India: chaos, panic and frightening numbers

In the past 24 hours, 361,000 new cases of coronavirus have been registered in India, and 6 million people have been infected during April.

For a week now, the country has been setting world tragic records for the number of new cases every day. Over the past day, 3293 people have died from COVID-19 in the country, the total death rate exceeded 200 thousand (201 187). Today, 3 million people are sick. The country’s hospitals are overcrowded, people are dying right on the streets, under the gates of hospitals. Patients are evacuated due to lack of oxygen, and the deceased are massively cremated. Jaynt Malhotra, who volunteers at the crematorium in the Indian capital, tells the BBC:

“I’ve never seen such a nightmare. I can’t believe this is happening in the capital of India. People don’t get oxygen and die like animals.”

The worst situation is in the Indian capital, where there are no vacant beds with ventilators in hospitals. James Gallagher, BBC Science and Medicine Correspondent, says:

“Covid-19 can be fatal even in a well-functioning health care system, but when hospitals fail, even those who could have been saved die.”

Desperate relatives of patients are looking for respirators and oxygen masks on social networks, where they are desperately trying to find a place in any hospital. Laboratories are overwhelmed and it takes at least three days to test biological samples. Crematoria are open around the clock.

Populous India, with its imperfect healthcare system, is becoming the epicenter of a pandemic that has claimed more than three million lives worldwide to date. The last weeks have been marked by numerous mass rallies with the participation of millions of people – events of the Hindu festival Cube Mela, political meetings, sports events.

Local media reports that the production of medicines needed to treat the coronavirus has slowed down and even stopped, as has the production of oxygen. Desperate relatives of patients are often forced to pay fabulous sums on the black market for medicines and oxygen. The WhatsApp platform is full of desperate calls for help.

The US is urging its citizens, even those fully vaccinated, to avoid traveling to India. The UK added it to its red list, while Hong Kong and New Zealand suspended flights from India.

Indian authorities are begging for support, the US and Europe are sending aid. The White House message says:

“Just as India sent aid to the United States because our hospitals were overwhelmed at the start of the pandemic, the United States is committed to helping India in times of need.”

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