During the peak of the pandemic’s second wave, the state needed more than 1,000MT of oxygen daily. This difficult phase was marked by shortages, cries for help from Covid-19 patients’ families and a scramble for oxygenated beds at hospitals. Since then, things have improved and the oxygen requirement has been consistently falling.
According to the data from the state oxygen management team, Karnataka consumed 134MT of oxygen at the end of August compared to 170MT in July-end. But consumption increased in Belagavi, Dakshina Kannada, Kalaburagi, Kodagu, Koppal, Mandya, Raichur, Tumakuru and Udupi districts.
Cumulatively, the nine districts saw a 50 per cent rise in usage at the end of August compared to the level at the end of the previous month. Pointing out that these are border districts, officials blamed spillover Covid-19 cases as the reason for higher oxygen requirement.
The highest increase was seen in Koppal (0.4MT to 7.3MT) because of a very low base number. Dakshina Kannada, Mysuru and Belagavi are among the top five districts with the most consumption at the end of August.
Situation in Bengaluru
The BBMP limits, which have recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the state, continue to consume the most amount of oxygen despite a 31 per cent decrease, which is better than the state average. While the city needed 51.4MT of oxygen at the end of August, down from 74.2MT, Bengaluru Urban district, excluding the city limits, needed only 0.2MT, down from 2.2MT.
The number of oxygenated beds occupied by Covid-19 patients in the BBMP limits, as of September 4, was also at a low compared to May, when waiting on some days was reported to be as high as the overall number of beds. Of the 1,220 oxygenated beds reserved for Covid-19 patients in Bengaluru — high-dependency units, ICUs and ICUs with ventilators — only 67 (5.5 per cent) were occupied as on Saturday.
As reported by STOI earlier, in August, only 4 to 5 per cent of the cases in the city required any kind of hospitalisation as against nearly 9 per cent at the end of June. While lower demand for oxygen and beds is a good sign, experts stress that people and the government should not get complacent.