COVID-19: 65 lakh vulnerable in Kerala, says IMA

Kerala would need at least 2.35 lakh ICU beds to cure patients;   says ability of one person to infect others is high at two to four

Published: 17th March 2020 06:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th March 2020 07:15 PM   |  A+A-

Youngsters travelling in a train wear face masks as part of precautionary measures due to the coronavirus scare. A scene from Kozhikode railway station on Monday | Manu R Mavelil

Express News Service

KOCHI: Assuming that around 65 lakh people in Kerala can contract coronavirus given the pandemic nature of the virus, the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Cochin Branch, has warned that Kerala would need at least 2.35 lakh ICU beds to fight the fast-spreading virus. In a letter sent to Chief Justice of Kerala High Court, IMA has requested his immediate intervention to stop public gatherings and enforce social distancing to prevent the virus outbreak.

IMA cautioned that the ability of one person to infect others is high at two to four. That means, one person can infect two, two will infect four, then eight and so on. Hence, delaying stringent measures to fight the spread is like closing the shutters after a dam has already leaked and flooded a village. IMA Cochin branch president Dr Rajeev Jayadevan told TNIE that the letter was sent in the public interest and after conducting a comprehensive assessment on the issue.

The letter states that, out of 3,700 people on the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship, 700 were affected by the virus. That indicates an attack rate of 19 per cent or one in five. For the whole of Kerala, assuming 19 per cent people get COVID-19, that will be 65 lakh patients. Among these, at least 15 per cent (that is 9,40,000) will require hospitalisation for an average of 10 days. Among these, 25 per cent (2,35,125) people in Kerala would require ICU beds. For Kerala, the total projected deaths would be 2,27,000. “Even if we assume that lowest possible attack rate of seven per cent, the number of patients would still be a staggering 24 lakh, which our system cannot support. It is equally possible that in a thickly populated area like Kerala the attack rate could be higher than 19 per cent,” stated the letter.

Excerpts from the letter

People have to stay away from any potential source of the virus. They must maintain at least six feet distance from the next person, which is the typical limit of droplet spread.
Let people pray in their own homes until the crisis is over.
The logic of stopping public gatherings is that there are well looking young people who carry the virus. They are called ‘Super-spreaders.’

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