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healthcare | IST

Are hospitals geared up for rising Omicron cases? Experts discuss

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There's been a surge in the number of COVID cases in the country. With Omicron and Delta variants spreading rapidly, CNBC-TV18 spoke to Abhay Soi, Chairman & Managing Director, Max Healthcare, and Dr Bhaskara Rao Bollineni, Managing Director, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, to get a sense of the on-ground reality and also their preparedness to tackle the growing numbers.

There's been a surge in the number of COVID cases in the country. With Omicron and Delta variants spreading rapidly, CNBC-TV18 spoke to Abhay Soi, Chairman & Managing Director, Max Healthcare, and Dr Bhaskara Rao Bollineni, Managing Director, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, to get a sense of the on-ground reality and also their preparedness to tackle the growing numbers.
First up, Soi said that the rate of hospitalisation is very low.  He explained that in Delhi, Omicron positive cases in their hospitals have increased from 2 percent to 25 percent in the last two weeks. He noted that Delhi is seeing 25-30 percent of patients testing positive for Omicron.
“In Delhi-NCR about 25-30 percent of patients who are coming are Omicron positive. This number was 2-3 percent just a couple of weeks ago. So we see this inverting very quickly, but the rate of hospitalisation is extremely low,” he said.
Soi mentioned that since the total number of cases are expected to be higher in Omicron, thus hospitalisations may also be higher as a result.
On preparedness, he said that the hospitals are better prepared for COVID now. Since resources are finite, Soi said that they need to see the scale of Omicron cases.
On Molnupiravir, he said that he doesn’t see a significant revenue stream from such drugs.
Meanwhile, Bollineni also reiterated Soi’s point that hospitalisation is less but transmission is faster. However, he doesn’t expect it to be as dangerous as COVID first and second wave.
“As a disease, it will definitely spread like other flu or viral diseases, but it’s not going to be that dangerous as we have seen in the first and second wave. However, it doesn’t mean to be careless. We need to be very careful,” he said.
He believes there’s a need to be vigilant as the long-term effects of the new variant is not known. According to him, the next two weeks will be crucial. He added that the second dose of the vaccination or a booster shot is needed.
“Those who have not taken the second dose (of COVID vaccine), they should take it because prevention is better than cure as next two weeks will be very crucial for the country,” Bollineni said.
Bollineni believes they are well geared up with respect to hospital infrastructure. He explained that out patient department (OPD) treatment with Monoclonal antibodies is working well.
For the entire discussion, watch the video