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India is staggering under second COVID-19 wave

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Posted: Wednesday, April 21, 2021. 3:24 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: After India surpassed Brazil as the second worst-hit COVID-19 country in the world, India is staggering to control the second wave of the pandemic. Cases keep rising, hospitals are running out of beds and medicine, people are dying in greater numbers every day, and cemeteries don’t have enough space to bury the dead.

CNN reported today that healthcare and other essential services across India are on the verge of collapsing due to a second COVID-19 wave, which started in the middle of last month and that is severely affecting the second most populated country in the world.

On Wednesday alone, India, a country of 1.38 billion people, reported 295,041 cases of coronavirus. That’s ¾ of Belize’s population. Plus, the country also reported 2,023 deaths. CNN said that’s India’s highest number of cases and deaths during the pandemic up to now, according to their source in the Indian Ministry of Health.

“The volume is humongous,” said Jalil Parkar, a senior pulmonary consultant at the Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai. “It’s just like a tsunami.”

CNN said that the Lilavati Hospital had to convert its lobby into an additional Covid ward.

Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in New Delhi, said that things were out of control.

India is reportedly not only having problems with hospital beds but is also having problems with oxygen supply.

During his address to the nation on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country’s is facing a “very big battle” against Covid-19 and asked the country’s states to “use a lockdown as their last option.”

On Monday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that some Delhi hospitals were “left with just a few hours of oxygen.”

“Our healthcare system has reached its limit. It is now in a state of distress. It has not collapsed yet but it is in distress,” Kejriwal said. “Every healthcare system has its limits. No system can accommodate unlimited patients.”

From all around the country, the India federal government received appeals for more oxygen and medicine, CNN reported.

On Tuesday Modi said the government had plans to get 100,000 cylinders of oxygen to hospitals nationwide. He said that they also had plans for new oxygen production plants and COVID-19 hospitals.

To deal with the problem, the Indian government approved Remdesivir for emergency use within hospitals as the demand has spiked during the second wave.

Social gatherings, particularly due to the Kumbh Mela, are making matters worse. The Kumbh Mela, a month-long Hindu festival in April that is considered one of the biggest pilgrimages in the world, has not helped the situation any at all. Millions of Indians are said to flock to the Ganges River for holy cleansing baths on special days. Though the Indian government has COVID-19 safety rules in place, making people adhere to the safety measures has been practically impossible.

“The Kumbh Mela could go down as one of the largest mass super spreading events ever, simply because of the size of the number of people who show up there for the ritual bathing in the Ganges,” said Laxminarayan.

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