Mr CM, Elections Are Over, Can We Focus on Bihar’s COVID Crisis?

Only five percent of Bihar’s 12 crore people were vaccinated till 14 April.

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Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam

COVID cases in Bihar are rising rapidly, but the state seems to be very ill-prepared for it. A state with a population of over 12 crore had less than 1,000 active cases in the month of March. But on 14 April this number rose to over 29,000.

Free vaccines were promised by the BJP during the Assembly elections and now when the requirement has come, the hospitals don’t even have beds. Till 14 April, 1,675 people died across the state.

Here are some statistics to understand the rate at which COVID is spreading in Bihar. On 1 April, there were only 1,907 active cases in Bihar. On 14 April, the number of active cases rose to 29,078, which was over 15 times.

And while fighting the rise in COVID cases, the state’s medical infrastructure completely collapsed.

A COVID patient died at the gates of Nalanda Medical College and Hospital in Bihar’s capital, Patna, as he could not get a bed in the hospital. The incident occurred when the health minister of the state, Mangal Pandey, was at the hospital for inspection.

The Opposition alleged that the minister had been busy campaigning for his party in the West Bengal election rather than making arrangements to fight the new and deadlier wave of coronavirus.

Now, here are the statistics of hospitals in Patna, the state’s capital, which is registering over 1,000 COVID cases on an average for a week now. There are only 1,100 beds across all hospitals in Patna, out of which 850 are full. All the beds in government hospitals are full. Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), which is the biggest hospital in the state has only 100 COVID dedicated beds, out of those, around 20% is reserved for doctors and healthcare workers.

Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH) had arranged for 107 beds for COVID patients, all of which are full. Another 44 beds are being added there. The hospital has only eight Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Beds for COVID patients.

AIIMS Patna has 115 COVID reserved, all of which are occupied. All 30 ICU beds are full and the hospital is trying to arrange for another 30 beds.

Now, let us look at the statistics of the number of people vaccinated in Bihar. On 14 April, 1 lakh 32 thousand people were vaccinated in Bihar. Between 11 and 14 April, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had announced ‘Tika Utsav’, or vaccination festival, during which 4 lakh people were expected to get the jab every day.

This meant 16 lakh people were targeted for the drive. But only 5 lakh 44 thousand people were vaccinated, which took the total tally to 54 lakh people getting the jab in the state. This is less than five percent of the state’s population.

With the even stronger wave of COVID, one expected that the state would have learned from last year’s havoc and prepared for it. But the story on the ground looks grim with this surge.

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