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COVID-19: Oxygen demand higher in second wave, ventilator requirement lower, say experts


NEW DELHI: Top medical experts in the government on Monday said oxygen demand is higher in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as compared to the first, while the ventilator requirement is lower.

According to data from hospitalised patients during the first and second wave, requirement of oxygen is higher in the second wave at 54.5 per cent as compared to the first wave at 41.1 per cent, while demand of mechanical ventilation is lower in the second wave at 27.8 per cent in comparison to the first at 37.3 per cent.

On why oxygen requirement is higher this time, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said, "It could be explained by the fact that there has been a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases, creating panic among people to get admitted to hospitals and therefore, the oxygen requirement suddenly shot up, which is one reason.

But this is limited data from hospital settings and more will have to be looked at.

" Oxygen continues to remain an important tool in the management of COVID-19 disease, he said as he stressed on rationalised utilisation of oxygen and ensuring there is no wastage.

NITI Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul said remdesivir must be used on hospitalised patients in moderate stages of illness and it is not to be used in home settings.

The Centre on Sunday had banned the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes except in nine specified industries in view of shortage of the essential public health commodity in several states amid a spike in COVID-19 infections.

In a communication to all states, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla had said in view of the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and resultant rapid demand for medical oxygen, particularly in high-burden states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, the central government-constituted Empowered Group-II reviewed the supply of oxygen for industrial use in order to divert the same to meet the rising demand for medical oxygen in the country and save precious lives.

Accordingly, the EG-II has recommended to prohibit the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes by manufacturers and suppliers from April 22 till further orders, with exceptions of nine specified industries.