Surge in demand for oximeters, oxygen

Surge in demand for oximeters, oxygen
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Highlights

Whether the expensive oxygen concentrator or the humble steam inhaler, people in Delhi are going all out shopping for both "prevention and cure" in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases, leading to demands for these medical devices hitting the roof.

New Delhi: Whether the expensive oxygen concentrator or the humble steam inhaler, people in Delhi are going all out shopping for both "prevention and cure" in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases, leading to demands for these medical devices hitting the roof.

With reports of hospitals gasping for oxygen and patients waiting for beds, people are seen making a beeline to chemist shops and returning home with bags full of "medical essentials", including oximeters, thermometers, oxygen cans etc. "These are not normal times. Everyone is fearful of catching the virus and will buy everything possible to keep the family members protected or if, god forbid, they test positive (for COVID-19), help in the cure.

"Last year, we were buying masks, hand sanitiser and infrared thermometers. This year, thanks to the ferocious second wave, we are buying oximeters, oxygen sprays and are even considering buying the super-expensive oxygen concentrator for the family," said city-based businessman Dinesh Thappa (45).

The fear is reflecting on the market also as many chemists are running out of their stocks of oximeters and oxygen concentrators and witnessing an "unprecedented hike" in the demand for steam inhalers and infrared thermometers.

"Oximeters and thermometers are selling at a rate of knots. Right now, I do not have oximeters in my shop. There is a good 60-70 per cent shortage, which was not the case even last year," Gaurav Arora of the Kiran Medicos in Ramesh Nagar said.

He said he has placed an order for oximeters, but it will take time for the supply to arrive. Delhi recorded 24,638 fresh COVID-19 cases and 249 deaths due to the viral disease on Wednesday while the positivity rate stood at 31.28 per cent, meaning almost every third sample tested positive, amid a growing clamour for oxygen and hospital beds in the city. Only 18 ICU beds for COVID-19 patients were available in hospitals across Delhi as of 11 pm Wednesday, according to government data.

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