Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India with more than 20 crore people, is expected to report the country’s biggest daily COVID-19 caseload by the end of the month, according to Niti Aayog projections.
UP will overtake Maharashtra to become the worst-hit state in India by April-end, Niti Aayog member (health) VK Paul said at last week’s meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief ministers.
The current surge in cases is expected to peak in mid-May, with the daily count likely to reach 5 lakh, and will likely subside by June-July, he said in a presentation.
The key points that Paul flagged were: “Heavily populated states are at particular risk; and, health infrastructure in states is not adequate enough to cope with the present serious scenario.”
UP is expected to report 119,604 a day by April 30, the projections read. It will be followed by Maharashtra (99,665) and Delhi (67,134).
The projections said daily shortage of isolation beds with oxygen in UP will be around 16,752. ICU beds will fall short by 3,061 and at least 1,538 ventilators will be required.
Delhi is expected to be short of 16,061 oxygen beds, 2,877 ICU beds and 1,450 ventilators. Delhi is already reeling under a massive oxygen shortage.
The presentation also detailed the government’s efforts to augment the supply of liquid medical oxygen. The availability of oxygen has been increased by 3,300 metric tonnes per day, it said.
High-burden states like UP, Maharashtra, Delhi and Chattisgarh have been told to categorise areas based on high, moderate, and low surges. The Centre has recommended that districts showing a high surge of cases could implement lockdowns and ramp up healthcare infrastructure.
UP on Saturday recorded its highest single-day spike with 38,055 fresh cases and 223 fatalities, pushing the virus tally to 10,51,314 and the toll to 10,959, according to an official statement.