KOCHI: The number of Covid patients requiring critical care has come down considerably with the sustained progress in the vaccination drive, once again underscoring the role of inoculation in blunting the severity of the infection. For example, of the 1,12,361 active cases as on June 15, only 4,135 patients — 3.68% — were either in ICU or on ventilator support. By August, the number of critical care admissions among Covid patients came down though the active cases rose. As on August 15, only 2,929 (1.64%) of the 1,67,379 active cases required critical care.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in his press conference on Wednesday also pointed out that of the 1,90,750 active cases at present, only 13.7% are admitted in hospitals. According to doctors, the severity of the infection varied among those who were unvaccinated and vaccinated, with even those who had received only one dose showing a marked reduction in severity.
According to them, the vaccination drive was able to prevent a large number of deaths that could have been a dampener in the state’s Covid fight. “Vaccination played a vital role in controlling the Covid situation in the state. Though the guard was lowered with regard to the preventive strategies adopted by the state, the vaccination strategy has put us right back on track,” said Dr P Gopikumar, ENT specialist and state secretary of the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
“Those who require critical care admissions at the moment are those with severe comorbidities and unvaccinated. The vaccinated Covid-infected people, even those having comorbidities, are in a better state and recovering. While for youngsters without any major health issues and comorbidities, vaccination has brought down the severity of the illness. Even if it is one dose, the effect of vaccination against the virus is noted,” he said.
Around 3.19 crore vaccine doses have been given in the state so far, and nearly 2.3 crore people have received at least one dose and 91 lakh are fully vaccinated. “The situation is certainly better. But it is not over yet. We do receive patients requiring ICU care but the numbers have come down significantly. It might take another week for the hospitalisations to come down further.
But many complicated cases are referred to private hospitals these days. In that case, the ICU admissions may go up, but it won’t be like the earlier situation,” said Dr Praveen Valsalan, pulmonologist based in Kochi. “Of the total hospitalisations, those requiring critical care is just around 1%. As far as the state is concerned, it is an achievement,” said a health official.