someone who did, had to either chase after hospitals or use some kind influence, according to a survey by LocalCircles, a community-led social media engagement platform.

This alarming situation exists despite state governments’ efforts to keep the data on ICU beds availability transparent. For instance, the Delhi government has a platform called Delhi Corona, which has real-time updates about the availability of beds and ventilators in the state’s private and government hospitals.

As of yesterday (Sept. 20), almost all ICU beds in private hospitals were occupied. This is despite the fact that over 500 ICU beds were added in the state’s private hospitals in the past week, according to Delhi’s health minister Satyendar Jain. Delhi has so far seen over 200,000 Covid-19 cases, of which over 32,000 are still active. The national tally for active cases of coronavirus is over 1 million.

Given this rising tally, most of the 11,257 survey respondents also want more hospitals to be transparent about bed availability.